2022 North Atmos vs. Astra Kiteboard Review

2022 North Atmos vs. Astra Kiteboard Review

Hey guys, Kristen here with MACkite, and today I want to cover the North Atmos vs. the Astra board.

North Atmos Kiteboard

If you've been looking at North boards, you might have heard of, or you might even be familiar with, the Atmos. It's their big air freeride board, and it's pretty popular. It's a little bit stiffer, so it really allows you to cut through the chop and hold down the edge you need to have explosive pop off the water, which is what you want for big air and to get the height you need for those kiteloops.

North Astra Kiteboard

Now, the Astra is also a big air freeride board, so who is the Astra for? The Astra is geared more towards their lightweight and smaller riders, kind of like myself. I had the opportunity to ride these boards back-to-back-to-back, and one of the things I noticed was the narrower stance with the Astra. For the smaller riders, this allows for a little bit more comfortable stance versus the Atmos with a slightly wider stance. The Astra also comes in smaller sizes. I think the largest size for the Astra is a 138.

So what about the actual differences, and how do they feel riding them back-to-back? I was on the same size kite in the same conditions at the same spot. I started on the Atmos, switched to the Astra, and then I switched back to the Atmos just to get a very direct comparison and feel for the two in the same conditions. The Astra has some more flex to it. It's a little bit more of a fun and playful board. Where the advantage really comes in for the smaller riders is that you have a little bit more control over the board with it being slightly more flexy. It has enough stiffness to it that you can still get good, explosive load and pop off the water, and you can still get the height you need for big air, but for a smaller rider you don't need quite so big a board. If you're riding in higher winds and you're a smaller rider, you want a board that you can have more control over and really hold your edge down.

A big advantage with the Astra is that, with the flex, it allows for softer landings versus the Atmos. When you land on the Atmos, it can sometimes be more of a smack on the water. On the Astra, I felt like the landings were easier on my knees and easier on the joints. Another great thing about a more flexy board is that it'll be more fun to ride in the chop. I've ridden really stiff boards in chop before and I've ridden more rockered boards and also more flexy boards, and the thing with the Astra being a little bit more flexy is it allows you to absorb some of that chop, moreso than the Atmos.

The Atmos is stiffer, which is great for big air, but when you're riding in choppy conditions, you don't want a super stiff board. You're going to feel every piece of chop and you're going to feel like it's kind of throwing you around. The Astra allows you to be more playful in chop and still get that pop off the water that you want in those kind of conditions. Regardless, both boards were really good at holding their edge, and that's a really important thing for a big air board. I would say, back-to-back, the Atmos is a little bit more stiff, but I didn't feel like I lost any of that pop when I switched to the Astra.

The biggest difference between the two is the competitive edge, for anybody who's looking for that little extra five percent. Riding the two boards back-to-back and doing the same tricks in the same conditions essentially felt the same. The only big thing I really felt was the flex and the narrower stance in the Astra. If you like a little bit more of a narrow stance, I would highly recommend going with the Astra versus the Atmos.

One other thing I did notice between the two is that the Atmos did allow me to get a little bit more speed, so that comes back to that extra five percent that I was talking about. I was riding in really light winds and I felt like when I was on the Atmos, I had a little bit more speed and I felt like I could get a little bit more height off the water. The Astra, with it being a little bit more flexy and with those lighter wind conditions, it didn't feel like I had quite as much speed as I did on the Atmos, so that little bit of extra speed is what gives you the extra five percent and what makes the difference with big air and getting that extra height. You want the speed to create the energy and the stiffness to translate that energy, so I think if you're a bigger rider or you're riding in lighter conditions, you might want to go for the Atmos. If you're a lighter rider and you tend to ride in stronger winds, which normally if you're doing big air you want strong winds anyway, you could really benefit from having a board like the Astra. You'll be able to control it more and you'll have better, softer landings without losing any of the height or the edge control that you need for big air or kiteloops.

Hopefully that gives you some insight to the difference between the two boards and helps you decide which board you want to go for. If you found this video helpful, give it a thumbs up, don't forget to subscribe, and I'll catch you next time.

15th Jul 2022 Kristen Cooper

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