CONDITIONS TESTED IN:
Gusty 15 ? 25 knots
The Session is LF's all-round freeride kite for water, waves and snow and was their newest SLE for 2008. Modelled after the Havoc, the Session is a little flatter with 15% more depower, making it perfect for entry level riders and/or schools, as well as for riders that are looking to get into the sport with lower wallet impact, although it still has key features like LF's one pump Union inflation system. The bridle and arc of the kite allow it to have 95% depower when the mainline is engaged and the LF tech bridle alignment provides dependable, effortless relaunching. This kite incorporates all the key features of the Havoc as well as pin-point reinforcements and nuke proof construction, making it more durable for learning situations.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
FX: I immediately felt good about this kite. The bar was a bit small for me personally but the feedback from the kite was nice and direct. I could always feel where it was in the sky. I was surprised by how easy the relaunching was when I dropped it. It was quick, even with such a small bar and it moved consistently and steadily. Good amounts of power and plenty of depower; let the bar go it loses all power, which is great for people still finding their feet. Flew well depowered ? still plenty of feedback through the bar and response to input. Just a very pleasant and un-intimidating but fun ride. Simple package well made. There's plenty of
safety and the depower is smooth, although after just one rotation the lines twist but you can manually untwist them.
JAMES: I liked this. It's just very easy to use. Good build quality, looks good and everything about it is unfussy. I think you either like the depower under the bar or you don't. It's definitely good for riders with shorter arms, especially when getting overpowered because you don't have to lean forward to reach the depower and in doing so lose your edge. Nice big chicken-loop is easy to get in and out of when unhooking and there's an easily manoeuvrable donkey dick. Not the most powerful kite and the turning wasn't the quickest but was solid unhooked, though a bit slow for some tricks like trying to steer it away from the water after a railey-to-blind for example. Good for beginners though and is stable, safe, has good depower and
steady speed; so no nasty surprises. Jumping wasn't huge but was fun and nice and easy. You felt like you
could get away with quite a lot as it's really forgiving and inspires confidence. I did find you had to ride with the bar quite close in to get the right power, which is good for unhooking and also good for beginners because they tend to pull back too much on the bar and stall the kite. It doesn't let you do that. Good high wind kite therefore because there's lots of depower left on the bar. Pop was good and the kite was just very controlled.
CHRIS: Lots of fixtures and fittings like one pump, grab handles and the canopy feels really good quality, but the best thing about the Session is that it's very soft and easy to use. Turns well but it's quite a soft turn and doesn't create a lot of downwind pull. You don't pull the bar and get a really quick reaction from the kite ? it's smooth and steady. The kite is quite square and grunty looking in the sky and oozes some street-style, wake-style attitude. It is quite low aspect and sits one or two degrees further back in the window, but not to the point where it chugs you downwind but so it delivers a smooth and constant pull and a beginner doesn't need to redirect the kite so much, but it still has upwind drive. The small bar probably explains why the kite isn't too fast. The lower aspect means it launches very well off the water. The depower is on a cleat on the side of the chicken-loop which does mean you get a long length of line when fully pulled on, but you can plug this into the side of the safety system and keeps it neat. Probably not the toughest depower rope, though. All in all a great kite for beginners with three choices of safety system; oh shit, sliding safety above the bar and the bottom toggle which is better for freestyle.
What a great introduction to kitesurfing as your first kite. Solid build quality, good looks and performance that will take you far, teaching you to walk before you can run. Simple low aspect performance makes it good for basic unhooked tricks too because of where it sits in the window and the bar pressure, but if you're serious about your freestyle you'll want something with a bit more beef.
Slick styling for beginners and early intermediates and performance that they won't grow out of quickly.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
Effort to reload chicken-loop when released.
6, 9, 12 and 16m
This test is inissue #35