Sizes Available: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, 17m
Sizes Tested: 9m
Defining the future of minimalistic, lightweight performance design for foil, freeride, and surf, the Ultra Team is a more responsive, faster, and lighter version of the Ultra reinforced with Ho’okipa Ultra PE material. Featuring a thinner, higher pressure leading edge to reduce drag and allow for a higher angle of attack when riding upwind, as well as a fixed bridle for direct steering. The unique blend of efficiency, stability and responsiveness creates an extremely versatile product.
Visit for more info: www.airush.com/kites/ultra-team/
The introduction of new materials like Airush’s Ho’okipa fabric marks an exciting time in kiteboarding technology. With the invention of lighter and more technical fabrics that lead to a stiffer and stronger airframe, the Ultra Team debuts with its own unique feel and tuned up performance attributes that set it apart from the regular Ultra V4’s traditional use of Dacron.
Inflation Valve: Boston valve / nozzle attachment required
Attachments: Center bridle: Lark’s head loops / Wingtip bridle: Knots
Centerline Split: Low-V
Front Bridle Options: Single setting bridle / fixed with no pulleys
Design and Features
The Ultra Team sports many of the same construction details as the regular Ultra V4, which includes its technoforce D2 canopy and Dynema loadframe, but the new material that steals the show is Ho’okipa, a Dacron substitute for the airframe. With its subtle shine and slightly course texture, Ho’okipa is a woven Dynema fabric backed with a laminate. Due to its properties that include increased strength and rigidity, the Airush designers were able to reduce the diameter of the leading edge while improving the crispness of the kite. As a result, you can pump the Ultra team to higher inflation pressures and its significant reduction in weight translates to noticeable performance increases. The Ultra Team also received a bridle modification with a single setting front bridle that is fixed with no pulleys, which contrasts with the pulley supported bridle of the regular Ultra.
The Ultra Team still inflates with a large diameter Boston valve that requires the standard hose attachment for quick and easy inflation and deflation. If you seat the hose sufficiently into the valve it will remain connected through high-pressure inflation, and deflation is super-fast when you unscrew the valve and let the air out completely unimpeded. The front bridle attachment points end with lark’s head loops while the wingtip pigtail ends in three knots for riders to choose outside line length and tuning.
Our first remark upon holding the Ultra Team in our hands was how noticeably thin the leading edge diameter was along with the interesting texture of the Ho’okipa material that feels extra crisp to the touch. Exotic and new, the primary question was how will this stronger fabric change the feel of a single-strut kite that has historically been aimed at performance hydrofoil, freeride and surf? If the cornerstone of the Ultra’s single-strut formula is shaving weight, the Ultra Team takes that one step further with a material that is lighter and requires less material to accomplish the same structure. The lightness of the airframe was noticeable in how quickly the kite accelerated across the window and how nimble it felt during turns. During lighter wind sessions, the Ultra seemed to move through lulls easier and climb to the top of the window with less drag. The steering response felt very similar to the regular Ultra but the turning speed felt slightly faster. There’s an extra crispness in the flight of the kite which we noticed primarily in the power delivery and the feel of gusts in the bar. In the low-end and medium part of the kite’s wind range the extra tactile feedback is good, but on the extreme side of the high-end/over-powered riding it was a little harsh. However, this didn’t affect our opinion of the material’s appeal because the Ultra is not the kind of platform designed to be ridden over-powered.
The Ultra Team’s power delivery across the throw continues to feel progressive with on-demand power that compliments with nimble but controlled steering in the middle of the window which has made it a stellar foilboarding option along with fringe appeal to some casual freeriders and surfers. The other standout quality that comes from the Ho’okipa’s weight savings is superb drift that makes the kite float impressively while driving downwind on either a hydrofoil or a surfboard. The Ultra Team feels so light in the window, it seemed as if it could withstand the lowest threshold lulls, yet without much line tension, you could still command the Ultra into surprisingly responsive steering.
The advantages of a lighter and stiffer airframe may not pay dividends to beginner level kiters, but intermediate and advanced kiters will pick up on the more direct feel and use the extra fast acceleration and turning speed to their advantage in more advanced riding. For carving-oriented kitefoiling and those who have embraced single-struts in the surf, the Ultra Team’s float and drift is untouchable and allows you to focus just a little bit more on the wave while knowing that the kite is going to keep up with your next move.
With the introduction of new materials, cost and price tag will certainly be a consideration for many riders, but for those riders that are acutely aware of their gear’s performance, we do think it is an upgrade that is worth weighing. The Ultra Team is swift, nimble and drifts like a ghost, but the power is always intuitive and on-demand but never overbearing. The advantages of the new construction seem to increase the rigidity of the Ultra, which might just widen the Ultra Team’s appeal to kite foiling as well as general freeride and surf disciplines, but without a doubt it fires a shot into the arms race to make kite airframes lighter and more responsive.
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