Time: 12:30-1:30 pm
Location: Event Site, Hood River
Wind Speeds: 13-24 (average: 18mph)
Kite: 2012 Cabrinha Drifter
Board: 2012 Naish Skater 4’8 (strapped)
I had the opportunity to try something new today, and boy was I impressed! The 2012 Naish Skater 4’8 I’ve ridden before, last summer, strapless. Naish is now offering an aftermarket front foot pad and jibe pad for the 2012 Skaters, along with straps. There’s something that builds confidence in my winter riding when riding with straps… I can jump, do most of my hooked in freestyle tricks (front roll, back roll, grabs, and kite loops), all without loosing my board and dunking into the frigid waters of the Columbia. The Naish Skater now allows me this option. Super fun in small surf and swell and with the twin-fin set-up, it still grinds up wind, and throws heaps of spray, but when you want to break the tail free from the water, it does so effortlessly. I’ve noticed one big difference between the small directional boards vs. a twin-tip. . .volume. The volume of a foam board sure makes riding in various wind conditions (gusts and lulls) so much easier, as it really adds to the kites low end range. The Skater has more volume than most directionals, and you can feel it carry you through the lulls, even at only 4’8. If I were to fly to a wind swell destination like La Ventana, or Los Barriles, I would consider putting a Naish 4’8 Skater into my golf bag along with a twin-tip. Until that day comes, this is going to be a go to board for me in the Gorge: strapped in the winter months, strap-less in the summer! We are demo-ing the Naish Skater 4’8 here at Big Winds, come give it a try!
Available at Big Winds.
Location: Camas Valley, Idaho
Wind: SW 15-25mph
Kite: 2012 Cabrinha Crossbow 11m
Photo by Gorge-Us Photography
This past weekend, I had the opportunity to head to Fairfield, Idaho to do some snowkiting. Saturday morning, we woke up to a snowstorm/white-out. After the storm passed, the blue skies began to open up, and the wind became a steady 20 mph, with little lulls, and very few gusts. The Cabrinha Crossbow has always struck me as a solid kite, with it’s 7-strut configuration, and rock-solid stability. This became the perfect arena to put it to the test. We were stationed at the snowmobile park, just west of Fairfield, with a kicker built 100 yards from where our RV was parked. I felt the Crossbow was super floaty off of the kicker, with landings being very smooth. (Well, most of the time!) After launching off of the kicker, I sensed it was appropriate to see how the kite flew up-hill. There is a little knoll just past the kicker, and I managed to climb up it effortlessly, and send the kite off the top. The Crossbow is great for long, soaring jumps, as I landed well past where I thought I might. From the last time I flew the Cabrinha Crossbow, I remembered how fun a kite it was for exploring on the water. With rolling hills in the distance, I decided to leave the flats an see how well I could explore the mountains. Ducking power-lines, and jumping low barbed wire fences, I followed a snowmobile track a few miles to the nearest hills. This is where I found skis to be a big advantage over my snowboarding experiences of the past (the ability to have my legs independent for avoiding rock obstacles was a huge plus). The Crossbow allowed me to climb the mountain to the very top, for a breathtaking view of the Rockies in the distance (something only snowmobilers and snowkiters can really access with ease). After a few inches of fresh snow that morning, I found the windblown stashes of powder all to myself on the downhill turns, with the Crossbow perfectly gliding alongside. I felt a sense of comfort from every angle because of the kite. Not only did it reliably stay put in the sky, but it reverse relaunched every time I put it down on the snow (pulling both outside lines when the kite was on it’s leading edge directly downwind of me). This kite proved itself on the snow (and in the air), and for climbing and descending mountains! A SOLID choice for land and water.
Location: Hood River Event Site
Wind: 14-26mph (average: 19.5mph)
Kite: 2012 North Evo 9m
Board: North Pacific Stealth 5’6
Today was a great day to test the new 2012 North Evo 9m here in the Gorge. Flown with the Quad Bar on 24m lines, the Evo really is everything North Kite describes: Powerful, stable and smooth.
The moment the kite went up into the sky I could feel how reactive it was, with a quick and predictable turning speed. The Adaptive Tips were set at the stock “Light Sheeting Force Setting” which may be an attributing factor for the faster turning impulse, and tighter turning. This “B” setting was by no means too light. As a matter of fact, there was a better feedback to steering impulse than most 4-line brindled kites I’ve flown.
After a few tacks to get the feel for the kite, the wind starting picking up so I decided to send it to see how it jumps. Wow, feels like a C-kite’s smooth up and down with a little forward flight. It definitely doesn’t lack in the air time category (I can only imagine if the Adaptive Tips were set at the “A” setting for even higher altitude!). After a few jumps it was time to loop it. With the Evo’s low aspect center and new square wing-tips, there is a lot of canopy to grab the wind and provide powerful, yet smooth kite loops! Again, feels kind of like a C-kite in this respect…I just wanted to loop this kite.
The one thing that was clear to me was how much low-end grunt it has. The Evo kept me plenty powered up through the holes. The high end of the Evo was a bit punchy, and I definitely found myself pushing farther forward on the line to achieve maximum depower (as compared to the 5-line Rebel).
All in all, I would put the Evo in the category of all-terrain versatility. If you are after a kite that performs well with a directional board, or twin-tip under your feet, the Evo is a good choice for both wave riding, and flat water freestyle.
Available at Big Winds.
Here’s a profile of the Big Winds Junior Elite Team. Read about the most talented and dedicated junior athletes in the Gorge.