Duotone Dice 2019 HIGH WIND review

Duotone Dice 2019

We review the Dice for the second time!

THIS TEST FIRST APPEARED IN ISSUE #98 IN MARCH 2019

 

Duotone Dice 2019 review

 

TEST NOTES:

This is the second review that we’ve done for the 2019 Duotone Dice. Our first review featured in issue #95, back in September, focussing on the Dice as an all-round machine. It was the peak winds during that test that motivated us to see what the Dice was capable of in the strongest winds we could find. You can read our first review now at: www.kiteworldmag.com/gear/duotone-dice-2019-review 

In previous Dice incarnations we’ve found the kite to be a very versatile modern hybrid C, but being fast and mixed with large range, there were other kites that offered a smoother freeriding experience. This year’s kite is altogether smoother; good evidence of that being that we’ve been particularly impressed by the 12 metre’s speed and power. In general the Dice isn’t a kite that suits heavier riders in light winds, but for averagely sized intermediates and above it’s a really exciting kite to fly whatever the weather. 

After a few high wind sessions in Cape Town, the Dice’s class was obvious, but it was on a particularly howling afternoon that we ventured up to Sunset Beach (even windier) to start a downwinder. It was so windy and gusty there that there was literally no one out! Not only does the Dice have such an extensive throw, turning all the noise and power down to nothing, but on that sketchy launch in cross-offshore winds averaging well beyond 35, with just a couple of button presses on the Click bar we were set and relatively comfortable.

Note: Duotone give you the option of two bars – the Click Bar and the Trust Bar with above the bar trim – as well as various sizes and styles of chicken-loop, which you choose at the point of purchase 

 

 

The Dice generates a lot of flying speed, but at the same time gives you a huge feeling of control (provided you’ve got at least average edging skills). When you’re riding in difficult water conditions you can lay down your edge and the kite will nudge forward a bit, but not change anything in the way the power is delivered, so you’ll still be riding smoothly. It’s like going from a 50cc moped to a 125cc bike – you’re going faster, but it feels better and like it’s supposed to. 

 

Duotone Dice 2019

 

The other very impressive quality that the Dice has in strong wind is that it’s not fatiguing, even though there’s loads of goodness on tap in terms of power and depower. Being able to hold an edge confidently really helps you get out over waves because you can adjust your body, speed and angle in an instant. When you’re having to load your rail hard against your kite’s pull right up to the moment you reach white water you’re more susceptible to mistakes or awkward board positions when you make contact with white water. The Dice allows you to charge with good speed towards a breaking wave and pre-jump with ease and control. You’re not launching and then getting hauled downwind as you release your rail because there’s such finger-tip control on the sheeting range; stay up, or go back down to the water which makes the experience less heavy in your harness at the same time. You’re afforded a nice, upright riding position. 

 

Duotone Dice 2019 review

Reno Romeu rolls the Dice / Photo: Toby Bromwich

Of all the ‘twin-tip’ kites we tested in strong Cape Town winds this year, the Dice was the most manageable. Tight, purposeful and with lots of direct control in terms of kite position and power delivery; you’re in tune with the kite at all times. When other people were visibly bouncing their backsides into the water, digging their heels in and attempting to get their kites to find some relief further forward in the window, the Dice was allowing us to cruise comfortably. In fact we were pointing upwind without any real physicality in even the dirtiest of strong gusts.

You have the best of both worlds when it comes to drift-and-sheet jumping technique, as well as the more aggressive send, point and shoot kite movement. So for high level boosters as well as those looking for beautifully lifty and smooth transitions, the Dice is brilliant. There’s so much flight control in the sheeting range that even in more moderate conditions you feel like a highly trained pilot. 

Driving so far forward in the window without any dropout in constant feel and power, that lack of unruliness means that when you want to turn around, either by doing a downloop, a regular send of the kite overhead, or when you want to smash a wave face then you can and with full rail control. So often when you’re riding a kite at its top end you become scared of moving the kite at all. The Dice still lets you enjoy kitesurfing, once again due to that beautiful upright riding position that you can maintain. 

The obvious comparison is with the Bandit, another all-rounder that we have a lot of respect for, but the Dice reaches even further forward in the window. In super strong wind the Bandit feels a bit more chunky in its power delivery. Where the Bandit excels is that more constant position in the window with an ability to auto-correct for all types of riding. In moderate conditions there’s also more of an initial feeling of lift with the Bandit. There’s not much in it between the Bandit and Dice in kite loops; both are perfectly responsive, constant and fly forward beautifully. Neither will hoik you as radically as a Vegas or GTS, but they both fly clean and consistently around the sky, which is what makes them so enjoyable. 

 

Matchu Lopes taking the Dice to the surf / Photo: Toby Bromwich

We haven’t talked about wave potential in this test, but we did in the last one and for sure the Dice is one of the best cross-over kites on the market. All that depower with the potential to shut-off to zero, mixed with smooth flight make this a wave weapon for a rider who likes their kite forward in the window. It must also be said that we’ve had a couple of really good light wind foiling sessions on the Dice, too. The upper range and depower once again being a huge asset and its reverse launching in very light wind is easy. 

The final point when concerned with high wind situations is the over-riding sensation that the Duotone gear is so well made and highly engineered that it’s going to look after you, come what may. 

Watch the Dice in action in the product video below!

 

 

SUMMARY:

We knew in strong wind the Dice would be good, but it truly was even better than we imagined. Not only is the kite really well designed for strong wind, but the back-up of knowing the equipment isn’t going to let you down makes you feel like you can go out and take on the world. 

 

KW LIKED:

High wind control mixed with consistent high performance allows you keep riding with flair, however strong the conditions.

 

KW WOULD CHANGE:

You must be kidding? But this isn’t a first time kite or for an early intermediate. Although it still has feel at the edge of the window, it’s a bit too quick to get going and track forward in the window. 

 

DICE BALANCE POINTS:

Build quality: 9.5

Full package: 9.5 

Low end: 7.5

Top end: 10

Steering speed: 8

Turning circle: 6

Bar pressure: 6

Water relaunch: 8.5

Drift: 7

Boost: 8.5

Hang-time: 8

Unhooked: 8

Crossover: 9.5

Ease of use: 9 (Good riders in all disciplines will find this easy, but it’s not a beginners kite because of position of kite in the window and flying high speed).

 

SIZES:

13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6 and 5m

www.duotonesports.com

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