As I received a set of pre-series NOVA for demo and testing purposes, I decided to put the NOVA to the test in the 2019 snowkite racing season.
In the Swiss Snow Kite Tour (SSKT) we have a separate “sport” categorie for all freeride kites (so basically no high aspect race kites allowed) to make the sport more accessable and affordable for everybody.
The perfect place to test the performance of the NOVA in various racing conditions.
This season we were able to have 4 race stops, the last two were combined stops with IKA Snowkite Worldcup Lago Resia and the IKA Swiss Snowkite Worldcup Silvaplana. This allowed me to not only see how the NOVA performs against other freeride kites, but also gave me an idea of how well it performs compared to high aspec race kites like the Aero V2.
1ST STOP: BERNINAPASS
First day it was nuking with 45+ knots and no races were possible. Second day was gusty with 25-35 knots,The lake was hard and icy. I Decided to play it save and pulled the 7m Swell V3. The way I know the NOVA now, I would have pulled the 8m, but back then I did not know the kite that well and did not want to bother with changing kites.
I was able to finish on second position after 5 races on the 7m Swell V3 that day.
The last two races I gave my 8m Nova to my teammate Michael Kaspar, as he was looking for more performance compared to his 7m Lynx V4.
He was able to finish those two races on the NOVA right behind our teammate Felix Kersten on his 8m Aero V2. This gave us a first glimpse of the potential the NOVA has.
2ND STOP: ALLGÄU (DE)
First day we had pretty much perfect conditions, +/- 15-20 knots, fast snow and good visebility even though we were missing the sun. I took the 12m NOVA on 16m lines. Perfect setup for that day! First race I was still able to use my homespot advantage, I finished on a second overall position behind Ronny Bollhalder on a 15m R1 V2, leaving many high aspect ratio race kites behind.
I have to say that the course was only about ¼ upwind, which means the high aspect kites did not have that big of an advantage.
We were able to do 6 races on that day, and I was able to win every one of them in my categorie (sport). In these races I realised that I am only loosing ground on the upwind, downwind I was just as fast or sometimes even faster then the high aspect kites.
Second day the snow was wet and the wind changed constantly, dropping to +/- 6-12 knots, I was rather underpowered on the 12m for that kind of snow. One of my competitors had a 16m kite. This resulted in two 3rd positions, one 2nd and one 5th. Overall I was able to take the first position on that weekend.
3RD STOP: LAKE RESIA + IKA SNOWKITE WORLDCUP
First day of course racing there was no wind. On Saturday we got wind and were able to do 4 races. I used my 12m NOVA again, 16m lines.
First test against a bigger starting field, first two races the snow was still frozen from the low nightime temperatures and I was able to keep up with the middle of the overall field, being faster then some competitors on high aspect race kites, finishing the first two races 18th overall and 1st in the sport categorie of the SSKT.
Third race the snwo got wet and I already had a harder time, finishing 24th overall but still 1st in sport categorie.
The last race the the snow was really wet and the wind dropped a bit, which resulted in a 2nd position in sport as one of my competitors just had much more surface with a 19m Speed 3 to keed moving in those wet and light conditions.
I could clearly win the sport category that days and was quite happy with a 23rd overall position of of 37 men in the ski categorie, going up agains many bigger and higher aspec ratio kites. Especially on the downwind when the snow was still fast, I could easyly tease many riders on 14-16m race kites.
4TH STOP: SWITZERLAND + IKA SNOWKITE WORLDCUP
First day of course racing, once again, no wind. Second day quite strong wind, estimated 20-25+ knots. First I took the 12m, went for a quick test run, decided that the gusts are quite strong and that the 12m would probably be very hard to push on the upwind.
Changed to the 10m NOVA on 19m lines. Due to this I missed the first race. Snow already quite wet as the temperatures were very warm, but I had my skis prepared for this.
I was able to win all of the following five races in the sport categorie. Top 10 were out of reach, but no problem to keep up with the middlefield with race kites
Clearly winning the sport categoroy of the 2019 SSKT with finishing 1st in 15 out of the 25 races we did in those 4 stops. In the 2019 SNOWKITE WORLD CUP RANKINGS SKI MEN - COURSE RACING I was able to secure a 12th overall position with taking part in two out of the four IKA Worldcup tourstops for course racing. Doing so with 12m and 10m NOVA kites.
After my racing season I can say that the NOVA is a very fast and reliable kite. Only when it is extremely gusty and strong, one has to be careful for the kite not frontstall, but this really being extreme race conditions. Other then that it is very powerful for its size and aspec ratio, has a very big windrange, flies fast with high topspeeds, goes downwind like crazy, has respectable upwind capabiliteies for its low aspect ratio and also is loads of fun to freeride and jump.