Seen this review on the seabreeze site
Rider: 75 kg intermediate
Style: Freeriding, Surf
Weather: 10-22 knots couple of sessions
Build Quality: All good so far
Board: 149 Cabrinha Chopstick, 136 Cab Custom
Kite Quiver: Switchblade 6m, Convert 7m, Rev II 9&11m, Octane 11m, Method 12m, Gaastra 14m, Griffin 14m,
Ridden, Drifters, BWS, Envys, Zephyrs, Edges, Ocean Rodeos.
Advance Warning : Sorry for the War and Peace sized review!
I divided it up with some headers in case that helps you skip to the bits you wanna read about.
Disclosure: Nige sent me these kites after I had mailed him a few times. He offered before I asked. You should start mailing him right away! I am not affiliated with EPIC and receive no benefits from writing reviews for any kite company. I am looking for a wave kite 1st and foremost.
Nigel has been great and offered me the demo without any prompting. The feeling you get when at your post office when there are 2kites in a bag there for you, it's pretty hard to beat so thanks Nigel.
Secondly, there has been barely any wind here since I took hold of these over a week ago, so I am looking for other renegade & wave riders input here also.
& I am in the Byron Area so hit me up if you want to have a try of these kites in the next week- wind is on it's way - i'll be up at the Broadwater and down in Ballina as well.
These kites are impressive out of the bag and under the pump. 3 struts, delta wing tip, sturdy LE, simple bridle.
Kites come with extra 15m lines for higher winds that I haven't had the chance to try.
The bar is great with ATBDepower and huge hooks and dollys to grab for adjustments, so that is a bonus. It's all straps and no cleats so there's no getting stuck or not hooking back into the cleat. Nice.
The throw on the bar is nice and long. I like that as it gives you more range on the fly.
The Xtend bar I got sent has no continuous front line safety but the new videos posted by Dimitri shows he has remedied this on his latest offering, with a new continuous safety and he has changed the QR to one that IMO, looks better. The QR on the one i'm using works well but the new one looks very easy to use.
The bar & bridles have tons of areas where you can adjust the kite for the wind speed. 2 knots at the end of the kite end of the lines and also more at the bar so the range of the kite is quite impressive. Especially the low range. The kites did not suffer any turning or performance issues due to these adjustments being made. This was surprising to me as most kites become hard to turn when you set the back lines a little longer. A+ there.
Epic have been getting a little bad press on their slider rings breaking bridle lines. These kites have the new slider ring and they are really a work of art.
Can't foresee any dramas here as they are wide and smooth.
As I said not much wind here but each session we've been able to get the 9 and the 11 out.
One of the boys is 85kg and he was struggling to stay out of the water on his 13m drifter and 140 tronic, he did way better an managed to hold it when he hopped on my choppie.
It will sound a little hard to believe but on my first session in 10 - 14 knots, I was occaisonally holding ground on the 9m in waves. Out the back I was sining a bit but I had loads of power. In the shorey, which that first day was about 1-2 ft, I was sinking a bit but I got out and boosted off some waves.
Surprised? I was. When it was under 12kts I started a downwinder! (whoops bit of a walk there) above 12 I held it. We have a wind meter & I was on the Choppie with 45mm fins.
I took the 11 out next and this one needed no sining at these low knots. I'll say again, the Choppie really helps on these days, but the kite has to come to the party.
These kites pivot around the wing tip but they do draw some power after the turn which I found a little hard to deal with when trying to stay on the wave. Neither of them drifted as good as I liked in these low winds but they drifted as good as my best wave kite - the method. But not as good as the times I've flown the 9 drifter. In the next update I will have flown these 2 side by side, so that will be interesting for me at least an I'll let you know. What they did do was handle easy with light pressure and instant response, even though a the power surge was delayed, it was certain at every turn.
Boosting is where these kites are in a league above anything I've ridden. It is very easy, I never felt like looking at the kite once, and the height was impressive. At these low kts I was boosting 10ftrs on the 11m. Landings were like landing on a feather bed. I was so confident, I was boosting in the low tide shorey before and during the turn out in less than a foot of water. I can't say how impressed I am by this quality.
Heading out the little dumpers were easily cleared with this trick easily loaded.
Loops are not my bread & butter but they're a lot easier for me with one of these kites. Looping backrolls & carve transitions - nice!
Upwind was good which is great cause it's boring having to head out for 5 minutes to make it back to where you were. Straight sideshore on the beach and 50m past the break was all I needed to hold ground - another tick.
The next session we had started @ 20 + kts and ended at around 10! The 9 was actually over powered on the trimmed in settings so we let her out a bit and she was much more friendly. This 9 is a powerful kite! My m8s were coming off 9m nomads and drifters and said as much. They were quite shocked.
Upwind again was terrific - more time in the waves - A+ here again
We were able to boost the 9 this day and it was just as easy as on the 11 previously. Both kites feel very similar when flown in their range. Again, I found troubles with the drift and post turn haul and this was on both the custom (which is very zippy in waves) and the chopstick. I am lining up a very good wave rider who rides BWS to have a crack & give his opinion but we need more wind.. so i'll update the post in the next few days.
When the wind started to die up went the 11 and man, this is a nice kite,
the biggest positive for me about these kites is their user friendliness. They go where you send them and they do it smooth.
Over all summary:
so far for me is that
boosting & control is easy as on the renegades and the feel at the bar is bouncy and light. I have 'tennis' elbow so this counts for a lot. So it's like a 8 out of 10 for me so far. I found you could easily whack a lip and get down the face but staying on the wave was a bit trickier than on the drifer which didn't "send" as hard after the turn and was a little easier to zip back for the second smack. I've tried a few other wave kites as you can read in the list and this rates 2nd for me. But that is 2nd with quite a bit of daylight to 1st. Maybe it's the delta wing tips? As a freeride kite this one is hard to beat and probably deserves a 9 or a 10 as it's easily the easiest kite I've used for skatepark style wave riding, boosts and loops. Also the quality of the kit is reassuring, nice bar, easy depower, solid strut locks(never came out- there was a few stacks!).
I'll drop another line in when the serious wave riders have had their go after the weekend. Should be some good testing coming as the cyclone swell and dead east wind is on it's way.
Thanks for reading and please feel free to comment constructively or negatively.
Remember - hit me up if you're in the area and would like to take these for a spin. It's my thanks back to Nigel to have as many folks as possible ride these