REVIEW SYNOPSIS: Exciting efficiency, impressive stability, plug-and-play, smooth pivoting gem.
Sizes Tested (m): 9, 12
Sizes Available (m): 4.5, 6.5, 9, 12, 15.5, 17.5
Control Bar: Response Control Bar
THE GOOD STUFF:
The Liquid Force Solo stormed onto the scene last year and proved that this one-strut design has some key performance advantages with limited drawbacks. The lighter weight canopy gives the kite undeniable low-end power driven by its inherent and efficient light weight, solid frame and powerful canopy shape. You can almost ride a size or half-size smaller on a Solo because it generates that extra grunt. Unlike some of the completely strut-free designs, the Solo has the right touch of stability when aggressively flown and the water relaunch is more reliable because the canopy can easily catch wind while helmet down. With the weight savings offered with just one narrow strut, the larger Solo sizes feel more nimble and reactive in the air and the wide and low aspect kite has lots of instant depower which is ideal for learning new skills on a new directional board or as a beginner. The Solo is also fun and easy to boost, with surprising amounts of glide, and backs it up with quick and reactive pivots for soft landings. This year’s Solo, has some refinements in the shape and beefed up Dacron in the trailing edge that reduces some of the flutter while highly depowered, which will increase durability in the long run. This is a Liquid Force gem that might be the perfect travel kite for surf and foil riding as it packs up small and delivers the goods, especially in low-end marginal conditions. It’s a fun kite to sheet-in-and-go and concentrate on new board riding skills, like foil boarding or directional transitions as it’s a kite that can generate lots of power and is an easy and linear depowering kite.
THE TRADE OFF: In the upper end of each kite size’s wind range the single-strut shape loses some panache.
BEST FOR: Intermediate-to-advanced crossover riders that want a versatile and easily transportable kite for directional riding in surf, hassle-free freeride twin blasting, or riding a foil or in lighter winds. Also well-suited for beginners that want a kite with easy-to-find power and amazing stability.