Equipment Testing

Gaastra Poison 5.4

 

2009

Gaastra Poison 5.4

1

Power Delivery

Sail Stiffness

Sail Pull

Pull Position

Bottom End

Top End

Tuning Flexibility

Untuned Range

The Poison is Gaastra’s ‘power house’ wave sail, sitting above the Manic and Manic HD for power.

manufacturer's claims

"The Poison has been designed to deliver POWER in a comfortable and controllable package! No matter what type of conditions, the Poison gives instant response to get you going. Specializing in waves and bump and jump freeriding, this new rig is perfect for real world conditions. The twin-stripe xply luff panel keeps the draft profiles locked, while the slightly firmer luff curve keeps the rig stable. Grab a hold of the 09 Poison to boost some huge aerials, or enjoy a day of blasting in the Gorge" – Gaastra website

off water description

The Poison has the longest luff length (438cm) of the sails in test coupled with a moderate boom length of 175cm. The sail sets on an RDM mast and we were supplied with the Gaastra 100% RDM for this test.

The foot of the sail has a nice pulley block to help downhauling but, as we have noticed with other Gaastra’s this year, it is noticeably less recessed into the foot than the other sails in test which means you have to be a little more accurate with your extension setting to avoid an unwanted gap between board and sail.

The Poison offers some level of tuning. We did however find it worked best towards the minimum settings (outhaul and downhaul), where it felt light in the hands, nicely balanced and with good power. Once you start applying more downhaul (for stronger winds), the pull seems to shift back in the sail and it wasn’t quite so sweet.

on water description

In underpowered and comfortably powered conditions, the Poison feels great. It's light in the hands, powerful and pretty much everything you want from a power wave sail. Compared to the Alpha, it feels slightly lighter and more manoeuvrable in the hands but not quite as direct in terms of power.

The power delivery is very soft on the Poison. There is certainly plenty of power but when you sheet the sail in (or get a gust), it isn't quite as quick and sharp to respond as the Alpha. Some people may prefer this as it makes the sail more easy going but it can make the sail feel a little less exciting.

As the wind increases, the Poison becomes less comfortable. The pull moves further back in the sail and you have to work harder and harder with your back hand to keep the sail sheeted in, even after re-tuning the sail. Some riders (particularly heavy ones) may like the reassurance of this extra pull and its something that the majority of these power wave sails experience at the top end, however it does have a negative effect on the manoeuvrability of the sails. The Alpha, Goya and Simmer Icon are the only 3 sails that remain fairly neutral at the top end and its noticeable how much more ‘throw about’ they feel when well powered up.

Never-the-less, within its comfortable power range, it's hard to find fault with the Poison. Our Clones liked the light, manoeuvrable feel and the abundance of power, which compared to some sails in the group made it feel like the wind had picked up!

The Poison has less pre-set shape in the battens than most of the other sails in this group, giving it a slightly softer more forgiving rotation and contributing to that manoeuvre orientated feel.

overall impression

The Poison is light, balanced and manoeuvrable in most conditions but becomes noticeably back handed as the wind increases. If you are heavy and like a bit of pull on your back hand in stronger winds or you sail predominantly in lighter winds, the Poison is a good choice. If you want better strong wind handling, go for the Manic.