Lets start off with the 2008 Havoc 16m since thats what most of are interested in hearing about anyways. Well this past weekend I was given the opportunity to ride this kite in a wind range of 12knts to 16knts at the Strand, San Diego. I was also riding a Liquid Force 131 Recoil Comp, staying up wind np.
I will just touch on these areas:
bar and lines
kite (flying abilities, speed, turning, stability, ect)
bag and accessories
The kite is very well constructed in terms of double stitched, simple panels that don't seem to be prone to easy rips on harsh landing on land or water. And if ripped somehow the panels would definitely be easy to replace. The valves, which I feel are so under rated by most people are a great improvement with better sticking Velcro and the out valve a bit larger for quick deflation. Also key is the one pump, very easy to use, and recommend not using the valve clips.
Bar and lines:
The new 2008 bar is definitely another improvement with a simple layout and easy left and right indicator for those of us who sometimes confuse our lines in a rush to get out for those 10 minutes of wind. The bar has a nice little metal insert that allows the chicken loop line to follow through with easy sliding abilities. This is good for durability because I have gone through some bars that just fall apart in that same spot. The back lines have several knots that allow for power or depower settings. I found that the best settings were on the second knot from the top. The bar has also a ton of depower with the same method as the previous bar, the depower strap being right next to the chicken loop. This is also where the the leash attaches for those unhookers who do not like to be wrapped around their leash or have it flailing around in their face. There is also the same stopper ball, which slides with ease and but yet does not move when the bar is thrown out.
Quick release and the chicken loop both are quality, same style quick release as the previous bar and also a nice chicken loop to easily unhook and hook back in.
For me the bar was great overall and for riding at places such as stinkies where that damn dirt (sand?) consumes all by the end of the day, I definitely need something that will not fall apart in 6 months.
Power, speed, agility, light bar pressure, total depower, easy relaunch, pretty fail safe. These are the words I look for when buying or testing out a new kite. I want it all, because I want to be completely comfortable when riding and not worry about anything that could happen when flying.
The kite definitely has power thats for sure, freight train status and when it really started to ramp up around 14-16knts I was lit. Unhooked ralleys going big status. The kite was super stable unhooked, no flinching, no power loss, sits exactly where I want it. Fully powered (no depower on the strap) and bar pulled down, the kite would just sit there at 12 (unhooked). There was no back stall at all. (bridle settings, second from the end, and bar settings, second from the top aswell) The kite does not budge from 12 for a while until finally moving left or right.
The kite is also agile, meaning it does not feel as if you are riding another massive kite, compared to some other brands out there. Quick smooth turns, does not pivot. The bar pressure is practically none for those prone to elbow problems or do not like those kites with tons of bar pressure.
With the 16m Havoc, I did not dump this kite in the water nor did I try the safety systems on the kite, but I will comment on the Session safety systems which I assume the Havoc would act in the same manner.
Lastly there is the bag, which definitely beats out previous LF bags, two folds and the kite fits in the bag, the zipper has a piece of material under it so it does not get stuck on the kite. The bag also come with a hood, to cover the top and click in towards the bottom, for greater compactness and so sand will not enter the bag. I know some might over look bags, but I care because my I put my bags in my car and do not want alot of sand rolling around, and compactness because I do not have a large car and do enjoy the extra space.
Now for the Session:
This kite is supposed to replace the Assault from what I was told and definitely fills in quite well. I flew the 12m kite from a range of 14knts to 18knts on the same board.
The kite has the similar construction as the Havoc and seems to hold to the test well, when being pushed. I like to beat on my gear and push limits. This kite did get dumped on land and on water when trying new stuff or just losing some balance.
Bar and Lines:
Same bar and lines as the Havoc, but what this bar has that I enjoy is the extra bit of bar pressure. I fly North rhino c kites and like that bar pressure to truly get a good feel of the kite. The Session definitely has just that amount of bar pressure needed to feel the kite out, knowing exactly where it will be at all times, say when trying kiteloops, backrolls, or anything where you want a good feel for the kite. So just check on Havoc Bar and lines section above. The settings for this kite where top not on the bridle and again the second knot on the lines near the bar.
For a 12m in these conditions, I was surprisingly lit up able to throw down pretty big for the conditions. And once again the kite was just stable sitting at noon, not falling out of the sky. After dumping the kite a few times, the relaunch was cake, literally just throw the bar out and turn and boom it just goes right back out. Really impressed. I am definitely used to using 5th line to relaunch my kites, and the easy of this four line kite was simple compared to others I have used. Turns fast and boosts high, also definitely extremely comfortable when flying through the air and easy to correct any mistakes that I make.
Once again the kite feels light and not that feeling that it will fall out of the sky or a truck feeling some kites have. Turns in smooth fashion going through the turn with power and pulling you around like it should be. Very easy to control as well with one hand flying, easy to keep your hand straddled between the chicken loop line and fly the kite. Like I said that extra bar feel really makes a difference.
Same as Havoc.
I have to say I am really impressed with the new LF gear, always a North advocate myself it was definitely a nice change of gear. I would now just like to try the 14m Havoc and see in what conditions I can get away with small board as well. I demoed this gear at the strand and I know you can demo this at Calikites and Extreme.
If you have any questions about the kites, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
or just shoot me an im or post here. New to the forum and glad it was created.