The Kahoona+ delivers the perfect mix of freeride performance for every riding style and every skill level. If you want the convenience of one pump inflation with easy handling, solid performance and day long comfort, then the Kahoona+ V5 is the ultimate freeride kite. Automatic relaunch, reliable downwind drift and rock solid stability make the Kahoona ideal for attacking any wave or new trick. Huge hang-time and great low end power, it's no wonder that riders return to it season after season. With more responsive handling, reduced bar pressure and best in class stability, courtesy of revised canopy design and Best's new Double Core RS canopy fabric, the V5 is the most advanced Kahoona yet.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
The Kahoona is nice and brightly coloured, the way our sport should be represented; bold and proud. The V5 is well constructed with the double ripstop canopy fabric feels sturdy and solid, reinforced further with the heavy-duty dacron trailing edge. The one pump system is very easy to use and the struts clip off nicely. The bar has seen an upgrade in materials, leaving a very comfortable yet grippy feel indeed. New is the lovely push-away quick-release above the chicken-loop which is also very easy to reset once you've got the knack and the suicide/safety ring features, too. Big bar ends are lovely for your hands if you end up grabbing the end of the bar during a pass or a loop and there's nothing to get caught up on anywhere. It really feels great in your hands.
The Kahoona+ V5 is a delta four strut design with a big open section in the middle of the canopy and the first thing you notice is that great drive that the kite has when parked and driving forward, creating lots of power through sheeting at the bar. Very little steering work is needed after the initial dive; just park it at 45 and you're free to cruise. There's huge amounts of depower through sheeting out and you don't have to sheet out for miles either, ruining your back when the wind picks up. The Kahoona riding position is fairly upright, which we like in a kite like this with this much power on tap.
The pull-pull depower strap is the same as last year, working nicely in the stainless steel buckles. The power up and depower tabs are clearly coloured and the depower tab is nice and easy to reach. It's also really long when you've pulled a lot of depower and sits on top of the bar, which is the only slight annoyance with this system. One thing that we'd recommend doing is loosening off the Velcro loop that keeps it secured to the chicken-loop line to stop it flapping. Just make the loop as big as you can and it will pass nicely over the top of the diamond stopper without affecting it. The stopper works really well and is a joy in light winds for resting the bar on when you're trying to get back upwind and don't want to be sheeting in and out on the bar all the time. Set it, get your edge in and off you go. There are three knots on the back pigtail line and we used the middle option, which balanced the kite out nicely.
The smooth non-whippy turn on the Kahoona+ produced a really good, steady boost and long float. In lighter winds the loft in the kite is really easy to access and produces satisfying hang-time; for transitions etc. it's ideal, giving you plenty of time to work things out. When the wind gets up the Kahoona goes huge and far. It's rock steady above your head as well and will happily sit there with that huge central section creating lots and lots of lifty float. We also found that you can turn the kite without much power. On loops however it really drives powerfully through the bottom section as it comes out of the turn. As a beginner/intermediate and even as a wave rider, it means you can move the kite around and not get hauled around and then feel the drive once you've got the kite set. You're not ripped off the water when you jump but are transported carefully and then not caught out redirecting the kite too early or too late and getting punished, which is just what the first time booster wants. The Kahoona does flap through big loops though, but this isn't unexpected in this sort of kite. This is the limit in terms of its high performance, but the Kahoona is happy enough unhooked for throwing a few bits and pieces and feels nice out of the loop, low down in the window when set on the middle or bottom rear line knot. The top knot sees it stall too much with too much tension on the back line. Of course, as ever, relaunch is a piece of cake by just a single line pull and over and up she goes.
The Kahoona+ V5 is a well-built, very user-friendly and versatile kite that will hold its own in lots of situations. For a bit of everything, there's not much this kite won't do. The low end is very good and you might find yourself switching down a size sooner than you think. As Best's more entry level kite, it's got pedigree.
Super stable over head piloting during jumps is very good.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
The depower trimming line is a bit long.
13.5, 11.5, 10.5, 9.5, 7.5, 5.5 and 3.5m
This test is in issue #59