At a Glance
It has been a little while since we last saw a JN kite in the flesh so we were keen to see what had changed. The Prima Donna II is the top end all out high performance machine for JN and is available in 5 sizes, a 7m, 9m, 11m, 13m and a 15m. Somewhere in that set up there should be a size to suit everyone’s quiver, we had the 11m on test. The kite is a hybrid design, although it is definitely more C kite than Bow. There aren't any bridles on the Prima Donna II the leading edge is instead supported by an adjustable 5th line. There are quite a few settings on the kite for light and strong winds, which should help you maximise the wind range. The kite has been built to be light and therefore responsive and uses some interesting technology with the struts, instead of being stitched into the canopy they are floating below it attached by some canopy material. The effect is that the canopy achieves a perfect shape without the struts interfering with the profile of the kite. The bar we were supplied with was the new Switchcraft bar from JN. It’s been designed to be compatible with all of their kites and out of the bag it worked well with the Prima Donna II. By using a screwdriver you can twist the bar horns and make the effective size of the bar smaller, it has 4 different lengths on one bar! It also comes as standard with a larger chicken loop which is great for unhooking. The quick release looks very well engineered and has a moulded 3D release so it should be easy to find in a hurry.
In the Air
When you launch the kite you can’t escape the large floral panel layout, it certainly stands out. But the kite instantly feels solid and stable in the air. It also seems to generate a lot of power too. A point to note would be to set up the bar correctly before you take it for your first fly. Out of the bag it comes with the stopper attached which leaves a very short depower throw. So short you can’t really dump much power from the kite through the bar. You need to trim it with the cleat. Advanced riders will love the stopper ball in all but the harshest of conditions, but the more tentative may want to move it to the bottom of the cleat to start off with. Especially if you are used to riding a kite with lots of depower throw. Once set up correctly though the kite delivers a very exciting ride. The power delivery is smooth and consistent and the bottom end on the 11m is very impressive indeed. Being more C shape in its design it also has that familiar direct feel of a C style kite. When you initiate the turn the kite follows the bar instantly and gives you a real feeling of precision and control. Being fairly high aspect the jumping on the Prima Donna II is sure to put a smile on most people’s faces. When powered up it really launches the rider off the water. It isn’t a kite for the complete novice, but if you are confident with you flying skills or you are a confident intermediate and above looking for extra performance then the Prima Donna II would be worth a look.
Smooth predictable and powerful kite, when powered up it will boost as big as you dare to take it. 5th line safety is tried and tested. Bar pressure is just about right, feels very much like a C kite in terms of handling.
Construction is lighter than on some kites out there which enables the Prima Donna to be super responsive, but you’ll want to treat it with a little respect. The bar while super safe may be a little over engineered for some riders. That said you can get a simplified bar from JN if that is more your style.
If you want something a little different from the rest of the pack this could be for you, the Switchcraft bar is great if you like your safety systems and plenty of options if you want to use on bar for just one kite then it offers a very clever solution.
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This review was in Issue 10 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit JN Kites
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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!