At A Glance
2021 has seen North bring out their second model of the Pulse. Already a favourite amongst freestyle riders, the Pulse is North’s freestyle/wakestyle kite providing the rider with explosive pop, sharp turns and quick steering, precisely what you want when busting those moves.
This hybrid C kite consists of a 3-strut design with a pulley-less bridle system. The new improvements on the Pulse see North introduce new high-quality low-elongation bridle lines giving lower drag and a more direct feeling from the 2020 model. Like the majority of kites in the North range, the Pulse features a 2-stage Arc Design giving it a little more grunt when you need it. The wingtips are straighter, engaging a better steering response. Do bear in mind that the Pulse has a slightly narrower span, so it does hold a little less power compared to a kite like the Reach or Orbit.
The canopy includes premium Teijin D2 Ripstop Fabric. This fabric has the highest strength to weight ratio giving your Pulse the durability it deserves! Also, across the kite, North have lightweight reinforcements to protect areas such as the struts and leading edge. Thin foam padding has been inserted within the kite protecting the stitching along the seams. This is a great feature for those that aren’t treated to luxury sandy beaches!
Along the struts, you’ll see the Pulse has Kevlar reinforcements providing a durable connection. North has placed the reinforcements where the kite needs it most, and you can see this from the images provided. Freestyle kites can spend a lot of time getting smacked around, so building a kite that not only performs to the highest level but can take a beating is definitely the avenue North have gone down, and they’ve done a fantastic job on delivering!
New for this year’s model is a new lightweight canopy reinforcement material. This material saves weight whilst still providing durability and strength along the leading and trailing edge, ultimately protecting the lighter inner material of the canopy. No one likes a tear in their kite, so it’s good to know the kite can take a beating if needed!
Sizes: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14
Colours: Ocean Blue, Sea Green
In The Air
I’m a big fan of all North products; the build quality is good, and the kites have proven to perform with numerous pro riders now riding for North. To test, we had the 9m in Sea Green, a real head turner! Paired with the Navigator Bar, which in my opinion is up there as one of the best bars on the market; there’s no-nonsense, it’s clean, uncomplicated and really safe when reassembling the chicken loop.
Relaunching the kite was as simple as it gets. It’s tough to find a kite now that isn’t straightforward when relaunching, but we always like to check, and there are no issues on this front with the Pulse. When in the air, its definitely got a punchy feel to it. It sits really nicely at 12 with a light bar pressure; however, the North Reach does have an even lighter bar pressure, but then again, the Pulse is your designated freestyle weapon.
As for upwind performance, there are no complaints here. Park the kite, lean back, and you’ll shoot upwind to perform the next trick! The Pulse likes to be ridden powered; let’s not forget that. When powered, this is where you’ll get the most out of the kite and when producing unhooked moves, the kite is remarkably stable in the air. After a few manoeuvres, you won’t be thinking where it is!
We couldn’t have asked for a better size to test. Everyone loves those 9m days, and this kite came alive! We had the pleasure of taking it for a spin on more than one occasion. One session turned into a big air boosting session, and although the Orbit would’ve been my preferred choice for these conditions, the Pulse certainly delivered. You still get great height in the right conditions, but where this kite shined was when looping. Because of its design characteristics and materials used, it turns so quickly. Before you know it, the kite has caught you again, and you’re back on for another move!
Fortunately for us, we’ve got some talented local riders that also took it out. This is what local rider Toby had to say;
“Great feedback through the bar, real direct. Kite does whatever you ask it to do instantly. There’s no delay in steering or sheeting and this gives a great connection between the rider and kite. It was nice knowing that if you needed to tweak the kite mid-way through a trick, you are able to with such a dialled in and responsive kite. Explosive pop and slack, I mean, it does rip you off the water with ease. One of the easier kites I’ve ridden to be able to pop off the water and throw your tricks. Slack was great for a kite that’s not 5-line. It was really quite impressive but still good feedback after popping. You do have to be careful when passing the bar, as if you catch one end rather than the middle, it will send the kite. One of the things I liked was being able to trim the kite for freestyle and then being able to adjust it again and do board offs without coming in and changing gear. A great cross over kite for all conditions”.
In 2020 when North first brought the Pulse to market, there wasn’t a smaller bar option; however, now the Navigator Bar comes in a 38-43cm. We think this is the best choice of bar size to get the most out of this kite, but this is, of course, personal preference.
Let’s not get distracted by who this kite is aimed at. It’s a pure C shape freestyle kite. If you’re a rider who wants to go down the freestyle route, then it’s a great choice. If you want a kite that does it all, then the North Reach is the go-to choice. If you want big air, then it’s the Orbit, or if wave riding is your riding style, then the Carve is the beauty you’re after. As for the Pulse, it has an effortless relaunch with great unhooked capabilities with line slack when you want it. It’s not so much a beginner-friendly kite, but after a few rides, you’ll get used to the feel and gain the confidence to try new tricks!
This review was in Issue 89 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!