At A Glance
Xenon are a renowned board company coming out of Poland and for 2018 have launched their kites with 3 models covering a range of styles. We were excited to get our hands on the Air which is Xenon’s freeride and big air kite.
The Air is relatively high aspect 5 strut kite, and houses a 2 pully bridle system for smooth response through the bar. The kite is built to a high standard using the well regarded Teijin Technoforce canopy material. The one pump system is clean and works well, with the increasingly standard larger sized inflate valve for speed during set up.
The back line bridles offer different adjustment options to tune the kite to your personal taste and the current conditions. The Air comes in a good quality back pack style bag, with a comprehensive manual and repair kit, should you ever require it.
Though this is the first year of kites for Xenon, their attention to detail is excellent and the kite looks like a tidy bit of kit.
Sizes: 7m, 9m, 10m, 12m, 17m
Xenon have created a bar which is both practical and ergonomic. 4 lines, single line re-ride and push away release. The bar itself comes in either 46 or 50cm. We had the 46cm on test and it worked really well with the 9m kite. The entire left side of the bar is coloured red, fantastic for identifying the correct side of your bar, and the big block colour well thought out for those still at the beginning of their kitesurfing.
The grip is soft on the hands without being squishy or slippery, and the feedback through the bar is excellent. As with many chickenloops nowadays, there is the option to be set up in either safety or suicide mode, and in both these options you are able to activate the release.
The release itself is the more industry standard push away type which is easy and effective to use. Above the bar is an effective swivel for the PVC covered centre line and safety life line. Moving up to the depower system, and Xenon have opted for a simple Clamcleat which works really well in all conditions.
The lines are supplied as standard 20m with 4m extensions, and are high quality pre stretched Dynema lines.
“Once powered, the speeds attained are quite something"
In The Air
The Air immediately feels stable in the air, with good forward drive. The bar pressure is light but responsive, with good feedback at all times. In the lighter winds we did find we had to have the bar sheeted quite far in, however there are an array of adjustments on the back lines to play with for the perfect set up.
The kite has a quick pivotal turn and then accelerates through the window really building power with apparent wind. We did find in even marginal conditions you are able to swing the kite about enough to get moving, and once moving you just get faster and faster!
Upwind is easy, the kite flies well and powered at the edge of the window in all conditions.
Once powered, the speeds attained are quite something, though completely controllable. And with these speeds come the heights expected from a higher aspect ratio kite. The Air glides well overhead throughout the jump, and though not a super quick vertical acceleration, you certainly hang about for quite some time! Redirection is smooth, and the Air provides a soft landing.
For those who wish to throw the odd kite loop into the session, the Air is again fun and easy. The slightly more pivotal turn creates a quick loop, but the forward drive powers you out of it and ensures you are caught each time.
Though the wing tips on the Air are quite long and square, the relaunch is surprisingly good. Super light winds require a tiny bit of swimming if the kite is directly downwind, but nothing out of the ordinary.
Heading into the waves, the Air performs well and responds quickly to any bar input even when charging down the line at Mach 10, and the large depower through the bar is very useful. The Air is not a freestyle kite by any means, but for popping the odd raley on that perfect day the kite does the job absolutely fine.
The huge amount of low end power and usable depower make the Air quite remarkable in range.
It is worth playing around with the back line settings according to the wind strength, or you may find you are riding around with your bar as close as can be at all times!
A commendable kite from Xenon, the Air will suit anyone who is after an all rounder with a massive range who wishes to work on big air skills. The entire set up is simple and intuitive and should certainly be considered if you are in the market for a new freeride kite this year.
This review was in Issue 68 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit Xenon
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