Going big, and really big, that is what the Rebel is mainly about. It is a potential Woo leaderboard wining, super stable and powerful, yet still pretty much on-off kite that is around for 10 years. The 2017 version isn’t any much different as the previous versions. We suspect the majority of it’s (older?) fans wouldn’t like that any way. It has a long history and large group of hardcore Rebel lovers who generally are not looking for changes. And that is exactly where we want to make a point. The Rebel is the opposite of a kite which can be thrown around. The (long) shape of the kite in combination of the amount of power makes it quite unattractive to do anything else than jumping.
The German designed Spleene 2017 RS 38 twin tip has been marketed as their freeride&freestyle board. The figures of the RS 38, with 42,5 cm wide, suggest a pretty big board. Good thing is that it feels much smaller and is surprisingly alive under your feet. The Spleene RS 38 would fit a typical freeride kiter from 75 kg’s and more, who wants to be triggered to bump&jump and play around very happily. But it is not a radical wakestyle board and neither a light wind miracle.
FHL: Designed an sold by the owners of Kitesurfshop.nl from the town Haarlem, The Netherlands. This new kite brand is created and on the market since a couple of months. The Harlem does have some similarities to other major brands but has its own unique light feel. Adding one major difference, its price tag; the Harlem is about 20% cheaper than comparable kites. And there is more to come in the near future from FHL,more sizes but also an Harlem Pro which caught our attention even more than the standard Harlem…
Shrinking? Yes, shrinking. Kite lines get shorter after usage! It seems contra intuitive, because a lot of people think used lines will get stretched, but in fact they get shorter over time. We found differences between used and unused lines of around 15cm, where the used lines got shorter. It may just be the reason your used kite doesn’t feel the same as when you bought it, especially when you just replaced a part of your lines.
The Dice from 2016 was one of the favourites from all our tests. Its versatility, responsive reaction and easy on-off power control makes it truly the one that makes almost everybody having the most fun on the water. The 2017 version has been changed from the 2016 at some crucial points in te canopy and struts which makes the kite feel a bit more rigid but also a bit less sweet as in 2016. Small changes, but noticeable. A bit better for direct response and aggressive riding style and it asks a bit more input than last year.
Numerous shiny, outstanding colors to style your board from the -friendly prized- new brand Encore. We took two twin tips of them out for a test, both of them containing a carbon spine with a very specific, interesting shape. Carbon isn’t an automatic choice as we learned from Alvaro Onieva and Saul Customs which makes us very curious how the Encore Inferno and Paradise perform on the water.
The introduction of the new Click bar can be compared to the time when new cars got a remote control for opening and starting a car. Handy, but not necessary to get from A to B. So a game changer? No, of course not. You will not fly higher, ride harder or get more pop. But it is a refinement of the bar.
Compared to the standard bars of North, it is more than just the way you power/depower your kite. You may even safe money -although it costs 160 Euro’s more than the Quad bar- on the long run. For sure it is safer and more friendly to use. If sand will ruin the (de)power system, is hard to tell. It doesn’t look like it, but at least make sure you register your Click bar to get to the extra 6 month of warranty. Better be (18 months) safe than sorry,
The cheapest board we have ever seen. Just 300 Euro’s, including pads, straps, handle and fins. Is it just for beginners? Is it crappy build quality? Not for extreme moves? Actually non of them is true. It is nothing you would expect. It gives a strange feeling upfront when you know its price. It quickly became the talk of the town when we tested the just released Tribord Zeruko twin tip. Eye catching is the huge amount of channels on the bottom. It gives away what type of board it really is. It is not what you would expect from a store with just one board in their line up. It turns out to be a pretty extreme edging machine which could easily be used in a pure freestyle session!
We all love to see the exact results of our jumping. But things get ruined when the results are biased, bogus or even tampered with. Some forums even have an updates of their Woo data on each windy day, including the discussion. Which gear was used? Did you do a dead man to get that extra meter et cetera. But since we now can get a third device the question remains if the data of all of them are comparable.
After the Woo and the Xensr there is again a new tracking device for kiteboarding; PIQ. Supported by North Kiteboarding and introduced weeks ago, a lot of people wonder why? Why another tracking device? Although an interesting question, this won’t be the topic in this review. No, the most obvious question we dealt with is if this device comes up with similar results as the Woo. The Xensr clearly wasn’t comparable in our previous test, but for the PIQ looks perfect so far!