Weight (kg): 3.21
Size (m): 4.2
Rec. Mast Length (cm): 370
Luff Length (cm): 377
Boom length (cm): 153
Price (£): 539
It’s pretty hard to say anything negative about a sail that recently played a leading role in securing the Wave World title for Thomas Traversa – it clearly works pretty well!
Never-the-less, the IQ should definitely be regarded as more of a specialist product than the all-round Manic. Both Thomas Traversa and Alex Mousilini have been using a mixture of Manics and IQ’s over the past few years, but this year, Gaastra have dialled in the IQ to a level that Thomas prefers it in all but the very strongest conditions. It certainly feels a more rounded offering than in previous years…
Unfortunately Gaastra only had stock of 4.2 & 4.7 IQ’s at the time of this test, so it has been tested slightly smaller than the rest of the 4.5 & 5.0’s that it was matched up against. We have tried to take this into account and extrapolate the results as best as possible.
Gaastra are clearly fans of short luff lengths. The Manic and IQ have the shortest luff lengths of all the sails in this test, with the IQ the outright winner. Boom length is also short and despite taking into account the slightly smaller sail size, it still had one of the shortest boom lengths of the group. Sail weight was on the lighter side of this group and was lighter than the Manic.
The IQ is quite a flat setting sail with a relatively tight leech, compared to most of the other brands. It’s also quite a ‘firm’ sail, with noticeably less material spring than the rest of the sails within this group.
There is some versatility in the tuning, allowing a range of useful settings to be achieved through varying degrees of downhaul and outhaul. We preferred the sail with higher downhaul settings combined with lower amounts of outhaul, giving it a lighter feel in the hands, and a slightly softer, more progressive power delivery. It’s quite a rearward pull position (second only to the Tushingham), combined with that stiffer feel making it quite a ‘pully’ sail on the backhand, particularly in the gusts. Easing the outhaul and increasing the downhaul doesn’t move the power forward, but it does make it a bit smoother to control.
On The Water
Visually they may be difficult to tell apart, but in the hands, there is quite a difference between the Manic and IQ. The IQ has a sharper, more on/off power delivery than the Manic, probably largely to do with that more rearward pull position and stiffer feel over its stable mate. The IQ is also noticeably more ‘grunty’ in the hands, which is saying something as the Manic is definitely not lacking in this department!
At the bottom end, the IQ has a reassuring pull on the back hand and the flatter profile makes it feel compact, light and manoeuvrable in the hands in wobble and ride conditions. It’s not a sail that likes to be pumped onto the plane – the stiffer, flatter design and more rearward pull tend to be difficult to translate into forward drive, however once there is enough wind to get onto the plane, the IQ is very quick to accelerate.
At the top end the IQ is probably at its weakest. The compact dimensions act in the riders favour, but the rest of its characteristics make it more of a (back) handful than most. But this is not what the IQ is designed for…
The IQ is designed for radical, new-school wave riding in lighter conditions and there is no doubt that this is the IQ’s forte. Sure, it can work as an all-rounder, as Thomas has definitely proven, but if that’s what you are looking for, go for the Manic. However if proper wave riding is your bag, then the IQ really starts to shine.
The compact dimensions, the grunty on/off power delivery and the pull position being extremely high up on the sail (compared to most) make this sail a real pocket rocket in front side wave riding conditions. It’s a dynamic sail for dynamic riders who are going to work the sail and the wave for all it’s got. If you prefer a more relaxed, easy going wave riding sail, then don’t buy an IQ. If you want a sharp handling, power generating, grunty wave sail, that will let you squeeze the most out of every turn, then the IQ has your name on it.
Light in the hands when non-planing
Sharp handling, compact, grunty and responsive on the wave face.
Wind range, particularly at the top-end.
Who should buy this sail?
Thomas Traversa definitely should, as it just powered him to a wave World title. Other than that, anyone who is focused on dynamic front side riding, particularly in lighter wind conditions.