This year the Bandit platform has been divided into two distinctive kite models based on sizes. What was simply the 2019 Bandit is now the Bandit 2020 and the Bandit-S models. The Bandit 2020 is now optimized to perform as a big air freestyle megaloop kite and the Bandit-S is designed to perform as surf kite. F-One had been valiantly attempting to optimize the Bandit for multiple disciplines, but having taken ‘one size fits all’ to the limit, the freestyle big air crowd now gets a dedicated launch platform in the sizes 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14 and 17m
The steering response continues to be one of the crispest and instant on the market with a smaller tighter radius steering path that pivots around the center of the kite which makes the Bandit incredibly agile and easy to place wherever you need it, confidently creating power in any part of the window. The Bandit-S shines for surf because it will happily hover deep in the window and riders can use the progressive power control to dial in the perfect amount of power. Many of the surf-oriented qualities that have been instilled in the Bandit S are also qualities that make it great for the casual cruising liter and foilboarding. The crisp turning, linear and complete depower and lighter bar pressure make for a
kite that is really comfortable and user-friendly with precision handling that will resonate in the hands of dedicated surf kiters first and foremost but will also bring smiles to the broad spectrum of freeride kiters
The Mitu Pro Bamboo Foil takes F-One’s standard Mitu board in three sizes and outfits it with foilboard tracks to give users the versatility of one board that conquers both kitesurfing and foilboarding. If you look at dedicated foilboard designs today, you will see that there is a unique but generally accepted formula that works best for foilboarding. It generally includes low volume thin decks, chimed rails, and wide noses that taper to a narrow and straighter outline tail. The drawback of these designs is that your dedicated foilboard is all
but useless when you take away the foil. For those riders that want a one board solution, one that gets you out on the water in all conditions, whether it’s light wind foilboarding, freeride bump and jump or pumping surf, the Mitu Foil has you covered.
The Gravity 1800 seemed like the perfect wing for wingsurfing with a nice slow foil-up speed that promoted easy waterstarts and allows you to carve as tight as a turn as you’d like in the pocket of windswell. What we really liked about the 1800 was its higher top-end speed that allowed us to keep up with the faster swells when the larger of the two Gravity wings couldn’t. The 1800 has a really nice foil-up speed with smooth lift delivery, meaning that as you approach lift-off the wing generates lift evenly and intuitively. The foil-down speed was slow enough that we never had trouble stalling or slowing it down for a tight snap off the lip while riding swell. The 1800 is the perfect size for most small and middle-sized wingsurfers looking for the widest spectrum of performance.
The WTF?! remains true to its freestyle form with a noticeable rocker, heavier wood core, a rounder template and full tips that are designed to offer the best load/pop and release for maximum amplitude. The WTF?! has a potato chip skatey-ness and a stiffer load and pop flex pattern that targets tour freestyle-type riding, yet the response from our testers indicates that the WTF?! has enough range that it can be really fun for more aggressive freeride kiters. We recommend beginner and casual freeride kiters take a second look at the more user-friendly WTF?!
The Rocket Wing 5’10” is a dedicated board shape for wingsurfing with a thicker deck, wider template and chined rails specifically designed for the sport of wingsurfing. What does that mean? It offers you sufficient volume for learning with a smaller outline so that you can use that board for performance wingsurfing through intermediate and advanced skill levels. There are no inserts so you will be learning this sport strapless and the deck is nice and flat which we think is the best surface for control inputs to the foil. The Rocket Wing has a handle on the underbelly which is a critical feature for carrying both a larger volume board and your wing at the same time. It is attention to details like this that make these boards worth the splurge for beginners. The bottom features a foil mounting track with visual indicators that help you mount your foil in the same spot every time, and the tracks have a plug that prevents you from losing your hardware during disconnected transport. The Rocket Wing features a full deck pad which will be much easier on your knees.
The Slice does an excellent job of balancing a quick and skatey feeling that encourages aggressive strapless freestyle with reliable carving and control that delivers fun freeride cruising and smooth lines in small and medium surf.” Tkb Staff
“The Pocket TS is the Ferrari of foilboards with its solid construction, perfectly tuned outline and rocker with an overall precision feel that gives the rider pure control over the
foil and a steady supply of adrenaline from its sporty feel.” Tkb Staff
Every time we cross paths with the iconic Mitu Pro surfboard in our freeride test we find there are a ton of layers to peel back with this full line of sizes and various constructions. This year we tested the Mitu Pro in the bamboo construction in the choppy small windswell conditions of our freeride test. The 2020 Mitu returns with a substantial amount of bottom shape with a double concave in the nose and a subtle spine trending into a single concave channel out back through the tail. The Mitu has a substantial amount of rocker built into its nose while its tail combines a thruster fin setup with a narrow swallow tail that amplifies this board’s turning response
“The freshman effort of the F-One team seems to have landed solidly on the nose with a focus on lightweight build and finely tuned performance that gives you a wing that works well for riders of all skill levels from beginner to professional. It’s important to remind ourselves how the historical innovation curve of kiteboarding played out over the first 10 years, which means there is much left to discover here, but it is our editorial opinion that the F-One Swing is the gold standard of wingsurfing’s start.” Tkb Staff
The Twenty-Twenty is really for those riders that want to use the Bandit for big air, hangtime and kite loops. At its top end, the ten metre Twenty-Twenty is more physical to handle than in the past, but the flipside is that it has better low end performance in 18 knots. The eight metre is totally dedicated to strong wind with stunning top end performance. On both kites when you’re moderately powered you can still throw them around, unhook and can combine airs and loops with some pretty decent wave riding.
On the water, the board impresses by how smooth it is to ride. Everything feels natural and totally intuitive. A perfect blend of glide, solid pop and smooth landings characterise this well-balanced shape. The TRAX ESL is available in two sizes 136 x 40.5 cm and 137 x 42 cm, which should fit a wide range of users. The proportions of the shape are inspired by the latest freestyle developments while the dimensions are kept more manageable. All versions come equipped with our UNIBox 50m fins, which offer better speed and improved glide thanks to their thinner profile.