CONDITIONS TESTED IN:
Gusty 18 – 30 knots
The Thruster is Eclipse's competition-ready hybrid kite that feels personal right out of the bag. You will feel like Superman when you tap the Thruster's insane air-time and gliding ability. Attempting that new move has never been safer or easier. Having taken everything their customers loved about a C kite, Dimitri Maramenides and his team combined it with the latest technology available to create the ultimate highperformance machine. If you want to boost, pop, ride waves or to simply cruise around with power and control, the Thruster is your dream kite. Designed specifically for Dimitri's riding style, providing enough hang-time for him to hit all his moves at 40 feet. Imagine enough air to execute four tricks in one jump...
TEST TEAM NOTES:
JAMES:First impressions out of the bag are that this kite is solid and well made. There are all the essentials included too, like one pump mini fifth line safety as well as a lot of set-up options on the kite, including line extensions (20m + 4m) which can be removed for waves or more wind. Plenty of knot options mean you can make it a bit more or less grunty or alter the bar pressure. The depower system is easily reachable via big, thick, long webbing straps that are secured near the bar and are clearly marked as to which one you should pull to power or depower the kite. After a long session, the power up strap has a tendency to twist in the loop that stops it flapping about. Not a huge problem but just means that it needs a bit more feathering to help feed it through to power it up. The bar is quite small and the bar itself is a little cluttered but the kite is excellent and extremely good upwind, fast turning and the bar has nice, light bar pressure. I didn't know much about Eclipse before getting on this kite, but don't let that put you off. It's excellent right from the start. Jumping was good and floaty. Get used to the timing and the pop is great from this kite.
FX: Good bar grip but I felt there was a lot on the bar and maybe too many things you could move about; I like things nice and simple. I found the kite itself is responsive, the bar pressure, light, sometimes a little too light as I didn't always know exactly where it was on a rotation. I crashed it and it went back up really quickly, though. The depower is very good and the kite has good turning speed, lift and hang-time.
CHRIS: It looks high-aspect in the sky but is quite ballsy in its power delivery. If anything it's a little bit slow at the bottom of the wind window on a kite loop and ideally would be better if it kept the pace up as it comes round the bottom. It's happy doing big jumps but also has nice smooth power for pop manoeuvres. It's actually a very good kite for practising unhooked manoeuvres and if you drop it, it re-launches well and goes back upwind like a rocket. Nice thickness in the bar which is really comfortable. The power delivery unhooked is very smooth, not snappy in any way and it doesn't pull you downwind at all, but also doesn't fly straight out of the power. I did a dangle-pass and grabbed the end of the bar and the drag from the resulting kite loop wasn't too much to hold. Performs better powered-up I thought and no issues with the depower.
NEAL: This is the kind of kite I like; narrow bladdered, fast and responsive. You can feel the responsiveness to gusts and it virtually eliminates the need for you to deal with it. This kite really gets far forward in the window so it goes upwind fantastically and in gusts it's quick to get forward too and so is easy to control. I think it would be good in waves hooked-in or unhooked in that it's quick and doesn't stall. For the sort of wave rider that likes to move the kite around a lot. Only thing would be a slight slowness at the bottom of a kite loop, but having said that looping it back downwind was so nice, fairly cruisy and you can tailor the kite loop to how quick you want it to be. Really impressive. Nice speed and smooth.
Overall the Thruster impressed on its speed and handling. Getting to the edge of the window quickly gives fantastic upwind performance and it'll really entertain those looking to take things on a step or two, hooked-in
or unhooked, as it's got a real forgiving side. If you're a dedicated unhooked rider, you may want something
that chucks out more of a wallop in its punch, though. Great fun for improving intermediate to advanced riders
Fast, direct handling.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
Slight stickiness in the new depower strap when powering up.
8, 10, 12, 14 and 16m
This test is in issue #35