Vanhunks Manakel Cross-Over review Kiteworld Magazine 2016

Vanhunks Manakel Cross-Over 137 2016

Vanhunks Manakel Cross-Over review Kiteworld Magazine 2016 issue #81

This test appeared in Kiteworld Magazine issue #81




Straight up, we tried this board last year and found it a bit soft, especially compared with the Bucca which appeared in the mag last issue, and which we tested last year, too. There was a huge difference in terms of the performance. This year the Manakel looks virtually identical, but it’s not!



The careful addition of internal carbon strips in the tips have really stiffened this up and made it much more direct. The Manakel struggled on heavy landings with the tips being too soft last year, but this year the difference is amazing. The rocker-line is fairly flat, which makes it fast, but because of the stiffness in the tips it holds its rockerline well and doesn’t flatten off on landing; it absorbs the impact and transfers it into forward energy.

Apply your edge, engage your fins and it drives forward with good feeling, so you can make rainbows and hack buckets. When loading an edge there’s loads of grip, but you can release all that in an instant and throw down beautiful hacks on a wave. Fast, agile and grippy with enough load and edge performance for most people and it screams upwind.


Vanhunks Manakel Cross-Over review Kiteworld Magazine 2016 issue #81


There’s a lovely balance between grip and release as a very playful, fun freeride / freestyle board. You couldn’t call it ‘stiff’, but it’s stiffer than last year and now locks in better and has a faster turn of speed. There’s energy coming back at you now; much more talk back. All of us reckoned we could ride this board all day long in a range of conditions without feeling held back. If you’re at the freestyle end of freeriding, you’ll love it. If you’re really committed to throwing lots of freestyle, look towards the Bucca which handles heavy performance better and has more explosive pop.

The foot pad and strap system is top notch too – grippy, comfy, supportive, adjustable, absorbing it’s not too soft underfoot while the strap has a firm closure over the top of the foot. Very straightforward, no rubbing, no sliding through further than you want because the strap is really easy to get tight. Not just good firm pressure on the top, but vitally on the side of your foot, there’s loads of support and grip.




The outline is pretty generic, but it’s not too wide in the tips, there’s also good width and the Manakel sits between freeride and freestyle. If you’re shopping for a board and you pick it up in a shop, you might be disappointed that it’s so flat in the bottom. You feel like you’re getting ‘more board’ when you can rub your hand over some nice channels, don’t you? Well don’t be put off. This is such a relevant board, it’s racey, fun and works really well in regular sea conditions. You could also get this as your first board and never outgrow it. The Manakel is also available in a full carbon model, which looks sweet!


Great usability and works easily for most things. Advanced focused freestylers would want more aggressiveness, but that would take away a lot of the qualities for everyone else.


The looks don’t quite match the excitement we had from this board after its internal improvements this year. It’s a freeride player, for sure.


Build quality: 8
Fixtures and fittings: 8
Speed: 8
Pop: 7
Drive: 8
Flex: 6
Comfort: 9
Looseness: 5
Grip: 8
Upwind: 8
Slider proof: No
Boots applicable: No
Freeriding: 9
Freestyle: 6.5
Ease-of-use: 9

SIZES: 137 x 41 and 132 x 40cm


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