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 Post subject: 3G Epic Judge 8m kite review
PostPosted: Sun Dec 29, 2013 5:11 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 1:32 pm
Posts: 384
Location: Northern Ontario
This September I made a smart purchase and got my hands on an Epic Screamer 10m Ltd that has happened to turn into my favorite kite. I picked this kite up as it was one of the kites in the Epic line up that appealed to me from the moment that it was introduced back in 2009. Long story short, I was intrigued to see how the Judge compared to the 10m Ltd and also the other C kites that are in my quiver. I made it known to Dimitri that I was interested in the Judge and before I knew it the man had sent me down an 8m kite to demo. Who does that? Not only that but the man hasn’t asked for anything in return (at no point did he ask me to put up any form of a review but it was just so that I could try this kite). The snow kite season has just started here in Northern Ontario and the winds have been pretty fickle. When the kite arrived the first thing that I did was pump it up so that I could have a look at the fit and finish of the overall package. With all Epic kites, they are well built and look quite sharp. The yellow and blue color scheme are a nice contrast to the bright white snow. This kite is bullet proof but also feels lighter than the 10m Ltd but not as light as my Ozone 9m C4. I love that the bag is big enough that I could easily fit another kite in as well and makes packing up so much easier (seems trivial but fighting to get a kite rolled up and into a bag that already feels a size too small isn’t a whole lot of fun for me).
The problem with winds in Northern Ontario is that they are generally on the light side and we have a tendency to ride kites that are in the 10-17m range. The joy of snow kiting is that you can rig smaller kites as you don’t need as much power to be able to ride. The first session that I had on the Judge was in winds that I should have been on my bigger kites. Both my Ozone C4 9m and the Vegas 9m couldn’t fly well enough to get me going in such fickle winds. The judge on the other hand had no issues and I was powered enough that it was a fun session. The Judge has an amazing low end and the first thing that I really liked about this kite was how simple it was to relaunch. Hands down the best relaunching C kite that I have ever used and to say that it is effortless is an understatement. In these light winds it is a struggle to get the C4 to launch and the Vegas was even more difficult (I am not going to put a number on the strength of the wind as I would be just guessing but it was really light). I found that the steering of the Judge in such light winds was excellent as well and I never had any issues with the kite wanting to fall out of the sky. I pulled the bar to whatever side and the kite responded immediately to the imput and moved to that direction. Rock solid is probably the best way to describe how well this kite handled.
My next session I was finally able to use the kite in winds that had the kite well powered and was able to see how it actually stacked up against the C4 and Vegas. To be absolutely fair, I am in the process of getting rid of my Vegas kites as I am not a fan of the batons and the 5th line setup. It isn’t that it is bad thing but in today’s modern C kites it is nice to have the simplicity of a 4 line set up. The first thing that became apparent is that all three kites are excellent choices and should make any rider happy with how easy they are to fly. The Judge kite felt as solid in the sky as the Vegas that they have the edge over the C4 (it does get flutter in the canopy at various times). Personally I have to say that I am most impressed with the Judge as this being the first version of this kite it is definitely a contender. It fly’s with ease and has great handling characteristics. At the end of the session I would say that all three have their strengths and weaknesses….

2012 Vegas:

-Super solid in the sky and in the free riding setting is super easy to ride (you don’t need to be a pro and the average weekend warrior would be comfortable on this kite).
-The north bar is a great bar and the safety system on it is top notch
-I for one love the color scheme on these kites and they attract a lot of people who comment on them
-No pulleys and direct handling
-The deflate on this kite is horrible and the batons are such a pain
-Smaller bag and would like to see them beef it up more as they seem poorly made
-5th line setup is not for me but it isn’t the end of the world either for this kite

2011 C4:

-Nice light kite that I found very simple to fly. There is something about the way that Ozone kites fly that make them special to the people that own them. They are definitely a kite flyers kite!
-I love the Ozone bar and found that it is well made without needing the flash
-BST inflate/deflate valve is hands down the winner
-Easy to relaunch
-No pulleys and direct handling
-The construction on these kites seems very light and it makes me nervous to how durable they will be (I haven’t had an issue yet but I am very careful with launching and landing my kites)
-My Ozone bar doesn’t have the push away QR but the new bars do
-The kite is a 2011 and not as nice looking as the newer models but looks aren’t everything!

2012 Judge:

-Hands down the easiest relaunch of the three kites
-Rock solid stability and the kite has a mini bridle with a slider that assists in relaunch. You can remove the bridle and have no pulley/slider but it makes the kite more like the Vegas in relaunch.
-Super easy to fly and I would say that of the three the Judge kite is the most user friendly. This is one of those kites that makes you want to push your riding as it provides confidence.
-Nice big bag that makes it no issue to put the kite away.
-No adjustments for bar pressure (not that the Judge has high bar pressure but it is nice to have options)
-Limited sizes and it would be nice if Epic would make this kite in a 13m

What really surprised me about the Judge was how easy this kite is to fly. The solid responsive steering makes the kite feel nimble but not so fast that it is hard to control. It was for me the best handling kite of the test and shocked me that I actually preferred its handling well over the Vegas and the C4! I still think that Ozone has it dialed in on how to make great flying kites and Epic falls into this category as well. It is nice to find a kite that feels right from the first time that you try it and the Judge is one of those kites (as well as the 10m screamer). It is so easy to fly that I would not have an issue in letting beginners use this kite as it is quite forgiving. It reminds me of the RPM in that it is a kite that anybody could use and be very happy with its handling. With the effortless relaunch of this kite it makes it so easy to learn on that it inspires confidence to try new things.
It’s bar pressure is on the light side (much lighter that the 10m screamer) but has enough that you know where the kite is at all times. Nobody is going to complain about getting too much bar pressure with this kite and you can easily kite all day with no issues. At times I find that the C4 could use a bit more bar pressure and the Judge seems just perfect. I still would like to see that they could improve the Judge by having adjustments to either increase or decrease that pressure. Some riders may favor more pressure and having the option to do that is a nice feature to have.
Like what I have said before I will mention again… all three kites are such great kites that you can’t go wrong with any of them. I would gravitate to the C4/Judge kites over the Vegas kites just for the 4 line setups and the lack of batons. The more time that I get to spend on the Judge the more I come to appreciate what a fantastic kite this is. The V2 kite that Dimitri has coming out will have a bridle like the C4 and I am curious to how that will make the kite perform. All the aspects of the 10m screamer that I love, I can see how the judge has influenced it. Both kites compliment each other so well that the 10m could have the Judge written on its side and would pass for it. If you have ever used the 3G 10m screamer and like that kite than you need to give the Judge kites a demo. I would recommend anyone to honestly try this kite as it may shock you to find that this may be the kite for you. The issues that people may have had with C kites in the past is not what this kite is about. It would be better to put this kite in the same Hybrid category as the new envy, park, C4 and RPM.
I guess the question that I have to ask myself is the Judge kite worth switching over from the current kites that I own? The simple answer would be yes… the ease of relaunch and handling alone are reasons enough just in that regard. The fact that Dimitri is willing to go beyond any other brand in getting his kites to potential buyers is a testament to the company that he runs. I am not a rep/team rider and just like 99% of the people who kite, I buy my own gear! I have become a big fan of this company but I refuse to use any product that I think is inferior! At the end of the day I work hard for each dollar in my pocket and want to be riding the gear that makes me the happiest! Granted that Epic kites may not be for everyone but for me I cannot state how happy I have been with the two kites that I have used. I recommended to anyone to get in touch with Dimitri and see how you can try the Judge or any of his kites in general. I am looking forward to what the future Judge kite is going to be like!


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 Post subject: Re: 3G Epic Judge 8m kite review
PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 3:06 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 03, 2002 1:00 am
Posts: 3985
Location: OUTER BANKS (NC) USA. Owner of EPICKITES
Whaooo…. that is a lot of work soul19. Great job on the review. Maybe you should start a new job and have kite companies send you kites so you can demo them and put your inputs about the different products.
So I guess now you want to demo the prototype JUDGE (5G) we are working on with bridles, am I right?


Last edited by Dimitri M on Mon Dec 30, 2013 8:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: 3G Epic Judge 8m kite review
PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 3:31 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2010 10:47 pm
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Thank you for sharing. You put a lot of work into this post- :thumb:


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 Post subject: Re: 3G Epic Judge 8m kite review
PostPosted: Tue Dec 31, 2013 4:23 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 1:32 pm
Posts: 384
Location: Northern Ontario
Hey I appreciate the compliments and it was fun experience. I cannot find much information on the Judge kite at all and really wanted to try this kite to see if it was as good as the 3G screamer 10m Ltd that I had bought this fall. I am thankful that Dimitri was kind enough to send me a demo to try and I am hoping that it can provide a bit of insight to anyone else that is interested in these kites. It is far from the perfect review but I was honest to what I liked and don't like about the kites that I have ridden. I wasn't sure that I was going to be a fan of the slider on the bridle as I find that they take away from the responsive steering that I prefer. The slider has no affect on the steering at all and it makes the relaunch of this kite so easy (one of the easiest kites I have ever used). Is the kite perfect…no (no kite is perfect) but it I liked it the best of the three kites that I have tested. I would love to try the 2014 Ozone C4 and see how they have improved the kite from the 2011.

James


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 Post subject: Re: 3G Epic Judge 8m kite review
PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2014 1:36 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 1:32 pm
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Location: Northern Ontario
It has been nice to be able to have the Judge 8m as a demo and to put the kite through its paces. It is hard to have a quick session on any kite and be able to form a proper opinion as to wether this is a kite for you. Most kites do require a learning transition (or rather an adapting period) to understand the nuances of how it operates under different conditions. Certain kites have that feeling that we seek while others will just leave us seeking something else. When I first started to look into the Judge I just didn't see anything about how others liked or rather disliked about this model. Internet searches left me with nothing more than a few posts by riders that already had affiliations with Dimitri and Epic. What was this kite all about and why aren't more people riding this kite at all? These questions always left me with some red flags as if nobody is riding these kites (or at least not posting anything at all) than I would be better off just staying with the brands that have other riders providing feedback. I am glad that the answer to that question is a big NO as this is a solid kite and would be appreciated by anyone. It is a very stable and smooth that I want to push the limits of my riding each time that I go out. The new judge that Dimitri has in the works with the new bridle and larger style inflate valve is going to be on my wish list of kites. I honestly believe that Epic is onto something quite special with the 3G Judge kite and more people need to get ahold of Dimitri and try it out.

James


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 Post subject: Re: 3G Epic Judge 8m kite review
PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 4:46 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 1:32 pm
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Location: Northern Ontario
Update.....

Well I have had the Judge through a multitude of different conditions here in our snowkite season and I have to say that this kite is a lot of fun. It has been mind numbing cold here in the winter kite season of Canada. Nothing better than feeling the warmth being sucked right out of you in minutes and knowing that others are enjoying the warmer climates :thumb: In my last session I have come to appreciate the aspect that I am rigging up a smaller kite than others but man I wish that it had a larger inflate valve!! Still quick to pump up and the lowend power of this kite is insane. Others that have been testing this kite all cannot believe the power that this kite generates and how it is comparable to the bigger kites that they are on. Granted the downside is that I am having to rig up a smaller kite when the winds start hitting the 26+ knots as it has too much power (I am sure that it will have better highend in the water as it requires less wind on the snow).
The bar that I have been using (2010 black Epic bar) still looks brand new and functions well. I like my Ozone bar a lot more but at some point I am sure that if I bug Dimitri enough I will have a 4G bar to compare to it :lol: The Ozone bar is such a sweet design that it just feels right. The older Epic bar feels adequate but lacks the polished feel of some of the other brands that I have been using. It still works great and I believe that it just comes down to overall feel.
All in all I have to say that I am very impressed with the Judge kite. It is such a power packed, stable, easy to use kite that I cannot understand why I don't see more people using this kite. I am looking forward to seeing the new Judge kite that will hit the market in the near future and it sounds like it is going to be quite tweeked in its design. I am curious to see how this kite compares to what I really like about the judge and how the bridle is going to change its performance. I hope that it still remains the same handling and stability that the 3G kite has but just a better evolution in design.

James


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 Post subject: Re: 3G Epic Judge 8m kite review
PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2014 8:21 am 
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Joined: Tue May 01, 2007 1:11 pm
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have you try it in waves?You are going to be STOKED!!!


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 Post subject: Re: 3G Epic Judge 8m kite review
PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2014 5:55 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 1:32 pm
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Location: Northern Ontario
Hey Nik,

No I haven't tried this kite in the waves as we are in the dark days of winter here in Ontario. I have used it only on the snow covered lakes and it has been quite fun. I have put this kite up against my 2011 C4 and have to say that I really enjoy them both. Both have advantages and disadvantages to each other. I use to see these kites as both being similar but with adequate time spent riding them back to back they are very different. The ozone requires a lot more wind to be in its sweet spot but the high end is amazing (the more wind the better it flies). The judge has amazing low end grunt that it gets good so much sooner but doesn't have that almost limitless top end of the C4. My winds here are either fickle or nuclear so both have their perks! Both very excellent kites and would make most quite happy to ride them!

James

Those who have used the judge love the power it has with the easy relaunch!


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 Post subject: Re: 3G Epic Judge 8m kite review
PostPosted: Sat Feb 08, 2014 8:44 am 
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soul19 wrote:
Hey Nik,

No I haven't tried this kite in the waves as we are in the dark days of winter here in Ontario. I have used it only on the snow covered lakes and it has been quite fun. I have put this kite up against my 2011 C4 and have to say that I really enjoy them both. Both have advantages and disadvantages to each other. I use to see these kites as both being similar but with adequate time spent riding them back to back they are very different. The ozone requires a lot more wind to be in its sweet spot but the high end is amazing (the more wind the better it flies). The judge has amazing low end grunt that it gets good so much sooner but doesn't have that almost limitless top end of the C4. My winds here are either fickle or nuclear so both have their perks! Both very excellent kites and would make most quite happy to ride them!

James

Those who have used the judge love the power it has with the easy relaunch!


Ozone is a very "under" kite...didnt like at all but i have to admit that is more friendly and has a bit more slack...but my style is not pure unhooking ..i prefer big powerd megaloops and wave riding and some unhooked basics with a few air passes...The ozone lacks a lot in powered megaloops..check the video with 35knots megaloop taking off from a ramp :)



:thumb:


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 Post subject: Re: 3G Epic Judge 8m kite review
PostPosted: Sat Feb 08, 2014 7:31 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 1:32 pm
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Location: Northern Ontario
Hey Nik,

Was that on the 8m Judge or the 6m? At 35knotts I would definitely want to be on the 6m as these kites have a lot of power. I can imagine that the 6 would be an absolute blast in those conditions.

James


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