Our kitesurfing manager Glenn Swart recently tested the new Ocean Rodeo Aluula Flite Kitesurfing Kite and what follows is how he found the experience:
Firstly, just a little background information about yourself, so you’ve been a kitesurfing instructor for over 15 years and in that time have flown a variety of kites from all the major brands, is that fair to say?
Correct. I got into the sport when it was just beginning and have seen the evolution of kites first hand, having flown everything; 2-line, 4-line, 5-line, delta, bow, c-shape even carrier bags when needed.
Okay so what were your initial thoughts about the Ocean Rodeo Flite?
Incredibly lightweight, I couldn’t believe how small the kite packed up into the bag, and I was very interested to see how this effected the performance.
*(The Aluula Air-Frame reduces the overall weight of the kite by 40-60% due to the unique properties of the material)
So would you describe the new Aluula material as a big step forward for the kitesurfing industry?
Could you explain what is so different?
The Aluula material is not only very lightweight but it’s the rigidity that really blew me away. *(Aluula offers double the stiffness compared due traditional dacron)
The structure of the kite is so strong it needs to be seen to be believed. The kite is definitely consistent, requiring little wind to fly, straight away from launching ‘Boom’ I could feel the responsiveness through the bar.
What sort of conditions were you riding in?
18-28 knots and what I found most impressive about the A-Series Flite was how well it handled in the gusts, you can fully sheet out the kite out and due to the strength of the frame it didn’t start fluttering, I didn’t feel it start to deform, it remained just as responsive.
A lot has been said about the lightwind characteristics of the new A-Series kites from Ocean Rodeo what are your thoughts regarding this now you’ve taken the Flite out yourself?
Whilst I didn’t take the Flite out in super lightwinds I definitely got the impression that it will handle really well, but I don’t want customers to start thinking you could take a 12 out in 17m conditions.
What I don’t think has been emphasised enough is that the whole range of the kite has been dramatically expanded. I would confidently take this kite out when other kiters are on 9’s as it was still so responsive when fully de-powered and at the same time I would have no issue riding this kite in 15m weather.
This I think will be the true secret of Aluula allowing kitesurfers to cut down how many kites they own in their quiver and cover the same range of conditions.
Let’s face it in the real world the wind isn’t perfectly consistent, it’s gusty, it drops off, sometimes you pump up a 12 and see everyone on the water start struggling, ‘do you pump up a bigger kite or wait for the wind to pick back up?’ I feel like this Ocean Rodeo range is possibly the first kite range built for the real conditions that we all ride in.
So how would you best describe your style of kitesurfing?
Like a lot of other riders out there I’m into Freestyle, Big Air and when the conditions are right I like to Surf.
How did the Flite A-Series suit your style?
Surprisingly well as I thought the Flite was predominately lightwind kite but it’s so much more!
It’s flies so fast with almost no loss of power, the efficiency is incredible you can really feel it building power all the way through the turns.
This might be the best Big Air kite I’ve ever used better than a Core XR or North Orbit for sure, I completely underestimated the first time I went for a jump, it really gives you flight, again having flown the normal Flite previously I have to put this down to the rigidity of the material, I travelled so much higher and further than I anticipated, having to put a couple downloops in and almost landing on the beach.
For Wave kiting I think it would be a perfect option as I usually don’t use anything larger than a 9m but due the speed of the Flite A-Series I would be completely comfortable on a 12m which is ideal as the waves are always much cleaner in lighter waves.
Do you think the Flite A-Series would suit Kite Foiling?
Not really as it only comes in bigger sizes *(the Flite is only available in 12m, 14.5m or 17m) however, the Ocean Rodeo Roam A-Series would be the perfect companion for a kite foiler due it coming in a range of smaller sizes and a different shape that is designed for Roam to turn much tighter around its axis.
What did setup were you riding with?
Personally I found the bar wasn’t quite up the job what with the speed that the kite travels at I found I could hear the lines whistling, my recommendation would be the Ocean Rodeo Stick Shift Bar as is uses thinner lines for less drag and has a much greater range of depower that is more easily adjusted via the Sidewinder.
What kites from other brands would you compare the Flite A-series to?
Honestly? I can’t! There’s no other kite that I have flown that offers the same level of directness, has such a huge wind range, produces such consistent pull and consistently flies as smooth as the Flite A-Series
So should other brands be concerned?
No I don’t think so, they should be excited.
The kitesurfing industry in my opinion has started to stagnate in the last 3-5 years as there hasn’t been any ground-breaking innovation that has really pushed the sport forwards, maybe we’ve just reached the limit of what traditional Dacron frames are capable of.
I genuinely believe that this will revolutionise kitesurfing, until I tried it a never would have thought that simply using a different material could create such a dramatic change in the kites’ performance.
Obviously the one thing we haven’t mentioned is the price. How do you think this will effect potential customers’ decisions to buy a new Aluula kite versus to a traditional Dacron kite?
Yes the A-Series kites are more expensive *(the Flite A-Series starts at £2189 for a 12m) but customers shouldn’t be put off buying due to this fact, due the huge wind range offered by each kite. Kitesurfers will need to reconsider how many kites they need, rather than buying a 3 or 4 kite quiver I believe anyone could easily own 2 Aluula kites to cover the same conditions which will work out cheaper overall.
So ultimately who is this kite for?
I think 90% of kitesurfers, as I’ve said it boosts like nothing else I’ve flown in my 15 years of kitesurfing and I can’t get over just how smooth and direct it is, and I’m really excited to try it out in the surf as I think it will be perfect.
I would mention that this is definitely not a kite for beginners, it is incredibly quick, in fact Reece *(Reece Myerscough, Ocean Rodeo Team Rider) told me they actually had to slow it down after initial testing, which is just insane when you think about it, but because it creates so much apparent wind, with such a consistent pull there is no delay, which for experienced riders is ideal as it gives you instantaneous feedback, I never once had to check where it was in the sky, but for people just starting out I feel this would be too much.
Any final thoughts?
Don’t be put off by the price the Ocean Rodeo are worth it, it has completely changed what I believed one kite was capable of, not only will you save money by requiring fewer kites, for travelling you’ll no longer have issues with excess baggage charges due to the saved weight and volume in your bags maybe letting you take an extra board.
Lastly, don’t underestimate it! This kite wants to be flown, and it will reward you with an amazing session, but make sure you spot your distances when jumping for the first time as you will really travel!
Please get in touch if you are interested in a demo, 01202 738 448