Combining performance and versatility the Catalyst delivers across every category, ‘doing it all’ to a very high level. For freeriders there’s smooth power delivery and refined handling while for freestylers – from those just out of the starting block to the highly advanced unhooked rider – the open C shape offers a subtle C feel without being as aggressive as the C4. In the waves the Catalyst is an incredible performer, with refined handling, depower and float offering you time to ride the wave rather than having to continuously fly the kite. Although not designed as a dedicated wave kite, like the Reo, it delivers solid wave riding performance. Being easy to fly, with a simple relaunch and progressive depower means it will take kiters from their very first sessions right through to advanced riding. Even PKRA rider Patrick Blanc has been doing all his events on it and he is pushing his way towards the top ten. Incredibly well received last season, Ozone have retained the same general design this year with some minor tweaks and improvements – including the introduction of a nine and seven metre to the range – as well as fresh new colours and printing.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
As they have their own factory, Ozone have a certain difference in the feel and production of their kites. There’s no unnecessary padding or patches pretending to add reinforcements and the stitching is always first rate. You always get the impression that they are built to exacting standards each time and the strength is worked into the build, and are therefore surprisingly light in their feel. Strong, no doubt, but nice and light and with all mod cons, such as a lovely wide inflation valve that works beautifully, although you do need a mid-sized nozzle for your pump. The one pump is really clean and tidy and this year’s new graphics look great. At the controls the bar itself is still the same in a fairly plain black, not the most exciting, but the Ozone system does have a super smooth cleat trimming system above the bar and now there’s a new push-away ergonomically moulded quick-release system above the chicken-loop, which is great. The chicken finger is a nice and flexible material so it’s easy to have in or out, or to leave out of the way on the side of the loop. The loop itself is a pretty good size for all-round hooked-in and unhooked riding, presenting itself back to you nicely when you’re unhooked – so a great job as usual.
In the air and like last year the Catalyst’s air frame is very solid and never hiccups in flight or when pushed hard. Ozone really provide the pilot with a very well mannered kite in terms of aerodynamics and the Catalyst once again really looks after the rider. When you start flying the Catalyst around it’s apparent that there is a bit more bar pressure than with many lower intermediate kites, but when steered with intent the Catalyst is fast and delivers great feeling and control at the bar. A step up in performance from the beginner type deltas this would suit a progressive intermediate. It’s also not really pivotal, so first run out we were confident enough to throw nice powered loops with super fast landings and the kite always making it back up. The Catalyst jumps well but the hangtime is actually better than the boost and this is actually a nice trait, making it very comfortable and giving you loads of time for rotations etc. or getting to grips with boosting and having time to spot your landing.
The Catalyst holds quite a bit of power through its turn so for freestyle and freeriding it’s very rewarding but there’s a bit too much power through the turn and too much work needed at the bar for really aggressing wave riding, but there is also plenty of juice at the bar, so mixed with the drift the Catalyst could work well when left set still with you making turns on a wave and then delivering power when sheeted in.
For the reactive rider it’s quick, but it’s not so quick that it catches you out and it does have a more drawn out natural turn than many of the more swept back and pivotal kites on the market.
The Catalyst really manages to cross the boundaries between freeride and performance freestyle very well and put a smile on our face from the word go. Quite direct and with a solid weight at the bar, this kite would suit a jumper and an unhooker wanting to push their level but always feel in control.
Direct steering, solid flight characteristics and serious freestyle intention in a kite that anyone could get on.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
The steering is going to be a bit weighty for some and the really inexperienced will probably benefit from something a bit softer.
CATALYST BALANCE POINTS:
Build quality: 8.5
Full package: 9
Low end: 8
Top end: 8
Steering speed: 6.5
Turning circle: 5
Bar pressure: 7
Water relaunch: 7.5
Ease of use: 8
SIZES: 14, 12, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6 and 4m
More info at: www.flyozone.com
Here’s the official Catalyst 2014 product video from Ozone:
THIS KITE WAS FEATURED IN ISSUE #69