Vantage kites, the revolution is announced?

This post isn’t an actual review. But more or less a theoretical experiment coming to reality. A theory which is based on the idea that established brands have been lacking any serious r&d the last few years. Is there a new era coming in kite development based on algorithms calculated by computers?

Imagine the perfect kite. One that will bring us “WOO records up to 40 meters” and unmatched performance. How? Not by endless trial and error field testing. Nope. By measurements and calculations by supercomputers. Algorithms which are learning from data that are created by measurements in the kite and fluid dynamics science. We have not seen such wild and different ideas in the kite industry before. But this is how Vantage kites will be developed. This interesting proces has been starting back in 2017 which we have been following for a while now.Measuring a Vantage kite

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Orao (Decathlon) Waveboard 5’4

Are you wondering if it’s time to step into the waveboard action? You are not the only one. Wave riding while on a kite has always been attractive for those coming from a surfing background. Another attraction lately is coming from the spectacular action from the strapless freestyle competition . What if you are in doubt and want to give it a try as well?

Learning new stuff is great fun but a new waveboard is easily above 800 euro. A cheaper ways to get going is buying one from the Decathlon for half the price. At first sight the board doesn’t stand out in a negative way. But its plastic flexible fins with soft edges do give away it isn’t made to win a wave or freestyle contest.

Decathlon Orao
Decathlon Orao

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Duotone Dice 2019 9m

The Dice transformed over the years from a sweet lady to a tough brother. A bit challenging but a very rewarding kite. Less sweet and less forgiving but with a stronger pop and more aggressive potential. Very appealing for the advanced rider. We enjoy it very much. Each year when the new Dice arrives we sort of fear any changes . What differences will 2019 bring for the Dice?

Duotone Dice 2019

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North Click bar 2018

We almost didn’t write this review. Why? We were waiting and waiting for the second version of the Click bar to reveal any faults. After we discussed two weak spots on the 2017 edition, it was all about evaluating if those weak spots were solved. And after 6 months we have to conclude they are. This expensive – 600+ Euros- bar is just a fraction different from its 2017 version. Just by adding a protection on the lowest part of the safety line and on the area were the V-distributor is located the quick wear out is eliminated. The waiting made us almost forget reviewing it.

North Click bar 2017 (left) and 2018 (right); important difference.
North Click bar 2017 (left) and 2018 (right); important difference.

Of course the Click bar kept al its positive aspects;  Always untangled front lines, comes with 22m +2m set up,  a low V-split, at 6m and at several other higher settings. So it can be used with almost all other kite brands. But most important: no wear out on the thick plastic depower cord and the absence of any safety line wear out (which is an issue for the standard North Trust bar), If you are a very frequent kiter, you will understand the value of hundreds of sessions without a fail of this 2018 Click bar. Continue reading North Click bar 2018

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Liquid Force WOW (V3) and NV (V8) 9m

Upfront we expected to get an exciting test session on the best selling kite from Liquid Force; the NV.  We almost didn’t bother to test the wave kite; the WOW.  Luckily we did. Unexpectedly the WOW is a much nicer kite than the NV.  Where the NV is restless, the WOW is more stable and firmer with less jellyfishing. We got a strong feeling the type of canopy, or the amount of Ripstop, had an important role in this test. Multilayered Ripstop seems to be not just a marketing pushed feature. While testing the single Ripstop NV back to back with the triple Ripstop WOW we have made another step towards believing single Ripstop really is something from the past.

Liquid Force WOW (left) and NV (right)
Liquid Force WOW (left) and NV (right)

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WOO 3.0 Game over?

The WOO 3.0 is here now for a little while and it’s most likely to change the game. Although were not quite sure if that is in an positive way.  Since 2015, when WOO introduced its device to record your kite sessions -including jump height- the sport got an interesting addition to it. Although it is a fun sport, some sort of competition was added to it; Who can jump -world wide- the highest?

Recently WOO offered a rather affordable way to buy the 3rd generation.  The business model has little other ways to get money in, so it seems a smart way to collect some fresh coins. It does have added value like a better battery, better mount and an instant smart watch read out possibility. But there seems to be a big catch in this WOO 3.0 and in the end it may have ruined its own game. Or should we all get rid of our previous version and buy the 3.0?

WOO 3.0 instant read out on a smart phone
WOO 3.0 instant read out on a smart watch

Soon after the launch of the WOO 3.0’s the big question does it record higher jumps compared to the previous versions?  popped up on several forums. The answer is partly true but also more complex than only that. We took a bunch of different versions on one board and made some statistical comparing on the data.  After looking into it deeper and deeper we think the level playing field between different WOO generations has gone.

We see unexplained differences and structural variations between the  newest WOO and the previous versions. The WOO 3.0 can give much higher maximum jump heights. How is that possible? We tried to contact WOO -without succes- so for the moment we can only guess. Below you can read what efforts we did to properly compare them and our conclusions is quite bitter. But to stay on top of the game you better switch to the 3.0 version.

The good news is that the 3.0 versus 3.0  version seems to be a fair game. But the differences between the WOO versions possibly qualifies the WOO 3.0 to be a -sarcastically ment- ‘true game changer’. 

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Eleveight PS 8m (V1)

Former Best designer Peter Stewie is now in charge as the designer for Eleveight. His personal twist on the Best Roca, with a pulley on the back line, comes back on the PS Eleveight in the form of an elastic bridle. The PS, a true beginners kite, often stated on webshops as “Schools only” is -below 800 euro’s!- incredibly low priced. It isn’t the most advanced developed kite, but it is well build and comes from a brand which internationally jump started in 2017 since a lot of people see Eleveight as the follow up from Best. Which means selling it again won’t be such a problem. This may be quite important as you will grow out of this PS  much sooner than do-it-all kites that are less focussed to beginners only, like a F-one Bandit.

Eleveight PS 8m (V1)
Eleveight PS 8m (V1)

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Ozone Enduro V2

Pick randomly a kiter on a twin tip and 90% chance he or she will love the Ozone Enduro v2. It’s like a Labrador. Quite impossible to hate. A very fit dog anyway. You can rely on it in any circumstance because It is stable, not too radical and not too boring with a good windrange including a clever way to tweak the kites behaviour. We almost could not find anything to complain about. Maybe the lack of changes compared to its previous model v1? Or the 25m lines that normally comes with it? Just make sure you order the bar with 23+2m extensions and almost everybody will be jealous about your lovely pet.Ozone Enduro V2 Ozone Enduro V2

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F-one Bandit 11th version (2018)

F-one has shuffled its kite line up slightly. Now that there is a proper freestyle C-kite born, the latest Bandit can ease down a bit and focus fully on the less extreme side of kiteboarding. It is more friendly, gives a better indication where your kite is and has a bit more bar pressure. And with -finally- a new, but questionable, wide inflate we discovered how much the 11th version of the  Bandit has shifted towards a kite which is even better for a beginner than previous versions.

F-one Bandit 11th version
F-one Bandit 11th version

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Four 2018 9m top brand kites compared

Will 2018 bring some game changing kites? We were lucky enough to get our hands on four 2018 A-brand kites. We tested the 9 meters of the F-one Bandit 11th version, the Ozone Enduro V2, the North Dice 2018 and the Slingshot RPM 2018. We put them on the menu of our test team on a sunny and -more important- windy place, with varying conditions.

Before we make some individual reports, we wanted you to get some insight how those 4 kites vary in taste.

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