Loads of sheet and go mixed with almost immediate power shut-off
THIS TEST FIRST APPEARED IN KITEWORLD #104 IN MARCH 2020
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TESTED BY: CHRIS BULL AND JIM GAUNT. FIND THEIR DETAILS AND TEST SCORE BREAKDOWNS HERE.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
A new model in the re-vamped and extended Ocean Rodeo line-up, the Crave is the weapon of choice for high-flying GKA Kite World Tour kite-surf competitor, Reece Myerscough.
First thing you’ll notice are the FST (Forward Swept Tips) that have featured on several Ocean Rodeo kite models over many seasons. Designed to help with relaunch and to improve steering impulse, they’re a very unique look. They also don’t feel any different to you as a rider, but they’re just a unique aspect that Ocean Rodeo implement to help tune their design and handling.
The Crave is a beefy 12 metre, quite deep in its aspect-ratio and shows a lot of canopy to the wind and, as you might therefore expect, delivers a large amount of sheeting power when you pull the bar in. Experience lots of torque to get you going, but then enjoy the benefit of depowering very quickly to pretty much nothing when you sheet out. This is a really good light wind performer.
Although the steering input effect isn’t immediate, once the Crave starts its turn, it then drives round quickly for a 12 and the bar pressure is relatively light considering the amount of sheeting power on tap.
Where the Crave excels is in its hangtime. As the sheeting power and steering operate a bit more independently in feel compared to a lot of other freeride kites, the pivotal turns mean that when you’re riding, you’re either turning or sheeting for power, but not really at the same time. The Crave is a drift overhead and sheet-in kind of jump, but the sheeting power delivers plenty of floaty hangtime.
There’s a certain stability in the Crave that means it doesn’t deviate accidentally from where you’ve left it, be that parked and driving along through sheeting, or when you’ve sheeted in with it overhead and you’re spinning or doing manoeuvres. We can totally see how Reece has pushed for this in development because when performing strapless freestyle spins, there’s so much going on in the subtleties of your body movement to be able to spin without foot straps, while keeping the base of the board facing into wind. On the Crave you can use some extra leverage on the bar without having the kite fly across the window accidentally. As you drop down in kite sizes, this would become an even more important feature in terms of benefitting from the kite’s rooted stability in the sky.
Another way that the Crave delivers extra control through rotations is through the immediate on-tap sheeting power / depower. You can very much influence your spin speed if you can sheet out with the kite overhead while still having the kite support you. It can be very hard to land strapless spins carrying any forward speed when you have the kite overhead, but the Crave delivers immediate access to sheeting power when you land to keep going.
Once dialled into it, the fact that the Crave only responds to firm commands – either sheeting, or steering – means that a lot of riders are going to find that quite an empowering quality; feeling like they can be more robust and less timid with the bar.
If you’re on a twin-tip and powering along you can get up to speed super quickly and then pop tricks off bits of chop without having the kite deviate from where it’s going. So often if you take your front hand off the bar to grab the board’s nose when you pop, most kites will drift up to 12 making it hard to land with speed and flow. The Crave is much easier for all these things where you need a solid kite position.
The Crave is also great for moves like hand drag kite loops. Moves that need a lot of control in terms of how you float and then, once you pull hard and the turn kicks in, the Crave then moves quickly around the window to smoothly pull you out of your manoeuvres. Sheet in again and you have immediate power delivery to get going.
Great low end and pretty good top end, but the Crave does start to feel quite chunky in its power if you push it far beyond its natural top end parameter. It’s harder to drive forward in strong winds so becomes more of a physical ride. There are 12 metre freeride kites with a more ranging top end performance, but its unlikely they would also have the low end performance that the Crave offers. There’s lots of power on tap, but within its standard range you can really dump all that power quickly and the throw isn’t long, so even shorter riders can access the full range of sheeting performance without having to over reach. Bully had the Crave out in the widest wind range, from strong to very light and managed some unhooked sessions on it in the lighter wind. This isn’t a kite that’s tuned to continue driving forward when unhooked, and although it’s meaty in feel, it didn’t back up and stall when landing basic moves like a blind judge and riding towards the kite.
Two bars are available: Ocean Rodeo’s all-singing back line trim ‘Shift’ bar that features a new stainless steel centre housing, better routing to flush out debris and an up-to-date chicken-loop release with the new Gen 8 Punch out system.
We tested the more basic Pilot bar that is still complete with a decent bar swivel above the chicken-loop and a neat above the bar trimming cleat. Power lines are plastic covered through the centre of the bar, the safety line runs through to one line on the kite and although the bar isn’t the smallest or sleekest, it’s clean, strong, comfortable and delivers all the performance reliability you need.
Perhaps the 12 metre (the biggest available size) wasn’t the ideal one to test in this model of strapless freestyle / wave / boosting programmed kite, but nevertheless we found unique performance. Loads of sheet and go mixed with almost immediate power shut-off. The Crave also doesn’t wander around the window and only responds to specific sheeting and steering commands, so intermediate riders and above will make fewer mistakes, especially when riding through rough waters and when rotating. Once the Crave starts its turn, it moves quickly and with drive around the whole loop, so in smaller sizes it should be very engaging.
Very steady and locked in, especially good when you’re learning to spin under the kite. Also loads of smooth sheeting drive.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
If you’re looking for a fast freeride kite to throw around athletically, the 12 metre Crave is a bit too rooted in its position for you. (We can’t comment on the smaller sizes, but they should obviously be quicker).
CRAVE BALANCE POINTS:
Build quality: 8
Full package: 8
Low end: 9
Top end: 7.5
Steering speed: 6 (Once it gets going)
Turning circle: 4
Bar pressure: 5
Water relaunch: 8.5
Unhooked: 4 (Needs a lot of trimming but it does remain well locked in position.)
Ease of use: 7.5
SIZES: 12, 10, 9, 8 and 7m
Find out more: www.oceanrodeo.com
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