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As we have noted previously, GA Foils have been ‘all in’ on the wing game since it’s early inception. Their heritage in windsurfing and kitesurfing ensured that they were well equipped to utilize their knowledge of windsports and to adapt their existing production facilities to embrace this new sport, and they were quick to bring their first wing to the market, and then to innovate quickly as the sport has developed. One thing has remained constant though, and that it is their line up of wings. For 2023 this, again, consists of the easy-access Cross and the more performance oriented Poison.
Now into their third iteration (with the Poison hitting the shelves this spring), the Cross and Poison are showing consistent evolution and the 2023 Cross has had several updates from last year’s version. The most obvious of this is the transition from soft to hard handles, with the Cross now sporting the two-handle system that we are finding across many wings. Still, these can be exchanged with soft handles, if you aim for minimum weight or just prefer the feeling. We had the 5.2 on test which has two 40cm handles providing plenty of scope for hand placement. The smaller sizes see a shorter 30cm handle. It is worth noting that Gaastra (GA) include 2.2 and 2.8m sizes in their line up so small enough for either 50knot+ plus days or, more likely with the 2.2m, for getting your kids up and riding…
Aside from the handles, the 2023 Cross also has an ‘angled strut’ shape with a clear kink between the handles – this is designed to provide a more comfortable and natural position for the arms as well as providing the space and structure to give the front of the canopy a deeper profile. Overall, the construction is excellent, with a solid but not overly weighty feel and an impressively taut canopy. The Cross has two windows either side of the center strut providing good visibility if – like most of us – there seem to be a couple more wingers at your local spot every time you go!
On the water and the Cross immediately delivers a grunty low end – we had the 5.2 on test and it got us up and riding super quickly in 15 knots, the deeper profile sucks in a lot of air and ensures that the Cross generates a lot of power from a couple of pumps. Once you are up and riding, then the Cross depowers effectively, and the back of the wing remains taut with minimal flutter and the overall profile is smooth and refined. For maneuvers the Cross remains well-behaved and easy to handle during transitions. The “two handle” approach seems to achieve a consensus as the best option to ensure plenty to grab onto without adding excessive weight, and also ensuring that the center strut can be modeled to suit the profile of the wing rather than to accommodate the handles. We found that the shape of the strut and angle of the handles did provide a super comfortable and more natural riding position, although did find that – in gustier conditions – you had to hold the front handle towards the back to prevent the wing from luffing into the wind.
Overall, the Cross is a powerhouse. It delivers a lot of power per square meter which will ensure that beginners have the power they need to get going, and that more experienced riders would not need to go big to get plenty of oomph. Handling is also good, and overall, the Cross 2023 provides an excellent benchmark for what we expect to see from wings as the year progresses. AH