2014 Airush VarialX Review
I've now had a few sessions on the 2014 Airush Varial X and figure i've got my head around this kite well enough to let you know what I think.
So the kite is a 3 strut, 4 line "supported leading edge" C kite. It's marketed as the high performance kite in the Airush range that will do it all - surf, freeride and freestyle.
On first inspection, the kite's quality is right up there as you would expect. The SmartBar is clean and works; centre lines are covered in plastic so they won't wear through, above the bar depower is your webbing/toggles setup that works well - this is the only part of the bar i'd change to a pulley system but that's just personal preference. The safety is small, clean and simple and the bar ends are small with just enough size to wrap the lines up cleanly. The bar is comfy in the hands, perfect diameter and plenty of grip
In the air, the kite has absolutely no "dialling in" period. Everyone who we have had ride this kite has been able to jump on and be instantly in tune. I wouldn't say the bar pressure is heavy, but there's enough there to ensure that you know exactly where the kite is at all times.
The Varial X is quick. Turning is really direct for a bridled kite so you can throw it around the sky with confidence. The kite is also quite fast through the window.
This kite is great for freestyle. Unhooked it obviously doesn't give you as much slack as the Razor, for example, but you wouldn't expect it to. It has absolutely zero back stall while unhooked. I was wearing a pretty average harness that was making hooking back in a mission, but not once did I have to think about the kite stalling out while trying to hook back in. Plenty of pop and enough slack to land any trick under the sun.
Boosting the Varial X is great!! It still gives you that instant rip off the water similar to a full blown C kite but the hangtime is amazing for a hybrid-C style kite. It simply doesn't want to put you down.
I haven't used the kite in the waves yet, but it seems to drift well enough to keep most of us happy in the surf. It has plenty of depower in the bar throw, so wiping off power when dropping in to a wave won't be a problem.
Relaunch is a no brainer, the kite sits on it's wingtip waiting for you.
Low end power is pretty good. I was out today in a gusty 15-20; plenty of other riders were on 11 & 12's while I was happily on the 9m Varial X with a 2014 North Jaime 136 and at 76kg I was never under powered even in the lulls. On the other hand, we flew the 8m in 30+ knots and with the depower all the way on, the kite was manageable (and boosted to the moon!) so the wind range seems respectable for a C shaped kite.
I would highly recommend to put this kite on your list if you're looking for a kite to start unhooked tricks or general all round kiting with a c-kite feel without having to commit to a 5-line c-kite. We have a 9m available for demo, if you'd like to take it for a spin just get in contact with us :)
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