Bandit 2020 Kite Review – Wave Test


Photo By Bruce Haggie Photography

This year F-One Kiteboarding released a new extension to the Bandit series of kites – aimed at the wave riders, strapless freestyle riders and lightweight athletes it is the Bandit S. And yes it performs beautifully in the waves, spilling excess speed and drifting nicely.

But for some existing long loving Bandit riders this poised some confusing questions – Does the older style Bandit 2020 which is now mostly aimed at the freestyle and free-rider still perform well in the waves?
Well, we think so! To see why read on…

If you are a Bandit lover, then you will love the latest release of the traditional style ‘Bandit 2020’ even more.
Let’s face it we love Bandits because they are grunty, powerful loops, and still great fun on the waves.
The choice to only release the Bandit S (for surf) only up to size 9 is still confusing for some, but look at it this way: if the wind is a little light then you need power in the waves – so the next size up in the range the Bandit 2020 Size 11, which is the kite we trialed and has honk loads of grunt…and will pull you through those lighter lulls in between the sets, just like the traditional bandits we have always loved. BUT also there have been some noticeable improvements…
• A lighter designed kite, means the kite also performs well as a foiling kite in light winds, and turns and responds very quickly.
• An altered shape and design to create less lateral pull, meaning your lower back will love you more as the kite is pulling you up to plane easier rather than horizontal.
• Very nicely designed pump system – we wish all kites undertook this system! A system mostly used in other pump up watersports devices like inflatable sups, boats etc this system is rock solid, fast and very practical. Haha one day perhaps kite companies will decide on one system for us all to use… until then enjoy the ride of progression :D.

The bar as with most kite companies these days is looking like one mean piece of engineering. Very nice materials that feel beautiful and natural under the fingers.
Being able to switch the ends to either a 45cm or 52cm bar means you can get away with only one bar for your quiver.
If there is one ‘con’ we can comment on is when the kite is fully de-powered the safety rope is flappy – but if you’re riding your kite that de-powered it’s time to switch to a smaller size!

Overall the Bandit 2020 is a well-engineered finely tuned free ride beast. We loved it in the small waves and light winds we tried it in, and was great to hydrofoil on and easily stayed in the air in 10 knots; and a real performer for boosting and popping with a twin tip.

If you are predominately a wave kiter, then you will want the Bandit S for the windier days – especially if your spot is offshore as the S is designed to help you spill off excess speed and drift better when you need it.
But if you love your freestyle and twin tipping just as much, the Bandit 2020 is still a great performer in the waves – and the size 11 that we trialed was fantastic in light winds and small waves.

Our ideal two kite quiver in the F-one range would be a Bandit S – 8 or 9 for the windier days (20-30 knots), and the Bandit 2020 – 11 or 12 for lighter days (10-20 knots), still great in the waves and fun freestyle action and big jumps!

Make sure you try the latest Bandits this Christmas you won’t be disappointed!