For the 2018 Freeride Gear Test, Tkb trucked over 60 kites (30 models) and 40 boards (33 models) to La Ventana, Mexico for one of the largest and most comprehensive kiteboarding equipment testing sessions in this magazine’s history. When it comes to testing there is a tremendous amount of subjectivity that leeches into the process, from the variability of conditions to the diversity of personal tester preference and the wide range of riding styles. However, at the Tkb Freeride Gear Review we try to hone in on objective assessments of kite equipment for strengths and ideal use to help the end user decide which equipment to demo and eventually integrate into the idealized quiver.

One of the ways we aim to bring objectivity to our testing is by expanding the size of team beyond one or two magazine staffers to a divergent group of testers that bring to the test a broad spectrum of style, skill level and equipment experience. We pack our pre-wind mornings with presentations by brand representatives in order to help educate testers on equipment highlights and host Q&A sessions to get an in depth understanding of the equipment. The individuals that comprise the testing team are as diverse at the 63 models of equipment we shove under the spotlight and aside from highlighting tester quotes in the product review we have interspersed their profiles throughout the 2018 Freeride Gear Review to lend insight into the kiteboarders behind the process.


RHONDA REYNA

“My friends call me the kite gnome as I can be found kiting everywhere conditions are best and sometimes more than one place in a single day. For example: a morning session at Sherman Island followed by a sunset session at Waddell Creek ensures I get to hang with all my kite buddies at different locations and experience a variety of water and waves.”

Weight: 128 lbs.

Riding experience: 2 years

Hometown: Santa Cruz, CA

Quiver: North Dice, RRD Vision, Naish Alana, North Soleil, North Woohoo, North XRide, Nobile Women’s NHP

Riding style and home riding conditions: All-around freeriding at Waddell Creek, CA, 25-35mph steady thermal winds with variable surf conditions.

Who is your favorite pro kiter / most impressive kiter / most influential / sexiest kiter / your personal kite hero?
Brian Frink is the sexiest, most stylish kiter I know. The dude is fearless and flies his kites super lit, yet shows a level of finesse and control that makes kiteloops look like no big deal.  I remember feeling the power surging off his kite the first time I saw it in a competition. It lit me up!  His snowkiting is crazy too, gliding 50-100 feet in the air. Whew!

If you were going to be reincarnated as one piece of kite equipment, what would it be and why? Good kites come and go, but a harness is the most important piece of equipment that a kiter wears so he/she won’t be flippant about or easily replace it when they find a great fit. Many people make solid commitments to the harnesses they wear.

What was the main thing you learned about kiteboarding gear during the test week?
The importance of well fitting and comfortable footstraps—this can alleviate a lot of leg strain due to trying to hang onto your board when the fit isn’t quite right.

What kite and board would you want to purchase for yourself and why? I love the North Jaime, it was made for me. The Jaime is lightweight and has the least surface tension of any board I’ve ridden; it lifts off the water easily while still maintaining a solid upwind edge and glide through chop.  I would like to own a Core XR5 kite because they handle well in gusty conditions.


PAUL HOLCOMB

“I am a sports junkie who grew up boating, fishing, sailing, water skiing, surfing, and then windsurfing. When I first saw kitesurfing I knew I had to be one of those guys! We are spoiled to have such awesome conditions to ride in down here in South Florida.”

Weight: 235 lbs.

Riding experience: 15 years

Hometown: Tavernier – Florida Keys, FL

Gear in your quiver: Cabrinha Switchblades and a variety of Cabrinha and Caution boards.

Riding style and home riding conditions: Freeride and surf in Islamorada, FL, mostly in very smooth and consistent 15-20 knot conditions from October through May, with lots of flat water in the Keys and waves along Miami and Fort Lauderdale.

Who is your favorite pro kiter / most impressive kiter / most influential / sexiest kiter / your personal kite hero?
There are a couple of octogenarians (80 plus years old) that kite in our local area. They are an inspiration to me and many other kiters. They just don’t go out and cruise either! They are out there jumping and still doing some tricks. I hope I am still rigging it up when I get to be their age.

If you were going to be reincarnated as one piece of kite equipment, what would it be and why?
I would come back to this earth as a foil kite because then I would get to go out on just the most picture perfect days and soar rapidly and quietly above everything with the best view around.

What was the main thing you learned about kiteboarding gear during the test week?
To some extent kite gear is like art …. It is all really good but there is gear that feels better, works better, and that you just like better. This may or may not hold true for another kiter on the same piece of equipment.

What kite and board would you want to purchase for yourself and why?
I would get the Core XR5 12M kite—it felt a step above in all its flight characteristics. It was so smooth and powerful with consistent pull, great turning, and had amazing response to bar input. As for a board, I loved the CrazyFly Raptor LTD. It was so light, had super comfortable pads and straps, and it just did everything extremely well. It set an edge and flew upwind, was very soft in the chop, carved amazing turns, and had lots of pop when jumping. Both of these had me smiling and saying ‘WOW’ out loud while riding!


JOHN (MAX) MACKENDRICK   

“Max Mackendrick: adventurer, explorer.”           

Weight: 190 lbs.

Experience: 10 years-ish, it gets fuzzy after awhile.

Hometown: New Orleans, LA, but I cut my teeth with kiteboarding in Southern California.

Quiver: Naish Parks, Slingshot Fuel, Naish Motion, Naish Orbit, Nobile twin tip

Riding style and home riding conditions: All-around freestyler—I like to carve, ride toeside, and jump mostly on the south coast of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, otherwise known as the Mississippi delta in the 11-13 knot range. My riding over the past year has led me to what I call ‘swamp-kiting’. Some of the bayous (slow flowing lakes) are among the most beautiful bodies of water I have ever seen, but the riding conditions are challenging. Around here when you can find a spot to launch you have to be very aware of  the local flora and fauna. Alligators and Water Moccasin are a threat! They are also pretty easy to avoid, a minimum of 20 feet from any shore and you’re safe.

If you were going to be reincarnated as one piece of kite equipment what would it be and why?
A kite, definitely. A single wing that can fly radically through the air!

What was the main thing you learned about kiteboarding gear during the test week? 
The reason I like the Tkb Testing event in La Ventana is that I’ve noticed the more equipment I ride, the more I understand my own kite-style. Having had a set of kites and boards from one manufacturer, I think today that may be that was a mistake. The more gear I tested, the more of the subtle difference I was able to feel in my riding. It may have been a particular move like a pop, or how much I lean to make a clean carve. Now, I know that the right equipment can make a real difference too.  Also, that titles and terms are not the most important to try to figure out first as I’ve come to realize through riding different gear, the tricks and moves that I find most fun, and easiest on my body, are the moves that I come to trust. Sometimes, a rider’s move, or trick doesn’t look like another’s. Learning how your body works with your gear helps to identify each move, for example a racing carve or a freestyle carve, or a pop that really sends you up high.  I now believe that your own style is a collection of moves that helps you get to where you want to be as a kiter.

What kite and board would you want to purchase for yourself and why?  
The Airush Apex is one of the lightest, easy to strap on and go boards I have had the privilege of using; it’s effortless to use because of its light weight and shaped edges that grip both smooth water and chop. I’m a ‘Naish guy’, but I’m a little upset that they have limited their 2018 kite line to the Pivot that was not as quick as the Park’s that I’ve had for years. Today I think I’m leaning toward Airush kites and boards, but North also makes kites that I liked as well.


MARKO BARTSCHERER

“I have been kiting for a long time and still love it—it doesn’t matter how strong or light the wind is. Being on the water beats complaining about the lack of wind every day.”

Weight: 215 lbs.

Riding experience: 17 years

Hometown: Chula Vista, CA

Quiver: F-One Breeze, F-One Furtive, F-One Diablo v1, Lift foil with Camet board, Slingshot Kneeswagger, Litewave DV8

Riding style and home riding conditions:
Freeride, surf, and lots of foiling all over San Diego since we usually have light wind in the 8-13mph range.

Who is your favorite pro kiter / most impressive kiter / most influential / sexiest kiter / your personal kite hero?
Bryan Lake

If you were going to be reincarnated as one piece of kite equipment, what would it be and why? A kite leash keeping you safe and sound.

What was the main thing you learned about kiteboarding gear during the test week? 
Twin tips seem to be getting bigger compared to last year and surf foils are a cool addition to the world of kite gear.

What kite and board would you want to purchase for yourself and why?
I liked the BWS Stallion board because it made me want to ride strapless even it isn’t normally my cup of tea. I just love F-One’s 12M Furtive. Its pseudo 5th line bridle does something to the kite that I really enjoy!


KURT ALTHEN

“Basically a lover of nature and the outdoors, travel and my sports (not watching sports, not even kiteboarding), with my friends and family.”

Weight: 185 lbs.

Riding experience: 19 years

Hometown: Denver, CO

Quiver: Cabrinha Switchblades, Crossbows and Contras, Slingshot Turbine, Slingshot Surfboard, Liquid Force Foil Fish, Liquid Force Legacy, Progressive Phish

Riding style and home riding conditions:
I like to freeride, wave ride and snowkite. Colorado doesn’t really have a local spot for water; most consider Lake McConaughy, NE, our local spot which serves up pretty light wind (15 or under) but we have a ton of snowkite spots!

Who is your favorite pro kiter / most impressive kiter / most influential / sexiest kiter / your personal kite hero?
I’m not really a fan follower of any sport, most of my influences has come from pro or team riders but none are household names, so I will go old school and say the Aaron Hadlow, Jessie Richman and Susi Mai.

If you were going to be reincarnated as one piece of kite equipment, what would it be and why?
A surfboard designed for women. I would have great views in every direction and they would take better care of me, not just throw me on the ground or in the back of the truck.

What was the main thing you learned about kiteboarding gear during the test week?
Even little things in design or features can make a big difference, and there are so many choices/features; it’s very hard to bring it all together in one package.

What kite and board would you want to purchase for yourself and why?
For a board I would get the Airush Switch/Core. I liked that it was very smooth and consistent in the chop, light weight and had a nice flex feel. I also liked the footstraps; while comfort is important I want to feel a tight hold, no point in feeling like slippers if they fall off like slippers. The North Jaimie was a very close second. As for a kite, I had several I liked a lot. Ultimately, I came to the conclusion than while many of the functional features like the octopus system, wingtip dump valve or easy/quick pump connections, love them or hate them, just don’t really matter that much.  It’s about how the kite performs, followed closely by ‘is it well built’ which all the top brand seem to qualify.  So if I have to pick just one it’s the Cabrinha Switchblade. Since you didn’t say I couldn’t, I wouldn’t get the Cab bar, I would get the North Click bar (assuming price is no object). If we are not talking money being an influence, I would stay with the Cabrinha bar it; was clean. As for bars, as much as I liked the easy reload and safety features of some other bars, e.g. Liquid Force’s Mission Control system, I guess I didn’t bite since it’s just not something that gets used very often, but I would probably kick myself after the fact.


JUSTIN LORD

“I’m originally from Boston and learned to kite on the beaches of Cape Cod before moving to San Francisco where I try to kite as much as possible, whether flat water slicks of Sherman Island or the waves of the California coast.  I’m an avid traveler always looking for the next kite adventure and am excited to continue learning more kite disciplines like foiling and racing.”

Weight: 125 lbs.

Riding experience: 7 years

Hometown: Boston, MA now living in San Francisco, CA

Quiver: Cabrinha Switchblade, Cabrinha FX, North Neo, CrazyFly Raptor Pro

Riding style and home riding conditions: Freestyle and freeride typically at Sherman Island, CA, 15-25 knots with reliable strong summer thermal winds and flat water slicks.

Who is your favorite pro kiter / most impressive kiter / most influential / sexiest kiter / your personal kite hero?
Ruben Lenten continues to be the most impressive big air kiter with his giant megaloops.

If you were going to be reincarnated as one piece of kite equipment, what would it be and why?
I’d be reincarnated as a freestyle kite so I could have the best view of kiters throwing down new tricks.

What was the main thing you learned about kiteboarding gear during the test week?
Most kite brands are following the same trend of trying to reduce weight while increasing strength and durability but at the same time trying to introduce their own unique features, some of which were very clever and useful while others felt gimmicky and unnecessary.

What kite and board would you want to purchase for yourself and why?
I was impressed by the Core XR5 kite. It was the most stable, lofty and predictable kite and was an absolute blast to jump with.  For a board, I really liked the CrazyFly All-Around, which was incredibly smooth, has a locked in edge, handles chop extremely well and has comfortable straps and pads.


IVANO STELLATO

“This reminds me of the line from The Avengers where Tony Stark says: Billionaire, Playboy Philanthropist.  An existential, martial artist, waterman, entrepreneur, technologist, humanitarian—I believe in kindness and karma and being ‘like water’.”

Weight: 168 lbs.

Riding experience: 12 years

Hometown: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Quiver: Eleveight RS and FS kites, Eleveight Process, Shinn Monk, Litewave Carbon Wing

Riding style and home riding conditions: All around freerider riding local spots around Toronto including Sauble Beach, Oliphant, Lake Simcoe, Lake Eerie and Allenwood/Georgian Bay, riding mostly inconsistent winds but typically 12-25 knots, medium gusty, with small to heavy chop and wind swell depending on the spot.

Who is your favorite pro kiter / most impressive kiter / most influential / sexiest kiter / your personal kite hero?
Sam Medysky. I first took lessons with Sam over 12 years ago when he was ‘just a kid’ and he has remained just as nice and humble every time I see him. He was the first guy I saw do a kiteloop in person and it blew me away.  Also, Damien Leroy; he’s just such a nice guy, you can’t help but like him.  Same with Evan Netsch!

If you were going to be reincarnated as one piece of kite equipment, what would it be and why? The original Wipika kite because it was an innovator.

What was the main thing you learned about kiteboarding gear during the test week?
Before the test I thought all new gear was good and the days of really dreadful kite models were behind us but during the test I found this was not the case.  Many kites and brands were good but there were some models I didn’t like at all and would not recommend to fellow kiters.

What kite and board would you want to purchase for yourself and why?
I am biased because my shop sells Eleveight gear but I really love their kites and bars and they are my current gear of choice for my own riding.


DRAY MURRAY

“I love kitesurfing and I am lucky enough to have been in the industry since the early days of kiting.  I work for Murrays.com as a shop and distributor for BWSurf, Dakine, Gath helmets and more.  I’m excited about the trajectory of the sport, as it is still expanding. Foiling has opened up so many new aspects and arenas for the sport and kiting is still continuing to push and redefine both surfing and sailing.”

Weight: 180 lbs.

Riding experience: 10+ years

Hometown:  Carpinteria, California

Quiver: BWSurf Aeneemas, Slingshot Alien Air board and Lift foil, Loyd Flying Pig, BWSurf Stallion, BWSurf DHD White Noise

Riding style and home riding conditions: Strapless surf and foiling in Ventura, CA, riding mostly in 15-30mph winds in knee to head high surf and foiling when the wind is light.

Who is your favorite pro kiter / most impressive kiter / most influential / sexiest kiter / your personal kite hero? 
It’s been great working with Ben Wilson. He is an incredibly talented kiter, a great ambassador of the sport as well as an excellent coach. I’ve been lucky enough to go on a few trips with Ben and his feedback has really helped my kiting.

If you were going to be reincarnated as one piece of kite equipment, what would it be and why?
I would want to be a kite which can adapt to be used in all conditions, because where else can the sport go? The one kite quiver?

What was the main thing you learned about kiteboarding gear during the test week?
Personally, I have found the high aspect kites to be some of the most rewarding freeride kites to ride. These types of kites have historically been a little less stable because they fly so far forward in the window but they have been getting much more stable and user friendly. These days high aspect kites are very accessible. They go upwind very easily and offer huge vertical boots with lots of hangtime.

What kite and board would you want to purchase for yourself and why?
For foiling, the Naish Boxer. It’s higher aspect than most single strut kites, has lots of depower and its so light that it drifts well even in light winds. For freeriding, I really liked the high aspect kites like the Ozone Edge for fast and easy upwind tacks, easy boosting (just send it and sheet in and you are going to launch), and they are a little slower so soft landings are easy to time. As for boards, for foiling I liked the LF Galaxy board and Impulse foil. It was really fun to ride swells on, and felt the most intuitive for turning, carving and pumping the board. For a twin tip, I’d choose the CrazyFly Raptor; it was easy to use, had comfortable straps and served up great performance.


DAVEY BEARD

“Scientist, engineer and explorer with a deep love of the ocean, usually found under, on or around the water trying to improve myself or push boundaries on how much fun one can have.”

Weight: 190 lbs.

Riding experience: 18 years (6 quivers)

Hometown: Santa Barbara, CA

Quiver: North Dice, F-One Diablo, North twin tip, Slingshot Surf, Spotz Foil

Riding style and home riding condition: I like it all, freestyle, surf and foiling! I typically ride at Leadbetter Beach, CA, lighter winds under 20 mph, flat water with occasional swell.

Describe yourself: Scientist, engineer and explorer with a deep love of the ocean, usually found under, on or around the water trying to improve myself or push boundaries on how much fun one can have.

Who is your favorite pro kiter / most impressive kiter / most influential / sexiest kiter / your personal kite hero?
Lou (Wainman)—for doing things with a two line kite that I still can’t do with 4 lines. Kites these days are way too safe.

If you were going to be reincarnated as one piece of kite equipment, what would it be and why?
I’d be the ocean so my lip could give all the kite equipment the smack down. But if I can’t be the ocean then a strapless surfboard since it seems to have the most unbridled fun and also gets barreled.

What was the main thing you learned about kiteboarding gear during the test week?
A flat front wing on a foil can be very stable and not cavitate.

What kite and board would you want to purchase for yourself and why?
North’s Wam 5’10” was so smooth and much better than my current surfboard, and the 4 line Rebel was real nice—not sure I’d replace my Dice with it though.


CHRIS MYLES

“I am from Indiana, just found out about kiteboarding three years ago and instantly fell in love with the sport and the people within the community. I work as a graphic designer in Portland, OR,  and like to make things. Always looking for an adventure and just trying to kite at all times.”

Weight: 167 lbs.

Riding experience: 3 years

Hometown: From Avon, Indiana, now living in Portland, OR .

Quiver:  Slingshot RPMs, LF Space Craft board, surfboard, TT+boots

Riding style and home riding conditions: Freeride (just trying to BOOST!) and learning to ride strapless surfboard around Hood River, Stevenson and Rooster Rock, in strong and punchy wind conditions mostly in the 15-30 knots range.

Who is your favorite pro kiter / most impressive kiter/ most influential  / sexiest kiter  / your personal kite hero?
Ruben Lenten, Nick Jacobson, Don Montague, Hannah Whitely and Robby Naish!

If you were going to be reincarnated as one piece of kite equipment, what would it be and why?
The kite for sure; it stays the closest to the stars and it flies!

What was the main thing you learned about kiteboarding gear during the test week? 
I learned that it takes a lot of hard work and energy to create, design, test, demo, and facilitate a conversation about gear. There are many smart people involved in the process and it takes an entire community of people to share the love for the sport. I learned that there is more to kiting then just getting on the water; all the connections that happen off the water are highly inspiring as well!

What kite and board would you want to purchase for yourself and why?
Naish Pivot, it was very boosty, lofty, and offered fast, fast loops.  I really enjoyed the LF Legacy board TT—it was just fun to ride!  My second choices would be the Airush Wave kite and North Wam board for the surf.


TOM TURLEY

A well-traveled, outgoing introvert humanitarian kiter who likes adventure and good physical and mental challenges; as well as time to lay low, decompress and recharge.

Weight:  170 lbs.

Riding experience: Since 2011

Hometown: Denver, Colorado

Quiver: Twin tip Shinn Monk Gold Digger, North Whip, North Pro Foil board with Slingshot Hoverglide mast and foil, Naish Pivots, Ocean Rodeo Flite

Riding style and home riding conditions: Primary is freeride, then some foil and some directional board, mostly 3.5 hours away at Lake McConaughy, NE, which I only hit up one to four time a year; all other kiting is done via plane rides! Wind speed varies greatly depending on the destination but Lake McConaughy tends to be in the 10 – 25 knot range and a bit gusty with light to medium chop.

Who is your favorite pro kiter / most impressive kiter / most influential / sexiest kiter / your personal kite hero? 
Favorite is Kevin Langeree. Most impressive: too many to choose from. Most influential: Kai Lenny and Kevin Langeree. Sexiest: Again, too many sexy lady kiters to choose from. Kite hero: Kai Lenny and Kevin Langeree. Props to all the pioneers of kiting who started out on the 2 and 4 line kites that had no safety systems, survived all of it, and led to the development of today’s excellent equipment. I’m grateful I started kiting later and didn’t have to ‘risk it all’ with that madness.

If you were going to be reincarnated as one piece of kite equipment, what would it be and why?
A Shinn Monk twin tip because a twin tip is in almost every quiver so it gets ridden a lot and has a good chance of traveling a lot; and people have a lot of fun on twin tips.

What was the main thing you learned about kiteboarding gear during the test week?
There is a lot of really good gear out there to choose from, and some that is only okay but could easily be improved. Also that perhaps some more standardization in the industry could be good e.g. inflation valves and quality/smart quick releases like Eleveight’s.

What kite and board would you want to purchase for yourself and why?
I’d stick with my Shinn Monk (or perhaps the Shinn Ronson) because it rides so well, does all I need nicely, and has great dampening properties that make riding chop so much more comfortable and enjoyable. If I chose a board from the test, it would be the CrazyFly Shox. It has comfortable footstraps and ride properties similar to my Shinn…i.e. great performance for all around twin tip riding and really nice ‘shock absorbing’  properties in the chop while also cutting through it nicely. As for kites, I think I’d stay with my Naish Pivots. For me they are the right mix of an all-around kite that is playful and responsive yet stable (not too twitchy or squirrely), go upwind well, drift well enough, and jump and glide well too. If I ‘had to’ choose a different kite than it would be the Core Free as it was very similar and suits my style/needs. I’d like to add a couple of Naish Boxers to my quiver as they also exhibited these traits that I like but in a lighter one strut kite. Obviously with a lighter kite it would be good for the light winds when foiling, and it also handled some solid wind when I took it out on the twin tip boards. If I was to mix and match bars with kites, I’d pick the Eleveight bar due to its nice safety release system.


TIBERIU ANGHEL

“A repeat customer at Kiteboarder Anonymous, chapters throughout the world who simply wish to spread stoke.”

Weight: 170 lbs.

Riding experience: 4 years

Hometown: Montreal, Canada

Gear in your quiver: Airush Wave/Union/Ultra, BWS Stallion, Naish Monarch, Kakoo foilboard with Zeeko foil.

Riding style and home riding conditions: All around (mostly strapless, foil, freestyle) on the local lakes around Montreal and Lake Champlain in Vermont where conditions are typically 12 to 12 knots, gusty and choppy.

Who is your favorite pro kiter / most impressive kiter / most influential / sexiest kiter / your personal kite hero?
Keahi, who is not only a well-rounded waterman, but an accomplished one.

If you were going to be reincarnated as one piece of kite equipment, what would it be and why?A WOO of course. No explanations required!

What was the main thing you learned about kiteboarding gear during the test week?
The stoke is real, highly contagious and doesn’t spare anyone, not even your grandma! It’s a good thing that it extends to the designers who year after year keep on improving on the small details, but also do come up with industry changing innovations which make our lives as riders so much more enjoyable, thrilling and safe.

What kite and board would you want to purchase for yourself and why?
I’d choose the Airush Wave for a kite due to it’s on demand power, drift, ease of relaunching and craftsmanship. A close second would be the North Dice and Eleveight RS due to their telepathic handling and bar interface. I had already bought the BWS Stallion untested before Tkb Test Week and riding it confirmed that I made the right choice! It’s a one quiver surfboard whether you’re cruising, jumping or smacking the lip.


BERNARD CHI

“I love being and playing outdoors whenever possible. I have a wide range of interests and like to learn new things. I’m a bit of an introvert but working on it.”

Weight: 195 lbs

Riding experience: 9 months

Hometown: San Diego, CA

Quiver: Cabrinha Contra, OR Prodigy, Slingshot Glide, OR Mako King, old surfboard

Riding style and home riding conditions: Freeride and surf at Stinkies, Silver Strand Beach and Cardiff Beach, 10-15 knots, gusty, both flat water and waves.

Who is your favorite pro kiter / most impressive kiter / most influential / sexiest kiter / your personal kite hero?
Fellow tester Davey Beard because he towed me a couple hundred yards back in on the second test day. Any of the top strapless wave/freestylers like Keahi, Mitu, Airton, Matchu and Moona.

If you were going to be reincarnated as one piece of kite equipment, what would it be and why?
A big light wind kite because they are relatively heavy and ponderous like me!

What was the main thing you learned about kiteboarding gear during the test week?
Being a relative beginner, I kind of felt that kites were probably a pretty mature product and comparable kites between brands would feel similar.  This was not the case though and most brands seemed to have their own ‘feel’.

What kite and board would you want to purchase for yourself and why?
Liquid Force Legacy board and the Naish Boxer. Almost all the equipment we tested was solid but those were the two that I immediately said “Wow, this is really nice!” when I rode them.


For the 2018 Freeride Gear Test, Tkb trucked over 60 kites (30 models) and 40 boards (33 models) to La Ventana, Mexico for one of the largest and most comprehensive kiteboarding equipment testing sessions in this magazine’s history. With the help of 13 testers from all walks of kiteboarding, Tkb’s staff assembled detailed gear reviews depicting with the objective performance criteria of the latest kites, twin tips and foilboards. Get all the reviews in convenient digital guide here: https://www.thekiteboarder.com/product/2018-freeride-gear-review-guide/