Introduction: We last reviewed the Ozone Zephyr back in 2011, the second year the kite had been on the market. Since the 2013 Zephyr has had a redesign we thought it best to update our records with the latest information. The Zephyr has always, and is still only available in a 17m size. Designed for lightwind riding, freeride and race.
Talk the talk: There has been a noticeable increase in light wind kites and boards in the last few years, specifically larger directional and race boards – sure a large board makes a huge difference but you also need the right kite to maximise your water hours. Since the Zephyr originally launched 3 years ago the 2013 model is the first significant redesign. Just from seeing the kite in the sky it is obvious that Ozone have learnt a huge amount from the race market and the Ozone Edge. The new Zephyr appears a lot more efficient and streamlined in the sky, the tips are very different to the previous model and with the awesome new graphics, it just looks faster.
As we all know looks are not everything. Luckily for Ozone the Zephyr packs an incredible amount of that reassuring feel that Ozone kites are renowned for into this 17m. The overall quality remains some of the best in the industry – Right down to the bag and accessories. I think an important point to touch on with regards to the Zephyr is who can fly this? what ability is it for? In my opinion, even a beginner who has recently mastered upwind is suited to this kite. Despite its size the Zephyr is very easy to fly. Turning is not what you would expect from a kite its size but it remains slow enough to aid the learning of new tricks and freestyle without sending it into a mad loop every time. The bar feels a lot more direct on the 2013 model, there is definitely an improvement to the responsiveness in sheeting the bar in and out and the kites reaction. This new instant power delivery makes kitesurfing even easier, and safer. There is no lag between start and stop on the bar any more, the only time you cannot feel such an apparent change in pressure is at the very bottom of the kites wind range. The Zephyr also has an impressive top end for such a large kite, an experienced rider will be able to continue to ride past the high teens!
The Zephyr has never lacked in the speed department and thanks to the new, more efficient design everything just got faster. The kite builds apparent wind better than the previous generations which aids the lightwind performance when things are getting border line for a session. The upwind ability also appears to be better, riding alongside a 2010 Zephyr the newer model definitely had the edge. In your hands Ozone have made some modest changes to the Contact control bar. The bar in the complete packaged is 55cm long and rigged with 27m lines, a couple of metres longer than the standard Ozone lines. Underneath the new streamlined bar floats there are some pre-made knots for changing the backline tension of the kite, this is extremely easy and fast to do on the beach although we found ourselves flying the kite on the middle knot (factory setting). The magnetic trim handle is also a nice touch for keeping things tidy and out the way when depowering or whilst riding unhooked.
If you would like to ask about anything particular on the 2013 Ozone Zephyr, drop us a comment below!
Liked: We liked a whole lot about the new Zephyr, a solid performance increase on an already top tier product. A great way to maximise summer riding and progress your style in light winds.
Would Change: We would love to see Ozone launch a central releasing, full spinning safety system on the Megatron bar, our only real gripe from the last Zephyr we reviewed.
Overview: The Ozone Zephyr 2013 remains one of the top choices for light / moderate wind kitesurfing. The kite feels much smaller, and more responsive than you would expect and can be ridden by a variety of rider abilities and styles.
Photos: www.flyozone.com & our own.