At A Glance
Light winds don’t have to be about racing and huge boards. If there is one good thing that has come from the race scene though it is the appetite for bigger kites and more lightwind performance. The Fat Lady is an offering from Blade Kiteboarding to fill this gap in their line. The kite comes in one size, 17m and is sure to get you up and riding while your mates are on the beach. They have put a lot of thought into the kite to make it perform at it’s best in the lightest of airs. The leading edge is thinner than that of a 12m kite, to help reduce drag, the construction is as light as it can be and the kite has just three struts. A three strut design saves weight but also allows torsional twist which promotes a faster turning speed.
New for 2013 is the Uni bar from Blade, we were lucky enough to see a near final prototype in South Africa and were very impressed. The bar has been completely reworked from the previous years and in our opinion it is an excellent bar system. It features a new quick release that is compact, neat and simple and above all very easy to release and reconnect. The trim for the kite is now looked after by a cleat system, still above the bar but it is much neater than the old webbing pull pull set up. There is also a new swivel for the front lines and the set up uses high quality Teufelberger FL series lines, previously only seen on North bars. These lines have a much better stretch resistance without being any thicker than the previous lines. At the heart of the bar is a solid billet of aluminium to ensure stiffness and this is wrapped in a special nylon shell to give the bar its shape and finally wrapped in a soft EVA grip.
In The Air
The Fat Lady is huge, and as you would expect, very powerful! If you haven’t flown a big kite in a while then it is going to be quite an experience, you’ll need your stamina to get it pumped up. Once in the air though the kite feels strangely familiar. The power delivery is smooth and predictable and there is actually a decent amount of depower and range too. If the wind does kick in you won’t be headed for the beach right away, but of course this kite performs best when the wind is light. On a decent sized twin tip or surfboard you’ll be up and riding in 10 knots if you are of average weight, maybe less if you are lighter. The turning speed is impressive for a kite of this size, it is quite progressive and as the weight of the kite accelerates the turn it generates huge amounts of power. It’s a very simple and easy kite to fly, intuitive once you get used to the size. Relaunch in light winds is OK, but with all big kites, if the wind is really light; be prepared to work for it. Anything from 12 knots upwards and the kite relaunches just fine, but if you are out chasing zephyrs our advice is don’t crash it. That’s not a comment on this particular kite, but all kites in this category, in really light winds they just won’t relaunch, so be prepared. Jumping and doing tricks with the Fat Lady is easy there is plenty of power there for some mellow freeriding and even some powered freestyle when the wind picks up a little.
A very powerful kite, simple to set up and easy to fly the Fat Lady is responsive even in the lightest of airs and will deliver plenty of extra hours on the water. The bar is brilliant and very well thought out; solid construction makes this a package well worth considering this summer!
This review was in Issue 38 of IKSURFMAG.
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!