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Eclipse Thruster

Feb 5, 2009

Author: Shane Thompson

Size Tested: 12 m2 / Style: Four-line SLE / Wind range: 12-28 knots / What’s new: Faster relaunch, more pop, more stability, Hurricane Proof Construction

The Eclipse Thruster has been gaining admirers worldwide for its supercharged, big-air, fast-flying and quick-steering character. It’s the premium SLE in the evolving Eclipse lineup designed to satisfy the demands set forth by legendary big-air freestyling guru Dimitri Maramenidis. It has versatile performance for waves, freestyle trickery or simply cruising with power and control.

Bar setup and safety features
The bar has smooth, colour-coded EVA foam grip and contoured finger grips that let you know where your hands are positioned on the bar. The below-the-bar trim system has an adjustable cleat beside the quick-release trim loop. The moderate-length throw line has a good stopper-ball system The leash attaches to an O ring beneath the chicken loop, and the mini fifth line enables front-line flagging. The quick-release trim loop is spring-engaged by a pull handle on its side and is one of the easiest to reload on the water. Flagging-line handles on both steering lines give the 2009 Morph bar top marks for safety features.

Key kite features
The Thruster is the higher-aspect SLE of the line and this kite uses good-quality build materials branded as Hurricane Proof Construction. High-wear areas are protected by Shark Skin reinforcements and molded scuff guards. The bridle uses two serviceable Ronstan pulleys, and bridle deflectors prevent the bridle from getting caught up in the wingtips. Equipped with a single-point inflation system. All retail-purchased Eclipse kites are eligible for an extended Bullet Proof Warranty upon registration. This warranty gets you a free-of-charge repair within a year of purchase.

On-water performance
The Thruster is a narrow-bladdered, fast and responsive kite that generates lots of pull and power. Testers noted it was one of the bigger jumping kites of the test. Dedicated Thruster riders on the test team noted the faster pulling speed and better stability over last year’s model. Turning speed is quick, and more power is generated through the turns than the Eclipse Nano.
    The Eclipse remains stable in gusty conditions and rockets upwind without much effort. Unhooked, the Eclipse has smooth power delivery and doesn’t cream you downwind like some models out there. There are no back-stalling issues, and with good stability and ample depower, the Eclipse is a capable wave weapon. Quick and easy relaunch is attained with a simple pull of the steering lines. Intermediate riders who want to push it to the next level can practise unhooked pop, and appreciate the Eclipse’s forgiving feel and fast, direct handling.

Reality check
The new bar has some great safety options, but some testers were slightly overwhelmed by the cluster of things to grab and the multiple features around the chicken loop.

Bottom line
The Thruster gets top marks for quick, direct steering, fast cruising speed and easy-to-access performance. This is a premium design that any intermediate or advanced rider can have fun with. It easily matches any big-boosting, big-hangtime kites on the market and has the versatility to perform in every discipline.

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