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.
Flysurfer Stoke marketing
The first thoughts that pops up when we think of the brand Flysurfer, is that of one which started out, and still mainly is, as a foil kite producer for lighter winds. Even though they have been producing tube kites since 2013.
s. Not the complete truth of course. When Flysurfer announced to come up with a brand new tube kite we would expect something with a different approach from other mainstream tube kite brands. For the bigger part that isn’t true either. While they have done such things in the past. For example the Cronix came with a -unique- bridle system (see picture) on the trailing (!) edge for easier relaunch and to power-up the kite more. Which brand can say that?
Flysurfer also has a 5 strutted kite, the Boost2, according to the website for intermediate+ riders. As mentioned Flysurfer did have a three strutted tube kite before (2013); the Chronix.
The Stoke is on the market since May 2017. Flysurfer has made an impressive video. And for those who master the German language there is also a more in depth explanation video. Basically Flysurfer positions the Stoke as a do it all kite. What gets us a bit confusing is the term open C-kite. On top of that it is described the most radical Flysurfer kite for intermediate+ riders. Which both doesn’t comply with the claim true do-it all in one product. But according to Flysurfer this can be achieved to the 3 different trim settings.
Marketing a kite being the best in all conditions It not something typical Flysurfer, more kite brands are trying to label kites this way, since it is a very populair type. In this case we recommend you don’t get distracted by any marketing wordings from Flysurfer on the Stoke.
The Stoke is a three strutted kite with two battens in each trailing edge. Important feature is that it has the option for three different bridle settings (for freeride, wave and freestyle) and -as most kites have- three options for the back lines. The bridle setting are quite interesting. It is a simple way of broadening the capability’s of the kite. Some brands (like on the Airush Union and Bull) allow you to reset the bridle on the leading edge. The -more subtle- effect of the bridles of the Flysurfer Stoke effect is comparable to the Ozone Enduro. Reaction from Flysurfer; Important to note is also that the Wave setting has the most direct depower effect and the Freestyle setting the least, which is easily explained since the Freestyle settings opens up the arc of the kite, while the Wave setting tightens this arc.
We preferred the slightly more aggressive feeling on the freestyle setting over the less direct setting of the wave position. But the clear benefit of the Stoke over -for example- the Dice is the fact it has these options and the Dice hasn’t. We wonder why not every kite has it?
Another wide inflate system
As we use a lot of different kites, we are getting a bit frustrated on the amount of different inflate systems. Almost all brands -including Flysurfer- have switched from the universal (and inferior) small inflate to a wide inflate. We know about 4 different wide inflate connections. The one of Flysurfer has a very specific one. It works very smooth and quick. But it is also different from other brands and there for it even comes with a build in adapter to the kite attached. If by any chance you have a pump that does not connect to the adapter, there is a standard ball-valve on the leading edge as well, letting you pump up the kite old (but slow) fashion style.
Without getting into details on which system is better or worse, we would like to send a message to the industry: get one universal system.There is some environmental (less pumps needed) gain, but above all we really don’t need the frustration when a pump won’t fit to your inflate.
Bar and lines
The Infinity 3.0 airstyle CC bar comes with (relatively short 21m) four lines and a classic clam cleat (height adjustable,) connected to a low-V, single line fixed flag out and a proper push away safety system. We have some remarks on two aspects.
The first one is on the way it supposed to turn (or swivel) below the bar; There are two power lines coming down through the bar and a safety line. The safety line joins one power line up, fixed on it at about 8 meters high which creates drag as with a five line kite. There are more sophisticated ways to create a safety without the drag of a fifth line, but this is not our main concern. That is on the resistance and the wear out of the depower lines due to the way the swivel below the bar is designed. To get the power lines straight again after a loop, it is needed to give the bar a pretty powerful pull down all the way to the bar. At some point it did get us annoyed, but this method sort of works. However the power lines will wear out due to this system. Similar systems are constructed on the Core and North Click bar, but they rotate smoothly by them selves. Much nicer and less wear out. Which leads us to advice to order or negotiate some extra depower lines when buying the Flysurfer Stoke. Reaction from Flysurfer: Luckily Flysurfer includes 1x free depower cord in the spare part bag which comes with their control bars.
The stoke surprised us with its low end. Although it just got 21m lines, it has slightly more power as a North Dice on 22m lines. A clear difference between the these two kites is the friendliness of the Stoke. It comes with pretty light power pressure on the bar, and the power stroke is a bit longer and (thus) softer and more graduate. The Stoke is not a really extremely responsive kite, but on the other hand it is far from a power full, dragging kite like a Rebel or a Ozone Edge . The Stoke is eager to turn, loop or sheet in on a predictable steady pace. Even on the freestyle setting it is still pretty comfortable riding and not with that wank or boost into the sky which comes with more C-shaped kites.
We used the Stoke 9m also in very overpowered situations with powerful winds up to 30-35 knots. This wasn’t to comfortable anymore. Where a Dice just ask you to hold on and do something with its firm feed back, the Stoke is getting a bit nervous. The Stoke clearly is designed to operate at its best at moderate winds. In gusty situations the Stoke however did level out the gusts better, where the Dice lets you know it is gusty by getting the power up and down just as the wind gusts and lulls do.
Beginners, schools and more laid back freeride riders, for whom the Boost2 is too powerful and unfriendly will have a good option by choosing for the Stoke.
Flysurfer Stoke 9m2 (kite only) 1149,- Euro
Flysurfer 50cm bar including 4*21m lines and safety leash 449,- Euro (also available 60cm, which includes 6m extensions for 499,- Euro)