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Gaastra’s Matrix has been one of the brand’s most popular sails and continues to serve as an anchor for the Freeride lineup of Gaastra sail. 

This cam-free freeride machine guarantees sporty performance and trouble-free rigging and handling. 

Though it continues to be one of the industry’s most popular freeride sails, Gaastra refuses to rest on its laurels.

For the 2020 model, Gaastra advanced the Matrix several steps ahead, re-imagining the sail outline, shape, and features to give this high performance sail an incomparable boost. 

If you’re looking for a Gaastra Matrix review, keep reading to learn about the upgrades and changes GA made that take this freeride sail to the next level. 

We’ll highlight design concepts that make the Matrix rise above the competition and explain why this dynamic performance sail is perfect for riders of any experience level.  

Cam-free for easy sailing

Windsurf sails demonstrate our advances in technology and look much different than they did 20 – and even ten! – years ago. 

While windsurfing was once a very uniform water sport, riders now enjoy a variety of different riding styles and performance types. 

No longer is this sport a lazy Sunday afternoon pastime; modern windsurfers now excel in areas such as speed racing and trick-laden performances once reserved for surfers or wake boarders.

One of the driving design characteristics behind the growing versatility of windsurfing gear was the introduction of sails without cambers. 

No-cam sails are lighter and easier to manage, often providing riders with a much higher degree of maneuverability. 

One of their greatest advantages, though, is their ease of use. 

No-cam sails rotate faster than cambered sails, making them a popular choice for riders developing a wave, freestyle, or freeride style of windsurfing. 

No-cam sails are extremely easy to rig and often described as plug-and-play, requiring little technical knowledge to set up so riders can hit the water faster.

The Matrix features a no-cam sail construction with a specialized concept: this raize sail combines the ease-of-use you’ll only find with a no-cam sail and improves it by pairing this construction with a race-oriented outline and a smaller head for enhanced stability that really improves performance in the hands of experienced riders.

The medium-wide mast pocket improves the sail profile and makes waterstarts easier

Race-oriented sail outline and construction

The Matrix benefits from several strategic design concepts to create a race-oriented sail that improves overall top speed.

The sail features a race outline and incorporates a wider sail foot. 

Luff curve is the amount of curve built into the front of a windsurfing sail. 

More luff curve in a sail’s design generates more rigidity in the sail’s profile, requiring more downhaul tension. 

In the Matrix’s design, the degree of luff curve added to the 2020 Matrix sails and beyond creates an incredible performance boost. 

The many other features that enhance maneuverability and manageability ensure the Matrix maintains its user-friendly appeal but the new luff curve design ensures experienced riders are equipped with ample power for high performance riding and racing.

Riders know the importance of a sail and understand that a sail’s influence on performance and speed can’t be argued. 

The mast is important, too, and provides the backbone of a windsurfing rig. 

The wrong mast, a mast that doesn’t match your sail or your ride style, will quickly ruin a day’s ride. 

The 2020 Matrix features a constant curve mast bend that means you can use the Matrix with almost any mast – even from other producers. 

Not only does this bend make the Matrix more versatile for riders, it makes water starts easier due to an improved sail profile.

The panel layout of the Matrix continues this sail’s incredible speed profile. 

The specific panel layout and placement is a strategic approach that increases overall performance. 

The deep profile generates a huge thrust that allows you to achieve amazing speeds.

The sail feels like it is constantly accelerating and has no upper performance limit.

During jibes, the Matrix is neutral and rotates very easily.

Stability

The Matrix provides riders with enhanced stability that appeals to new and experienced riders alike. 

Newer riders will appreciate the increased stability and plug and play style of the Matrix to hit the water faster. 

Experienced riders, however, will appreciate the extra stability and enhanced maneuverability of the new Matrix design to perfect high-end performance even in low-end wind conditions. 

Smaller Matrix sails feature a 6-batten construction profile that keeps this sail incredibly lightweight and ensures even smaller riders can manage this sail with ease. 

The 7-batten layout on the larger Matrix sails, though, create a profile that ensures stability and affords riders greater control in a wider range of conditions.

In 2010, Gaastra introduced a new feature to the Matrix line that dramatically increased stability. 

Gaastra’s new Cross Batten System and new angled parallel batten are paired with a strategically reduced Posi Leech. 

This unique combination increases the top-end speed and performance of the Matrix without compromising the stability and maneuverability riders love. 

In 2019, Gaastra updated the Posi-Leech system with a cut-out line to the first batten for improved sail twist and to enhance handling in all conditions. 

New Cross Batten geometry strategically promotes power-generating volume under the sail’s boom while the angled battens work to push the profile lower. 

This dynamic interaction creates a lower center of gravity through the sail foot for maximum stability and maximum power. 

Wind range

The Matrix is a great freestyle sail for riders who need a sail capable of high end performance across a wide range of wind conditions. 

The no-cam design opens up the lower end of this sail’s wind range, allowing riders to soar even when the winds are low and the water is less energetic than ideal. 

The overall wind range this sail design masters is impressive and makes this a great investment if you aren’t interested in amassing a huge quiver of sails, but need a sail capable of making every day a windsurfing day.

Another note in favor of the Matrix is its impressive top-end speed. 

This race-oriented sail makes the most of low wind days while its design makes the Matrix perfectly capable of mastering high winds, too.

More features that make the Matrix stand out

Gaastra believes freeriding is the heart of windsurfing, explaining the brand’s dedication to continuous enhancements of the Matrix and the other sails in Gaastra’s freeride lineup.  

In addition to the big upgrades and striking features we’ve discussed above, the Matrix also incorporates other features and concepts new and experienced riders alike will appreciate:

  • 3d Head Protection – head protection, introduced in the 2015 Matrix design, enhances durability for a longer lasting sail.
  • C-Film – A long lasting sail isn’t attractive if the colors fade.  C-Film is the result of Gaastra’s investment in color technology, resulting in fade-resistant color that lasts season to season.
  • Vario Pocket – Flapping Vario Tops are a thing of the past and so 2019.  The 2020 Matrix now features a Vario Pocket, a simple pocket sewn on the top of the luff sleeve for stowing away excess Vario Strap webbing.
  • Dracon Luff Panel – This feature is only found in the brand’s Manic, IQ, Pure, Hybrid, Pilot, and Matrix designs.  Dracon luff panels give the Matrix life while creating a smoother, softer feel.
  • Tack Fairing – This redesign is an upgrade designed to improve the fold flow.
  • Integrated Batten Technology- Redesigning the top batten of the Matrix and incorporating an integrated panel design reduces overall weight in the sail, improves the sail’s strength and durability, and reduces the sail’s swing weight.

Gaastra Matrix Review: A sail for beginners and experienced sailors alike

The Matrix is one of Gaastra’s premier performance sails but this freerider isn’t just for experienced performance windsurfers and racers. 

The Matrix offers something for riders of every experience level.

Performance riders will love the acceleration and maneuverability of the Matrix. 

This no-cam race sail is engineered to reach top speeds even on low wind days. 

Its maneuverability, improved in 2020 for greater manageability in higher winds, will have riders hitting aerials and turning on a dime. 

This test-winning sail is a freeride machine that promises lay-down jibes in the hands of experienced riders.

Beginners will enjoy the Matrix for its plug and play ease. 

You don’t need a lot of technical know-how to get up on the water with the Matrix, and it’s easy planing design is perfect for riders just getting into planing.

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