At A Glance
For the past two years, the North Orbit has thrived within The Big Air scene. North's Jesse Richman took the 2020 Orbit to a podium finish at The King of The Air contest with Marc Jacobs recording the highest jump over the course of the competition. There's no denying that this kite boosts and performs to the highest level.
The North Orbit is a five strut design with a high aspect swept wingtip and efficient two-stage arc design. For 2021 there have been some design changes to address some of the feedback that was received about the first incarnation of the kite. The goal was to improve the overall stability at both the low end and the very top end of the kite, yet retain the incredible handling and boosting characteristics.
For 2021 North have a new lighter weight construction. They've replaced the heavier Dacron on the trailing and leading edge with a new light canopy reinforcement. Not only is it stronger, but it allows better control too. They have also modified the bridle system from the 2020 Orbit. The new low drag, no pulley bridle lines allows a more responsive feel and even faster steering when on the water. You notice a difference in the bar pressure compared to the previous model.
The build quality was to a very high standard on the first incarnation of this kite and this year is no different, there is plenty of attention to detail and lots of reinforcement in the places that need it the most.
Sizes: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14m
Colours: Ocean Blue, Sea Green, Sunset Red
In The Air
Boy does this kite boost; it's a machine, not only that the hangtime is incredible too. The 2021 Orbit does exactly what it says on the tin. A Big Air monster which has amazing freeride capabilities. From my first session, the kite was easy to fly, it sits nicely in the wind window, and it was nice not to have to worry about fully focusing on the kite.
It's a kite that works well for the rider who enjoys riding a twin tip and focusing on freeride/big air, however, due to its light bar pressure is a lovely kite for all levels of kiting. In the strong winds, the Orbit definitely shows you what it's made for. You don't feel like your arms are getting ripped off and it handles overpowered conditions extremely well.
The steering is an improvement from the year before. The kite turns faster and tighter, enabling those who thrown down the kite loops a great reactive response and a great recovery after' sending it' hard. I defiantly feel that this year's Orbit is more playful and fun due to the changes North have made, whenever it's 9m weather this is the kite I want to ride.
It's great for looping, freeride and now having a more natural feel on the turns there is one area where this kite shines… BIG AIR! You got to love the feeling of sheeting in and going big, and with the Orbit, you couldn't ask for a better partner in crime. You can get a lot out of this kite without actually having to do too much, and it's ridiculous hangtime enables you to not only check out all the other riders below you but gives you time to try some crazy tricks up in the clouds, you may find you get lost up there!
I've been able to take the 9m Orbit in winds from 22Knots up to 35. For my build, 6ft and 80kg, it's great to have a kite in the quiver which can get me out in those wind ranges without having to think about changing up or down a size. When it's nuking, because the Orbit holds so much power, it can be challenging just to shut that off, whereas three strut kites can offer something a bit more forgiving when it's honking!
The Orbits upwind capabilities are quite remarkable. A great kite to help you progress and any ground lost downwind from jumping or sending some gnarly tricks, 1 or 2 runs will get you back to where you started!
This is one of the best five struts kites our there. This kite saw some big improvements from its first launch a year ago. It has personally given me the capabilities to jump high and start making moves I couldn't quite manage before. A great kite for a rider who wants to progress or for the rider who wants to send it into Orbit literally.
For those that want a kite with a bit more diversity when it comes to riding a foil, surfboard or unhooked freestyle then I wouldn't recommend the Orbit. Although it turns nicely and is great for boosting, something like The Reach would be a great option as its 3-strut design will be best catered for 'all-round' performance.
All in all, an absolute monster kite that will have your heart in your mouth before you head out and your knees trembling when you come in. Buckle in for one hell of a ride as the 2021 Orbit truly is something special.
This review was in Issue 84 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit North Kiteboarding
By Liam DredgeLiam fell in love with all Watersports after completing numerous seasons aboard, he then picked up kiting whilst in the warm tropics of the Carribean and has been obsessed ever since! Anyone that knows him would say it's near the only thing he talks about (which drives some crazy), and he loves to keep up to date with all the latest news, equipment and events that kiting has to offer. Liam also runs his own Watersports Centre along the south coast of the UK, LOOP Watersports, which is where our IKSURFMAG Test Centre is located!