We were incredibly impressed to see North Kiteboarding had brought their kite bar to the table. Kite bars are incredibly expensive to produce and have to perform in such a vast range of conditions it would have been easy for the brand to go the OEM route. Hugh Pinfold was tasked with coming up with a new control system though, and what he has achieved is incredibly impressive.
The option of two adjustable bar sizes (45-50 or 50-55)
Rather than reinvent the wheel, North Kiteboarding have looked at what is out there, they’ve picked the best bits from a few systems, refined them and come up with a new flavour. Highlights include a choice of Interloop changeable chicken loops; it is clever a tool-less design so you can swap the loops on the beach by hand with ease.
The Connect release is a “click in” affair, meaning to reengage it after firing you simply push the loop into the system, a little like a seatbelt. You can do this with one hand, and it works well, and it does make things very easy, especially in scenarios where you are swapping kites and both using rope spreader bars, for instance. Of course, the release itself is easy to operate and meets all the safety standards.
The depower line and safety line run through a rectangular shaped PU tube and the whole set-up will unspin to keep the lines from twisting, perfect for those riders who love to backroll in one direction. There is a Clam Cleat depower system with an easy to grab loop to help you trim the kite and injection moulded integrated bar ends come as standard.
The colour-coded grip, leader tubing and line retainer pull tabs give a nod to North’s sailing heritage, port (red) and starboard (green). The grip on the bar itself is quite thin and very comfortable, even for people with small hands. North Kiteboarding have added a tactile offset finger bar which lets your hands know when the bar is the wrong way round. Pick it up the wrong way, and it just feels weird. This means after you crash, it’s easy to sense the bar being the right way round.
At the bottom of the EVA, bar ends you will find flip chips to allow you to change the length of the bar too, an excellent addition that finishes off what is a very well put together product. With four different Interloops, short freeride, standard freeride, freestyle and rope surf slider, you should be able to get a set up that suits the way you ride with ease.
Kook-Proof Line connectors Ensure you always set up your lines correctly. Designed to be exactly the same length so you can easily change the front (knotted end) and rear (larks head loop) connectors to match other manufacturers kite configurations.
The Navigator Bar has been designed to retrofit older North kites too, so if you haven’t upgraded your kites lately, but the bar is looking tired, then you can get the Navigator Bar and spruce up your quiver. The lines are all equal length so the bar will also work with other manufacturers kites as well!
Overall we were very impressed with the Navigator bar from North Kiteboarding; it is packed with well thought out features and feels good in the hands.
For more information visit North Kiteboarding
By Rou ChaterRou has been kiting since the sports inception and has been working as an editor and tester for magazines since 2004. He started IKSURFMAG with his brother in 2006 and has tested hundreds of different kites and travelled all over the world to kitesurf. He's a walking encyclopedia of all things kite and is just as passionate about the sport today as he was when he first started!