TheKiteMag - English (Preview version) TheKiteMag #29 - English (Preview) - Page 152

TheKiteMag.com IN A SENTENCE: The YO is a minimal, light, and uncomplicated affair, with bags of power and at an attractive price point – an encouraging first entry to the market. ROU ND ER T IN A SENTENCE: It’s pretty simple, if you’ve got a foil then you need a foil kite for low wind days, and for us the SOUL is the clear stand out right now. ODO YO A new player boldly enters what’s becoming an increasingly mature kite market. Meet Odo Kiteboarding from Italy, with a boxfresh two kite range. So how will it weigh up against the establishment? The YO has a generous dash of traditional delta built into the design, and is aimed at wave, foiling and general freeride use. The build incorporates three core ripstop and a lightweight Dacron. This overall low weight translates into early flying and a decent low end. The bridling is minimal and low drag, with anodized sliders working well to minimize wear on the front, and the trailing edge has a scalloped anti- wear design. The Quick Vario bar system feels well-built and functional with relatively simple ingredients combined well. Several of the components are titanium, which shows more commitment to light weight. Depower range on the bar stroke is fine, and a sliding stopper means you can trim a little for shorter arms. The ever dependable Clamcleat does a great job of smooth trimming, as it does with many brands. The EVA grip is particularly nice, with the narrow diameter feeling refined in the hand. The safety line runs parallel to one of the front lines for approximately eight meters, which feels a little untidy but works well enough. The chicken loop is a simple push release with a pin and is very functional and safe, with a decent spinning mechanism on top to deal with line twists. Testing in some fairly varied and unpredictable wind conditions, the YO proved extremely stable throughout its wind range and was genuinely difficult to overfly. The leeward drift capability is, without a doubt, excellent. It has a high amount of grunt and ground pull, but, unlike a traditional delta, flies in a nice straight line with little inside line pressure required. As a wave kite it relies almost completely on excellent drift and stability to stay in the sky, rather than maneuverability. This will do well in side shore conditions, but makes things a little more challenging when onshore. It will turn, but it ALL needs a little persuasion. Powered on a twintip, the grunt and lift and more sedate turning transfer into some lovely controlled flight and transitions with no surprises. The light weight, early flying and more moderate turning speed also make it a great option for foiling. FLYSURFER SOUL The SOUL is the latest (and probably most advanced) in the current trend of super easy to use performance foils on the market. With the increased popularity in hydrofoils over recent years, more freeriders realize the limits in the low end of LEI kites, and start looking at foils for those sub 10 knot days which can be pretty daunting with a LEI kite. Which is where the SOUL comes in. From a practical perspective, foil kite bridling doesn’t get a great deal simpler on the SOUL than on a more high performance foil kite, so you need to read the manual (and check out some YouTube clips). But once you have unpacking and packing dialed then it is actually much quicker to get on the water than with LEI kites. A quick check over for any seaweed and bridle tangling before you launch, a bit of a pre-inflate, and off it goes. It takes a little while to fill compared to other foil kites on the market, but this means it’s also extremely hard for the air to escape if you bin it in the drink. We tested this theory on a mistimed jibe and think you would be hard pressed to sink it. The kite holds its shape extremely well for a foil, and T TES TE I reverse launched like an absolute charm. From a K IL O build point of view, the Flysurfer SOUL is a beautiful work of engineering and – with all of those cells – you can only begin to imagine how many man hours go into each one. So in terms of materials and R&D: you can see where the hefty price tag comes from. On the water and the low end of the SOUL, as you would expect, is extremely good. For one session we tested with a relatively large surface area hydrofoil in six knots, and the SOUL provided smooth, reassuring power delivery and an unbelievable stability even at this minimal wind strength. The canopy is so light that, if the wind does drop below what was foilable, the kite still flies overhead patiently and it was very easy to limp home. The power delivery with the SOUL is so smooth it’s much like being towed around by a friendly cloud. Turning speed on a 15m foil kite is never going to be comparable to a LEI, but the SOUL does an admirable job of shifting that huge canopy around. We tested it on 20m lines, Flysurfer suggest coming down to shorter lines for a quicker response with foiling. On a twintip in a little more wind, the SOUL provides a ridiculous amount of power and float. A feeling we can only describe as kitesurfing in slow motion. We’ve also witnessed its crossover potential on snow, where the low wind ability is staggering with the correct piloting. The SOUL is really going to suit the low wind hydrofoil use, it’s as easy as foil kites currently get and it’s super easy to make the transition from a LEI.