TEST TEAM NOTES:
The lines are very high-grade with a protective coating and look and feel like they'll last. The slider on the chicken-loop line is easy to us and provides you with the option of setting it low to take the load of the bar when trudging upwind. We've seen a lot of manufacturers remove this, usually for safety reasons, but if you're experienced, this one works well. If you're not comfortable with it, just push it up to the top of the line and out of the way. Pull it down though and you can do old school tricks like deadmans, but do be aware that when it's pulled right down it impedes the chicken-loop release. Good floats and oh shit handles on the end of the bar so you can launch and land by yourself rather than relying on the short fifth-line system. Above the bar depower webbing strap remains and as far as the bar's concerned, it's clean but nothing has been left off. Everything you'd expect from an '09 kite.
On the water the first thing that you notice is the light, power-assisted steering – you're not going to get your arms pulled off with this kite. Speed is good and the kite likes to fly forward in the window, making shooting upwind a piece of cake. The soft but rapid turns add to the freeride qualities that this kite has. The way it turns doesn't make it the ideal partner for a kite loop king – there isn't a big balls feeling down at the bar, but that gliding and sweeping nature of the kite, rather than biting and driving turns, make it fantastic for big floaty airs. We were pleased to find that the hang-time aspects of the kite were still packed in there while its overall nature has been incredibly refined. Unhooking is fun without being the electric charger that competition riders would look for. Comfortable power delivery, no back stall and a lot of fun and very stable.
The Latitude is allergic to the water. No joke. Watching Chris try to get it to sit downwind on its leading edge was comedy. It just wouldn't do it. The effortless relaunch is incredible. Wow.
KW WOULD CHANGE: