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Hold on. What’s this? A different looking kite! The SURF from Epic follows the three-strut low aspect model but takes a much more angular approach to it, with very pronounced, angled segments on both the LE and the struts. This is a very low aspect kite and has a ‘bulldog like’ look to it!
Overall construction is solid, with plenty of reinforcements around the struts and leading edge but without excessive Dacron reinforcements on the trailing edge. We flew it on the 22m lines, Epic recommend flying it on 18s (which they also supply as standard with the SURF) and we could imagine that it would deliver a more connected feel with shorter lines. There is a pulleyed bridle keeping the leading edge in check and build quality is solid. The SURF is supplied with Epic’s 4G bar. This is a nicely engineered bar with a nice solid, medium diameter feeling in the hands. There is a ‘pull/pull’ depower system with clearly labeled ‘More’ and ‘Less’ tags on them.
On the water and the first impression that you get is the torque and power that you have on tap. The low aspect ratio gives the SURF a serious amount of bottom end. From there and the power delivery is very smooth and there is a long way to go with a nice amount of throw giving plenty of scope to fully depower when wave power takes over…
Positioning in the window is very deep, nice for both onshore and for cross-off conditions. Turning is quick and pivotal with a very slight lag due to the bridle – you adjust to this though. For onshore riding the turning speed is excellent enabling you to really snap the SURF round and use the power of the kite to drive around sections and to generate power (and spray!) when the wave alone wouldn’t let you…
In more solid cross-off conditions, the depower is again a real asset and means that you can ease out the bar and use the power of the wave. We would recommend riding the SURF a size or two smaller than other surf kites as the low end is so solid, and no-one likes being overpowered in the surf… That said, the range of the SURF is excellent and during one session the wind increased by around 10 knots which the SURF sucked up without any grumbles.
Overall this is a nicely engineered kite with all of the essential credentials required to succeed in the surf. The SURF is an enjoyable and very versatile kite in the waves and for us the stand out was the bottom end which is truly mighty.