At A Glance
Since the Orbit hit the kiteboarding scene, it's done nothing short of thrive within The Big Air scene. In 2019/20, North's Jesse Richman took the first edition Orbit to a podium finish at the King of The Air, with Marc Jacobs recording the highest jump over the course of the competition. Fast forward two, the all-new 2022 North Orbit carried Marc Jacobs to his first KOTA title with huge air and aggressive loops. It's exactly what the Orbit has been designed to do - deliver top performance in those crazy winds.
The North Orbit is a 5-strut design with a high aspect swept wingtip and efficient 2-stage arc design. It provides incredible top-end control, and with it's 5-strut design, the kite is able to withstand strong winds yet still keep its shape. If anything, the qualities of this kite are shown more when it's in an overpowered state.
All editions of the Orbit have been good; However, the 2020 and first Orbit would sometimes front stall. This issue was solved with the 2021 model, and for 2022 with minor refinements, North has produced a beast that is proven to deliver and has several podium finishes to prove it!
For 2022 North hasn't made too many major changes but has made minor adjustments to create a better performing kite. New lighter weight bladders have helped in creating a lighter kite, making those jumps that extra bit bigger and those turns that little bit faster. The bladders in kites make up a large percentage of the overall weight. This year the Orbit bladder is 17% lighter than anything previous. Like the 2021 model, the low drag, no pulley bridle lines allows a more responsive feel and even faster steering when on the water.
The right materials are used in the right areas of the kite. There's no additional unwanted Dacron in places it doesn't need to be. North have Kevlar reinforcements where the kite needs it most, ensuring those areas of the kite won't see damage. With Kevlar on the tips and along areas of the struts, this allows a deeper connection between the struts and the leading edge.
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Sizes: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14
Colours: Pacific Blue, Marine Green, Red Sea
In The Air
The Orbit is really in a league of its own when it comes to boosting big and getting that floaty hangtime. The Orbit does exactly what it says on the tin. If you want a kite that is going to get you those extra few meters on your WOO score, then this is it. A Big Air kite designed for kite loops, yet a freeride blaster to funnel you back upwind.
It's a kite that works really well for the rider who enjoys clipping into a twin tip or boots and focusing on freeride and big air. That said, due to its light bar pressure, it is a lovely kite for all levels of kiting, and beginner-intermediate riders can start their journey into higher jumps with a kite like this. In strong winds, the Orbit becomes a different beast and, if anything performs better when overpowered. You don't feel like your arms are getting ripped off and it handles overpowered conditions extremely well; The bar pressure still has a light feel.
I found the steering to be an improvement from the year before. As mentioned, there's not too much North needed to change from the 2021 Orbit, but with new bladders across the sizes, offering a 17% weight reduction, the kite turns quicker and tighter, enabling those who throw down kite loops a reactive response and quick recovery back up to 12.
The Orbit offers a feeling very few kites do when in the air. You can't not love the feeling of sheeting in and going big, and the hangtime this kite offers makes you think you're never coming down! You can get a lot out of this kite without actually having to do too much, which makes it great for a range of riding abilities. For sure, a kite like the Reach is a more well-rounded kite from North, but don't be deceived by thinking the Orbit is only good for one thing.
I've had the 9m Orbit in winds from 22 knots all the way up to 35. For my build, at 6ft and 80kg, it's great to have a kite in the quiver that can get me out in those wind ranges. When it's really nuking, the Orbit does hold a lot of power but alters your depower, and you'll find the sweet spot needed. With North's Navigator bar, their trim system is really simple and easy to use, allowing the rider to get exactly what they want from the kite.
The Orbit is a great kite for freeride blasting too, and it rockets you back upwind - a feature you need after travelling downwind from a previous jump! Its design features are built around big jumps, big hangtime and big wind range.
I've ridden every edition of the North Orbit, and this one has provided a good session, every session. One of, if not the best, 5-strut kites on the market. If you want a kite that boosts and you love your twin tip riding, I'd highly recommend this to be your go-to choice.
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 the kite would still get you on the water, something like the Reach would be a much better option as it's been designed to perform great across all disciplines. It won't boost as big as the Orbit, but you will have the flexibility to change your riding style.
All in all, I don't have anything bad to say! It's a 2x King Of The Air winner; The kite of Kings provides lofty jumps with powerful loops, but it's easy enough to fly that any rider will have a fun time on the water. If you're looking for a kite to perform on those crazy windy days, get your hands on an 8 or 9m Orbit - you won't be disappointed.
This review was in Issue 90 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit North Kiteboarding
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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!