At A Glance
The 'Desert Island Kite' from NKB is the hotly anticipated Reach. Born of the idea, this is a go-to kite to allow you to practise all disciplines within kiteboarding. Designed by Pat Goodman, it sits at the performance freeride end of the current four kite line up.
The Reach is a three strut, mid to high aspect ratio kite which benefits from high-grade Teijin D2 canopy ripstop for unparalleled weight to strength ratios. It uses a pulley-less contact bridle for precise feedback and control; and Kevlar reinforcements with Duralite Seam protection for next-level durability.
The Reach has larger wingtips than many kites in its class and with the balanced bridle system adds power and connectivity through the turn. This results in the confidence-inspiring ability to catch you on each loop as you head into the world of aerial acrobatics and more powered riding.
North have paid great attention to detail with the Reach and have made a considered effort to reduce excess weight and faff by using only the essential reinforcements and added protection. We especially like the simple large inflate one pump system which not only is very fast also negates the need for a specialised nozzle.
With pretty much every size on offer, you can effectively pick your quiver no matter your size or normal conditions. The larger 3 sizes (13, 15, 17m) have all been optimised for light wind riding, which, going by the low end of this 12meter will be pretty impressive.
Sizes: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 17m
In The Air
We had the 12m on test and started off in some more than marginal conditions to truly find the lower end of this kite. We were not disappointed; in fact, you would be forgiven for thinking you were on a size bigger than you thought, due to the deep profile and great bottom end power. This, in turn, does mean the top end is less than we were hoping, on the flip side however with so many sizes on offer there is no reason you couldn't go a meter smaller than you may think.
When the wind did pick up, the trim system on the Navigator bar works very well, and we were pleased to find no loss of feeling nor loss of performance of the kite even when at the very end of the line.
The bar pressure on the Reach is incredibly light. It does take a moment or so to dial into; however, once in tune, it enables you to ride for hours without risk of arm fatigue. Bar pressure is not to be mistaken with feedback; however, as the Reach still maintains a good direct feel. If you do want a little more pressure, you can and easily change the setting on the wingtip.
To relaunch we found no issues whatsoever, in fact, 9 times out of 10 the kite sits on the edge of the window waiting for you. In those lighter winds, the kite rolls over easily, which is impressive with the deep midsection of the kite.
The Reach has a great feel sat in the sky simply above your head. There is a constant pull through your harness, keeping you connected. Great for those just starting perhaps who want that reassurance of the kite in the sky. This feeling is followed into riding and then carving upwind where the pull through the harness is constant, and a light feedback through the bar keeps you connected. We found that even in gustier conditions, this feeling of connection and stability stayed at all points, which is testament to how user-friendly the Reach is.
The Reach enjoys very much park and ride, which makes it a great first kite option for anyone just out of lessons, or simply a kite one does not need to pay huge amounts of attention too. This dependable feeling really lends itself to foiling and in fact any discipline within kiteboarding you are wishing to master; it really is a very versatile kite.
Of course, with a little more energy in the flight, you can really get some higher-end performance with a very floaty and predictable jump. Likewise, some good unhooked performance with stability and power throughout the trick. Jumps tend not to reach the stratosphere; this is where another kite such as the Orbit may be more your ideal, however for float and ease the Reach is commendable. We also really enjoyed the predictable loop from the Reach. An uncanny ability to catch you each time, you can really gain experience and confidence with this fun and fast loop.
North have achieved exactly what they intended to with the Reach; it is a kite you could go anywhere with. Simple to set up, fly and progress with, there is masses of power available with precise handling and no-nonsense performance, allowing you to rip to your heart's content. With so much low-end power and such an array of sizes, there is also the ability to fine-tune your quiver more than ever. The Reach we feel would be a brilliant first kite, or for someone who needs a dependable kite no matter how long they leave it between sessions or the conditions they find on the beach that day.
This review was in Issue 84 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit North Kiteboarding