Ben Wilson Surf Noise Kite Test 8 m² 2011
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Ben Wilson, Australian-born and long-time Slingshot Team Kiter, has been showing the world how to kite like no other for the last few years with his way of using a kite unhooked and strapless to catch waves! Ben W. only uses his kite to catch waves and then uses the force of the waves like a surfer. He has gained kite designing experience as a main designer for the Slingshot kite models Rev & Octane and has produced several Wave-Kite videos in the last few years such as “Unknown Road” which make even the most experienced surfers think about trying out a few lessons. Ben W. also offers different talks at wave clinics around the world where he shares his wave experiences with participants. As if that weren’t enough, he left Slingshot after several years and started his own kiting company, Ben Wilson Surf, which seeks to produce perfect wave-kite equipment for the market. We had the opportunity to test out the first Ben Wilson Kite, Noise, at the KiteWorldWide Lodge in Kenya.
The assembly is impressive, and you can tell that the kite was created for waves and can stand up against some of the toughest. The welding work is protected by a covering, and the stress points and tip of the front tube are all protected with Dacron.
The first thing that jumped out at me was the bar which gives a very high quality and clean impression! You can tell that Ben Wilson has been in the field for a while and has lots of experience as a developer for Slingshot – a company with a very purist stance. The adjuster is located also above the quick release as a clam cleat and works well. The stopper is a complex blocker which holds its position after it has been set! The QR is intuitively positioned and works as a push away. The recoil was just right!
Sizes 6-8m² are sold with a 17in bar and 10-20m² with a 20in.
The bar feels very light. The Noise doesn’t need any large exertion on the bar. It feels light, and you don’t have to hold on too tight, but you still have some feedback from the bar. You can easily find the pressure point, and the Noise always lets you know where you are in the wind! The lightness of the bar is easy on your arms when you’re out for longer sessions on the waves with lots of different changes in direction. The Noise also has another backline hook towards the middle to increase retention and turning force! The turning speed of the 8m Noise is comparable to the 8m Rally or RPM. The actual breakthrough in wave kite design is that the Noise almost eliminates back stall and can be controlled easily when you ride head-on into a wave! Especially when it’s unhooked, it has the best back stall performance of anything on the market!
You might think that the Noise is heavier due to all of the add-ons and takes off slower in lower winds, but that’s just not true! The 8m caught us completely by surprise with its low wind performance, and I was able to keep at a steady 18 knots with 75kg on a 132×41 board! With this large rage of use, it’s best to use a 2 kite combination of, for example, 12&8 or 10&6.
Re-launch is really easy. Just put some force onto the bar and pull to one side and the kite jumps out of the water! So, if you have problems with starting on the water, you either don’t have any wind or are just doing something wrong!
Even jumping with kite support is super easy with the Noise. You can easily find the right time to jump. Lift and hang time are all in the middle.
Great performance, excellent qualities, and good depower ability make this kite perfect for free riders.
However, hardcore wake stylers should stay away from this kite, since the Noise was conceptualized to stay pretty far in front in the wind window and, thus, doesn’t always have the right pop for loaded trix.
The main advantage is clearly in waves! This is displayed in its stable flight with little back stall, especially when the kite glides through wind courses in front. Its quick reaction time makes turning in waves a piece of cake!