Park and ride the Core XR5, just like a North Rebel. With impressive sweet long lasting jumps. The XR5, build according to Core’s high quality has a very firm, triple layered, kite cloth without any wrinkle what ever you do with it. But the XR5 is the opposite of a throw-around kite. Just as the Rebel or Ozone Edge you need to choose for this kite specifically to just go out cruise at impressive speed and make long floating jumps. Another acquaintance with the Rebel: It has exactly the same -quite high- price.
It will reward you sky wise and is a fraction sweeter as a Rebel. But it won’t challenge you to do anything outside of your comfort zone and it clearly isn’t made to go out on a directional for some slamming wave riding.
Sometimes you see a kite and you think that one can be a good one for me. In other cases you think, nah that cannot be much for me. For the KSP Charger and the Phantom it was for both kites exactly the opposite of what we thought. The Charger, with 5 lines and 3 struts, is much more radical wake style than we ever thought and way above of our -and probably 90% of our readers- level. The two strutted Phantom however, is so much better than any other two strutted kite we have ever tried. It even beats a lot of other kites. And that for a price which is roughly 40% lower than most other kites.
Years before the so called game changers North Click bar or the Cabrinha fireball F-one invented a real game changer; the revolutionary multi-purpose Bandit. It has a brilliant and unique capability in the way it quickly powers and depowers by just sending the bar a few centimeter up or down. This way the Bandit gives such an easy and being-in-control, predictable feeling which made it a very popular kite. Beginners love its low bar pressure and more advanced riders will enjoy the quick, snappy behaviour and high wind usage.
But the revolution has come to an end. No wide inflate, no re-adjustable bridles, no single flag out safety, no swivel below the bar, relatively weak lines and still with damaging pulleys on the bridles. Don’t get us wrong, it is a good kite, but it clearly is lacking progress in the evolution of its design .
The Lithium pops up in the Airush kite line in between the DNA lesson kite and the more advanced and allround performance kite Union. A bit disrespectful we could say that the Lithium is a beginners kite. It will get you going with smoothed out power changes, eases better through gusty winds and doesn’t need perfect timing for jumping. But still we want to point out most of us will benefit and have fun with other -more advanced- kites really quickly.
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…
Agile as a Dice, snappy as a Bandit and unbelievable amounts of fun from its firm, fast and responsive feed back, that is what the Ozone Enduro is all about. A new, confusing and ugly name for the follow up from the 2015 Catalyst. The Enduro comes with a new feature which adjusts the bridle by a simple and remarkably small adjustment. It really adds value to the multi-purpose goal of this kite which for sure is going to be a hit. Most surprisingly to us was its firm, stable and steady 5 strut close to C-kite feel, in a very positive way. The Enduro is an almost faultless kite, where only the options on the line length leaves us puzzled.
The Evo is like a good friend; gently and always there for you due to it’s huge windrange. But the Evo is much more than that. On the King of the Air 2016 in Cape Town Tom Herbert made not only the highest jump with a North Evo 2016, but also one of the longest (18.8m/9.4 sec) of the contest.
It is a very mellow kite which could for some people be the best North kite. For example the ones that like to do old school tricks with board-offs and dead mans. It can be a good choice for many kiters who are looking for something a bit more alive than a Rebel. Less suitable for freestyle though, although North does claims it to be a freeride/freestyle kite.
Stability with a superb wind range that is what the Switchblade is all about. The all-round Cabrinha Switchblade is described as a crossover, high performance and versatile kite. Cabrinha has more than seven different type of kites. But how the kite should be placed between the other six different kites it is not easy to judge. Good thing Cabrinha has made an overview of their kites. The Switchblade (being right in the middle) should be the more efficient kite but less responding than the FX (which we tested and liked very much) and capable of being good for just about every discipline. Continue reading Cabrinha Switchblade 9m 2016→
After establishing that the Best TS already is a kite for advanced riders, we wondered how even more advanced the Best GP is. The Freestyle oriented GP is designed to be even more “for the pro’s”. We tested the GP 9m, side by side with the North Vegas 2015, mainly to see to what extent average to advanced riders can benefit from it.
The five line Best GP has no bridles and a relatively small leading edge, 5 struts and 2 battens in the trailing edge. The battens were broken when we got the test kite. We don’t know if this is due to rough handling or due to normal use on the water, but it is something to keep an eye on. Continue reading Test: Best GP 9m 2015→
The 4-lines Gaastra Pure 9m 2015 has 3 struts, a bridle with no pulley’s nor any battens and a high split point of it’s front lines. The very colourful green-yellow bag comes with numerous -functional- pockets and includes a huge size indication. The bag certainly does get the attention on the beach. The inflate is a classic wide -and quick- entrance to the perfect one-pump system, including a unique protection padding. The X2 bar is a bit thicker than most other bars but looks very slick at a first glance, including the lines.
Though when looking a bit closer to the bar, there is an issue: although there is a safety ring, it doesn’t fit over the chickenloop. The manual of the Pure suggests for suicide mode to connect both the chickenloop and the safety to the leach. Our North safety leach however did not fit. A bigger leash connection would fit, but it would certainly compromise the safety, since the end of Gaastra’s X2 chickenloop is wider at the end. The chance a leach connection will be stuck to the chickenloop when using the safety system is very real. So a safe suicide mode is not possible. This is a bit strange for a kite branded as A freestylers dream weapon.*
Dutch Gaastra supplier Newsports, provider of the test kites has read our review and had a reaction to this issue (see below review).
Gaastra’s website is very clear at the aims of the Pure; It is dedicated to freestyle competition with most direct c-kite character, optimized kite-loop performance. The kite indeed has a sort of C-shaped look to it, but for a freestyle kite the split point of the front lines is quite high. This normally ends up with a fast turning kite. Something the opposite freestyle kiters need.