2023 Duotone Unit V3 Review | Worth the Upgrade?

2023 Duotone Unit V3 Review | Worth the Upgrade?

Welcome back to MACkiteboarding Wing Wednesdays. I'm Tucker, and today I'm going to bring you a review on one of the most hotly anticipated wings this year, the 2023 Duotone Unit. This is the version 3, so they've really done a lot of refining over the past couple of years. There are some notable changes this year, but they didn't get away too much from the Unit DNA.

I rode the "standard" construction, not the D/Lab with Aluula, but that's not to say that this is a lesser wing. It's actually phenomenal, and I think this is going to be the choice for most riders out there between the two. This year we've got some slit windows rather than the big window, upgraded canopy material, a little bit more dihedral in the wings, and fewer battens in the trailing edge.

With any Duotone wing, you're not going to have a leash or a harness line included. You'll also need to buy a pump adapter if you don't already own one or have a Duotone pump, otherwise you won't be able to pump up your wing.

Anatomy of the Unit v3

Starting from the top down, we have the leading edge, or surf, handle. It is a little stiffer for this year, though it is still pretty thin and a bit too floppy to always have complete control in crazy conditions, but it does the trick. It's lightweight and it's got a nice neoprene pad underneath.

The leash connection is here but, as I mentioned, a leash is not included, so you'll want to add a leash if you don't already have one that you want to use. That's a good thing; the Kaohi leash is one of my favorite leashes and I can use that without paying extra to have a Duotone leash included that I wouldn't have used anyway. It allows you to pick which leash you like best, whether that's a wrist leash, a waist leash, or maybe you have a specific brand or type that you really like.

Moving down, we have the Duotone hard handle system. These are solid handles, and they're removable via a Phillips number three screw head, just like last year. They're very comfortable, very grippy and easy to ride with lots of control and very direct input into the wing. There are no changes there, and really none needed, from my perspective.

There are no formal harness line attachment points, so if you're using a rope like I am, you're just going to connect to the handle stanchions. There is a hole in the stanchion that you can loop through, and I did that on the rear handle, but I like to have my front rope attachment free to move around to help adjust for the wind range and help balance the wing out, so I have that looped around the handle. I did find on the 4.5 that on the inside stanchion was a nice spot. It balanced out really nicely from those two points, so it's pretty set-it-and-forget-it with this wing.

Just like last year, we do have a bent strut. That's going to make the wing a bit more ergonomic and comfortable to hold. It also does a good job of helping to support that canopy shape.

The new canopy material is a little bit heavier than the previous year, but it is more durable. It is a stiffer canopy material, so I would say it's a little upgrade in terms of stiffness and rigidity through the canopy this year. It does feel more direct and punchy when you're pumping or if you hit a gust, so it's both good and bad. It's nice to have that punchy, solid connection when you're pumping or on the light end, but on the high end it is a little bit more physical and demanding in gusts and those really inconsistent situations.

Just like all other Duotone wings in the past couple of years, we have the Air Port valve, and as I mentioned, you're going to need that special Duotone adapter for your pump. It's got a dump valve on the strut to easily evacuate that and pack up, and there is also one out on the wingtip to dump all the air from the leading edge. I was just out riding this the other day in about 10 degrees F wind chill, and these dump valves can get hard and become difficult to use in those cold temperatures, so I plug them up at home while the wing is still warm. After your session it can be a little difficult to get them open, but you can evacuate the air out of the Air Port valve by twisting that open; it just takes a little bit longer. If you can't get the dump valves open, don't force them; you could end up damaging the pull tab on the deflate valve. Of course, that's not going to be an issue for people that aren't out there riding in freezing temperatures; it's just one of those things that goes with the territory.

How Does the Unit v3 Ride?

This wing is one that I like to ride light to moderately powered. If you're riding it overpowered, it tends to get a little bit nervous and harsh. Some people are going to like that, such as people doing big boosts or people that have the physicality to manhandle a wing like that, but it does get a little demanding when you're riding overpowered, so that's something to know. With a wing like this, generally you're going to size it down about a half meter as compared to similar wings. The Unit is a very grunty, powerful wing. It's got a lot of lift, and that lift is also going to help you get up on foil and accelerate quickly out of the gate, but it's not going to have quite as much top end speed as some of the more forward-pulling, fast wings. But for most people, there's plenty of speed with the Unit. It's a ton of fun, very surfy, and fun in the waves.

The extra dihedral gives you good tip clearance when you're pumping, so the wing feels smaller than it really is. However, it does make it a little bit more twitchy side-to-side and it does make it want to roll over a little easier on the water, which is the downside of that extra dihedral. Hanging onto it from the leading edge totally tames that though; it's just when you're leashed out that the wing is going to want to roll over. If you're riding it really overpowered in nasty conditions, you're going to notice it's a little more janky than in previous years.

In terms of the way it luffs as it's surfing, it's very light. It wants to flag out nicely in most conditions. It does sometimes want to roll a little bit on you in shifty conditions, and part of that is the handle being a little soft and part of it is the dihedral in the wing, but it's something you can adjust for. One thing that I found really helps me in the surf in those mixed, nasty conditions is to hold it from the front strut handle stanchion, pistol grip style. That gives you a little bit more ability to direct the wing and tell it where to go, rather than it doing its thing while you're going along for the ride. When I was flagging the wing from that strut handle, it gave me more leverage over the wing and a stiff connection to have that direct feedback and stay in control of the wing.

Who Is the Unit v3 For?

Overall, the Unit is an awesome wing, especially for beginner to intermediate riders that want an easy-to-ride, pull-and-go wing that feels lightweight. It's easy to pump and easy to ride. It's a pleasure to ride within its wind range. For riders that want something a bit more punchy and aggressive-feeling on the high end, this could definitely be that for you. It's got a lot of loft, which is going to send you sky high in those big jumps and help set you down a little softer, almost like parachuting down, so it's awesome for those big jumps as long as you have the physicality to handle that rough ride when it's overpowered.

In terms of riding styles, I'd say it best suits moderately-powered, surf-type riding, freeriding for sure, and some jumpers are also going to appreciate this wing. I know a lot of Duotone's team are choosing this wing for freestyle, so that's definitely a good indicator for those people out there looking to boost jumps and do cool tricks.

If you're a Unit lover from the past, you're going to love this one as well. It's got a few changes that are going to make it a little bit more durable in terms of the longevity of the wing; it might not bag out as quickly with the slit windows and the upgraded canopy. If you love the v2, you're going to love the v3.

If you have any questions at all about this wing, you can pick up the phone and call the shop, jump on our live chat, or send an email. I'll be sure to get back to you and answer any questions you might have. This has been Tucker with MACkiteboarding.com, and we'll see you next time.

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9th Mar 2023 Tucker Vantol

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