- I was out all season with a broken leg which I got snowboarding. Now
that I am back on the water, have some season extending trips
planned, it was time for some new gear.
First, I wanted a new board. I have been an avid boot binding
fanatic. I wanted control. But to be honest, I hate screwing around
just of shore with 3 riders waiting to get in the water. Sure a year
ago, with the help of MOBE bindings I was getting in and out easily
enough, but newly recovered from a tib-fib (still experiencing some
pain) having that board possibly ripped off of my bad leg just
didn't sound like the way to go.
So I tried everything I could get my hands on. You name it, I
probably tried riding it. One day by chance I got to borrow a
Cabrinha Lab Rat 140. Talk about control. It's like a snowboard,
it's like skateboard. It plains as well as the wider, longer boards
out there. With the Lab Rat, you just don't need all that clumsy
width. I think it has a lot to do with a combination of the rocker
and the flex. And this board is light. The only bad thing I can say
about the board is the pads. But those were easily replaced with
some from Slingshot. Decent arch support is a must in my opinion.
Being completely stoked with my new board I decided to replace my
wing. Cabrinha was nice enough to release their 2004 lineup just in
time for the southern hemisphere season. Being tech minded, I was
drawn to the Recon system. There is nothing worse than having your
large kite nose down in overpowered conditions. I hoped that the
Recon system would help. To be honest I haven't had the chance to
use it for the re-launch yet. But I was surprised how well the de-
power feature works. You pull the ball and nearly instantly the kite
de-powers and floats directly down wind.
This wasn't what I was expecting the first time. I am use to self
water landing by flying the kite low and then releasing the bar.
This doesn't work with Recon because the kite may be de-powered, but
it will rise up a bit and float along until it is directly downwind.
But man did it work. No twisting flailing out of control kite. And
the best thing is that you get that with no extra leash to wrap and
twist and keep the kite from de-powering at all. (I understand you
can rig with a separate leash if you prefer the "drop the bar"
beginner mode, or if you want de-power during failed handle passes.)
I've had my say on what I think about the tangle-up style leash
before, but if that's your personal choice it can be done with this
system. If nothing else you can always fall back on the re-ride with
the Cab bar.
I keep a 2 kite quiver, a large and a medium. For the large I
selected the CO2, for the medium a Nitro. Both kites are highly
technical, fast, and provide a lot of lift. The CO2 seems to have
more low-end grunt, but still turns nicely and provides a lot of
lift. The Nitro is highly technical but provides very specific
control. Bare pressure is lower than what I am use to on both kites,
this was one of the features I was looking for. Tendonitis in your
arms and carpel tunnel are no fun. The "throw" or de-power distance
(how far you have to sheet out for the kite to de-power) is also
much shorter. I opted for the "non-sticky" bar, meaning that the bar
doesn't ever lock at the fully powered setting. You can make it
more "sticky" or less, or none at all.
One thing about both kites that I noticed was long low jumps that
took me way downwind. At first this disappointed me. But after I
spent some time focusing on the bar control and watching the kite, I
realized that I was puling the bar much harder than is required.
Just a gentle tug will send the kite. The return pull needs to be
much more early as a result of the kite's quickness. If you pull the
kite directly overhead and turn it immediately back you get all
kinds of altitude, not only that, but you also get control over the
timing and speed of the landing. It takes some getting use to. (I'm
still not nailing it every time.) The strange thing is that while
the kite control is earlier the board must be held on edge seemingly
longer. It isn't really, but relative to the kite control the board
edge is held much longer.
I'm no expert, just a freerider, but higher maintained jumps provide
more height and time for practicing all those tricks I ~don't~ know,
and besides it's just plain more fun.