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.
The GTS has a pretty hardcore reputation. The German Core brand gradually gets more and more into the picture with short-line kite mega loop king Steven Akkersdijk and Joshau Emanuel being one of the major competitor in the Woo world wide leader board with a stunning 27.6m on the GTS4. To what extend can this C kite, with 3 struts and a high V-split, be getting the average kiter some more kicks out their sessions? Or is it just for a select amount of athletic dare devils that can really benefit from the GTS4?
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.
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.
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.
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,