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.
The name Prodigy might get your thoughts going towards the British extreme and hardcore dance and rock and roll performance, famous for its shocking Smack my Bitch up. The Ocean Rodeo Prodigy is quite the opposite. To stay in music terms it would rather be described by a mellow thé dansant get together. Reliable and stable, but not made to be thrown around. Perfect for kiters who need a tower of strength in their “fire starter” in to the kite sport, to keep it in The Prodigy terms.
The GTS has a pretty hardcore reputation. The German Core brand gradually gets more and more into the picture with short-line kite mega loop king Steven Akkersdijk and Joshau Emanuel being one of the major competitor in the Woo world wide leader board with a stunning 27.6m on the GTS4. To what extend can this C kite, with 3 struts and a high V-split, be getting the average kiter some more kicks out their sessions? Or is it just for a select amount of athletic dare devils that can really benefit from the GTS4?
Kites are quite vulnerable. They get a lot of beating from the sand, sun and water and get worn out quite quickly. Generally kites are replaced sooner than for example boards. What if we could protect our kites a bit better and make them last longer? Or what if we could leave our kites protected on the beach in between two sessions without deflating and pack them? Or keep an extra kite on the beach in shifting winds to make sure you can quickly change to another size.
This is exactly why the Kiteshield has been invented. The kiteshield is a cover to put over your inflated kite on the beach to protect it from UV, sand and about everything you put your kite on. But does it really work when it is windy? Does it stay on the kite even in strong winds and are we able to get it on without too much hassle? We already got one of those Kite covers and tried it. The idea is great for some purposes, but the product needs some evident changes.
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.
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.
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.
Does any bar fit on any kite? Of course it doesn’t, but there is more to it than the bar width, 4 or 5 lines or the length of the lines. While testing a bar from Kite Attitude we got deeper and deeper into the influence of the height of the split point of the front lines.
Interesting stuff, especially if you just want to get your hands on a new bar, but don’t want to pay -the ever growing prices of the A-brands- up to 500-plus Euro. We not only tested the Kite Attitude bar, but we also interviewed some manufacturers which gave some interesting technical insights.
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.
A brilliant and visionary move back in 2008, when F-one decided to reduce its kite range back -more or less- to only one type of kite; The Bandit. It is safe to say the Bandit made a lot of kiters really happy, no matter if they where doing freeriding, freestyle or even waveriding. An impressive achievement. Whatever we will have to say about the Bandit everybody, including us, will be happy riding a Bandit. But is the ninth version still revolutionary? We could test five different sizes of the 2016 version for over one month to answer that, and many more, question.
We see the F-one Bandit as one of the inventors of the -more and more popular- all in one kite. A kite that can be used without almost any compromise for freeride, freestyle and wave riding. Where most brands have at least three or more different lines of kites (North for example even has seven different types of kites), F-one believes in focus on more or less just one; the Bandit (next to the Trust and the Diablo, a race kite). Marketing wise this is kind of tricky. A marketing theory is that if you have less options the chance you will buy at this company decreases.