So I can now proudly announce that I am officially part of the Best Kiteboarding Team! YAY! It is so exciting to be riding for a brand that is investing heavily in R&D and representing them alongside some of the world's top kiters! My crispy new kites last week - just in time for a very windy cold front to pass through Cayman. Yes you read correctly, I used cold and Cayman in the same sentence - it was 73 degrees. brrrrrrrr. And when I say windy, I'm talking 30knots. Oh HIIIIIIII little 7m! I could tell we were going to be friends....
So here's my first little kit review. I'm going to be riding the TS kites - this is the model that claims to "do it all" - open C, super stable and super easy. So how does it hold up in reality?
Let's start with how the kite is presented - in a lovely, padded back-pack with a pocket for the bar on the side, an internal sleeve to keep your kite safely bundled up, and my favorite feature - the wet-zone - a waterproof pocket in the bottom of the bag for your soggy togs. They've thought of everything :)
But enough about the packaging - onto the kite. As soon as it's out of the bag you can tell that Best have been working hard on improving the quality of their gear, and they've succeeded. They're using new, extra durable material and the twist lock valve is nothing short of awesome. Happy face :)
Time to go kiting? Ok. Having swooned over my new canopy I quickly connected up the bar & lines and hit the water. Initial reaction - MAN this bar is soft and light. Compared to the Slingshot bar I used to ride, the Best bar is like holding a pillow. The next thing I noticed was the incredibly light bar pressure. Shortly followed by the fact that I.....errr.... couldn't do a jump anymore. Seriously. I could not figure out the timing of the pop at all. Fast forward to the fact that I've now figured it out and am getting plenty of loft from the kite, i think it's important to realise that this is a quality kite, and it demands the same from your riding. There's no "cheating" by pulling on the bar and hoping for the best that you'll go up towards the stars with the TS - you have to use good technique to get the best out of it. Unhooked it is a pleasure. In gusty conditions the bar remains steady in your hands and on the wakestyle setting, the kite stays right where you put it. Now for the real surprise - the loop. I unhooked to throw a kite loop in dying wind and after reading Kiteworld's review, I wasn't expecting a whole lot. I was wrong. At the peak of my pop the kite gave me one hell of a pull and spat me out of the side wandering what the hell had just happened. I'm really impressed at how exciting and punchy it feels looping both hooked in and unhooked.
I've only been out 3 times so far but I'm already pretty. darn. stoked. :)