Best Jumbo Wave Kite
Size tested: 12m Suggested retail: $1,299 (12m—kite only)
Sizes available: 5, 8, 12m
Test Team Report:
The Surf is a new model from Epic aimed at pure and dedicated wave performance. It has a unique and distinct wing tip and canopy shape, and is designed with a sturdy but light three-strut frame. The Test Team had the opportunity to ride the Surf 12m in some unstable, gusty conditions and it proved to have some key traits that any dedicated surf junkie should look for. The low-end power comes on with easy sheet-in-and-go performance, and the kite sits back in the window and drifts with good balance when the lines go slack. With the cut out wing tips, the Surf is able to pivot quickly and not only on one wing tip near the edge of the window, but on its axis anywhere in it. This means that no matter where it is in the wind window, it offers you quick direction change with absolutely no pull—the key feature of this kite.
The Surf also responds well to stearing input when depowered. The quick central pivot also makes the kite really easy to water relaunch, which is clearly a characteristic that can’t be overlooked for a dedicated wave kite. The Surf is very well-built and has well-balanced drift and lots of depower at arm’s length. It’s not built for jumping or hang time like the Screamer or Renegade, but it has good smooth power and pull and is a pivot-turning machine. Advanced- to intermediate-level waveriders who want every advantage in the waves should consider this kite from Epic.
It sits deeper in the window and doesn’t hammer upwind as well as some. The central pivot means you don’t have the ability to use a dive or loop to get you out of trouble.
Advanced-level riders who want a dedicated wave kite made for surfers that can pivot unbelievably fast on its axis and keep you on the wave when you need it to.
Designer Notes: Dimitri Maramenides
If you are a pure surfer and looking for a kite made specifically for the waves then the SURF kite was designed for this type of riding style. I used to use the RENEGADE models as my wave kites but did not want to advertise it as a wave kite so I don’t scare people away, because the RENEGADE model is an amazing all around kite. School love the RENEGADE for teaching, average kiters love the RENEGADE for jumping, stability and relaunchability and other riders love the RENEGADE for the waves, but for me the RENEGADE was my wave kite. So for the 4G we made the RENEGADE model more versatile and improve it with the option of 2 settings: (WAVE RIDE and FREE RIDE). By doing so the RENEGADE lost a little bit the wave riding performance it had before and gain more of the jumping and up wind ability. So my designer Momi and I decided to come up with a specific wave kite made only for surfers that are looking for a kite that will make them feel 100% at home when on the wave. It took us a lot of testing and a lot of inputs from riders world wide to come up with this particular design of the SURF kite. The new and unique shaped of this surf kite lets riders surf and feel the wave as never before. Also the reason we decided to go with this shape was because of few different ideas such as: 1) I wanted the kite to relaunch in seconds, 2) I wanted the kite to drift in front of you while surfing the wave with no problem, 3) Also did it ever happened to you when your kite is very low to the water and suddenly the Leading Edge goes in the water and immediately the kite will role over. Well by having this Leading Edge shape it makes the Leading Edge kite hydroplane when touching the water and gives you enough time for you to respond and pull the kite up off the water so it doesn’t end up in the water. Also don’t let the size of the 8 and 12 meter fool you because these 2 sizes are very powerful. And last but not least we decided to put 2 types of valves on the SURF kites. On one side you have the big Inflate/deflate Vavle and on the other side you have the normal old Inflate valve. The reason is very simple but you will need to check the video under the SURF page in order to get a better understanding.
For the SURF kite best performance I decided to include 18 meter lines with the bag. So you can use 22 meter lines that comes with the Epic’s XTEND bar or remove the 22 meter and replace them with the 18 meter lines. Also the bar pressure is on the lighter side, but provides adequate positional feedback for those moments in the barrel when you can’t actually see the kite.
All you have to do is get your hands on the SURF and you will see what I am talking about. The funny thing was that when I came to pick up the kites from the SBC guys the first thing they told me was that they had to land the SURF 12 kite and measure it because they did not believe how fast it was turning and had to measure it with other 9 meter kites from other kite companies.