FANATIC GECKO 133L LTD 2015 TEST REVIEW
The 133 is one of four new, larger sizes in the extended Gecko line-up, available in three different constructions from their durable High Resistance Skin (HRS), through to Bamboo Sandwich Light and onto Innegra Carbon LTD as tested here. What is interesting about the 133 is that it replaces the Gecko 135 of last year, which had dimensions much similar to the rest of the boards in this test group. Instead, Fanatic seem to have made a conscious effort to step away from the extremes of the ‘wide-thin’ concept, stating that they’ve incorporated some of the principles of the discontinued Shark range into these new designs.
“We took the new Gecko concept of ‘wider, thinner, less volume’ and adapted it to the larger sizes. With a gradual increase in length (242cm, 246cm, 250cm) and straighter outlines, a great deal of balance and stability is on offer. We can assure you that the Gecko is able to cater for footstrap first timers and planers, all the while still maintaining its manoeuvrability as seen in the smaller sizes.”
On the water, the Gecko 133 is a supreme progression board, with an innate ability to get planing that requires next to no input from the rider at all. The longest and narrowest in the group, it has a straight double concave in the shoulders of the board, providing real stability as it rises up onto the water’s surface. The Gecko certainly doesn’t need to be turned deep off the wind to force the issue as with many others in the group, engaging auto-pilot as power is delivered and rewarding even the most passive riding style with smooth easy acceleration. With its straight outline, longer length and vee bottom shape throughout the tail of the board, the design imparts amazing directional stability and ease of use, the planing threshold of the Gecko being super low, so that it provides time and practicality for the novice rider to step back and find the straps. It also enables the Gecko to be supplied with the smallest fin in the group at 42cm, which in itself provides extra convenience when developing skills such as beach starts and gybing. Happy to be sailed all day at half-speed, cruising comfortably over great distances, the 133 can also be loaded with a powerful sail and locked into a more purposeful stance, the outboard strap positions enabling the rider to wrap their feet snuggly round the rail. The fin continues to provide ample traction to push against and enables the board to point as high as any in the group. In transition, the even volume distribution through the Gecko is a real bonus, providing stability in the tack and forgiving a multitude of errors or clumsy footwork in the gybe. It prefers a steadier more drawn out arc to the gybe, seeming to scrub off speed if pushed too hard. Similarly, in harsh choppy seas, the Gecko’s longer plan shape was noticeable, its shoulders tending to bounce over the crests and requiring more input to keep the hammer down. As such, we believe the Gecko is best suited to the progressing sailor / weekend cruiser, looking for a user-friendly tutor with superlative manners.
With stunning directional stability and an incredibly low planing threshold, the Gecko planes instinctively and makes the near perfect tutor for the progressing sailor, or those looking for hassle-free cruising.
Other sails in this test: