The Sigma shape and 5-strut design of the 2008 Cult produce a user-friendly all-terrain kite that works in all conditions for 90% of the world's riders. Stability, easy handling, water relaunch, low bar pressure and depower performance come together to improve on the performance standard set last year by the Boxer SLE. Geo-tech and the Sigma shape stabilise the 2008 Cult and provide a performance that eclipses the most technical kites on the market. Light, consistent bar pressure provided by the 1:1 2008 SLE control system inspires confidence for all rider levels by smoothly transmitting control inputs. The Cult emerges as the little brother of the Helix, and provides amazing performance at an affordable price.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
WILL: The slick bar was the first thing I noticed. All the finishing touches are of the highest quality, simple and easy to use. The build-quality on the kite is good, the only things that concern me a bit are that the chicken-loop easily fills with sand and the amount of sand you need to weigh the kite down on the beach because of the Sigma shape – there are only two points of contact on the beach when it's laying flat. Not necessarily a bad point, just something to remember.
NEAL: There could be longevity issues on shingle or rough sand beaches on those two points of contact, but we're speculating on that of course. Nice Octopus one pump system as usual.
WILL: In the air the kite appears to be quite big because it flies as standard on 20 metre lines. Initially it feels like it's missing a stopper – if you let go of the bar it goes way out of reach. The depower is below the bar on the chicken-loop and you have to push it into the cleat quite firmly to get it to lock, but this is often to do with the rope being new on the kites we test. The more depower you have pulled on, the less far the bar will disappear up the line. The kite seems to contort when steering because of its shape – usually when you pull on one side of the bar, most of the pressure is on that side of the bar, but on this it almost lifts the other side up too. It reacts very quickly at the edge of the window and the overall speed is fast and with very smooth power delivery. Very quick for a 10.5 metre and with medium bar pressure, which I find very comfortable.
NEAL: We were well powered on this as the locals were all on 7s by then. Beautifully responsive through the bar. Depowers really nicely just by pushing the bar right out. Smoothness isn’t hindered at all by the short lines – it has loads of smooth grunt on tap. Because there is so much depower available, and when you are riding it with the bar out, this kite is a boost machine when you jump and sheet in. Set it up so the bar is riding a foot or so away from your hook; pull down and you get so much float. The power is then controlled very nicely through the bar, even when you're so far up. I have a couple of issues with the depower being on the left of the chicken-loop – it’s pretty heavy duty and I found I could only activate it with my left hand going one way. For me this is a great kite for intermediates or heavier riders. We didn't try it in the waves but from what we know so far you'd be able to set-up really well for your top turn because of its great ability to depower so you could really come hard off the top and then recover the power quickly; ideal for the cross-offshore wave days. Tanked upwind, too.
CHRIS: The steering is very responsive, fast and predictable, but the short lines will have a lot to do with that. When powered up at the beach you know this kite has loads of power on tap. On the water, whether riding or boosting, it flies easily and comfortably. There is no chance of getting pulled off your board in the gusts because the depower is so huge. Really fun, boosty high jumps and the landing approach is soft and controlled. A great all-round kite and I'd have to agree with Neal that it's probably ideally suited to the heavier rider. Lighter riders should choose sizes conservatively.
The Naish Cult, while being a power-house of a kite in terms of power delivery and hang-time, benefits from equally impressive amounts of depower and smooth power delivery. Easily controlled by a range of riding abilities, this kite should be of interest to many, and heavier riders will love the simple access to good grunt.
6, 7.5, 9, 10.5, 12, 13.5 and 15m
This test is in issue #33