At A Glance
Now in its third generation, the North Dice has an established army of fans around the world, and it is one of their top-selling kites. Versatility is the key to its success and this simple 3-strut design with a C-shaped arc lends itself well to a multitude of disciplines. Tom Court is the pro rider championing the Dice for the North Team, his wakestyle credentials need no introduction, but the kite is also very good in the waves and a fantastic freestyle and freeride tool as well.
New for 2016 you’ll find an updated Airport Valve, which is easier to use and also easier to change should you have any issues with it. The struts are also thinner to improve the kites flying characteristics. North have also added Anti-Snag to the wingtips, which should stop the lines ever getting caught up if you roll the kite in the waves.
The profile is also a little deeper on the new Dice, allowing the low end to be improved, although the 2015 Dice had a pretty good low end anyway, it was the first version that lacked a little low end grunt.
There are no major changes to the 2016 bar aside from a new colour way; red and blue is the new blue and yellow it would seem! The whole set-up is of a very high standard, clean and uncluttered and using quality Teufelberger lines.
It is very comfortable to hold due to the ergonomic bar grip and the chicken loop slots into the bar well when unhooked, preventing the lines from twisting. Safety is one of the key aspects this bar boasts about, and it is for good reason, the Iron Heart Quick Release is probably one of the best on the market.
You can buy the bar with different line length options, giving you the choice to opt for shorter lines and more handling/less power or longer lines and less handling/more power. The bar-ends themselves are integrated into the floats like last year giving a clean finish, and you can also make the bar shorter or wider by unclipping and twisting the bar-ends around.
You can also easily tune your back line lengths by removing the red plastic covers, which gives you access to the rear lines. It is really easy to tune them and a nice tidy feature.
The mini 5th line safety system works exceedingly well at dumping power from the kite very quickly. The depower trim is catered for with an above-the-bar cleat system that allows you to tune the amount of depower throw you have on the kite. If you have small arms, simply move the cleat further down towards the bar to make it easier to reach.
On The Water
We’ve spent quite a lot of time under the Dice over the last couple of years, so the first session on the 2016 version felt like a night out with an old friend. We were instantly at home with the dynamic and fast handling, which is one of the reasons this kite has won over so many fans over the years.
The low end has improved slightly and overall the wind range on the Dice is now very impressive, especially with the 9m, the top end seems limitless. In 30 knots the kite excels at jumping and freeriding, the hangtime has improved a lot over last year’s kite, with the jumps now offering a very floaty feel compared to last year.
There are three tuning options with the kite, and these are important, you can tune it to soft, medium or hard. Tuned to the soft setting gives the kite the most responsive turning speed, but with a softer bar pressure. Medium is the recommended setting, and then the hard setting is perfect for freestylers looking for a more stable kite.
Unhooked the kite is great, it doesn’t offer as much “slack” after the pop as the Vegas, but the new Dice is not far off. This means you can unhook and learn some great freestyle moves with ease while still having a kite you can tune up to ride in the waves.
On the fastest setting, the kite is quick enough to ride in the waves and its light nature means there is plenty of drift to play with if you need it. Relaunch is fast and effortless, easier than the Vegas so for riders looking to learn freestyle, but not wanting something as dedicated or as radical as the Vegas; then the Dice is a good choice.
The Dice definitely has a wide-ranging appeal, it’s great as a freestyle and freeride kite, and it’s a very good wave kite too. It’s also easy and intuitive to fly, so adventurous beginners shouldn’t be put off by its more performance orientated DNA. It’s forgiving, easy and confidence inspiring, no matter what your ability level.
Freeriders will love the extra hangtime this year, and kite loops are once again controllable and scalable, you can make them as hardcore as you wish depending on the bar input. You can get the kite to pivot on its axis easily if you want a less intense loop, or you can pull the trigger a little slower and generate a more radical loop.
Capable and dynamic the Dice is a great all-round kite with a definite penchant for freestyle and unhooking. It’s great in the waves and as a wide-ranging machine, it will please a lot of riders. The bar, as ever, is excellent and makes this kite a great overall package.
Nothing really to note here, the Dice does its job as a great all round kite very well.
The new 2016 Dice is a real Swiss Army knife of a kite with a wide range of appeal to a broad spectrum of riders. We’re impressed by the new Anti-Snag tips and the improved low end, but most of all we love the hangtime this kite now has, the jumps have improved noticeably. Whatever style you ride, you’ll be sure to fall in love with the Dice.
This review was in Issue 55 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit North Kiteboarding
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!