If you like to do a little of everything on the water and be actively in control of responsive high-energy fun, the Trigger is your ideal kite.
The fourth generation, like Triggers before, boasts individually designed geometry, allowing each size to perform ideally in the conditions they are meant to be flown in. The Trigger 12 and 14 have beefed-up profiles and the 14 also features narrower struts to deliver more low end grunt and turning speed. The special bridle geometry on the nine and ten seats them slightly further forward in the window for the right balance of power and stability for their wind range. The seven has been modified for excellent depower performance and rigidity in strong wind while the five metre hasn't been touched, as feedback to Blade was that it's the perfect small kite already. Blade have added an 'Advanced Wave' setting to the bridle this year, adding depower and positioning the kite even further forward in the window. This more tolerant ride is perfect for carving waves, trading up only a little of the power and rock solid stability in the Trigger's standard mode.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
The Trigger is a three strut kite with a very deep profile. Good looking it's fairly well featured with a one pump system with exposed clips by the struts and, while it certainly isn't the most heavy duty kite on the market, it's no skinny latte drinker either. The bar has had a slight upgrade this season as well with a more robust feeling rubber coating and just feels more substantial. The pull-pull trimming system above the bar is one of the better examples of this increasingly traditional system with a very simple stopper just below. One downside of the system is that the chicken-loop is a bit floppy. Although when unhooked the round top of the chicken-loop sits nicely against the bar, effectively acting as a key system, the potentially good presentation of the chicken-loop for hooking back in is marginalised by the slight limpness at the side of the loop. You can still hook back into it relatively easily without having to grab the chicken-loop by hand, but it's not perfect. The moulded plastic push-away quick release works well but does have a bit of a hollow feel, but overall the Trigger's setup is perfectly acceptable, does its job and looks good.
Meaty in profile, the first thing you notice when hooking into the Trigger is that it's also meaty in your hands. You can feel the power increasing as you pull down on the bar; the more you pull down the higher the bar pressure and the more the kite is just bursting to ping you up to the sky. The Trigger has a really good low end to get you going quickly and, although there is a lot of power, it's very manageable at the bar with plenty of depower on tap as well. Nice and fast too, it's one of those kites that if you sheet out when you send the kite up through the window for a jump and then pull down hard when the kite's at the top of the window you can take advantage of all that power as the fue injection really kicks in with an aggressive, punchy lift, taking you high and that beefy, powerful profile keeps you up there. Controlling your flight is made easy by sheeting in or out slightly on the bar and it has that radio controlled aeroplane feel to it; you're in the hot seat! The kite loops are okay, nothing to write home about if you're already into firing off powerful loops, but at the freeride level this kite is aimed at it's ideal as it gets round no problem, but in quite a pivotal manner. So you get the benefit of loads of power on demand where you need it, but the Trigger allows you to really dial into its agility and develop your kite handling skills such as for throwing loops at the end of your transitions. As the kite is powerful at the bar, it should be no surprise that it needs a bit of trimming before unhooking to stop it drifting back, but there's plenty of unhooked progression available. It has to be said though that we had some cracking wave sessions on the nine metre and also got the chance to take the five metre out on a couple of occasions. We rode it in standard set-up in cross-shore conditions and this setting was responsive and had good drift as the kite likes to sit in the wind providing steady power. Two things came up ? as with the Starkite Taina, these nine metre freeride kites are now plenty fast enough for aggressive wave riding and the linear power band when sheeting the kite in and out at the furthest end of the throw (and not a stretch at all) is an absolute pleasure when wave riding. The nine can pivot round really quickly and then a quick sheet out as you come off the top leaves you to carve hard using just your board speed. Super obedient and balanced, the five is even more fun and just a phenomenal high wind wave kite. In 40 knots it soaks up the gusts and delivers barely any jolting feedback as it swallows even the biggest gusts. The speed of the five is really manageable; steady and consistent turns as you bank a long carve or fast, whippy and pokey as you get yourself out of a tricky situation, it's one of the best autopilot wave kites we've been on in those winds. We are definitely keeping hold of it and will keep you updated on any more feedback on more sessions as and when we have them when we can hopefully test out that advanced setting in onshore conditions when we reckon it will come into its own.
The Trigger is an immense freeride kite, perfectly matched for beginners looking for that sheet-in and go quality as well as more advanced riders wanting to mix up their riding; taking advantage of its superb low end, powerful boosty style and carving abilities for transporting you around the ocean on your surfboard into whatever pits and hits you like. It's a big grin maker in the freeride house of fun and you should recognise Blade as a purveyor of some of the most fun to use kites on the market.
Radio-control-like piloting when boosting and super-reactive wave riding attributes.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
The chicken-loop could do with stiffening up a bit.
14, 12, 10, 9, 7 and 5m
This test is inissue #57