Most brands have a light wind offering these days, and the Ocean Rodeo Flite has been around for a while. Available in five sizes 8, 10, 12, 14.5 and 17. Those smaller sizes give you an idea of the flavour here. This isn’t just a big light wind kite, it’s a kite that is designed to perform, regardless.
The Flite has 3 struts, coupled with a hybrid design which utilises the best of power delivery, turning speed, and performance. The Flite has relatively swept tips which aid that all-important relaunch in light winds, and a compact bridle system is in play to support the leading edge and provide a good depower ratio.
Ocean Rodeo have really increased their build quality in recent years, and we were happy to see the canopy is now made with Teijin Technoforce D2 ripstop and 2 different types of Dacron for different areas of the kite where unique properties are required.
New for this 6th version in 2019 are precision curved struts which hold the canopy shape through all wind conditions, and both the leading edge and struts have had their tips tapered which significantly reduces drag: crucial for those low wind sessions.
The Flite has a new speed inflation system which houses both the 1 pump and larger inflate/deflate valve. Ocean Rodeo have fine-tuned the system over the years to create the Speed Inflation System for maximum time on the water.
Not usually of note, the bag is fantastic for the Flite. Named the ‘Sherpa’ bag, you wouldn’t be far off taking this bag on some sort of mammoth hike it is so comfortable when loaded.
Sizes: 8, 10, 12, 14.5, 17 meters
The Stick Shift Bar takes away the need of a sometimes cumbersome depower system, and instead features the R3 Component bar end trim adjustment. Simply put, a twisting knob on the end of your bar. Sounds simple, and it is. Twisting one-way powers the kite up, and then nudge it with the heel of your hand it will unspin and depower. Each quarter turn equals 0.5cm of trim, so a few full twists does the entire range. The right and left leader lines have clear stripes to indicate how powered/depowered you are.
The Stick Shift has an open U-shaped design of the bar itself. This keeps everything very easy to clean and inspect, and also super light. It allows constant flushing of the entire system so there can be no build of salt and sand. There is also a clever stopper ball that can easily be engaged and disengaged.
The depower line has a PVC coating so it won’t wear, and the integrated EVA bar ends and floats are well built and should last the life of the bar. There is a front line re-ride safety system and the bar ships with an assortment of pigtails so it can be used with any 4 line kite on the market.
The chicken loop setup up is clean and simple, everything you need from a safety system. Featuring a push away release, it requires only the lightest touch, and the reassembly is very quick.
“Great freeride performance.”
The kite has had a noticeable upgrade when compared with the last version we had on test. The canopy is tighter, and the entire kite more refined. From the off the Flite sits well at all points in the wind and maintains a constant feel through the bar. In those marginal light winds, the kites Flite was impressive. A couple of times there was some slight luffing, but it always caught itself.
On that note, the relaunch of the Flite is incredibly impressive. In fact, it was more of a struggle to get the kite to stay nose down in the water than it was to complete an entire relaunch.
Even though we had the 14.5m on test, we never felt this would be too much to handle when the wind came in, and likewise, the feel of the kite was more that of a mid-size as opposed to ‘big’ kite. The ability to depower the kite through the bar was excellent and kept things close for riders with smaller arms.
The wind range is good. In lighter winds, we did find the kite slightly less powerful at the edge of the window. We were able to get cruising fine but just struggled somewhat on that upwind reach on occasion. Previous years have perhaps been slightly better on this front, however with the new, far superior, construction does come weight, and this is the trade-off.
The Flite is a fast kite, and in those lighter winds, this enabled us to gain fantastic speed and some good jumps too. You’ll enjoy great float through the jump, and it’s nimble enough to throw in some loops when you come in to land.
Interestingly, the kite also behaved well in the waves. Once powered, the smaller nature of the kite provides ample drift and a quick turn to be thrown around with ease, a surprising feature for a kite of this nature.
Though the kite works very well in lighter winds, the beauty and perhaps joy of this kite arrives when it is comfortably powered with a brilliant pop off the water and fantastic free rideability. For someone who is slightly heavier, this would be an excellent kite when lighter riders are on twelve-meter kites.
The Flite holds some great freeride performance for fun lighter winds and bigger riders.
The Flite holds a lot of power in the centre of the window, but there is a slight decrease in power at the edges compared to some other kites in its class.
The Ocean Rodeo Flite is a kite to suit a large number of riders who need something reliable for some classic cruising boosting freeride action. Working well in a range of conditions for many disciplines, the performance of the kite will suit many. Ocean Rodeo have worked hard on perfecting their craftsmanship, and the results speak for themselves with a great light wind kite in the Flite.
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This review was in Issue 74 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit Ocean Rodeo
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