My Blade Kites 2013 dream quiver…

17 12 2012

Blade kites in action..

If money was no object here is my Blade dream quiver…

Blade Trigger 12m…


The Triggers are great core kites that can handle surf and freeride duties. The 7m is burly enough for nuking days and the Fat Lady is a dedicated lightwind weapon to keep me riding if there is even a puff of wind.

Blade Sanchez and Fat Lady…


The Sanchez is a great freeride board and the Deuce offers massive pop for jumps and tricks. It’s nice to have two different twin tips so I can dial in my riding perfectly to the conditions and my mood.

Plus some non-Blade gear to round out the quiver:

Blade doesn’t make any surfboards so I had to shop elsewhere for my strapless fix.

Kite Paddle Surf…

Local Dealer

Light wind is no problem with the Blade Fat Lady…

16 12 2012
Note there are no other kites on the water...

Note there are no other kites on the water…

We’ve had some light wind days here in La Ventana, Baja. That’s left a lot of people sitting on the beach looking glum. Happily that means I can pump up my 17m Blade Fat Lady kite and enjoy the whole ocean near my camp without any other kiters to avoid.

Big can be beautiful...

Big can be beautiful…

Of course I didn’t hog all the fun. I let my friends take turns on the Fat Lady so they could feed their kiteboarding addiction as well. ūüėČ

Blade Fat Lady Kite – The session saver!

22 06 2012

My Blade Fat Lady Kite…

I’ve been meaning to post a review of my Blade Fat Lady 17m kite, but I’m – well – lazy! I’ll get to it at some point, but I did want to share some stoke for this kite. Like most kiteboarders I don’t stay awake at night dreaming of flying a 17m kite in light winds. However, there is nothing worse than driving a couple hours to the water only to sit on the beach in wind too light for your gear. It’s enough to make a grown man cry!

Me and the Fat Lady…

That’s why I decided to buy the Blade Fat Lady from Kite Paddle Surf Bellingham. She is my super secret session saving weapon. If I have the Fat Lady at the beach I know that if there is any wind at all I’ll be out riding and having fun. The great thing is the pay off is there even when the wind blows hard enough for a smaller kite because I can go to the beach without any stress knowing I’ll be out riding something. Very cool!

The Fat Lady and me on the KLR650…

Now if the Fat Lady was a total pig to fly there wouldn’t be much point getting out on the water at all. Happily she’s reasonably nimble…about the same as the 12m kites I’ve flown. Which is to say you can throw her around without waiting 20mins for her to turn – of course she’s no 8m rocket!

Strapless Fat Lady fun…

One last point about the Fat Lady – she depowers well. So if you go out early to poach some turns while it’s crazy light and the wind picks up you can stay out there without getting your arms torn off. Just haul in on the depower and keep riding.

The KLR and the Fat Lady…

So far the Fat Lady has saved me a number of sessions that would have otherwise been spent on my ass bitching about the lack of wind. Light wind kiting is gentle on gear so I expect I’ll be dancing with the Fat Lady next decade!

Blade Trigger Kite Review – Part 1

29 05 2012

12m Blade Trigger kite…

This is the first¬†installment¬†in a¬†review¬†of a 12m Blade Trigger kite. Andy from Kite Paddle Surf Bellingham lent me a Trigger because he was so stoked about it and wanted to see what I thought. I’m in the market to replace my main kites as they have aged and kite performance has moved on in the 3 years since I last updated my quiver. I’ll be posting a couple more installments of this review as I get time on the water with the Trigger. It’s often too windy on Vancouver Island for a 12m kite so I don’t get to fly the Trigger every session.

Trigger on the beach after a strapless session…

The Trigger is a hybrid SLE/bow kite that’s in its 4th generation. The attention to detail in the kite construction and design is clear. The Trigger is Blade’s wave/freeride model which suits my needs perfectly. I’m not going to race with it and I’m not into the new school wake style trickery. I want to ride strapless in the waves and be able to throw big fun air when strapped in on my twin tip.

Here are some reviews of the Trigger from kiters around the world.

Bridle attachment detail…

In terms of construction I care about longterm durability without wanting a very heavy kite that needs lots of wind to keep it aloft. There is a fine balance between the two and Blade gets it right with solid construction that should last a long time if you take care of your gear.

3 strut design…

By combining a 3 strut design and using reinforced fabrics and stitching only in high stress/wear points the Trigger is light yet robust.

Single point inflation…

The single point inflation system works well and is something I couldn’t live without anymore. With only 3 struts the kite doesn’t take too long to pump up.

Wingtip detail…

Rigging the Trigger is simple. It features a colour coded goofproof bridle that has fast/slow turn settings as well as a wave/freeride setting. So far I’ve only used the Trigger in the fast turn & freeride settings. I am curious about¬†the¬†wave setting so I’ll be playing with that this summer and reporting back. I doubt I’ll ever want to use the slow turn setting, but it’s a good feature if you are just starting out and want a really docile kite for a drama free session.

Wave and Standard bridle settings…

In the standard setting with the control lines attached to the fast turn position the Trigger was a great freeride kite. Turns were fast with about average bar pressure. The kite was very stable and easy to handle. The stability and lightweight meant that after a crash the Trigger was happy to stay up where I left it and float backwards in the air until I got tension onto the lines. That just means more riding and less relaunching of the kite.


Andy has had more time on the Trigger than I have so here are his thoughts on the Wave setting vs. the Standard bridle setting:

I recently had the opportunity to do a 5 mile downwinder in the waves in moderate to light 12m conditions. Never really juiced, but at times was happily powered, and at other times underpowered.

I did half of the session on the wave setting, and then switched to the normal setting for comparison.

The first thing I noticed when making the switch was that the bar pressure felt much lighter on the normal setting, and that I had to move the kite more to keep it flying in the window. It wasn’t a bad experience doing a downwinder on this setting, but you did have to manage the kite more than on the Wave setting.¬†

On the wave setting, bar pressure is firm, but not an arm burner at all. To me, the higher bar pressure allowed me to feel the kite more while I was focusing on the waves, and the kite did what it was supposed to as I rode down the line towards the kite…. it just drifted back with little input. Note, the kite is still depowered at the edge of the window, but as you ride towards it, it backs up without having to redirect the kite much. This worked well unless I totally charged at the kite and my boardspeed came close to the wind speed….. at this point I would have to move the kite just to keep some aparent wind going at it. (note… this was at the times when the wind was light, and I was riding pretty much straight downwind at the kite….) When properly powered, I was able to do the same thing making a few cuts on the wave, and didn’t have to worry about the kite falling backwards, or me riding under the kite. It was the perfect drifting balance between the two.

For free riding/ flat water, I like the normal setting better. The lighter bar pressure combined with this kites quick turning allows for nice jumps (I can jump better in the normal setting than the wave setting). Size for size, the 9m so far has been my favorite. The 7m is a blast to fly, but doesn’t have the float the 9m offers. The bigger sizes are nice too, but there is a balance between small kite feel, float, and hang time that the 9m just nails perfectly.

I have been able to get out on the new 14m Trigger too, and it has obviously taken some of the Fat Lady DNA and incorporated it into its design, The 14m has small struts, and a similar leading edge shape that puts it somewhere design wise in between the Trigger and Fat Lady, whereas last year’s 14m was all Trigger. The 2012 12m Trigger is all Trigger, the 2011 14m Trigger was all Trigger, but the 14m is somewhat of a mix between Fat Lady and Trigger, having attributes of both. If you are a smaller rider (under 170lbs), the 2012 Trigger 14m is probably all you’d ever need. It upwinds very well, has a higher wind range than the Fat Lady, but has most of the float. In 20mph, I was jumping in the 20-25ft high range, with very nice float. If I were on the Fat Lady, I might not have been able to jump as high, but would have had more float. The 14m obviously turns faster than the Fat Lady…. but the Fat Lady of course is no slouch.”

Control line turning speed adjustment…

Turns pivot around the wingtips. I found the turning speed to be excellent and easy to control. I’ve only been riding the Trigger strapless so far so I can’t comment on how it jumps.

End of main bladder at wingtip…

The 12m Trigger has a decent amount of depower. The depower straps are above the bar in a standard configuration. The bar throw isn’t huge and I prefer it with a¬†waist¬†harness. With shorts harness the chicken loop is¬†quiet¬†low relative to your arms so you reach the end of the bar’s throw pretty quick.

Blade control bar…

The Blade bar offers a below the bar¬†swiveling¬†chicken loop and a virtual 5th line safety to fully depower the kite if you punch out. There is an adjustable stopper above the bar if you want to let go of the bar and keep a steady power setting. Above or below the bar depower is a personal preference thing. I like it below the bar, but I was kiting on a day with tons of wind speed changes and I was able to work the Blade bar’s depower just fine.

Here is a video of the bar in action. I didn’t have to use the safety release in anger so far, but it seems pretty¬†straightforward¬†to use in an emergency.

This video review gives you another perspective on the Trigger.

Trigger crazy!

The best compliment I can pay the Trigger so far is that from the time I launched it to the time I landed the kite I really didn’t have to think too much about it. It went where I wanted it. It performed well going upwind. It hardly ever crashed even when I did. With my GF getting better and better at kiting I have to keep in mind that she’ll be wanting to try my gear out and it would be ideal to share a quiver since she weighs 50-60lbs less than me. We shouldn’t be fighting for the same size kite too often. For that to work any kites we buy have to perform well enough to keep me interested and be easy enough to use so she has fun. My current kites are too high strung for her to use, but the Trigger fits the bill.

This video shows some wave riding action with a Blade Trigger. Don’t blame me for the soundtrack – that’s out of my control!

Blade kite bag…

The Blade kite bag is comfortable to wear for the hike to the beach. It has a spot to¬†hang¬†your pump and an accessory pocket for your bar, water, sunscreen, etc… It tough enough to last 4-5yrs+ and protect your kite from UV and damage while transporting it.

Not too shabby to look at…

Although looks don’t affect how a kite flies I am happy the Trigger is nice to look at. I spend a lot of time kiting so looking up and smiling is important to me.

Trigger porn…

Here’s what the Blade site says about the Trigger:

“We designed the Trigger to promote progression¬†especially for riders who are powerful, playful, and dynamic. If you like to do a little of everything on the water, and like to be actively in control of responsive high-energy fun, the Trigger was designed to be your ideal kite.
The 4th Generation Trigger continues to excel as a fast, nimble, and powerful all-around performance kite.

The powered profiles and refined overall kite geometry leed to the Trigger’s dominant feel and provide the big low-end fun. The perfectly engineered bridles are a key factor in the kite’s excellent stability and depower, balancing the Trigger’s dynamic handling with predictability and safety. This refined engineering is also responsible for a very direct bar feel that is rarely felt in a bridled kite. The swept back LE contributes to the Trigger’s effortless Reflex Relaunch, so you can push yourself past the limit and get up and riding again in seconds.

The 4th generation is based on its successful predecessor, and like the Triggers before it, each size boasts individually designed geometry.
Many small refinements are made individually to each size so that it performs ideally in the conditions it is meant to be flown, here are some of them: The Trigger 12m and 14m received beefed up power profiles and the 14m also features narrower struts to deliver the same low end grunt and turning speed as their smaller siblings. The Trigger 9m and 10m received a special bridle geometry to seat them slightly further forward in the window, giving them the right balance of power and stability for their wind range. The Trigger 7m has been modified for excellent depower performance and rigidity in strong wind. The Trigger 5m hasn’t been touched, we’re proud to say it is one of the best kites on the market.

Finally, we have added an Advanced Wave setting to the bridle of the new Trigger.
Setting the bridle in this position adds depower and seats the kite even more forward in the window. The more tolerant ride is perfect for carving waves, trading up only a little of the power and rock solid stability in the Trigger’s standard mode.

Active pilots looking for the ultimate fun ride¬†will love the quick handling, perfect stability, direct control, and generous power in all conditions. If you are a dynamic rider looking for a kite that can deliver the ultimate fun session, the Trigger‚Äôs high energy all-around performance will put a big smile on your face.”

Backpack harness detail…

Kite Paddle Surf Bellingham is selling a variety of package deals with the Trigger. Prices start at $969 for a 7m Trigger without bar and go up to $1749 for a 7m Trigger with bar/lines, pump, bag and a twin tip board. I was shopping other brands recently and that price would only get you a kite & bar. The board is a bonus ideal for someone starting out who needs a whole setup.

Blade Trigger in flight…

What I like about the Trigger so far?

  • stable/easy to fly
  • fast turning
  • lightweight/simple 3 strut design
  • well designed safety system with 100% depower
  • good depower range
  • looks nice
  • reasonable price

What I don’t like?

  • could use more bar throw with shorts harness
  • prefer below bar depower adjustment

Blade Wind God…

What I am keen on checking out some more?

  • ease of water relaunch
  • on water safety release and¬†re-rigging¬†chickenloop in water
  • wave setting on bridle
  • jumping/hang time with a twin tip
  • low wind performance

Rolling up the Trigger…

I already own a 17m Blade Fat Lady which I am very happy with. That positive experience really opened my mind to trying out more Blade kites. The Trigger so far has been a pleasant kite to fly. I need more time with it to fully appreciate all its nuances, but I can see why Andy and other reviewers have been pretty stoked about it.

I’ll leave you with a link to a good thread discussing the 2012 Blade line up over at I’ll post a follow up to this initial review in a month or so once I have more time to play with the Trigger.

Dancing with the Fat Lady!

19 08 2011

She's big!!!!!!

I went down to Bellingham WA yesterday on a quick road trip and got to try out the Blade Fat Lady 17m kite at Locust Beach. I’ve been wanting to kite at Locust for a while, but I’m never there when it’s windy and have time to ride so I made it happen on this trip. Andy from Kite Paddle Surf Bellingham lent me a Blade Fat Lady and a Liquid Force LFX board to use so I didn’t have to shlep my gear down. I’ve spent a lot of time this summer sitting on the beach with my 10m kite watching 3 or 4 guys with big kites ride while the rest of us sat and waited for the wind to build – something that didn’t always happen…=-( So a light wind setup has been on my mind lately.

The Fat Lady was a very powerful easy to fly kite that was stable enough for me to mess around with the bindings on the borrowed board without having to give it much thought. Out on the water it turned well for a huge kite and it was easy to jump for some fun floaty air. A big kite, like a big truck, is powerful and will never be as sporty/maneuverable as a much smaller kite. On the other hand there is no point being out on the water if the kite you are flying is a total dog. So my main concern was answering the question Рwould I be happy to fly the Fat Lady on a light wind day or would I be thinking this is lame and wishing I was on a different kite? Bottom line I was quite impressed with this kite. Enough so that I bought one and took it home with me.

I hadn’t planned to spend anymore $$$ on kiting gear this year, but driving to Lake Nitnaht or Baja and sitting on the beach isn’t fun and it’s expensive in it’s own right. I’m setup now so that if there is any wind at all I can be out kiting. That should increase my time on the water by 20%-30% easily which is well worth the cost. This is a 2012 model kite so I’ll just factor it in against next year’s gear budget!…=-)

The riding at Locust Beach was fun. The water is very shallow so even if you are 200-500m from shore you can simply stand up and walk around. It would be an ideal spot to learn how to kiteboard since you can walk back upwind or stand up and figure something out without continually moving downwind.

I enjoyed the Liquid Force LFX board, but I can’t give it much of a review as I was really focused on the kite this session. I really should have used an OR Mako to keep all my variables constant and just test one item at a time, but trips to Bellingham are not very frequent and I wanted to make the most of my time. I’ll definitely try the FX again next time I have an opportunity.

Blade Kites [USA] 2 for 1 Kite Sale…

25 07 2011

The only thing better than a new kite is two new kites for the same price!

Blade Kites [USA] is offering a 2 for 1 deal at the moment – buy a new kite at full price and get a second new kite for free. You can’t argue with that if you need to stock your quiver with new kites. If you click on the image above you’ll jump to a deal for a free 9m Trigger kite when you buy a Blade Fat Lady 17m light wind kite and bar.

Blade Kites – Fat Lady…

15 07 2011

Blade Kites Fat Lady 17m...

In my search for a light wind kiteboarding setup I chatted with Andy over at Kite Paddle Surf Bellingham. So far every gear suggestion he’s made has turned out awesome so I trust him to evaluate a lot of gear and point me at the best stuff. He is excited by the Blade Kites Fat Lady 17m light wind model and shares his thoughts below.

Andy here,

I have been on a full on search for the best lightwind kite for years. ¬†I have tried everything from 26m Foils to 23m Inflatable C’ kites… only to end up dissappointed. ¬† Typically big kites don’t turn well, and you lose their size advantage by not being able to turn the kite to generate speed. ¬† This is where I think Blade has it right.

The Fat Lady is a 17m Kite. ¬† Yes… that is larger than most kites out there today, but you have to realize to get true power, you are going to need more surface area. ¬† This kite does that, but does it with a narrow leading edge, and 3 super skinny struts. ¬†Why is this important? ¬† Mass. ¬† This kite doesn’t weigh as much as any other 17m, or 16m, or 15m that I have ever flown in the past does. ¬† This allows this kite to be light in the sky, while still generating all the power that is needed. ¬†With a narrow leading edge and skinny struts, this kite only takes 70 pumps to fill up. ¬† This is typical of what I’d expect for a 12m….. which may be why this kite turns more like a 12m than a 17m.

Up until recently with lightwind specific kites, all you got was a scaled up version of a 10m kite. ¬† The materials were all the same, and as a result, you ended up with a kite that was heavy and not fun to fly. ¬† ¬†The Fat Lady has been designed as a single kite. ¬†Ie.. this kite isn’t just a scaled up version of something else. ¬†It was made to be a lightwind kite, and nothing else. ¬† This means that the camber (airfoil curve) is made to be maximized in the 10-20mph range, wheas most other kites are designed to be flown in the 20-30mph range.

So enough tech, ¬†what does this kite feel like? ¬† It is fast enough to loop, turns on a dime, and generates power through both static traction and appearant wind. ¬†Having only 3 struts allows this kite’s canopy to twist, which allows this kite to be manuverable and lively unlike any other large kite I have flown. ¬†It surges forward in the wind window, and goes upwind effortlessly. ¬†Bar pressure is moderate… definately not too high……. and you can fly this kite one handed no problem (either hooked in or unhooked)

This kite is stable and very user friendly. ¬† Put the kite in full power, unhook, and hold it above your head in a steady 10mph of wind…. and it is parked. ¬†No back stall… Just steady as can be. ¬†

Relaunch might be the best I have ever experienced.  Seriously in light wind the Fat Lady just rolls right over and relaunches.   When other kites are falling out of the sky, this kite can relaunch very easily.

What is the realistic range of this kite? ¬† With a race board, I am sure you could break the 10mph barrier. ¬†With a skimboard or Glide? ¬†10mph is when it starts getting powered enough. ¬† A normal twintip? ¬†12-13mph. ¬†Will it power you in 5mph…. No way… ¬†Upper wind range is in the low to mid 20’s. ¬†It is a powerful kite for sure… but it does have very good depower, even on the stock above the bar sheeting system.

Why buy this kite over other similar kites?   I have tested most of what is out there, and this is the one that I am most impressed with.   3 struts is important.  Single kite design (ie.. this kite was designed for only this one kite)  Insanely easy relaunch.  Blade has been around for 5 years and Momi is a great kite designer.   Graphically it looks great!

This kite is very similar to the Epic Infinity, which is also a very nice kite, but the Fat Lady has a narrower leading edge and struts, is slightly higher aspect, and turns faster. ¬† Jumps are higher on the Fat Lady, but there is more float on the Infinity. ¬† Both are great…. but my preference for the riding I do is the Fat Lady. ¬† If you ride more waves, you may prefer the Infinity.