The Flysurfer Sonic-FR is a new high performance race foil from Flysurfer. The Sonic-FR comes in 11m , 15m and 18m sizes. Whilst away this week at the Ozone Snowkite Masters 2015 in Silvaplana, Swizterland we snapped a few shots of this upcoming kite. From what we saw – mainly from the 15m in light winds the performance looks great, the kite maintained a lot of air pressure and turned extremely well. One of the riders flying the Sonic-FR was getting some great hangtime as well as bombing it along on the flats. The Sonic-FR is due for release shortly and will be shipping with a new version of the Infinity bar. We can’t wait to get our hands on one to fly it back to back with the Ozone Chrono and Flysurfer Speed 4.
This summer Ozone launched a successor to their most popular foil kite, the Ozone Ignition. The Ignition is a 3 line power kite which comes on a simplified, fixed bridle version of the Ozone kitesurfing control bar. The Ignition comes in 4 sizes; 1.6m, 2m, 2.5m and 3m and is in its 5th year of design. These range of sizes provides a large enough selection for different sized flyers and wind speeds. The smaller sized Ignition’s are great for kids to learn the art of power kiting under supervision. The Ignition isn’t just great for kids though, adult flyers will appreciate the larger sizes which are more than capable of dragging you around on the sand. Even without any intention of kitesurfing or learning to kitesurf, the Ignition is a great addition the family arsenal of toys when going on holiday or spending time at the beach. The Ignition kite comes in 4 colours but only one colour per size. The 1.6m is green, 2m is orange, red is 2.5m and the 3m shown below is blue.
The Ignition bar system contains 3 lines. The 2 lines on the left and right of the bar are your steering lines and go to the top section of the kite. The center line attaches to the bottom of the kite and acts as a brake line. You can see in the image above that this line is also attached to your wrist with a velcro strap (kite killer). If you need to kill all the power to the kite or end up on your face you can simply let go of the bar with both hands and the kite will fall to the ground. This 3rd line can also be used for launching, landing and flipping over the kite by yourself if it lands the wrong way around.
Flying the Ignition is extremely easy and most flyers should be self sufficient in no time at all! This kite is great for mastering not only the basics of flying the kite itself but understanding the wind window, being aware of your surroundings and remaining in control in varying wind speeds. No matter which kite size you decide to go for all of the Ignition’s come with a 45cm long bar and 15m flying lines. The entire setup is extremely good quality and the kite itself is highly robust and designed to strong against being crashed over and over again.
Size on test: 3m.
If you are interested in the Ozone Ignition kite you can check it out at Island Board Shop or buy using the button below!
Ozone have recently released an update to its most popular kitesurfing kite, the Catalyst. 2015 has bought some great refinements to the Catalyst which build on an already seriously good all round performer. A new swept tip design has been added to increase turning performance and bar feel. This tip modification along side the addition of new fabrics including Teijin D2 on the canopy and Teijin Dacron across both the leading edge and struts creates an extremely responsive kite. For 2015 the Catalyst will be available in sizes ranging from 4m – 14m.
Who’s it for?
The word freeride and all rounder are commonly tossed around inside the kite industry, its nice to appeal to a wider range of kiters without forcing them into one style of riding however not every company delivers on this promise. Luckily for Ozone they seem to be on a winning streak with the 2015 Catalyst, a truly versatile, any style of riding, any type of rider kite for the masses which doesn’t really seem to compromise in any specific area (at our ability.) Beginners and advanced riders will all feel at home on the Catalyst, we have had people of mixed ability riding these kites on a mixture of twintips, skim boards and surf boards and everyone had a great session with the kites.
The good and the bad.
Ozone always produce quality products; from opening the bag, pumping up the kite and rolling it away at the end of the session the whole package is great quality. Now with the addition of Teijin D2 fabric it only adds to this experience. The kites look and feel tougher than ever. The benefit of the new construction is that the double ripstop makes the kite far more durable when on the beach and in the air. The ripstop feels great in the hand and appears to also keep the canopy tighter than previous generations. In terms of longevity the new D2 fabric should keep your kite in great shape for longer. Stability and general performance when riding in a mix of conditions should also be increased. Graphics are obviously a personal taste but we love the look of the new kites, when underneath the kites they look quote fierce in the sky, mainly showcasing that black section of the canopy. The main graphics are visible to other kiters from the back and sides.
In the sky the Catalyst feels and flys as good as it ever has, it is incredibly easy to fly and rig. Ozone use a colour and number system on the line attachment points and the line ends themselves. This allows for fool proof rigging, even after a night on the town. The large multi function inflate and deflate valve makes the setting up process even faster so you can spend more time kitesurfing than pumping. The Catalyst features an open-c design and has minimal bridling, this keeps the Catalyst’s direct bar feel. You won’t find any pulleys here. Beginner riders will love the large depower range, stability and simple 4 line setup of the Catalyst. These base line features also help the Catalyst deliver performance in other areas. The Catalyst drifts very well when riding towards it, whether you are landing something fast like a kiteloop or riding down the line on a surfboard it always behaved itself and waited for your input.
Jumping on the Catalyst was quite an unexpected experience, the older models have always been ok at getting some air but in some decent wind on the 2015 12m it was going well, really well. When you work the kite and put in a decent edge the Catalyst pulls you off the water with ease and goes both the height and the distance. The 12m really was excellent for freeriding and inspired confidence to try new tricks and be more playful. The kite performs well unhooked with minimal trimming required. When you do need to trim the kite the magnetic connector on the end of the trim line keeps everything tidy and in one place, much better then swinging around and wrapping around the front lines like some systems.
Relaunch has never been an issue on the Catalyst and it has remained easy to peel off the water for 2015. In enough wind simply cranking the bar fully in one direction was enough to slide the kite to the edge of the window and get it onto a tip. In slightly lighter winds or when trying to get it off the water faster you can reverse it off by pulling both back lines above the bar floats.
Ozone have completely changed the bags for the kite range in 2015. Although the build and style is nicer than the previous models I am undecided on the oversized zipper which runs across the opening at the top. It looks nicer but in time the sand and saltwater might send it to an early grave. Besides this niggle the bag is an overall improvement, the straps are comfy and it holds a much better shape when it comes to stacking them in the car or van.
The Ozone control bar remains very simple for 2015. Ozone recently updated their control bar to feature a completely spinning, and push away safety system so there are no complaints here. The magnetic connection on the trim works really well to keep things tidy when depowering the kite and riding unhooked instead of wrapping itself around the trim like some other brands and older bars. A testament to the simplicity of the Ozone bar is how well the Camrig GoPro line mount works on it. There is nothing to get in the way or get caught up, and you can easily spin/unspin the center lines from below the bar on the chickenloop. If there was an area to improve on the Ozone bar it would have to be the bar itself, it is one of the thicker bars on the market in the hand and might not be to everyones taste. Although functional the bar ends are starting to look and feel quite old in comparison to some of the competition also.
In an age of regular kite releases it is hard to establish which brands and models are genuinely improving, innovating and how far performance can actually go. Within the last few years Ozone have seriously ramped up in terms of build, materials and design. Paired with the new Megatron control bar with its spinning chickenloop and easy to use safety – the Catalyst is continuing to lead the pack in terms of a true all rounder. I can’t think of many riders within my circle and also the beaches I tend to visit in the UK who would ever need to upgrade from a Catalyst, other than to change to a future model (and get new colours of course)
Sizes on test: 10m & 12m.
Check out the 2015 Ozone Catalyst on Island Board Shop.
Video from the test session:
Big thanks to Marc at Blast Kiteboarding for providing the images for the header banner – Blast are always kiting around the South West coast of Wales so be sure to check them out.
Below: Catalyst 2015 designer video FlyOzone.
We took the newly launched GoPro HD Hero 4 Black Edition out for a sunset kitesurfing session to test the low light performance. By keeping the camera on the standard settings and not using the dedicated low light mode, the camera did not slow the shutter down to much to capture the action. This footage was captured in 4k at 30 FPS and exported straight to YoutTube from within Final Cut.
In this video we were flying the Flysurfer Speed 4 Lotus. We were pretty impressed with the results and even taking some screen grabs from the video on a 2k monitor left us with some usable images.
Check out the Flysurfer Speed 4 Lotus on Island Board Shop.
Some silly clips from a dusk winter session in Wales. Riding the Flysurfer Speed 4 Lotus and riding Axis kiteboards. Shot on the new GoPro HD Hero 4.
We have just taken delivery of the first GoPro HD Hero 4 black edition camera. Despite coming in the same size and physical footprint as the HD Hero 3 and 3+ the new GoPro HD Hero 4 has had some changes to the overall design.
If you have bought, or seen a GoPro 3 from later in the year you will have already seen the new waterproof housing. The new housing includes a tighter, and more compact fastening clip for making sure the case is done up properly to maintain its waterproofing. Moving onto the camera itself the battery compartment has moved from the back to the base of the camera. This is most likely due to larger and more powerful internals on the Black model and the inclusion of the LCD screen on the silver. Sadly because of this new design you will need to replace all of your existing batteries and the battery charger with new accessories from GoPro.
Down the left side, behind a removable panel you will find connections for USB, Micro HDMI and a slot for a Micro SD card. The USB port also allows the connection of third party stereo microphones with an optional adapter. On the top of the camera there is the play/select button, notification led and mono microphone. The right side has what used to be the Wi-FI shortcut button. This button is now used for the new quick capture mode and also for accessing your settings menus. The front contains the new LCD panel, lens and power/mode button. This is where you can change and see everything on your camera. If you don’t fancy navigating your way through the options on the cameras own screen you can easily hook up the Silver and Black edition models to your smartphone via a free GoPro app.
No longer included is the Wi-Fi remote from the previous Black edition 3/3+. The camera now ships solely with the waterproof housing and a couple of flat/curved adhesive mounts.
If you are interested in the Black, Silver or standard Hero camera and are not sure which to buy then check out our other article here.
In October 2014 GoPro officially announced and launched a new trio of action sports cameras. GoPro are the goto brand inside the sports industry and now they have an even better range which is more aggressively priced than ever.
For this season the GoPro range comprises of the GoPro Hero, GoPro Hero 4 Silver and GoPro Hero 4 Black. With prices ranging from £99 – £369 which model is right for you to buy?
Firstly lets take a look through the top level specifications between the models.
Top video resolution and frame rate:
Hero – 1080p at 30 FPS
Hero 4 Silver – 4k at 15 FPS or 1080p at 60 FPS
Hero 4 Black – 4k at 30 FPS, 2K at 50 FPS or 1080p at 120 FPS
These are some impressive looking numbers but what do they really mean? Frame frequency or frames per second (FPS) is the rate in which the GoPro can capture individual frames/images. The higher the FPS the smoother the final video will be, the higher FPS also allows for extremely good looking slow motion which is a real highlight for fast paced sports and tricks. Most digital content we consume currently will be played back at 24-30 FPS.
In terms of resolution the average user is probably still using a tv, laptop and desktop computer with a 1080P display. This means the resolution of your monitor is 1920 x 1080 pixels. A 2K display contains 2560 x 1440 pixels and a 4K display/tv contains 3840 x 2160 pixels. This year 2K became increasingly popular with products such as the Apple iMac, Apple Macbook Pro Retina, PC monitors and smartphones all adapting higher resolution panels.
Currently there are few devices capable of playing and processing the high level 4K content which the GoPro Hero 4 Black can produce.
Hero – 5MP sensor at 5 FPS burst
Hero 4 Silver – 12MP sensor at 30 FPS burst
Hero 4 Black – 12MP sensor at 30 FPS burst
Both the Silver and Black edition GoPro 4 cameras give very similar results when it comes to taking still images. Both models allow you to create time lapse photography which will look great when integrated with your normal video. The preset settings allow you to shoot photos from every 0.5 seconds to 60 seconds. If you want to capture faster action then you will love the burst mode which has seen a serious improvement over the older models. The new Hero 4 can shoot from 3 to 30 photos per second which is much fast than most modern cameras, phones or DSLR’s.
Hero – Mini USB, Micro SD
Hero 4 Silver – Micro USB, Micro SD, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Micro HDMI and more.
Hero 4 Black – Micro USB, Micro SD, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Micro HDMI and more.
Both the Silver and Black models of the Hero 4 include features to connect your camera directly to your smartphone, TV and computer. The standard Hero only allows connection to a PC so you will need to save your footage to another device to be able to play it back.
The 2014 GoPro cameras have seen impressive performance gains whilst the cheaper models become more and more powerful each year. The £99 HD Hero 4 is a fantastic piece of kit for the price point and will put some serious pressure on the likes of Contour and Sony. At £99 this should become the family holiday camera of choice. Something to throw about in the pool, at the beach and in the water parks. At £289.99 we would expect to see the Hero 4 Silver in most peoples bags. It offers great video and photo capabilities and also features an integrated LCD screen for viewing and playing back footage. The Hero 4 Black should be reserved for serious film makers who already have the hardware to process, edit and playback the footage which it is capable of shooting. Likewise if you want to future proof your camera setup and do not plan on buying another GoPro for a few years then go for the black. Just bare in mind £369.95 is nothing in comparison to the PC, Monitor and TV setup you will need to enjoy it.
We will follow up this article with a hands on review before the year is out, we want to test the new models in a multitude of conditions and see what they can really do.
If you have any questions give us a shout in the comments or drop us an email.
Want to find out more about the camera itself and what is included in the box? Check out our unboxing here.