Apr 3, 2010
Author: SBC Test Team / Shane Thompson
Size Tested: 8, 10, 12 m
Style: Four line Delta three strut, SLE Hybrid
The new Envy is an all-round freeride kite that promises a “beyond Delta” performance in a compact three-strut platform. This lightweight, Delta Hybrid incorporates the best of the Delta features—which include: ease of flying, wind range and instant water relaunch—with the proven LF SLE design features like the diamond wing tips and USB 2.0 Bridles.
Control Bar and Safety Systems
The new CPR (Centreline Push Release) System has a ton of new features which include a reduced in diameter and a textured grip, a redesigned trim loop and increased fifth line 100 per cent safety feature. This set up addresses the needs of riders that want 100 per cent depower flagging with a mini fifth line leash that completely flags the kite off a single front line. A secondary safety capability flags the kite 90 per cent off the front two lines using the centre line flagging method. The new 3D moulded cleat is centred atop the new CPR chicken loop for quick and effortless trimming. The CPR chicken loop has no moving or metal parts, and unclips cleanly and efficiently from its housing. Although it does remove completely from the bar, which can be an issue if the donkey line is not set to your hook, or the leash fixed through it. The CPR chicken loop is quick to reaffix also. Liquid Force gets top marks for improving the standards of safety and functionality of this new bar.
On the Water
At first glance it might be concluded that a three-strut design would not maintain its shape in gusty winds and turbulent conditions, but the Envy truly delivers. Quick and easy to pump up with just three struts to fill, and the benefits of a lighter-weight kite in the air can be noticed instantly. Upon launch the kite easily floats to the apex of the wind window and positions itself with good stability overhead. It’s almost impossible to stall this kite which gives it a great advantage for beginners. The most impressive basic freeride kites of the test are easy to get used to and build confidence quickly and this kite does just that. The Envy has good low-end power and grunt and its light feel keeps pulling through the lulls. Good hang time and jumping capability can excite both the intermediate to advanced rider. The Envy hasn’t sacrificed performance to ease of use like many others in its class. The USB bridle and control system also deliver ample amounts of depower and the diamond wing tips ensure this kite reacts quickly to turn initiation with a direct bar feel. It has a combination of pivotal turning capability but can also generate smooth power through transitions. Stability through gusty situations is maintained and the kite sits well forward in the window. For wave riding the Envy delivers good drift back and its light weight allows it to respond quickly to bar input. It is also comfortable to unhook and throw down some freestyle, with predictable pop and good hang time carry. Ultimately, The Envy has an appropriate name with versatile performance that can up the fun factor for every rider at every skill level.
The 8 m didn’t have as much speed or low-end as some of the others on the test. Some testers preferred a side pull cleat for the trim strap as opposed to the centreed.
The LF Envy incorporates the great features of a Delta kite with light bar pressure, direct steering and great control of a higher performance SLE. This is a kite that’s not only easy to use but has enough high performance to satisfy any advanced rider in multiple disciplines.