Best's GP kite will take you back to the future; back to when all that mattered was raw performance and nailing every new trick you tried. The GP is team rider designed, tuned and tested and delivers an unbeatable combination of pop, responsive steering and amazing unhooked feel. The Reflex leading edge design (patent pending), unique to the GP, works just like suspension for your kite; giving the best unhooked feel you’ve ever ridden, especially in the turns, and helps to soak up every gust. The Reflex LE also gives the GP an extended canopy lift area, providing more lift for jumping and effortless drive for staying upwind in the competition zone. Designed for new-school and wake-style riders, the GP’s twin-tune feature gives you multiple front and rear attachment point options so you can dial in more pop, better upwind ability and more responsive handling, or gives you the option to detune for practicing your latest tricks. The GPbar comes with an 8mm spliced centre line,
TEST TEAM NOTES:The GP is a true C kite with no bridle, pulleys or sliders. It's not a hybrid trying to be a C kite; this is the real deal. C kites are renowned for their explosive performance and energy, but aren't the easiest kites to fly and get the most out of in inexperienced hands. The GP is nothing like C kites of five or so years ago, has way more depower, a lot more finesse but what it does have is that same really direct connection with the kite.
The GP looks more high-aspect than traditional C kites used to be; it looks a lot more streamlined and racey. Very quick, light and lively, the GP moves around the sky following a steady arc and there's never a moment it's lost for power. When you work the kite around the sky or send it through a loop it never drops anything out of the turn. Good riders never want their kite to drop to zero power. The better you get the more power you want and the better your tricks become with more and more power. This is a proper board rider's kite because you're never looking for power or sheeting in and out on the bar trying to find the right balance of power. It's just 'on', but in a manageable way. If you've got the board skills this is a lovely feeling; like being on broadband rather than a dial up connection.
Although anyone could get on this kite and ride it, intermediate riders would feel a bit uninspired by its performance. You can't just send the kite to a vague spot above your head, sheet in on the bar and expect the hang-time you'd get out of a hybrid. You have to be precise; use the kite's speed, accurate handling and energy to access its punchy lift. The lift anyway is more vertical than long and floaty, but only gets more rangey as the wind increases.
But by far the most stand-out feature of this kite is the connection you have with it. You always know where the kite is, there's absolutely no slack points. Knowing how to get performance out of a kite like this is key; but if you do it's just a joy. The bar pressure out of the loop is just ridiculous. Without any trimming you could almost ride out of the loop all day, as if on a cable. The pull is just so
constant and steady and unlike a hybrid, there are no nasty surges to pull your arms out. It's definitely a good kite looping kite as well, with a meaty, wide arc, no flapping and lots of drive and energy to get back round and up to the top of the window.
The GP kite lets you get totally wired into its mainframe; feeling completely at one with it. Should an intermediate get a GP? They should try it first. These days most people weren't brought up on C kites and they are definitely an acquired taste. Gone is that raw, unruly side of a C kite, and replaced in the GP with total balance, refinement, great performance in the right hands and much more depower. The turns have way more power than you may be used to on your hybrid, and intermediate riders will also find the boost frustrating to access and you tend not to power the kite up by just sheeting in. It needs caressing around the sky. But the involvement and feeling at the bar will put a smile on anyone's lips.
Riding unhooked. It makes sense on this kite and is really encouraging to try things!
KW WOULD CHANGE:
Obvious disadvantages are that it's a five line kite and when you're trying lots of tricks and dropping it in the drink a lot, there's a chance the fifth line can wrap around the kite. This is just part of the territory, but the 5th line makes it super safe, you can always land it on your own, it makes it easier to relaunch this sort of shape and those who really want to fly C kites are generally happy to put up with the disadvantages for the superb handling benefits they get in return.
13, 11, 9, 7 and 6m
This test is inissue #54