So I recently received my 2019 Eleveight RS kites and I wanted to share with you my thoughts and first impressions. To date I have only tried the 14m of the 2019 kites. Having sold my 2018 14 m demo I was anxious to replace this size and model in my quiver, but I had to wait as I offered my kite to others looking to demo the kite before I had a chance to fly it for myself. Then last week I was one of the last people at Lagoon City on Lake Simcoe and by the time I got out on the water the wind dropped to below 10 knots. Further out in the lake it was 11 knots but near shore it was between 7 and 9 knots so I had a big range to test the kite in.
I immediately jumped on my surf board and had a blast. I was literally singing while flying this kite as I was having so much fun! Within minutes of flying it I felt this was the best all round free ride kite I had ever flown, period.
The 2018 model was impressive. For a first year brand and model I thought it was every bit as good as the Cabrinha Switchblade which has been around for over 15 years and has long been one of my favorite kites, but this 2019 kite blew the Switchblade, the 2018 RS and every other freeride kite I have ever flown out of the water.
The new model turns faster than last year and almost as fast as a freestyle kite. The bar pressure was something out of a fairy tale being neither too light nor too strong and feeling just right. You always knew where this kite was in the sky and what it was doing. You could feel the kite as if you had a sixth sense and were psychically tuned to its every movement. This kite is going to let beginners and advanced riders alike take their riding to a new level.
Alot of effort has been made touting this new techno force x4 rip stop fabric and until this day part of me couldn't help but wonder if it was mostly marketing hype ... but when i got the kite in the sky i understood what they were raving about. This fabric isn't just about 4 threads to prevent tears ... its about 4 threads that prevent stretching and fluttering of the canopy ... and WOW does it work. This canopy was so stable both in flight and when parked in the sky. It felt like the kite was more like a rigid airplane wind than a piece of fabric. It allowed the kite to move so smoothly, quickly and predictably through the sky that I simply could not keep from singing - I was having so much fun!
I didn't even fully pump up the kite and it was performing better than I could have imagined. The added benefit of the new fabric and coatings is that the material will not lose shape and performance for many years of wonderfully satisfying usage. I now understand why this fabric is being so heavily touted.
The 2019 RS still retained all of its boosting, lift and hang time splendor but with the added turning speed, improved feel, stability and predictability this kite is sure to become a boosters dream. Last years kite was impressive and became my defacto free ride kite of choice ... but this year its like i found the love of my life and wanted o marry her!
The 2018 RS had one of the biggest wind ranges I have ever seen but I did notice at the very high end of the spectrum the kite would exhibit some minor instability and at the very low end could be tricky to relaunch. This was never a big deal or serious flaw and in fact most people wouldn't even notice but when you kite and teach for a living you do notice some minor qualities and characteristics ... so I was anxious to see how the 2019 RS stacked up.
I loved my 2018s so much that I was hesitant to sell them. What of the new kites were not as good? I feared I would lose my favorite gear. I would ride my 14m on my trusty Wing board in winds with no one else other than foilers. I had heard from some trusted sources that the 2019s were better but does one ever truly know until you experience it for yourself?
Let me tell you, and as the video can attest, this kite flies in even less wind and relaunches even easier than before. In the video I say 8 or 9 knots but I wouldn't be surprised if it was down to 7 and I was able to relaunch the 14m effortlessly. I haven't had a chance to test the high end stability yet because frankly i haven't had this kite out in high enough wind to push it to the limit yet. This past weekend i flew it in up to 20 knot gusts and clearly that was no where near the upper limit of what this kite can handle so yes I believe the wind range somehow is even better than last year.
In fact I have yet to find a single flaw with this kite. The new carry bag unzips along three sides whereas last year did two so its easier to put back in the bag even. And the new bag is a backpack style, and while i didn't mind last years messenger bag style alot of people prefer backpack style.
In terms of looks the kite is a stunner. I wanted grey because i felt it looked best in the pictures but after seeing the other colors in person they all look spectacular. I love the simple and elegant design of these kites... they are not filled with useless over designed patches and swaths of colors graphics and remind me of an elegant Italian sports car.
I cant wait to try the 2019 FS and the other sizes of the RS but I believe a round of applause is in order. Somehow the team at Eleveight have done the improbable ... They followed up the best release of a kite company with the best release of a kite ever ... I don't know how these kites are going to stay in stock once word gets out about how good these are ... and this time I'm not selling my demos until I actually fly something better which does not seem likely ... unless they invent anti-gravity for the 2020 models!