Ocean Rodeo HL-Series Crave Kite Review
Size tested: 12m
Weight tested: 2.65kg
Test conditions: 18-23kts wind, varying seas state
Location: Portland Harbour, Isles of Scilly
Board: Duotone Team Series Twintip and F-One Mitu Pro 5'6"
TL;DR: A well balanced wave and freeride kite, with a touch of gold!
We have heard a lot about the A-Series from Ocean Rodeo. Using its breakthrough ALUULA composite material instead of traditional Dacron, Ocean Rodeo have created some of the lightest but also the stiffest kites on the market. Often seen in the hands of their team riders sending never been done before big air moves and loops, the A-Series kites are gaining an avid following for their predictability and stability even in the harshest of conditions. In short, they fly phenomenally and at S2AS, we are big fans!
The HL- Series or Hybrid Light, takes DNA from the A-Series, to enhance Ocean Rodeo's other kite models. Working the ALUULA into key overlays and reinforcement sections and adding a full ALUULA panel to the length of each strut, Ocean Rodeo have managed to stiffen and lighten the airframe beyond that of a Dacron kite whilst also keeping the end price of the kite competitive. Even though this is not a full ALUULA kite, one look at the weight shows that Ocean Rodeo have gone to lengths to make this kite feel incredible to fly.
So what’s a Crave?
The Crave is a great example of Ocean Rodeo not being afraid to do things differently. It is marketed as a wave / strapless freestyle combo kite which in and itself is niche. However, I’ve found it’s so much more than that and is actually one of those goldilocks kites we don’t see too often. Like the Core GTS6 which toes the line between a big air kite with its incredible loops and a freestyle kite for its pop, the Crave sits right across boundaries for a high wind, big hang-time kite and a fast, drifty, wave kite. And it is battle tested, with Ocean Rodeo’s star team rider Giel Vlugt actually using an 8m Crave to edge out Kevin Langeree in the crazy 40-50kts of wind at the Cold Hawaii Games 2021.
How does it feel?The best word to describe the Crave is nimble. Like a performance road bike, descending down an alpine pass, the Crave is planted in the sky during lift off and outrageously responsive in turns. It has a buttery smoothness that is quite addictive on either a twintip or a directional board. However its real magic comes from those quirky wing tips. Ocean Rodeo told me they combined the best bits of multiple kites to make the Crave; a modern boosty freeride kite with an open C style shape for the raw power makes up the middle section of the Crave. Extending the wing tips increases the aspect ratio making the kite move faster through the air whilst turning down the line or pulling you through that sendy board off kiteloop.
It certainly is a funky design but I found that the kinks in the leading edge also contributed to a kite which loves to drift into the wind window, making strapless tricks easier by helping keep that board stuck onto your feet!
This kite sits right across the spectrum from big air to wave. The Crave is the kite for the person who rides both strapless and twintip, spends a bit of time in the waves and loves to jump. It is the equivalent of the windsurf freestyle wave board. For the majority of people in the UK who don’t spend their time in a pan flat lagoon trying heart attacks all day long but who want to get out when then weather goes knarly, this could be the perfect kite for you! With the just the right injection of ALUULA, you have a kite which is incredibly predictable, stable and responsive all at a reasonable price.
You can find the demo kite here and the rest of the Ocean Rodeo range at S2AS.See you on the water.
Bio: Former Olympic class windsurfer switched over to the dark side. Love a dancing session on the foil and a sendy boost. Big fan of new gear and development in the sport.
Dims: 183cm, 80kgs
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