2008 12m Latitude Review

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dewsy
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2008 12m Latitude Review

Post by dewsy » Mon Nov 02, 2009 2:25 pm

Shipping: Shipping time was roughly 3 business days. The kite was purchased from a dealer in Huntington, NY. The shipping charges were around $30. The kite came in a box that ensured safe travel and minimal risk of anything happening during transit.
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Included: For the price of about $480 (including shipping) I got the 12 meter Latitude from Latitude, a bar, bag and pump shipped to my door. Originally the pump was not included but the good folks who added it, did so because I purchased the package from them without going through ebay saving them a couple bucks in fees which says something about the people on the other end. I had a good feeling at first digging into the contents of the box.
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Kites Outta the Bag: When I took the kite out of the bag, the first things I noticed was discoloration on the canopy. It looked the color of motor oil and it I was a little concern expecting the kite to be in pristine condition. Obviously, this will have no effect on the performance but try buying a new car with a scratch on the door, it just doesn’t make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. When you count the free pump, and the stain on the kite, for me these were offsetting penalties, but then again, I was in need of a new pump, other kitesurfers might not be as complacent.
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Bar and Lines: When first looking at the bar, I was excited to see if Latitude had come up with something I hadn’t seen before. First, I noticed that there would be much less throw in the bar, which would indicated less depower, than the Naish bar I’m used to. Next, I noticed the size and robustness of the floats on the end of the bars. The website pictured the 2008 bar as having short floats, but this was not the case for the bar I received. The power adjustment straps seemed to be in the right place, and the Velcro does a good job of holding them in place. Next my attention was turned to the stopper, an orange circular disk which is not easily movable. The bar had a safety line that went through the bar which I’ve had, and liked, before. In my first flight, I found that the safety line was too short and was fully extended while the kite was in flight. Additionally, the way the safety line was set up, I’d be in real trouble if I had to quick release as the kite would not depower if I should have to self rescue. Lastly the elastic straps on each side of the end of the bar help to keep things clean when wrapping up the lines after a session. My last gripe with the bar is the stopper. While steering one handed, I noticed that the stopper extends over the bar and on a number of occasions my fingers were pinched between the bar and the. It’s something I can get used to avoiding but is never an issue with my other bar.
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The Kite: The kite is standard in shape and size, nothing odd or new here but with a total of seven struts for structural integrity. Inflating the kite is easy because of the one pump system, which now days is like mentioning that a new car has power windows and locks, it should be standard. The Latitude has hoses that go from the Leading Edge to each strut that benefits in the event of needing to replace a strut, there doesn’t need to be extensive work with the bladder. My only concern was the rate at which the kite and struts became totally deflated. It seemed as if the struts wanted to hold air even when the deflate valve was open. This is due to the length of the hoses, they seem excessively long and will pinch shut if the angle is right. Shorter hose lengths will solve this problem, a modification that can be easily done on your own. The hoses also have clips that will seal them from the leading edge incase you’d like to deflate the leading edge and keep but keep the bladders inflated. One thing I really like about inflating this kite is the fact that there is a ball stopper on the inflation side of the kite, you’re not going to loose any air pressure when you pull your hose to close the valve. Next, the pulley is not located on the kite itself, it is located on the lines which allows for easy replacement in the event that the pulley should need to be replaced. Hooking the kite up to the lines is simple because the lines and bridles are both color coded to ensure that no errors can be made.
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First Flight: After self launching, I felt immediately like the kite was just an extension of my body. There were no weird stalls, no unexpected pulls, just butter smooth power right through the front lines. Steering the kite back and forth through the power window you feel the serious power this kite is capable of even in steady 9-12kt winds. As with any new kite, it’s good to really get a feel for what you’re dealing with, and what the kite is capable of on the beach (if there’s room). The kite is so stable even with the lines completely untuned from the factory. The kite will hang nice and steady even with hands off the bar. As the kite neared the top of the window, I pulled back on the bar to power up the kite and ever so gently, I was lifted off and then set back down on the ground. A flurry of excitement shot through me as I grabbed my board and headed to the water.
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On the water, the kite is easy to control and totally predictable. The kite’s flying characteristics are so smooth that it allows newer riders to focus less on keeping their kite in the air and more on approaching waves, angle of attack, and riding position. If a newbie should wipe out, even become completely submerged, you can feel exactly where the kite is with one hand on the bar. Bar pressure is good, not too floaty, nor too heavy. Bar pressure is about as much as some 9m kites, but much less than my previous 2:1 setup. One thing I noticed while on the water was the way this kite held its shape. Though it’s a 12m I feel like it is more efficient than other bigger kites I’ve flown especially given the conditions. This effect could be the extra struts providing more windward surface area. On the water, I noticed that there was a significant increase in power with the bar pulled in and the kite does not over fly. In lower wind conditions, I’d like to see the kite fly a little faster, there’s a slight tendency to stall even with the bar totally out. This kite will definitely get you moving in a hurry though. Steering the kite was easy too. The kite does not steer super fast, perfect for a newer to intermediate freerider. You’re looking at steady predictable, controllable turning from this 12 meter Latitude.

Overall: Overall, I am unbelievably pleased with this kites performance. Considering it’s a brand new 12m kite with bag, bar, and pump, I feel like it’s a steal at about $480. The bar that they sent me was not the 2008 bar as advertised on their website so I feel like I was shorted there. Latitude has some development issues to work out for their newer bars, especially for the safety line that’s about two inches too short, and the stopper that pinches your fingers if they get caught between it and the bar. My last cause for concern is how you keep yourself attached to the kite during an emergency release. Your choice is to attach your leash to the swivel where the original line was and risk not fully depowering the kite if you get in trouble or pull one of the rear lines and watch the kite spiral to the ground giving you a nice puzzle of twisted line to deal with when you make it back to the beach.

Final Thought: I had a sailboat once that I bought for $400. It needed some work but it sure was fun to sail. Every time something went wrong with the boat my dad and I would say, “four hundred dollars.â€

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smpl
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Post by smpl » Mon Nov 02, 2009 2:52 pm

you should post your review on kiteforum

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Rorke
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Post by Rorke » Mon Nov 02, 2009 3:08 pm

Good review Dewsy.

IMPORTANT!!!

Your safety modification isn't finished. You have to put a stopper ball a few feet above the Mickey Mouse ears on that same line.

Otherwise, if you ditch your rig and put the load on that line, your controls will keep going to the kite.

Very difficult to recover from this. With that much spaghetti in the water, you would be screwed. As in drowned.

Also, spinning your bar is limited with this set up.

I would personally not recommend this mod to anyone. :!:

Last, what are the two lines coming down from the stopper (instead of one)? Is there also below the bar depower?

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Post by Misfit » Mon Nov 02, 2009 3:37 pm

Here's another review of the latitude from chris @ sharkless


Had a student show up with one and I taught him on it. It was the worst piece of crap i've ever tried. The bridle system was really off. and would not come off the water. The student tried to use it for a couple weeks but hated it so bad that he ordered a brand new Airush flow. The kite company use to be SOF. There was a board that came with it that sucked as well.

They are really cheap because of how bad they are.
Here's the link
viewtopic.php?t=8073

thought it would be good to have another review.

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Post by JEF » Mon Nov 02, 2009 3:46 pm

Dewsy review is very detailed. Here is a less detailed review.

6/1/2009 - Outer banks, NC
Testing out the Latitude Kite

The wind was a touch light today, but John wanted to test out our new Latitude Kite. It is made in the same factory as the North kites and we had high hopes. It seemed to live up to our expectations. John tried to make it over sheet or act wacky without success. Good news! Very good news.

http://www.islandwonder.com/blog/2009/june/page_1.html

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Post by jensmadwind » Tue Nov 03, 2009 8:18 am

So you just bought a "new" 2008 kite. It is now the 2010 model year and that kite was either used to mop up a garage or it was flown. Sorry buddy that is not that good of a deal.

Just so you know dewsy, I and most "Kiteboarders" out there choose their equipment for performance not price. Price may become an issue when choosing between two kites that offer similar performance. No reputable kiteboarder would give up a kite they are used to so they could buy a kite they have never seen or heard of just because it was a good deal. What ever happened to, If it sounds to good to be true it probably is.

Nice demo in no wind, How is the upwind performance? doubt you would know, no kite is going upwind in 9-12 knots.

Another idiotic adventure posted by kook numero uno dewsy.
10 mph?

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Rorke
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Post by Rorke » Tue Nov 03, 2009 8:40 am

Damn! :shock:

You guys are going to fight, and it's going to be sweet!

dewsy
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Post by dewsy » Tue Nov 03, 2009 10:16 am

It would be a shame to only limit yourself to what you've "heard" of.. there was a time when no one heard of a PC or windows when apple was the only thing out there..

jens I'm just trying to offer people my experience with a kite no one's used before.. and given my history, I'm sure everyone on this board is taking it with a grain, cup, or mountain of salt.. but, if you should see me out on the beach, feel free to give it a try, and let this kook take a safe break on the beach for a while..

-Jason Dews

ps. if anyone has a brand new 8-10m with bar and pump for around $500 shipped, let me know i'm in the market for a higher wind kite..

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Post by adseguy » Tue Nov 03, 2009 11:49 am

jensmadwind wrote:So you just bought a "new" 2008 kite. It is now the 2010 model year and that kite was either used to mop up a garage or it was flown. Sorry buddy that is not that good of a deal.

Just so you know dewsy, I and most "Kiteboarders" out there choose their equipment for performance not price. Price may become an issue when choosing between two kites that offer similar performance. No reputable kiteboarder would give up a kite they are used to so they could buy a kite they have never seen or heard of just because it was a good deal. What ever happened to, If it sounds to good to be true it probably is.

Nice demo in no wind, How is the upwind performance? doubt you would know, no kite is going upwind in 9-12 knots.

Another idiotic adventure posted by kook numero uno dewsy.
Relentless Jens.....and I love it haha. Made me smile today :lol:
dewsy wrote:I'm sure everyone on this board is taking it with a grain, cup, or mountain of salt..
Hmmm, I think that's the wrong use of the coined phrase "Take it for a grain a salt". A grain of salt is irrelevant in the grand scheme of anything you apply it too, hence taking it for a grain of salt just means whatever is said is irrelevant or has no impact. A mountain of salt would indeed be relevant or have an impact on anything so I'm pretty sure you have the usage backwards. :lol: :lol: :)

Throwing wood into the nice warm fire the Dewsy saga provides,
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Post by adseguy » Tue Nov 03, 2009 11:54 am

Dewsy,

This time you HAVE to follow someone's advice. That safety setup you made as Rorke pointed out will get you in some serious trouble so fix it ASAP. I would just attach your safety line to the bottom part of the swivel so you won't get line tanngles and have plenty of de-power on the safety system.

Hey if Waukegan works on Saturday (I know it's far away) hopefully I migt be able to try that kite if the conditions are right.
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dewsy
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Post by dewsy » Tue Nov 03, 2009 12:10 pm

I'd be happy to let you use the kite ade.. I'll be at Gun Lake in MI this weekend though..

Plus there are a few people whom I'd rather not run into at keegs which is why I don't kite there..

-dewsy

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Mixmikeup
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Post by Mixmikeup » Tue Nov 03, 2009 3:20 pm

jensmadwind wrote:
no kite is going upwind in 9-12 knots.
cough.. cough.. silver arrow 19... cough cough...

:D
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smpl
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Post by smpl » Tue Nov 03, 2009 3:22 pm

Mixmikeup wrote:
jensmadwind wrote:
no kite is going upwind in 9-12 knots.
cough.. cough.. silver arrow 19... cough cough...

:D
with a skim and a 12m i could

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Post by Mixmikeup » Tue Nov 03, 2009 3:45 pm

I bet I could keep the kite in the bag and swim upwind in 3 knts.
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Post by smpl » Tue Nov 03, 2009 3:53 pm

Dewsy keeps me entertained for hours and work in 0 knots of wind.
Last edited by smpl on Tue Nov 03, 2009 6:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Lunatic » Tue Nov 03, 2009 5:02 pm

Jens must be on the rag. :roll:

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Post by Misfit » Tue Nov 03, 2009 7:45 pm

Well, if he's on the rag then so am I. I totally agree with Jens.

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Post by Safe_Cracker » Tue Nov 03, 2009 11:26 pm

Hmmm that kite looks a bit C-ish maybe the reason for less depower travel ? Also could be the reason why it is grunty and smooth as is a good C kite. More struts is good for rigidity BUT it does not increase surface area, creates drag could be what is affecting speed ? All that matters is that you are happy with it but do it safely please... :wink:


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Post by Misfit » Wed Nov 04, 2009 9:21 am

All that matters is that you are happy with it but do it safely please...
well...... I agree with Polo on this too
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Post by Rorke » Wed Nov 04, 2009 2:17 pm

Curious. Did you consider my earlier suggestion? Since you didn't acknowledge it, I am curious.

BTW, if this were my set up, I'd simply replace the too short, supplied line with a longer line and put an anchor bend on the ring for my leash attachment. Put in a couple of hitches and/or whip it. Thats that.

This would depower a lot more than riding suicide.

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