At A Glance
2016 was the year of the ‘Game Changer’, and while all eyes were on kiteboarding giants North Kiteboarding, Ocean Rodeo were quietly making their mark with a similar concept, the Stick Shift Bar.
The Stick Shift Bar takes away the need of a sometimes cumbersome depower system, and instead features the R3 Component bar end trim adjustment. Simply put, a twisting knob on the end of your bar. Sounds simple, and it is. Twisting one-way powers the kite up, and then simply nudge it with the heel of your hand it will unspin and depower. This, of course, is especially useful on those crazy wind days when taking even one hand off the bar can seem just that little too risky!
Making use of the already sound bar set up, Ocean Rodeo have taken their technology and design from existing bars and added it into the Stick Shift.
New for the Stick Shift is the open U-shaped design of the bar itself. This keeps everything very easy to clean and inspect, and also super light. It allows constant flushing of the entire system so there can be no build of salt and sand. There is also a clever stopper ball that can easily be engaged and disengaged.
The depower line has a PVC coating, so it won’t wear and the integrated EVA bar ends and floats are well built and should last the life of the bar. There is a front line re-ride safety system and the bar ships with an assortment of pigtails so it can be used with any 4 line kite on the market.
The chicken loop setup up is clean and simple, everything you need from a safety system. Featuring a push away release, it requires only the lightest touch, and the reassembly is very quick.
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On The Water
We used the Stick Shift Bar with Ocean Rodeo kites, and also with various other brands of kite. All the kites we used were compatible with the bar. Ocean Rodeo does supply a set of pigtails with the bar in case the knots on your kite are the other way round. This is a superb feature of the bar. The sliding stopper ball works incredibly well on the Stick Shift Bar. Setting is super easy without much force having to be exerted to change its position.
Once out kiting, we didn’t really notice any difference from the normal kiting experience. And this is truly a positive rather than negative. There is no change in riding style needed, nor do you need any additional training to use the bar. The safety is the same; it's only changing the trim which differs from what you are used to. Powering up the kite requires you to turn the small knob on the right-hand side. Each quarter turn equals 0.5cm of trim, so a few full twists does the entire range. The right and left leader lines have clear stripes to indicate how powered/depowered you are.
“Ocean Rodeo have produced something brilliant with the Stick Shift Bar!”
In lighter winds, this is super easy, when you are powered up sheeting the bar out a touch to release tension on the rear lines makes it easier to twist the knob and power the kite up. The depower element of the Stick Shift bar is incredible. A slight nudge with the heel of your hand will have the bar untwist a couple of notches. This is great for any sort of gusty conditions or when you wish to depower swiftly.
The safety line of the bar runs with the Centre line in a PVC coating through the centre of the bar. Without the usual cleat, there is nothing for the safety line to get caught on in the event of an emergency release; the re-ride is simply snag free.
The simplicity of this design makes you almost wonder why it was not done before! Not only is the system clean, but it also ensures the safety line runs freely at all times, on a range of different kites. Just be sure to push the bar away a touch to reduce the tension on the rear lines when you are powered up to make twisting the power up knob easier.
Clean, simple and a sound option for one bar to work with all your kites. The build is excellent and the concept even more so. For those looking to upgrade their bar this year and like the idea of everything close and compact this could well be the one for you.
This review was in Issue 62 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit Ocean Rodeo