THIS CRAZYFLY ELITE TEST FIRST APPEARED IN KITEWORLD #105 ON OUR NEW FREE DIGITAL PLATFORM IN JULY 2020.
CRAZYFLY ELITE II 136 REVIEW
“The Elite’s extra comfort in all conditions comes from the double concave shape in the base. We’re big fans of a well designed double concave for rider comfort and a super clean feel of glide across the water’s surface.”
Tested by: Chris Bull and Jim Gaunt
TEST TEAM NOTES
This has to be the lightest board we’ve tested. Not only that, the Elite comes with a glass framed certificate of ownership, telling you you’re ‘Elite’ which we feel is a bit unnecessary because the sleek minimalist look of this board says enough about its class. The message CrazyFly are trying to convey is similar to how it must feel when you buy a luxury new car (not that we know!) and the sales team bring out the champagne when you pick it up. Sometimes less fanfare is more, and that would be the better case here because this version of the Elite now delivers much more effective performance. It’s now not just the lightest or most sleek looking board. It rides beautifully under the feet of intermediates and freeriders, too.
We reviewed the CrazyFly Raptor Extreme last issue – a fantastic board that’s stiffer than the Elite and likes to run at high speed. It takes a certain level of commitment, but delivers powerful performance back in spades. On to the Elite…
CAPABLE AND YET COMFORTABLE
The Elite’s extra comfort in all conditions comes from the double concave shape in the base. We’re big fans of a well designed double concave for rider comfort and a super clean feel of glide across the water’s surface.
While the Elite isn’t as stiff as the Raptor or the Airush Apex (two boards that we back-to-backed with the Elite last issue), it’s still stiff enough to develop good speed. Set-up for comfortable freeride, there’s a relatively generous rocker to help handle choppy waters, while the careful use of carbon ensures a stiffness that doesn’t sacrifice speed at the cost of ease and comfort.
The extra layer of softness on the knees combined with its ultra light weight make the Elite a very unphysical board to ride. Importantly for intermediates, the Elite provides good levels of grip when you ride it quite flat on the water. In other words you don’t need to be able to edge really hard to feel in control. It’s forgiving and doesn’t trip the opposite rail easily.
ENERGISING AND PLAYFUL
Riding a really light board isn’t to everyone’s taste, but there’s no denying how energetic it makes you feel. In the air you can really tweak your moves and grabs so much more; engaging your core less to bring your board up to your body. You’ll suddenly feel capable of adding a lot more flair to your riding.
This board really suits intermediates and lighter weight advancing riders (in the 136 size at least). It looks top of the range, but is actually very accessible and isn’t only suited to high level riders. This is one example where we can say to intermediates; ‘do buy the bling looking carbon model’!
In most situations where you’re not particularly overpowered, the Elite is extremely comfortable, easy to ride, encourages good jumping performance and increases your chance of making grabs no end.
Energetic and easy, it’s also playfully loose without feeling wayward. Very often intermediate boards put a lot of focus on being robust and good value, but can also feel a bit slower and of course they’re usually heavier, too. The Elite is unphysical and fun. The Raptor, for example, needs to be treated more sternly.
DO YOU RIDE REGULARLY AND HARD IN STRONG WINDS?
Perhaps where more aggressive or heavier riders will start wanting more natural performance is when it comes to trying to ride really powered up. If your focus is on riding fast and hard in strong wind, there’s a bit of recalibration needed in terms of your back foot pressure to keep that section of the rail deeply engaged.
The CrazyFly Hexa pad / straps have a decent amount of adjustment with four Velcro straps hidden beneath the top cover. You can find your own comfortable spot with them, but these aren’t the most immediately soft, cushioned set up, though they bed in nicely after some sessions and the toe / heel grip ridges work well. They look sweet, too! Of course this board wouldn’t be complete without a set of thin, light, super-sleek carbon fins. All-in, a very sweet package.
The Elite is a dream machine for intermediates or lighter riders looking to own the ultimate in light weight carbon production manufacturing. This isn’t just a showpiece though as it delivers superb pop for imperfect rider technique, offers excellent potential to succeed in making more of your grabs and guarantees rewarding, easy performance in the conditions that we usually kitesurf in.
Light weight performance energises your ride and really helps you reach your grabs… in fact you’ll soon find yourself contorting to grab new positions on the board, too!
KW WOULD CHANGE
Some experienced riders, particularly freestylers, prefer more added swing weight to add flow to their complex rotations. If using boots you’ll need a more robust, thicker deck, too.
CRAZYFLY ELITE BALANCE POINTS
(TEST SCORE BREAKDOWNS HERE)
Build quality: 9
Fixtures and fittings: 8.5
Slider proof: No
Boots applicable: No Freeriding: 9
Ease of use: 8 (Very easy in most conditions but loses a bit of focus when pushed really hard)
Find out more at: www.crazyflykites.com/elite
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