ONE TWO. ONE TWO...
We test equipment all year and in a range of conditions. Right now we'd usually be testing in Cape Town, but this year we've donned some modern neoprene (hop to the Mystic Voltt review here) and have been continuing to enjoy all the UK winter can throw at us so far! This issue we have some special reviews, including our first outing with Ocean Rodeo's Aluula material, as well as Eleveight's extremely accessible freestyle kite, the FS, and a Naish modular foil set-up suitable for beginners and far beyond. Our testers don’t set out to find the best products for pro riders, but instead focus on what’s important for every day riders. Senior tester Chris Bull is 50, has been kiting for 22 years and tested more gear than anyone we know, outside of gear developers themselves. He runs CBK-Hayling Island, a lively school, club and shop and understands what riders really need from their purchases. Jim Gaunt is 42, editor of Kiteworld, has been kiting for 18 years and rarely rides the same gear for more than a couple of sessions, so has a detailed understanding of current directions / trends. Rob Claisse joins us for foil testing – founder of Progression Sports, he makes kitesurfing instructional videos, runs training camps and has helped the BKSA develop their hydrofoil training syllabus.
HERE'S A GUIDE TO WHAT THE SCORES MEAN FOR EACH KITE AND BOARD:
KITE BALANCE POINT SCORES / 10: BUILD QUALITY: 1 = Sew it yourself / 10 = Indestructible FULL PACKAGE: 1 = Pigtails sold separately / 10 = Comes with its own wind LOW END: 1 = More power in a handkerchief / 10 = Like a raging bull TOP END: 1 = Force 3 feels like gale force 8 / 10 = Feels manageable in a hurricane. STEERING SPEED: 1 = Barely turns / 10 = Blink and you'll miss it TURNING CIRCLE: 1 = Most pivotal / 10 = Likes to scrape the water POWER THROUGH TURN: 1 = You won't notice it turning / 10 = Could move a house BAR PRESSURE: 1 = Light as a feather / 10 = Get down the gym WATER RELAUNCH: 1 = Superglues itself to the water / 10 = Cat on a tin roof DRIFT: 1 = Always at the edge of the window / 10 = Goes directly with the wind. BOOST: 1 = More lift in a wet towel / 10 = Heading for space HANG-TIME: 1 = Short haul flight / 10 Long haul flight UNHOOKED: 1 = Collapses or pulls your arms out of their socket / 10 = Who needs a chicken-loop? EASE-OF-USE: 1 = Makes you book more lessons / 10 = Makes you look good
BOARD BALANCE POINT SCORES / 10 BUILD QUALITY: 1 = Warrantied for the weekend / 10 = Hand it down through generations FIXTURES AND FITTINGS: 1 = Some chance of assembly / 10 = Accessories from the Gods SPEED: 1 = Whales will overtake you / 10 = Induces wrinkles in your cheeks POP: 1 = Like a lead balloon / 10 = How's the view? DRIVE: 1 = Constrained in chains / 10 = Fuel a space mission with the energy FLEX: 1 = More movement in a concrete slab / 10 = Bends like paper COMFORT: 1 = Like riding over rocks / 10 = Like cruising on fluffy clouds LOOSENESS: 1 = Lacks direction / 10 = Like its on rail tracks GRIP: 1 = More traction in a tea tray / 10 = Like a Formula One car UPWIND: 1 = "We're all about the downwinders anyway" / 10 = America's Cup challenger SLIDER PROOF: Yes / No FREERIDING: 1 = Makes flat water feel like moguls / 10 = Ride fresh powder every day FREESTYLE: 1 = Stuck to the water / 10 = Responds best to rough treatment EASE-OF-USE: 1 = Build your own / 10 = Features auto trick learning button *DT = Didn't test, so not prepared to score