At A Glance
The Union from Airush made a huge impression when it first appeared a few years ago, and the 4th version of the popular kite is no less impressive, and we predict will be no less popular. A 3 strut all-round kite, it has been designed as the first and last kite you should ever need for the weekend warrior and beyond.
New for 2019, the Union benefits from a fixed bridle for a more direct crisp feel, a new wing tip shape that abates stall, and an overhaul to the profile, which has created a more forward flying kite.
The Airush load frame V4 is in play, which is visible on the kite creating a spiders web design. This frame holds the kites shape no matter the direction of force being applied and allows the heavier Dacron material often seen on kites, to be decreased resulting in an all-round lighter kite which in turn results in a better low end and lighter feel. The main canopy of the kite uses Teijin Tecnoforce D2, and as we would expect on a kite of this calibre there are Kevlar reinforcements, bumper pads, XL inflate/deflate valve and a high-quality one-pump system.
Airush have quietly been working on ways they can become more sustainable as a business and influence the kite market, and we couldn't be happier to see their kite bags made from recycled plastic bottles! This is a great initiative and one we hope other brands will follow suit with.
Sizes: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14 meters
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We used the Union V4 with the Core Cleat Bar V4. Airush have a huge range of bars, which works very well as you can select exactly which attributes you would like. The Core Cleat Bar V4 works with all Airush’s 4 line kites and is one of the simpler bars in their range.
Featuring a slim diameter bar with ultra-skinny grip for easy passing no matter your hand size, a clean cleat based depower system for smooth trimming on the go, and high-quality safety system with the Brain 3.0 quick release. The Core Cleat Bar V4 also can customise the bar length by a substantial 10cm, which enables you to alter the feel of the kite to your taste.
The lines are of high quality, and the single line re-ride safety system goes through the low Y set up.
In The Air
The Union V4 has a compact shape in the sky, and you would be forgiven for thinking you were on a size smaller than you were! The kite, however, produces excellent power per size, and we were not disappointed with the all-round performance. The fast flying nature in lighter winds allows you to generate that bit of extra power, and the kite is manageable even when at the top of its limit with smooth trimming which still holds the kites feel throughout.
The Union V4 is an incredibly stable kite, and even in light gusty winds, we felt safe under the kite with no risk of stall or fall. The few times the wind did start to drop out, the kite just sunk back slowly in the window to be recaught rather than tipping nose down and crashing out of the sky. Once the wind picked up the stability stayed, as did the light bar pressure, which was a great relief when the winds came in.
Compared with previous years, the Union V4 likes to fly further forward in the window, which not only makes for effortless upwind riding but also is a huge improvement when it comes to unhooked freestyle. Here, the front line feeling results in a kite that is less affected by unwanted twitches on the bar through the manoeuvre and also a kite which shoots forward quickly resulting in a more accessible 'slack' for easier swaps. Less aggressive than the freestyle specific Razor, the Union is a much better option for those who mix it up with some classic boosts and wish for a slightly more relaxed unhooked feel.
For boosting the Union V4 offers good height and hang time. We did find that the back lines felt slightly too long here so swapped them to a tighter knot and the kite had a lot more poke. Do note here that this means the kite is very back line heavy for unhooking and will require substantial trim. Through the jump, the Union has good feedback through the bar and plenty of float to come back down with style.
Throwing a loop into your boosts opens up another realm of fun, the Union V4 produces a quick loop with a real drive on its way back up, and we felt confident enough to continue to throw loops as the wind increased thanks to the encouraging nature of the kite.
Relaunching as we have come to expect from kites in 2019 is completely easy; pull one of the back lines, and the kite will tip over quickly. Even when we went out in the waves with no board to sit against, the relaunch was quick and without issue.
The Union V4 has undergone a huge change, and while the kite maintains its dependable all-round performance, the new shape, pulleyless bridle and forward position all work together to benefit those riders who are focussed on improving their unhooked skills but still wish for an all-rounder to boost, loop and ride waves with.
This review was in Issue 75 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit Airush