kay enough is enough.....the new North Dice. North are on a winner here because the five guys who came of it today were all smiles. I feel this kite will be a big seller this year. It will appeal to a lot of different riders for sure.
As far as bar, construction of kite, all that jazz, its North, so I needn't comment on that. The new bar does look a nice piece of equipement I must say, and damn it was good using the iron heart again, it is still the best way to unspin ya lines I personally feel. Right o, the 9m in westerly winds, starting near 17 heading way into the mid twenties at times. A little on/off as you would expect and a decent swell running, albeit can always be bigger right. But ultimately it was a perfect day to check out this kites power delivery, boost potential, drift potential and indeed its pull through loops etc.
Ultimately this is a wave kite and I predict it may make the Neo defunct. Never been on the Neo so excuse my ignorance of course. Best to listen to Neo riders who then try the Dice. But I fail to see how one would need a kite that drifts better than this one. I did some really stupid things today in head high and above stuff and you'd have to really be off your game to drop this kite or running down a 12 foot Margaret river face at stupid speeds at least. But for the average conditions most of us play in, what more would you need. I did do something so stupid the kite started to Hindenburg out the sky badly, and yet as I watched it, it kept trying to right itself in the air...so just before it fell in front of a relatively large wave where reef was waiting for it 50m in shore, a small pull and away she went.
Time to go in, not my kite, but I'm convinced you'd be trying your best to put this in the drink, Slack in the lines from aggressive down the lines or just stupid redirection (mine the latter) was taken up quickly with ample time to sort your shte out.
What got me is hard to describe but I will try... It allows a fair degree of park and ride given speed in a board ( can kill all the power at the tip of the throw) on a SB as one of the guys were this stood out, and yet if you need to fly and follow to get to certain sections, sheet in slightly(one handed mostly) and your get enough static grunt to chase down that section or redirect across the window fast to hit the other side of the wave. Its got a bit of both. I suppose this is translated into its basic power delivery. It provides very quick and direct turning, and yet when one builds up enough speed there is enough drive through the window to lock it off and use some apparent wind to edge upwind. I was on a mako not the most efficient board and there was a period when I was riding a wave all the way into a well know strange wind shadow (but where the wave forms the best) then taking one tack back out and riding the next wave in. Essentially his kite has some decent low end potential given correct flying technique.
Being on the edge it is something I always look for in a kite and this has enough on tap to get you back out there. The power is on/off near the top end of the throw (which goes onto explain killing the kite and riding the wave with little power) but if you are sheeting within the normal range, the power delivery is smooth and linear, with ample feedback. Hence we move into this freeride aspects of this kite... This linear feedback and power delivery gives you the ability to load, pop and boost. We were all getting reasonable air and unlike something like the vegas, were able to land relatively smoothly without the need for downlooping as such.
Drew from WA surf has been on this kite a while now, was in boots and was getting noteable air, twice we were, so plenty of potential to improve. Its no high aspect mother of all Farqer jumper but really controlled with decent vertical pop. Even some relatively inexperienced kiters were getting some reasonable air and doing it with ease. So does it jump? Yes it does. This direct linear feedback really pulls you through the loops to. Lee was chucking down some back roll back loops and as such and he commented how smoothly it took you through these more powered moves where you knew where the kite was in the window the whole time. So here we have the Vegas DNA working for you. One guy was unhooking a little and the kite looked stable, forgiving with enough slack to probably throw down some minor handle passes, but heck if ya gonna go done that road then you need a Straight Vegas (which we also rode, much improved on 2012, but I'm not interested in that sort of kite so sorry nothing to say on that).
Just a last point, this kite was flown in pretty gusty conditions and kinda small being a 9m (Christ have spent the last 30 session on a 17m zephyr!), and it really had that traditional north stability. I found the 2012 Vegas didn't have that, bloody thing would shoot back and forward in the sky in conditions like today. But this kite didn't do that. Was really well behaved and flew forward in the gusts only to a certain point, then settled back, but not too far. They have positioned this kites flying zone in a really nice position in the window. We say there are no advances in kites over the past three years, but your know what, those who appreciate the small nuances, they can mean a great deal.
A story to really emphasis what a great freeride, wave kite this is... Had to laugh. My brother god bless him, doesn't read the net or the forums, doesn't really educate himself on different kites. Just rides. Kind of envy that simple approach. Anyhow he had been on the dice for an hour or so, he saw me, he came screaming in, stopped and said... "Man this kite is unreal, what's it called?". So no prior influences here obviously, lol. He then called back an hour later and said "Farq I really enjoyed that bandit hey"... Again I feel north are on a winner. Would like to try it a little more and have enough time to start unhooking it in the waves to see how she goes. But I wasn't going to do that on someone else's kite my first time out in those conditions. Yeh worth demoing folks. Hope this helps. Eppo Snr.