At A Glance
We tested the Generation 3.0 Gypsy 6.5m last year and have been looking forward to getting our hands on the Punch. Generation 3.0 of the Wainman Hawaii series of kites was long awaited. Unlike other brands Wainman, doesn’t release kites on a yearly product cycle and the Generation 2.0 series was actually launched over two years ago.
So, what’s different from the 2.0? Fans of the brand will be pleased to know it’s another round of tweaks and tuning rather than a complete overhaul; keeping the kites firmly in line with the brands philosophy and maintaining the low aspect nature of the design.
Something we like about Wainman is that each size of this kite is a completely different design. The idea being that each kite is designed to be used in specific conditions. The Punch 10.5 is therefore essential, it’s the go-to kite in some of the most common wind conditions of 15-20 knots. Although Wainman Hawaii claim it has a wind range of 13-25 knots - impressive! They’ve also kept the unique graphic for each size kite, something very rare in the kitesurfing industry and it does really personalise your kite.
A huge asset to the new range is the one-pump system, which is very welcome indeed, and something that we previously noted was missing – great to see it’s now been added!
Generation 3.0 brings a new bar too. It retains many of the features from before, with a few tweaks to the design and an all-new chicken loop. On the safety side there are a multitude of options, the system now allows for a full safety set up with 100% depower and the kite flagging out onto one front line.
You can also rig it so that when you eject from the chicken loop you ditch the entire kite, or you can have a double depower setting which in effect depowers the kite twice as much as just letting go of the bar, and finally there’s a suicide set up for freestylers who don’t want to depower the kite when they let go of the bar after missing a trick.
The bar itself has had the diameter reduced and feels really comfortable in your hands. A welcome addition is the increase in size of the bar floats, this allows you to wrap up your lines without them dropping off the bar. The bar ends are integrated with the floats and made from a soft EVA so you won’t damage your board or yourself in wipeouts.
Other features such as the re-launch ball, a guide as to where to pull on the rear lines to effect a re-launch and the centre line spinner make a welcome return. The chicken loop has also been redesigned to make it more effective and easier to operate. Overall the new bar is a very slick set up, it’s clean functional and the small niggles we had with the Generation 2.0 bar have been addressed.
In The Air
This kite will always take a bit of time to get used to. Wainman kites handle, well, like Wainman kites; very different to anything else on the market. The Punch is an explosive kite that provides sharp handing. The shape is consistent to those in the past with a deep canopy and a very curved leading edge.
Something that will suit the smaller rider with shorter arms is that the Punch has a very, very short throw, you can dump all the power from the kite by moving the bar just a few inches, rather than having to sheet the bar all the way out. This gives you an immense amount of control in gusty and really windy conditions as you can keep your body in the same position and make small adjustments to the bar to tune the power in the kite. Most modern bar & lines will have a much longer depower that some people may struggle with and just isn't necessary on the Punch.
The Punch is very stable in the air, sitting a little further back in the window due to the deep chord and low aspect nature of the design. An area that has been improved however, is the upwind ability and, despite the kite sitting a little further back in the window than some other kites, it is very good at tracking upwind.
As an all-round versatile machine the Punch performs very well indeed. It’s a great freeride kite, offering big boosted jumps with good hangtime on the way down. It actually turns surprisingly quickly for its size.
As a wave kite it’s pretty good, although arguably this size isn't the best for waves the drift is actually excellent and for down the line cross-offshore riding it behaves really well. When the wind is cross-on and you have to move the kite around a little bit it does need to be trimmed and flown to get the most out of it.
In terms of who this kite will suit, it has a lot of applications: it’s stable enough to be used by an entry level rider, yet packs in the performance for the advanced freeriders and wave riders out there too. Re-launch is good, these kites have a very curved leading edge that doesn’t stick to the water so it’s easy to get back up in the air should you crash it.
Wainman have put a lot of time & development into these kites over the years and it shows. You will get a lot of kite for your money.
We have no major issues with the Punch, but we did feel there are one too many tuning settings on the kite for our liking, this can be confusing for a lot of riders. The kite has a narrow window on those settings where it works best. It would be easy to simplify the settings to ensure user error when setting up doesn’t creep in. We love the new one-pump system, although feel they could have gone one step further with a high-speed inflation valve set up too.
The Punch is a true all rounder and if you only had the money for one kite in your quiver this would be top of the list. A beast of a freerider, great fun in the waves and ideal for unhooking too. Excellent build quality with an awesome bar and bag seal the deal for us…
This review was in Issue 57 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit Wainman Hawaii
By Jack GallowayJack is a fanatically keen kiter from the South West of England, he loves riding just about anything with a kite from foil boards to surfboards and everything in between. He's competed in the Red Bull Ragnarok snowkite race on numerous occasions as well as some world class kite racing events. He's our Web Editor for the magazine, as well as one of our testers where his vast knowledge of the sport and different kites and boards comes in handy!