GA SAILS MATRIX 7.2M 2019 TEST REVIEW
The Matrix sees another season in the GA Sails lineup as their freeride performance sail, said to provide “powerful high performance, yet still remaining easy to use and rig”. As with all sails in the GA range, the switch was made to constant curve masts and luff curves a few years back, the Matrix ideally set on an SDM in this size and above, whereas either SDMs or RDMs can be used in the three smaller sizes. New features for 2019 are focussed around increasing top end performance, without compromising handling and comfort. The battens are oriented parallel to one another, to increase airflow efficiency over the sail’s panels, combined with a cross batten concept, which sees the second lowest batten cross the boom’s path. This is said to help lock in stability and provide a more connected feel. The posi-leech outline (whereby the batten just above the boom is more exposed than those either side of it) has also been reduced, with the intended result of empowering the lower leech and boosting performance. With the brand’s attractive 4mil metallic x-ply used in the Matrix’s foot and clew, the rest of the sail sees 5mil monofilm in its panels – clear in the window and coloured in the upper panels. Features and detailing are the usual quality you’d expect from the GA Sails loft, and we have to say, the single colour scheme (of which two options are available for the Matrix, the other being red) give GA Sails a very fresh and refined appearance this season.
“The Matrix will not just get experienced freeride windsurfers into lay-down gybes, but also allows those to enjoy this sport, who are just getting into planing.”
Rigged on a C90 SDM, the Matrix sets with a moderate amount of luff curve, the four lower battens keeping rotation around the mast, whilst the leech falls away progressively to batten five. Taking it onto the water, the first thing you notice about the Matrix is that it certainly feels its size, the Dacron luff panel and movement in the luff sleeve helping it to breath into a deep profile. The pressure builds smoothly and evenly through both hands, transferring the energy freely to the board, almost independently of the rider. It will find particular favour with those of a relaxed, laid-back riding style, the leverage in the long boom combining with a low and forward centre of effort to provide the useable power without unsettling the rider’s stance. Falling into a comfortable locked in stance, the Matrix delivers an impressive cruising speed in light to moderate winds, the Dacron luff panel offering just enough comfort to cushion any clatter or impact from the board. In transition, the depth of the sail’s profile does decrease thanks to the movement in its forward panels, making it more manageable mid-transition, albeit somewhat countered by the sail’s large area above the boom. As the wind increased, we tried to re-tune the Matrix with more downhaul to further its performance and release, but found that any extra tension quickly diminishes the sail’s profile and breathability. Instead of amounting to any improvement in efficiency, it only resulted in killing the sail’s bottom end capacity. To this end, the Matrix offers a natural range on one setting, heightening its plug and play appeal; whatever the conditions, just rig it following the prescribed set … and get out on the water!
A freeride sail with a large nature and character, the Matrix offers conventional backhand feedback and the assurances that you can simply let the sail do the work for you.
Other sails in this test: