At A Glance
Core have an extensive range of kites which over the years have impressed the team here at IKSURFMAG. The company exudes quality and performance; you’ve probably seen riders, such as Steven Akkersdijk, looping the GTS4 underneath themselves, something you don’t do without total confidence in your kite.
We were very impressed with the XR4 and were keen to see how the LW (light wind) version performed. The XR4 LW is a 5 strut mid to high aspect delta bow kite pitched, as the name would suggest, for light wind conditions and to complete the low-end of your kite quiver. The XR4 is billed as a performance freeride, wave and race kite and the regular XR4 we tested previously excelled in all of these elements. It would be interesting to see if the LW maintained the same qualities.
Looking in more detail at the design and construction of the XR4 LW, it’s clear to see that this isn’t simply a ‘scaled up’ version of the regular XR4. Built using CORETEX Light, exclusive to Core, this material is lighter than most ripstop yet still incredibly durable. Standard features such as the Speed Inflate Valve, a shortened bridle system, and the Core Intelligent Trim System allow total tuning of the feel and handling.
The XR4 LW comes in two colour variants; white/yellow or black/white and can be used on any of the Sensor bar range.
Sizes: 15, 17, 19m.
The Core XR4 LW is compatible with the Sensor 2/2+, 2S/2S+ and 2S Pro bars, so you can select the up you desire, and also have the same bar that will work with any other Core kites you may have in your quiver.
We tested the kite with the the Sensor 2S, boasting 24m 368kg lines, ceramic untwist system, rotor release, supported single front line safety, vario width bar ends and a clam cleat depower, known as the Sensor Adjuster. There is so much technology and design discreetly built into this bar, this list only really scratches the surface! Suffice to say it’s jam-packed and all created to be tweaked and tailored to your requirements.
The variable width bar ends come into their own with the XR4 LW, and by creating a slightly wider distance handling of the larger size kite is improved, without the need for a completely separate bar set-up – clever stuff!
Depowering via the adjuster on the Core Sensor 2S is something you need not worry about, effortless to pull and for 2017 it features a bungee style cord which neatly springs back into place avoiding any possible tangles and keeping things neat and tidy. For those with shorter arms, you can even adjust the length to the adjuster, again being able to tailor the bar for your personal requirements.
New on the Sensor bars this year, we were happy to see that the Tectanium lines now feature a Polyether coating where they pass through the bar, meaning less friction, an even better feel and no more chance of pinching your fingers.
Oodles of quality material and well thought-out design features go into the Core bar range, whilst maintaining a sleek and slim product.
In The Air
The first thing we do with any test is get the kite up, check out its speed, bar pressure and stability. Instantly when launching the XR4 LW it showed just how responsive it was. The kite is fast for a 17m, and the bar pressure is light but you know where the kite is at all times. As for the stability, just as with the smaller XR4 models, it is rock solid above your head.
"Boosting on a 17m, really…yes!"
Walking down the beach to get in the water it was (somewhat accidentally) time to check its high wind performance as a huge squall came through with over 20 knot winds and most riders on 12m kites being blown off the water. Now, this does happen in day-to-day kitesurfing sessions so having a kite that can handle this is important. As a lover of power and strong winds it was worth seeing how far the limits of the 17m could be pushed. The depower is simple and smooth to use, and plenty of can be achieved using the Sensor bars. We’re not saying here it’s entirely safe to go out on this 17m kite in over 20knts, but if you get caught out it does handle these conditions adeptly. Boosting on a 17m, really…yes! The XR4 LW is quick enough to get some serious boost, the difference being the airtime is also huge: board-off bliss!
The wind eased off after the clouds passed and it was now time to discover to the mid to low range of the kite. The jumping abilities with this kite are still incredible, something that is rare for large kites. The fast responsive turning of the XR4 LW made slashing around in the waves a ton of fun too, it’s no 7, but it’s not the truck you might expect when 17m is mentioned. Upwind performance is also a winner with this kite, when others had to come in we kept on riding.
Being swamped by waves with a 17m kite in the water is a huge downer to any session, but the quick relaunch of the XR4 LW really helps minimise this. For such a big kite the relaunch is hugely impressive.
Exhilarating performance for a light wind kite, floaty, boosty, rapid turns, stable and bombproof construction.
No major complaints here with the XR4 LW, it is a fantastic kite.
The XR4 really stood out for a large sized kite. To get that much performance from a kite with the build quality you receive is top notch. It truly is a real performance light wind kite. The ultimate choice for those wanting to get out on the water in light winds yet still feel as though they are flying a 12m, it just has 5m of extra float!
This review was in Issue 61 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit CORE Kiteboarding