Probably the most used kites are the ones that can be used at any discipline. Call them what ever you like; crossover, hybrid or a One quiver kite. Those kites are getting more and more populair. The reason is clear. Who doesn’t want a do-it-all kite? Yes there are still a few people who still want kites without bridles or a dedicated wave kite. But they seem to become a minority. And most of us won’t have set backs by such a do-it-all kites. The 2019 Eleveight RS, Naish Dash, F-one Bandit V12 and the Duotone Dice should fit the description of a do-it-all kite more or less. All of them should be suited -on paper- for a wide variety of kiting styles. Either on a twintip freeriding, freestyle and even on a wave board. And yes they have a lot in common, but they are certainly not the same. Some exactly met the expectations and some don’t.
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.
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.
Sometimes you see a kite and you think that one can be a good one for me. In other cases you think, nah that cannot be much for me. For the KSP Charger and the Phantom it was for both kites exactly the opposite of what we thought. The Charger, with 5 lines and 3 struts, is much more radical wake style than we ever thought and way above of our -and probably 90% of our readers- level. The two strutted Phantom however, is so much better than any other two strutted kite we have ever tried. It even beats a lot of other kites. And that for a price which is roughly 40% lower than most other kites.
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.
FHL: Designed an sold by the owners of Kitesurfshop.nl from the town Haarlem, The Netherlands. This new kite brand is created and on the market since a couple of months. The Harlem does have some similarities to other major brands but has its own unique light feel. Adding one major difference, its price tag; the Harlem is about 20% cheaper than comparable kites. And there is more to come in the near future from FHL,more sizes but also an Harlem Pro which caught our attention even more than the standard Harlem…