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The Fanatic brand was founded in 1981 and have earned a reputation for quality and innovation.
Driven by what Fanatic describes as an “unwavering desire to create dream boards,” the brand strives to produce the best gear for a wide range of water board sports.
For windsurfing enthusiasts, any Fanatic Gecko133 review will reveal that this board is the brand’s most user-friendly free ride board.
If you’re newer to the world of windsurfing or foil windsurfing, windfoiling.
The Gecko lineup features seven different and exciting shapes, each offering plug and play ease of uses and ample performance features to support new riders stepping into the straps for their first plane and old pros looking to the Gecko for its ability to seamlessly execute tricks and maneuvers.
What is a freeride board?
Windsurfing appeals to all kinds of riders because there are a lot of different styles and approaches to windsurfing with gear designed specifically to enhance these different styles.
The most popular windsurfing style is freeride. Freeride windsurfing is just what it sounds like: a free-for-all approach that welcomes carefree easy Sunday cruising and high energy tricks and daring maneuvers.
Because the freeride style is so diverse, freeride boards have to be incredibly balanced and broad in their range of abilities and functions.
Freeride boards typically perform well in waves, cater to newer riders with a friendly ease-of-use, and perform well with tricks.
Mechanics and specs of the Fanatic Gecko 133
To better understand how this board feels on the water, it can be helpful to know the specs.
Each design element – weight, length, shape, etc – is chosen for its ability to influence the way the Gecko 133 feels on the water.
Gecko approached the 133 design with the aim of creating a balance between responsiveness and stability to provide riders with extra stability and support while opening the door to incredible experiences as riders’ experience and confidence grows.
For the 133, Gecko crafts a wider, thinner, longer board while minimizing volume.
These attributes are strategic to enhance the balance and stability that riders – especially new riders – need for easier planing and gybing.
Incorporating more parallel lines, this overall design is all about the stability and support.
Here’s what you need to know about this board’s specs and design:
Width and length
The Fanatic Gecko 133 board measures 78cm in width and 246 cm in length.
To offer a comparison, let’s consider the Shark lineup. The Shark 135 is 245 cm long but only 73 cm wide, noticeable more narrow than Gecko’s 133L.
The 133L is a great step down board from the 165L Shark, offering more fore and aft stability than lower volume and smaller Shark models.
Weight and volume
Volume is one of the most important characteristics to consider when investing in a windsurf board – especially for newer riders.
A general rule of thumb suggests you need to choose a board with one liter of volume for every kilogram you weigh plus an additional 50-100 liters in addition.
For riders in the neighborhood of 75 kg, or 165 pounds, an ideal board volume will fall somewhere between 125 and 175 liters.
The Gecko 133 weighs in at just over 18 pounds – 8.2 kg if you live in the metric.
The board’s volume, 133 liters, partners with its width to create the effect of greater stability and control for riders.
This volume is a great compromise for intermediate riders, offering more control when sailing at higher speeds, in high winds, or when water conditions are rough.
This volume is large enough, though, for easy up hauling and better balance.
Fittings and hardware
The Gecko boards feature durable fin fittings and can also be purchased with hardware to support hydrofoils.
The standard fittings include a Power Box and come with a CF Spirit 42cm blade.
The hardware connecting your foil setup and board is a critical piece that has a lot of influence on the stability and control you feel on the water.
The foil connection is also one of the foundational components of the overall setups durability.
The Fanatic Gecko 133 is fitted with a Deep Tuttle box.
Board shape and style of the 133
The Gecko 133 features strategic shaping characteristics to promote easier and earlier planing while affording riders more stability and control.
The 133 features a large planing surface.
The flat deck shape creates great stability for riders and promotes early planing even on low energy days on the water, maintaining stability at high and low speeds.
The rails are intentionally thin, balanced by a wider tail, to ensure very easy carve gybing.
The 13 features a unique bottom shape, too. The bottom shape is a flat pane; power V bottom.
This shape features a slight double concave and adds additional energy for easy planing and enhanced control at both ends of this board’s speed range.
Multiple foot strap options for a custom feel and ride
Footstraps and pads can really improve a board’s comfort for all day shredding or cruises, and the quality of footpads and straps can also really impact both durability of the board and the control a rider experiences on the water.
Gecko footpads feature dual density diamond grooves that make this footpad grippy and shock absorbent.
The Gecko 133L offers three different foot strap configurations that can really change the way your board feels and responds on the water.
Foot straps have the power and influence to effect a rider’s experience on the water because they drive a rider’s posture and body placement, creating volume distribution.
This is particularly important for riders with less experience.
For newer riders and those learning freestyle rig maneuvers, the inboard strap configuration is recommended.
Inboard straps paired with a smaller fin are a great combo for riders learning to be in the straps in light and very light wind conditions.
The middle strap position is sometimes referred to as bump-and-jump mode.
As riders improve, this middle position is the perfect progression from the stability of inboard straps.
Advanced riders will appreciate the plug and play easy afforded by the foot strap options and will enjoy the middle position for high energy riding days.
The third position, the out board straps are best paired with a stiffer fin.
This foot strap configuration is great for riders learning and training for slalom sailing.
This configuration makes the 133L’s easy transition into planing even more noticeable.
This position and the overall board design are perfect for easy gybing and riders can leverage a tight gybe course to increase average speed even when they aren’t hitting top speed on the water.
Riders that will love the 133L
Gecko’s 133L features a concept design geared towards increasing stability and balance.
This design definitely appeals to newer riders and those still learning and developing their foil skills while windsurfing.
On the other hand, the board is responsive and capable of an impressive range of tricks.
While the board’s design caters to less experienced riders with stability and support, the overall experience the Gecko 133L creates is really crafted with higher level intermediate riders in mind.
Gecko boards, when compared to other Fanatic lineups, are easier and more stable to sail – especially when off the plane.
This board doesn’t just plan earlier or easier, it planes longer through lulls and works really well for riders learning to water start.
Fanatic Gecko 133 Review: Changes and upgrades to the 2019 and 2020 lineup
The Gecko lineup is one of Fanatic’s easiest to use and most popular freeride windsurf board options but Fanatic isn’t resting on those laurels; instead, Fanatic designers have retuned several Gecko models.
The Gecko lineup has been upgraded and enhanced to offer riders even more speed and better acceleration while promoting early planing.
New sizes include the 122, 135, and 148.
The Gecko 135 replaces the 133, adding more volume in a wider and more parallel outline.
The overall effect of these upgrades improves acceleration while the thinner rails and wider tail width design work together to help riders maintain speed through turns and improve gybes.
The upgraded 133, the 135 model, is strongest as a freeride board but these upgrades and refinements make this board excel for other styles, too.
This is one of Fanatic’s best entry level boards and performs admirably as a race board, too.