FANATIC GECKO 105L LTD 2015 TEST REVIEW
THE LOW DOWN
The 105 is one of the few designs that remains unchanged this season in the enlarged 2015 Gecko line-up. Tested here in its top-level Ltd construction, incorporating Innegra carbon, cork sandwich in vulnerable impact areas, and a Basalt cloth that is claimed to be both technically more advanced and environmentally more friendly than alternatives, it is safe to say this is one well thought out product … and rightly marketed so.
“Wide and thin – that’s the overall Gecko concept. We ensure that you have ‘just the right’ amount of board so you could in fact ride a smaller Gecko than you normally would. … In addition to their extraordinary carving attributes, the Gecko has the ability to generate good ‘pop’, perfect for your first classic freestyle moves. If you’re looking for a board that is a pioneer planer and master carver then the Gecko is a must for you!”
Taking a closer look at the Gecko 105 before we go on the water, there are some initial design qualities that hint towards the performance likely to be experienced. Fanatic have opted for a pintail design to reduce drag and improve speed rather than cutouts adopted by several others. There is also a significant amount of vee in its bottom shape, starting in the shoulders and becoming progressively more pronounced, still prominent in the tail around the fin. Sure enough, on the water, the Gecko displayed a simply stunning amount of control. Whilst it is eager to get on the plane when power is delivered, it accelerates progressively instead of exploding from the blocks. Once there, it has a smooth and tempered character that belies its speed and straight-line potential, particularly when the sea state is challenging. It seems to iron out the most confused chop effortlessly and provide security when planting landings, even from unintentional airs…! This level of control often comes at the expense of any spark or excitement for the more experienced rider, but not so for the Gecko. Yes, there are a multitude of strap options for every rider ability level, and its character can seem calm and subdued. But load it with a powerful sail and you can charge around the most evil water surfaces, loading the fin confidently, the board feeling far from 69cm wide underfoot. In gybes, the wide flat deck provides both stability and response, whilst the rails bite superbly well. If you want to tighten the radius of the turn there is no doubt that the board will oblige. In more marginal winds, it doesn’t seem to glide through lulls as easily as some others (perhaps due to the increased wetted area of the vee), but its performance is by no means a let down, and does not spoil what is otherwise a fantastically balanced and well-mannered contender.
The Gecko has a simply fantastic level of control, which belies its performance potential and thankfully doesn’t come at the expense of enjoyment either! Recommended.
Other sails in this test: