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 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!
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!
A kite for female’s, designed by the successful professional kiter Bruna Kajiya, which turns out not to be for pussies. Bruna’s Diamond got us a big smile on our face. Not because we had to laugh but out of big respect how Bruna, and other kite chicks, can perform with this (three strutted or should we say three legged) wolf in scheep’s cloth. Pretty fast, responsive in a almost nasty way and a lot of very direct bar pressure, may be even a bit too much for most (older) men. Think Vegas, or Torch as in C-kite and you get a pretty good picture, although her (!) sweet spot is small and not easy to find. The downsized bar is really a disappointment. The power/depower system is out of date and needs an update.
You will remember it when you have seen them. The Ronix Franks 2016 looks are very spectaculair; extremely flashy green. From orange/yellow in 2015 to this acid green, means people will stop for it and point at them even more. How is the ride on a kite board with these flashy boots? Well before you buy them you need to know one little detail…which leaves a little stain on the pretty expensive Ronix Franks 2016.
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.
By the looks of the pointy open Delta-C profile shape the Rally belongs in the hang time corner, competing with for example the Ozone Edge and North Rebel. The Slingshot Rally is around for about six years now, but we always wondered what its unique selling point is. The best we can come up with is the great low end together with its long, floating jumps. But we will remember it as a slow motion kite, because of its slow responses. We just had a go with it for a couple of hours, so this review is not the longest we have written.
Do we need more toys in kiteboarding? Due to technical inventions, like quick release safety systems, the safety of our sport improved a lot. But still serious accidents happen, sometimes due to a lack of safety tools. So we welcome any new device which makes it a bit safer. In this case we tested The KiteCleat; a tool with two functions; a knife to cut lines and a line storage function to get your kite ready for action quicker and easier.
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.