Rider: Weight 88kg, Level intermediate
Style: Freeriding, Freestyle, Boosting
Build Quality: 10/10
Disclosure: I dislike people riding me into the beach
Board: 2011 Wainman Blunt 2 130
My Comments: I really love this kite. I have the Smoke and Boss over in the States but hadn't had either of them out in decent wind. My 07 Fuel died so I went and got a Smoke with 5 days kiting forecast.
I didn't get the Wainman bar due to the lack of safety and I had previously found the de-power toggle a little slippery to get hold of. I ended up getting a Liquid Force CPR bar due to the advice of Jason @ West Oz Kiteboarding(where I also got the kite). Some people don't mind the bar but decent safety is like car insurance. I hate to pay it but will be happy if I ever need to rely on it.
I quite like the bar and it's great not having any de-power junk flapping in your face.
The bag is great. Well made and can easily fit the kite in with the struts still inflated. Spares are great too.
The kite is quite powerful and it has a smooth delivery. It only took me about 20 mins till I was getting in some good boost's. It doesn't rip you off the water like the Fuel and you really need to time it right and get good pop to boost high.
The jumps were longer in duration but I need to hone the technique a bit as I'm used to the Fuel. The landings are far more forgiving and I'm able to really touch down softly.
I also found it easy to control when jumping with one hand on the bar.
Mucking around riding the swell was fun and the kite went down the line easy(though I'm no wave riding expert). The first time out I was out for nearly 3 hrs and on the Fuel I would have been knackered at 2.
The only other kite I can compare it to is last years Bandit Dos. I only had a quick ride of that but hated the bar pressure.
The smoke eats gust's with ease and your not pulled off your edge as much as with the Fuel. The bar pressure is spot on for me. You can at all times feel where the kite is. It turned quickly and it was on the factory settings.
The Boss I have had out in 14kts on my Liquid Force Venture Fish and was having a blast. With both being brand new I was doing board gybes within an hour(having never done them before or ridden strapless). Although my success rate wasn't high!
That board is a lot of fun and I can't wait to get on it again.
If your in the market do yourself a favor and get down to Safety Bay for a demo.
Take off the bridles and go for the single line set-up dude, it's a way more direct feel. Check out the rabbit manual. If anyone tries to tell you its harder to relaunch they aint got shyt!!.
I've had no problem with the bar set-up, the saftey works fine. Just make sure you got a velcro detachable ring to clip your leach to. I'll take a pic of mine tomorrow for ya.