At A Glance
The Ion series of kites have always been popular with the more experienced rider out there looking for that extra bit of performance from a bow style kite. Last year the Ion2 was one of the most popular kites here in the UK and trying to get hold of one at times was almost impossible, they also then retained a healthy resale value. This year the Flexi range has changed a little with the arrival of the Hadlow Pro, an out and out freestyle C shape design. But by their own admission they aren’t making many of these kites and they are, as the name suggests, for pros only. Instead they have decided to pack a whole load more punch into the Ion 3 and make it a kite that stands some distance apart from the Atom 08 their entry level design. (The Atom 08 is much more than that though see the test in issue 6 of IKSURFMAG) Out of the bag the kite looks leaner, a narrow leading edge and the now very familiar simple bridle from Flexifoil. It also looks a little higher aspect than last years model with a slightly different panel layout. The optional 5th line makes a welcome return allowing riders a choice as to how they want their kite to feel and fly. Add to that a fantastic one-pump system and the usual Flexifoil build quality and you have the makings of something great.
In the Air
Once in the air the kite looks higher aspect than last years model, being a longer thinner design and looking considerably more sporty and eager than the Atom 08. The bar is different too with o-shit handles on both sides. In 4-line mode the kite still delivers that very direct feel that we loved so much about its predecessor. The simple bridle and direct connection on the rear lines combining to give the kite extremely responsive handling. The thinner leading edge help to get it cranking upwind and the kite is very eager to fly through the window with some speed. The depower is impressive as is its handling in really gusty conditions, giving the rider a real feeling of confidence no matter how crappy the conditions get. The relaunch is easy and the kite when crashed sorts itself out pretty quickly. The high aspect profile enable the kite to jump with some serious pull and when the winds are up the 8.5 will have you hanging about with the best of them. Many bow style kites used to be let down with their kite loops, but over recent years we have seen that change, the Ion 3 is perfectly happy flying round through the power zone and the pull is substantial and consistent. There isn’t really much that the kite doesn’t excel at. When you look at the design specification Flexifoil had for the Ion 3 it would be fair to say they achieved their goals.
Great performance is all areas; upwind, jumping, looping this kite does it all brilliantly.
The bar is really well thought out and has some great features, but the chicken loop is just too small for unhooking. You can upgrade to a larger loop, but it would be nice to see this as standard, considering the kite is aimed at the higher level of the market.
A very high performance kite for the rider looking for that little something extra that will give them the edge with their riding. A bit quick for beginners but the kite wasn’t designed with beginners in mind.
This review was in Issue 9 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit Flexifoil
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!