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Apr 3, 2010

Author: Shane Thompson

Size Tested: 11 m
Style: Four line closed cell foil

With the optimum price-to-performance ratio of any closed-cell foil on the market, the Neo II shows improvements from last year’s model in the areas of water relaunch, stability, safety systems and ease of use.

Control Bar and Safety Systems
The HQ bar features a smooth EVA foam grip what tapers from the centre to the longhorn bar ends. The kite can be trimmed above the bar with a smooth working cleat system that has a long strap which is easy to grab. There is also strap that attaches across the rear lines, which makes it easy to grab and rear relaunch the kite quickly from the water when the kite is leading edge down. You can also use this to land the kite on its back quickly. The safety loop used in this test was last year’s model and the new one has been redesigned and looks to be more modern in its new incarnation. Full flagging capability with the mini fifth line leash system ensures excellent safety and lands the kite fully on its back.

On the Water
The Neo II is very user-friendly and more value-oriented as compared to other foils that we’ve tried and it offers reliable performance for what it does. This was an easy kite to rig up, launch and fly. The power generation was considerably smooth, even amongst LEI’s and the Neo II depowers well and handles gust easily. The water relaunch is very quick, as the Neo II almost bounces off the water and rear relaunches with a quick pull of the back lines. It does take some technique adjustments for an LEI flyer to get used to trimming for optimum power without over-sheeting. The Neo II is ideal for the snowkiter who wants to do dabble in kiting in the summer or the traveler who wants to bring the smallest packing kite along for the trip. It is well suited to teaching beginners on the snow and then transition into some water action after the spring thaw.

Reality Check
The 11 m didn’t have as much power as the other foils of this size and its steering is geared towards the point-and-fly rider, rather than the more aggressive advanced rider. Look for a new more refined bar system to be released in early 2010.

Bottom Line
The Neo II delivers good stability and easy-to-access performance for the snow kiter that also wants reliable performance on the water.

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