Rock solid stability, directional float, pivotal turning and effortless re-launch highlight the Envy's 'beyond delta' design for all-round performance. This ultra lightweight three-strut platform gives a light, responsive bar feel with impulse pivotal turning. The Envy's flight characteristics blend to produce a distinct 'set it and forget it' feel, making it the perfect kite for everything, from progressive wave riding to kite low freestyle domination. Land a jump a bit too hot or under run the kite in a bottom turn and it's no problem with the Envy's lightweight design, allowing the kite to float directionally, enabling you to forget about the kite and concentrate on the important issues, like making grabs, spotting landings and reading waves straight into the pit.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
Liquid Force have certainly made a name for themselves in producing some robust models over the last few seasons, and the Envy continues that tough-enough line. Each strut section on the leading edge is padded out with some quite considerable rubber bumpers, clearly made for bouncing off the beach in your early days. Another example of the popular three strut design, there's quite a bit of bridling and a pulley on the inside corners but this doesn't dampen the kite's steering as the Envy's handling is direct and light. LF have made quite a dance about their new 'Max Flow' one pump system and we have to say it's pretty spectacular as far as easy inflation gadgets go. The pump the kite comes with has a really thick canister and is therefore a quick pumper.
A big thick nozzle sits in the valve which operates with a big flap, letting air in and closing straight up under air pressure when you pull the pump away. Screw the big cap on and you're done. To let the air out, simply unscrew the cap, push the flap open and all the air quickly rushes out the huge hole. If you don't have a Liquid Force pump there's another nipple to use as normal. There are no clamps on the one pump tubes between the leading edge and the struts to section them off, so the kite is either totally inflated or totally deflated, meaning you get on and off the water quickly but can't just leave your struts inflated. There are two settings for theback bridle ? we set it up closer to the tip of the kite on the quicker setting. Moving on to the bar, we've not seen many brands this year operating with below-the-bar trimming systems, but LF have retained theirs. This system makes the area of line above the bar very clean and neat, providing loads of bar throw for huge depower, but then you end up with a bit of trimming strap dangle below-the-bar. The dongle/donkey dick is excellent on the LF and the safety / mini-fifth comes down through the bar, through the top of the red quick release on top of the chicken-loop and through the real suicide line.
There are two rings there (the safety line and the suicide), so just make sure to attach to the one you want to. The quick-release is a push-away system which, when you push away actually comes apart in two stages, the chicken-loop is completely released and you're left leashed to the mini-fifth line. The system actually clips together quite nicely on the water as long as you've kept your donkey dick in and not lost your chicken-loop. The bar is comfortable and robust, there's no coating on the chicken-loop line but overall the whole system is pretty well kitted out and functional. On the water the kite is very plug and play and you feel at ease straight away. The bar pressure is light but the handling is very direct. The Envy's low end grunt isn't as strong as its top end but it's not gutless either. Very steady speed-wise, the Envy isn't a whippet in the sky, similar to last year, which is why it became so popular with wake-stylers wanting that rock solid positioning as well as with first time kite buyers wanting a kite that doesn't fly all over the sky as soon as they take their eye off it. We didn't find the turning really pivotal, it actually has quite a wide arc, so is a handful for anyone wanting to learn to kite loop, but may have been quicker with a longer bar than the one we were provided. But for unhooking, throwing tricks this small bar was lovely and it means rookie riders won't be over-steering the kite all the time.
Good relaunch, great build quality and impressive top end will keep the Envy popular as a first timer's kite and the simple handling, downwind drift and solid sky positioning will keep the wake brigade straight.
Superb one pump system and overall build quality.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
The below the bar trimming system is within easy reach but when powered up is harder than above the bar systems to pull on the depower with your arms close to your body.
SIZES: 15, 12, 9, 7 and 5m
This test is inissue #50
Liquid Force Envy 7m (2011)
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