The Thruster is Eclipse's competition-ready hybrid kite that feels personal right out of the bag. Dimitri Maramenides raves: 'You will feel like Superman when you tap the Thruster's insane airtime and gliding ability. Attempting that new move has never been safer or easier!' The Thruster's freestyle performance earned it a strong reputation as the kite for riders that want it all. Tweaks for 2009 include super fast re-launch, more pop, more stability and fast turning through all sizes. A 'hyper-flex' leading edge allows the kite more flex to initiate a turn while maintaining stability. The micro-bridle is a simple set-up offering maximum depower while limiting the risk of any tangles or unwanted bridle issues.
The Morph bar is all new and allows adjustments from 35cm to 50cm with ease. Available in two bar sizes: Large; 60-55-50-45 and Medium; 50-45-40-35. The new chicken-loop allows you to pull or push in order to release the CL from your harness.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
First thing you notice looking at that bar is how solid the safety system looks, although there's a little more metal than I'm used to seeing, but none of it is obtrusive and is tucked away. Popular, simple and efficient leash / depower system under the bar. The bar is a good design - really comfy with padded ends and feels quite spongey on your hands. My only thing is that as I like to unhook a lot I thought there was a little bit of fuss hanging around, but it was actually absolutely fine and I soon forgot about that initial reservation. The overall construction is robust, the kite looks good, there's one pump and there are lots of knots on the kite for tuning up and detuning for higher winds.
Riding it the kite looks mid- to high-aspect in the sky. The canopy feels very soft and manoeuvrable - really different to some of the more solid bow/hybrid lumps we've tried over the years - and I was really impressed with this Eclipse. I'd have to say this is the fastest 12 metre I can remember ever flying. It's so lively and is what I'd call a real kitesurfing kite because of its agility, speed, power and depower. Really good, boosty jumps and another 09 kite with silky smooth depower and extremely predictable jumps. The bar pressure is light (perhaps a shade on the light side for some riders) but the steering is spot on. It's not going to keep a PKRA rider happy in the way that it loops, but brilliant for everyone else. The fact that I could easily loop the 12 and have a lot of fun with that says a lot about the kite's performance. As soon as I went on it the first thing I did was pull a loop because I felt like I could. I really think that different equipment can really change your riding style and mood and this pumps you full of beans.
It absolutely steams upwind and has good forward pull. Lovely smooth performance, no stalling, flies forward and it's one of those kites that you just don't have to think. On top of all these hooked-in attributes it unhooks well, too. When you look at it you don't think it's going to. Again, not the highest performing unhooked kite, but ample and the all-round performance on this kite is again compounded by this. Only once when I let go of the bar when I crashed it did I have a slight issue with the relaunch when I got one of the three lines going through the bar caught around the chicken-loop, so just a little snag but was easy to pull off.
A kitesurfer's kite. Dimitri seems to have modelled this not only on his own riding, but on the majority of riders out there. What a great freeride kite - great fun, all-round performance and user-friendliness. We can't believe they've made a 12 metre fly this quick and have this much early planing, too.
The speed and lift.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
The amount of lines going through the bar.
16, 14, 12, 10, 8 and 6m
This test is inissue #37
Read KW's review of the 10m 2008 Thruster by clicking here