Legit loops from a freestyle kite that also suits less experienced riders
THIS TEST FIRST APPEARED IN ISSUE #98 IN MARCH 2019
TEST TEAM NOTES:
Looking to perfect your double rotations? This is the best kite on test for that!
The Razor provides lots of low end power and is quite easy to turn, moves quickly and then locks into place. Once you stop the Razor moving, it then delivers most of its power in a straight line. The turning and power delivery almost have two different personalities, and that has some advantages.
The Razor is agile through the turn and then the moment you stop steering it locks into place. For a sent jump, or any manoeuvre where you set the kite overhead, the Razor produces a lot of lift in its sweet spot between 11 and 1 and once positioned above your head it doesn’t stray. On most modern, light input freeride kites, if you want to attempt to do anything more than one rotation, you need to really concentrate on the input you’re putting in at the bar to stop the kite moving inadvertently during your manoeuvre. So for technical sent jumps there’s lots of hangtime and you can park the kite, allowing you to do spins, try a board-off etc. and the Razor will pretty much stay where it is until you decide to move it. It’s a nice combination, especially for board-offs when you’re bending down and struggling to get the board back on your feet and not concentrating on the kite. If you leave your steering input a bit late, you can still sheet in on landing and catch yourself better than you might ordinarily have done.
This asset also really helps with transitions as the Razor is so steady overhead with lots of floaty lift. Extremely stable, there’s also lots of range in the kite and through sheeting range at the bar. Sometimes you come round from a forward roll and as you’re going for your second rotation you might decide to chicken out, so you sheet out and end up dropping quite unceremoniously down to the water with no momentum. Sheeting out on the Razor in that position doesn’t really affect your height too much, but does ease the power, so makes for some smooth riding in terms of easy freeride-freestyle.
Being a four strut design (with no central strut), the Razor develops quite a lot of pull with excellent sheet and go power. You can dump a lot of power through sheeting out when you’re riding along should you need to, but when you give input to steer the kite it starts turning quite quickly but without too much tug in your harness. For normal riding that’s great and when you’re moving it between 10 and 2 o’clock it’s quite agile, but once you start kite looping and send the kite down between 3 and 9 o’clock, it’s quite a different beast, providing a beautiful hoik!
The Razor provided some of the best kite-low kite loops – and was especially surprising on the first one! Going below the horizon in your eye line, the Razor delivers a really good haul, but with a nice combination of forward drive to make it all the way round and catch you. You just have to prepare that there’s a good amount of pull developed in that lower half of the turning circle. Through a loop you’ve got to pull because the reason the loop is so exciting is it does develop a good amount of power, so make sure you have a firm grip on the bar to keep it looping.
If you’re a young kite looper, it’s a lot of fun. For the rest of us, don’t worry; if you pull much harder you can get the Razor to turn more pivotally too, even when powered. The bar feel is at the heavier end of the spectrum when you get towards the kite’s top end. As such, despite having the ability to turn the kite quickly, we feel that the remaining power is a bit chunky for most people trying to ride strapless. If you ride your surfboard with straps and like a lot of power in your turns, then the Razor will be good, but primarily this is a kite for lots of fun hacking around on a twin-tip.
If you’re wondering about the unusual ‘Forward Swept Wingtips’ on the leading edge, you won’t notice any unusual feel, but what OR say it allows them to do is: “increase the leverage between your front and back lines, giving you the additional snap through a turn. FST also reduces drag off the wingtip, while delivering more sheeting range with less bar input, which is ideal for unhooked moves.” As the Razor provides a lot of power, the unhooked performance is better at its low end when that stable and locked-in position will be an advantage once again. More specialised unhooked kites will drive further forward in the window though, for more slack.
The Ocean Rodeo Shift bar was released at the same time as the Duotone Click bar as the only other rear line trimming design, although they’re very different in look and feel. The chassis on the underside of the Shift bar is completely open, so it’s easy to keep clean, but the bar diameter is relatively thick in your hands – but nothing you can’t get used to. To depower the kite using the knob on the underside of the right corner of the bar you push the knob away from you, and to power back up, you twist it. A big advantage is that it really clears up the centre line area above the bar and in front of your eyeline. The Shift system relies on the commonly used swivel above the chicken-loop to untwist your lines, which works well, although requires a bit more torque to untwist than some.
Ocean Rodeo have used an inflate valve that doesn’t require a pump nozzle and instead just connects directly to a standard pump hose – a system we highly applaud in this world where we’re constantly borrowing connectors for different kites on the beach!
Check the Razor in action:
For smooth riding in around 20 knots this ten metre is fantastic. It’s a big ask to be able to please a beginner and someone who’s been kiting 20 years, but Ocean Rodeo aren’t far off! Combining that drive with turning speed and a very stable boosting position, you can really enjoy the fun of kitesurfing; going high, getting hangtime, smashing some wave faces but then when you’re really ready to step up, the Razor transforms into a legit kite looping machine.
A rare combination of nimble but not overly quick steering mixed with rock solid stability overhead when boosting for all sorts of rotations / tricks.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
If you like a narrow diameter and short, compact bar system, you’ll find the Shift quite chunky, but nothing you can’t get used to. The Razor is also quite hefty in its bar feel towards its top end for smaller riders.
RAZOR BALANCE POINTS:
Build quality: 8
Full package: 8
Low end: 8.5
Top end: 7
Steering speed: 6.5
Turning circle: 7 and 4 (you can make it spin, but naturally it pulls wider round the bottom of the loop)
Bar pressure: 6.5
Water relaunch: 8.5
Hang-time: 8.5 (Note: great hangtime in light wind!)
Ease of use: 8
SIZES: 14, 12, 10, 9, 8 and 7m