I’ve had three sessions with the 2012 Razor 12m, so I figured I’d post a quick review. Just some background, riding on the large Fusion Bar with a Nobile T5 twintip and 5’11 surfboard with straps. I’m 185 lbs, and ride about 65% on a twintip (basic freeride - rolls, etc. working in some unhooked, 35% on strapped surfboard. The past two seasons I’ve ridden a 2010 Rise and 2011 Razor and now the 2012 Razor for the upcoming season.
Session #1: 10 - 14 knots NE, small waves/chop
Session #2: 14 - 18 knots ENE, small waves/chop, flat water
Session #3: 13 - 22 knots W, gusty, chop, some flats
Typical of last year’s Razor except that the panels on the canopy appear to be better designed and built. Bridles, connection points, bag, etc. are similar to last year’s Razor.
With regards to design, it’s definitely a good looking kite, in the air it has a more pronounced C-shape and appears to be more compact than last year’s Razor. In fact, the first time in the air, I commented on how it’s a much tighter arc in the air, it looks thicker in the air as compared to last year’s model.
Overall Riding Impressions:
I’m riding with the fast turning, less depower setup so far, although I switched to more depower as well. The first difference is the decrease in bar pressure. It’s not so much as to throw me off, but definitely less, which I was originally wondering if there was a decrease in low end, this is definitely not the case. The kite has the same low end as last year, while I was pretty lit up on both the 18 and 22 knot days, so I’m not sure there’s a big increase in high end, but this will require some additional tests with setup (I had it set to less depower).
Compared to last year’s Razor, the kite pivots about itself a lot quicker when turning, probably from the FST. I’m not saying it’s a dramatic increase in turning speed, in fact, I think it’s roughly the same as last year, it’s just that the turns generate more power as it’s less of an arching turn, seems to be a lot faster on transitions and loops as well.
As far as stability, this year’s Razor seems to hold it’s shape and eat up gusts better than last year’s. The 2011 feels every little gust and reacts with a grunt. This year’s model seems to smooth some of this out, not as much as the Rise, but definitely better.
Upwind this kite is the same as last year, not as good as the Rise, but given where it likes to sit in the wind window, this is not a big surprise. It’s low end grunt balances this out, as most of the time I struggle staying upwind, I probably wouldn’t be kiting with near as much power on the Rise.
Relaunching is markedly improved from last year, it may be the combination of the newer bar (I was riding the 2011 Razor with a 2010 Freeride bar) and FST. Anytime I let go of the bar after unhooking or just crash it after some aborted move, it would fall back on it’s LE with low power and wait for my input. Very easy to get back in the air when it’s on a wingtip, I think the FST works as advertised here.
Jumps with a bit more loft compared to last year’s Razor, but basically the same, a quick catapult off the water, which even though you may lose some hangtime as opposed to the Rise, I really enjoy how this kite jumps better than the Rise. I like the stomach-turning yank straight up into the air.
I’m not the best at looping the kite, especially in aerial transitions, but I have looped it occasionally on the surfboard, and as I stated in my overall impressions, it seems to loop more on itself in a tighter radius.
I’m just getting into unhooking, and I’m not focusing a lot of my riding time on it, but I’m working on it in both flat water and on the surfboard. This kite is noticeably more controlled and smooth when unhooked as compared to last year.
As I stated to begin with, I only got this kite in marginal surf during part of one session. In that time it behaved similar to last year’s, with solid down the line stability. I’m going to ride more in the coming weeks (hopefully) and will update my thoughts.
In conclusion, the Razor keeps a lot of last year’s strong points (power, turning speed, explosiveness) which improving on some needed areas (relaunch, stability, and turning arc). I’ll update my thoughts as I get more time on the kite, but so far, I think the 2012 Razor is a more refined 2011 and should be suitable for a wide-range of disciplines. Ideally, it’s for someone who is into powerful, aggressive riding in both freestyle and surf.