EVO D/LAB RIDER REVIEW
After the recent photoshoot in New Caledonia, we chat with Tom Hebert, Edgar Ulrich, and Reno Romeu to get their insights on the new Evo D/LAB. We also catch up with Aaron Hadlow, who's been in Cape Town and on a recent trip to Namibia where they got to test the kite in really extreme conditions.
Let’s start with you Tom, you’ve been riding the new Evo D/LAB over the last few weeks during the photo shoot, tell us your first impressions of the kite.
I was really impressed with the Evo D/LAB, with how stable it is in the air and how little drag it has, it doesn't feel that it's pulling you downwind, it’s always flying forward.
A few people have kind of equated that feeling to “slippery” through the air. Can you tell us how this feels and explain the benefits?
When compared to an SLS kite, the Evo D/LAB is stiffer, which is good, especially for big kites. You want that stiffness to have the best feedback and fast response, that's what the D/LAB brings. With that very rigid structure when you pull the bar, the kite reacts very fast, and that's what we want. Also, the feedback is very nice, you don't need to look at the kite, you know where it is all the time. The performance is especially noticeable when you do a turn downwind or a transition, most kites will delay or stall in this situation, but with the Evo D/LAB, even when the wind is light, it still has a connection the entire time and that's the biggest advantage.
That's something the wave riders mentioned with the Neo D/LAB, when they do a bottom turn, on any other kite they would have to edge out to create line tension, but with the Neo D/LAB, it keeps line tension and drifts so fast that they could just go straight into the next bottom turn to hit the lip. Is that kind of a similar sensation, It's always connected in the wind window?
Yeah exactly. This is so good, it doesn’t fall out of the sky even if there's no wind, it's so stable. This is perfect for us when we do transition tricks or even unhooked tricks, you don't want the kite to be too much in the window. You want it to be always a bit forward, so to have this with stability is huge. It’s also very fast and you can really feel that it doesn't generate much drag and that’s very important.
Who would you say would be best suited to get an Evo D/LAB?
It's definitely a very high-performance kite, the most advanced kite in the range of Evo. But I would say that anyone can still ride it because the aim behind the Evo is to be a very versatile kite and user-friendly, something everybody can use. It’s the highest-performance Evo and I would recommend it to anyone that wants to push their level to the maximum. For sure your budget is going to be a consideration, but being so user-friendly you can do anything from basic jumps, but you can also go crazy with it, that's what is so good about it.
Great, thanks, Tom. Moving on to you, Aaron, you spent the winter out in Cape Town and you were recently on a trip to Namibia, where you had some really strong winds. You are also an integral part of the testing and developing of the kite alongside designer Ralf Grösel. Can you give us your impressions of the Evo D/LAB?
I've been loving this kite in strong and light winds, obviously, in the light winds, it's so beneficial because of the weight saving and the precision, it’s super-light.
Throughout the range, something that the high-performance riders really love is the fact you can place it wherever you want, you can move it around easily. It's really precise in handling across all sizes, even the small ones. Also the lift it creates even in the small sizes just gives you that extra height.
In the small sizes, I would say it really bites into the wind and always feels like it's pulling you up vertically. So that really helps for the guys in Tarifa or where we were in Namibia with the flat water take-offs for Big Air, you get that vertical takeoff really easy. You can keep it to the side of the window, raise it through the window and then really flick it quickly because of the speed and there's just no lag in the steering, which makes you get the vertical lift. It's so good for kite loops, and during the loop, you can really control it.
It's really fast and super precise. I think it has benefits for all levels of kiter, from the pro riders who love it because of its precision and being able to place it in the sky where you want and always knowing where it is. You can always somehow figure out a landing even if you're coming in hot, you're able to manipulate it in such a good way. But for average riders as well, it's just really easy to use and it's fairly easy going and fairly forgiving for such a high-performance kite. It produces a lot of lift, so I think it's a great kite for both for all types of riders, but the ambitious advanced riders can really get the most out of it.
»THIS IS THE KITE THAT BRINGS YOU FURTHER, IT’S THE ULTIMATE FEELING, THE ULTIMATE RIDE, AND THE ULTIMATE KITE TO FURTHER YOUR PROGRESSION«
Hi Reno, tell us about your experiences with the Evo D/LAB over the trip.
The Evo D/LAB is a progression in precision when comparing it to the Evo SLS, and the Evo SLS is a step forward in this same way from the Evo. I think that for someone that really likes to feel where the kite is and someone who wants the most precise feedback from the bar, the Evo D/LAB is the way to go. When you pump up the Evo D/LAB, the kite becomes so rigid and this changes everything. Because of the stiffness of the leading edge and the structure of the kite, it gives a lot of precision to the kite making it easier to learn new tricks and easier for the moves you can already do. It allows you to push your level even more.
The D/LAB products are the most premium in the Duotone range, who do you think will benefit the most from this kite?
I think that people who really want to improve their riding and their level of tricks and people who are looking to have better control of their kite. It gives every rider a better level. Also, for those who foil, the kite stays in the air with pretty much no wind, It's ridiculous. Sometimes, when it's six knots, you put your kite up, and you’re not sure that the kite is going to fall and this kite remains stable. So for people who like to ride small kites and foil in light wind, on a 10, 11, or 12, it's an amazing kite too.
And Edgar, you've had a couple of weeks now riding the new Evo D/LAB. Can you give us some insights on how it rides and maybe explain a little bit about how it differs from the Evo SLS?
I've been riding the Evo D/LAB in the larger sizes and can really feel the kite is so precise and has even more control and hangtime, even more so than the Evo SLS which already has a huge hang time. It's the perfect kite for light wind and you can push it in strong winds too because it's stiffer.
During a recent light wind session on the foil I crashed the kite, it was really light wind yet I could relaunch it easily. It’s easy to use and the feedback from the kite gives you so much control and precision. I can't wait to try the small sizes.
Tell us a little bit more about that precision you mentioned. How does that translate into your riding, you mentioned when you're trying to jump over a tree that you could really nail it every time with the Evo D/LAB.
Yes, I was jumping over the tree and the precision was really insane. I could repeat the jump and be within a few centimeters each time. Where you aim, you will go. You can really feel where the kite is all the time and I think that makes a big difference. You don't have to look to know where the kite is. You have so much bar feel and so much control, it's really amazing.
Are there any differences in things like the bar pressure and the way it flies?
I don't think there is any difference in bar pressure, the kite still feels the same. It's easy to fly and all the power is in the harness. You don't have so much pressure on the bar, so you can ride for hours without getting tired.
Who is best suited to the Evo D/LAB in your opinion?
I would say this kite is perfect for the rider who is a passionate kiteboarder and someone who wants to invest in a kite that is going to last for a long time and push their riding. This is the kite that brings you further, it’s the ultimate feeling, the ultimate ride, and the ultimate kite to further your progression.