At A Glance
Ever since its launch, the Dice has been a hugely popular kite in the North Kiteboarding range. It’s aimed at the rider who likes to throw down the freestyle but also wants a kite that can handle the waves too. It’s a three strut design packed with all the usual North technology, the Airport Valve II makes inflation a breeze and is much improved for this year, being easier to maintain and more reliable.
Dacron is used to reinforce parts of the kite while TechnoForce D2 is used extensively for the canopy, this material has been around a while now, but it does make a difference to the amount of stretch the material gets over its lifespan. The North build quality on kites is second to none and this year that is ever more apparent, load panels in all the right places, abrasion reinforcement on the leading edge and in key areas and extra materials to protect the trailing edge too.
This year sees a new panel layout with an increased Dacron frame and larger \"wave\" panels on the trailing edge; the goal was to enhance the durability of the kite but also to improve the stiffness of the canopy when it was in flight. The tip struts have been tweaked to improve the steering response, and there are also increased options for tuning with the pigtails.
It can still be ridden as a 4 or 5 line kite, depending on your personal preference, we’ve ridden it with both the new Click Bar and the Wakestyle Bar in 5th line mode, and the kite performs brilliantly in both guises.
Sizes: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13m
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The Click Bar trims the rear lines instead of the front lines; the mechanism itself winds in both rear lines simultaneously; you just have to either rotate the bar end to power up or push the button to depower. Each wind or click adjusts the lines by about 2cm.
On top of that, the depower rope and safety line is now enclosed in a rectangular tube of TPU; this slides through a shaped hole in the centre of the bar. While this might seem innocuous, it serves a very important purpose on top of stopping the depower line from wearing. As you sheet in and out, this untwists the lines from any tricks of moves you’ve been doing.
There is also an adjustable stopper ball which you can easily slide up and down to set the bar trim level to your desired point. The depower throw on the bar is long; now you don’t have the trim system on the front lines you can make the throw as long as you want. Riders with shorter arms can use the stopper ball to ensure the bar never goes out of reach when they let go of it.
A new Iron Heart V chicken loop has been developed and is available exclusively with the Click Bar; it features the same tried and trusted release mechanism but has ceramic bearings, which are open so they can flush out any sand. These allow the centre and safety lines to untwist easily. There is also a new mode, which keeps the suicide ring out of the way of the chicken loop too.
Overall it is an exceptionally well thought out and put together product; we are currently long term testing these bars, five months in with now maintenance and leaving them salty and sandy and we have had no issues so far.
At A Glance
When you first launch the Dice the new stiffer canopy and tweaked tips are the first subtle differences you notice. There have been changes this year, but don’t fear, the kite still retains all of it’s DNA from the previous generation that makes it so great. As you crank through the turns though you will notice the reduced flapping in the wing tips, which the new stiffer canopy was designed to reduce.
It’s this stiffer; more direct feel that comes across with this kite this year. The turning speed is still progressive, but the response has increased, and the kite feels even more like an extension of your arms.
The additional trim setting on the wing tip is a welcome addition too. You can slow the kite down for wakestyle riding, or crank the speed right up when you head out into the waves. In the waves the drift is reasonable, and the responsive turns are welcome giving you excellent handling at all times. The bar pressure is progressive and provides solid feedback as to where the kite is at all times.
Unhooked the kite offers great pop, and there is a reasonable amount of slack produced too for performing those unhooked handle passes. Flying the kite with the wakestyle bar improves the handling for unhooked riding, slowing down the turning speed even more. Hangtime, when you send it is excellent as ever, there is an aggressive pull from the water and a decent amount of float, the handling is predictable and easy, there are no sudden jerks of the kite when gusts hit.
Relaunch is excellent, and the Anti-Snag tips from last year make a welcome return helping the kite not to tangle when rinsed by a wave or after a massive crash. In essence, the 2017 version of the kite is the tried and tested Dice formula enhanced with improvements that only add to the experience.
Versatile, fun to ride, great for waves and unhooked freestyle, very stable and responsive and of course the excellent build quality is a huge bonus too.
No complaints here, making a kite that performs in the waves, and as an unhooked freestyle machine is a big ask and the Dice does it very well.
Ever more these days we demand more from our kitesurfing, less and less of us are sticking to one discipline, and we are switching between twin tips, boots, surfboards and hydrofoils on a regular basis. The Dice is the Mr Versatile of the North Kiteboarding range if you like busting out mobes, but when the swell gets up you want to go and play on your surfboard then this is the kite for you…
This review was in Issue 61 of IKSURFMAG.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!