Why we chose the Bandit S2? Well after almost a decade and a half as one of the most celebrated all round kites F-ONE decided to split the Bandit range going forward with the Bandit and the Bandit S. The split has been received well with the S2 being the second version of new range. We were keen to try the S2 as not just a surf kite but an all around kite. Our hope? a kite that is fun in waves, great for foiling and hopefully still good on a twin tip when the wind picks up. Did the S2 deliver? You bet!!! Read on to find out just how.
This year we present the second edition of the Bandit S, with major improvements to take wave riding, strapless freestyle or even foiling to the next level.
The Bandit S provides exceptional stability and control with total direct control of the steering anywhere on the bar throw. The Bandit S offers firm, precise and ultra-light bar pressure along with super smooth power delivery. Homogenous traction and amazing agility the Bandit S has been redesigned for extended wind range.
The Bandit S2 is reactive, light and drivey making it the ideal kite for foiling. The stability of the S2 during the drift is a great comfort on a foil especially when your lines are slack during turns or carves.
Visit for more info: https://www.f-one.com.au/product-page/bandit-s-v2
Out of the bag the build quality is clear. Everything is refined as you would expect with a kite coming from a line of 14 iterations. Every element of the kite says quality and simplicity. A clean panel layout and a clean bridal with direct rear line connection gives instant confidence as you rig up. The kite utilizes a hybrid 135g fabric on the trailing edge that is noticeably stronger than ripstop yet lighter than dacron. The panel layout is clean and again looks solid and utilizes Teijin Technoforce fabric, a light crisp feeling fabric. Again quality is the overwhelming impression out of the bag. It’s clear this is a kite that will give many seasons of performance and take a beating if need be. Inflation is super simple with the Reactor valve is super quick, easy for both high flow inflation and deflation. A velcro cover keeps it out of sight, out of mind once the kite is inflated.
In the air the kite is everything F-ONE promised. Scroll back up and read the F-ONE claims and once you try this kite we’re certain you’ll be nodding along as you read. The kite is surprisingly drivey, one of the things we thought may have been compromised in the hunt for a perfect surf specific kite was low end grunt but the S2 is firm, quite powerful and direct. Even on a twin-tip we could get going early due to the firm pull and the kites maneuverability. As F-ONE mention repeatedly, one of the S2’s standout performance areas is direct control throughout the bar throw. We found this the stand out feature of the kite, always able to precisely control the kite.
Drift is a word always thrown around when wave kites are mentioned and predominately foiling we found that the S2 excelled in this space. Mindlessly carving towards the kite, following swells the kite patiently sits at the edge of the window. Again the great part was that as soon as you want to get going upwind again the kite is solid, relatively powerful and always responsive.
As mentioned above we were hoping the S2 would provide an all around experience beyond just surf. Foiling was a dream with the kite but one of the big surprises was the performance on a twin tip, sharp direct solid power delivery got us up and going even earlier than we expected yet the solid direct control through the bar throw means the kite is well behaved even as the wind picked up. The direct steering also allowed for impressive boost, decent height and reasonable hang time and again, a direct connection enabling intuitive kite control whilst in flight. For sure this is a kite that can do it all and exceed expectations while doing it!
The bar, the LYNX Bar, continues the clean yet premium experience . Our test kite was paired with the 52/45cm convertible size. In our opinion at this size (9m) the 45/38cm bar would be more than sufficient as the kite is quick and easy to steer. The lines are noticeably stiff to handle and this makes them easy to manage on the beach with tangles hard to create and F-ONE mention they help stiffen up the responsive feeling of the kite, something we noticed immediately in flight. We preferred the 45cm inner setting. In your hands the grip has a great feel, the chicken loop/safety system and below the bar swivel are clean and effective. The kite’s fantastic behavior meant we never needed to utilize the safety but we did a few test runs just to see and it performed impeccably. We did find it a bit of a challenge to pull the flag out safety line back through the chicken loop when testing the safety but with a solid pull could get it back through, it could potentially be hard out of your depth or other complicated situations but if there was ever tension in the lines (kite somehow relaunching) it would simply pull back into place under that pressure so not really anything to worry about.
WHO WILL LOVE IT?
The Bandit S2 truly is one of the most usable kites we’ve ever ridden. Beyond pure surf performance it has plenty of use cases. We did use it in some small waves and it’s surf performance is beyond doubt with the drift combined with responsive control at all times. We predominately rode the S2 on a foil and found it to be everything you could hope for in this discipline. The most impressive trait was the sharp performance on a twin tip meaning the S2 is a great choice for a smaller all round kite. Given the S2 is available 1 metre increments from 4m through to 10m it’s possible to pair it with a bigger Bandit and have a all wind quiver that will not disappoint.
WHO WON’T LOVE IT?
Honestly – no-one… This is one of the most usable kites on the market without doubt. You will not ever feel lacking. It seems to us that the main use case for the original Bandit over the S2 could be pure boosting performance. Unless you’re aiming for the moon (doesn’t mean you cant send it when the wind gets up) then the S2 will be a great choice.