2013 F-One Bandit 6 Review
Rider profile: Jim Buttrick – age 56, 7 years kiting, style – freeride on a surfboard, primarily rides in Seattle and the Gorge.
My first ride on 2013 B6’s was at Rooster Rock in late Sept in the Gorge with steady 40 mph east winds on a 6m B6 and a 5’10” Signature surfboard. High winds and blowing sand are pretty rough conditions for running a demo and my hat’s off to Bruce Johnson for keeping it together.
Once on the water the conditions were surprisingly good and the 6m was perfect. Small kites can sometimes get away from you because they are all so fast, but the 6m B6 was well behaved. It also paired really well with the 5’10” Signature. That board was just “plug and play” and so smooth in the Gorge swell and chop. I jumped on it and it felt like an old friend, good balance, smooth ride, snappy turns and my feet were always in the right spot!
One note on kite size, for my size I prefer a 7m as my small kite. The 6m is great for those really strong days but the 7m gives me better low end.
In November and April, I was in Maui for a week and the trade winds blew almost every day. I was on a surfboard and primarily rode at Kanaha and had one Kona Wind session at Kihei. I brought a 9m and 6m on both trips and only rode the 9m. There were a few days where I could have been on a 6 or 7m but the 9M just hung in there. It has incredible range and is great in the waves. As a side note, my friend Ed says that you need 2 kites for Maui, an 8 and an 8. You are going to wear the first one out so you need a spare. Ed’s a bit lighter than me so the 9M is my kite for Maui.
I have been riding the 12m as my light wind winter kite in Seattle, where the winds are strong frontal systems. I’ve ridden it in winds ranging from 15 – 25 mph. It turns fast and it pairs really well with the 9m. Last year I rode the 11m as my go to winter kite and it also worked. I think that the 11 fits a 4 kite quiver better than a 12m. The 11m would also pair well with a 9m. I’d go for the 12m as my biggest kite if I was a lighter rider.
I could almost get by with the 12m as my light wind kite if I didn’t ride at Jetty Island but a 14m is needed for those after work light wind days. The 14m has great range. It gets me going when it’s just starting to white cap (12 mph) and I have ridden it into the low 20’s. The kite is a great all around kite, turns fast for its size and has great low end grunt.
I find myself frequently looking for kite quiver recommendations with little luck so here are my 2 cents for someone who weights around 200 lbs.
3 Kite Quiver – 14, 10, 7 – You can’t go wrong with these 3 kites. The kites easily cover the range for me.
4 Kite Quiver – 14, 11, 9, 7 – If you want to dial things more for riding specific spots then you may want to look at a 4 kite quiver.
Last year I rode 14, 11, 8, 6 – my only issue was that the jump from 11m to 8m was too much. Also, the 8 has an incredible upper end so I didn’t ride the 6m very much. I really like the 11, 9, 7 for the winter and for the Gorge and the 14 is my go to light wind kite.
The new bar is very clean and simple. The trim line is above the bar which gives you good leverage for making adjustments. It also has steering line length adjustments at the bar under the floats. I always shorten my steering lines one knot from the factory settings.