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Feb 5, 2009

Author: Shane Thompson

Size Tested: 12 m / Style: 4 Line fk SLE /Wind Range: 12- 22 knots, expert (180 lbs)/ What’s new: direct 4 line no pulley bar, new bridle system, smart paneling, and single point inflation.

No more Monkey’n around as the new 2009 Griffin Kite is rebranded and redesigned this year with a number of performance enhancements. Over the past couple of years the Griffin model has become renowned as a solid performer for less cake. Pure value with performance that rivals the premium models of other brands.

Bar Set up and Safety Systems
The Griffin kite bar has been redesigned and features a smooth color coded EVA grip that tapers from the centre to the bar ends. The throw line has been slightly reduced in length and the stopper ball system works well. The 2:1 pulley bar option has been removed for direct 1:1 steering. Below the bar trim system works smoothly and the new streamlined Chicken loop safety release and the centre hole has been widened and designed to hold in position when unhooked. Flagging line handles on both bar ends for additional safety.

Key Kite Features
The Griffin has evolved as 4 line SLE hybrid with a flat canopy shape and no centre struts which provides extra low-end power. Well built kite, constructed with high quality materials which include aquaphobic, double coated, light-weight ripstop canopy, and Dacron LE, struts and tips. Plenty of scuff protection with molded rubber, wear prevention patches at the bridle attachment points, leading edge bumpers and lateral strut reinforcing. Hot new graphics and an optional single point inflation system top off this year’s value-packed Griffin.

On Water Performance
The new Griffin definitely got the monkey off its back this year with new and improved graphical appearance and better overall performance from last season. The added low-end power was noticed by every tester, as was the improved canopy stability and direct steering performance. Bar pressure was moderate and provided good positional feedback. Good pulling speed and excellent lift open the door for big air and good hang time. This is an easy kite to jump and it will enlist confidence for beginner to intermediate levels to push it to new heights. The 12 metre also maintains adequate steering performance while unhooked and while sheeted out. Good unhooked pop for wakestyle, and more comfortable control bar with a clean look and better functioning chicken loop and safety features. Depower is adequate and the long trim line ensures good overall wind range. If you were on previous Griffins you may need to downsize the kite for the same wind range as the excellent increase in power also reduced the high end usable wind range.

Reality Check
Like many SLE’s on the market, the removal of the 2:1 pulley slightly reduces the instant depower capability. This fact is overshadowed, however, by improved stability and smoother power delivery.

Bottom Line
The Griffin kite is packed with value and gets top marks for its price-to-performance ratio. Don’t overlook the Griffin kite with its improved low-end power, better direct steering, overall stability, not to mention a great new look and brand name.

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