This is a very special kite for me.
One of those kites that is exciting from the moment you unzip it from its luggage like bag.
The spirit of the blue graphics really looks sharp, and the color scheme gives the kite an overall darkness to it without being black.
Some riders prefer dark kites because they are easier to track out of the corner of your eye when the conditions are grayed out by cloud cover or rain.
We have some of the toughest conditions in the world here in the NW.
Gusty shifty storm winds and piles of rocks, sticks and logs we call beaches.
This is what this kite can handle and this is what this kite loves.
Ross Harrington chose construction techniques and materials designed to handle frequent cycles of aerodynamic stresses and extreme conditions.
There are mulitple layers of reinforcement to the canopy and leading edge, including the kite saver...a spanwise shock strip woven into the structure of the panels and struts. This is a proven system for absorbing significant amounts of energy during an extreme impact or stress and saves the seams and fabric from tearing or popping loose. I think it helps give OR kites amazing control too, by unifying the wing in a way that eliminates canopy distortion. OR kites all fly super clean in the top end of their wind range because of this.
The one pump inflates fast, and the bridal is simple and strong with 2 tuning points on the kite for each line attachment.
You can fine tune this kite for your style or wind condition, from a bow like to a C like feel at the bar.
Its easy to self launch and from the moment I put this kite into the air, I noticed how compact and aerodynamic it felt. It slips wonderfully through gusty shifty winds in the 20's and 30's for me without much de-power at the cleat. I haven't tested the high end, but it feels like it could pull my 200lbs weight through winds up to 40 safely but probably with huge amounts of power. The tracking is rock solid and easy to park, and turning is progressive and fluid. I loved how easy it was to adapt to.
The way this vented kite allows you to point upwind effortlessly, then how calm and slow it can fly when you point downwind...like some dutiful servant awaiting your gentle input to zoom into traction once again so smoothly with just the right amount of bar pressure so you can feel where the kite is...this really inspires confidence when you are focused on riding. It feels like this kite can handle anything with a calm that can smooth out even the gustiest bitch of a wind. Its the perfect wave hunter IMO.
Yet, when you are ready to do some flying, there is an awesome power inside this blue beauty as well.
I'm talking about the way this 2nd generation vented SLE engages traction during a power stroke.
The feel of the "pop and pull" vertical hangtime is clean and smooth though out the stroke pattern and there seems to be a generous margin of recovery for overflight or backstalling. This is the easiest Rise yet for jumping big and long, and coming down with excellent control for any type of landing you want. And if you do lose it, the water re-launch is superb.
I get excited when I think about this deep blue 8m Rise that the BKB has let me demo this winter, its one of the "must try" kites of 2009 for sure.