GA SAILS IQ 4.7M 2017 TEST REVIEW
The IQ has been in the GA Sails line-up as their 4-batten wave series for many years now, said to offer a “balance of power and neutrality”. Retaining the convertible batten system that was introduced last season (where the batten above the boom can be changed to a three-quarter length option), the IQ, like the Manic tested last month, has undergone quite a significant amount of work for 2017. Most significantly, the design now rigs on a constant curve mast, making the most of a reduced luff curve. The batten layout and angles have been refined, whilst the two top battens are now integrated into the middle of the sail to reduce weight and improve the sail’s symmetry. There is a large step in the leech by batten #3, which combined with the brand’s ‘posi-leech’ concept is designed to improve both power and agility. With double clew eyelets, a higher cut foot, stretch resistant strands radiating from the clew and improved detailing (such as a rope net in the tack fairing), the IQ comes in two bright colour patterns to make it visually stand out as much as its new features.
“What can I say about this sail. I love it. I can do anything when I want and how I want. I’m a small rider and love the easy feeling it gives me. This year the control is there. The drive is good and keeps my board turning under the lip, in the pocket or wherever I end up!” Thomas Traversa
We have used the IQ extensively in the centre over recent years, so know the sail’s pedigree well, and feel it is safe to say that all the refinements done for this season have made the most significant difference to the sail since the IQ was first introduced. Rigging on a 370, it is easy to set, the battens retaining plenty of rotation, whilst the leech falls away in the top two panels. There is certainly tuning range available to broaden the IQ’s wind range … yet we also found it had excellent manners across a wide range on one set. From the off, the power delivery is soft and progressive, the large Dacron luff panel enabling the sail to breath as the pressure builds, to deliver power smoothly to the board. Far from spongy in the hands, the IQ seems to possess an elastic limit, the tension in the leading edge enabling the rider to feel the mast’s response to gusts and lulls, the sail moving instinctively around the rider. The centre of effort is low and forwards in the draft, never providing control issues, even as the wind increases. The two clew eyelets also enable some small refinement in the orientation of the boom angle, but perhaps a wider distance between the two would offer even more distinction? It was in manoeuvres that the 2017 really captured our imagination. Whilst always feeling compact and balanced in the hands, it provides useable power to drive confidently into corners, before becoming strikingly light and neutral mid-transition, ready for easy repositioning. The three-quarter length batten option is a nice addition and can be used to extend the sail’s softness, neurtality and bottom end slightly, yet in our opinion the IQ works so well with its full length battens that only regular float and ride missions would really benefit.
The IQ has taken a massive leap forward for 2017, providing stunningly smooth, useable power that can be turned on or off at will.
Other sails in this test: