2009 Best Kahoona Kite Reviews
** The Best 2010 Best Kahoona is expected to be released in March 2010.
Due to the original release date and the next release date, it would be more
accurate to call this the 09 / 010 Kahoona.**
June 23rd 2009 Kahoona 7.5 and 9.5
Reviewed by Kitemare
Have been flying these 2 Kahoona sizes everyday during the past week.
6 out of the last 8 days to be exact. Most of the time was on the 9.5
Waves with 3 foot faces, and gusty winds, 10-20 knots , mostly 12-15 knots.
Rider weight: 145 lbs
Surftech Stretch F4 5'11 TL2 Surfboard
Surftech Morphius Skimboard,
Roush Custom Wave Skimboard with 2 fins, and with 4 fins,
Didn't use the twin-tip at all this past week. Only Strap-less this week
Quick and easy. Only 4 struts and the leading edge. Only 2 knots on the rear pigtail.
Standard inflation valves. No 1-pump / EZ pump YEAH! I personally don't trust those complex internal inflation systems. ( external ones.... maybe )
The very 1st batch of Kahoonas did not have a pump-leash attachment point, This Kahoona and all new kahoonas have it.
Back line: Used the 1st Knot furthest from the kite for less power, and less chance of over-sheeting. Tried the 2nd knot and preferred the 1st knot in all winds.
Once the lines were connected, and double checked...
I just pivoted the kite edge on the sand so that its leading edge was pointing more toward the
water making it around 45 degrees across the wind. Left some sand on top of the kite just to be safe. Ran upwind, clipped my leash to the metal ring inside the Chicken-loop, and
Checked again to be sure people were still far away from the kite, walked back a few feet to tighten the lines, then forward a bit to stack the lines, then back again and the kite grabbed the wind and spun on the sand until the wing-tips were pointed towards me.
Pulled one back line connected to the wind-tip closest to the water.
The kite leading edge instantly rolled up 90 degrees off sand with the kite now facing the water and the leading edge vertical. released the back line and steered the kite up to 2:00.
Did a self launch everyday even though I sometimes had other kiters to assist. Wanted to see if the 1st easy self launch was a fluke or the norm. Happy to report that it was just as easy each and every time.
IF you use this method, be prepared for a strong pull since the kite is launching from the bottom center of the wind window. Lean back, sheet-out (bar out) and steer the kite up to the side of the window. The Trick is being sue to only pull the back line as much as needed and no more. IF you pull the back line too much or hold it a bit too long the kite can lift off, turn into the opposite direction and then rip across the wind window. IF ever in doubt, "release".
100000x better to just open your hands and release, rather than over steering.
** Ideally launch a kite with an assistant. This is even more important the first time you fly the kite. As an instructor for over 9 years, I chose to self-launch and was prepared to pull the quick release, or even cut lines if needed. I
Stability: NOW I KNOW without a shadow of doubt why reviewers keep repeating the word "stability". during the last week, in the gust winds, and sometimes powerful waves,
I found myself in a lull ( under 10 knots ) and getting pushed downwind
by a breaking wave. My lines went slack, and I braced myself for a falling kite,
and EVERY TIME my Kahoona, drifted and then recovered itself and
stayed flying. This is "Stability". stable, low risk of falling.
Having a kite falling in nasty shore break at high tide with a tiny beach
is never fun and glad the kite remained flying as I was getting washed.
I once thought the Waroo was a stable kite, and I still do, BUT..... NOT in comparison to the Kahoona. Yesterday I watched a couple of different kites ( including 1 Waroo ) free falling in the same conditions and in the hands of skilled riders.
Yes, the 09 Waroo is a great kite, but in '09 the Kahoona is BETTER!
Jumping: Good Question. Only did small jumps ( ollie's) this week
while riding strapless. Will update this review once I log some time on the twin-tip and check it boosting powers.
Upwind: Good, Not outrageous, but good. Upwind ability is VERY important to me, and I was happy with the Kahoona.
Depower: Excellent if using the 1st knot furthest from the kite. Lots of range on the bar, and on the depower strap adjustment.
Bar pressure: I found the bar pressure while sheeting to be light. Turning: The Kahoona is responsive and its turning radius is small. Compared to the Waroo, the Kahoona requires more pull on the bar to initiate a quick turn. Some people may also refer to this as bar pressure. I call it turning or steering input
Having super light bar pressure, and light turning input "can" be a plus for some kiters.
The downside is that its also easier to mis-steer or over-steer the kite which is an issue for beginners and advanced riders doing spins or handle passes. I now love the need to pull a little more to turn the kite fast, because I found that when I make a mistake the kite helps tone it down, and thus lowers the risk of getting in trouble.
My kite did hit the water a few times in the surf, and it was almost freaky how it "seemed" to bounce of the water and right back to flying. Some other reviewer used the word "bounce" and I agree that's what it felt like.
Normally when one wing-tip touches the water, it feeling like the water grabs the kite and tries to hold it down. But... with the kahoona, its doesn't stick, it just wants to fly. No need to take my word for this, you need to experience it for yourself.
The bottom line is that before the kahoona, I would mentally calculate, "is it worth trying this now, I don't know if I want to deal with relaunching". That thought is now 100% gone. My confidence in the kahoonas ability to remain flying, or relaunch quickly if it does hit the water is insanely high.
Just lowered the kite to the side of the window until it was touching the sand un-hooked my chicken-loop. Hand over hand up the center line until the "Y" at the swivel was close. Reached out , grab and quick tug on the upper center flying line, and the kite rolled over, struts down, with its leading edge into the wind. Perfect! Very Easy!
After 9 years of kiting and flying all kites of brands and designs, this Delta shape Kahoona is my favorite. Bye bye waroo! Bye bye HP, It's been fun, but you've been out done and replaced by my new love the Kahoona.
If you're a beginner, this is a safe kite, easy to fly, and will help you progress your skills fast.
If you're an intermediate, advanced, or wave addict like me, you'll love having a kite that allows you to attack that new trick without concern for having to relaunch your kite.
If you prefer fast, twitchy kites, then there are other kites that may be worth considering.
Beginners are always asking me, "will I out grow this Kite?" I don't think you ever outgrow anything, it's just that some people decide they want different characteristics in a kite over time.
For me that's safety, simplicity, stability, and easy!
At the moment they are some other excellent Delta kites on the market
like the F-one Bandit Dos and similar. And... once you factor in the warrantee and price, you'll likely choose the Kahoona! But if not... that's ok.
Dec 17th Review Update:
It's been almost 6 months since the our June review of the Kahoona and during this update is about the same. The Kahoona has proven itself to be a phenomonial kite! Light, simple,
low price, and headach free. Still loving it!
The Best Redline bar on the other hand has lost points.
The center line wore out much too fast.
The Trim Strap which can feel a little sticky on a brand new bar, never loosened up. It's still
sticky and too much work to adjust.
The Swival doesn't swival under tension.
The black plastic quick release has issues as well.
The new Bottom line.. Buy a Kahoona, its an outstanding kite, but do NOT buy the current '09 Best Redline bar. Either wait for the new 2010 Best Bar to arrive in April, or Buy another bar like the Core's ESP Bar.
Good Brand / Bad Brand
It doesn't matter if you buy your kite from us here at Kitemare.com or
It doesn't matter if you prefer North, Naish, Best, Cabrinha, Ozone, F-one,
Royal, Core, Ocean Rodeo, or another brand.
NEVER listen to anyone who bashes another brand
and says " Only the ____ is the kite to have"
The fact is that....
ANY KITE BRAND OR MODEL that puts a big smile on YOUR face
is a great kite!
Thanks for listening! - Jeff Weiss / Kitemare.com
Recent found this video featuring the Kahoona on the California
This video is one of the best I've ever seen. A true work of art!
The review directly below is by Stacey. All reviews keep using the world "stability"
to describe the Kahoona for a good reason.
The Kahoona inspires confidence. One of the best things about the
Kahoona is how trustworthy it is. It’s almost like it has magical
powers. While trying to learn new tricks, I’m constantly
jumping under it and throwing behind me in the sky, and I am generally
amazed by the Kahoonas response to my bad input. Instead of
falling out of the sky and hindenberging, and then tumbling and catching
itself round the bridles, requiring a tedious self-rescue, the Kahoona …
from an impossible position behind you, where no kite should still be
flying … will drift forward back into the window, catch itself, stay
there, and wait for you to collect yourself. I have done
terrible things to this kite, and have not been punished like I would
have on other kites. You can test this out on the beach by putting
the kite at 12 and then running toward the kite as fast as you can.
The kite will run forward with you, and will not fall out of the sky.
And, if it does fall, it is super easy to relaunch, sometimes relaunching before you’re ready. It just really wants to fly, and stay flying. There was a lot of hype about how easy it relaunches, and it’s nice when product actually lives up to the hype. Knowing that it will do everything in its power to stay in the air, and will relaunch super-easy if you drop it, inspires both confidence in the kite and also in yourself. Knowing the kite’s generally going to be there for you gives you the confidence to keep trying more tricks, and also gives you more time on the water, and less time swimming into the beach, straightening out your lines, walking back upwind, etc. This is awesome for advanced riders who are trying to push it to the next level.
In addition, the kite is super stable in the sky and doesn't backstall when unhooked. I love it for wakestyle … good solid pull, nice grunt, a little more bar pressure … so it sits there when you tell it to, yet is fast enough when you need it to move. It’s like this nice big stable wall to edge against. I love the way it loops. And for people who think it doesn’t jump, that’s just not true. I’ve probably jumped higher on the Kahoona than on any other kite …. lots of hangtime, where you just sit, waiting to come down. People have the impression that it’s just a beginner kite, or just a “wave” kite, but that’s not true either. Although it took me a couple of sessions to get used to its feel (after flying the 09 Nemi for a season), it is the only kite I want to ride. Hands down my favorite kite for wakestyle. My favorite kite for everything, actually. To a kiter, this probably sounds sacrilegious, but if I can’t ride a Kahoona (and if there isn’t a c-kite around as a second choice), I’d rather not ride at all.
The following review from the Best kiteboarding Forum
Posted by mbigger on Fri Feb 27, 2009 9:11 pm
subject: Tried the 11.5 Kahoona this afternoon.
I tried the Kahoona 11.5, regular 2009 45cm bar and Ouija 134 on the Ocean at Gilgo Beach Long Island. Winds 20 to 25 knots.
I always need a few sessions to analize a kite fully but here are the things I noticed right away. I will be riding 9.5 and 11.5 in the next few days and I will report.
1. Stand on the beach with the kite at the Apex. Pull in the bar and you climb like a rocket. Johnny P showed that to me. Implication: The kite is much less technical for jumps. Riders that are just getting into jumping are going to be soooooo thrilled with this. What about the advanced riders? This kite boosts ridiculous. Very different than the Nemi. On the Nemi you rocket to your jump's apex right away. On the Kahoona you elevator it, so your are fully conscious of the experience as you go up. On the Nemi you are just there and sometimes wondering what happened between the launch and the apex of the jumps. Finally, a kite that will allow me to try Alex Shogren type of kiteloops.
2. Stand on the beach, kite at the Apex, and start running like crazy. The kite maintains its relative positions to you.
3. Ride a wave and go downwind quickly....the kite keep his relative position to you. If you ride the wave depowered, it is like there is no kite there...you are just surfing....Now I know why Jeff Biege is so excited about the Kahoona for wave riding. The kite truly shines.
4. A wave is about to crush you? You get exponential acceleration as you pull the bar very close to you (it has more bar pressure with the bar pulled in quite a bit). The acceleration felt even more powerful than on the 2006 Waroo....Sweeeeeeet for wave riding.
5. I wish I could have used the 50cm bar. The 45 cm bar is too small for the 11.5. I ride all my Nemis on my 45 because of twister Tech.
6. I did not do tricks, or unhook or anything like that because this is Johnny's new puppy and I did not want to drop it in the shore breaks but I was really tempted to try the relaunch. I just could not do that to him.
First impresion. Sick wave riding kite even sweeter for wave riding downwinders...especially if you are big on the "surfing" part of the equation. You want to boost ridiculous without all the technicalities of load/pop/send/kick-a-ramp...This Bud's for you! - Michael
Posted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 8:40 pm by Marman
Post subject: Watch what you recommend - Kahoona Sizes
"Since I posted a video and review on the 9.5m Kahoona I have had people buzzing me on a few forums/email about the kite/quivers. "
"I keep seeing people suggesting 11m waroos/11.5m kahoona's"
"This isnt right, the Kahoona / Waroo Sizing does not work out that way, fly one or check the wind ranges,
Dont want to see people getting wasted taking out 9.5m's because mates are on 9m Bows. "
7.5m K = 9m W
9.5m K = 11m W
11.5m K = 13m W
13.5m K = 15m W
( Kitemare Note: I almost agree with Marmans Kahoona vs Waroo size comparison above. I think
the 7.5 has "close" to the power of the 9m waroo, but not 100% equal, I feel it's a bit less
Posted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 5:20 pm by Marman
Post subject: Awesome Kahoona Water Session
"Managed to get out all day on Sunday in North Devon, Uk on the 9.5m
Wind was around 30knts and rose towards the end of the day until we were eventually blown off the water, a few guys started to struggle on 7's.
Although I have spent a few weeks flying the kahoona on land this was my first water session and it was AWESOME. The spot had everything, waves with big flat sections in the morning and big rollers far out the back away from the shore line. The kahoona ate up all of the conditions, its so grunty and awesome in the waves, the wind was cross so we could ride straight down the faces with ease.
In terms of stability the wind was very clean 30knts, and only became turbulent when getting higher later in the day. no issues here, it didn't even twitch, even when eventually I couldn't hold onto it any longer it was still super stable.
Next big rave is the jumping ability on the kite, I nearly got vertigo on a couple of them, fill this kite with wind and it has some serious pop - I have found this on land but with the ability to edge so hard on water and the added bonus of 3-4 foot kickers this thing was shooting me sky high. I went higher on sunday than I have ever gone on the Nemi or Waroo on the water, maybe because its so easy? I dont know. A friend of mine has ridden Fuels for years and is into his kiteloops big style. This kite even gave me the confidence to just chuck it round from any height, its insane, I didn't ride many landings out but its worth it for the rush and it catches you every time!
Progression every session is right, cant wait to get back out there with it, hopefully in some super flat water to get some unhooked time in on it.
Need a 7.5m now, I bet that thing packs a kick in the loops!"