So, I’ve got to admit from the start that although curious, I wasn’t really expecting great things from Liquid Force kite’s new addtion to the 2014 lineup, the LF SOLO, having ridden one strut designs in the past.
Before we delve into the details, lets have a quick review of what one strut kitesurf kites have to offer. Firstly, they are lighter, which means in the lighter winds there is less weight to support, they also have less drag (if made without a huge diameter leading edge) and so are good in light wind conditions. One strut kites like the SOLO also have the ability to turn quickly. The reduction in weight and wide wind range make these kites ideal for travellers wanting to pack light, but also serve for waveriders wanting something that turns very quickly.
The Liquidforce SOLO doesn’t disappoint. I was on the surf board riding the 6.5m SOLO when everyone else (even those on surfboards) were on 9′s and 10′s (even the odd 12m) in 18-23knots of wind. The kite, much to my amazement, has a thin leading edge and the single strut is not not much thicker than a push-bike innnertube, this is in complete contrast to other commercially released one-strut designs.
The thin leading edge means the kite has less drag so accelerates quickly and is happy to move to the front of the window when required, allowing a much better upwind tack angle than other one-strut designs I’ve tried. It also means that the kite is inflated in seconds, making for a very quick rigging time.
On the water and the kite is very nimble and the power delivery very smooth. The SOLO turns almost within its own dimensions, kiteloops are predictable and fun with none of the “snatching” that was expected from a one strut kite.
I have to admit that a bit of trailing edge flap was present during the kite loops, its to be expected, but i’ve ridden 5 strut kites that have flapped more. The kite’s ability to soak up the gusts, to be able to maintain such a smooth power, and yet i tried and tried to oversheet the kite without sucess even in such lightwind conditions for a 6.5m.
Water relaunch was also as simple as any other kite, just pull on a back line and the kite is straight out the water, I even tried “hot launching” through the middle of the window when out at sea, and so long as push the bar right out, it was really no drama. Speaking of the bar it was, again, suprisingly different to what was expected. Generally because of the wide deep canopies on one-strut designs, a heavy ‘sluggish’ bar response is expected, but not the case here. The bar was right in the middle, no arm ache, but able to feel where the kite was at all times.
We’ve yet to explore the upper wind ranges of the design, but if the changeable condtions of this test are anything to go by, then it’ll be a breeze. We can’t wait to get back out on it.
The Liquid Force SOLO one-strut kite is avilable from Bracklesham Boardriders from mid May 2014.
The New North Neo 2014 kitesurf kite is out now!
North Neo 2014, is now becoming a world famous wave kite. This kitesurfing Kite is very low aspect so giving it the ability to sit or fall deep in the wind window. It drifts always being in the right place. The kite is faster again than the 2013, giving a more direct faster feel on the bar. Great low end grunt, and super stable. If you love riding waves, but dont want to miss the comfort of freeriding then the Neo is for you
First of all, a happy new year to all our kiting friends, we’ve been blessed with a huge amount of wind over the past couple of weeks and it looks set to continue onwards. Get out kiting as much as you can and enjoy the super winds, and now the evening are slowly starting to stay lighter for longer, its not long till summer
If you haven’t gone out yet over the winter, you should really consider picking up one of special deal super winter suits. The new kitesurf suits available from us really are a whole league apart from the standard “surf” suits that were the only thing available years back. Kitesurf wetsuits are mega stretchy and have a great number of features far over a regular surf suit, to make winter riding a thoroughly good experience, without having to move around like some sort of swamp zombie!
We’re also lining up a number of free things over this new year, and beyond, in addition to the free stuff we already offer you. You do know about the webcam we provide on the beach here? if not check it out! http://www.kitesurfcam.co.uk
We also provide super accurate weather information from our live system also based on the beach front available here – www.brackleshamweather.co.uk or if using your smartphone, go to our mobile site www.brackleshamweather.co.uk/phone.
On the live weather site you can also view the tide times for the week ahead, for free!
We are running a number of free get-togethers to help those are yet to master their skills come together in small groups whilst building their confidence, and making kiting friends – nothing beats having a great social beach down here and long may it continue, so if interested – get in touch!
In addition to our regular schooling we also provide free advise and tuition for those changing their kiting skillset, so whether you’re struggling to gybe that surfboard, or want to get into handlepasses’ then we can use our experience and help get you there quicker.
Off course we’re always on hand for all aspects of free advice, whether it be which quiver size to go for, or tips on how to change a bladder, we’re here to help in 2014 – put us to the test!
Okay, we’ll admit this upfront. We’re not pro riders. We’re never going to be pro-riders.
We all like to secretly think of ourselves as pro riders, and for everyone, the lure of a camera lense twinkling on the beach always makes us want to perform better.
So why bother testing a North Pro series surfboard? Is the innegra carbon top reinforcement really needed for those of us who are happy to just be able to tack a surfboard, let alone compete on a World Tour?
Without actually looking at a Pro Series board in the flesh, for most of us, when we hear the words “Pro series” we instantly think of long, thin, “gunn” style surf boards that are built super light and fragile, and of no use in the typical UK conditions that we often refer to in our tests.
The 2014 North Pro series is none of those.
As soon as our 5’11 pro board was out the wrapper, you could tell the lines would work well in “normal” conditions and we weren’t disappointed. The slightly fuller nose, conservative rocker (with a tiny uplift in the tail) and easy rails with a thruster setup instantly grabbed our attention. This wasn’t going to be a board only built for the most perfect of conditions. This board looks like it has been built as an alrounder with a few extras.
Only one way to find out and thats to hit the water.
We used the 2013 North Neo kite (8m) in around 22knots and a small swell of just 1-1.5m for the most part, with some long upwind tacks and a bumpy chop to contain with. The board impressed as soon as as it left the beach. A really responsive turn from the thruster fins, able to build speed quickly whilst equally able to shed it if “hanging back” for the wave. Stable when kept flat making easy gybes possible and the full nose helped stop the “submarining” of the nose if you’re a bit late on the entry and find yourself pointing downhill a little too much. What suprised us most was how well the board handled lumpy conditions for the tacks back upwind. The chop was soaked up with ease and no leg ache from excessive nose bounce. The Pro series is more than happy to rip the tops of the waves without feeling like you need to burst a blood vessel of effort to make it happen, but grip is well maintained through choppy water bottom turns.
At a price that’s a £100 more than the North Wam 2014, is it worth the extra spend? Only you can decide, but we’re all pro’s here now, so we’ve got to keep one!
Order the North 2014 Pro Series with 0% finance.
2014 Mystic gear has arrived, with the new wetsuits, drysuits and of course the funky Brimster beanies!
The new Volcanic neoprene drysuit looks amazing and is a good price of £499 for this type of suit. We also stock the Mystic Crossfire and the Blackstar wetsuits too!
Click the image below for more mystic products!
The New North Dice 2014 Kitesurf Kite
So, there’s been some changeable weather around lately and what better time to test a kite, when its not the perfect conditions but more of the conditions that are “usual” for many of us.
The North Dice is a completely new kte for 2014. Some have reffered to it as being an alternate against other kites on the market such as the Naish Park or the Liquid Force Envy. Some have questioned the reasoning behind such a kite, tailored to two completely different sides of kiteboarding, both freestyle and wave.
For those that have experienced one discipline, but not the other, the two are indeed very similar. Both demand a stable quick turning kite, not oversensitive to bar imput, not able to oversheet, that unhooks well and stays a little further back in the wind window. Having the advantage of an easy relaunch and good manners when rigged suicide is a great benefit too.
Many riders also do ride both freestyle and wave and so having a kite that performs well in both sectors, without being tied to having both a Vegas and a NEO quiver is a also quite an appeal.
So where does the 2014 Dice from NKB differ from the NEO and the Vegas?
When compared to the North Vegas, the Dice offers a little more low end pull (due to the deeper canopy), a faster relaunch (due to the shape) and better gust response. The losses are a little less ‘rip’ on the load and pop (to be expected) and the ability to precisely stall the kite becomes more vague – again expected due to the canopy shape.
Comparing the Dice 2014 against the NEO, the Dice has a little more power, retains more power through the loops, retains more power generally, but is a little easier to unhook with and jumps easier and for longer. The Dice also has a little more bar pressure than the NEO (but we did have it on the high pressure setting).
The kite handles both wave and frestyle disciplines very well and for those not wanting to commit to the full freestyle nature of the North Vegas, or to the full wave kite of the NEO, the NKB Dice 2014 is a great option.
Tested by BBR staff Craig – Freestyle, James – Wave
For more information or to browse the North Dice 2014 – click on the image below: