Nitro v3 16m Review

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Posts: 19
Joined: Sun Aug 04, 2013 8:53 am

Thu Mar 20, 2014 8:16 pm

First and foremost:

I am not affiliated with Switch in any way, what so ever.
I had never so much as SEEN another Switch kite at my spot (Big Sabine, Pensacola Beach, FL).
I went out on a limb and purchased this kite, mainly due to its price but also the positive reviews I've read around the Internet. Definitely took a gamble here.

I bought this kite to be my light wind kite. My only other kite is a 12m Cabrinha Vector and I needed something to get me out in the 10-15mph winds we get here in the Fl Panhandle oh so often. I am 172lbs / 78kg and was riding a fairly thick 146x45 TT(Liquid Force Edge). I have since purchased a 165x45 OR Mako King and absolutely love that board. In the summer here we mostly ride in the surf and my LF Edge is a pile of crap for those conditions.

Here is a video comparison riding with a 17m Core XR2 LW. Average wind speed on this day was exactly 11mph. All wind speeds are measured with a pole mounted anemometer on the beach that's about 6' off the ground.

(You may want to mute it, just realized I was humming along to whatever I was listening to, sorry!)


It works. There are better kites out there, but for the money I am confident to say that I thoroughly enjoy this kite. So here are my thoughts starting with what is most impressive to me to least impressive.

Upwind: Unmatched. This kite works upwind at angles that other kite/board combinations can't touch. Even on my Mako King which is NOT a light wind board I am able to cross over other peoples lines while under-powered and make upwind progress in 2 tacks that takes them 4-6. It's unreal how well this kite goes upwind. See my video for a visual compared to a Core XR2LW 17m. This was in 11mph on my LF Edge. You should also notice I am working the kite considerably more than my buddy who's able to park his Core.

Depower: Unreal. I am, at my weight, able to hold this thing down, ride, boost and have a blast in 20+mph winds. I've so far had 2 sessions with an average wind speed of 19 and gusts to 25 or so. It's unreal how well this kite absorbs gusts. I've had 3 people from my spot say almost exactly, "I have no idea how you were holding that down, I'm on a 12 (and one guy a 9m) and fully depowered." I am not a big guy. Now having said that, I would have much rather been on my 12m in these winds but for testing purposes I was just fine. It kept me from having to pump another kite for the last hour or so of my session. Kudos.

Bar Pressure: Almost exactly the same as the 2014 OR Flite. It's light enough that it doesn't tire my arms out even after 4-5 hours of riding and yet heavy enough that I know right where the kite's at. Good job here. (This is on the stock setting btw)

Boost: I'll do a direct comparison to a Core XR2LW 17M. They are very similar. The Core is smoother and boosts easier, however they both do the job very well. The Nitro did jerk me a bit harder in the same conditions. Both have similar float and jump height, the Core is just "easier".

Drift: Good? I've never ridden a kite that falls out of the sky when you run towards it, so take this with a grain of salt. I know it's not a wave kite but I can surf waves on my Mako and chase the kite directly downwind and have 0 problems (In 11-13mph+)

Turning Speed: Compared to a 2014 OR Flite 17 it is slower by a fair margin. It is faster than the Core or Best TS. It's quite easy to loop and turns plenty fast, so don't get me wrong. In threshold winds (read: barely able to ride) it doesn't generate smooth power where other light wind kites do. You have to sheet the bar all over the place to keep the power on when turning in light winds. This is to be expected though since it's not a light wind kite and I'm trying to use it as such.

Stability: In threshold winds (9-10mph) the kite is unstable and very prone to back-stalling. In "ok" winds (10-11mph) the kite is quite happy to stay in the air though still unstable compared to other kites. I've had this thing fall out of the sky while standing on the beach quite a few times when other kites weren't having problems. So, put it up and get on the water if the winds are light.

Relaunch: Eh. Honestly I've only dropped it in light winds(10-12mph) and it was a bitch to relaunch. It's do-able, albeit annoying especially in deep water, but not great. I understand though, it's not a light wind kite and isn't really supposed to be out in these winds.

Some other tidbits:

I love the inflate valve. Super easy.
I do not love the bag. Why the hell is the opening so small? It looks nice but is a bitch to get back in the bag.
Construction is great, definitely above my Cabrinha.
It's heavy, due I'm sure to the construction.
The bar (Controller2) is fantastic with one caveat, it's really hard. I have some pretty fat callouses on my hands from the bar.
The lowest of the low seems to be 10.5mph. When it's less than this the kite is no fun. I can ride a Spleen Door in these conditions but I can't make it upwind.
My riding wind is 11.8mph. If a 1 minute average windspeed is 11.8 or higher I can ride upwind, boost and generally enjoy myself.
At 12.5+ 1 minute average this kite is in its prime and is a lot of fun.
Above 16mph is still ridable but needs to be depowered.
Above 19 and fully depowered can ride, but if I'm gonna be out for awhile I will switch kites(heh) here.

All in all I am happy.

I can ride alongside the Flite 17 and Core 17. They can stay out in less wind than I can but gaining an extra 2 and 1mph in my low end for easily another $1000 for either kite is meh to me. I've had several sessions by myself so far that would have never happened on my other kite or unless I spent $2000 on a dedicated LW kite. Usually if I'm packing up my kite, so is everyone else. The only kite I've seen stay out when NO ONE ELSE can ride is the Airush Lithium Zero.
Posts: 617
Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2011 6:17 pm
Location: Wilmington NC

Thu Mar 20, 2014 10:46 pm

Love the unbiased review from a non switch rider. I am confident that if you have only had 2 sessions on the kite that you will become more and more impressed with the kite in time.
Team Rider -Brand Ambassador-Todd Robinson
Current Quiver-7,9 V4 Heliums 12M Nano
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