At A Glance
Core has done something exceptional with the XR. Earlier models of this game-changing 5-strut design have already catapulted big air kiters to another level, so it's hard to imagine that improving on a winner is even possible. That said, the XR7 does just that.
There are very few kites on the market that can match the XR7 in its big air performance. We probably don't even need to write this review because it's almost certain that you have an opinion on this kite just by what you've already heard and seen.
The success of the riders that use this as their go-to kite speaks for itself. Take a look at the Woo leaderboards, big air podiums, and riders like Janek Grzegorzewski, who make the XR7 look like it can give you superpowers. However, we are still not quite sure what planet Janek is from, so it's not really fair to compare ourselves as mere mortals to the likes of Super Janek.
Let's talk facts. It's a medium/high aspect delta bow 5-strut kite with durable construction in the classic and timeless Core black and white with a pop of colour on the XR logo. The canopy is made with CoreTex 2.0 triple ripstop, slightly lighter than the previous version but with an improvement in tear resistance, stiffness, and durability. The leading edge uses ExoTex ultra-rigid dacron, keeping the airframe rigid and the structure from stretching. The strut material has changed to ExoTex Light, a material that is lighter than the leading edge but still super durable and snappy.
There has been a big change to the bridle system on the XR7, with a much shorter bridle and an added pulley. That makes three pulleys on each side, promising immediate response and super fast turning speed. The XR7 is clearly built to boost, and we couldn't wait to get this big air beast on the water.
Sizes: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13.5, 15 (LW), (17 LW)
In The Air
In the air, the XR7 felt comfortable and completely natural. No adjustment period is needed; it's a kite that you already know how to fly before you fly it! There wasn't the overpowered feeling that you might expect on a kite that should help you set your own personal best, but that was a bit of a relief, as standing and flying the kite on the beach was a surprisingly pleasant experience.
On the water, the first jumps were floaty and controlled. We could definitely see the potential for monster jumps on the XR7, if only we'd had a little bit more wind to make the most of this kite's performance. We tested it in about 25 knots of side shore wind with waves, which was close to perfect conditions for this kite. In the early part of the day, when the kite was a bit underpowered, you did have to pay attention to it, because it's quicker than you'd think and a bit sensitive in lighter wind.
In strong wind, or even overpowered, it can handle absolutely anything and everything. The question is, can you handle it?! If you’ve got a fear of heights, this kite will put you to the test! For us, the kite really found its happy spot when the wind kicked in hard. And oh, was it a happy spot. A very high up in the air happy spot, but happy indeed!
We tested this kite with the Core Sensor 3 Pro Bar, which features their more recently introduced push away release, an awesome system that is a breeze to use. It also features stealth bar horns that open up to wind your lines, and close up for your session, keeping the bar low profile, simple, and clean. It's a slick function that added an extra bit of polish to an already epic session!
With moderate bar pressure, you can always feel where the kite is in the wind window. It sits stable but responds quickly to input. It's not a slow, stodgy 5-strut; the Core XR7 is without a doubt a sending machine!
The XR7 offers exceptional big air performance with the added bonus of all-around freeride progression kite. It can take you from your first water-start all the way to the top of your local leaderboards and, maybe even to outer space, if the conditions line up well enough! The XR7 should be the most used kite in your quiver, and the first kite you grab when you go for a session.
While, technically, you could foil or wave ride on this kite, I wouldn't. There are plenty of other kites in the Core lineup that will serve those needs better, like the Section, Nexus, and XLite. That said, beginner foilers and wave riders might appreciate the extra power and stability that this kite offers. However, we love it for what it does best: give you an unforgettable big air and free ride experience!
This review was in Issue 91 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit CORE Kiteboarding