Sizes Available: 3.5, 5, 7, 9, 12, 15.5m
Sizes Tested: 7, 9, 12, 15.5m

Liquid Force Says:

Light as air, the 2020 Solo offers jet-setting freeriders and hydrofoil enthusiasts a kite with ideal performance characteristics based on an industry-proven, easy-to-fly single strut platform. The 2020 Solo was completely redesigned to make the kite more forgiving, lighter, and more nimble in the sky. The Solo continues to offer a smooth and comfortable sheeting range throughout the powerband, granting easy access to power and control. When it comes to marginal conditions, the Solo has an extremely efficient, lightweight shape that makes its light wind performance a force to be reckoned with. Simultaneously, the profile of the 2020 Solo makes dumping the gusts out of the kite effortless. We wanted the Solo to be so easy to use that your focus is having fun on the water and nothing else.

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Our Testers Say:

“Feels more powerful with more low-end pull with advancements in stability, reduced flutter, quicker turning, increased lift and hangtime. Quite a nice kite for foil, surf and freeride.” // Dray Murray

“Super simple fun kite to fly, light bar pressure, stable with good upwind ability and faster turning speed. Let’s you know what’s happening with the wind.” // Kelly Grief

“Moved quick, floaty in the back of the window. Felt super stable and solid turning, with more power once it was moving.” // Dan Lerer

Meet Our Testers

TKB Says:

The 2020 Solo is back from the drawing board with some subtle refinements that make this year’s platform a whole lot more than a light wind single strut foilboarding kite. The Solo was the first single strut kite on the market and now, 6 years later, its one-strut medium aspect canopy with a casual leading-edge sweep to solid wingtip surface area has dialed in a much larger performance range that covers most of the freeride-oriented niches of kiteboarding. In terms of inflation, the Solo comes with some if not the fastest inflation hardware on the market. The MaxFlow large diameter inflation valve has one of the widest mouths for the fast movement of air, and although it requires a proprietary LF pump nozzle to attach to the end of your hose, LF has you covered with a secondary standard 9mm valve if you lose the extra-wide nozzle that comes with every kite. The Solo uses a single setting bridle that got redesigned for 2020 with the introduction of two aluminum sliders that assist with changing the angle of attack. The front bridle pigtails end in loops and the wingtip attachment point ends in three knots for tuning/rigging power settings. The wingtip attachment point gives you three settings to dial in your bar pressure with the stock setting in the middle, and less bar pressure as you switch to the setting towards the end of the wingtip.

The first thing we noticed about the Solo this year is that it seems to have shed some weight over the previous version which made this Solo feel more active and agile in the sky. The Solo has very little dacron in the wingtips, a smaller diameter leading edge and very little reinforcement on the trailing edge, which all add up to some weight savings that seemingly lead directly to flying performance upgrades. The bar pressure is light to medium which has a very nice balance between comfort and kite feedback. Single strut kites have often had issues with washy/muddled bar feel, but the Solo seems to once again deliver a crisp tactile experience when flown in the proper wind range. The turning response felt incredibly tight and direct for a single strut airframe and the turning speed is quick with a tight pivot style turning arc that allowed us to put the Solo exactly where we wanted it at all times, most noticeably when jumping and foilboarding. The Solo has an excellent progressive power sheeting feel along the bar’s throw, from full power to depower and the canopy offered complete depower. Testers commented on the Solo’s low-end pulling power, as it seems to have some extra pull compared to the previous version. If you ride a kite size or two well outside of its wind range you will experience flutter that transfers to the bar when sheeted out, but we don’t think that’s a negative for the Solo — that’s just not how single-strut kites are designed to be ridden (e.g. you can’t have and eat the cake too). The Solo turned out to have a much wider range of use that surpassed just light wind and foilboarding. The kite’s precise controls and lift were actually quite fun and user-friendly for freeride boosting, and while it doesn’t have the mega lift of a performance freeride big air kite, it is quite fun and user-friendly for good-sized airs and generous hangtime (it’s worth noting that our test team had a couple of mind-altering high altitude jumping moments on a twin tip where we were like….wait, what the?). In addition to precision steering, the Solo drifts and flies comfortably in the middle of the window making it a solid crossover for surf and carving/swell-oriented foilboarders. We’d even go so far as teaching a significant other how to kite on the Solo (as terrible an idea as that may be) with its smooth intuitive power delivery, super stable canopy and quick relaunch. What can we say, but the Solo has emerged this year as a really all-around fun freeride kite that surpasses its light wind/travel/foilboard label. This is truly the travel kite that can do it all with excellent handling and feel that will keep riders of all levels smiling in the “let’s get some more of that” mode.

The Solo can be flown with either the Mission Control bar or the all-new Direct Drive control bar.

The Direct Drive is LF’s recent addition to the lineup that packs an expansive list of features while still keeping the design clean and simple. It belongs to a new class of bars that shift the power tuning from the center lines over to the back lines while integrating the mechanics into the internal space of the bar. This accomplishes two things: first, it removes the tuning clutter from your center lines and second, it puts the power tuning at your fingertips. These new internal bar power systems adjust the tuning of the kite’s power from the inside of the bar by altering the length of the outside lines (compared to the traditional center-line power adjustment configurations). The Direct Drive features a single centerline depower safety system in a fixed-length bar (52cm) which has the center lines ending in a loop and the outside lines ending in a knot for rigging purposes. The bar uses a PU-coated depower/throw line and an adjustable stopper to adjust the travel. Because the kite’s tuning is all handled inside the bar you can set the sliding stopper for an exceptionally long throw and the upper part of the bar is incredibly clean. The actual tuning is handled with a dial that is located on the lower right side of the bar. You twist the dial clockwise to power up the kite and to depower you push the dial to the side and it pays out an extra inch or so of outside line length. The rotating dial is on the smaller side to remain unobtrusive, which means it helps in overpowered conditions to sheet out the bar to reduce load on the outside lines when twisting the knob to depower. Testers noted that pushing the knob to power up was easy, and they liked the visual indicators above the floats that show the bar’s current tuning status (powered up vs depowered). We particularly liked how adjustments happen at even and controlled intervals, unlike when you use a cam cleat or a power strap where the adjustments tend to vary greatly on circumstance. Unlike other bars with internal tuning systems on the market, this version has various apertures underneath and on the side of the bar where you can see the internal pulley mechanism. We assume this non-sealed approach allows you to clean the sand out of the bar after every session, and perhaps that’s a habit worth getting into. The bar upwardly bends at the end that tends to offer a nook for your hands if you have a wide grip stance and the grip rather than being perfectly circular, has a rounded top with a squarish bottom to accommodate the inner mechanics. The diameter of the grip is larger with solid EVA grip that is comfortable and the weight is middle of the road, which is impressive given the extra mechanics. The bar ends are padded, feature integrated floats and retractable bungees when it comes time to wind the lines onto the bar. Overall testers liked the clean rigging and mechanics of this bar, noting specifically the magic of having simple clean space between you and your kite.

The Solo can also be ridden with the Mission Control bar which features an adjustable length bar (available in two sizes: 40/46cm, or 49/55cm), durable large diameter PU coated sheeting/throw line, no sliding stopper, and a single centerline safety depower with an adjustable V (high or low by loosening a nut and changing height) — the safety line is routed down the center of the PU coated sheeting/throw line which boasts less friction when moving the bar up and down the throw. The center lines end in a knot (color-coded red and gray) and the outside lines end in loops (color-coded red and gray). The Mission Control bar uses a stainless steel depower cam cleat and a Velcro on the depower control toggle to keep excess slack from tangling. The Mission Control comes with a quick-release design that features a below the bar hand swivel/release with an integrated travel guard above the push away quick release. The quick release is designed to readily click into an auto-reset position when the release handle is pushed away with the idea that reassembly on the water is quick and super easy by pushing the loop back into its gate. When you activate the safety system the handle cocks into its locked position, then for reset all you have to do is push the end of the loop back into the gate and the release handle will dropdown. The bar’s throw length is not adjustable and its floats are no longer integrated into the bar ends which is purposeful for a more flexible connection between the bar and the outside lines. The tips of the bar are soft and the bar end color coding is a bit more pronounced with both the grip and the bar end/float in red coloring to set off the left side. The outside leader lines allow riders to adjust the length of the outside lines for stretch or tuning with three knots (stock setting is the shortest setting). The grip is smooth with a fairly narrow diameter and a rubbery grip. The Mission Control bar offers a good mix of features and safety in a very clean but functional package.

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Want to view all our 2020 Freeride, Light Wind and Wingsurf Gear Reviews in one convenient digital guide? Get free access HERE. If you’re already a subscriber, thank you for your support! Log into your account to view our 2020 Freeride Gear Review Guide.


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