TESTED: 7, 9m
AVAILABLE SIZES: 5, 7, 9, 10, 12, 14m
TESTED IN: Central California, 18-28 knots, small-head high waves
FROM THE MANUFACTURER:
The Fuse is a different kind of freeride/wave kite with a huge wind range, light predictable feel, and great jumping qualities. Its unique and simple Attack Control Bridle gives the Fuse smooth, reactive steering that is especially evident when depowered, making it a huge step forward in terms of maneuverability and directness on four lines. Easily accessible low end power and extreme resistance to back-stalling gives the Fuse great light wind capabilities while the AC Bridle ensures direct de-power and a crisp bar feeling even in strong winds with easy push and pull power. The Fuse is built to last utilizing the newest Technoforce D2 canopy material. To ensure a 100% safety solution the Fuse can also be flown on the 5th Element if desired.
THE KITEBOARDER REPORT:
Out of the Box: Typical of North Kites, the Fuse has a very angular look to it and features very bright graphics. Overall, the Fuse looks very similar to the North Rebel with the addition of a bridle. This is a five-strut one-pump kite with a unique floating center strut. Instead of being attached directly to the canopy, the center strut is below the canopy and attached to it with a piece of canopy fabric. The struts are tapered at the trailing edge and the non-adjustable bridle features two sliders per side. A nice feature is that the sliders have no moving parts and are not affected by sand or salt buildup. The Fuse uses the North-exclusive Technoforce D2 canopy fabric, which North claims offers higher strength and lower stretch than traditional canopy fabric.
The North Trust Four-Line bar is a very simple and well-thought out control system. It features a push-away quick release with integrated swivel, above-bar depower cleat, adjustable stopper, and an adjustable depower throw. When you unhook, the harness loop aligns itself with the bar to make it easier to hook in. The bar comes in one size which is adjustable from 46 to 55cm and our test kites came with 24m lines (a 19m set is also available).
On the Water: The Fuse is an extremely stable kite in the sky and sits along the edge of the window with virtually no effort from the rider. Bar pressure is light-medium and the Fuse generates a lot of low-end power. Jumping performance is great and jumps are easy, controllable, and predictable. Handling is direct and turning speed is quick but not especially fast. The Fuse’s power delivery is very smooth and the power remains steady through sharp turns and loops. The Fuse flies far upwind and getting upwind is very easy. In the waves, we found the Fuse to have a little bit of lag when initiating turns once you are actually on a wave, but turning was very direct in other situations. Relaunching the Fuse is almost effortless and one tester sent the Fuse through the rinse cycle in head-high waves with no problems.
- The 2011 Fuse has great low-end power and is really easy to get upwind on.
- The Fuse is an extremely stable kite.
- Bright aggressive graphics might not be to everyone’s liking.
- In the surf, the Fuse’s turning can be a little laggy in situations when you are using the power of the wave.
The stability, responsive handling, great jumping performance, and easy relaunch make the Fuse a fantastic all-around kite. The Fuse rides upwind well and has great low-end power. This is a very easy kite to fly and remains predictable and easy to control even when extremely depowered. The flying characteristics of the Fuse are very close to the North Rebel, so your decision between these two kites boils down to whether you prefer a four or five line kite. This is a kite that will satisfy the needs of a lot of riders out there.
- Make sure you know how the quick release goes back together. It’s obvious when on dry land, but one tester had problems reassembling it correctly in the water. Do it once on land and it’s a piece of cake.
- Roll the Fuse up from wingtip to wingtip towards the dump valve. You can then easily fold the kite in half to put it in its bag without bending the battens.
“Nice construction, one pump works well, the bar felt good in my hands, the kite had a lot of power, and it shot upwind well. It got pummeled by some big waves and came out fine!” -Kurt Miller, 165 lbs., Surf Kiter