We tested the new STOKE in Cape Verde which gave us the chance to really put it through its paces. The first impression of a new kite is always about the look and on Sal’s famous Kite Beach the new STOKE really stood out. Its graphics are clear, solid and striking. The new STOKE offers several tuning options and a clear distinction in settings between Wave, Freeride and Surf settings. Also evident is Flysurfer’s High-Load Force Frame which uses a high strength thread from DuPont to lock the kite’s structure together and ensure minimum distortion while the kite is flying.
In the air and, combined with a surfboard in onshore waves, its position in the wind window is excellent for onshore riding and it pulls you through the white water into the lineup with plenty of low-end power. Turning is smooth and relatively pivotal, enabling you to place the kite exactly where you want it to be. When it comes to ‘drifting’ the STOKE behaves solidly and stays in the position where you park it like a well-trained dog. It turns on command in a smooth and controlled style. Overall the STOKE’s stability and movement in the air feels truly comfortable which is an essential quality for general flying and also if you get rolled over in the surf. After some extended testing in the waves we can also confirm that the relaunch is excellent (even after a proper washing cycle which destroyed a surfboard, the kite bounced back up with no problem). Combined with a twintip, the STOKE’s boosting ability was very good. It also showed solid freestyle abilities and pleasantly controllable power delivery during kiteloops which would enable a beginner or intermediate rider to confidently progress and develop their skills.
Considering the many different environments that we rode the STOKE in, it is clear that the Flysurfer team have put a lot of thought into getting the right balance of the kite. The result is a truly fun kite which is best described as: pump and play! We tested the STOKE with the all new FORCE bar. We found this to be a sophisticated cockpit with an intuitively working QR system with single front line safety that works impeccably, even when there’s a lot of sand everywhere. The new EVA grip feels smooth and comfy even after a Cape Verdean mega-session and overall this bar provides a comfy and more ‘all-round’ option than the skinnier and racier feeling Infinity bar.
In a sentence: The STOKE is back and very well equipped as a versatile and perfectly tuned kite that will meet the needs of the vast majority of kiters.