The Spirit is an all new kite from Gin Kiteboarding, who are in the midst of something of a relaunch and have a few releases penciled in over the next few months… The Spirit enters the line up as an all-round foil kite that is easy to fly and will feel comparable to an inflatable kite. There is a clear market for kites with this approach now as riders appreciate that they can have the significant pluses of a foil kite without compromising on performance. Gin Kiteboarding benefits from the experience of the highly respected Gin paragliders with their high-end competition paraglider range, and the experience of the Gin R&D team no doubt transfer well into the world of kites.
The Spirit is a closed-cell foil kite designed with top of the range materials, which offers the best ratio between high performance and stability. The ultra-rigid airframe construction coupled with ultra-lightweight fabrics and an optimized internal architecture brings a kite that remains stable in the lowest ranges of wind, while keeping a very agile and predictable behavior even in strong and gusty conditions. The 12m flew in five knots of wind and developed enough power to take you foiling when any other kite would barely fly. It is easy to maneuver and so light that it never feels like it will fall out of the sky. The stability really is mind-blowing, particularly at the edge of the window in very light winds where most kites would lose altitude and need to be maintained with bar adjustments; the Spirit just sits there and seems like it will never stall. We really enjoyed these features when riding downwind and picking up ocean swells where the high internal pressure and ultra-stable construction kept the kite stable even while your lines are losing tension; it just stays there floating without any turbulence and gently waits until you bring tension back. This stability is a game changer in freeride foiling. The constant passive lift provided by the kite in the top of the window will ease learning your tacks while the very high internal pressure and stability will allow you to gybe at any speed.
Moving onto a twintip and there are also clear benefits over an LEI kite. Firstly, its constant power in the furthest limits of the wind window will see you going upwind closer and faster than an inflatable kite; you can really just lock in and the Spirit will nudge its way right to the edge of the window and fire you back upwind. Then for jumping the hangtime is simply insane… You feel like you are essentially paragliding with a board! If you keep the bar in, then it will just keep on going. The initial lift is smooth and the pull up in the sky remains very solid and predictable, and if you’re looking to work on your board-offs then you have plenty of time to get your board off and on – potentially a couple of times… If you are feeling adventurous then the Spirit turns very fast for a closed-cell kite and will allow you to do kiteloops with a lot of control.
Aside from the impressive low end, we were also super impressed with the top-end of the Spirit. We had a 10 and a 12m on test, and we pushed the 10m to 30 knots and remained in a lot of control while pushing our own speed limits on the water.
If you put the Spirit down, then relaunching is super easy as the kite remains open on the water with a lot of internal pressure. The really thin Dyneema bridles slide on top of themselves without tangling and it will need a very hard crash before you can’t relaunch it. Just push the bar and wait, the kite will reopen and position itself so you can relaunch it very easily.
Overall the behavior of the Spirit is very close to an inflatable kite and will appeal to a wide range of kiters. The benefits of a foil kite are significant for all riders and these ‘accessible freeride’ offerings do offer a genuine alternative to inflatable kites – for us the Spirit is a very impressive showcase of this segment of the market and has the capacity to add a new dimension to your sessions.