Stacked with advanced performance, ease-of-use, fun and reliability, the LF 2009 Havoc generation 3 is tuned, evolved and bang up-to-date as a 4-line SLE freeride/performance kite that sets new standards in design, feel and performance for bridled kites. Featuring a flatter arc for 2009, providing increased lift and hang-time, LF also introduce the latest USB 2.0 (Ultra Stable Bridle), which, with the static wing-tip pulley and proven diamond wing-tip create extreme depower while providing precise control of the kite. Boosting high and far, the third generation Havoc is solid and sits where it needs to for waves, hooked or unhooked, and is just as much fun throwing unhooked freestyle as cruising or racing. With a more direct feel while preserving a light comfortable bar pressure and the added lift and upwind performance, the Havoc has been tuned to be the ultimate freeride kite to suit almost any type of rider.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
The generation 3 Liquid Force Havoc seems to be a tweaked version of last year's model. It's nice to see they’ve updated the safety system from last year – in a school and these get used a lot, and this system is solid and reliable. It’s backwards compatible, meaning that if you want to upgrade the system on your existing Havoc set-up you can without great expense and too much fiddling. It works really well and doesn’t get sand caught in it at all. The lines seem to have been given a coating, they feel top quality and don’t have that fluffy texture that some do. Robust one pump system with tough looking pipes and neat connections.
A huge depower range and a robust stopper wedge, sticking where you want it to yet sliding up easily when you want to move it make this a kite that will appeal on many levels. The bar is superbly finished, feels very smooth and comfortable and has a good sized chicken-loop, nice and flexible donkey dick and there's nothing waiting to catch your thumb or fingers unhooked. It's all neat and tidy. I’ve been lucky enough to test a couple of Havocs and they just get better and better in the smaller sizes. What I mean by that is that the smaller sizes change in character to become quicker and more boosty, which is what I'm more used to. The 12 metre is like a truck; solid, stable and just pulling and pulling - fantastic wake-style kite that can easily be used for freeriding; it does what Liquid Force are trying to get it to do I believe.
The steering isn’t really responsive but it’s not trying to be. They have other kites quicker in this size. Pop a trick on this kite and when you come down it's just right there waiting for you. Very impressive low end grunt gets you up and going well, but the predictable power delivery is what I’d say is the best feature. It's just so easy to use and is very stable which is why it's so well suited to lighter wind wake-style because it generates good power and pop from just parking, riding and sitting there just behaving itself. These are all good basic freeride qualities for the bigger intermediate too.
Unhooking and doing a one arm rotation shows how stable it is. On some kites you unhook, go up and do something and if you're up there for longer than you thought then the kite will start going into a downloop. This just sits there. Not that it's overly slow – you have a few degrees of steering either side of where you've got it stationed where it doesn't do much, but steer it beyond that and it moved well. Hooked-in or unhooked you get the same constant pull; lots of uncomplicated fun.
From the moment you pick up the tough, well made bag, this package oozes quality. The waxy feel of the kite, the insane attention to detail and the construction all contribute to a unique experience.
The Liquid Force Havoc generation 3 12 metre has incredibly constant and predictable power. Just pull in and out on the bar to power up and down. The range is huge, so there's a lot of power on tap, however, this isn't a particularly boosty kite in this size. Instead what it offers is incredible stability for unhooked wake-style tricks as much as it does for hooked-in freeriding, splitting those two camps right down the middle.
Rock solid stability – do a trick and it's in the same spot, however you land.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
Touch more speed for a more all-round feeling.
16, 14, 12, 10, 8 and 6m
Read our test on the 2008 Liquid Force kiteboarding Havoc by clicking here
Read our test of the 2008 Liquid Force kiteboarding Session 9m kite by clicking here
Read our test of the 2008 Liquid Force kiteboarding Recoil twin-tip by clicking here
This test is in issue #37