Sizes Available: 7, 9, 10, 12, 14m
Sizes Tested: 10m
The XSeries, was created for the needs of adrenalin addicts seeking a kite to break the boundaries of big air. The XS has a sophisticated delta hybrid design with a high aspect ratio, featuring a massive angle-of-attack. This design is as grunty as it gets, delivering raw power, skyrocketing riders into unknown spheres.
Due to the long hang time, it is perfect for old school hooked-in tricks. Hence we paid attention to ensure easy upwind travel so that the riders can focus on flying back downwind.
As it is intuitive to steer and extremely responsive, the timing of takeoffs is a breeze. Commit pulling your backhand, sheet in, pop, and you are catapulted into the sky, leaving the crowd in shock. In megaloops, it develops a staggering forward momentum that will leave you ecstatic for days. Add this kite to your quiver to break your personal best in big air.
Visit for more info: www.eleveightkites.com/kites/xs
The XS is new to the Eleveight lineup for 2021 and takes aim at the performance freeride market with its 5-strut rigid airframe built for big air sends. Within the big air category, the XS takes a medium aspect airframe and trims it out with 5-struts and a medium diameter leading edge to create a canopy that delivers a lot of low-end grunt with excellent airframe stability and user-friendly handling.
The canopy utilizes a single medium length hard batten on each wingtip along with foam soft battens on either side of the center strut to keep the trailing edge stable during depower. The wingtip uses a bit of Dacron and the trailing edge is a mix of Dacron and double ripstop. The XS uses Eleveight’s high flow bayonet inflation valve that connects to a standard pump hose without the use of a nozzle and allows for quick and problem free inflation. The front bridle offers a single setting with one slider that helps change the angle of attack while the wingtip offers two attachment points for adjusting turning speed and bar pressure. The stock setting was farther out at the end of the wingtip. The front bridle attachment points end in larks head loops and the wingtip attachment pigtail ends in a knot.
The first thing about the XS we noticed was its grunty feel that offered good low-end torque that really wanted to pull. Sometimes big air kites have a higher aspect feel that relies upon apparent wind to give you boosty lift, but the XS does its lifting with reliable power that is more predictable yet powerful. Like most kites in its category, the XS doesn’t offer as much depower at the end of the bar stroke as you get with Eleveight’s freeride, wave and foil kites, but the XS does an excellent job of combining its heavy-handed pulling force with a comfortable and nimble control bar feel. The bar pressure weighs in at medium and the action along the throw delivers nice progressive power delivery that is intuitive. The steering response was crisp and instantaneous and its turn felt fairly tight and pivotal. The 5-strut airframe can handle heavy loading before a big jump and the steering is active enough to manufacture mind-blowing releases that offer up big boosty jumps. The XS delivers solid hangtime that keeps the boost going and the easy and intuitive steering allows you to prolong your jumps and confidently steer the kite for soft and forgiving landings. Kiteloops were intuitive with solid yanks of lateral pull, enough to bump up your heartbeat, but not scary or unpredictable. The XS handles itself fairly well in the middle of the window and has good upwind ability that will get you where you need to go. Overall, big air is an emerging category with a ton of room for nuance on what is the best way to reach your limits, and the XS’s medium aspect approach does a great job of coupling user-friendly and intuitive handling with real low-end grunt that gives riders of all sizes a ticket into the stratosphere.
The XS came with the CS Vary Bar which sports a new color coding for 2021 and all the thoughtful design features from last year. The CS is an adjustable length bar (42/50cm or 47/55cm) that features a single centerline safety depower system with a low V and a spectra rope depower/throw line that offers an adjustable length throw (comes stock in longest throw adjustment); the power tuning is via a Clam cleat that features a lightweight toggle that uses a bungee integrated into the tuning line to keep the toggle from getting tangled. The bar’s center lines end in knots (color-coded gray) and the outside lines end in loops (color-coded red and blue pigtails) and has no line extensions. The safety system features a push-away quick release with a built-in hand swivel that also acts as a QR travel shield. Eleveight’s quick release allows itself to be reset by simply placing the open end of the loop back into the quick release body where it will reset by simply clicking it back in place. The insertion requires a little extra push, but the connection is solid when you get the click. The outside lines are tunable by pressing on two little triangle tabs on the side of the bar end. This releases a clear plastic insert out of the bottom of the bar end which allows you to both change its effective bar length and adjust between three knots to change the length of the outside lines (stock set to shortest line length). The bar ends feature retractable line bungees with padded bar ends that feature integrated floats. The color-coding on this bar got an upgrade this year with clear red grip on the left. The center insert is plastic and looks to be easily replaced after wear with the removal of two small Philipps head screws. The bar is narrow at the ends and grows a little bit wider right at the center, which we found really comfortable to hold it in either place. The little dimpled EVA grip is comfortable and you get variable diameters because the width is on the narrow to medium size out on the sides and a little bit thicker as you get closer in, so your hands will find a sweet spot somewhere on that spectrum. The bar ends are padded and have a nice ergonomic feel if you’re the kiter with the super-wide grip. Overall, the CS Vary comes with a ton of functional features and adjustability in a nice mid-weight that scores high marks for comfort and usability.
Visit for more info on the bar: www.eleveightkites.com/bars/cs-vary-bar-v2