Ocean Rodeo Flite 10m 2016

Ocean Rode Flite 2016 test review Kiteworld Magazine

TEST TEAM NOTES

The Flite is very unique in that it’s a ten metre designed for light wind. In the previous two Flite ranges the 17 and 14.5 metre models have been the more traditionally sized high performance light wind models, but in this third generation Ocean Rodeo say that this ten metre is the lightest kite they have ever made.

 

So, what’s the deal? Well, the ten metre isn’t going to replace your fourteen metre exactly, but what it does do is inject your marginal 10 metre weather days – where you’re kitesurfing, but not having huge amounts of fun – into really exciting sessions where you have bags of power. The low range performance is remarkable. We had it out on the same day as the Cabrinha FX 10m which hands-down was one of the most exciting kites we tested last year, but we were underpowered on that, and it doesn’t matter how good a kite is – if you haven’t got enough power, you’ll struggle. Take the Flite out in average conditions and you’ll have more power than anyone else as it’s a more energetic and exciting kite with lots of power. It feels quick and punchy because you still have all the benefits of it being a mid-sized kite rather than a more cumbersome bigger kite. In reality the ten metre delivers power more like a thirteen metre, but feels faster, more efficient, lighter and more agile.

 

Ocean Rode Flite 2016 test review Kiteworld Magazine

 

All this lightweight performance does come at a cost and the Flite’s lightweight, good flight characteristics are because it’s built quite sparingly. Out of the bag it’s immediately obvious that the kite is light in your hands. It’s streamlined, though does feature a Dacron trailing edge and good leading edge seams but doesn’t have added heavy extras such as wide inflation, though it does have one pump. There are also grab safety handles on the tips of the kite and there are two options for bar pressure set-up too. Interestingly, for such a lightly performing kite there are pulleys on the bridles which add weight, but no doubt add to the smooth depowering and soft freeride characteristics.

 

In terms of ride, for a freerider it’s got really good power high up in the window, so for your transitions and boosts it naturally wants to help you do all that. By the same token you’ve got a relatively quick kite to experiment with down loops and kite loops in more marginal and less nerve wracking conditions as the kite moves in a tighter and more confident loop around the window.

 

In terms of the bar, the OR system is efficient and definitely does the job, but as with the build of the kite, it isn’t revolutionary. Many of today’s modern bar systems feature a multitude of moulded plastic bar ends and parts. Ocean Rodeo have always stuck to their guns of function over form and there’s no doubt that rivets hold a bar together well and this bar is going to last a long time. The line quality is good being quite stiff and shiny, so they’re easy to manage and tangle less. There are oh-shit handles on each leader line which are very useful as a last form of not losing the kite if you have to eject, such as if you tangle with someone, or find yourself on your own on the beach. The trimming cleat is nice and smooth above the bar with a very handy tab to grab. There’s no Velcro to tidy it up, but the throw isn’t so big on this kite so you don’t end up with a lot of trim flapping around. The safety line running up the middle of the bar runs freely to the outside of the chicken-loop, so there’s less chance of it jamming if you do need to eject, although it does put the kite onto two lines (you do have options to adjust the set-up so that it flags out onto one, though). The bar stopper work reasonably well to finish off the above-the-bar functionality while below the bar the chicken-loop is tidy and well made with a clean and easy push away safety system. Relying on a folded webbing, it’s light weight and easy to activate. The chicken-finger is just a piece of plastic piping but the leash attachment very big and obvious. There’s no line untwister below the bar unfortunately – which we’re big fans of – but overall the build quality, robustness and reliability is there in this system. It’s just not the most flashy.

 

 

SUMMARY

The Flite provided us with a very unique testing experience in that it’s a light wind kite that doesn’t really behave like a light wind kite. Any freerider would surely be on a ten metre rather than a 12 or 13 and there will be a more appealing cost to this kite than a bigger kite. It’s an interesting move from Ocean Rodeo and could be really tempting for riders who don’t get out that often or live in a spot that gets 12 to 15 knots a lot but don’t want to just settle for riding big kites all the time and you’re not going to have to change down a size if the wind then picks up a bit, either.

 

KW LIKED

Blowing everyone else on the same size kites off the water. Tee hee.

 

KW WOULD CHANGE
The full package in terms of each aspect of the build is lighter than you might be used to.

 

FLITE BALANCE POINTS

Build quality: 7
Full package: 5
Low end: 10
Top end: 7
Steering speed: 8
Turning circle: 4
Power through the turn: 4
Bar pressure: 4
Water relaunch: 8
Drift: 7
Boost: 8
Hang-time: 8
Unhooked: 7
Cross-over: 7
Ease-of-use: 8

SIZES

17, 14.5, 12 and 10m

 

More information at www.oceanrodeo.com

 

Here’s the official Flite 2016 product video from Ocean Rodeo

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