Fast, comfortable, amazing relaunch make this a wicked all-round high-wind kite. Probably the only downside is that it doesn't have so much lift for jumps, but it's got so much more application for fun, freestyle and bombing around in high-wind and waves that it makes up for it. Solid construction and looks the business too.
The Impact Short Line combines the unique F-one Integral System, a low-aspect ratio and short lines (18m) for the ultimate in strong wind performance. For freestyle, traction is smooth and constant and the handling response is moderate, boosting your riding confidence. In wave- iding, no matter where the kite is, it doesn't interfere with carving your turns, and the short lines inspire more radical manoeuvres. For strapless surfing, the Impact SL simply rules; keep a flawless, flowing style, evenin strong and gusty wind, thanks to the constant pull. In free-ride, the Impact SL delivers an unmatched intuitive feeling. You'll be amazed at the drastically improved level of control you have in any situation, especially in tight launch zones. Impact SL renders strong winds accessible and manageable to all riders.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
WILL: It's such a specialised short-line kite that they don't want any extras, so I guess this is why there's no one pump. Good valves make life easier.
CHRIS: Great design and graphics, looks good in the sky with all the graffiti. It's lower aspect than I've seen for some time - it looks like a little bulldog in the sky with a really deep profile. The construction's very good and the plastic sheathing over the chicken- oop line that runs through the bar for durability is good too. Nice, comfy, small bar (without cow hide padding this year) and no unnecessary bells and whistles. Again, nicely padded cow horns on the end of the bar and webbing-adjustable steering lines on the side of the bar, too. When you start kite looping, most people do more one way than the other. Eventually you stretch two lines more than the others and this helps even them out. My only real criticism of this set-up is the chickenloop safety, I thought they might have moved on from a pull Velcro webbing loop by now, but that's a personal thing.
CHRIS: It really rocks solidly back and forth in the sky when you sheet in and out - it's so manoeuvrable. This is fast and grunty but with a hybrid feel.
GEORGE: Amazing power delivery. It's so smooth on the chicken-loop when you pull the bar down.
CHRIS: You pull that bar in and you go, 'Yes!' Nice constant pull and comfortable unhooked. You always know where it is in the sky. I really enjoyed the short lines - they're at least seven metres shorter than I normally ride, but so much fun. Very reactive and you have to work the kite a bit more sometimes in the lighter winds because of the shorter lines to get power. So not the most suitable for early intermediates who want to dive the kite and be done with it.
GEORGE: It really is a high-wind kite...and works so well.
CHRIS: It's fast, loops really consistently and obviously the short lines are going to affect that, but it's the quality of the pull that's so impressive. A really comfortable, strong and forceful loop is important in a good freestyle kite. You want more and more power and this has it in buckets. The upstroke is really important in wave riding and the speed and depower mean it flies up to the top of the window quickly so you can whack it back down again. What a kite for good intermediates and above to improve their riding with.
GEORGE: You wouldn't buy this as a beginner/early intermediate because it can take some working to get going in the lulls because of the short lines. It won't punish you, it's just a handful because it's quick. But brilliant fifth-line system with an unbelievable relaunch: drop the bar, pull yourself the short distance back to the bar and the kite is itching to get back in the sky. It's almost just a reverse bar launch.
CHRIS: As a kite it definitely puts a smile on your face. You come in happy. The young lad that worked at the centre went out on it and was like, 'Wow.'
6, 7, 8 and 9m
F-One Impact (Jun/July 07: Issue #27 Kite Test)
This test is in issue #26