Sizes Available: 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, 17m
Sizes Tested: 8, 10m
The Lift is all about boosting, hangtime, and taking performance freeride to new heights. Designed for the rider looking for exceptional hangtime, explosive power and stability in the wildest conditions. Ease of use, paired with incredible top end performance, makes the Lift the ultimate big air machine.
Visit for more info: www.airush.com/product/kites/lift/
You’d have to be an old kitesurfing soul to know it, but the ‘Lift’ moniker is not new to the Airush lineup; it happens to have roots as a widely acclaimed model from the brand’s early days at the inception of the sport. The Performance Big Air category is becoming a full-fledged segment of the kite market with purpose-built kites that are targeted at generating blistering heights and hangtime. This year’s release of the Lift line of kites is targeted squarely at distilling all those big air qualities into a single platform that can be both user-friendly and pushed hard in strong conditions for the ultimate in boosting power.
The Lift comes with a 5-strut airframe with a small to medium-sized leading edge and sweptback wingtips that (from a distance) looks like a racier version of the Lithium, Airush’s flagship all-terrain freeride kite. Like all the other kites in the Airush lineup, the Lift is quick to inflate with its large diameter Boston valve that requires the larger nozzle that comes as one of the standard attachments with most pumps. The 5-strut airframe doesn’t use any battens and relies upon D2 fabric and its patented load frame technology to limit the amount of Dacron usage just to the trailing edge. The front bridling utilizes three sliding pulleys in the bridle cascade in order to adjust the kite’s angle of attack and offers you two attachment settings to tune the turning speed (we prefer the stock fast setting). The front bridle pigtail connection points end in a loop and the wingtip connection points end in knots. On the wingtip, you have three attachment points for switching bar pressure settings with the factory setting closest to the wingtip which is the least amount of bar pressure.
When you glance at the Lift’s canopy, it seems higher aspect and that racier profile definitely plays out on the water. While we immediately identified its Lithium heritage, the Lift has an edgier and more gutsy character that delivers riders a much boostier feel along with more impulsive lift and power for tackling bigger airs and longer hangtime. Sometimes performance big air kites can feel exceptionally grunty with extra heavy bar dynamics and the Lift lands in that spectrum with medium-plus bar pressure, while the power delivery and sheeting across the bar’s throw still feels fairly progressive. Right off the bat as we began to fine-tune the bar with the power strap, we noticed that the tuning seemed to be really effective at giving you a ton of range out of the kite both on the high/overpowered end and on the low/underpowered end. As we let the toggle out, it seemed to open up the throttle on the kite for really powered jumps, but when we depowered, the canopy became a little less powerful but still managed to respond to bar steering inputs. We really appreciated this feature for this style of kite because you can tune for different modes, from casually cruising and freeride to shifting into high gear, looking for every inch of power out of your sends. Even when it was depowered, the canopy felt fairly static, without a ton of flutter, which gives you the option to ride a size bigger for those super-sender moments.
Turning wise the Lift still has the turning feel of a Lithium with a turn signature that feels somewhat pivot-like with maybe a little bit wider steering arc that notably creates good power through the steering arc. Right off the beach we hooked up with a little kicker and sent a screaming air into the nose bleeds. The steering is such that it is reactive and crisp but not so fast that it is scary. The Lift offered both the time in the air and the dependable turning to give us the confidence to plan and execute tricky landings. The kite is fast enough to end up in the right spot, even if you’ve let it stall overhead a little bit, or in the case when you have less line tension, the Lift can come back and give you the power and positioning that you need. On some boosts we experienced a second and third impulse of lift at the apex, because of the high lifting aspect of the kite. The 5-strut airframe, its loadframe and fabric technology gives the kite exceptional structural stability that is most noticeable when you’re riding the kite really powered up.
The Lift belongs to that category of kite that wants to give you every inch of vertical pull with freight-train like power that generally gears this platform towards intermediate and advanced riders. The 5-strut performance big air category can sometimes feel overbuilt, slower and less responsive, but the Lift does an excellent job of delivering the upsides of power control and canopy stability with a nimble user-interface that gives you a good blend of flying qualities that will allow you to turn wind power into impressive vertical elevations.
The Airush Cleat bar is a dual length adjustable bar (50/60cm) that received a huge upgrade last season with its redesigned Intelligent Quick Release (IQR). The Cleat bar features 23m lines (front: 9 + 10 + 4m and back 19 +4m) and an above the bar clam cleat with a spectra tuning strap that has Velcro so that it locks into place. The sheeting/power line features double plastic coated lines that has a sliding speed control stopper to adjust the length of throw for those with shorter arms or to set the bar on longer tacks. The safety is a single centerline that runs down one of the PU lines and through the quick release for a clean and tidy system, with a low V split in the center lines. The quick release features a push away quick release with a larger hand swivel on top that also acts as a quick-release travel guard. The swivel dial is bigger for easier leverage on untwisting the front lines and with smooth swivel action. The newly designed push away quick release features a new cocking mechanism that leaves the quick release handle cocked open upon release. The reset is fairly straightforward; just insert the open end of the loop back into the release and then shift the QR handle so that it springs shut. The internal stainless heart of the quick release is a bit larger to allow for the safety line to travel through the release with less friction. Airush is one of the few companies to offer four different harness loops to fit your style of riding: wakestyle (XL), freestyle (L) freeride (S), and/or a surf metal loop (S). You can swap through the loops with the use of a surf Allen key. The Cleat bar features integrated floats and adjustable bar ends that allow you to swap between 50 and 60cm effective bar lengths. The center insert is aluminum and features a printed logo that is visible when you are holding the bar correctly. The color coding uses a visually clear light blue on the left float and bar end which will help those that are familiar with the bar. The bar ends are densely padded for safety and feature a bungee for keeping the lines stowed when not in use. The grip features a dense EVA texture with horizontal bars under the grip and a ribbed pattern on top with a rubbery diamond pattern near the center of the bar with a grip diameter that borders on small to medium.
Visit for more info on the bar: www.airush.com/product/control-bars/cleat-bar-v4/
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