I’ve been kiting since 2000 with a passion for waves and the occasional free style session. I weigh 190 pounds and I like to ride powered up. I’ve owned many different kites in the 17M-20M range but when a friend handed my his Zephyr to try, it was love at first fly. I’ve since spread the love to many others who’ve had the same experience. As happy as I have been with the Zephyr, I never stop exploring new offerings. Here are the characteristics that in my opinion, make the Zephyr unique:
Reviews for the 2015 REO on the internet and in kite mags provide accurate information highlighting this wave kite’s attributes; fast, direct handling generating consistent power with a sweet low aspect shape that will drift with you down the line. All true. This year I chose the REO after a four year stint on wave-specific delta kite which I selected purely for the purpose of wave riding. I liked the deltas, they go upwind like crazy and stay connected to the wave. If you’re into boosting, they do that well too. What was missing was turning performance so rather than re-hash available reviews, I wanted to write one that highlighted my reasons for switching.
Ice. I immensely dislike snowboarding on ice. I traveled all the way to New Zealand last year and the first thing on my list to do upon arrival was snowboard. I paid to rent gear, and as I am totally spoiled on my gear from working in board shops for the last 6 years, this was extremely painful. Yes, I ended up with slightly soggy boots, that no matter how small you go down in size are STILL somehow too big, bindings from 1987, and a board that is cap construction. Then I headed to the front desk of my hostel and spent almost $200 on a lift ticket. I gritted my teeth and tried to look at the big picture: snowboarding in New Zealand! I geared up and headed to the hill. When I got there I was blown away by the lack of lines and amazing facilities, but there was sooooo much ice.
This, at home, would be no problem seeing as I have a Gnu board with the Magne-Traction that cuts through ice like nobody’s business. In Oregon ice is everywhere, but I have overcome it by riding my Gnu. It grips and holds turns in conditions that even the Titanic would go under in. Unfortunately for me this was NOT the board I had. I took 5 runs with no problems, but on my 6th run I took a turn on some of that dang ice stuff and my board flew out from under me. Don’t worry; I caught myself, with the back of my head. After cleaning up my yard sale and taking a couple more runs with a headache, I retired to the lodge for some delicious Chai. If you want a board that will help you perform in adverse conditions I highly suggest the Gnu B-Nice with Magne-Traction to kill the threat of ice and Banana Action for floating through pow; it really is a very diverse board. It’s great for an all-mountain rider, a park rat, and even a lady just starting to get her mountain legs under her. Gnu also makes all their boards in the U.S.A. So tell Jack Frost to get bent and ride a Gnu board, or bag it and hang out in the lodge, because New Zealand has the BEST Chai of any place I have been thus far.