Nice job OR guys. Average Joe reviewed the Cloud 17 and, while they liked the kite, preferred the OR Flite in terms of low end power and performance.
I think that OR is going to sell alot of Flites!
Core XR3 12M
Rise XPD 9M
I am an intermediate kiter with over 8 years riding behind me. I have no brand associations.
I live land-locked in the UK and can’t always get out on the water wind the winds are howling. As a result I usually have to accept conditions as and when I get time off to ride. More often the not, this ends up being a trip to the coast when there are marginal winds. For many years I owned a Best Taboo 15m which served me well on those light-wind days. I’ve been looking for a suitable replacement for some time. After having read some positive things about the Ocean Rodeo Flite 2, I got hold of one and can review as below.
A few stats first. I’m 75 kilos, ride both twintip and directional surfboards in a mix of sea conditions. In light wind I just cruise about and I’m looking for light bar pressure, good lift and good response from bar input to stay out on the water as long as I can.
My kite arrived just before a trip to Barbados but I did not get the opportunity to use it there as we had consistent 18 to 25 knots every day. More recently, I took a long weekend in Tarifa where we got 10-18 knots most days. The Flite was used every day.
I’ve read a few critical comments on build quality but after a thorough check through every part of the canopy and frame I think this kite is perfectly OK and in line with all Ocean Rodeo (OR) product. Light wind kites don’t take the same beatings as smaller ones and OR have definitely worked hard at keeping the weight down. Yes, that might mean a few re-enforcement extras are not there but as I said above, you’re not really using it in harsh conditions.
The overall weight is real surprise for a 17m wing. Just 3 struts and air pressure holds the shape perfectly well. Bag is a nice size and could easily hold 2 off 17m kites if well packed!
I fly my kite on a 52 inch F-one bar and 25m lines. OR give you 3 inch pigtails for the rear lines and with these on, the kite was perfectly tuned with no back-stall. Sits very sweetly at the apex with no flutter, deformity or signs of uneven air pressure. It looks so aerodynamically correct. The bar pressure is nice and light but you can easily feel where the kite is even on my shorter-than-some bar. I’ve flown a friend’s Zephyr many times but don’t like how the kite feels heavy at the bar and on your harness but that may be more an issue of my weight than the kite. The Flite 2 definitely feels way more comfortable to me as was proved by a solid 3 hours on the water without feeling too worked.
Out on the wet stuff I was really impressed. The steering response was nice and positive and there was no delay in movement after bar input. You don’t have to keep picking up the leading edge with sine-ing the kite – just park it and it’s very comfortable at 3 or 9 sitting nicely forward in the window. Consequently, upwind performance was noticeably better than any other large kite I have flown.
Feeling a little more wind pressure, it was time to get airborne and this kite gives you loads of lift even if your timing is slightly out. Get the timing spot on and you get huge, easy, floaty airs with time to pick out your landings. Really nice for long dangle spins and grabs if that’s your thing!
Drop it in the water and the re-launch is an absolute breeze. Quite simply the easiest 17m re-launch I’ve experienced even when you want to get back in the air quick if mucking about in waves! The Taboo I had before was quite temperamental to get off the water and the Flite 2 is childsplay in comparison.
All in all this may not be a state-of-the-art, high-tech 2014 kite but it ticks every box for me and if you want a light-wind option I recommend you get yourself a demo. Mine is for keeps!