The Gaastra Manic is a time tested sail but for 2010 receives a bit of a re-working, particularly in the middle and bigger sizes where more low end power has been added. Available in a choice of standard or HD (all X-Ply) constructions, the Manic is the ‘soft and manoeuvrable’ wave sail in the Gaastra range, whilst the Poison caters for the power hungry.
"The 2010 Manic exceeds its reputation, delivering unparalleled wave performance. This little wave sailing machine offers control and agility. A low clew, slightly shorter boom, and high foot are ergonomically designed to excel in the surf. A Dacron luff panel allows true de-power for lightning quick adjustments and a dependable feel that stays locked between the hands." – Gaastra website
off water description
The Manic fits pretty much in the middle of the group when it comes to luff and boom length.
The head of the sail is slightly narrower than most of the other brands which means the Manic doesn't set with such a visibly loose leech as some of the others.
The foot of the sail has a nice pulley block to help downhauling, but as with last year, it is noticeably less recessed into the foot than many of the other sails in test, which means you have to be a little more accurate with your extension setting to avoid an unwanted gap between board and sail.
The Manic allows some versatility in tuning and generally sets with a less ‘floppy’ leach than many of the other sails in this test. It has a little more pre-set shape to it than the North Ice and quite a crisp feel and rotation.
on water description
True to Gaastra’s claims, the Manic feels incredibly light and manoeuvrable in the hands. As with last year, its nearest match in this test is the North Ice. The Gaastra has a little bit more pre-set shape and a slightly stiffer, sharper feel to it.
The Manic scores (joint) highest in this test for top end. Not only is it stable, but it also has a magical way of almost disguising how windy it is when you reach the top end. It remains extremely smooth in your hands and still gives you the feeling that you can go for manoeuvres that you definitely wouldn’t try when this powered up on other sails.
The bottom end power of the Manic does seem a little better than last years.
The lightness in the hands is great when wave riding, particularly in cross off conditions. You can really lose the power in the sail and focus entirely on riding the board.
The extra stiffness and pre set shape does make the Manic a little more ‘clunky’ in rotation than other sails in this test.
As with last year, the light and manoeuvrable feel of the Manic really inspires you to throw the sail around. This is particularly noticeable in powered up conditions, where the Manic remains comfortable through manoeuvres, whilst other sails become a handful. The Manic has slightly better bottom end bottom end this year, but still leans towards sailors who are willing to sacrifice a bit of power in return for light handling and top end control.