The ManiaC is an unparalleled performer for freestyle and wakestyle, providing amazing stability combined with smooth power delivery. The performance is as radical as you’d expect from a pure C shape, generating amazing pop, direct feel and control, unhooked performance and flawless slack, hooked-in boosting and freeride spirit, not to mention being a great mega looper. Coming stock with a direct connection four line set-up there is a five line option, too. Multiple line attachment settings allow the rider to find the perfect feel and performance and the kite is complemented by a customised freestyle bar system with reduced diameter shaft, different line length options and all wrapped up in a stylish and functional bag.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
First of all, really good build quality. One pump, good reinforcements on the trailing and leading edges, there’s nothing weak about this kite and from the moment you pump it up you know it’s the real deal. The black/orange, the eyes, the way it looks, just how C shaped it is. It’s obviously a player.
Of worthy mention is the bag, which is a very robust, leather feel ruck sack and comes with a second bag. Lots of detail down at the bar, too. There are a few options for leashing from suicide to the safety line, there is a swivel, the trimming cleat has a nice thick line that works really well with a nice tab on the end for easy gripping and the Velcro tidies up the the dangle. It’s all just very neat, tidy and the bar feels great in your hands – not too soft and not too rough. Okay, the chicken-loop quick-release might be an old fashioned fold over webbing system, but it works even if it’s not the most inspiring, but what is really lovely about this bar set up is the natural distance that the bar sits away from you when sheeted in (ie: when you unhook). It’s positioned about 3/4 of a foot infront of you – so in other words you have a lot of leverage and strength there (rather than having to sheet in closer to your hips) and can quickly and easily come out of the loop. The chicken-loop self-keys nicely to present itself to you as well.
So, onto the kite, and what a monster this is. We must tell you that we had the front line attachment on the middle setting on the front corner of the kite, but this was way too raw for us. There really is very little depower in that setting and you could give up your gym membership and ride in this setting instead. So we switched it to the front ‘softer’ setting and what a difference. The power delivery is still incredibly ballsy, but it’s much more usable. There’s always so much feeling with this kite, which is nice for an advanced rider. That 1:1 connection with no bridles, pulleys or any other interference means you have to be on your game and ready for lots of pull through your harness. Push away on the bar and the ManiaC does depower, but it never goes to zero power; it keeps a few cylinders firing. You’re always in contact with the kite; you can always feel where it is and as it never drops you out of the sky, if you have good kite and board skills, it can turn you into a very smooth rider. The last ten years in kite design has been about making riding easier. This does a lot better job than C kites of old, but it still really has that C kite pedigree.
Some other C kites have a more progressive feel in the way they power up or power down, the ManiaC requires quite big movements on the bar and then you can feel the power differential but also this kite really likes you to be very aggressive with it. Like a sexual freak, it responds well the dirtier you treat it.
Unhooked the bar pressure is really solid and very constant and the build up to what must be the most explosive pop in the game is lovely if you’re ready for it. We’re not saying it’s for the rider that is only just learning raleys, but to give you an idea this kite would totally sort them out. Unhook, load up and the ManiaC talks to you the whole way through the process and you know exactly when to release. This kite truly excels when told to stay where it is and when you’re loading up for tricks. It doesn’t wander off. A lot of kites tend to climb their way up through the window. This stays totally solid and assured and there is a definite moment of slackness. Not as much slack as some though, this is right at the hardcore end, and really technical handle-passes would benefit from the kite shifting forward through the window a bit more during the manoeuvre, but if you’re looking for that raw connection, this is it.
There is some technique and good winds required for really big boosts, but it always gives you some lift over your head and the hangtime is good, so the flight is intuitive.
Relaunch – considering the shape of the kite – is excellent. You have to give it more time than a delta, but it really is a one line pull relaunch.
Finally, of course, the loop. It’s properly big and dirty. Even in underpowered conditions the turn is wide, but very true and it climbs back up nicely.
If you can remember life pre-bridles, this will remind you why you liked kitesurfing in the earlier days. Like an old school sports car, you’re doing 30 but it really feels like 60 as you can feel connected to everything. Dynamic, fast, aggressive, brutal… and bags of fun. But if you aren’t yet unhooking a lot during your sessions, don’t even think about choosing this; you’ll find it frustrating. In terms of C kite legitimacy, they don’t come much more radical than this.
Phenomenally engaging connection and really explosive pop behaviour.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
This is at the raw end of the C kite spectrum. Some freestylers will want a more progressive feel for freestyle.
MANIA-C BALANCE POINTS:
Build quality: 8
Full package: 8.5
Low end: 7
Top end: 6.5 – 7
Steering speed : 7
Turning circle: 8.5
Bar pressure: 7.5
Water relaunch: 7
Ease of use: Unhooked freestyle: 8.5 / Joe Public: 3
SIZES: 14, 11.5, 9.5, 8 and 6.5m
More info at: www.wainmanhawaii.com
Here’s the official Mania-C 2014 product video from Wainman:
THIS KITE FEATURED IN ISSUE #69