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Gaastra (GA) were quite early to the wing game and one of the first European brands to introduce their production wings to the market. This early start has enabled them to push ahead on the ‘innovation’ front and to focus on updating their line up and keeping on top of the tweaks and modifications that seep into the whole wing market. Gaastra’s line up consists of two wings – the Cross which is the all-rounder in their line up, and the Poison, which has focussed more on lower weight and a more wave-driven rider.
The Poison utilizes a new Dacron from Dimension in the leading edge and strut, with the ongoing focus on stiffness and reduced weight being very much in play here. Canopy is triple ripstop and Gaastra have added a Kevlar line into the trailing edge. The result of this is that there a few reinforcements used here, giving the wing a super clean exit point and shaving off more weight. Additional weight savings are made through a simple soft handle configuration with one front handle and two at the rear. Inflation is a simple one pump and the supplied wrist leash is substantial and simple to attach.
On the water and the Poison delivers a comfortable handling experience from the outset. It is easy to maneuver and its light weight ensure that it is not too wieldy when underpowered. We tested in gusty offshore conditions so there was some waiting around and the Poison was well behaved in these situations. The low end is good, with a few pumps delivering a solid amount of power to get you up and riding. The wing is stiffer than the first Poison that we tested, so some clear improvements here. The front handle is placed a little further back than we see on other wings, meaning that your hand position naturally injects more power into the wing – this took a little getting used to but essentially meant less sheeting in and out with your back arm and more absorbing wind variances using your weight. The Poison makes some excellent upwind angles and is happy to be pulled in tightly, ensuring you have confidence to really drive against it.
In its preferred environment when faced with some rolling swell, the Poison is very well behaved and one of the most stable wings we have tested when held behind. The increased dihedral on this V2 ensures that the Poison locks in behind you and doesn’t miss a beat as you switch to swell power, and is then ready to be pulled back into action when required, with the stiffness and the low end getting you back up and running and the tight angle to the wind ensuring you are ready to line up your next wave. Overall the Poison has received some well applied upgrades and is an excellent option for hassle-free wave riding and for general freeride winging. AH