The Mono is back for 2021, the proven single-strut platform focusing on ease of use, early flying and pure simplicity. This year materials-wise all the inflatable tubes are made from LITE Dacron, which has a wider check pattern, alongside the proven Trinity TX canopy material that is used widely across the Duotone range. Wingtip bungees are a great enhancement for light wind and mean that the rear lines don’t really go slack, perking up the steering response, which is noticeable when sheeted out. The lack of struts makes the pack-up size nice and compact, ideal for missions.
The Mono is purposefully ultra-low aspect and has a pronounced sweep in the front tube – it’s like flying a huge letter D. Considering the low-aspect ratio, the lack of drag from the struts seems to allow the Mono to punch fairly well upwind, even without cheating on a hydrofoil. There is also very little back stall tendency, very light bar feedback, and massive power dump on sheet with the potentially long throw of the click bar only amplifying this. It has the early flying characteristics and competitively low weight you would expect from a single-strut kite, coupled with super light bar pressure and gentle feedback. Whilst quick enough, interestingly we wouldn’t class the turning speed as ultra-fast, particularly on the full-length line setup. The Mono maintains enough steering response to make for a decent wave kite in light winds, particularly relevant for lighter riders that aren’t going to load the airframe too much. A fairly unique attribute in the market today is five-line compatibility, so it is reverse compatible with older bar systems. For beetling around on a twintip the mono does a more than adequate job, particularly if you change the knots on the tips to provide a little more bar feedback. Whilst in the majority of situations the Mono is extremely composed, you can find a tiny bit of vibration if you throw the kite across the window aggressively.
Without a doubt, the Mono is absolutely ideal for school use, as it is a sturdy, early flying kite with predictable handling qualities and smooth simplistic power delivery. Relaunch is extremely straight forward, as due to that big sweep there is extraordinarily little suction on the leading edge, and the low-aspect ratio makes roll over or reverse launch with ease. If you let go of the bar system, the kite remains above you obediently.
For freeride hydrofoil aficionados, shortening the lines to liven it up and provide more constant pull through the turns, transforms the kite in the raw low-end light winds. This also perks up the handling and finds a nice rhythm and turning arc to match with your foil around transitions.
The Mono is the kind of kite that is going to supply you with no surprises and instill confidence, which for beginners, more sedate free riders and foilers is precisely what you need. It is a capable, friendly and reliable companion in the water.
Access all 105 pages of the Ultimate Test #3 including this year's results.