SOURCE 1st impressions

This Saturday we arrived at the beach with our 1st Source kite. The tiny (for a 15m) and stylish bag opened to reveal a very slick and lightweight 3 strut kite with only the bare minimum of dacron and an interesting bridle hanging about 1 meter from each tip. It took less to pump up than a normal 9m ! And 2 lines setup was simplicity incarnate. So far so good, however standing on the beach the wind was not encouraging. On-off 2-12 knots westerly with plenty of swirling and direction changes. Other kiters there watched dubiously as I launched the Source and headed for the water...

The kite was steady and stayed put when even Bandits would need to be worked. The 1st sensation was how detuned and docile the Source feels, no acceleration and no jerks. The 2nd sensation was how safe I felt in comparison to other kites that could react badly to mistakes in these conditions. Heading out for the 1st run it was difficult to get up to speed on my normal kiteboard, however at least the kite remained airborne as opposed to any other kite which would have fallen in the lulls. After getting back to the beach somewhat downwind I decided to try the M8 Ultim8 Stand Up Paddle board and see what the fuss was about.

Carrying the board I was reassured by the Source not needing to be worked and watched at the same time like other kites. In the water I was able to take my time and wait for the break in the waves without kite crashing. I toyed with the idea of kneeling, but with other kiters and the magazine photog watching I stepped up on board and dived the kite.... and glided forward, a different sensation entirely to the kitesurfing I already knew took hold. On the one hand cumbersome and slow motion and on the other hand quite relaxing as I crested the waves and gently sailed out to sea. Just a light grip on the bar, barely leaning back against the 2 line bar.

The massively reduced resistance at low speed meant I did not need to use the harness hardly at all ! and going ridiculously upwind from the moment I got on board was great. Most of the time I rode unhooked, one handed and relatively upright. Gliding past turtles with time to savour the sights was an inspiration. I imagined coasting out around the headland, across bays, between islands, past whales and beyond. I had plenty of time to tune my position on the board and kite in the air. It really was a revelation just how easy and enjoyable the Source and Sup combo would be for rank begginners as well as seasoned vets.

Of course the kite ended up in the water several times, but I did not. Anyway each and every time the kite relaunched without fuss and without power snaps even in sub 5knots ! so I never needed to utilise the paddling option and stayed quite dry. It was sunny but still late winter way out on the bay so highlighting what will draw many to the Source sup idea. Not everyone accepts being partially submerged or swimming for thrillseeking as we kiters do. And thats the hook, you see as incredible as the Source is at staying up there in swirly air, it is just as F-one say "the original sup kite" that makes the mainstream concept workable.

You literally could stand or kneel a rank begginner on the board, pass them the 2 line bar, and while you are on the same board tell them when to pull right and when to pull left. Everything happens at such a relaxed pace and is so much simpler with two lines and no powerband that now kitesurfing is suddenly appealling to hordes of the timid and timepoor, not to mention kitesurfers with kids, better halves, random mates and of course mans best friend. And not to worry, the kites wont interfere with normal kitesurfing because they top out just as we start having fun on the Bandit 4 liners.

In summary it is not any single one of Source's incredible lightwind prowess, 2-line simplicity, docile handling, family fun, or target sup use on their own that makes it such a success. When combined these remarkable attributes form a brilliant synergy and a must do experience for every well rounded kitesurfer. I had a swell time with the Source in conditions where any other kite would have been futile. I am excited at possibilities for tandem 2 up, paddle + kite journeys and mega missions river to sea that the Source opens up. Well done F-one, Vive la difference. Now kite every day you want to.


16-Aug-10 4:44AM