Feb 5, 2009
Author: Shane Thompson
Size Tested: 9 m2, 12 m2, 15 m2 / Style: Five-line hybrid / What’s new: Refined foil shape, new fifth-line leading-edge bridle
The HiFi is the new-school five-line hybrid that combines the wind range of an SLE design with the direct steering, powered turning and high-energy performance of a competition C kite. It unites LF’s SLE bridled technology with the fifth-line system that enables the kite to function like an SLE but perform like a new-school freestyle champion.
Bar setup and safety systems
The Axis five-line bar has a smooth EVA foam grip with flagging-line safety handles on one back line and one on the front. It differs from some other five-line systems, and uses a long trim line and pulley with the below-the-bar trim and safety system. The fifth line runs right from the end of the trim line between the front two lines. This enables all three front lines to be trimmed identically, eliminating any distortion of the canopy while depowering.
Key kite features
The HiFi is built for the punishment of advanced riders because of its quality build features: single-point inflation system, five-line control system for stability, diamond wingtips for control and depower, and reinforced seams that wrap around plates for durability.
The HiFi stands out among five-line kites for its ability to depower. It performs like an SLE kite but maintains the feel, pop, direct steering and turn capability of the traditional C kites still being used on the PKRA tour. In fact, it was the only five-line kite that got top marks for total depower among testers. It has great potential for waveriding as well as freestyle because of the excellent depower and quick turning capability.
Testers noted slightly increased bar pressure over last year’s model but provides better positional feedback for waves and flatwater freestyle. Like the Havoc, the HiFi also maintains performance with rock-solid stability, and has adequate steering while depowered. Unhooked, the HiFi pulls smoothly and gives the required pop needed to attempt any trick in your bag. Also unmatched by many five-line kites on the market is the ability to water relaunch using the SLE-style steering-line pull. This gives the HiFi advantage if a rider wants the fifth line to ride in the waves or currents when quick relaunching is essential.
The jumbo size of the 15-metre HiFi still feels less responsive, with more bar pressure than some SLE counterparts.
The HiFi almost opens up its own category of kite, blurring the line between an SLE and traditional fifth-line kite setup. Its performance should not be overlooked by any intermediate or advanced rider who wants a versatile kite that can push the limits of the new-school freestyle realm and still hold its own in waves.