Incorporating a single strut design that delivers exceptional stability, amazing light wind performance, incredible ease-of-use and safety in a kite that is remarkably simple and fun, the Airush One is a revolutionary breakthrough in kitesurfing and represents the premium hybrid-delta design for 2011. Fast and easy to rig with only one strut, the need for a one-pump system has been eliminated. The One also boasts a short and simple V1 bridle and sweep of the leading edge, making it nearly impossible to snag your bridle on the wing-tip in a crash or inversion. This also allows for a full flag-out safety system, enabling the kite to be steered and controlled when the kite is completely depowered. With a 25-30% weight reduction compared to a kite of equal size, its lightweight canopy makes for the feel and turning speed of a smaller kite, but with the power and command of a larger kite. Three wing-tip settings allow for low, medium and high bar pressure to meet your riding preference. This is a kite that both advanced riders and rank beginners will enjoy, as it is not only forgiving, but steady and predictable as well.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
We'd heard a little bit about this kite before we received it and were very excited to actually see it for ourselves. How could a kite with only one strut work? When we first took it out of the bag it felt like stepping back in time. It has this huge leading edge, quite a deep profile and obviously just one strut. You think to yourself: how can this be moving forwards? But we were about to get a lesson in how things don't always turn out as you'd expect. That big leading edge is obviously there for support, providing stability for the canopy in the absence of struts, and definitely gives it a retro look and feel (if we can have such a thing in such a young sport?!). It was really easy to pump up, even though there is no one pump, as both the leading edge and strut valves are right next to each other. The One is well constructed, too. You might think this kite has been designed lightly so as to be very efficient, but that lightness in weight comes from the lack of struts, not any reduction in canopy or manufacturing quality. The bar is Airush's standard bar for this year, is nice and grippy, comfortable and adjustable in length, like last year. The trimming straps are pull-pull, colour coded red and blue and simple to reach and use. As usual the chicken-loop is robust and a good, solid size for hooking in and out of. The first thing you notice when you put it up in the sky aren't the strange looks you're getting from everyone else on the beach, but the fact that it really doesn't look like a 12 metre up above your head. These days 12 metre hybrid kites have a long span; this is much more rounded. More of a C/delta shape than a hybrid, it looks like a little ball of power in the sky. At the bar it provides a firm feel; there's nothing wishy-washy ? it's direct and lets you know where the kite is. To steer the One you need to give it some firm commandments, but is about what you'd expect on a good kite, providing a good mix between feeling and feedback and the amount of input needed to steer it. As soon as we got onto the water we just couldn't believe this was a 12 metre. It has such incredible movement and speed; more like the air speed of a nine metre ? and everyone loves nine metre weather, right? The bottom end is excellent. In 12 ? 16 knots this kite is right at home. You can ride around quickly and boost with a very reasonable amount of hang-time for those conditions; as much as any 14 metre we've been on. Twelves and 14s are usually slow and trudge around the sky, but the One flies so efficiently and the feeling and response of the kite is fantastic. It's not just a case of pulling the kite back hard to jump and then heaving it forwards when you want to come in to land, as with most big kites. It was very refreshing to be able to ride such a manoeuvrable kite in such light conditions. As it moves so well, you can really send and redirect the kite to jump; you have so much freedom and can be really precise with your handling. The kite creates lift through good forward flight rather than just having a big canopy somewhere over your head and then sheeting in for boost. So, the bottom end is incredible, but you can't have everything. Although there is almost 100% depower on the throw, the top end of the One is reached a little earlier than perhaps you're used to with your 12 metre hybrid kite. Possibly because of the forces going through the frame of the kite get too much combined with the lack of support in the canopy from any struts? We're not sure, but what we do know is that in 12 - 16 knots the One is just beautiful. When you unhook the kite drops back slightly in the window and gives you oodles of power for your tricks. As the wind creeps up to 18 knots, unhooking gets full-on as there's a lot of power in this kite and, as the needle progresses much beyond 20 knots, you're going to be boosting to the moon, but might have to change down before some other 12 metres.
As a wave toy, although we only had a session in some very small waves, we can tell that this would be a really good ally in the waves. In light winds you need something with that forward pull to get you over the back of the swell and onto the face. You then want something that can keep up with your turns, which is where 12 metre wave kiting (in very onshore conditions at least, as you have to move the kite more) gets really difficult. This is so much more manoeuvrable for hooked-in wave riding, and for unhooked park and ride, because it has that steady pull, sits back and behaves itself and will tow you nicely down-the-line in the right conditions.
It's so nice to still be pulling new kites out of their bags and seeing such different things. This is one of those kites that reminds us that there's still so much potential for development left in kiting. Who'd have thought we'd be going backwards to a kite with one strut? Incredibly well balanced and with loads of bottom end power to get you going in 12 knots and above, the absolute stand out feature on this kite is its speed and handling. For a 12 metre it made light wind conditions such good fun. If you're looking for a light wind kite and you like plenty of hang-time as well as trying some unhooked tricks and, also want a nice, nimble kite with very easy relaunch, then you won't be disappointed with Airush's new One. Actually, who doesn't want all of that?
Nine metre handling on a 12 metre kite.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
Increase the top end a bit more.
SIZES: 15, 12, 9 and 6m
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