So far North’s new kite range has been quite discipline-specific and focused on the task in hand, with the Orbit aimed at boosting, the Carve very wave-orientated, and the Pulse catering for unhooked. All-rounders are a key kite for any manufacturer and perhaps the most difficult to pull off design-wise. North are filling the void in their ever-increasing arsenal with the new Reach model, an all-out freeride and cross-discipline machine.
With 13 sizes available between 3m and 17m they haven’t messed around on options. For every conceivable size of human, it is going to be very easy to build a quiver here. It is a three-strut mid to high-aspect platform with a generously swept wingtip. In the spirit of 2021, there has been an eye kept on weight saving, and the trailing edge in particular has been whittled considerably in the center section with a minimum of Dacron implemented. It comes in around 100g less than the Carve in a 9m. A lightweight Kevlar strip runs up the struts to keep this airframe joint extra stiff. There are lightweight molded bump stops across the leading edge segments, offering well-placed scuff protection. The canopy has quite a deep profile in the front section and has a lot more segmentation immediately behind the leading edge, making for a super accurate canopy profile on the D2 cloth. A short pulley-less bridle and full wingtips make turning initiate immediately and provides positive feedback, and the bar pressure definitely sits on the lighter side, perhaps broadening its appeal.
The light and mobile nature of the Reach gets you going early for a 9m, and there is very consistent power delivery round the corners and a pivoty turning style. In surf it is balanced and nimble, ideal for more kite-driven surf style or onshore conditions. The Reach is really excellent in its low end and probably deserves more foiling credits that the rest of the North range.
It is an aspirational named kite with apt performance properties and makes everything easy, as a decent performance freeride kite should. For a strictly proposed all-rounder, it does an admirable job of performing strongly in all categories, and is testament to the slightly irritating and often uttered phrase sometimes applied to kite design: ‘a good kite is a good kite’. You can see why some of the high profile team riders from North have started migrating onto it. The all-rounder category is a well established and competitive market sector, and the Reach punches high up the charts for a fresh entry.