Flysurfer BOOST kite review

Flysurfer BOOST kite review

Talk the talk:

New for 2015, the Flysurfer BOOST is an inflatable kite which is sure to cause a stir in the LEI market. Following the launch of Cronix the BOOST is the second inflatable kite from Flysurfer and they seem to have learned a lot second time around. Flysurfer are aiming the BOOST at airstyle, big air and racing putting it into similar territory to the Ozone Edge. The BOOST is available in a range of sizes; 7m, 9m, 11m, 13m, 15m and 18m. Both the 15m and 18m come in a light wind mode which includes a higher AR and rear bridle to help assist light wind relaunching.

The BOOST comes in a traditional Flysurfer style backpack which is pretty simple but also lightweight. Pumping up the kite is fast and easy thanks to the large inflate valve and R.E.D pump. The pump allows for reduced effort whilst pumping and switches from a double action to single when the pressure in the kite gets high. Unfortunately the valve itself is a bit fiddly and requires a separate attachment which is attach to the centre strut near the valve.

The BOOST comes preset with intermediate bar pressure, allowing you to move the rear line attachment up or down a level depending on your preference. We kept both the 11m and 13m on the stock settings and found it was just right for how we tend to ride. On the middle setting turning was effortless and was easy to do with your wrist or one hand on the bar. The safety system flags the kite out onto a single line and was fired off in testing. Whilst out in deep water the safety was reset and the kite recovered in some wavy conditions.

Like most kites in the Flysurfer range the BOOST comes in one colour per size and the colours are repeated throughout the range. Both the 11m and 13m looked stunning in the sky with really bright panels and sharp graphics.

Flysurfer Boost Colours - Island Board Shop

On the twintip:

We rode the Flysurfer BOOST over a couple of weekends on our familiar AXIS twin tips to get the best feel for the kite. Both kites were extremely easy to fly and despite the name we would still feel comfortable putting beginner/intermediate riders on the kites. The high aspect makes the kites extremely fast in a straight line and they shoot upwind at some pretty wild angles. The turning rate was very impressive and a bit of a surprise. The 13m was happy to be downlooped and thrown about coming out of jumps and rotations. Getting out through the waves was a breeze as the power comes very quickly after pulling in the bar. Jumping on the BOOST is smooth and simple, the kite naturally wants to generate lift and you tend to be moving pretty quickly whilst riding this kite! All that speed translates into some decent air and hangtime. Both the 11m and 13m were really fun and felt encouraging enough to try new moves. On one session on the 13m the wind kept increasing throughout the day, to the stage where some people were going out on 7’s and 9’s on surfboards, needless to say it was getting quite pokey at that stage but it always felt safe and incredibly stable.

On the directional:

The BOOST responds well to being ridden with a directional – it sits forward in the window and rockets upwind. Whilst by no means a dedicated wave kite, the fast turning and stability make this a fun freeride kite capable of taking on some waves and is great for messing about and trying some strapless freestyle.

The bar:

Flysurfer have introduced the Infinity 3.0 bar with the BOOST. The new bar features a thinner and lighter design and is wrapped in a really comfy EVA grip. We found the new bar much comfier to hold than the previous version and think the new EVA grip will be much more durable than the older style. The 21m lines found on the Infinity 3.o bar are designed to be low drag whilst maintaining a high breaking load. These should help the efficiency of the kite when racing or in light winds. The Infinity 3.0 bar also features an endless rotation system for unspinning your lines and safety after doing spins and kiteloops, the system works when you pull the bar in. Above the bar you will also find a stopper ball and velcro depower system for sheeting in the kite.

What we liked:

The BOOST is extremely easy to fly and much more user friendly than some of the other kites in the Flysurfer range. The clean profile and solid canopy make this kite extremely solid in both stability and performance. We have had some really great sessions slashing around in the waves, honking around in flat water and most importantly getting some serious hangtime. Both sizes we tested felt smaller than their sizes and the wind range was extremely impressive at the top end. Part of the impressive turning speed maybe due to the 21m lines on the new Infinity 3.0 bar.

What we didn’t like:

One of the “niggles” we had with the BOOST was on the kite itself, rather than a flying characteristic. The inflate / deflate valve is a bit of an annoyance and it doesn’t feel like it was designed with users in mind. It was tricky to open with cold hands. The multi part system is clunky and feels unnecessarily complicated for such a simple action. With regards to the bar it would be great to have less lines running through the centre core, and a potentially cleaner single line flag out system, instead of the extra safety line.

Conclusion:

The Flysurfer BOOST is an excellent freeride kite, suitable for a wide range of riders who want to master several styles of riding. The wide wind range and smooth depower will help riders progress their skills in any conditions. The quick turning speed, solid upwind performance and speed in a straight line are sure to put a smile on your face.

 

Test quiver: Flysurfer BOOST 11m and 13m. AXIS Division, New Wave and Vanguard.

Brunotti Virtuoso Kiteboard Preview

Brunotti Virtuoso Kiteboard Preview

The 2015 Brunotti Virtuoso is a totally new model in the range for this season. This is their ultimate freeride board offering high performance and comfort – the catch being the price. It is not as expensive as the AXIS Limited though for example. The board looks very smart and sophisticated. It has a nice sleak graphic and the Brunotti pads and straps are nice and comfortable and easily adjustable.

In the water the Brunotti Virtuoso is smooth. It handles chop easily. The super narrow edges (Dynamic Slim Rail Tech) really cut through the water effortlessly. The board really is comfortable and has plenty of performance. It handles big landings no problem – the triple concave bottom shape provides plenty of grip and stability.

Take a look and grab a demo!

2015 AXIS Limited – Best twintip we have ridden!

2015 AXIS Limited – Best twintip we have ridden!

The Limited is truly a special board. We fell in love with it last season and this season it remains as probably our favourite twintip ever! A big statement I know but there we go – we have said it. Sure this is not for everyone as personal preference is what it all comes down to. There are budget considerations too. At £809 complete with pads and straps it will be on the expensive side of things for many. However if you were to ask us what we would buy if money were no object then it would be this.

If we were to review what makes the Limited so special it would be how silky smooth it feels. It is Rolls Royce comfort but without sacrificing performance at all! If you want to ride boots then the Limited can do that no problem. The bottom shape gives you amazing control, the channels provide all the grip you could ever need. It has some rocker to control those fast landings but still feels fast and dynamic through the water. The Limited is based on the same high performance shape as the Vanguard – but uses a carbon wrap around a wood core construction. Make sure you grab a test ride of the 2015 AXIS Limited.

The Brunotti Dimension 2015 – A Closer Look

The Brunotti Dimension 2015 – A Closer Look

The Dimension has been the stand out board in the range for the last few seasons. A true all rounder which is well suited to the mixed conditions we get here in the UK. It is a premium board and has the details in the base you would expect such as channels for grip and a double concave. The pads and straps work well with most foot sizes and we had no issues making them big enough to accommodate wetsuit boots. You can customise them a lot too.

Major changes for 2015 include the new solid chassis technology which should improve durability of the board and the new active diamond rail which is a new rail shape which improves control and upwind performance.

Find out more about the Brunotti Dimension 2015 over at Island Board Shop and take a look at the close up shots below!

New 2015 Ozone C4 now available

New 2015 Ozone C4 now available

We got a 2015 C4 on demo the other week but unfortunately it was nowhere near windy enough (it wasnt even Zephyr weather!). Eitherway we were keen to get it out of the bag and take a look. There was enough wind to get it in the sky and fly it about. It is definitely a fast kite – no doubt about that! The kite turns fast and generates a lot of pull – this is going to be popular with the kiteloop crowd. The kite looked great in the sky. The new control bar is tiny! For 2015 the 10m and below ship with 38cm bars and the larger sizes use the 45cm bar. We are looking forward to getting this out on the water.

Read more about the 2015 Ozone C4.

Take a look at these photos we took

Brunotti release new 2015 Longboards

Brunotti release new 2015 Longboards

These boards look really smart! First impressions do count afterall. We cannot wait to try these. The colour coding is not something we have seen done before and the range is looking good. The Billy is new to the range  – a mini kicktail cruiser that looks like a lot of fun. Ben – the larger classic kicktail cruiser is still there in 2 colourways and Bob the drop through is back in 4 colour ways.

Take a look at the 2015 Brunotti longboards.

First look at the new 2015 Ozone Zephyr

First look at the new 2015 Ozone Zephyr

We got our hands on one of the first 2015 Ozone Zephyrs in the UK. Unfortunately we have not had the conditions to really test it but we spent a lot of time on previous models. We did manage to get it pumped up and fly it on the beach. The new kite looks as solid as ever and with the material improvements Ozone have made this year durability and performance will be great. A light wind kite is a must have these days and if you are not into foil kites then the Zephyr is the one to have.

Find out more about the 2015 Ozone Zephyr.

Here are some shots we took

 

Ozone Catalyst 2015 Kite Review

Ozone Catalyst 2015 Kite Review

Ozone Catalyst 2015 Island Board Shop

Intro.

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.

Ozone Catalyst 2015 Bag

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.

Conclusion.

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.