TESTED: North Dice 2018

The Dice has carved itself out a nice little niche in the market. Putting itself firmly in both the wave and the freestyle camps and refusing to say it is one more than the other seems to have worked well for it. It could be seen as a risky tactic as if it doesn’t perform well in either department then it’s essentially not met its expectations. Looking at it objectively you would say it seems like more of a ‘performance freestyle’ kite, but then you see the likes of Matchu shredding in the surf and it is clear that it has plenty of cred here too…

For 2018 the Dice has had a lot of attention from the design team, and North are pretty excited with how it has come out. The Leading Edge thickness has been reworked to stiffen up the tips and they have added an additional panel between the center and outer struts. You can fly the Dice on 4 or 5 lines, and for 2018 North have introduced different options for the Chicken Loop – with freeride, wakestyle and wave options – which we also had the chance to check over and seem like a very sensible idea.

On the water and the first impression of the Dice can be summed up in one word: quick! The Dice was always a very nimble kite and this year it is even quicker. Particularly in marginal conditions you can really move it around and generate momentum. It’s not really a beginner’s kite and the better your kite flying skills the more you will get out of it. This speed translates into excellent performance for freestyle tricks – there is plenty of pop and you could hold the Dice down a size or two bigger if you wanted to go for some Big Air action.

For waves, the Dice sits further forward in the window than the Neo so you need to move it around more to get the most of it, but for cross or onshore surfing when you are really working the kite, there will definitely be wave riders who prefer the speed and agility of the kite over the deeper-sitting Neo. So the Dice will continue to keep riders who want a versatile ‘do it all kite’ for when they head away on a trip with both their twinnie and their surfboard in the bag, but it will also continue to have a dedicated following of riders who probably only ride freestyle or waves but who just really like how the Dice flies…

In a sentence: The Dice hasn’t made any drastic changes for 2018, but the refinements really do seem to be more than a sum of their parts: the new Dice really impressed us.

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