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Star Kiteboarding is a Dominican Republic based company founded 8 years ago. Having so many kitesurfing brands around it's increasingly harder for smaller players to get through. However, sometimes all you need is a decent kite at reasonable price to gain well deserved attention and StarKites Taina is one of the best examples.
Out of the bag the kite looks pretty much on par with some of the more experienced brands. It has a large inflation valve so pumping up the kite is a breeze and sports a neoprene cover similar to the one on Ozone kites. The caribbean-infused graphics are eye catching and the colours are really vibrant - especially on the red version of the kite. In the 2015 model Star added some extra reinforcements on the lateral struts to make the kite even more durable. All in all Taina feels sturdy and the only thing one of our customers have pointed out was that the pulleys could use some extra TLC.
The Elite V2 control bar is super simple - just as it should be. All lines up to the stopper are coated in plastic significantly limiting wear and tear. This year Star has also replaced straps for a clam cleat for depower keeping it above the bar. The push-away quick release works like a charm but there has to be enough tension on the lines. We’ve fired it up three times in a rather gusty conditions and it always flagged out nicely onto the single line. The bar grip feels really comfortable and the whole thing looks to be very solid.
In the air
First thing we’ve noticed about the 2015 Taina has a nice lift to it. It’s one of the effortless jumpers - just sheet in and fly kind of thing. Despite the pulleys it is also quite fast and provides nice feedback so we pretty much always knew where it was. The other thing everyone noticed was medium-high bar pressure which can be adjusted. As mentioned before we've ridden the kite in really gusty conditions and Taina handled them pretty well.
Even though this kite has a bit of a beginner labeling attached, it packs loads of performance. One of our customers and a local rider said he felt very much at home with this kite after years of riding Rebels. He pointed out that Taina provides a nice compromise between boosting, upwind drive, drifting in the waves and pulling off powered moves. A do-it-all kite that sits somewhere with Ozone Catalyst, F-One Bandit and Slingshot RPM. Also, Taina's shape makes it super easy to relaunch.
On the other side the throw on the bar is quite short and the kite still retains some power when fully sheeted out. This can be useful for intermediate and more advanced riders but it can also be dampened by trimming the kite a little when learning first steps. Surprisingly the kite is good for learning first kite loops as it goes through them with a very little power, which translates directly in much less painful faceplates into comparison with for likes of Ozone C4.
We’ve given the 2015 Taina to some of our local riders and the feedback was pretty much the same across the board - easy handling kite with good lift and nice hang time. StarKites needs to do some TLC to small bits and pieces like the pulleys but otherwise the whole setup looks really good and will suit any rider looking for a true do-it-all kite!
2015 StarKites Taina Promo Ad: