AIRUSH ULTRA V2 9, 12 & 17M

TESTED BY: Bully and Jim PUBLISHED: Issue #101 – October 2019

AIRUSH ULTRA V2 9, 12 & 17M

TESTED BY: Bully and Jim PUBLISHED: Issue #101 – October 2019

TEST TEAM NOTES: The Ultra is Airush’s currently best selling kite, illustrating the notion that single strut light wind kiting has evolved to such an important extent. The Ultra goes way beyond low-end simplicity though and over the several seasons has grown a reputation as a one-kite solution for a wide variety of riding situations. Unlike modern three strut kites, it builds focus up from foiling and light wind disciplines through to wave riding, rather than from strong winds and big jumps to freeriding. It’s like an inverted scale, but the more and more we accept that the new mainstream norm for fun kiting now starts from 12 – 14 knots rather than 16 -18, it’s kites like the Ultra that are delivering so many more good sessions.

NEVER IN THE DEAD ZONE - 17M We first tested the Ultra 17 metre on a twin-tip. Mark Shinn had been telling us that it’s one of the best super light wind foiling kites that he’s ever used because it never reaches that dead zone at the side of the window in light winds when they tend to drop out of the sky. We didn’t get a session with it on a foil, but on a twin-tip it’s evidently lighter and far more balanced than any massive 17 metre we’ve had our hands on in recent years. Essentially, you’re looking for usable power and easy handling in as light a wind strength as possible, and the Ultra delivers that. First and foremost it stays in the sky and is always very, very balanced. Due to its size and the nature of such a massive canopy supported by only one strut, the 17 metre doesn’t fly as far forward in the window as you might be used to and there were moments where we almost had to give it a nudge by really digging in the rail to get it to drive up into the wind window a bit more, but if you’re in its sweet spot, the Ultra is very sweet. There’s also actually quite a lot of power there once you get going with the apparent wind, but not in an aggressive way; just through power and efficiency. Essentially, if you want to twin-tip when everyone else can only get out on foils, or you want to foil in eight knots but don’t want the complication or extra performance of a soft ram-air foil kite, then this 17 metre Ultra is absolutely for you.

12 & 9M - FOILING What the 12 and 9s do so well for foiling is never developing too much power. Sometimes when you’re foiling you can find that you’re going really quick and when you over sheet the kite you really feel it. The Ultra allows you so much control through its huge sheeting range, but still remains very smooth in terms of the amount of pressure in the lines. It’s not snatchy or grabby in its power. When some kites bite, they sit a little further back and are more full-on all the time. The Ultra never drops back and chugs you, but also never goes so far forward that you lose line tension and control. Often when you come out of a turn after downlooping a kite you’re riding with speed and the kite’s sitting in the middle of the wind window for a moment. You start thinking about really pushing the foil to deal with all the power, putting tension in your legs to try and get the kite to drive forward. Some kites that are less suitable for foiling will stay in that middle section for too long and you build your speed faster and faster because you can’t get the kite to drive any further into the wind; your high board speed doesn’t give the kite chance to catch up. Through that central part of the window, when the kite is generating a lot of power, the Ultra isn’t physical and glides forward to the natural riding position you need. There are no spikes in power. It’s not only smooth, it’s also easy. It removes a lot of the concentration you need on your kite – when foiling in particular. Using one of the smaller sizes with a foil will be a lot of fun – probably one of the most high performance single strut kites out there.

HIGH PERFORMANCE, BUT ALSO SUPER EASY You can really push your low wind foiling margins with the Ultra. We’ve had summer sessions with just a couple of other riders out in just nine or ten knots on the 12 metre and not even considering the fact that the kite might hindenburg out of the sky. It never goes too far overhead or loses tension in the lines. You can ride with far less care for that sort of situation. Bully’s son Ethan is 15 and learning to jump and front roll. He has loved having the 12 metre around for the summer. Super stable and light weight, he found that he could progress really well with his jumps in relatively light winds. For average intermediates and above who can adapt to the pace of a quick kite, the Ultra is a very workable tool. The lift isn’t fuel injected like some three strut hybrids, but it is smooth and mixes well with decent hangtime, making this an excellent all-round freeride kite. The incredible stability mixes the best of both worlds for lighter wind wave riding, offering low end power as well as forward drive. If you’re a rider with a surfboard, hydrofoil and a twin-tip for the odd freeride session – the Ultra should be a kite that you look at when you upgrade your gear.

BUILD AND BAR Airush’s load frame technology has proved itself as a more unique innovation in canopy construction design, preventing the possibility of big tears in the cloth and also adds support to the canopy in absence of the side struts. The kite is obviously light weight, delivering the handling benefits as such, but you don’t need to be worried about being overly delicate with this kite, either. The Airush Ultra bar is very clean with a long throw for maximum depower and an easy cleat trimming system. Definitely one of the most hard wearing bars we come across, but the grip is also comfortable. Airush have also just launched a new ‘Intelligent Quick Release’ chicken-loop that adheres to new ISO standards and ejects and resets with a single click, so look out for that.

“The incredible stability mixes the best of both worlds for foiling and lighter wind wave riding, offering low end power as well as forward drive.”
“The incredible stability mixes the best of both worlds for lighter wind wave riding, offering low end power as well as forward drive.”

SUMMARY: If you’re serious about foiling but looking for one kite that can also wave ride and keep you entertained on a twin-tip, then there aren’t many better options than the Ultra, particularly if you want to maximise your performance in light winds. The Ultra is spot on to cover a rider like that and its’ particular highlights are extreme stability and positive forward drive. Labelling something high performance may sound like it’s not appropriate for certain riders, but when a kite makes everything easy, it allows for high performance. Think of it like that! KW LIKED: Stability, reactivity and smoothness, even in light winds. KW WOULD CHANGE: You can only push single strut kites so far at their top ends (strong winds). If your primary focus is boosting high rather than freeriding, wave riding or foiling, you will be better off looking at something with more structural support, like the Union.

ULTRA BALANCE POINTS: Build quality: 9 Full package: 8.5 Low end: 9 Top end: 6.5 Steering speed: 6.5 Turning circle: 3 Bar pressure: 5.5 Water relaunch: 7.5 (Single strut kites don’t hold form in the water like a three strut, but still good) Drift: DT Boost: 6 Hang-time: 7 Unhooked: 3 Crossover: 8 (Freeride, foil, waves) Ease of use: 8.5 SIZES: 17, 14, 12, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5 and 4m

Airush released the Ultra V3 towards the end of 2019:

This video has been disabled until you accept marketing cookies.Manage your preferences here or directly accept targeting cookies

Share this page

Receive all our latest test updates first!

© 2020

Click the logos to visit our websites:

image
WingSurfWorld logo

Click to view the latest issue:

image