For the 2013 Light Wind Gear Test TKB gathered a variety of light-wind specific gear in San Diego, the Light Wind Capitol of the World. Often known as a location where the wind just barely touches the ridable range we found ideal flat water light wind testing conditions of 8-15 mph on Mission Bay.

Read the reviews on the 2013 Light Wind Review Page.

Conditions for Test Day #1

Conditions for Test Day #1

Conditions for Test Day #2

Conditions for Test Day #2

What We Learned:

We were actually dreading this test. I mean, who in their right mind wants to leave wind at their home location to purposely seek out 10 mph conditions so they can fly big kites and ride big twin tips?

The big surprise for us was how much fun this gear was to ride. There really is no reason to shy away from kites in the 16-19m range and they really do expand your ridable wind range by a lot. Kiters who are against large kites probably haven’t ridden one in awhile as the power, upwind ability, and turning speeds have drastically improved over the last few years.

The Testers:

The members of the 2013 Light Wind Test Team were selected for their range of riding styles, personal gear preferences, and experience with light wind conditions.

Meet the testers below and see which products they chose as their favorites.

Clint Sterba

“I’m just a local San Diegan who loves to kite and travel!”

Weight: 219 lbs.
Riding For: Three years
Style of riding: Surf and freestyle
Quiver: Blade Fat Lady; Wainman Hawaii Punch, Smoke, and Mr. Green; Best Nemesis 14m, Kahoona 7.5, 9.5, and 11.5, GP 11m, Taboo 10m and12m; FireWire Sweet Potato 5’8″, 5’2″, and
Taj 6’4″; Slingshot Verve; Mako King; Crazyfly Cruiser Pro and LTD; Liquid Force DLX, Influence 132, and Edge 136; Cabrinha Nugget and Caliber; Hynson Twinzer 6’4″

What was the main thing you learned about gear by testing so much of it?
The main thing I learned was that bad gear seems to be just part of the past now. I had a harder time finding things that I didn’t like rather than finding things I liked about this year’s equipment.

Which kite and board would you get?
The Blade Fat Lady is what I chose this year as my light wind kite and testing all the gear reassured me that I made the right choice for me. If I did not have the Fat Lady to choose from, it would be a toss up between the Best TS and Ozone Zephyr. For me the Fat Lady performed the best in all categories. I ride mostly strapless but occasionally throw on a twin tip to get some jumps in. It does great in the surf as well as flat water. The upwind performance is amazing as well as its ability to carry me through the holes.

As far as boards go, I choose the Liquid Force Overdrive. Over the past few years I have struggled to find a light to moderate wind twin tip that is still aggressive. The only manufacturer that I’ve found to produce such a product is Liquid Force. I own the 142cm DLX and it does the job but it’s time to trade it in for the Overdrive. The Overdrive allowed me to jump while the other boards only let me mow the lawn. Its length carried me through the holes while the width and flex enabled me to load, pop, and turn with ease. It felt extremely light on my feet.

Marko Bartscherer

“I had a Dolphin yell at me once for cutting him off while kiting. Memories like this stick more with me than the size kite I rode.”

Weight: 220 lbs.
Riding For: 12 years
Style of Riding: Freestyle, surf, racing
Quiver: Ozone Edge 11, 13, 17; F-One Volt 9; Aguera Race Board; Slingshot Knee Swacker; Litewave 179; Underground FLX 138

What was the main thing you learned about gear by testing so much of it?
There were a lot of well-designed light wind kites and boards in the test, and you can have a lot of fun in 10 knots with them. I found that the light wind specific kites usually work much better than the 14m models of the same manufacturers range.

Which kite and board would you get?
For boards the Liquid Force Overdrive for sure. It did everything great including planning and going upwind in as little wind as any of the boards in the test while being a traditional twin tip shape that is all around fun to ride. It also has a very attractive price point. I am really considering ordering one! For the kites I think it is a toss up between the Slingshot Turbine and the Best TS. I like racing so I want something that flies upwind as much as possible.

Ken Hunt

“I really enjoy upwind riding and riding with speed.”

Weight: 205 lbs.
Riding For: Two years
Style of Riding: Upwind riding and wave riding
Quiver: North 2009 12m and 2010 16m Rebels, 2012 17m Dyno; Litewave 161 Wing; Hynson 6’2″ Black Night Quad; Airush Sector V2 60

What was the main thing you learned about gear by testing so much of it?
I only tested boards, but now I would like to get a smaller twin tip.

Which kite and board would you get?
I only tested boards. I really liked the speed, lightness, and upwind ability of the Best Breeze. For me it was more fun to ride toeside than some of the other boards.

Peter Blawat

“Even after ten years with triple digit numbers of sessions each year I’m still fascinated with kiting at incredible speeds just by the power of wind. The sensation never gets old.”

Weight: 245 lbs.
Riding For: 10 years
Style of Riding: Wave riding, race-like freeriding
Quiver: Airush Sector V2 60, Sector V3 54; Undergound Freewave; Ocean Rodeo Mako King;
Core GTS 13.5; North Rebel 12 and Fuse 6m; Ocean Rodeo Razor 8 and 10m

What was the main thing you learned about gear by testing so much of it?
Over the last couple of years kites have gotten way more powerful while getting smaller in size and at the same time increasing turning speed dramatically.

Which kite and board would you get?
I only tested kites so will comment on that. It’s a tough battle between the Blade Fat Lady and the Best TS. Both had very impressive low end power. The Best TS went upwind a bit better but the Fat Lady seemed to have better lift and got going in even less wind. With my riding style and love for waves, jibes, and light handling, I’d choose the Best TS if I had to pick one. It feels really light and not like a big kite at all, turns really fast, and can be used without any problems with a small board as well. And if you’d like to get some air, the kite is still enjoyable and performs really well.

TKB Staff

Members of the TKB Staff also participated in testing gear. Paul Lang, Marina Chang, Ginette Buffone, and Alexis Rovira all contributed their input on the products TKB tested in San Diego.

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