At A Glance
Is there such a thing as one kite that can do it all? Every brand has its own version of this, and at Airush Kiteboarding, the Lithium is their answer. The Lithium is marketed as a performance freeride kite that should satisfy any and every rider simply looking to go out and have fun on the water in any conditions.
Recently released in the V13 edition, this kite is designed to be as predictable as it is versatile. The Lithium is a classic 3-strut Delta hybrid shape, as it has been since the beginning of this model range. It's designed for ease of use and promises a massive wind range, something that riders who live that hooked-in life and are hoping to push their progression can appreciate.
Built to last with Airush Bumpers along the leading edge and Kevlar Reinforcements in clever places, this kite is designed to take a bit of a beating, from the classic beginner tomahawk to binning it in the surf, though we never recommend treating your kite poorly!! The Lithium V13 uses the Technoforce D2 canopy material, a 2x2 ripstop with double-coated polyester and a high-density structure. The material is chosen with longevity in mind, with the double coating adding protection from UV rays and abrasion on the beach.
Changes from the previous version are small but significant, focused primarily on handling and steering, lightening the bar feel, and incorporating a new leading-edge design with plenty of options for customisation. The V3 bridle system features 3 pulleys on each cascade of the bridle (6 overall) so that the user can continue steering even when the kite is depowered without having that heavy bar feeling. The swept-back wing tips and strut layout stand out on the water and hint at a fast response time and a rapid relaunch in the water.
Sizes: 5m, 6m, 7m, 8 m, 9m, 10m, 12m, 14m, 17m
In The Air
The beauty of riding a freeride kite is that they are just so pleasant to fly, and the Airush Lithium V13 is no exception. That said, it's not a kite for your grandma unless your grandma loves to shred! The performance freeride element is there in the Lithium, and this kite definitely packs a punch.
We had the Lithium 9m out, paired with the Airush Ride Bar, in about 15-20 knots of reasonably stable wind with some chunky surf. Launching the kite, we already felt connected. The ability to feel the kite through the bar and know where it is has the effect of instilling immediate confidence in the rider.
With the pulleyed V3 bridle, the kite is very well-balanced and felt great in the hands. We always knew where the kite was on the beach and on the water, even mid-jump and halfway through a rotation. Helpfully, it was still very flyable, even with the bar sheeted out, so you can still recover the kite in a crash situation.
The turning speed was solid, not as fast as initially expected, but more than fast enough to be able to send loops with comfort. Looking at it from the perspective of a beginner rider, this isn't a bad thing. Kites that fly too fast can be squirrely and hard to control and don't lend well to early progression and old-school rotations; the Lithium does not have that issue.
We had quite the time smashing some waves on the Lithium matched up with the Ride Bar and throwing down a few loops; it really is a great all-around kite. The Airush IQR quick-release system used on the Ride Bar is intuitive and easy to use one-handed, as well as super easy to assemble with its modern click-in system.
We were impressed with the freeride performance offered by the Airush Lithium V13. Most notably, the solid construction, reliable steering and control, comfortable bar feeling, and ease of use. When depowering the kite, we felt like we were always connected and in control. There is a consistent feeling through the bar travel, making it easy to use for everyone.
We pushed the kite to the absolute limit of the definition of freeride, and it held its own! From jumping to looping and throwing buckets on the twin tip, the Lithium V13 is just all-around fun and a solid kite to consider for your one-kite quiver!
This review was in Issue 99 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit Airush
By Crystal VenessEditor at IKSURFMAG, Crystal Veness hails from Canada but is based in South Africa. When she isn't busy kitesurfing or reporting on the latest industry news for the mag, she is kicking back somewhere at a windy kite beach or working on creative media projects.