Test Review: 2021 Fanatic Mamba 84 TE

Test Review: 2021 Fanatic Mamba 84 TE

Test Review: 2021 Fanatic Mamba 84 TE

2021 Fanatic Mamba 84 TE

Length: 218 cm Width: 57 cm

Volume: 84 L Weight: 14.1 lbs. 

Fins: MFC VF Trifins; 18 cm US box center, 11 cm Slot Box Sides

Sail Range: 3.7 - 5.7 Retail Price: $2,499

Other Mamba Models: 78, 94, 104

What is the Mamba?

* Not a Kobe Bryant tribute board, but instead, a new Fanatic thruster board line for 2021. Its shape draws heavily from its predecessor, Fanatic's Stubby, known for its parallel rails and squared nose and tail which offered fantastic early planing and coasting prowess. The Mamba builds on that, but with a more conventional (rounded nose/tail) shape.

* Fanatic claims the Mamba targets average conditions and users, and offers the ultimate marriage of planing power and maneuverability.

What I Liked

  • Planing Power: Turn downwind, give a quick pump, and the Mamba 84 sprung onto a plane just like its predecessor, the Fanatic Stubby. The Mamba’s balanced, buoyant shape was stable underfoot when schlogging, and its powerful tail encouraged me to get in the straps early, and to stay in them, even at slower speeds.
  • Coasting: The Mamba 84 TE wouldn’t … stop … planing. Gliding through monster lulls, exiting jibes at full speed, carrying momentum through swell slashes — these are my most vivid memories of riding the Mamba. It carried speed effortlessly. No expert techniques, no “rig big” mindsets nor Maui-esque conditions needed. Once planing, the board simply kept planing.
  • Jumping: In the Gorge, jumping requires turning upwind to hit ramps. The Mamba 84 TE’s planing and coasting prowess enhanced air time. There was no risk turning upwind to hit a ramp, and decelerating during takeoff. I hit ramps at full speed, maximum boost in effect.
  • Carving: The Mamba welcomed tight radius turns, and more impressively, carried speed through drawn out ones. Unlike the Mamba’s predecessor, the Fanatic Stubby, I didn’t have to adjust my stance slightly to carve it. I could lay the Mamba on edge naturally, and exit maneuvers at full speed.
  • Upwind: Boards with exceptional planing power often rip upwind. The Fanatic Mamba was no exception — a big deal for real-world locations where rip currents steal sail power, and make staying upwind (and staying on a plane) challenging.  

What I Didn’t Like 

  • Comfort: As easy as it was to enjoy the Mamba, I hesitate to recommend it to lightweight riders in the Gorge, where the wind is gusty, and where the gusts have teeth. When overpowered, lightweights may find the Mamba’s lively riding sensation to be a handful. Fanatic’s Freewave models offer a tamer high-wind alternative.

I Would (or Wouldn’t) Own the Fanatic Mamba 84 TE Because ...

I would own the Fanatic Mamba 84 TE. It stoked my windsurfing fire for conditions that require the most stoking: marginal ones. My “big” sails (4.7, 5.3) rarely get used much. The Gorge has spoiled me. Owning a Mamba 84 TE would change that.

Best Suits

The Mamba 84 TE casts a wide net. Its planing, coasting, and carving fun don’t demand much wind, nor rider experience to enjoy. It best suits those who like to rig small, and who simply crave more horsepower under their feet. Also a great choice for medium to heavyweight riders, or those who struggle with planing. For my friends in Florida’s real-world waves, the 94 and 104 Mamba models cry out for Florida’s tease breeze.  

Availability 

Limited quantities of the 2021 Mamba 78 and 84 models are available now. A full lineup is slated for November.

Notes

  • All Mamba models include standout MFC Victor Fernandez thruster fins made specifically for the Mamba.
  • The Mamba board line is only offered in the TE (Team Edition) construction. Big Winds has carried Fanatic boards for three years. We have yet to have a single warranty claim that involves a Team Edition model.

 

Eddy Patricelli weighs 175 pounds and is a co-owner of Big Winds. From 2001-2007 he was the editor of WindSurfing magazine. He has been windsurfing (and teaching windsurfing) for decades. See his best video tip for getting your kids onboard here.

 

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT

Hey everyone. I am coming to you from the Gorge. We have beautiful blue skies, clear skies. The wildfire smoke has cleared. I feel a little weird to be rejoicing about a world in which we're only dealing with the coronavirus, but to be celebrating the less perfect is really a good reason to pull this board out and share it with you. It targets less than perfect conditions. It targets less than perfect riders. Of course I'm talking about the much anticipated Fanatic 2021 Mamba windsurfing board.

I've been riding this 84 model both in comically underpowered conditions as well as radically overpowered conditions. Quite frankly [interrupted] - yeah go ride - I like this board.

Before diving into some of the things that make this board so special, and why we're doing this video, a little context: I'm holding here the 2020 Fanatic Stubby windsurfing board. This is the predecessor to the 2021 Fanatic Mamba, and quite frankly the Stubby is a board that this summer at Big Winds we did not sell many of. In fact, we had a hard time even getting people to give them a try. The super squatty short shape. The lopped off nose and tail. Whatever it was, it was really a board that required an open mind to step onto. For those of us who did try, the Stubby actually was a shape that we felt like really had a place in people's quiver ... if they only could get over its appearance.

The Fanatic 2021 Mamba shares tons of the Stubby's qualities. The long parallel rails to ease planing. It also has the same tail channels, but what it doesn't have, of course, is that squared nose and tail and this is getting to what I've found the Mamba offers and I love the board for.

First off, what I really like about 2021 Fanatic Mamba windsurfing board is when you get on some short shapes, they can feel very sensitive when schlogging to where your weight is balanced on the board. They can have a tendency to nose dive at slow speeds and make schlogging really technical. This is not that board.

That 2021 Fanatic Mamba is really buoyant in the standing area while schlogging. It's actually really forgiving so those of you that are coming off of older generation shapes and looking at modern shapes as maybe too radical or requiring too much of a transition. The Fanatic Mamba doesn't entail that. I actually found it very comfortable to schlog at slow speeds, and often boards that schlog well, they plane well. That is what the Fanatic Mamba does best. Turn it off the wind give it a pump off you go. And the real rewards to getting planing on a board with this kind of shape is its ability to hold a plane - whether linking up gusts, whether blasting in and out of jibes or any carving maneuvers. Most of my session highlights, and some of the GoPro footage reveals this, it was the exit speeds - coming out of maneuvers. Whether it be swell slashing or jibing - that really stood out for me most vividly as the fun parts of this board.

And for those of you that sail in less than perfect winds, or have less than perfect techniques, a board that carries speed offers a huge amount of forgiving padding for you to get away with fudged footwork in a jibe, or a spot where the the wind on the inside and the impact zone isn't so great. Well a board that can carry speed that through that gets you out through the surf.

Beyond that some of the other things I loved about the 2021 Fanatic Mamba windsurfing board is I felt it was more maneuverable than its predecessor, the Fanatic Stubby. I felt like I could turn tighter a bit on swells.

The other things I really liked about the Fanatic Mamba is I found these fins that come with it to be a standout. They're from Victor Fernandez. They were made specifically for boards like the Stubby and - in any case, the 2021 Fanatic Mamba, it's got no square nose, no squared tail. It targets the real world. It targets less than perfect skills and conditions. It allows you to rig a lot smaller sails.

Beyond that, as a big board in a quiver to maximize marginal winds, as a board that allows you to not have to own such a big sail - again you're getting all this horsepower under your feet - a good option. Fantastic board. I think this one without the lopped off nose and tail my hope is people will give the Fanatic Mamba a try because I really think they're gonna enjoy it.

Thanks so much for joining me and my son, who I have a feeling was back there stealing the show. Yeah thanks, Jake. Fantastic. Check out the 2021 Fanatic Mamba windsurfing board at bigwinds.com. Find more right below this video.


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