Upfront we expected to get an exciting test session on the best selling kite from Liquid Force; the NV. We almost didn’t bother to test the wave kite; the WOW. Luckily we did. Unexpectedly the WOW is a much nicer kite than the NV. Where the NV is restless, the WOW is more stable and firmer with less jellyfishing. We got a strong feeling the type of canopy, or the amount of Ripstop, had an important role in this test. Multilayered Ripstop seems to be not just a marketing pushed feature. While testing the single Ripstop NV back to back with the triple Ripstop WOW we have made another step towards believing single Ripstop really is something from the past.
The WOO 3.0 is here now for a little while and it’s most likely to change the game. Although were not quite sure if that is in an positive way. Since 2015, when WOO introduced its device to record your kite sessions -including jump height- the sport got an interesting addition to it. Although it is a fun sport, some sort of competition was added to it; Who can jump -world wide- the highest?
Recently WOO offered a rather affordable way to buy the 3rd generation. The business model has little other ways to get money in, so it seems a smart way to collect some fresh coins. It does have added value like a better battery, better mount and an instant smart watch read out possibility. But there seems to be a big catch in this WOO 3.0 and in the end it may have ruined its own game. Or should we all get rid of our previous version and buy the 3.0?
Soon after the launch of the WOO 3.0’s the big question does it record higher jumps compared to the previous versions? popped up on several forums. The answer is partly true but also more complex than only that. We took a bunch of different versions on one board and made some statistical comparing on the data. After looking into it deeper and deeper we think the level playing field between different WOO generations has gone.
We see unexplained differences and structural variations between the newest WOO and the previous versions. The WOO 3.0 can give much higher maximum jump heights. How is that possible? We tried to contact WOO -without succes- so for the moment we can only guess. Below you can read what efforts we did to properly compare them and our conclusions is quite bitter. But to stay on top of the game you better switch to the 3.0 version.
Former Best designer Peter Stewie is now in charge as the designer for Eleveight. His personal twist on the Best Roca, with a pulley on the back line, comes back on the PS Eleveight in the form of an elastic bridle. The PS, a true beginners kite, often stated on webshops as “Schools only” is -below 800 euro’s!- incredibly low priced. It isn’t the most advanced developed kite, but it is well build and comes from a brand which internationally jump started in 2017 since a lot of people see Eleveight as the follow up from Best. Which means selling it again won’t be such a problem. This may be quite important as you will grow out of this PS much sooner than do-it-all kites that are less focussed to beginners only, like a F-one Bandit.
Pick randomly a kiter on a twin tip and 90% chance he or she will love the Ozone Enduro v2. It’s like a Labrador. Quite impossible to hate. A very fit dog anyway. You can rely on it in any circumstance because It is stable, not too radical and not too boring with a good windrange including a clever way to tweak the kites behaviour. We almost could not find anything to complain about. Maybe the lack of changes compared to its previous model v1? Or the 25m lines that normally comes with it? Just make sure you order the bar with 23+2m extensions and almost everybody will be jealous about your lovely pet.Ozone Enduro V2
F-one has shuffled its kite line up slightly. Now that there is a proper freestyle C-kite born, the latest Bandit can ease down a bit and focus fully on the less extreme side of kiteboarding. It is more friendly, gives a better indication where your kite is and has a bit more bar pressure. And with -finally- a new, but questionable, wide inflate we discovered how much the 11th version of the Bandit has shifted towards a kite which is even better for a beginner than previous versions.
Will 2018 bring some game changing kites? We were lucky enough to get our hands on four 2018 A-brand kites. We tested the 9 meters of the F-one Bandit 11th version, the Ozone Enduro V2, the North Dice 2018 and the Slingshot RPM 2018. We put them on the menu of our test team on a sunny and -more important- windy place, with varying conditions.
The biggest compliment a kite can get is to be the bench mark for other kites. That is exactly what we have been told during many of our tests; “could you compare our kite to the Dice?”. For 2018 two minor changes in the kite results in a something we would’t expect for the Dice. Did some of the Evo aspects get under it’s new tripled skin? Definitely more hang time and your Woo score will go up if you come from previous versions of the Dice. But it is an bit of an unexpected development for a kite that used to give that quick, responsive but above all fun feeling. Continue reading North Dice 2018
A blunt and harsh question; Is the relation between Ronix boots and kiteboarding a problematic marriage? Bound to have a quick and dirty divorce? A statement mostly driven by one fact; lose of warranty of those very comfortable and stylish, but also pricey boots in this relationship.
It is a fact that kiteboarders on boots are abusing their material more than riders on straps. Particularly the boots suffer a lot. Many of them break down much, much quicker compared to straps. But the Ronix ones seem to beat other brands in the boots category. It isn’t easy to estimate how long it takes before the first issues occur. But a couple of our readers showed us that break down as quick as within 6 months is not rare.
That Ronix aren’t the strongest boots out there is not really hot news. See some wording on this topic on kitesista. Most (first) issues are related to the laces (breakage within weeks). Followed by the connection of the laces to the boots (usually within months).
When going back to a store with broken gear it usually means the distributor will judge on the warranty. No different for Ronix’s products. And without much exceptions we hear a very abrupt and short answer popping up from them when they hear you used them while kiteboarding; “no warranty”.
We had several readers asking us if this is true, so we chased down a kiteboard pro’s who got sponsored by Ronix. And of course we had, or rather tried, to have a chat about the warranty issues with Ronix.
An quick and honest reaction came from Marc Jacobs, a pro kiter formerly sponsored by Ronix. Wait. Did we say sponsored by Ronix, a kiteboarding pro. Really?? Marc explains: “Kiteboarding is s big market for Ronix boots now but they have never be interested in sponsoring kiters but I see why dealers help us out as it helps sales in there area of the rider.
So we put him up with our main question about the warranty. He was quite straight in his answer “They properly stop warranty for kiters because we ride and salt water and not fresh and damage them much more”.
We also contacted Ronix (USA); surprisingly (or not?) they reacted differently to a potential customer from someone seeking warranty.
When we asked about warranty on their boots we got a short but clear answer; The warranty is the same if you’re kiteboarding or Wakeboarding. Completely the opposite from what we have been told before. That is why we contact several other suppliers and they contacted the distributors which contacted Ronix (again).
And now the answer was more to what we expected, although the answer still has a evasive taste to it; Generally speaking our boots were designed for wakeboarding. Either behind the boot or at a cable park. There are a couple factors that come with kiteboarding that void the coverage. Most kiteboarding is done in salt water which decreases the life expectances of a boot. Also the amount of force the boot takes compared to wakeboarding can be more and therefore harder on the boot.
Wake up call?
So at the moment you either know a very handy shoemaker, lie about the use when going for a warranty claim or have the financial capability to take your -quite likely- quick loss on Ronix boots. And kiteboarding shops; please warn the users before selling?! Of course we rather see that due to this message Ronix will change its warranty policy and label some (or all) of its boots to be suited for kiteboarding.
If the Union was a dog it would be a Shepherd. It listens unbeatable secure to your input and combines it with a incredible fast reaction. Interesting is the Airush invention of the Dyneema Load Frame. It is used again in the third version of the Union. Which means Airush is convinced it is the answer to its competitors triple and even quadruple wired canopy. Is this a strong answer? And will the Shepherd show its teeth when needed?
It is clear which gap Flysurfer wanted to fill in with the Stoke. From the outsider in the tube kite world, we would have expected a fresh and different angle for a mainstream tube kite. But it turns out to be a friendly, quite fast responding kite with an intuitive character, with little surprises. It has some nice features, like an adjustable bridle and a build in self launch system. And as a bonus it will get you higher in the air as you may expect. A beginner (or school) until a semi advanced kiter would be a good match for the Stoke. But we also have some remarks on some details of the Stoke.