The Manic is billed as the “softer” and more manoeuvrable of the two Gaastra wave sails capable of both “pure down-the-line waveriding … and solid bump-&-jump performance”. It is available in both ordinary construction and in HD (heavy duty) as tested here. The Poison is billed as the “powerhouse wave” and its vaunted characteristics are comfortable power and instant response. It adds freeride ability to its other ‘specialisations’ of wave and bump-&-jump. Both these definitions seem pretty accurate, even if ‘powerhouse’ does slightly exaggerate the pulling power of the Poison.
Set: We found both sails quite easy to rig and not that critical to a specific set. Both set with plenty of rotation in the lower two battens and moderate twist in the leech. The Poison needs slightly more downhaul tension to achieve a similar amount of head twist and derotation, and sets slightly fuller with greater foil tension. Neither sail needed much positive outhaul. We set the sails on 4.00m Gaastra 100% and 75% masts which we have previously measured as having a stiff-top bend curve. The use of flex-top masts would increase the head flex, stiffen the lower foil and further increase rotation, probably damaging performance.
Summary: Very forgiving to use with easy sheeting angles. It has a slightly soft, flexible feel. It doesn’t seem ‘powerful’ but gets you going easily and stays controllable and manoeuvrable in plenty of wind.
Matthew: “A nice sail that is similar to the Poison but with a spongier and less direct feel, possibly due to the stretchy luff panel. My second favourite after the Poison.”
Emile: “When the Manic arrived, suddenly the wind in the bay felt much less gusty! Even with a relatively tight leech the sail doesn’t feel twitchy or pully. Definitely the test winner in my eyes – very light, forgiving and easy to throw around, works well under and overpowered and you don’t have to spend hours trying to find a good set for it to be comfortable!”
Ian: “It certainly wasn’t the most powerful but it gets you going easily without pulling you around. It manages to feel soft and flexible without being ponderous or unstable, which makes it very easy to manoeuvre and allows the board to manoeuvre as well. It isn’t the most direct or sharp handling sail, but actually I like that slight shock absorption as it allows you to concentrate more on the board and the water than the sail. Definitely a strong favourite.”
Ed: Missed testing the Gaastras as they arrived after he left.