GA SAILS MATRIX 6.7M TEST REVIEW
The Matrix sits in the GA range as their high performance no-cam freeride option, “designed for anyone, any time”. Keeping a six-batten configuration for reduced weight and improved handling, it is comparatively short and wide, with an extended second foot batten that protrudes beyond the back of the boom. It was tested here on a 75% SDM mast, leaving very little play in the luff sleeve, relying more on the stretch of the Dacron luff panel to temper the power delivery and response as the wind fills. Largely using monofilm throughout most of its panels, there’s a good degree of skin tension in the leading edge, the Matrix boasting one of the more pronounced luff curves in the group. There’s also plenty of shape to the sail’s profile, both high and forwards before extending low and back in the foot of the sail, in line with the harness lines. It’s topped off with a significant amount of looseness in the head of the sail before continuing progressively along its length.
“ In 2018 a new outline combined with updated profile ensure a more constant and evenly distributed power delivery. Increased mid and top twist results in a sail with even more top end speed than previous seasons. No cross batten keeps the outline compact and the boom length short, improving handling in all conditions.”
Feeling big and purposeful in the hands from the off, the key attribute of the Matrix is that it marries its size with a real sense of usability. The breathability in the Dacron luff panel enables the sail to adopt a much deeper profile as the pressure builds, smoothly becoming more positive and alive in the hands. There’s plenty of useable feedback through the backhand, and yet it seems to pull from all areas – high and forwards as well as low and back in the draft. As such, it has a large centre of effort, which may lead to some thinking the sail is unbalanced … even unstable. But use it for a little while longer, in increasingly strong winds, and you realise the stability is undoubtedly there, the Matrix rarely suffering from control issues. The fact that it has such a large manageable ‘sweet spot’ actually makes the sail both practical and favourable for a wider audience and as such fulfils its ‘designed for anyone’ brief admirably. As gusts hit, the Matrix channels the power and transforms it into drive beautifully, pinning the board to the floor. Fast on all points of sail, it was certainly one of the most potent in the group off the wind, the twist in the sail’s trailing edge making it feel slippery and efficient on the fastest runs. In lulls, the profile does tend to decay slightly, reducing the efficiency of the drive … and yet the upside is more neutral handling as the sail is released and rotated in transition, before easing the power delivery back in on the new tack. Soft and dependable rather than direct and precise, the Matrix is certainly a grower, coming to the top of the crop when the conditions turn on.
With its broad centre of effort, the Matrix strikes an interesting balance between useable power source and dependable handling to deliver surprising performance capabilities that had us coming back for more.
Other sails in this test:
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