2015 Skinny Boy 8m – Blade Kiteboarding review
We had the chance to test a new wave kite developed by Blade Kiteboarding, the Skinny Boy 8m2 in a dozen sessions in various conditions :
Wind : from 15 up to 30kts, side- sideoff and side-on
Waves : chop to clean 1m waves
Rider : 78 kg – 156 lbs, advanced level.
A first some words from Blade kites to introduce the Skinny Boy.
Making specific kites for specific disciplines is what we do best, which means it was only a matter of time before we came out with a wave dedicated kite. The new Skinny Boy is for surfers who like to ride with power and super-quick steering abilities. Whether you go out strapless or with straps, you’ll find the Skinny Boy helps you charge any wave.
• Highly Reactive and Fast Turning
• Insta-Depower Feature
• Efficient Low End Performance
• High-Performance Drift
• Quality Craftsmanship
Well thought and practical with pockets, zips, straps every thing has a place.
It’s the second generation bar called Uni Bar adjustable to 44cm or 52cm with a core made of aluminum molded in one piece giving stiffness and direct feeling to the kite.
The bar is fitted with a comfortable and strong EVA grip pad. The bar never slipped off the hands of the riders during the tests.
The chicken loop has a quick release slider that you need to push to let go the kite. The re-attachment mechanism is very easy and quick. Beware of the stiffness of the donkey kick ( Tshotsh) when you disconnect it to ride unhooked…your fingers will remember. About unhooked riding, the stopper ball of the depower is easy to adjust and stable.
The good rust-free bearing of the T swivel allowed me to launch multiple rotations without twisting the front lines. The system works well, no bad surprise with the safety line. The clam cleat can be easily adjusted to set bar throw.
The originality of the Uni bar comes from the kinetic tweaked profile design that gives a better leverage and consequently, increases the speed rotation of the kite, one of the key points of the Skinny Boy.
The Skinny Boy 8m2 BladeKite
The Skinny boy is a SLE Hybrid profile mounted with 3 struts, specially built to ride in the waves.
Inflating the kite is very quick thanks to the one pump Mad2 air flow system. To exit the pump tip without loosing air, it’s just a knack you have to pick up. Bend the kite on a side so that the stop ball find surely the exit hole. The angle of the valve with the leading edge deserves to be modify, it’s only a detail.
We appreciate the quick turn response in all the winds conditions we had during the test : from light wind in 15 kts to violent gusts around 35 kts the kite stills easily steerable and predictable thanks to the profile and the 3 struts construction. An advantage that allowed me to stay with 8m2 in a session shared with Raphael Salles and the F-One Team, who had to switch from 9m2 to 5m2. I was still riding peacefully the 8m2 with the short lines setting in 19m…steady.
I’m used to ride on Wainman Hawaii in 17m, the radius turn is very similar. You can play in a pocket particularly when you don’t ride down the line, making move quickly your kite through the window at each bottom turn and cut back.
I also explored down the line style to try to pull off some aerials. Helped by the drift potential that keeps the profile and the kite trajectory stable, I nailed a couple of nice ones.
As well in a strapless tricks as a in snap turns, you need an efficient depower to keep the full control of the board. The range depower of the bar plus the 3 points double pulley bridle of the leading edge offer this ability, you’ll stay sticked on your board during those maneuvers.
On an overcrowded spot or by light wind, you need to take advantage with the ability of a kite to go upwind and to get more waves. Our test spot is like a little Chinatown … 60 windsurfers and 70 kites on two tiny peaks : a real mess in which the Skinny Boy allowed me to do short upwind tacks to catch a maximum of good waves, hell yeahhh !
The hangtime of the Skinny boy is not a strong point in accordance with the Blade Kite designer “Momi” but I consider that’s more than enough, above all with the line extensions. The 23 m bar set is very useful when you want to pull off air tricks, getting more amplitude or in light wind, giving more power. Switching easily on the two sets will increases considerably your wind range.
Unlike other brands, the Skinny Boy doesn’t have different bridle attachment points : upwind or downwind setting. No probs ! Go and fly the kite, it works simply in all wind conditions!
The appraisal by the team test on the Skinny Boy 8m by Blade Kiteboarding is very positive and yes, we recommend to purchase this kite well defined by the banner.
This skinny boy has a strong case.
For more info visit http://www.bladekites.com/
To end the review a little clip on the over view of the Skinny Boy, followed a Worth watching action video featuring Stephan Figueiredo ripping with the Skinny Boy in a massive swell.
A big thank to Nicolas Cressole and his Sony-Nex5 for the pics and his energy.