TESTED: F-ONE TRAX HRD LITE TECH The F-One Trax is one of an elite number of boards that have achieved pure ‘legendary’ status. It has been around for many years and the changes each year are always incremental meaning that the Trax just get a little bit better each year. This year sees the Lite Tech continuing to add a bit of bling to the Trax and the graphics overall have had a visit from the graphics department. We’re pretty pleased to see a bit of color introduced into the lineup… In terms of construction the standout feature for us is F-ONE’s HRD rail which is unique to their board line and delivers precise rail response depending on the part of the rail that is engaged at any particular time. So the tips have a thin rail for precise take offs and landings and plenty of grip, then between these and the mid-section of the board – where your feet are – the rail is thicker and inverted. This prevents the board from bouncing around and also generates additional lift for early planing. The mid-section is then thin and sharp to maximize grip and hold on the water. It’s clearly not the simplest or cheapest way to put a rail together but it is great to see that F-ONE are prepared to put the R&D time and money into this kind of thing and it pays dividends on the water, where you would be hard pushed to find a more comfortable ‘high performance’ board to cruise around on. The grip is fantastic, and we rode this in some serious chop in the UK and for a board that is capable of top-end freestyle moves it is a very comfortable ride – it really feels like you are riding above the water. For all elements of freestyle, the Trax can deliver – the pop is impressive and there is plenty there for wakestyle trickery and for really getting some height. For boosting you can really load up and hang on to the edge giving you a great launch pad for some serious airtime, and landings are then nice and smooth with the rails and bottom contours dispersing the water nicely and preventing any unpleasant jarring… In a sentence: For top quality construction and performance in all intermediate to advanced freestyle departments, the Trax continues to be right at the top of the pack.Read more »
NAISH SLASH 2017
There was much excitement on hearing that Naish were bringing out a ‘pure surf’ kite… The Pivot had been a favorite of the test team and had been a great kite in the waves so we were excited to see what extra qualities the Slash would be bringing to the party… The first point to note is the fact that the Slash is built from Naish’s new Quad-Tex material. There has been much hype around this and, as a canopy material, it really does have a whole new look and feel… Profile wise and the Slash is pure ‘three strut boxy kite’. It looks like it is coiled up and ready to let loose!
We also had the new Torque ATB bar to test. This is solid with a super-plush and comfy finish, and the new QR system is very simple to release and to re-arm. It’s a very well thought out and well-engineered evolution and is a welcome upgrade from Naish.
In the air and for us the Slash felt a little more tuned and refined than the Pivot. It responds to even the smallest input and consequently it is very easy to place the Slash where you want it. It sits relatively deep in the window making it a great kite for onshore conditions as there is always power on tap when you need it but, if you don’t want the power, it will drift comfortably downwind with you. The drift is super-stable and predictable and was one of the standout qualities for us. For sideshore riding, the Slash is happy to fly a little further forward in the window and there is plenty of depower for when you don’t need anything from the kite, and the Slash depowers very quickly without having to sheet all the way out.
Generally, we found that the Slash was a very accessible and easy kite to fly, but for experienced riders who want to be able to place their kite exactly where they want it, the Slash offered much more than that with some exceptional performance.
In a sentence: A great addition to Naish’s line up, the Slash has all of the characteristics you want from a wave kite but in a particularly ‘tuned in’ and refined package.
Posted: February 10, 2017|
TESTED: SLINGSHOT TURBINE 9M
The Turbine has been in the Slingshot range for a while as their lightwind kite. Last year they thought they would experiment with downsizing it… And they were impressed. So for 2017 they have gone hard out and introduced a whole new range of sizes. The 15-19m remain focused on lightwind riding, the 11 and 13m sizes work as lightwind kites for most guys or as a ‘nuked up’ option on moderate days for regular riders, and there is then 5, 7 and 9m versions which are now high-octane performance freeride machines – they are designed for boosting big and for riding hard. And – with the upwind performance – the whole range is also designed with an eye on the foiling market. We were intrigued.
We rode the Turbine for a while and it did take a few sessions to fully appreciate its potential, but once we were there we became ever more impressed with what the Turbine could do… Hacking big jumps on the Turbine is a great experience (and if you take a look at Sam Light’s recent antics in Cape Town you can see its real ‘top end’ potential), it gives you a proper pull off the water, and with the bar sheeted it gives a superb secondary lift and plenty of float and hang time.
The Turbine is also good for un-hooked tricks – it isn’t twitchy at the bar and doesn’t show any signs of the backstall or overflying. Relaunch is also quick and easy with Slingshot’s compact bridle systems. For foiling you really do appreciate the upwind performance and the smooth power delivery and massive amount of depower. You can get up and going easily and then you have as much or as little power as you like on tap. We have really enjoyed the larger sizes for foiling on super-light days, but the smaller sizes are very well refined for more moderate days.
In a sentence: It’s a different way of flying a kite, but once you have it tuned you can get a whole lot of white-knuckled performance out of the new smaller Turbines.
Posted: February 10, 2017
TESTED: F-ONE BANDIT 10
Well, it’s a big birthday for the Bandit. The kite which blew minds on its first release has now managed 10 years of continued innovation… It is interesting to look back at how it has evolved from the Bandit V1 as it’s a microcosm of the changes that we have seen across a lot of kites over the last decade and sums up their philosophy of ‘continuous improvements’.
For this 10th edition the main difference you are likely to notice is the wingtips – these are notably squarer. In terms of F-ONE’s aim with the Bandit, the focus has been on ‘traction and speed’ and on developing a kite that enables you to get up to speed easily but then maintain the power without having to work too hard… In the air and after your first few runs on the Bandit the first thing we appreciated was the effect of the new tips. For us these gave the Bandit a more ‘pivotal’ feel when turning (we had the 10m on test) – more like you would expect from a surf kite. Then we found that, for freestyle, it moved a bit slower through the air making freestyle and jumping a little more predictable – we all agree if a kite is too fast we are more tentative about trying new tricks and the Bandit has slowed itself down a notch or two.
For heading for the sky, the Bandit has always been a good kite for boosting and this continues to impress – the lift is pretty mighty but controllable, and the hang time is superb. Through loops the Bandit with smooth with minimum flutter and upwind the Bandit pulls you along with minimum fuss. The Bandit’s also equally at home with a surfboard, where F-ONE seem to have got the perfect balance point on the bar where you can just sheet out, dump the power and ride the wave. The boxier tips also deliver a more pivotal feel to the Bandit and we think that wave riders will be particularly impressed with this latest incarnation.
In a sentence: We have now had a whole 10 years of Bandits, and it is great to see that the latest version hasn’t let the side down – it’s a refined all round machine and if F-ONE continue in this vein we can probably expect another 10 years of Bandits.
Posted: February 10, 2017
The Elite Bamboo harness features a super stiff and light weight shell that the rest of the harness is built around. For those who want the very best in high-performance materials and construction, this is the harness for you. When compared to the Hex Core model, the Elite is slightly stiffer, lighter and more durable.
• Improved waist belt with reworked spreader bar integration system
• Upgraded backplate stitching for increased durability
• Neoprene added to the interior of the waistbelt for added comfort and cushion
• Kite knife pocket added
• New sizes added: XS through XXL now available
• Hard-shell construction
• Precision fit
• Lumbar Lock
• Low profile
• Fusion foam
• Integrated waist belt
• Speed-loop closure
• Kite knife pouch