At A Glance
The Carve from North Kiteboarding is a three strut wave kite; the clue is in the name, designed to offer fast turning, excellent drift and impressive depower. Suitable for both strapless freestyle and waves it’s the kite in the range you want to be looking at if you spend your days with a surfboard beneath your feet.
It’s a medium aspect design with swept-back tips and a very short pulley-less bridle. The leading edge has a large diameter, Pat Goodman, the designer, wanted the kite to generate lots of power and lift, so you can effectively ride a smaller size than you need to.
The construction uses the popular Teijin D2 canopy ripstop, coupled with Dacron for reinforcement. There are protective Duralite Seam bumpers along the leading edge and Kevlar at the strut tips to help the kite stand a bit of abuse on the beaches. The strut connection is also reinforced with Kevlar to ensure the kite has a durable framework. A fast inflation system negates the need for a special adapter, and there are large-diameter tubes for the one-pump valves too.
Overall the kite is very well built, there is nothing ground-breaking here, no wonder materials or anything crazy, just a solid well made and good looking kite, using tried and tested materials.
Sizes: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13m
On The Water
Power, that’s the word that springs to mind with this kite, there is heaps of it. When everyone else is on a 9m, the Carve could easily be ridden as a 7m. It’s a good thing they have a huge range of sizes because those smaller ones will be incredibly popular.
The kite is also very easy to use; at the lower end of its wind range, it’s a stable platform that flies upwind with ease. The low end was the talking point during the test, which will also make it an excellent kite for foiling, especially with the dynamic steering.
Input from the bar is quickly met with a response from the kite, and there is a sharp pivotal turn to allow you to throw the kite around at will when riding in onshore conditions. Drift is fantastic, and the kite will happily float down the line staying stable and where you expect it to be.
One feature of the Carve which deserves a mention is the very, and we mean very, short depower throw. By that we mean the distance the bar has to move to dump the power from the kite. You can go from full power to nothing with a movement of about 8 inches. This gives you lots of control and allows you to dump power quickly in gusty conditions. However, it can create a lot of slack on the rear lines when you fully sheet out. This excess of slack cause the wingtips to become unstable at the top of the wind range and results in bar feedback, which can feel like a wobble in your hands.
When the kite is within, it’s lower wind range you don’t notice this, as you can keep tension on the rear lines. However, at the top end of the range, you may feel this. Pulling power back on will increase the rear line tension and stop the wobble. As we say, this is only at the top end of the kites range.
The turning speed and reaction are good when there is tension in the lines, you’ll enjoy riding this kite in the waves, and it will offer you plenty of opportunities to smack those lips in a range of conditions. However the Carve isn’t just a one-trick pony, stick a twin tip on and take it for a blast and there is another side to it.
The fast nature of the kite leads to some impressively aggressive take-offs when boosting, the kite goes huge, the hangtime isn’t crazy, try the Orbit for that, but you can undoubtedly get some considerable height, and it’s very intuitive in the air. We were boosting all over the place and grinning like Cheshire cats.
Strapless it performs well, the ability to dump all the power very quickly means you can easily perform tricks without being pulled too much, and it has a pivotal loop that doesn’t develop too much power, allowing you to rack up points with the judges without getting hauled out of the competition zone.
At the low and mid-range this is a fantastic kite, it performs well with a fast dynamic turn and plenty of control at your fingertips. The drift is impressive, and foilers will enjoy the smaller sizes and power the kite can develop. Ride it a couple of sizes smaller than you would usually, and you’ll be rewarded. The short depower throw allows you to dump power quickly, but be sure to maintain some backline tension to ensure the kite stays stable. Overall we were hugely impressed with the build quality and standard of the kite the team have produced in such a short space of time.
For more information visit North Kiteboarding
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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!