After spending some time on these and limited reviews available I thought I would be nice to share this with you guys
Kite: Zian Hantu V3 9M2 and 7M2
Boards used: Tona Pop 139, Axis Tranq 141, Shinn Ultrasonic 2015, Best Stubby Pro
Rider: 70kg, kiting for 4 years now in many parts of the world and different conditions
Style: Freeride, Unhooked, Wave, Boosting
Conditions: Variable, Tested this kite over the course of one year
Build Quality: 8.5/10
Disclosure: Zian Brand Ambassador, but I'll be honest and say what I do and don't like
Zian kiteboarding was founded in 2012 by fellow Dutchman Robert Berends, after being the CEO for one of the world’s largest kiteboarding- and windsurfing sail manufactures, he started his own kiteboarding company: Zian. Zian’s philosophy is based on offering the highest performance and best quality without an inflated price. This can be accomplished by a direct-sales business model (similar to some other brands in the industry), which eliminates dealers and their mark-ups, offering the client a fair and competitive price. In 2014 Zian openend up it’s own company to be able to improve quality and manufacturing even more.
Today, Zian is an upcoming international kiteboarding brand with a growing number of customers all over the world. Zian currently offers 3 types of kites all in their third iteration: Aquila (Freeride, Boosting and Light Wind), Kima (Surf, Freeride) and Hantu (Freestyle, Megaloop, Wakestyle and Surf). All kites rely on a 3 strut platform and sport great quality materials and finishing.
The Hantu V3 is a 3 strut, Block-pulley bridled open-C kite offering a crisp, connected and lively feel on the water. It marketed as the Master of Styles, aiming at riders who are looking for a kite which can do a bit of everything but keeping that high performance nature of an open-C kite. Direct competitors would be: North/Duotone Dice, Cabrinha FX, Ozone Enduro, Core GTS4/5, Airush Union, LF NV, Naish Dash, Slingshot RPM and the F-One Bandit.
The Hantu offers 2 different bridle options: Freestyle Mode (light bar pressure, max depower and tight turns) and Wakestyle Mode (increased bar pressure, deeper turns and more feedback). Settings can be changed by loosing up a pigtail on the bridle and attaching it to the other setting. For the backlines the Hantu offers the same 2-options on the tip of the leading edge which can easily be changed. It offers loops on the backline attachment points and knots on the frontline attachment point (same as Ozone).
I started kiteboarding in 2014 with a Best TS 2013, which was a very fun and lively kite offering great heaps of performance, while still being accessible enough for a beginner. After that I got a Cabrinha FX for a while and a quick take on an old Ozone C4 2011. All of these kites offered light bar pressure, of which the Cabrinha by far the lightest. The Hantu is a little bit heavier and sits somewhere between around the C4 and TS. Because of the bar pressure, one can always feel where the kite sits in the sky.
Boosting and looping
Coming from a 2015 Cabrinha FX I always found that it offers great instant boost, jerking you off the water but always dropping me like a brick. The Hantu offers that same instant boost but will provide a bit more glide down. For looping it offers more of an arcing than pivotal turn and a tad less fast than the FX I was used to ride, which surprised me the first time I looped this kite. Especially in midrange winds (20-25 knots) the Hantu loops with more power than the FX. After completion of the loop it rises to zenith quickly again.
Despite being marketed as a kite for powered waveriding, I can tell the Hantu behaves itself well in the surf (non-powered wave riding). Unfortunately we don’t get world-class wave in the Netherlands, but in some side-shore and on-shore knee to shoulder wave slop the Hantu drifts decently while offering plenty of feedback to go down the line and retain steering when the lines go slack. That being said, it is not a wave kite, so quicks turn when powered up can be challenging and the turning speed isn’t as quick as for example the Kima, but a 9m on a 52cm bar it is well-enough.
Free- and Wakestyle
The Hantu offers great pop and decent slack to get some passes done, especially on the Wakestyle Mode. The smaller sizes (7m and smaller) can be on the quick side even on this setting.
Relaunch and ease of use
The Hantu relaunches easily by pulling one steering line in all but the lightest of wind. It’s very stable, making it a beginner friendly kite. It’s not your typical sheet-in and go kite, but requires some working before it unleashes its full potential, which can set beginners off thinking it doesn’t provide sufficient power. Furthermore, it goes upwind like any other 3 strut open-C kite which is fine.
Zian currently offers their Control Bar V4 and V4.1. I haven’t tested the 4.1 yet, but the only difference is the new chickenloop Zian developed based on NUKE-chickenloop. The Zian Control Bar features a 4-equal line length Y-split bar with dual front-line safety and an above the bar depower cleat. This is the only downside of the kite I can think of. Industry standard nowadays would be a single line flag-out system, with most systems using a low V split. However, from what I tested the Hantu releases fine on those 2 front lines, but the bar can be rebuilt to flag on only one front-line by untying and tying a few knots. I also tested the Hantu on different V-split bars with single-line flagout and it works all fine.
The bag provides plenty of space to put your kite in, it has one big main compartment for the kite. An small front compartment for your repairkit, food and drinks. One side has a pouch to hold a bar and the other side sports some nylon straps to pack your pump. The zippers are great quality and I can’t see any sign of corrosion yet. The only downside are the straps for the pump. The stichting is not strong enough and will come loose eventually. For this I restitched the straps myself which still is holding up perfectly.
In conclusion, the Hantu V3 offers all of the cross-over performance one would wish for while keeping that high-performance open-C feeling. It won’t let you down, no matter what you would throw at it: megaloops, surf, freestyle while still being accessible for beginner kiters. If you like switching up different riding styles the Hantu is your kite. With it’s bomb-proof construction and affordable price when compared to it’s main competitor’s it is a serious option to consider when looking for a new kite.