Sizes Available: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13.5, 15, 17m
Sizes Tested: 7, 9, 12m

Core Says:

Hang loose and ride knee highs like they’re overheads. Test your limits on those really big days. Or, just chill and cruise on your trusty surfboard, twintip or skimboard. Without fussing about your kite or the wind. Because you know the new CORE Free is there for you. With its mad surf skills, smooth air-style, and signature CORE ride-ability, you may suspect your new kite has super powers. And we think so too.

This 3 strut, delta bow inspired design lets you be you. A kite that gives you the freedom to surf, play or shred. In the waves. Or on the slick. With the comfort of your favorite sneakers. The precision of an F-15. And water starts of a kite half its size. Your first choice for short sessions, wicked weekends or your next round the world adventure. Express yourself with CORE’s newest addition to its legendary Universal+Series of high performance all-rounders. And experience the awesomeness of this wave, freeride, and hooked-in style master.

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Our Testers Say:

“Zippy quick turner, nice jumping boost and glide with really comfortable bar pressure. No cons with this one, just a smooth and reactive playful kite that’s really well built and fun to do just about everything.” // Tom Turley

“Turns like a spinning top, super stable and predictable and never had to look at the kite to know where it was. Lighter bar pressure, excellent turning speed with worthy lift but maybe not quite as much wind range as other kites.” // Ivano Stellato

“Top quality construction with the finest materials and workmanship, the Free feels like a great wave kite that goes upwind well with a really solid bar design, particularly if you like narrow grips.” // Kurt Althen

Meet Our Testers

TKB Says:

The Free is Core’s do-everything all-rounder freeride kite that features a delta-shaped 3-strut low to medium aspect canopy and sweptback wingtips. The Free features Core’s proprietary inflation valve that requires a normal size pump hose without an attachment on the end to be inserted into the valve and rotated to lock. With the large size aperture the kite inflates very quickly and the valve stays closed until you pull a 2.5 inch plastic finger (hidden in a pocket of the center strut and attached by a small tether) into the valve to allow the air to deflate. The Free features three settings on the wingtips for adjusting medium, fast, and super-fast turning speed and the front bridle offers three settings for adjusting kite feedback and bar pressure while each side employs three pulleys to change the angle of attack. The kite’s bridle uses loops on the front bridle pigtails and knots on the wingtip pigtails. Testers commented on the Free’s middle of the road bar pressure with smooth progressive power delivery over the course of the bar’s throw. The steering response is solid, perhaps more direct than the XR5, and the steering arc is very tight with a pivot style turn. Overall the Free feels fairly stable in the air and has a sheet in and go type feel that is very predictable, making it a great option for general freeride and crossover into the surf. The Free doesn’t deliver the explosive big boosting lift you get with the XR5, but it’s direct steering and good power can yield solid lift and hangtime when in the right hands for fun freestyle. We found the relaunch on the Free impressive, it pretty much auto-relaunched out of the bottom of the window without us doing much to help. Overall, the Free is a great all around freeride kite that does just about everything well that would satisfy the needs of beginner to intermediate kiters.

Our Core kites came with two control bar options: the Sensor 2S/2S+ and the Sensor 2S Pro.

The Sensor 2S (pictured above) is the middle of the Core range of control bars. The 2S is a dual adjustable length bar (46/52 cm) designed to control all size kites with standard 24m length lines (The pro version gets extensions built into that length) with the center lines ending in knots and the outside lines in loops. It comes equipped with a double PU-coated spectra sheeting/throw line, replaceable plastic insert, no sliding stopper and a non-removable donkey dick. This year the bar features a single center-line safety depower with a high V and an above bar depower custom Clam cleat with a Velcro tuning handle to keep the depower control toggle from tangling. Core bars have long been known for their twisting quick release with auto swivel (S-System) that doubles as a quick release guard and integrates ceramic bearings for longevity. The length of sheeting/throw can be adjusted for varying arm lengths of kiters or the type of riding. The non-molded foam floats are connected to the bar ends with the tips of the bar being hard. While the outside leader lines allow riders to adjust the length of the outside lines for stretch or tuning, the bar ends are easily swapped between by 46/52cm by changing to a separate knot on the bar end. The Team praised the bar’s simplicity with medium plush stamped grip, commented on its fairly narrow diameter and its small but sufficient bar end winders with non-retractable bungee. It’s an amazingly very feature rich bar designed into a compact and lightweight package.

The Pro version of the 2S (above) features a full carbon construction wrapped around a titanium frame (Core calls it a truss) as well as a different set of lines that Core calls Tectanium, a special line material that is highly resistant to stretching and tangling while boasting the added benefit of being stronger while also being thinner for less drag in the air. Much of the rigging is the same as above except two sets of line extensions allows you to pair down to 18, 20 and/or 22m shorter line lengths. The Pro model is lighter and offers you line length options which is a nice feature to have when you ride in a wide variety of conditions.

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Want more gear reviews all in one place? Read detailed and objective reviews on the 30 kite models and 33 board models that Tkb and freeride testers reviewed for the 2018 Freeride Gear Review Guide.