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Jun 9, 2011

Author: SBC Test Team

The 2011 ExA is Starkites hybrid BOW shape that’s designed for top-notch freestyle performance for any rider that craves access to big lofty jumps, high-powered tricks and Mega Loops. The ExA has a ton of range and offers powered and stable unhooked new school ability.

Control Bar and Safety Systems (The 2010 Bar was supplied for the tests)
The Starkites control bar features a textured and tapered EVA foam grip, beefy bar floats and larger, longhorn-style bar winders. The primary safety attaches below the bar with on a plastic coated line that flags a single front lying line for 100 per cent depower. The Starkite safety release is easy to engage, even under load, and has built-in swivel mechanism that untwists front lines. It separates completely from the swivel at its base but remains tethered to the leash line, so it never goes missing. The pull-pull trim strap adjustment is within reach for regular sized arms and trims the kite sufficiently for unhooking or empowering. The central trim line is made of durable PVC tubing, which makes for ultra-smooth sheeting. Some of these industry-exclusive features endear the Starkites Bar to a growing legion of Starkite enthusiasts.

Performance Highlights
• Big boosting, big loft kite
• Good upwind and plenty of depower
• Keeps pulling through the Loop for powered transitions

On the Water
The ExA burst onto the scene last year with its impressive power and big boosting capability. It has all the attributes of a high powered freestyle kite with fast and direct steering, and smooth power generation. It can really power through the turns and the team members had some fun burning into powered transitions with this kite. The ExA is also fairly forgiving with more instant depower than many of the BOW style freestyle kites. It’s not super wave friendly because of its hard pulling power through the turns, but with good turning speed and depower it can park and surf in a pinch. With the complex bridle configuration and the floating central strut, the ExA stays rock solid through gusts, and the canopy leading edge keeps a solid shape while sheeting out the bar. The result of this stability and canopy functioning is smooth and reliable depower, good wind range and rocket fast upwind capability. Unhooked the ExA seems even better than last year with improved stability and pull off the front lines. Advanced wakestyle riders will appreciate with the pop the ExA offers while unhooked. The water relaunch is very easy with single steering line pull and there are no issues even in lighter winds. This kite best suits intermediate to advanced riders that want to boost big lofty jumps, have access to depower in gusty situations and still maintain a good level of unhooked freestyle capability. It’s a fast pulling, high-powered freestyle kite that lets you steer and fly it aggressively to give high-end performance all day long.

Reality Check
The bridle system and safety system are somewhat complicated and not as simple or streamlined as some other brands. But with the range and power delivery it’s easy to overlook any faults.

Bottom Line
Good incremental improvements in material and design place the ExA as top contender amongst hybrid BOW kites on the market. Look to the ExA if want to impress your friends with like big lofty jumps and ultra powered Mega Loops. Good improvements on overall stability make this kite better than ever for unhooked freestyle.

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