Billed as the aggressive all-round machine in the Airush line-up, the Varial X is designed to bridge the gap between high-end performance and everyday riding, for everything from boosting and wakestyle to riding waves. For 2015 the Varial-X has been completely redesigned but maintains its quick, powerful and versatile character. The SL-C concept remains while everything else has changed to meet a more demanding customer. A focus on a wider wind range, secure gust response and easier relaunch was the outcome of a newer tip-to-chord ratio, a dynamic new wing-tip layout and strut placement. Durability is increased further with Technoforce D2 by Teijin along with the Airush signature Poly Load Frame for rigidity and strength through the canopy.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
We have tested the Varial-X for the last few seasons, and this 2015 model is a complete re-design. Starting with the build-quality and details, it’s nice to see that Airush have incorporated an oversized one pump valve that definitely aids easier pumping. Fixtures and fittings on the kite are all good and Airush’s Poly Load Frame certainly looks to add more rigidity to the canopy. We always enjoy the Airush bar for its comfort and intelligent simplicity. Easy to reach coloured trimming tabs extend down from a webbing strap and work without any fuss at all. Airush also feature a nice plastic coating over their centre line so there’s no rubbing on your fingers with the safety line running freely on the outside for a secure and swift release each time. This year the bar is just a little bit chunkier in the hands, which feels good. There’s no slipping on the excellent rubber grip which is also very comfortable in the hands and the Smart bar chicken-loop is a perfect size for hooked-in and unhooked riding, holding its shape nicely with a flexible chicken-finger that rotates to the outside of the chicken-loop. The push-away system works very cleanly and is simple enough to reset, pulling the collar back over the pin system.
The 2015 VX is a bold change after a few seasons following a similar course. So what has changed? For starters the new model is higher aspect. It’s broader in the shoulders, narrower in depth and really narrows down towards the wing-tips. If you’re used to flying the previous models, you’ll notice that the 2015 model is quicker, it’s certainly lighter feeling, more agile, nimble and much less physical to fly. We had to land this nine metre to check it wasn’t a seven (although we had enough power), but it’s very quick. We also tried the 12 which flies much more like a ten metre in its reactivity. Much more willing and able to be thrown around this year, the 2015 Varial-X flies keenly forward in the window, it’s less aggressive in its power delivery (but still delivers a good low end – you just don’t notice the grunt so much) and has less of a sting in the tail when you try things.
Now more pivotal in its turning, the VX holds less power through the turn, but it gets full marks for the way that it drives out of a turn, clicking into gear straight away. This forward flight, intuitive depower and reactivity would also make it very good in waves. Some very pivotal kites can pivot and then take a moment to find their gear. Not the VX – the moment you redirect it it surges forward nicely in the window, without flying right to the edge and drifting out of the power. It’s perfect freeride stuff – throw it about and get smooth delivery of controllable power without ever getting pulled off your edge.
The jumping performance has also changed as a result of the increased flying speed, power delivery and decreased power in the turn. If you really enjoyed the more bullish power in your Varial-X from the last couple of seasons then you’ll likely be a bit disappointed with the softer feel in the new model, but there’s certainly plenty of performance in the 2015 model for the athletic rider. The performance has been opened up to more riders than just beefy guys, and it has an immense top end, handling lots of wind in an exciting way, with refinement and without becoming too heavy at the bar. The loops are now very pivotal though and there’s no big spike in power anymore.
At first we felt a little let down by Airush having seemingly removed a lot of the Varial-X grunt. The sheet and go drive has been reduced and the kite loops are now very pivotal, but 20 minutes in we really appreciated its inherent high-performance and improved ease-of-use for a very athletic all-round kitesurfing style. Easy and light feeling, the Varial-X is now a much more logical step on from the freeride Lithium as a boosty freeride kite with a superb ability to unhook and help you progress with all sorts of new, fun tricks.
Improved rapid handling, good low end, excellent top end and overall ease-of-use make the Varial-X now much more capable of helping you progress into a high-performance all-rounder.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
Bigger guys will miss the power at the bar and the kite loops are much softer.
VARIAL-X BALANCE POINTS:
Build quality: 7.5
Full package: 8.5
Low end: 7.5
Top end: 9
Steering speed: 8
Turning circle: 3
Bar pressure: 4
Water relaunch: 8
SIZES: 14, 12, 10, 9, 8, 7 and 6m
Find more on the Varial-X here: www.airush.com
Official 2015 Varial-X kite product video from Airush: