I should first preface this review by saying that I am an importer, and retailer of Ocean Rodeo kites.
My friend Pete leant me his Mako 150 yesterday, and what follows are my impressions of the board.
The wind was blowing around 17-19 knots yesterday, and as I have been thinning out my quiver of kites to make room for my Ones (apparently my wife does not share my beleife that there is no such thing as too many kites
), I had to use my 8m. Ocean Rodeo Stinger. I weigh around 145 lbs, and normally I wouldnt use this kite in these winds, but I thought I would be overpowered on my Bronco 14m in the gusts. The board I normally ride is STILL the original Ocean Rodeo Outlaw from 2002?, but I thought I would have trouble going upwind underpowered on the Stinger 8m.Pete offered his Mako, and said he would use my outlaw with his Bronco 10m.
I have built my own plywood/epoxy board, which has worked as well as most production boards I have used, and much better than some. Generally, I think that the: swallow tail, bat tail, progressive rocker, flip tip, 3 stage rocker, torsion tip, progressive flex, etc. to be the typical marketing BS that sporting goods manufacturers need to dream up to get us to buy the new fandangled, cant do without gadget for this season. I remember speaking with the owner of a certain board company at Surf Expo one year about how much I liked my super flexy Outlaw. He was good enough to take the time to explain to me in some scientific, and engineering detail why flex sucks, and why his super stiff carbon boards were the only way to go. Next season he came out with his own line of flexy boards that were a revolution, and were far superior to the stiff boards everyone else was making.
The Mako has made re-think that it may not all be marketing BS after all. I do however believe that the progression in kite technology does warrant upgrading the quiver periodically, as most of the new bells and whistles are legitimate improvements.
The first thing I noticed about the Mako was the dichotomy of its feeling both loose, and solid in one board. Although I was never overpowered in the conditions I was in with the 8m, there were some powerful gusts, yet I never felt I was going to lose an edge, and even when I wasnt edging especially hard, the board felt locked to the water in spite of the choppy conditions. The sea was about 3-4 ft swell with confused chop, and plenty of whitewater, but somehow the board smoothed out the chop, and my knees didnt take the pounding they normally would have. The board is longish, but had a smaller, very controllable feel in the chop, and swell. In spite of its locked in feeling while edging, the board easily slides out, and breaks free to carve a turn. I suppose that it is that the board has only 2 fins that gives it this nice loose feel, and the concave that holds it down.
As I was riding the board, I was thinking of a slalom water-ski which has only one fin, yet you can edge extremely hard, and get a shoulder near the water without sliding out, again due I suspect to a skis concave shape. A ski would have of course been a complete disaster in this sort of sea.
I had no trouble going upwind on the Mako, and even when I felt underpowered, and flattened the board out, I still seemed to be making some headway upwind. I normally use the Stinger to teach beginners since it handles, and re-launches so easily, however with its low aspect, 3 strut design, it is not an upwind demon, but with the Mako, it was never a problem.
I never got an appreciation for the balance of pressure between the front and back feet that people say is possible with this board, as I think I was riding it as a traditional board, so it defiantly does not need to be ridden that way. I didnt need to get used to the board, but instantly felt comfortable on it.
The build looks to be typical Ocean Rodeo,..top notch, but I dont think it would survive the kind of abuse my Outlaw has. A couple of weeks ago, I put the Outlaw on the roof rack, kites in the car, and drove home. The detail I overlooked was to tie the board on; I realized this when I saw the board in the rear view mirror after it hopped off the roof. I was going about 75kms at the time, but couldnt find any obviously new scars besides a scuff on top of one of the foot straps.I wouldnt recommend trying that with any other brand of board, or plywood board for that matter!!!
I was very impressed with the Mako, and if I ever do manage to kill the Outlaw, will likely replace it with one.