Zoe and I ventured up to Sherman Island, a.k.a. “The Delta”, yesterday to join the North crew of Dan and his family. His brother Brian was out on the new kites, and later I got to meet his parents. For the day my family was made up of me and the pooch. Rebecca stayed back at the shop to help all the customers get their season end smokin’ deals. Zoe and I got a hall pass for the North Demo.
Zoe loves the Detla, with fresh water swimming, sand boxes to eat, and people to bark at with the hope of picking up some extra food. I have to keep her on a leash nowadays, as all of the temptations are overwhelming for a nearly 14 year old golden retriever.
Dan (North rep), Molly (his wife) and Dane (there little munchkin) had made the drive down for Hood River to roll out the 2011 kites and give us a chance to test them. Nice sunny warm weather and early burn off the marine layer meant very light winds in the Delta yesterday. But I headed up anyway, as I was excited to check out all of the new kites and hang with Dan and his family.
Dan rigged up a full quiver of 2011 Rebels and Vegas’s.
The Rebel as a few cool new improvements:
- double thickness canopy that North designed and has the exclusive on for 2 years. So an already super durable well made brand sets the bar higher with stronger canopy design.
- the inflate valve is one way and has a cool close valve system that will prevent leakage. i never saw leakage issues on the current one, but the new design is pretty cool.
- the sections of the leading edge have been refined to add even more stability to this truly awesome kite. the 2011 north rebel is incredibly stable. i noticed improved low end in the 12m as the kite turns fast and locks in to really nice low end power
- i noticed the 2011 turns faster than the 2010. i hesitated to ride any 12m as i like faster turning kites. the 2011 rebel turns fast and is truly enjoyable to ride. i can’t wait to try the 11, 10 and below.
- cool new colors – 3 to choose from. black w/ red, turquoise blue w/lighter blue, and bright light green/purple/red
Here is the 12m Rebel (pictured below) that i got to try. The bar has new graphics but is essentially the same as the 2010 bar. At first i wasn’t keen on the black kite (i am a fan of bright visible colors). but the black rebel grew on me as it looks pretty damn cool. It will probably be the most popular color in the line for all the cool rebels out there!
For a 3rd party review on the 2011 North Rebel, check out: kiteboardingreview.com
. My summation of the north rebel is as follows: direct feel, incredibly stable, smooth power delivery, and lively turning machine!
Here is the 11m in the turquoise blue/light blue/red. All the design influence on color palette is driven by European sport fashion trends.
Dan needs no leap of faith to love the 70s disco palette on the 10m below. Again, at first I was reminded of bad ski clothing of the 70s (and singer Sheena Easton). In person, the bright green/purple/red is really cool looking. I may have to join Dan with his impeccably bad taste on this one, and get myself a neon green ION wetsuit and neon green ION harness to match. Remember, 80% of participating in most sports is all about looking cool (or thinking that you look cool at least).
Should I go for the disco green rebel? What will I use for a board to match?
The Vegas has been improved slightly from 2010…and is best summed up here on powerkiteshop.com
“The most important and most challenging innovation is the new Technoforce D2 material. This especially for North Kiteboarding developed double rip stop material was introduced with the Fuse and is now used in any kites of North Kiteboarding. Flying and handling characteristics are changed a lot so the kites have been finetuned a lot to fulfil the expectations of the test crews.
The stiffness of the D2 is way higher then at common materials and tensions in the kite can be used to improve the handling and the performance of a kite. This was a main reason for being able to change the profile in the centre and the tension on the trailing edge. The result is a more powerful and more constant pop.
Unhooked tricks can be done easier because the kite offers a more constant line tension. Handling and feedback of the kite are finetuned and enables to have enormous control of your kite.
The sizes 5, 7 and 9 offer a second brake line attachment, which is slowing down the turning speed of the kite.”
As the sun started to set, Chris announced the BBQ/Pig Roast was under way down by the boat ramp picnic tables. We all migrated down to the food, and enjoyed the warm sunny 85 degree weather. I had about an hour of riding on the 12m rebel before beer thirty rolled around. I was able to stay upwind with my 132 North Select twin tip. That is a major advantage of being a chic (even though I am not a small petite flower like Rebecca!). I can stay upwind on a 12m and small board in very little wind (and I have all that light wind efficient riding practice in Alameda).
Zoe joined me at the BBQ for a while, until she finally managed to get to my leftovers on my plate, including her favorite delicacy, napkins. I tied her up by the car for a break, and returned to the BBQ for some of Maui Mike’s famous bbq’d chicken.
Maui Mike and his crew apparently do this season end BBQ every year. It was a very tasty and impressive spread, including an entire roast pork (yep, head and all), some yummy mango salad/salsa, rice, and bbq’d chicken. Here is the pic of my dinner plate before Zoe got to it.
The warm weather at sunset in the Delta was gorgeous. I did not need a sweatshirt, despite my San Francisco instincts to bring one along. The party crew included many of the Delta regulars, who all greatly appreciate the hospitality of Maui Mike. I am not sure if this is the same guy, but I found a website in Hawaii that may be behind the culinary genius of this very warm and welcoming host, Maui Mike
Dan was overwhelmed with the local vibe, and sprung up to offer Maui Mike any 2011 kite he wanted. This was his gesture of appreciation for throwing such and awesome and generous bbq for all of us to enjoy. Thanks Dan!!
Of course Mike picked the 12m Rebel that I got to ride this afternoon. Damn, I guess I’ll have to put in my order for one now!!
Here is Dan (with no flash on my iphone and digital cam battery gone dead), offering Mike “any kite you want man, you da best!”
While enjoying the food and pondering the gorgeous, warm, but windless night, I asked Donny of Kitopia
when he thought we would get some good wind in the Delta again (and I was looking for my excuse to pitch my tent in the bushes so I could have a breakfast session on Labor Day). Donny looked me right in the eye, and replied “I am hoping by June of 2011”. The black birds then swooped over our heads, and flew off into the sunset beyond the boat ramp. Danny then noted, “the arriving black birds are the sign of death…. the death of the wind for the season”.
I am hoping Donny is dead wrong. There is marine layer in tomorrow’s forecast, so I am headed back to the Delta if there is any hope for wind!