At a Glance
Griffin Kiteboarding was born out of the flames, as it were, of Monkey Kites. Monkey kites were the brainchild of Saul Griffith who started producing kites back in 2000. It seems the case with a lot of the smaller brands this year that quality has really stepped up a notch and that you will be getting a lot of bang for your buck so to speak. And Griffin are no different. For under £600 you can get this set up including the bar brand new off the shelf. That’s pretty impressive in this current market. The kite looks the part with some thought going into the graphics, but the construction has also improved and the kite is well built and features a 12-month warranty to back it up. You won’t be getting the pedigree of the major brands, nor will the there be the small attention to detail that we see these days from the bigger players. But you do get a well-built kite which features One Pump and a bag, bar and lines for half the price of some of the more expensive kites.
The bar on the Griffin is where you will see the biggest difference between the major players. It is packed with useful features, below the bar depower with a quality Clam Cleat, O’Shit Handles, stopper ball, neoprene tidies to keep your lines in order and 20m + 5m line extensions, but it isn’t carbon and the chicken loop doesn’t scream quality. It is also the first time we have seen a pull toward you release in a couple of years, it works but could be difficult to operate in an emergency scenario. That said this is budget kitesurfing and everything works well and is neat, tidy and very functional.
In the Air
One of the first things you notice about the Griffin is the power it produces. It is one of the few kites on the market with no centre strut. This gives a large flat power zone in the middle of the kite where you need it the most. The 10.5 is also very large for its size. Stood next to the Starkites ExA 11m for instance it is considerably bigger. Obviously this larger sizing coupled with the flat centre section gives this kite an impressive bottom end. As soon as there is enough breeze to hit the water then the 10.5 has enough power to put a smile on your face and pull you upwind. The low end upwind ability of the kite was very impressive, the kite was really attacking the edge of the window and pulling you to windward. The Griffin is also fairly nimble for its size, although it is very stable in the air it turned quickly when you engaged the bar. Jumping was a relatively simple affair; the timing is straightforward and it is an easy kite to get dialled into. The jumps themselves weren’t ripping us from the water, but once you were airborne the kite delivered an impressive amount of float. Looping the Griffin is a balls out affair, the kite delivers a lot of power through the turn and the yank you got as you sent the kite through the power zone was impressive to say the least. Definitely not for the feint hearted. Griffin aim this kite at the all round market, and it certainly fits that bill well, easy to fly and stable enough for a beginner, fast enough to turn in the waves and exciting enough in the air to please most free riders out there. Unhooked the kite works well too, it needs a little bit of trimming to get it happy, but once set it delivers a smooth powerful pull through your moves. If you want a low cost kite that delivers a surprising amount of quality and performance then the Griffin fits the bill.
The price, easily one of the lowest cost set ups around, the build quality of the kite is good and with features like one pump it is certainly a good buy at the price.
We aren’t fans of the chicken loop release, or the chicken loop, which lets the bar down.
Buy Griffin Kites
At this price this has to be one of the best kites out there that we have seen. It flies well, is stable and delivers some impressive performance. It will certainly put a smile on your face and that’s all that matters!
This review was in Issue 14 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit Griffin
Buy Griffin Kites
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!