Ozone Hyperlink V1 9 & 7 m review

Ozone Hyperlink review

We review an all-terrain foil kite for all seasons and all reasons

 

THIS TEST FIRST APPEARED IN ISSUE #92 IN MARCH, 2018

 

Ozone Hyperlink review

 

TEST TEAM NOTES: 

Now for something completely different! Ozone are pitching the Hyperlink as the most versatile foil kite on the market with a solid application for water use as well as land / snow. 

Some of the main reasons that foil kites are great for riding with a hydrofoil are: that they have a very quick air-speed; offer fantastic upwind riding angles; but most of all, they’re incredibly efficient and offer high levels of stability and power in light winds. 

For snowkiting most of that also applies, but a snowkiter also wants practicality – so for self-launching and landing in tricky situations, foil kites are the best option. Many foil kite riders also leave their lines attached when packing up, so when they next roll the kite out, it’s ready to go very quickly. 

Obviously we didn’t test the Hyperlink in snow in Cape Town. Nor did we ride it on a foil. We did however test it in various winds on a twin-tip as this is the new ground of application for a foil kite. 

 

Ozone Hyperlink review

 

Although Ozone have designed the Hyperlink to be more simple to set-up than their race-inspired R1 and Chrono foil kites, there’s no mistaking that there’s still more complex bridling to get your head around than on your standard LEI kite. Take your time, be careful and you’ll be fine. The Hyperlink can be ridden as an open or closed cell kite, so closing the cells off is important for the water. It’s also important to let the kite inflate with wind before someone tries to help you launch it, otherwise it flaps in the wind and looks alarmingly unstable. So, the first time you use it, go in lighter winds, make sure you have plenty of space and a friend who has also understood the nature and process of launching and handling a foil kite. There’s lots of info online and the Hyperlink is a good bit easier than other kites, but just do your homework. 

Once you launch the kite (either with a friend holding the tip, or as a self-launch using the safety brake handle that runs across your back lines to control the power), you will be immediately impressed by the stability of the canopy overhead. You’ll think it could be an LEI, but it’s more stable. 

Straight away we were astounded by the low end performance. We had the nine metre out and performing with good power in less than 15 knots; winds we’d have no chance of getting such performance from on a regular nine metre LEI. So it is a game changer in that respect. 

What we really appreciated as soon as we hit the water was the upwind angle we were able to achieve on a twin-tip. We’re used to aiming high on a hydrofoil, but the Hyperlink helped us get closer to that on a twin-tip. Vitally, the Hyperlink’s mid aspect-ratio stops the kite from just wanting to race to the front of the window, like other foil kites that need to be matched by a quick board. The Hyperlink maintains good poise and forward flight, but always retains a balanced feel at the bar. 

So, it’s fantastic upwind and when you couple that with the phenomenal hang-time, it’s a useful asset when you’ve jumped a long way downwind!

10.5 seconds of hang-time in 20 knots on a nine metre! That, apparently, is the new Woo norm for Chris with a Hyperlink (Jim got 8+ seconds). The Hyperlink is a sky hook. You can eat your lunch up there, post to Instagram and call your mum. At the top end of its range, you need more technical skills to do a good jump, but in the kite’s low to mid range when you’re comfortably holding your edge, you just need to generate speed, edge a bit, bring the kite back, pull down on the bar and up and off you go. For board-offs it’s brilliant. No other kite in our Cape Town tests came close to the hang-time of the Hyperlink. 

As you get towards the kite’s top end (and you’ll reach that before the equivalent size LEI), the kite continues to pull strongly, so as you move the kite up in the window it gets harder to hold a good edge, making that edge bite before take-off more difficult. We’ve give a lower score for top end, but that’s relating to an equivalently sized LEI, so just switch down. Don’t worry about switching to the seven metre and think you’re going to then suffer less height and hang-time – you’re not! Really – that seven metre is a mean performer in 20 – 25 knots of wind!

 

Ozone Hyperlink review

 

Although Ozone have designed the Hyperlink to have a similar LEI feel at the bar, the Hyperlink is still different. The bar system is the same and familiar, but the steering initiation is slower, it feels like there’s less immediate power shut-off and the kite pulls more in your harness. The top end wind range is about 20% less than a leading edge kite, but with skill you can deal with that, so this isn’t a kite for a beginner. It’s for a progressive freerider with good, fast board skills who understands how to shed power through their rail as the wind picks up. We didn’t unhook on the Hyperlink in Cape Town, but the promo material shows a lot of that is possible. Given the slower turn initiation, if you trim the kite a bit, we can see how this is possible. Plus, in lighter winds on smooth flat water, that sort of performance will be fun. But as with everything else, you just need to be on your game to maximise the potential of the Hyperlink.  

The turning is also more consistent than other foil kites that tend to spin around their centre point. The Hyperlink turn still isn’t drivey enough to motivate you to do big kite loops, but for a foil kite it does turn well and maintains some power, which is especially nice during a down loop for carving on a twin-tip or hydrofoil. Although it sounds daunting at first, a kite that doesn’t back off too much will help you turn downwind because you’ll maintain momentum. Often the drop in power from the kite is a contributing reason why most people fall off their hydrofoil when turning. So Ozone have done a great job here in terms of bridging the feel of an LEI around the sky with the power and efficiency of a foil kite. 

Ozone have also upgraded their Contact Water Control bar system with new, bigger bar floats and improved grip. The foil specific version has a brake handle (which is removable, so you can use the same bar with your Ozone LEI). It’s not the leading bar system in terms of total tech, but the Ozone bar is always clean, comfortable, easy-to-use and robustly built. No issues. 

 

SUMMARY: 

This isn’t a freeride kite for the mass market yet because it is more of a technical rig-up and launch, it’s more aggressive through your legs and you’ve got more bridling to deal with BUT, if you’ve been riding for a few years and just love to jump, then in 17 – 20 knots on the nine metre, and more wind on the seven metre, you’re going to be jumping so well! You’ll get the sort of jumping performance you’re used to feeling on a powered session on your eight metre in far less stellar conditions. This kite brings Cape Town conditions to you… always full loaded and packed with air miles! Although we’ve gone to town a bit covering the technicalities compared to an LEI, this is leaps ahead in terms of easy flight performance as a twin-tip foil kite. Foil kite freeriding is coming, especially when it promises so much hang-time! 

 

KW LIKED: 

Insane low wind jumping and handling performance.

 

KW WOULD CHANGE: 

We’d like to see a little bit more range at the top end. 

 

HYPERLINK BALANCE POINTS: 

Build quality: 9

Full package: 8.5

Low end: 9.5

Top end: 6

Steering speed: 4

Turning circle: 3

Bar pressure: 7

Water relaunch: 5 

Drift: DT – Not for wave use

Boost: 8.5

Hang-time: 10  

Unhooked: 5

Crossover: 8 For boosty freeriding and hydrofoiling  

Ease of use: 5 (for intermediates) / 8 (for advanced freeriders / hydrofoilers) 

 

SIZES: 12, 9, 7 and 5m

 

CHECK THE TECH!

 

 

www.ozonekites.com

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