Rock solid stability, directional float, pivotal turning and effortless re-launch highlight the Envy’s 'beyond delta' design for all around performance. This ultra lightweight three-strut platform gives light, responsive bar feel with impulse pivotal turning. The Envy’s flight characteristics blend to produce a distinct 'set it and forget it' feel, making it the perfect kite for everything, from progressive wave riding to kite low freestyle domination. Land a jump a bit too hot, under run the kite in a bottom turn…forget about it - the Envy’s lightweight design allows the kite to float directionally ,enabling you to forget about the kite and concentrate on the important issues: making grabs, spotting landings and reading waves straight into the pit.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
Starting down at the bar: Liquid Force are sticking with a below the-bar trimming system, so that's one thing to note. It's a quibble we've had with every below-the-bar system we've tried - simply because of the way it works and where it's positioned, it can be more difficult to get a lot of leverage to pull down and release the line from the teeth in the cleat because your arms remain so close to your body. If it does stick a bit when you pull down there's a chance you can pull your chicken-loop down with it, possibly unhooking if you haven't got your chicken-finger in. Also, when you have heavily trimmed the kite you end up with lots of trimming line hanging down around your chicken-loop, but Liquid Force do have a really good plug system for tidying up the dangle. The upsides are that you get a super clean area above the bar and loads of throw, so the depower is huge. Another plus is that you can reach the trim however short your arms are! It's really about personal preferences. There's a very good stopper that limits the throw on the bar really well and the bar itself is actually one of the toughest out there, with lovely grip, loads of attention to detail and nice big soft bar ends that are also very easy for wrapping your lines up. The chicken-loop is a good size and self rights in the bar nicely and the bar really feels great in your hands. The big red push away release is obvious and easy to operate, totally disconnecting from the chicken-loop and the CPR chicken-finger is nice and manoeuvrable and has a float on in case you do have to release your kite and come away from your chicken-loop.
The kite itself is bombproof, there are absolutely no worries there at all. It's not over engineered and heavy, it's just backed up in the right places. All the struts have nice long rubber bumpers in the right places – it's good value for money. Easy-to use-straight out of the bag, too, with a really simple bridle that has just one adjustment option for turning speed, which we like. Liquid Force also have their impressive turbo inflate/deflate system which gets you on the water quicker and back in the car and off to the pub in much less time than smaller valves.
Shape-wise the Envy is a proper little powerhouse; all square and stocky. A total standout in the air design-wise, it also raises eyebrows in the low end department, generating very impressive grunt along with a huge top end, which is a very impressive combination. Ordinarily the sent jump performance of this kite is quite average, but we've had some of our biggest jumps on this just because it's possible to hold it down relatively easily in a lot of wind, when it will then send you to the moon.
Turning speed, especially for a seven metre, is moderate. Not everyone wants a really fast kite. Beginners and intermediates don't want a kite that behaves like the neighbour's Jack Russell, and neither do wake-stylers, but all do want to go out and practice their moves in seven metre weather. Down at the bar the Envy feels good in the turn with a smooth turning circle, but if you pull harder you can get it to really pivot around itself, which is useful. The overall feeling with this kite is that it's never going to kick your arse and will make all your sessions fairly easy, but the question mark we had with it for more advanced riders is the power delivery. For beginners and intermediates it's fantastic, but progressive advanced riders like power on demand. This has a slight turbo lag – you pull in on the bar and the power comes a few seconds later, but we could put a million people on this and they'd have a great time because of that. They'd feel the kite to be smooth and in control. Drop it in the water and it relaunches in a flash and just sits there waiting for you, which no one will complain about. Off the hook it's excellent for experienced unhookers and those just learning to ride out of the loop as it holds a good element of power, is nice and grunty and doesn't move and drift around very much at all. The low end grunt unhooked is great with a soft yet reassuring feel. You can't really go wrong - it likes being low in the window, flies quite deep and just behaves itself. It's totally reliable. Up in the air the kite will loop and get round in a non-scary fashion, so it's good for getting to grips with kite loops, too.
The Envy treats you very nicely. From the moment of purchase it's all just very easy. If you're looking to jump those extra ten or 15 feet and want to wang out some chunky kite loops then this isn't the one for you. Much more focussed on delivering solid power down low in an easy-to-use, uncomplicated very robust package that relaunches in an instant, it will keep beginners, intermediates and wake-stylers really happy - this is a fantastic option for them.
Tough, simple and with lots of ease-of-use as well as sturdy unhooked performance.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
We'd move the below-the-bar trimming system up, making it easier to use.
15, 12, 9, 7 and 5m
This test is in issue #57