Robertshaw / Goff “Element” Review by Bryan Beasley

elementmoodyDesigned by Chris Goff, Built by Kite Related Design

What’s it for?
(Other than flying manically around the sky in a ‘falling with style’ kind of way.)

For a good while, team CR and their sponsored fliers were all conquering within competitive kiting in the UK. There was however, a young Padawan learner lurking in the background.

Slowly but surely, most of the CR fliers stopped competing due to pairs splitting up and individuals getting proper jobs and going to college and such. This left the young Padawan to become a Master in his own right, and ‘Le Petit Phenomenon’ took control of the competition kite scene. There were a few freestyle fliers pushing just about hard enough to keep trick skills and style moving forward, without actually mounting a serious challenge, but essentially Chris was all conquering.

A slightly shorter while ago, a resurgence in freestyle flying saw a rise in prominence of ‘other’ fliers, and there was a redefinition in what was perceived as cool. More to the point, Chris had some competition.

Now throughout this time, the CR Fury 1.0 and later the CR Fury .85 were the competition kites of choice for team CR. The trickier .85 does have limitations in some of the more recently proclaimed en vogue tricks and freestyle combinations though, and hence Chris set about filling some gaps in the repertoire and it would seem the Element represents the culmination of this work.

What’s the design and build quality like?

The first thing that strikes the eye is the lack of depth in the sail in comparison to most of the more recent trick kites available. Old Skool has become in fashion again, and the flat aspect here certainly helps in that regard. There’s no other dramatically striking or new design features to be found. Yo-yo stops, leach line with variable tension options, long leader lines and a bit of weighting round and about, and that’s about it. Nothing fussy or overly complicated. There’s a funky shape to the trailing edge though, something to do with holding lines in place for turtle spin moves.

Taken from the info available via the Kite Related Design website…

  • Wingspan: 220cm
  • Height: 84cm
  • Weight: 265 grms with 1 x 15 grm tail weight
  • Sail: Icarex PC31
  • Bridle: 3 point fully adjustable
  • Frame: Aerostuff Blue-S / P200.

The Element is built to a similar standard to pretty much anything else that comes out of the CR studio. That’s as much as to say ‘pretty much as good as it gets’. Quite beautifully put together then.

There’s nothing particularly pretty in the construction, it’s all ever so – functional, industrial even, built for a purpose. There’s cable ties for yo-yo stops (4 of ‘em each side BTW), brass tubing for ballast and rock solid straight seams to accommodate the foldy over type joins. The whole thing is, in essence, Urban. It’s build in London, from girders and ‘Damn’ but it works.

So, how does it fly?

The simple answer is ‘Pretty much any way you want it to’.

The Element will track a pretty straight line, carve a steady curve and cut a sharp, accurate corner. All of this takes some pretty acute handling though, ‘cos over cook an input and all sorts of strange things happen. That’s alright though, because this wasn’t really designed for straight forward, regular flight. It was, as Chris said when I asked the other day, designed for freestylin’ and trick competitions. So…

…Ok, spin moves are really spinny and flat moves are extremely flat. Pitch action is, well, ever-so pitchy and the sharp, angular stuff is – you guessed it – sharp and angular.

There is, in built, pretty much every trick in the book, with the vast majority of currently en-vogue stuff reasonably straight forward to dial in to. Nice. In a light wind with gentle inputs this all happens in a smooth and slow fashion. Hit the thing a bit harder however, and it’s all lightning quick. It’ll comete, as an example, just as fast and sharp as you’re hands will go. Truth is, there’ll be not many able to keep up and the result will be a wildly spinning dervish of a thing. No problem though, ‘cos recovery from all sorts of positions is a given.

With a bit of pressure in the sail, the whole thing moves forward a pace, and without some serious footwork, everything is again a blur of whizzing sticks and ripstop. Big fun :thumbup_tb:

There’s a few quirks, anomalies, (some will call them annoyances – not me though ;-)) that will take some getting used to. A dead spot just past horizontal in the flare for example, that doesn’t come back to life again for a while, and quite fussy half axels and cascades. Gorgeous when you hit it, but different from most other modern designs. See through and persist a bit though, and the rewards are rich and fruitful. It’s well worth the effort.

Ok, enough already. There’s no way the Element will be to the taste of everyone, but the hardcore freestyler and trick artiste will grow to love it to bits. It is in summary, a grin inducing trick monsty that’s staying in the ‘A’ bag for a while. No question.