FBC Wing Wrist Leash
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An upgraded Mantis, as well as a new and lighter version in the Mantis Apex, plus the brand-new Vision wing form part of Cabrinha’s huge 03 collection drop recently. It’s worth heading to their website to see the rest of the inventory, it’s impressive… but we got in touch with Brodie Sutherland, Cabrinha’s wing and foil designer, to talk wings and wings alone…
We’re now up to the third version of the Mantis wing. How has the Mantis evolved for this season’s model?
This year we wanted to make some incremental improvements to the Mantis without losing the power and stiffness it is known for. We have refined the flow of the LE diameter, optimized the wing twist for each size for the best power delivery, and refined the strut shape for better ergonomics. Most notably the wing comes with the new rigid handle that come standard on all Cabrinha wings, with an included shim set that allows you to customize the handle to the way you ride, by changing the height and angle of the handles.
The panel layout on the Mantis looks like it’s had a good overhaul, explain the design direction for us.
We have rethought the panel layout for a more rigid and even canopy. By orienting the panels along the load paths of the wing the canopy can hold its shape better and have better response when riding. This also means your wing will perform at its intended performance over a longer period of time, due to added stability of these strategically placed seams.
Tell us about your new Ultra-HP material, were there any design challenges implementing the new cloth into the Mantis Apex series?
The Ultra-HP material is an all-new fabric this year. It is a Dyneema based material that is extremely strong, light and has great stitch holding capabilities. This has allowed us to reduce the diameters of the LE and increase the pressures resulting in a very light, low drag frame. We have been developing this wing for almost two years now as the material behaves very different than traditional Dacron. The result is a wing that is faster and more efficient and floats effortlessly when flown off the front handle.
What are the main differences between the Mantis V3 and the Mantis Apex?
The key difference between the Mantis and Mantis Apex is the leading edge construction. The Apex uses Ultra HP material whereas the Mantis uses High Tenacity Dacron. The Apex is our highest performing wing product. The LE construction is different and they are each designed separately due to the specific properties the Ultra HP material adds.
You’ve also just released the new Vision model. Talk to us about what riders are going to enjoy the most with this one.
The Vision has been extremely well received so far. This is a higher dihedral wing, so it feels more compact to fly than the Mantis. It is very directionally stable and has a light feel in the hands. Anyone who finds themselves riding big wings often in lighter wind and wants a wing that feels more nimble will love this wing. If you’re someone who rides smaller sizes and wants a wing that is well balanced and predictable, this wing is for you as well.
How should the rider decide whether to buy Mantis or Vision?
It really comes down to how you like your wing to feel. The Mantis is a wing that is extremely rigid. It allows you to generate lots of power pumping the wing, drives upwind hard and drifts like a feather. The Vision has more sheet in and go power, is well balanced in the hands, and is extremely intuitive to fly. I recommend visiting your local shop or a demo and get out and try both. You won’t be disappointed with either.
You’ve made the Vision up to 8m, how difficult is it to develop the larger wings compared to a mid-size 5m for example?
The big wings behave different than the smaller sizes. You have to vary the aspect ratio of the wing to keep the span in a reasonable range. You also have to think about the taper of the LE and twist of the wing to control all that canopy. Big wings have more of a tendency to backwind when overpowered if designed wrong, so we have really focused on this aspect as well. We have had riders use the 8m in up to 30 knots without issue. Lots of time has gone into the development of the large size wings this year.
Tell us about the new handles and how it affects the wing’s feeling in the hands.
The new handle design is based off all our experience designing kite control systems over the years. We have used a thin EVA grip and a stiff but soft touch bar end to give you the most direct control of your wing and reduce fatigue. The bar ends are also ergonomically shaped so they can be used as a handle as well. The handle is your point of contact with the wing so it’s important that it’s solid and predictable to give you the most precise control and response.
How hard is it to fuse a rigid handle system into an inflatable structure? What considerations do you have to make for manufacturing?
It’s very important to think about how the wing will flex and move around the handle. We have spent a lot of time testing and making sure we have put enough reinforcement around the connection points, to distribute the forces, so we have a durable product that will last.
Which of the team has been helping out during the development process?
The development of all Cabrinha products is done within the Cab Design works group and is a group effort, from initial idea to presenting it to the public. From targets and challenges that are identified in the market, the design, testing, production optimization, quality procedures and control, the process relies on input from many stakeholders. In the core design phase, we utilize our team of extraordinary athletes actively. Keahi is always a super helpful and key resource. We spend time on the water testing and refining the wings on Maui and Oahu. Andrea is our young freestyle ripper on Maui. He is always great at putting gear through its paces and making sure we have a strong and durable product.
Joey Pasquali is our race extraordinaire from San Francisco. He comes from a sailboat and kite racing background and is a great guy to discuss ideas or have him line up a prototype with some of the fastest guys in the world. We are also lucky that our entire Cabrinha staff is full of avid wingers and foilers, and happy to help out with feedback whenever possible.
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