The 750 Euro Decathlon kite is probably the cheapest kite you physically can get in a shop and very attractive for beginners on a low budget. There is nothing wrong with the first Decathlon Orao “W” kite but the innovation literately stops at the bag. It isn’t a secret the Orao is in fact a spin off from an earlier version of the Ocean Rodeo Roam. That also explains the “W” indication in the Orao’s name as the Roam is at least for a significant part a wave kite. And although Orao in Serbian means ‘eagle’ more experienced riders need to realise that it is rather a sweet (Oreo?) cookie than an agile bird. So a Canadian – French combo to bring kiting to the mass for an incredible low price.
We all understand the reaction of someone just at the beginning of their kite ‘career’ when they hear a new 9m kite from any A-brand is around the 1400 Euro mark. What ever the discount we are all probably getting it will never get down to the Decathlon 750 Euro level. So how do they get down this done? For sure their team size (‘ORAO is run by seven kiting enthusiasts’), website quality orao.com (which is down) and marketing budget are a fraction of what A-brands are dealing with. But the Orao kite is even cheaper compared to smaller brands with a physical shop. Somewhere were you can actually go back to if you are unsatisfied for any reason.
Decathlon has a nice unique bonus: you can add a 70 Euro two year insurance.UPDATE: Decathlon only offer this to French customers! Including exactly what the target audience need. Including If it is not repairable, the product is replaced. Which is really unbelievable. How brave from Decathlon! (But only possible within 5 days after the purchase).
The Orao is made for a big part from double ripstop. That is the standard -or minimum- any brand would use right now. But in the trailing edge there is still some single ripstop. Probably to save some weight. Not a logic place though knowing that this area of the kite will be stressed a lot. Speaking of its weight -3 kg, quite average for a 9m- is 10% heavier over the latest (3rd generation) Ocean Rodeo Roam Dacron version -with a price just under 2 Orao’s.
For anyone who feels addressed when we mention ‘beginner’: please read this carefully. We really hope the Decathlon crew will strongly advice you to (have) take(n) lessons before using the kite. The other thing is that there is no reason not to buy this very cheap kite. In case you have a limited budget these are a few competitors: Gong Freewave, Takoon Furia and Ventum Xplore. All priced between 750-850 Euro’s. Out of these three the Orao is for sure better for a beginner over the first two. But there is a huge chance (if you stay riding a twin tip) you outgrow it within a year or two. So everything below is ment for the more experienced rider who is thinking about going cheap.
Our first test in low wind made us feel good on the Orao. On this 17 to 20 knot session we added a wave board –also available in the Decathlon store at a very low price– and boy we thought we struck gold for the price of bronze. Happy faces. The right power with an okay response on rider input and quite some drifting made us go up and down the waves like any other dedicated wave kite. But those faces changed a bit when the wind picked up.
The high end isn’t as nice as most other 9 meters. It isn’t easy to ditch the power when the wind really picks up. And too bad the Orao isn’t offering bridle settings. Which is available on a Switch Nano for example. This could have been a way to make the kite more versatile.
Decathlon and Ocean Rodeo use the same diagram to express their capabilities. The Ocean Rodeo Roam one (left in the picture) looks much more correct for the Orao over the Decathlon one. Although the higher weight of the Orao would mean it should indicated a bit less on ‘foil’ and ‘light wind’. But on all other subjects the Ocean rodeo graph is applicable for the Orao. For example megalooping on the Orao -as Decathlon strangely does likes to be a serous selling point in their diagram- is for sure not s serious match for the Orao.
So back on the twin tip for some bump&jump. Here we could really enjoy our easy landings. The pitfall of an ‘epic’ kite is their quick power on– and of course- also off feeling. That off can be a bit annoying when going down again after a jump. Landings on such kites like a Bandit, Enduro or Dice -for example- can be a bit harder and more difficult at times. Not on the Orao. landing is a piece of cookie…euh cake! Same goes for the take off; nice and easy.
More good news for newbies. The medium to high bar pressure will never really go away. So you always feel where the kite is. If this is never an issue for you -knowing where your kite is- than you understand the downside immediately. It takes more energy to ride over advanced kites. With its rather small wind range- its lack of excitement with epic g-force to get you airborne like a rocket- it is going to itch a bit when you want that extra bit of flavour on your kite session. A very affordable nice -but plain- cookie.
Decathlon Orao 9m (kite only) 749,99 Euro.
2-year insurance: 70 Euro (take it! Decathlon only offer this to French customers!).