I finally got a chance to demo the new Gaastra Phoenix 25 and compare it to my Rhino II 20 yesterday.
I weigh about 240 lbs (110 kg) and was riding my 2003 Litewave 148. Wind conditions were about 8 - 12 knots, with small chop sea conditions.
Both the Gaastra and North were rigged with similar Slingshot bars.
Although the Gaastra is reportedly 5 sq. meters bigger than the North, it really doesn't look it. They look nearly identical in size, but the North's tips are considerably wider than the Gaastra's. The Gaastra had a very steady pull, sat much deeper in the power zone, and was very slow to turn. The bar had a "heavy" feel to it. The best description I can give is that it was like being pulled by a big truck without power steering.
The North, on the other hand, was "zippier": it moved much further forward in the window, and (for it's size) turned on a dime. The pressure on the bar is light and responsive. Like driving a well tuned Porsche.
A fellow RII 20 owner also tried the Phoenix and we alternated kites back and forth, his observations were similar to mine. He boosted some jumps, and hang time on the North was longer than the Gaastra. We both still prefer the RII 20 and would not trade them in for a Phoenix. If the Phoenix were considerably cheaper (we were quoted about $1800), I might consider adding it to the quiver, but at that price I'd rather get a bigger board instead.
I'm not sponsored by anyone, in case you wondered...