At A Glance
We had seen a few prototypes of this kite being used by the likes of Jesse Richman and Nick Jacobsen at the King Of The Air in South Africa. The Orbit is as the name suggests, is a freeride and big air kite for boosting. It’s a 5-strut design with a high aspect swept wingtip design and a flattish profile.
There is a short pulley-less, low drag bridle that supports the leading edge, which has a 2 stage arc. It’s a well-built kite with Teijin D2 material for the canopy and Dacron in the high-stress areas like the wingtips and leading-edge. You’ll find Duralite Seam protection on all the likely wear areas on the leading edge of the kite and also Kevlar-reinforced tips.
North Kiteboarding are also using Kevlar to reinforce the strut connection points, and the kite is built around an Exo-Skeleton structure. A high-speed inflation system that doesn’t need any adapters gets you on the water fast, and the struts are inflated via high volume one-pump tubes to make things even quicker. These are also a massive bonus when deflating the kite too.
Sizes: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14m
In The Air
The Orbit was the first kite we flew from the North Kiteboarding range, and the first thing that struck us was just how easy it was to fly. It’s a very intuitive kite, and while some kites take time to get used to, especially when jumping, the Orbit felt second nature almost instantly.
This characteristic is going to appeal to a lot of riders who just want a kite that works and doesn’t need too much rider input to get the most out of it. The kite has a light bar pressure, which still offers very reactive steering, it isn’t lightning-fast, but it does respond quickly to input from the rider.
The kiteloops are as you would expect from a kite like this, powerful and direct, the best aspect was how quickly the kite came out of the loop and flew to the top of the window to catch you every time. This reassuring feature will be a favourite among riders learning these moves but also well-practised big air junkies looking for something they can trust and rely on.
The jumps are the important bit though, it is what this kite is all about, send it back, and the take-off is explosive, but the hangtime is something else. That wide flat canopy just loves to fly, and you’ll be up in the air looking down wondering when you are actually going to come down. This big air performance is effortless to tap into too; it’s very easy to get a lot out of this kite.
The wind range is impressive; you’ve only got to watch Nick Jacobsen flying a 9m in 40+ knots to see that. The depower throw is very short; this means you can easily dump power quickly and have total control at all times. At the top of the wind range and when the kite is fully loaded against the edge, we found it a little too easy to over depower the kite slackening the rear lines which in turn causes the wingtips to become unstable. Adding more air pressure when inflating the kite, especially in the small sizes, helped a little, but this is a kite that likes to have backline tension at all times to stay stable in the air. The North Orbit is a predictable kite that can be flown in the unpredictable.
Upwind was very impressive, the kite flies upwind with ease, which is a good thing as those jumps are so big you’re going to need to get back up there quickly! The Orbit is such an easy kite to fly; it will appeal to a lot of riders from big air junkies to intermediates looking for a kite that will help them progress. The stability when jumping is impressive, allowing you to perform all manner of tricks with ease.
With an almost limitless top end, the Orbit is poised to take you to great heights, the jumps are massively impressive, and the easy to use nature will appeal to a lot of riders. There is plenty of control at your fingertips, be sure to keep a little backline pressure on the kite to get the most out of it. It flies upwind, boosts to the moon and is sure to entertain even the most demanding of big air junkies!
This review was in Issue 76 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!