GA SAILS MATRIX 6.5M 2016 TEST REVIEW
The Matrix sits between the Cross and Savage in the GA Sails’ line-up, classed as their straight “freeride machine – easy to rig, lighter and stronger then ever.” It was tested here on a 430cm SDM mast, although the brand claims it is versatile enough to work perfectly well on an RDM … and a 460cm mast if required. It sets with lots of luff curve, providing plenty of skin tension along its leading edge, the battens either side of the boom protruding beyond the leading edge of the mast at rest. There is plenty of tuning range on the downhaul, using the outhaul to fine tune the power delivery and lock the draft in place. Finished with the brand’s usual finesse, it has a clean appearance with not a crease in its panels and in the neon colours tested here, is in our opinion, very eye-catching on the water.
“We wanted to give the Matrix a little tune-up for 2016, so we added a small luff curve change to the top half of the sail, creating more race twist to the leech and opening up the very head of the sail. This has translated into a higher top end speed. An increase to the shaping in the front third of the sail and a new batten profiling has enabled us to lock down this new improved horsepower you will find at your fingertips. A new panel layout with fewer seams makes the sail stronger and lighter. We have the Posi-leech system as well to keep the pull even and balanced.”
Feeling light and neutral in the hands at idle, when the wind fills the power comes on smoothly and evenly, thanks to the Dacron luff panel making the delivery more progressive. The Matrix accelerates quickly and settles into a comfortable, locked in stance, the centre of effort placed low and forward in the sail. It is supremely balanced in the hands and has undoubtedly been influenced by GA Sails’ race programme, feeling incredibly efficient and continuing to accelerate in every gust. Partnered with a fast board, it has near no-cam freerace potential, yet retains such light precise handling that it is easy to reposition and never feels as if it is getting away from you, allowing the rider to maintain their stance. In severe conditions, retuning is there to help settle any movement, making it easy to use the Matrix over a massive wind range. In transition, the inset clew eyelet and reduced boom length make the sail feel smaller than its quoted size, whilst the movement in the luff panel and battens pushing back round the mast reduces the sail’s profile, making it effortless to reposition. With plenty of bottom end power, top end stability and performance, the Matrix has an impressive wind range, offering the handling and balance to partner any board type and riding style.
The Matrix majors on light balanced handling coupled with crisp efficient power over an impressive wind range. And at an eye-catching price, it can’t help but be recommended by the team.
Other sails in this test: