At A Glance
The Dice is a brand new kite from North Kiteboarding for 2014, and we felt it deserved some attention. For years North has pushed the Rebel as the do-it-all kite in their range, but the Dice is certainly the kite getting the most hype right now. It’s based on a C-Kite profile, optimised for 4 lines, although can be flown with 5 if you desire, and is billed as being just as good in the waves as it is performing the latest freestyle tricks. As usual it is packed with the famous North build quality and features the TechnoForce D2 fabric from Teijin. This fabric is stiffer and stronger while still being very light, offering numerous performance benefits.
Last year the North Quad Control bar saw a major overhaul, this year it is largely similar in terms of design and function, but there are some new innovations. The tried and tested Iron Heart is back, it’s become somewhat of a benchmark in the industry now and arguably offers one of the best release mechanisms around. The Integrated EVA Flip Flop Floaters are back too; these allow you to tune the width of the bar while the kite is in the air, although we don’t recommend it! The system works really well and as well as being functional the integrated nature of the floats gives the bar a very polished look. The Vario Cleat was reworked last year and remains the same for 2014, it’s smaller and allows you to not only trim the kite, but also adjust the length of the bar throw too. It works really well and is easy to reach, and was set up perfectly out of the factory. There is a new safety leash, which is very good, it uses an EVA pad to cover up the clip, this stops you hands getting bashed while you are passing the bar. It is also “stiff” which reduces the risk of the leash wrapping around the bar during passes. The grip has also been made out of a new stickier material to improve grip when performing kite loops. Just like last year we are highly impressed with the new bar, it’s quite simply one of the best around…
In The Air
The Dice is a very fast and responsive kite, and not surprisingly so, it harks back to the bygone days of the true C-Kite in terms of the way it moves around the window. The high end on the 9m was hugely impressive; it’s really adept at shifting to the front of the window and spilling wind when it picks up. The Dice also retains good handling capabilities when depowered at the top of its range. In light airs the 9m struggles a little to deliver power for popped tricks and jumps, it will pull you along OK, but this kite needs some wind to really come alive. Powered up the most impressive feature we found was the speed at which it accelerates through the last section of a kiteloop. Often kites stall and take a while to get back to the top of the window, but the Dice actually accelerates around the loop and we never once got left struggling to get the kite back up above our heads.
Unhooking comes naturally too, you don’t need to trim the kite beforehand, just unhook and go for it, and as long as there is some wind the pop is really impressive. Upwind is very good and jumping is fun too, the kite pulls vertically up and there isn’t too much “float” as you would expect from a kite of this nature. The lift it generates is where the real smiles will be found though, send it back through the window and it really launches you off the water.
Taking the kite out in some waves it is exceedingly intuitive, in fact we hardly thought about the kite at all! Often you need to get tuned in to the turning speed and drift capabilities, but the Dice just inspired confidence. You can really crank the kite through the turn to generate plenty of power as you ride the waves. Equally if you want to ‘park and ride’ the Dice floats nicely down the line.
One feature we loved, and we are going to struggle to ride a normal kite again, was the new inflation system. It does away with all the nozzle attachments on the pump, simply click the hose right into the valve and away you go. An unbelievably simple and effective idea and the valve certainly looks very well thought out.
A great new all round kite from North, featuring C-Kite handling, 4-line simplicity and fantastic build quality. The Dice is great for freestyle and wakestyle when powered and is so intuitive in the waves you’ll be hard pushed to find fault.
Just be aware the bottom end is a little limited, being such a C-Kite shape limits the low end performance somewhat, you might need a three kite quiver…
We loved the new Dice, the handling is where the real advantages can be found, it’s fast direct and incredibly responsive. Perfect for the more experienced intermediate and advanced riders out there looking for top end performance.
This review was in Issue 41 of IKSURFMAG.
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!