The latest generation of C4 brings a fresh new look along with refinements to each size, offering even more freestyle and wakestyle performance. The aspect-ratio has been modified throughout the sizes to give the kites a better low end and more solid power during pop and release. The Variable Bridle Geometry system, offers two 'feel' settings, changed by simply shifting the middle bridle lines up or down on pigtails. The C4 ships on the standard new school setting, providing a slightly heavier and direct feel, sitting back a little bit more in the wind window when unhooking, providing a more powerful load up and pop. The freeride setting offers a lighter bar feel and increased depower. The new C4 also has multiple trimming options offering customised handling and bar pressure. This generation is all about fast and intuitive handling and un-hooked performance, combined with massive depower and simple back line re-launch.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
The C4 was the first bridled kite to seriously tackle the C shape profile without chopping wing-tips off and sweeping things back. This third generation C4 is still doing it all without any pulleys. The bar is typical Ozone build-quality. Well made and polished, but doesn't come across as trying to be flash. Below the bar the chicken-loop self keys into the bar when unhooked but the chicken-loop does still spin around and would benefit from being a bit stiffer. There's a dedicated suicide hook which is nice so you don't have to clip onto the chicken-loop, but we've seen a few manufacturers integrating their suicide and safety systems into one attachment option, which would be good to see on here. The leash attachment is very neat and flags the kite perfectly. The safety release is a pull down system rather than the standard push away technique. It works, it's very safe, there's nothing wrong with it, but there is a small chance you can activate it when unhooked and grabbing the chicken-loop the first couple of times. The sheeting/throw line running through the bar is covered in plastic and very smooth against your fingers and won't wear out. Above the bar Ozone's trimming cleat is one of the best out there. Super smooth and requiring very little leverage to power up or to depower the kite, it's a pleasure to use. Also of note are Ozone's flying lines, they are amazing quality and worthy of mention.
The C4 is a grunty C kite, in looks as well as in feel and performance. The C4 has always married the C kite lift, profile and power, turning with power and holding power throughout but combining all that with a bridle, allowing the kite to have a range beyond what we'd previously seen in a C kite. This year's C4 is very powerful and produces a very firm pull and solid drive. Rather than flying high and driving at the top of the window, it sits back, generating a very constant sort of power, but you can still push the bar forward and turn all the power off. It also launches very well with just a pull on one line, no issues. The bridle on the C4 is very small, so you don't get a lot of hybrid style power steering. It works really well for depowering the kite but doesn't take away any of that feeling of control and response at the bar. The kite is very solid in the sky; a rock-solid platform for tricks, generating lots of explosive power off the board. It's not the boostiest kite, but is acceptable, if a little tiring for inexperienced riders. This is about sitting back and providing a superb platform for powered tricks off the hook.
The C4 is quite a handful for kite looping. The canopy doesn't feel like it has been designed to move really quickly, and when you do try and loop it fast it tends to have a little flutter hooked-in, at least on this nine metre - the smaller sizes will be more adept. Unhooked however it performs impeccably, looping without any sort of hiccup. Most kites spin quite pivotally when you're unhooked and hanging on to the end of the bar. This doesn't, it holds power the whole way, representing what this kite is all about. It's got brilliant booming power and is at its happiest low down in the window. The C4 is a serious new school freestyle kite on the freestyle setting, like being behind a cable, delivering very consistent power and there's loads of explosive pop when you unhook and load it up. It's manly and does need a bit of trimming now and again because there's so much power there. Steering is fairly firm on the middle setting we had it on and just perfect for practicing all your unhooked moves.
This is a sublime unhooked C kite and that slightly deeper, grunty position in the wind window would make it a fantastic kite with bindings, working well with wake-style boards with more rocker. If you want to do a bit of everything, you'd be better looking at other kites in the range. However, if you're into riding unhooked (or want to be) then the steady rock-solid stability and power in this kite are phenomenal and predictable ? the predictable behaviour also making it a great kite for learning unhooked moves. Having a kite wander off, looping madly while unhooked is what kicks your arse, this doesn't do any of that. The C4 is legit; loads of beans, good bottom end and the build quality and attention to detail is immense.
Superb, rock-solid unhooked performance in an incredibly well-made package.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
A slight niggle is the pull-down chicken-loop release rather than a more standard push-away release.
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Ozone C4 9m (2012)
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