Hello. Pretty please, advise me in ANY aspect you can and give me your thoughts.
Please be objective. I'm torn...
Now I own 7.5 and 11.5 Kahoonas v3 with a 2011' bar. 2 seasons on water.
Now I'm searching for something in size between these two kites (I'm constantly overpowered on the 11.5) - let's call it a 9-meter - and a bar + something around 5-6 m2 for my 45-kg-micro-wife. It's gonna be her first season on the water.
My riding preferences: freeride + starting with some hooked freestyle (backrolls, jumps etc) with more coming...
SO, as my bar is really worn I'm facing a need to buy 2 bars and 2 kites.
Here are some of my thoughts:
1. I'm on the cross between going further with Best or switching to North Kiteboarding. So for my wife it would be a 5m Evo, and I-don't know-what for me. Or stay with Best and buy a new 5.5 Kahoona and TS for me...
2. I really-really like the North bar. I don't trust Best bars anymore. Mine got worn-out way too fast. I've lost kite from the hook few times in a strange way... There are some reports that the new 2013 bar broke on some people in a very short time. Fail.
3. The new 9-meter for me: I fancy a thought about something faster-turning and swifter than Kahoona - to make progress and get something fresh and challenging... Best has TS - is it true it will deliver??? North in the terms of an all-around kite with freestyle option has...still EVO? I mean, I think I'm really not ready for the C-shape Vegas and rest of the North lineup looks pretty freeride-wave and they look sssooo similar to esach other. So what would be a North competition to TS? Is there a natural progression way in North kites from easy delta? Or is there only all-other-models -> Vegas? IMHO Best has Kahoona -> TS -> GP...
4. So, for my 9-meter... Alternative to going Kahoona -> TS would be to Buy a 9-meter EVO + North Bar? Will EVO bring something "fresh and challenging" after Kahoona, or is it the same stable-fun-yet-slow-and-little-boring-to-ride delta like Kahoona is? Is it any faster/swifter size-by-size? Does it make any sense or should I run and buy a TS?
5. Quality: is it true that North kites and bars beats Best kites and bars in the terms of quality? My Kahoonas got worn-out in a little nasty way - looks like some threadings were not placed in the proper way and they got torn, but these kites still flies pretty well after 2 seasons... But I expect more for the hard-earn money I pay for kites...
6. Kahoona vs EVO: are these kites really the same thing? What are the differences? Which is more durable and will provide a more space to evolve? Is it true that Kahoona will go better up-wind that EVO? Is EVO so bad in this area? Which kite would you choose?
7. I the day comes and I would need something aggressive is Vegas the thing? I mean if I 'm gonna switch to North and invest in it, is there a way to extends? How Vegas compares to other freestyle-oriented machines? Will it deliver?
So, to sum things up now I see two ways to spent my hard-earn money:
a. Buy Kahoona 5.5, TS 9.0 and 2x 2013 bars from BEST and hope for the best (:))
b. Buy EVO 5.0, EVO 9.0 (or what else?) for me and 2x 2013 North bar
c. any other option/brand - please elaborate?
What do you think - which way will bring more perspectives?
I was in your same position 6 months ago. I had a 7.5m and 11.5m Kahoona 2011 and considered going to North. I had purchased a 2011 Dyno 18m and was loving it. I really liked the kahoonas, they were great for first learning backrolls and front rolls because they are SO STABLE and relaunch is amazing. I was just looking for something new though.
I demoed the TS in 10m and 17m, but I didn't like it. I was looking for a continuation of my old waroos, but it felt very different. Also demoed the GP, but didn't like it (although I like my buddies' Torch and Airush Razor).
I went with the Rebel because I don't unhook much. Compared to the Kahoona, you lose some stability, but the rebel is very responsive and jumps higher. Relaunch isn't instant like on the Kahoona, but it relaunches plenty well. For an absolute beginner I would recommend the Kahoona over the Rebel because the Kahoona is a bit slower, so damn stable, and relaunches so fast.
As you said, the Best bars have had major issues in the past, but the 2012 Best Bar I had was pretty good. You can't beat the North Bar though, better than any bar I have seen.
I've never flown an EVO, but from the reviews I've seen, Rebel will jump higher, but the EVO is better unhooked. I like the fifth line, but if you don't like fifth lines, the Fuse is a 4 line version of the Rebel.
The only other issue is price. In the US, you can buy Kahoonas cheap at the end of the year. North is much more expensive.
With so many brands to choose from I would make a run to your local kite shop(s) and/or check the local forums for demo days. We all get used to what we ride and we all ride differently so see if you can test some gear before committing to buying. Not sure where you're located and what the conditions are you are riding in as that can influence your options. But here's just a few to consider: Ocean Rodeo, Liquid Force, Naish, Cabrinha, Core, Wainman, F-one, Ozone etc etc
I think North is the biggest kite seller and it's true I see them everywhere. However in my experience they are not the strongest kites out there either, but every kite is going to be fragile. Seen some problems with North bar's too, but 2 seasons on the water can be a lot of usage and stuff will break eventually..especially if you are only using one bar.
But if you're micro wife (nice expression btw) is going to start as well I recommend a quiver of 3 kites. Something like a 5-8-11. That way you are covered in most conditions.
And don't forget about the board; that will influence your riding too
Hey bud it is a tough call thats for sure. My 2 cents is that i learnered on the best products, and they worked well, But I felt the quality wasnt as good, and you could tell just by touching the kite. I ended up going with north and am soooooo glad i did. I personally fly a14m 2010 fuse and a 10m 2011 fuse. and love the air and the power you can get out of it. It has the same characteristics as the Rebel just no extra line to worry about. Im looking to buy a 7m evo this year as iv heard and read the evo turns quicker and a bit better relaunch. Soo it depends do want major air or quick turns allowing for some different riding. From what iv seen the north has better resale and you can tell after a season or two. The north kites don t look so worn. Just my 2 cents good luck
As mentioned before - definitely check the kites out before you pull the trigger. It all comes down to personal preferences.
Just my 2 cents: I don't think you can compare older Best products to their recent ones. The quality of the 2012, but especially the 2013 kites is on a different level. Even if you don't want to test the kites in the water, just go to a Best shop and have a look at the current models - you will see and feel the significant difference.
I was riding the Kahoonas as well (2012 and 2013) but switched to Naish Parks to "try something new". I will actually go back to Kahoonas - due to quality and ease of use, power and stability. Kahoona is such an easy going kite with plenty of power and amazing hangtime.
Also, don't leave after sales service out of the equation - with Best I really only had positive experiences whenever I had an issue.
P.S. I personally can not confirm lower re-sale value at all. But it could be a "local thing".