At A Glance
Core Kiteboarding have been gaining lots of momentum outside of their home country of Germany of late. Their latest offering of the incredibly slick looking XR4 will excite plenty of riders. The XR4 is a Delta Bow shaped kite, designed as a freeride/wave/boosting machine. Featuring 5 struts, a wealth of different trimming options and also a new super short bridle system to really reduce the risk of any snags.
The XR4s construction has been at the pinnacle of its design. The struts and leading edge have been made with new ‘ExoTex' Dacron, which features and asymmetric weave and a protective coating which not only increase airflow over the leading edge, but has also enabled Core to reduce the diameters of the struts and leading edge resulting in less weight, faster movement but improved kite stiffness and feedback. That’s a lot of tech from some new material! Naturally the rest of the kite enjoys a similar amount of high-end build quality that Core have become famous for!
The Core Sensor Bar is a well-constructed and engineered bit of kit. A 4-line set up, with a well thought out re-ride system. The bars core is made of Titanium ensuring it stays incredibly strong. Core have worked really hard on keeping the Sensor Bar as light as possible. Amazingly it weighs only 230 grams, making it great for travelling and it feels effortless in your hands too.
There is a clever line swivel situated just under the bar. Simply pull the bar in and the lines will be squashed so they untwist. Simple and super effective.
Most noticeable here compared to others is the safety release. It is slowly becoming industry standard to have a ‘Push away’ release as this can be deemed safest. However Core have come up with an innovative ‘Twist Release’. The release is positioned in the exact same place as a normal push away, but rather you merely twist in either direction for the release to be activated. At first we were dubious as to whether it would release accidentally if knocked, but we had no such issues. The advantage of this system is that it won’t be affected by rushing water pushing against it making the release harder in a crash situation.
In The Air
The XR4 simply oozes comfort and ease, you feel very safe and secure, flying the kite. There are no nasty surprises, tugs of the kite, or anything untoward, just a smooth a predictable power delivery.
The XR4 is very stable in the sky, even overhead in light winds it sat patiently waiting for you to sort yourself out, and then gently swooping down to pull you out of the water. What we found most remarkable was how large the wind range on this kite was. The delta shape makes the kite very efficient in the light airs, and you can be up and riding in unexpected winds. Not only that the jumping in these lighter winds was impressively floaty, you don’t go miles up but you sure do float for underpowered conditions.
Beginners will reap the rewards of such a stable and forgiving kite, and it will be faithful to them for years to come. Once powered however the jumping ability of this kite truly becomes apparent. Soaring is perhaps an appropriate term for how it feels to jump with the XR4, and soaring with ease at that. Light bar pressure with great feedback makes the whole experience enjoyable and confidence inspiring. In fact we were so comfortable on this kite a couple of hours had passed without us even realising!
Hop on your surfboard and the kite propels you into pockets and de-powers tremendously, whilst the astonishing drift of the kite keeps you riding that same wave all the way in. The de-power on the XR4 is fantastic, a super clean and easy to use cleat, which has a truly impressive effect on the kite. The XR4 is not a kite for dedicated new school freestyle riders, of course you can unhook and bust some tricks, but that’s not what it has been designed for, you would be much better off getting their more freestyle oriented kite the GTS3 if you are that kind of rider.
Looping the kite is really fun, it is confidence inspiring as it does not whip you forward, rather it gently flies you forward as the kite comes round. It’s great for those first kite loops and will help you progress as you get bolder with the move.
A great freeride kite with insane float and superb drift for down the line wave riding.
The spinning safety system works well but it is very different from most of the push away systems on the market. Make sure you familiarize yourself with the system before you go and ride, we’d really like to see a standardised safety system in the future across all the brands.
If you are more freeride than freestyle and you want a high performance and forgiving kite to put a huge smile on your face this is your match. Slick and stylish in the black colour way, this kite will suit those from complete beginners to those with years of riding under their belt who want a kite to soar to the clouds or scream down some waves.
This review was in Issue 52 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit CORE Kiteboarding