Location: Valdevaqueros and Palmones (Tarifa)
Conditions: Choppy water with little waves, gusty strong levante 35+ knots and low wind (around 13 knots).
Sizes tested: TS08, TS10, TS12
After pulling the kite out of his back you will see there have been improvements on the design with their 'patterned' colors, that give the kites a little more 'finished' touch. The kite has a very simple, direct bridle with -next to the standard tuning- quite some flexibility to tune along your personal preferences or different wind conditions. The kite looks very well finished, high quality, with kevlar reinforcements.
My first riding impression of the TS, was on the 8m in very strong levante. The kite felt easy during maneuvers and has very stable, stable handling even in the gusts. Compared to last years Taboo, I would say that the kite has become easier in general with a more constant speed during turnings (great for wave riding!). As I was on my twin tip board, I wanted to try out high jumps, kiteloops and some newschool. During the jumping, the kite reacts very fluent and feels even more confident than the Taboo, already from the first minutes riding it. The kite has good lift and gets back into the top of the wind window right after kite looping, which results in perfectly smooth, controllable landings. Unfortunately after 30minutes riding, the wind dropped and most riders went out on their 10meter. As the low wind had been a little disappointing to me on the 2011 Taboo, I was positively surprised to feel the improvement they've made on the TS. The kite has now great low end, and even when most people were out on 10 and 12's, I easily managed to stay upwind and enjoy some small waves on my surfboard. Great!
The next morning, I chose to go out on the 10m TS. It is surprising to see there has been worked to optimize every kite size in particular. The kite has shorter, but slightly slower turnings which makes it easier in handling, with good feeling on the bar.There were some very small waves today, that we used as kickers for freestyle moves. The pop is and unhooked riding is good, with very smooth response during my newschool tricks. I think most of the professional riders will choose the GP for freestyle riding, but I wouldn't doubt for a second to say I had at least as much fun riding freestyle on the TS!
Without the explosive aggression from the GP, I think the TS is just as good for freestyle, while being more forgivable and easier to anticipate. When unhooking the kite doesn't pull you over your edge, and I heard some people say they find the TS easier to learn unhooking and tricks on than the GP.
During the last two days testing, I drove down to Palmones, where the wind was significantly lower, and most people were riding their biggest kites. The wind was around 13-15 knots, quite some current and lots of lots of people on the water. What you will notice immediately after trying the 12meter is how hard they increased the low wind for this year. Again the kite feels super stable and precise in his steering which I really enjoy for freestyle.
Probably one of the most all-round kites on the market, that made my choice to change all last year Taboos for the new TS, very well worth it! I think it doesn't matter much whatever riding style is yours, the TS will probably be appreciated by every one.
Conclusion: The ultimate all round kite, great for beginners to expert riders.
The kite has smooth turnings and great stability which make it excellent for wave riding too.