Liquid Force Havoc 2011 Kite Review

15 02 2011

Liquid Force Havoc in the air at La Ventana Baja...

I got the chance to fly 10m & 12m 2011 Liquid Force Havoc kites courtesy of the fine folks at Bellingham Kiteboarding [aka Kite Paddle Surf Bellingham].  After having checked out the 2010 Envy and the 2011 Envy I was really curious how this kite would perform.

Liquid Force makes one of the best kite bags I've used...

I’ve said it during each Liquid Force kite review – they make killer bags. Easy to carry, easy to load and very tough while being attractive.  I travel a lot with my kites so I appreciate a sweet bag.

Liquid Force CPR system bar...

The Liquid Force bar features what they call their CPR system.  Essentially it means that your below the bar leash connects to one of the front lines [blue line in this picture].  So when you punch out of the chicken loop you can flag out the kite 100%.  That’s complete depower like a 5 line kite, but without the 5th line hassles.  Very cool.  I’m going to do a post just on this bar as it’s a significant advance in 4 line kite safety.  Beyond the CPR the chicken loop quick release is all plastic for maintenance free use even on sandy beaches.  The bar is light and comfortable in your hands.

Reinforced wingtips for durability...

Once I got these kites out of the bag it’s hard to over state how well they are made.  Reinforced in every critical spot including making the entire wingtip area out of dacron.  This is an ideal kite for someone who is not kind to their gear.

Strut detail...

Although this kite is made from heavy duty fabric the 4 strut design keeps it light.

Understated graphics and 4 strut design...

I’m a fan of the understated graphics.  Low key, but attractive. Great for riders that want to let their riding speak for itself.

Pro tip – the Bellingham Kiteboarding pro riders gave me a rigging tip that really improved how the kite flew.  When rigging the back lines hook them up not to the light wind setting or standard setting, but one knot higher than either…basically at the bridle.  This tightens the rear lines and give you more power and responsiveness – without a hint of back stalling.  If you want to detune the kite on the water just pull in the depower line – this is like hooking up to a lower knot as it slackens the rear lines.  Having tried all the settings I’d never rig my Envy or Havoc a different way.  Thanks for the smart tip Bellingham Kiteboarding!

Hitting the water with the Havoc...

So how does it fly?:

  • with kite rigged like I explain above with tight rear lines it’s very fast and turns nicely with constant pull around the turns.
  • it feels like a slightly more stable version of my Ocean Rodeo Rise.
  • water relaunching was easy
  • the kite is light enough if you do crash it floats back a bit in the window and gives you time to recover without any drama
  • bar pressure was moderate without being excessive
  • it jumps well and provides good hang time
  • I didn’t try any of the safety systems on the water

If you are in the market for a rugged easy to fly advanced beginner/intermediate kite the Liquid Force Havoc is worth a look.


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One response

7 11 2011
adrianbj

Curious about your rigging tip – what would the difference be in rigging where you say at the bridle, vs shortening the back lines by attaching them one knot closer to the bar on the leader lines? I guess there might be more to it than just shortening the lines – I guess it might make the control more direct in some way. I tend to think that my 2011 envy flies better on the light wind setting and one or even two knots up on the leader lines, but I haven’t tried your approach yet. Might give it a go here in ventana tomorrow.

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