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?
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
The biggest compliment a kite can get is to be the bench mark for other kites. That is exactly what we have been told during many of our tests; “could you compare our kite to the Dice?”. For 2018 two minor changes in the kite results in a something we would’t expect for the Dice. Did some of the Evo aspects get under it’s new tripled skin? Definitely more hang time and your Woo score will go up if you come from previous versions of the Dice. But it is an bit of an unexpected development for a kite that used to give that quick, responsive but above all fun feeling. Continue reading North Dice 2018
If the Union was a dog it would be a Shepherd. It listens unbeatable secure to your input and combines it with a incredible fast reaction. Interesting is the Airush invention of the Dyneema Load Frame. It is used again in the third version of the Union. Which means Airush is convinced it is the answer to its competitors triple and even quadruple wired canopy. Is this a strong answer? And will the Shepherd show its teeth when needed?
It is clear which gap Flysurfer wanted to fill in with the Stoke. From the outsider in the tube kite world, we would have expected a fresh and different angle for a mainstream tube kite. But it turns out to be a friendly, quite fast responding kite with an intuitive character, with little surprises. It has some nice features, like an adjustable bridle and a build in self launch system. And as a bonus it will get you higher in the air as you may expect. A beginner (or school) until a semi advanced kiter would be a good match for the Stoke. But we also have some remarks on some details of the Stoke.
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.