GA SAILS HYBRID 5.6M 2019 TEST REVIEW
The Hybrid was introduced into the GA Sails lineup in 2018 and effectively replaced three previous sail models, merging them into one. As a result (and as its name implies) the Hybrid’s brief and role evolves through its eleven sizes, going from a manoeuvre-oriented four batten ‘power wave’ sail, through to a ‘classic bump and jump’ 5-batten sail in the mid-sizes, and onto a 6-batten performance freeride engine in the largest sizes. In this 5.6m option, there are a couple of tube battens incorporated above the boom, to maintain profile stability and increase performance. The orientation of the battens themselves is said to be more parallel for 2019, improving the sail’s efficiency through the air. The brand’s eye-catching glittery metallic x-ply (seen in the Manic earlier in the season), is also present in the foot of the Hybrid, whilst the rest of the sail’s layup is clean and uncomplicated, with a x-ply window and coloured monofilm in the upper panels. Recommended solely for use on an RDM, it sets easily with a moderate amount of luff curve and plenty of rotation retained in the bottom two battens.
“This is our most complete sail line with an increased top-end thanks to the updated shape, the introduction of the parallel batten concept and stiffer tube battens.” Peter Munzlinger – Chief Sail Designer.
Light and neutral in the hands at rest, as a gust hits, the play in the luff sleeve and large Dacron luff panel enable the Hybrid to breathe into a much deeper profile. The pull comes from low and relatively far back in the draft, feeling soft and balanced in both hands, the power building progressively so as to not throw the rider’s stance out of shape. And despite its average dimensions, the position of the Hybrid’s power makes it feel large and purposeful, helping to pin the board down and encouraging the rider into a locked in freeride / blasting stance. Comfortable for long periods of use, as the conditions turn on the Hybrid becomes increasingly potent, its centre of effort focussed around the rider, ensuring it feels balanced at all times, whilst the softness of the delivery allows the sail to move around the rider and help them focus on maintaining their stance. It also has an impressive turn of speed, twisting smoothly along its trailing edge and accelerating efficiently through gusts. In lulls the Hybrid may lose some of its drive as the depth of the profile diminishes under reduced pressure, yet this movement is a blessing in transition, allowing the Hybrid’s grunty pull to settle for easy repositioning before repowering progressively. A forgiving sail to use for both aspiring riders and unpredictable conditions, the Hybrid provides plug and play ease for those that want to get on and enjoy their session with minimal fuss.
As easy to use and get on with as it is to rig, the Hybrid provides soft power and forgiving handling over a wide wind range, ideally suited for those looking for plug and play freeride enjoyment. And at £509 it represents excellent value for money.
Other sails in this test: