The Catalyst is Ozone’s latest creation, designed for riders looking for an incredibly versatile and easy kite for both freeride and wave riding. Drawn from all the excellent attributes of the Light XC, the Catalyst has been refined into an amazing kite for entry level through to advanced riders. Developed along with the new contact control system, which has increased de-power throw range and simplified the trimming area into modular replaceable components. A front line flag out and belowthe- bar safety system enables for total depower of the kite, simple reassembly of the safety system, and an easy 'pull on the bar' re-launch.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
Ozone's entry-level four-line and most simple three strut kite has all the high-quality finishes found on the rest of their range, such as robust back-pack as well as a light drawstring wet bag and sand bag to protect your kite when weighing it down. Unlike last year's Instinct Light, which the Catalyst replaces, there's the added ease-of-use of a one-pump system. The bar system is as we're used to with Ozone one of the smoothest available. The simple above-the-bar cleat system feels like it's power assisted, such is the ease with which you can quickly pull on depower and power back up. The bar is finished beautifully with a lovely feel and grip, back line adjusters, a sturdy chicken-loop and easily manoeuvred donkey
dick. The leash safety system is a rapidly depowering front-line flag-out system, completely ditching power in the kite. The only comment we would make on the bar system is about the quick release – and this is probably only because we test so much gear back to back. The vast majority of manufacturers have moved to, or continue to, produce push-away quick-release systems. This release is triggered by a red pull-down collar on the side of the chicken-loop, and while highly effective and without a hint of stickiness, the fact that it is different is something we have to highlight. If this was your system, practice and get used to it and it's obviously fine and it's very easy to put the chicken-loop back together on the water in seconds. If you're getting into unhooking, just be aware that when grabbing the chicken-loop to hook back in, you need to pay a little attention to not pull on the release as you pull the chicken-loop to your hook.
We tested this ten metre in very strong conditions, between 25 and 30 knots - somewhere right at the top of its wind range. Most other riders were on seven metre kites and the Catalyst coped beautifully. Even when heavily depowered on launch the kite retains very good levels of stability, control and steering. There is a slight flapping in the canopy when depowered fully, but this was probably only highlighted as we were right at the top end of its range at times, but we never once thought it was getting too much. Most of the time we were able to ride the kite on half depower and enjoy its positive, direct and simple handling. The kite reacts quickly and smoothly without any unpredictable movements.
We can really recommend this, as much for a first time kite buyer as we can for a more experienced rider looking for a simple, easy-to-use kite with smooth handling, predictability, easy back line pull relaunch and high levels of control. The boost is stunning; very predictable with superb feedback through the bar and lofty hang-time. We were being pretty erratic with our bar handling, as an early intermediate might be, and it was just so easy to feel where the kite was. Steady enough for entry-level riders, but quick and smooth enough for more advanced riders looking for an allround easy-to-use kite for a bit blasting, boosting, unhooking or wave riding.
KW LIKED: The fact that anyone could get on this and have a great time straight away. Simple, clean and very well made.
KW WOULD CHANGE: The pull-down quick release is really easy to activate when needed, but unhookers may catch it the first time they hook back in if grabbing the chicken-loop.
SIZES: 14, 12, 10, 8, 6 and 4m
This test is in issue #46