Ultimate Test #3 - Kites

Check out the latest kites in each of the main disciplines, all tested back to back and for many, many hours, so that you can find the very best kite to add to your quiver...

See THE RESULTS!

Access all 105 pages of the Ultimate Test #3 including this year's results.

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The Kites

FLYSURFER BOOST

The BOOST is the flagship freeride kite from Flysurfer’s LEI range. The German kite brand keeps on pushing the R&D using their technical background in paragliding (Skywalk paragliders) and soft kites (they produce some of the most respected foil kites for kitefoil racing on the market) and have complemented this with a comprehensive range of

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SLINGSHOT RPX

One of Slingshot’s longest running models, the RPM, has been around for over a decade and has stood as a formidable World Championship winning freestyle platform. It kicked off the future C-shape concept, mimicked widely across the industry in various forms. This year, the slightly renamed RPX represents the most significant rework the kite has

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OCEAN RODEO FLITE A-SERIES

The Flite has been the lightwind kite of choice from Canada’s favorite kite brand, and this year we see the introduction of the new composite ALUULA material. It has always been an eager-to-please kite with a playful nature for a larger three-strut kite but we were intrigued to see how the revised material would affect

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OCEAN RODEO CRAVE HL

Ocean Rodeo have changed the game materials-wise with the introduction of the ALUULA fabric, and with the HL-Series have implemented the fabric in an interesting way, blending it into the airframe alongside traditional Dacron, equating to a 20% weight saving on a standard construction kite. The ALUULA material is implemented in strips longways on the

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CORE NEXUS LW

CORE have an interesting way of dealing with larger lightwind kites in their product range. Rather than homogenizing it all into one lightwind-specific model in the range, they take the individual product line and build lightwind versions, so that the kite’s characteristics carry through to the big sizes and you have more continuity in your

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CRAZYFLY INFINITY

Long established Slovakian kite brand CrazyFly have had the Infinity range in the brand for a few years now, and build the kites in their very own on-site production facility. It sports the lightest weight per size in the CrazyFly range, and the emphasis is on light wind and low end, and has applications across

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CORE SECTION 3

This is the third iteration of the CORE Section from the German brand, and they’ve really built some pedigree into the latest model. The Section fits into their discipline-specific range, and is aimed as a pure wave kite. This year the bridle has had a good trim down and is now very compact. The major

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North Carve

New Zealand currently seems like a development hotbed for all things wind-related and North Kiteboarding’s product development is firmly rooted over there with a plethora of excellent wave conditions on offer. This is the wave-specific North Carve’s second incarnation, but don’t look at it as anything close to a difficult second album, as Pat Goodman

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OCEAN RODEO ROAM A-SERIES

Canada’s favorite kite brand have been not so quietly developing the new ALUULA airframe material for a while now, and we have been eager to get our hands on it. The A-Series kites are offered as a premium option over the existing models in the Ocean Rodeo range, and in this case the already solid

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NAISH SLASH S25

Naish are a brand synonymous with wave riding with a rich Hawaiian heritage stretching back to the very inception of kiting, and have always been eager to push the wave riding side of the sport. The Slash has done at least five years as a model and for S25 Naish have applied much of the

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SLINGSHOT SST V5

The SST has been a feature of the Slingshot range for several years now and the 2020 sees the fifth incarnation of this benchmark wave kite. Aimed fairly squarely at wave riding, with a decent application for foiling, the SST has always had wide application of use, stretching into freeride. The main change this year

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DUOTONE NEO SLS

The Neo has been an industry benchmark wave kite with a solid competition history in both pure wave and strapless freestyle, as well as some big names free surfing on Maui. It is definitely a well-documented benchmark product, but with this year’s introduction of the SLS range from Duotone, we were eager to see how

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RRD EMOTION

RRD have dabbled with strutless and single-strut kites for several years in the Emotion model, and have produced some classics along the way. The Emotion has now settled on a single-strut design and is pitched as a more versatile option with more of a cross-discipline application than simply being foiling-specific. The build is the RRD

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CORE XLITE

With the popularity of hydrofoiling literally soaring, the mono-strut concept continues to spread through the kite industry like wildfire, and the X Lite from Fehrman Island’s most famous kite brand is a solid debut. It’s a kite dedicated to freeride hydrofoil use, which let’s face it, is most of the feed in for the kite

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SLINGSHOT UFO

It is no secret Tony Logosz is a man that loves foiling, and last year Slingshot released their first single-strut foiling-specific kite in the form of the Ghost, to complement their huge range of kite foils. The UFO builds (or rather reduces) from that platform, losing the middle strut to become completely strutless. It is

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NOBILE THE ONE

Polish powerhouse Nobile, perhaps most famous for their twintip boards, have developed an increasingly complete kite and hydrofoil line up. The One, slightly unsurprisingly, is a mono-strut kite geared, as this product sector usually is, for lightwind free riding, early low end and hydrofoil use. But that’s where adopting a formula in line with the

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SLINGSHOT GHOST

Tony Logosz at Slingshot has been hydrofoil obsessed for much longer than most, and produces an enormous range of cross-discipline flying equipment in the Slingshot range. So it was only a matter of time before they decided to fill a little gap in their product range and release a foiling-specific inflatable kite in the form

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CABRINHA CONTRA

The Contra has been in the Cabrinha range since the dawn of time, I remember vividly a friend’s 16.5m high aspect C shape with a huge crossover bridle and many struts, in the early noughties, that was the forefront of light wind technology at the time, and that has been the model’s modus operandi ever

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RRD PASSION Y26 LW

There have been 12 (that’s right, 12!) versions of the RRD Passion throughout its history, which is enough to make anyone who has been involved in the kite industry feel downright elderly. Of late it has settled as a three-strut freeride kite with a focus on versatility in riding applications and being able to tackle

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DUOTONE JUICE

The Juice has been the mainstay in the Duotone product range for a while now as the lightwind-specific LEI.  This year they’ve shaved off 25% of the overall weight, which for a high surface area kite specifically designed for low-end use is a significant reduction. They have also added the Flex Struts that traverse other

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NAISH DASH LE

The Dash has been a mainstay in the Naish camp and sits alongside the Torch as a modernized freestyle-orientated performance kite for higher level or aspirational and unhooked riders. Season 25 from Naish has let them indulge in a little graphical nostalgia with the kite range, with the Limited Edition (LE) Dash sporting a massive

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CORE GTS6

The GTS has garnered a serious reputation as a Big Air and overpowered riding machine, cultivating its image with countless photos featuring the kite at impossibly low angles in front of Table Mountain and low level short line gravity defiance. With heavy hitting riders like Steven Akkersdijk and Joshua Emanuel helping to guide development, we

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NOBILE GAME CHANGER

Nobile’s R&D department have clearly been active through the pandemic, and with the Game Changer it appears they’ve decided to give their freestyle flagship 50/Fifty model a decent rework and fresh moniker. The design focus is based on a park-and-pop for unhooked freestyle, but also the ability for some powered loops and Big Air.  The

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SLINGSHOT RAPTOR V1

The out and out boosting model seems to be an essential addition to most major brands this season and we could certainly be seeing a King of the Air and WOO effect strongly influencing design from established brands.  Slingshot join the party with the all-new Raptor model. It sits on an open C five-strut platform

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NORTH REACH

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

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NAISH PIVOT S25

Season 25 yields another variant of the Pivot, making it among the longest standing flagship kite models in the Naish range. It goes without saying that the kite has proven itself with a couple of solid King of the Air wins along the way. Built around a three-strut swept tip platform, the familiar build elements

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CRAZYFLY HYPER

CrazyFly have now established their Hyper model into something of a boosting benchmark. There are relatively few high-aspect five-strut kites left on the market, so when we get to test them in decent conditions it’s something of a treat. With the Covid enforced UK based test this year we got to take the Hyper out

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Core XR6

The CORE XR series now reaches its sixth iteration, with the XR5 breaking various jump height records over the last couple of years. It is on the same fusion of a delta and bow platform with five struts and a pronounced concave in the trailing edge. So how does the XR6 differ from the XR5?

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AIRUSH LIFT

Originating in 2004, the Lift was Airush’s formidable high-aspect all-out boosting machine, and the subject of early noughties kite legend. It is great to see this landmark model return to the product range, albeit now with a highly modern design and feature set. Technically there are quite a few key points to digest. For the

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CRAZYFLY SCULP 2021

The Sculp has been a mainstay for the Slovakian brand for many years, and is likely to be their most universal and best-selling model. They are the only brand we are aware of that manufacture in Europe, and have a great open door policy on their factory. Kites purchased from new still include an industry

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CORE NEXUS 2

It is hard to imagine that a few years ago the three-strut all-rounder wasn’t really a thing, whereas now it is the biggest sector in the market. As kiters we have realized that versatility does not have to mean compromise, and also that these kites really work, and work to a high level. With this

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CABRINHA MOTO

The Moto has been a stable product in the Cabrinha range for mixed genre riding, and our test team always admired the lighter bar feeling and the ability to throw it around the wind window without serious consequences, giving you the ability to throw some hero loops without ruining your knees. The latest incarnation retains

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SLINGSHOT RALLY GT V2

The Rally has been a mainstay in the Slingshot range for over a decade, and the previous model perhaps displayed the biggest design overhaul of its lifespan, really bringing it up to speed as a far more modern freeride contender and confidently earning its GT badge. They have clearly been proactive with product development again

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NOBILE V-RIDE

Polish board giants Nobile are assigning fresh names to all their LEI kites across the range this year and the V-Ride replaces the previous T5 and improves upon the three-strut hybrid platform aimed for fun and uncomplicated freeriding. The T5 has had a serious lineage stretching back over a decade for Nobile and has had

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DUOTONE EVO SLS

The Evo is a long established kite, firmly placed in the competitive performance all-rounder category in the Duotone range. This year it has the application of new SLS materials giving an overall weight saving of 15% on the standard Evo, extending the raw low end and promoting early stable flying. Ralf Grösel has redesigned the

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F-ONE BANDIT S2

F-ONE made a great decision when they split their long-established Bandit range by discipline and developed last year’s surf-specific Bandit S. It produced a more focused product that has been well received by wave purists and strapless freestylers alike. F-ONE have never a brand to stand still with regards to their product development; the next

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DUOTONE MONO

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

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F-ONE BREEZE V3

The F-ONE mono-strut staple Breeze reaches its third version. With F-ONE a brand with such an extensive and successful hydrofoil range, it would be daft not to have an exceptionally capable lightwind kite like the Breeze.  The Breeze has had some light fettling from the V2 in the subtle and incremental way F-ONE tend to

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