This just in from Kevin Collins on Maui, after extensive testing of the 2008 8M Rise in the surf.
" This kite kicks ass.....
I have been riding the the 8m Rise since December 18th. Maui has had a series of small swells and extremely gusty conditions. By gusty I mean 5 to 45mph with rain squalls. In order to deal with these extreme conditions and make the most of the waves I have been riding a 6'8" swallow tail surfboard reinforced for kiting. The combination of the Rise and little larger board has allowed me to stay out longer, point higher and perform better than other riders most of whom are using 7.5 to 9m kites and slightly smaller boards down to 6'.
I must say that I could not be more stoked with a kite right out the bag than I am with the Rise. The set up is so quick I actually don't even use the inflate valve. I just inflate directly into the deflate valve and seal it off, close off the strut pinchers and I'm done. The details like the bridle end holders make keeping the bridles clean and easy to set up. The bar is simple, effective and very safe. I tested it when riding unhooked and bar got ripped out of my hands. The safety worked perfectly, it was easy to uncleat it and relaunch quickly.
The kite is bomb proof as it has already taken a direct hit by 5' bowl and came out unscathed. The flying characteristic are so predictable that I have started taking even more chances in lighter winds. The kite looping is so tight and easy that I can throw a kite loop at will to get a little speed boost to out run a section then depower to stay in the critical part of the wave. I have mostly been riding hooked as the wind has been so gusty. On 12/2/08 we had some slightly onshore conditions that steadied out the wind and made unhooking possible. With a quick depower at the cleat I could easily ride controlled and powered with no backward flying characteristics what so ever. I pulled in about 8" on the control lines to insure forward flight with good turning characteristics. I have been flying with the extensions on the kite lines to give the kite greater range and that has really helped in the light winds.
Bar pressure was ideal. Jumping at will over whitewater is easy. Perfect super tight kite loops make adding power and speed as needed totally predictable.
Overall the kite is a top performer both hooked and unhooked. I can't wait to try the 10m. I wish I could have a 10m that weighed the same as the 8m. That truly would be a miracle kite. A 10m will probably be my main light wind kite with the 12 or 14 just for super light wind days. I know the 6'8" has something to do with my ability to outlast all the other riders but I give 70% of the credit to the kite. The bottom end of the kite is great and I haven't even felt the top end, even on my 6'8".
Good work Ocean Rodeo for making a kite that handles the radical conditions of Lanes and Ho'okipa with power, range, predictability and strength.
Kevin Collins "
You can see the photo sequence here
Converting the World one rider at a time.