2018 Airush Lithium 10 and 8m review

Airush Lithium 2018 review

A legendary entry level kite for multiple-discipline freeride shred




Airush Lithium 2018 review

Action photo: Andre Magarao


The Lithium has been rooted at the core of Airush’s product line for as long as we can remember and in that time has received steady tweaks. Still one of the most popular and ideal beginner kites on the market, it has the ability to please advanced riders too thanks to having one of the most well behaved and balanced handling feels on the market. Airush had it right with the Lithium so early, which is why much of the developments each year have been focused on the construction and materials, rather than the shape of the design itself. 

As the Lithium is now bought and used by a wide spectrum of riders, Airush offer it in three different grades (and expense) of canopy construction, from their all-singing premium line, using Teijin Technoforce D2 double rip-stop cloth and Airush’s exclusive Dyneema load frame with Web Tech in their ‘Core’ series, down to the simple yet durable and cost-effective ‘Progression’ product line. 


Airush Lithium 2018 review


The Lithium is a classic, strong delta shape that offers plenty of growly power and lots of depower. The key to the Lithium’s highly rated performance is that the power doesn’t come on particularly fast, but equally doesn’t drop too quickly either, so although it’s safe and very plug-and-play, it helps achieve a smooth riding style more easily. 

The feedback at the bar is very clear without feeling heavy going, but it’s almost as if some of the padding and dampeners have been stripped away compared to some softer kites. As a rider it’s very easy to piece together the steering techniques to form solid building blocks and work towards great performance, whether you’re looking to jump higher, or steer the kite harder and carve around behind it. 

The pivotal turn means that the Lithium doesn’t develop power through its turn, but cleverly there isn’t a sudden drop and then sharp return in drive when you move it. The drop is gradual and then the increase in drive once you’ve finished turning – and as the kite starts to move forward again –  comes in progressively. So you can be as gentle or aggressive as you like when you steer the kite into a turn and, as you get more and more confident, the Lithium always delivers a natural feeling of drive. 

Although there is plenty of power on tap, it never comes on abruptly. The lift isn’t explosive but it’s easy to access and can take you really high. Vitally the kite travels with you very nicely and will bring you back down to the water softly without you having to think too much about what you’re doing with the bar. Occasionally, if you get your take-off a bit wrong, or when you do get a huge boost, the Lithium’s meaty power can make you feel like you’re travelling quite a distance quite quickly and like you’re approaching the water with higher rates of forward momentum, but the feedback at the bar is so good that you can sheet out to slow down before feeding the kite back into the power and then move it upwards just before landing to ensure a soft touchdown. This is a good example of how the Lithium’s clear feedback helps you tune into achieving better and more intuitive handling skills. You can feel all the controls working. 

Most of the Lithium’s great performance comes from its low-end power. As the winds get strong, it becomes a handful more quickly for its size than a higher-performance freeride kite might. As you get towards the top of the Lithium’s range you’ll need to engage the rail of your board in the water quite strongly to get the kite forwards in the wind as it does like to pull quite deeply in the window; which is why it’s generally very smooth and easy to use. This is where advanced riders will smile because you can get some great performance out of the Lithium in strong winds as it can be sent hard for bundles of air time. The power band is very well rounded. It picks up and up and doesn’t spike abruptly at its peak, so although you can get overpowered on it, it never bites surprisingly and is always predictable. If it does get too much there’s loads of depower trim to pull on and lots of sheeting range when you lean forward, push the bar out and turn all the noise down. 


Airush Lithium 2018 review


The Airush Core bar system is at the grippier end of the spectrum, very robust and is highly effective in its simplicity. Choose from a pull-pull trimming tab option (that offers more depower throw) or a neat rope trimming cleat. The plastic coating over the depower line stops your fingers rubbing directly against the rope inside it, although the safety line does run free outside of the plastic so that it can operate as safely as possible. The chicken-loop push-away action triggers super easily and the Lithium flags out 100% onto a single line. Super safe, easy and the relaunch is pretty much as quick and easy as it gets thanks to this tuned delta shape. The final cool feature: the bag is made from recycled bottles! 



Although you’ll make less mistakes on the Lithium in general, the intuitive feedback feel means that because the kite feels very logical in its handling, it’s also easy to correct any mistakes that you do make with it. Although advanced wave riders, high-performance freeriders and aerial artists are going to choose something quicker through the sky that can get to the front of the window more dynamically, there aren’t many kites that are so good as a first kite that truly tick so many levels of cross-over ability and will last you for so long. 



Utter dependability and one of the most naturally intuitive kites to fly that you’ll ever ride. 



Nothing. The Lithium has stood the test of time and, honestly, even though it is technically a ‘beginners’ kite, we always have a great session on it, whatever the conditions and wherever the session.  



Build quality: 9

Full package: 8.5

Low end: 9

Top end: 7.5

Steering speed: 6.5

Turning circle: 4

Bar pressure: 6 

Water relaunch: 9.5

Drift: 7 

Boost: DT

Hang-time: DT

Unhooked: 4.5

Cross-over: 8 

Ease-of-use: 9 


SIZES: 17, 14, 12, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6 and 5m 






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