Originating in 2004, the Lift was Airush’s formidable high-aspect all-out boosting machine, and the subject of early noughties kite legend. It is great to see this landmark model return to the product range, albeit now with a highly modern design and feature set.
Technically there are quite a few key points to digest. For the Lift, a stainless ring can be added to the bar system to achieve a high split in the front lines. The high Y setup gives more support through the bridling at higher wind strengths; we tested both geometries and can confirm it’s well worth the relatively simple adjustment on the beach to gain an even more solid airframe, particularly in the raw top end of the 9m or if you’re on the heavier side when gusty conditions are more prevalent. There is some adjustment available on the bridle for increasing the turning speed, and we much preferred the faster option.
Airush have implemented a fourth iteration of their load frame, which places high strength directional yarns taped across the canopy to form a web, controlling the stretch at 45 degrees to the warp and weft that D2 ripstop has. For a kite designed specifically to be used in high winds this application makes a lot of sense as, durability improvements aside, it is going to add a level of canopy control where it’s most required. There is some shallow darting up the trailing edge that comprises of Dacron and a sewn-in leech line to prevent any movement there. Everything in the kite is geared towards solidity of airframe.
In the air, the first thing you notice is a truly huge range of sheeting ability. Angle of attack change brings the power on from nothing with almost foil kite-like efficiency. What is nothing like a foil kite however is the handling. Whilst there is barely any lateral twist in the airframe, the triple pulley bridle gets the kite moving admirably fast for a five-strut kite. A character trait of the Lift that really lends itself to massive jump potential is the ability to ride overpowered fully sheeted out, maintaining control and handling, then send the kite and take advantage of all that sheet. If a kite doesn’t have that stable sheeted out resting state depowered it can make life difficult to build speed and go as high. The advanced handling gives you the option for a very comfortable heli-loop on your way down, but it descends so gently you may not even need to.
The Lift lives up to its name, and is a well-conceived kite with a proud design direction, a range of unique build features and an impressive level of accessibility to ridiculous height and float. Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s a one trick pony and all about the bitter top end either, as its application for freeride in lower wind speeds really surprised us. It is a heady mixture of nimble and pure, erm, Lift