Mar 17, 2011
Author: Shane Thompson / SBC Kiteboard test team
Tied: 1st for best relaunch, and depower. SBC Kiteboard head-to-head Surf Tests, Issue 12.1)
• Flat canopy shape for good low-end grunt
• Quick effortless water relaunch
• Instant depower on demand
The sixth-generation SBOW from Starkites is designed for both schools that require safety and durability and for pros that want high depower and a nimble pivoting, wave kite. It offers tremendous power and predictability without penalizing the ability to fully depower at any given time.
Control Bar and Safety Systems
SBC Kiteboard tested the SBOW with 2010 bar and the new bar was not yet available. Current bar is a complete redesign.
The SBOW 8 m was put to the test in some hefty winds and waves and it delivered the goods that wave enthusiasts should look for. It ranked in the top three in the categories of water relaunch, smooth pivotal turns and instant depower. The sturdy frame and bridle systems give the SBOW some heavy drive and it sets a line easily upwind and back into the lineup. On the wave, the kite behaves with good stability and control and offers moderate to fast pivotal turning with less drive and pull through the turn than the wider wing tipped kites of the test. Its superior ability to cut power off with an easy arm’s-length push gives the SBOW a definite edge in on shore or side on wave conditions.
Unhooked is not its forte, but with some trimming of the front lines it can offer some unhooked pop for the odd freestyle manoeuvre. The SBOW water relaunches instantly, as you would expect from an 8 m with high amounts of sweep. Where the SBOW really delivers is in its smooth depower capability and good control for wave riding. Even in the middle of the window you can dump power and avoid getting pulled away from your board. With the flat canopy the SBOW puts some distance into every jump and ensures soft, long gliding landings. It’s a big booster, with high depower and smooth power output.
Its great beginner kite and pro wave kite but not as much performance for the versatile freestyle and wakestyle crowd.
The SBOW has all the elements that made the first BOW kites revolutionary with some good refinements in durability and control. With instant water relaunch, huge wind range and depower anytime you need it, this kite fits the bill for the beginner and the wave-riding junkie.