I got a chance to ride the North Evo 2010 in the 12m size today (27/12/2009) and it could not have been soon enough really. I had heard that the city crew were very impressed with this kite from North and had compared it with the Rebel 2010.
Bretto from Onboard was keen to know my thoughts, so here they are:
Out the bag its a multi pump, you have to pump up all the struts, and its a 4 line with a very simple bridle, just lines hooked up to the LE and to the pigtail and the pulley onto one little line on the LE, that's it. Quite good really as a lot of kites IMO just have too much bridle line. (it does have an option for a fith line)
first launch from the beach was that the kite felt pretty similar to the North Rebel to be honest, it was light and easy on the bar with a light to medium bar pressure, more to the light end. it turned really easy on the beach. The wind was light, only really getting to 15 knots and maybe gusting to 17. So a good test for low end power, I used my fishcuit surfboard for more drive and therefore just kite testing.
Diving straight into power the kite it did have a lot of grunt and apparent wind, light and easy to turn and it does have pulleys but there was no evidence in the bar feel of that 'bow-lag' spring that some kites have with pulleys. The feel is direct.
After a short flight I really was convinced that there was not much difference between the Rebel and the Evo, however, then evidence started to mount on the actual differences.
The Rebel has the light feel and easy bar pressure, as the Evo does, but I noticed that a couple of times I automatically depowered and went to make a move on the board, only to realise that the kite still had latent power left in it, this did wind me up off the board a couple of times and took me by surprise. So the first difference is that they Evo has a little touch of Bow power left overs, it would suit those who are not used to the Rebel total depower in short bar throw feel. I think this gives the Evo the feeling that it has more power than the Rebel, however that is not correct IMO. It is only where preference for a kite that has more continuous power and perhaps wake style feel left in the kite when you throw the bar out. Also this was still apparent with the kite depowered on the rope as well as powered up.
The Rebel will not fly well totally depowed on the strap (rope - this suits then unhooking) and yet to me this is one of its finest properties used well (as unhooked and over powering winds it comes into play). the Evo will still fly well bar in or out or depowered. The Rebel has such great depowering that those not used to it can feel it is 'fickle' but after a few sessions you can never go back, the awsome feeling of the Rebel will have you hooked. (I have noticed this comment only from heavier bow type kite riders)
So the Evo just simply offers a more powered and wakestyle feel, or latent power feel that I can understand is liked by many, (just not me and other Rebel riders) and if you are into it great. You can forget about the kite in wake moves, let the bar go etc, its a very easy style to get used to. Perhaps also heavier riders who can't be bothered with working the kite through power especially on flat water whilst looking for the next jump or trick. The Rebel on the other hand is preferred by those wanting a kite that works in and out of power as they want it. (This does show up as a great advantage in bigger surf wanting to jump and depower and change your mind on power quickly)
The closest other brand match for my with this kite is the new Slingshot RPM, actually the North Kite that it feels very much like is the 2009 Rebel which had that bit of latent power in the bar throw. Very similar in feel. Another advantage of the Evo would be someone who is coming off a bow kite and wanting a lighter kite but one that still feels like it has a pinch of bow in it.
Wave riding it was fine and really sat up in 'no wind wave riding' with the wave and the wind. it did however slightly tug you off the wave depowered which matches my assessment of the kite in latent power when depowered.
Let me be clear about this, if you are used to powered Bows or C kites then you would think this kite is light and depowers fully and with short bar throw. But I am reviewing based on Rebel v Evo. and perhaps this is misleading as you can likely only understand that once you are used to the Rebel Feel.
So the Evo is a really fine kite that would suit wave to wake and even beginners. Theres not much in it really in comparision coming from other kites, but from a Rebel there are fine differences that make a big difference in big surf and wave riding for depowering perfection.
Its kind all about what feel you like. Nothing I have reported on is really about good or bad, as with all good kites it comes down to personal preference on what you like.
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