Over the last 4 weeks for various reasons I've had the opportunity to fly an array of "wave" kites in the swell, on both reef and beach breaks. I've been struggling to find a kite that suits my 'style' of riding - strapless and "effortless" for sometime and have had some unfortunate experiences with one particular brand - trolled for anything that didn't suggest it wasn't the best. I thought I'd share my thoughts and insights, in case anyone else is struggling to decide. I've not flown Core, Duotone, North or Cabrinha's before so can not compare..yet!
A couple of general notes on the newer (2019-20) gear I've used (and purchased): It seems shorter bridles are the theme, and whilst this may provide faster kite movements, it can, and does cause problems with self-launches in tight spaces. The bags all seems way too small. If you don't pack your kite away very well it doesn't fit, and I'm a little concerned by this - less folds/rolls on the kites preserve the kites for longer. This is more a problem in more adverse conditions.
F-One Bandit 6m (2016)
This isn't a wave kite. But it is very very fast. This and the 2014 model have been my 'go to' wave kite for a number of years. No it doesn't drift, but yes it pivots on the spot, and will go where ever you want it. Superb relaunch in the water and I've even flown this one 'backwards' (long way out, these things happen).
F-One Bandit S 8m (2020) - flown with Eleveight Vary bar
The thing that strikes me about this kite is the speed, power, and bar pressure. F-One have changed the shape - it has a higher aspect ratio - which gives it a good overall wind range, although I would argue less than a standard bandit. It turns on the spot, and if performed correctly, doesn't generate that much in the way of power. I've used this on beach and reef breaks - the kite will fly where you want it, when you want it. The valve is fantastic - similar to an SUP. Although the pump adapter doesn't fit snug into the hose end.
Eleveight WS 11m (2020)
This is a little of a difficult review to write. When flown in cross-shore / off-shore conditions on a reef break it is MAGIC. It performs really well with some drift, some power, and reasonably quick turns and very little bar pressure. I've flown this in everything from 15knots to 28 knots (ok, I was hanging on a little). However, on-shore and/or beach breaks are not it's strength - here it's pretty unpredictable. It could be a chalk and cheese thing? Same with the looks. I think it looks great! I like, same with the F-One kites how the leading edge isn't black - yet it's still tough. Superb.
RRD Religion 8m Y25 (2020) - flown with Best RP Bar
For me the Y25 religion is a little like going back in time. It's so light, or certainly feels it. The bag isn't conventional as it can be used for other things - a changing mat, and seat cover, and I really like the designers have thought about how the bag could be re-purposed for a different life. On the water, similar to the Bandit S there is constant bar pressure and that near instant response to your inputs on the bar. The Religion however somehow manages to both drift and give power on demand. However, in gusts, the Religion can seem difficult to control given the direct connections on the bridle.
Ozone Reo 7m (V5, 2019)
I have been a little sceptical for sometime about the Reo, I can't explain why, but I have! What impressed me the most was the bar/lines - everything is just built so well, and the lines seem so thin - I imagine to cut through the air better. I have to say the Reo is the quickest kite I think I've ever flown - it's super smooth, great drift and power, if a little too much, on demand.
Someone tried Airush session 9 (wave) ? Would be simil to?