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I had the pleasure of riding the Z Type 13 m from RRD yesterday on their 140 Broad Spectrum board. I have been looking for a bigger board that can ride with more speed and stay plaining through holes.
The location: Berkeley, San Francisco bay
Conditions: 19mph with gusts to 24mph, nice launch ramps on the outside.
As I have not flown these kites before, I was instructed to start with the zippers open to get a feel for the kite. I rode this way for almost an hour and was impressed as when gusts hit the kite just absorbed them. The bar pressure was light and the jumps were pretty big and very floaty.
I came in and zipped up all the zippers and went back out. Noticeably more power and grunt. The jumps at this point became huge and the kite much more responsive. I found that you could leave the kite back in the window on jumps until the last second, sweeping it in on landings for soft touchdowns. A friend of mine said that these were some of the biggest jumps he has ever seen me get. I don't think they were, but they were definetly huge.
I was able to test the RRD emergecy release when I came in and as they said it would, it released 3 of the lines from the bar and instantly depowered. What I liked about this system is that there was no lines to untangle. Just reattach the release and wind up the bar.
It would be hard for me to compare this kite to any others that I have flown b/c I have never felt a kite quite like it. With the zippers, it has a huge range. The jumps were insanely high and the landings super smooth. If I had to compare to any kite that I have flown this year it would be the new North Vegas 12m.
Last year I rode the Rhino 2s and loved the pop on jumps but towards the end of the season got tired of getting overpowered all the time.
As Kiteboarding advances into low to the water wakestyle riding, I think we are going back towards bigger boards for more board speed. The 140 Broad Spectrum is light weight and rides fast. It rode great and has different fin options for different styles of riding. I used the biggest fins and loved it.
Overall impression: Very impressed
kite would be good for: beginner - Pro ( with the zipper options this kite seemed like it could fly about 2.5 - 3 different sizes (11m - 14m)
Other 2004 kites I have tested:
Airush Lift Pro
North Rhino 4