To preface this, Ive been very spoiled lately. We drove to the beach with a car full of some of the top reviewed 08 kites so far. In the back were a 10m Royal Era, a 9m F-one Bandit, and a 12m Nemi HP, and a 12m rise.
Get to picton and trot over the dune to check the wind and its blowin. I'm already thinking I'm riggint the 9m but we just got the rise so we take it out in the parking lot to have a look. You guys gotta know what this is like. You unroll a new kite and one thing just leads to another! The Rise is true to the well built rep that OR have established. This is a smart kite. Well built, well finished and nicely detailed. There are little things about the other three kites in the car that I would change. The nemi has no scuff guards on the LE, comes with one line length and has 6 pullies on the kite. The Era's LE seam is old tech, the one pump hoses/vlaves are not ideally placed so they often kink, the line set is proprietary and there is no one way valve on the 10m. The F-one is not one pump, it's front and back lines are different lengths and the strut ends are so tiny that its really hard to get to the bladders. These are pretty small complaints in the big picture and I can live happily with any of these kites. As it should be, I base purchase decisions on performance. That being said, Its nice to find a kite that has all the details and not just most of them covered. Kook proof, lines with extensions, propper scuff protections for a kite that will see ice and snow, two pullies only, great one pump, tuneable bridle and top of the line construction, Oh and the lines have those little pull tabs that are so appreciated when its freezing! Enough about the kite in the parking lot!
Had it pumped up and liked it so it was a quick decision to just put it up for a sec. Wind was pumpin but the kite was well behaved so as these things tend to go, we decide to give it a propper try.
Riders: 180 and 220 lbs
intermediate to advanced
wind was 20-25 knots
Beach break with nice shoulder high waves past the flats on the inside
Despite the weight difference, both of us were really comfy on the 12. I think it was the right size for Ken, but would have been better off on a 10. We took the extensions off and rode the kite on 21m lines.
After riding so many nice kites this summer and fall I'm getting better at getting dialed in on new kites. The Rise felt fine right off the bat. Anyone used to a flat 5 kite will feel at home right away. The F-one has taken me a while to get comfy on, but like the Era, the Rise is great right away. In its top end it was very comfortable and had plenty of depower. The Vents are interesting, and after watching and riding it repeatedly I'm pretty sure they are the real deal. We were well powered, so I'm looking forward to seeing if the kite acts the same way in its bottom end. Tried repeatedly to oversheet and it never stalled. You can feel it lose some power as you go past the point of "normal" stall but it keeps truckin. At times when watching from the beach I could see blue sky through the vents so there has to be a decent amount of air flow through there.
In the end, I would have been better off on a 10m but was having a ton of fun boosting big and ripping powered carves in the flats. The kite still had enough depower to have fun on the wave face, but had to be sheeted out so much that steering suffered. Again I was on a 12m in 20-25 knots. For waves I should have been on an 8m or at most a 10m. Over all I would say this is the fastest turning kite of the 08's I have tried. That says a LOT after having spent the fall on Era's. We had an even faster option on the bridle that I will be sure to try. There was a lot of wind so its hard to say what the power delivery is like in the turns. I could not feel any loss of torgue when redirecting fast but was pretty juiced the whole time. It certainly behaves well when lit, boosts high and floats long. The 12 has very floaty landings that were easy to time. Bar feedback is very good with light bar pressure (also had a lighter setting on the bridle). The over all feel was one of really quick response but very smooth power/depower with no issues in the gusts. This was a great test of the kites top end for me and I'm impressed. It has better top end than the Era which shines in its lower to med range. The Nemi seems to have great top end and so does the bandit when you rig it properly. It will be interesting to see if the Rise can match the Era in low end torque. The era is very light and hence does really well in the light stuff, but can be stalled if your not carefull. The low end will be a better test of the vents.
Again, It looks like 08 is going to be a great year for kites. There has been significant improvements to the SLE design over last year and OR are definitely on the cutting edge of the learning curve. I'm looking forward to finding this kites full wind range.