At A Glance
One thing North Kiteboarding have done well is the naming of the products; everything is almost self-explanatory. Charge big waves on the Charge, win strapless freestyle competitions on the Comp, and if you want something in between, well then the Cross is that crossover board between strapless freestyle and charging big waves.
It borrows similarities from the other two boards in the range and cooks them up in a recipe that is sure to excite. Featuring a compact outline with a diamond nose shape and a squashed thumb tail the rocker line is fairly flat to promote speed. There is a healthy kick in the tail, and the volume is highest in the midsection.
With grab rails for freestyle, but also a very surfy looking tail you can see what Jaimie Scott was aiming for here. It is constructed using North Kiteboarding’s Futurelite, which marries a traditional surfboard construction process with high-end materials. The “tech bit” is a carbon fibre and Innegra wireframe reinforcement that runs about an inch inside the rails all the way around the tail of the board to about a foot from the nose. This reinforcement is inserted into channels and runs through the fin boxes too.
The idea is to allow the board to flex and react to power from the kite creating a lively ride underfoot: the Holy Grail of surfboards for kiting. One thing to note on the construction, this isn’t a hardcore indestructible board, you’ll need to take care of it and try and keep it from getting bashed in the car and on the rocks. It’s stronger than a straight surfboard, but it needs some tender loving care to keep it looking fresh.
Under the deck pad, there are recessed DualShock EVA inserts, to cover the main impact areas reduce denting around heel areas. North Kiteboarding’s solution to reduce overengineering of impact areas, keeping the boards lightweight and retaining the required flex.
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On The Water
The Cross is a very different beast from the Comp and Charge, and it took a few runs to get dialled into it. You’ll find your weight needs to be distributed towards the tail a little more to get it cranking in the turns, too far forward and it’s easy to hang a rail and lose speed. Once you are right over those fins though it really comes alive.
It has good pop, but it’s much tamer than the aggressive nature of the Comp. It is more of a fun board than a scare-yourself-silly stick. Smooth on the wave it has speed when you require it, but it’s not a rocket-like the Charge and sits right in between the two other boards in the range.
That alone will probably make it hugely popular. Considering, we aren’t all blessed with perfect waves on our doorstep, and we aren’t all busting triple fronts at every chance we get! Most of us are happy with whatever Mother Nature can throw at us, and this is the perfect board for dealing with that. Waves on the reef: no worries; flat water fun session popping airs: we’ve got this. A machine to do some coastal cruising: for sure; looking to learn gybes on something with as much forgiveness as a priest: step right up.
A note on the coastal cruising, this board flies upwind, really flies up there. We took it on a tour of Dakhla and were exceedingly impressed at how quickly it got us around. It is also exceedingly planted in choppy conditions and gives a smooth ride to your knees - something many riders will appreciate.
If you’re not sure where your allegiances lie, be they waves or strapless freestyle, or if you are just learning and aren’t sure where you are headed, then this is the stick for you. It’s the perfect board for the rider who deals with a range of conditions at their local spot. When Mother Nature can’t make up her mind, the Cross will deal with whatever she serves…
This review was in Issue 76 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit North Kiteboarding
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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!