New Panther 2 Test: What Baja Sailors Think, March 30, 2010
The buzz on the beach about the new Panther 2 continues in La Ventana. Several sailors have taken the new sail out for a test session in the best winds of the season as the El Nino subsides. These sailors are part of the annual contingent of folks who are here from the fall to spring, sailing more than 100 days each season. Windsurfing is a primary focus in their lives and most have been coming to Baja for 10 or more years. They’re all accomplished sailors and have a passion for sailing that in most sports would make them professionals…but without the pay check. No need for a magazine’s “professional test crew”, here’s what some real La Ventana sailors thought of the new Panther 2. Thanks to hardcore Ezzy sailors Dan and Val for gratiously hosting the test sessions from their spot on the beach. They both love the new Panther 2.
Canadian sailors Greg and Lori.
Greg and Lori are from British Columbia, Canada and sail BC and the Gorge in the summer; and call the La Ventana beachfront home in the winter. It’s been 10 years since they had sailed an Ezzy and were excited to give the new sail a go. They both thought the new Panther was vastly improved. Lori’s commented that “The low end power really gets you up on a plane quickly…and it really seemed fast.” Greg got out on one of the stronger days we’ve seen this month, and said, “it handles the gusts very smoothly and spills the wind so well, you don’t feel the gust. I really like the power that the sail has on the bottom end. There’s no hesitation after a jibe…it just powers up and you’re gone. It took a few jibes to get used to it because my sails don’t have this much low end. But after a short time, it felt great”.
Lori heads out for a test of the new Panther.
Stewart is a jibing machine in the waves.
Stewart is from Ontario, Canada and has made the journey to La Ventana with his wife Jo for several years. He’s usually the first one on the water searching for the swells on windy days. A local secret is that the wind and swells can be excellent in the morning on big wind days. I enjoy sharing the Ezzy stoke with sailors who own other brands, and Stewart was excited to put the Panther to the test. After a long session of riding swells he shared his thoughts on the new Ezzy. “It’s a very nice sail, with a balanced and light feel. I really like the low end power…just sheet in and go, no lag at all.” But one of the best things he liked about the sail was something he saw while I was rigging it on the beach. “The downhaul and outhaul settings are so clear, that the settings you see in the sail on the beach translate directly to how the sail will perform on the water”. Stewart’s observation perfectly describes why David has worked so hard to take the guess work out of rigging Ezzy sails (returning to the beach to change the rigging settings uses up valuable time and energy).
Alan and Rosemary in their front yard.
Alan and Rosemary make the journey from Ontario, Canada to La Ventana each fall to spend their winter enjoying the wind and swells. I don’t think anyone is keeping track, but I would guess that they rival Dan and Val for the most time on the water for windsurfing couples. I can always find them at their favorite secret spot when the wind is good (And where is their secret spot? Come to La Ventana and they’ll show you.) Rosemary always sails a smaller sail than Alan, and the 4.7 is the largest sail you’ll find her on. It’s a bonus when you can share a quiver with your sailing partner. Rosemary’s review of the Panther 2: “The sail is very smooth and easy handling. It has constant power through the jibes and spills the wind so you never feel overpowered. And the new color and layout really make the sail a standout on the water.” Alan added: “Compared to the ’08, the sail feels much lighter. When jibing, the rotation is very smooth, and has great low end power coming out of jibes.” And since Alan lives for the waves, “it’s very maneuverable when playing in the waves, and after sailing many years on Ezzy sails…THIS IS THE BEST YET!”
The last sail tester is Karen. She and her husband Joe are Ezzy sailors from San Diego. Karen had been waiting for a chance to get out on the new Panther, and finally on her last day here before heading North the wind finally cooperated. Joe was busy packing the van when Karen escaped for a quick sail. They love their ’06 Special Edition Waves, but her immediate impression was that “the sail had a much lighter feel, along with the power I love in the ’06 SE. It definitely has the Ezzy feel I love…just improved.”
There you have it. These impressions come from grassroots hardcore sailors who live to sail. Windsurfing is a more than just a sport or hobby they love…its part of their way of life. Thanks to each of them for sharing their impressions of the new Panther 2, but more importantly thanks for sharing this special place with us. Life is good on the beach. Gary & Nancy