Apr 15, 2012
Author: sbckiteboard.com SBC Kiteboard magazine
The Freestyle Advanced category features full-bridled, four-line kites that are designed for intermediate to advanced-level riders who want the direct steering and good unhooked performance of the traditional C kite but with the higher levels of de-power, easier water relaunch and enhanced freeride versatility. This category of kite offers the advanced-level riders both big-boosting ability, as well as solid, unhooked freestyle performance for the new-school and wakestyle disciplines; they are generally faster pulling with more precision control and aggressive flying character. The freestyle advanced kite doesn’t focus as much on instant arm’s length de-power, nor do they have the park-and-go character of their all-terrain freeride counterparts. Instead, the focus is on high-level performance for more experienced riders. The best of the category rewards the advanced-level rider with massive air and hang time, in addition to good amounts of unhooked pop and fast steering and control through a wider wind range.
In the models tested in this group, there is a diverse range of flying traits that endear each kite to its target market, and certain models will suit advanced-level preferences in different ways. All of the kites performed admirably and backed up the hype of their designer’s claims with tangible performance results. There wasn’t one kite that covered every performance attribute better than every other model, but there are some definite standouts in certain categories. For anyone looking for a kite that boosts massive airs and has awesome amounts of hang time, look to the Epic Screamer or the Cabrinha Nomad; both models logged the top scores in that arena. The Nomad has more well-rounded performance, while the Screamer seems unmatched in its ability to lift and glide. For the best control and pull for unhooked wakestyle performance, the Ocean Rodeo Razor and the Ozone C4 racked up the top scores. Both of these kites sit farther back in the window and offer the smoothest unhooked pop and pull. For heavyweight riders, or those who want a kite with lots of grunt, new Liquid Force NRG was the top kite for instant low-end power. The most versatile and nimble of the group proved to be the Nobile T5. Well-suited for the All-terrain category, its jumping ability and aggressiveness also allow it to contend with the top models in Freestyle Advanced SLE.
The kites with overall top scores showed the most well-rounded performance as both high flying freestyle masters and new-school/wakestyle pro weapons of choice: RRD Obsession, Cabrinha Nomad and Airush Varial X. They exhibited the smoothest and most advanced levels of boosting and unhooked performance of the group. They had the cleanest and smoothest pull, and crisp, direct steering that gave them the top scores of the test and most praise from the test riders.
Look for individual reviews in the current issue of SBC Kiteboard magazine and posted to sbckiteboard.com later this month.