The Roca, the follow up of the Kahoona, fits much better in the Best line up being less far away from the TS as the Kahoona used to be. For beginners till intermediate level it is a very good kite. Both the performance and quality are as a you may expect from an major brand. Good to have for a kite school and certainly for an average twin tip rider. But the users must like a low bar pressure and the soft, though very rapid power on-off kite. It can get a nervous feeling though, especially in gusty winds.
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 2015 Ozone Catalyst is, according to their website, the top selling kite from Ozone: the true do it all kite because of its versatility. The Catalyst performs equally well in all aspects of the sport, satisfying a wide variety of riders and styles. We have heard that a lot of times before, but it is thé Ozone kite the average kiter would choose, so we had a go with it and tested it.
Ozone has six different tube kites. There is one wave kite, a trainer tube kite and a race kite. The riding style for the Catalyst is placed between the Edge (hang time kite) and the C-kite C4. The Catalyst 2015 has a common (for cross-over/do it all kites) set up with 3 struts, one pump (without exact pressure instructions) and options to set the steering lines at the tip at several positions for more or less bar pressure and quicker/slower response of the kite.
There are four gummy feeling “battens”, at the trailing edge of the kite which we have not seen before. We have the impression these gummy battens are meant to reduce any shaking of the canopy. Funny little detail is that the size indicator figure eight is very largely written on the canopy. The way it is written can also be interpreted as an eleven…
The 2015 Gaastra Spark is described as a crossover kite with superb low-end performance which should take you to the next level. It is not literally stated, but it seems the kite is intended for beginners, all though the Gaastra site states that the Spark is very popular with all riders.
The tested eight meter kite has five struts (three struts on 11m and above), the inflate is a classic wide -and quick- entrance to the perfect one-pump system and comes with the same four-line X2 bar as the freestyle oriented Pure which we tested (nine meter) at the same time with the Spark. The Spark is a bit cheaper (roughly 80 euro’s) than the Pure.
We tested the Spark in steady 19 knots wind with some small waves up to 1,5 m. One thing immediately was clear; the promised low-end was certainly there. For example the eight meter Spark had more pull than the ten meter Best TS 2015 (which we also tested at the same time). The power is very clearly felt at the steering lines. In fact it was so powerful it reminded us a bot on the famous Slingshot Turbo Diesel from a couple of years ago. With one difference though; the Spark has a much smaller rotating circle and feels even a bit lively due to this. The power on the steering lines gives you a good feeling where the kite actually is, which really helps when you are a beginner. The down side of the huge amount of power on the steering lines is the intensive workout you get from riding with the Spark 2015.
The Canadian brand Ocean Rodeo comes with four different type of kites in their 2015 product line. The Razor is one of them and is branded as the C shaped freestyle shaped SLE (Spported Leading Edge; kite with bridles). There are some details which suggests the Ocean Rodeo R&D team have put in some long thoughts about some remarkable features the Razor needs to have. The two most obvious ones are the amount of struts (four) and the other one is the little twist in the leading edge just before the tip of the kite.