At A Glance
The new Neo from North has been tweaked quite a bit from last years design, with top wave riders like Airton Cozzolino demanding the best from their kites the team really stepped things up a gear for 2014. The aim of the project was to make small, powerful, fast kites that would have all the advantages of a smaller kites handling, yet deliver more power so you could ride smaller sizes than normal.
In terms of design North shifted the struts towards the outside of the kite a little more to shift the centre of gravity and allow the kite to sit a little further back in the window. They have also added a floating strut in the centre to allow the canopy to flex a little more and absorb gusts at the top end of the kites wind range.
The kites drift ability has been improved through these changes and other tweaks to the profile and shape. It’s still a three-strut design to ensure the best handling and is available in the following sizes, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12m. As usual the kite is built to an exceedingly high standard, and new for this year features the Air Port Valve inflation system to allow you to get on the water even faster!
The North Quad Control Trust Bar has been at the pinnacle of kite bar design for some time; there have been a few tweaks from last year resulting in the new 2014 version. 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.
This year 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 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.
This can even be done with the kite in the air, although for safety we don’t recommend it! 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 has been tidied up for 2014 and looks really polished.
In The Air
Putting the Neo into the sky you can immediately feel its power, we had the 7m on test and the low-end wind range was incredible. We could happily ride the 7m in 18-20 mph of wind when others were on 9 and 10m kites. You need to have some solid kite skills to be able to pull off this feat, but if you are getting a set of Neo’s definitely size down at least one size.
The handling was incredible too, small kites always handle incredibly well and the Neo was just so responsive it instantly felt like it was part of your own body, responding to input from yourself and reacting instantaneously. This makes it an amazing kite to ride in the waves as you can put the kite exactly where you want it to be and concentrate on the wave itself knowing that small inputs will invoke a solid response from the kite.
The drift of the kite is great too, it’s not a lightweight construction by any means, but it is happy to hang endlessly as you ride down the line. Bar pressure was fairly light and you can dump power in the kite easily, a short bar throw means when you need to switch the power off you can. This really allows you to wave ride exactly how you want to without getting yanked by the kite at the wrong moment.
Amazing handling, incredible low-end power, you can ride this at least one size smaller than normal. Great drifting abilities and a fantastic all round wave kite, it’s perfect for park-and-ride, and steer-and-play styles of riding.
We didn’t have any issues with the Neo throughout the course of the test, however, we do recommend you try one first so you can gauge that power and ensure you get the right sizes for your quiver.
One of the most responsive and powerful wave kites we have flown in a long time. The test team loved the Neo and if wave riding is your passion we think you will too.
This review was in Issue 45 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!