2024 Airush Lithium V13 and Lithium Team Review | Advanced Kite Constructions

2024 Airush Lithium V13 and Lithium Team Review | Advanced Kite Constructions

We've got a special appearance by Kristen Cooper today, and she's going to give us the scoop on the 2024 Lithium V13 and Lithium Team Series kites. What is the Lithium good at, how is the Team Series different, and who is each kite for?

Lithium: A Legacy of Loft

Airush has been part of the kiteboarding scene since 1999, and while a variety of kites have come and gone, the Lithium has long been a staple in their lineup. This year, the Lithium is in its 13th generation, and there have been a lot of refinements in the last several years that have resulted in a phenomenal all-around kite.

The Lithium is a Delta hybrid three-strut kite, it's extremely stable in all conditions, and it handles gusty conditions really well. Kristen's first impressions on the Lithium were what a lofty kite it was. Not only does it pick you up and give you a lot of hangtime, but it also brings you down very softly. It was more air time than she expected, and the gentle landings were a pleasant surprise.

Who's It For?

These characteristics are a huge advantage for anyone learning to do backrolls, frontrolls, grabs, board-offs... you want as much hangtime as possible so that you have the time to complete those tricks, and then have that soft landing so you can ride away.

That loft makes the Lithium a fun all-around freeride kite. It's not a boring kite that just sits there and pulls you; you can have a lot of fun flying it, but it's still very stable. Kristen's not usually a big fan of all-around kites and prefers something a little more specialized, but every time she goes out on the Lithium, she has a ton of fun. It's performed surprisingly well even on mediocre days.

Not only is the Lithium very beginner-friendly, but it's also very responsive, which makes it a lot of fun for an experienced kiter like Kristen. Some beginner kites tend to be a bit on the slow side or less responsive, but the Lithium doesn't have those characteristics. What makes it beginner-friendly is how stable it is in all conditions. It handles gusts well and has good low end, so if you're out in lighter conditions, which can be better for beginners, that kite's going to get you up out of the water. The relaunch is also easy. The swept-back wingtips help the kite release off the surface of the water after a crash.

Bar Pressure

The Lithium doesn't have the lightest bar pressure, but it's not the heaviest, either. It falls somewhere in between, which is really nice. Sometimes it's hard to tell where the kite is with lighter bar pressure. Whether you're a new or experienced rider, you want to be able to tell where the kite is.

On the other hand, you don't want the bar pressure to be so heavy that your arms and forearms get tired. In the months that Kristen has been flying the Lithium, she has never had that problem. It's got just the right amount of feedback without being too much.

A Versatile Kite

Kristen tried some freestyle on the Lithium, and it worked surprisingly well. Was it as good as a C-kite for freestyle if you're an advanced rider? No, of course not, but if you're learning or want to try out freestyle, the Lithium is very capable, especially if the conditions are not ideal. Maybe the wind is a bit gustier and up and down; the Lithium can handle those conditions while you work on your freestyle.

Kristen also took a 9m Lithium out in the waves, and it drifted well without backstalling. That smaller size was very playful and downlooped just fine as she weaved in and out of the waves. The forgiveness a pulley system has for beginners also makes it a great wave kite because you can fully depower the kite, yet it's still responsive when you're riding waves. Now, it is a bit more grunty than a traditional wave kite, so if you're taking the Lithium into the waves, Kristen suggests sizing down a little unless you do like being powered in waves.

Kristen also tried some baby kiteloops and had fun doing that. She hasn't done any big kiteloops on it yet, but the people she chatted with who had done them said they were a lot of fun on the Lithium. However, if you're progressing into more advanced kiteloops, you could probably benefit from a big air kite like the Lift.

Lithium Team Series

What is the Team Series, and does it live up to the hype? It's a new construction made from Ho'okipa, which is Airush's unique Ultra PE lighter, stiffer fabric. It's a high pressure leading edge material and is ten times stronger and stiffer than standard dacron.

This material and the way the load frame is designed allow the leading edge to maintain durability without sacrificing performance or weight. The way it's woven prevents the material from stretching or bagging out, which helps your kite to maintain its integrity for longer.

Because the fabric is stronger, it allows the kite to have a narrower leading edge, so the Team Series kites have very narrow leading edges and struts. Because these are narrower, it leads to faster and more responsive kites. You'll feel the difference in the smaller kites, but where it really makes a difference is in the bigger kites. Kristen was blown away when she saw how narrow the leading edge is on the 17m. This allows the 17 to fly more like a 15 compared to other kites with the standard construction. It's faster and more responsive, and you can get out in more light wind days with a bigger kite.

If the wind is light and you decide to just go foiling, you could really be holding yourself back with your twintip or your light wind kite progression if you automatically switch to foiling on those light wind days. If you have a big kite with a narrow leading edge like the Team Series Lithium, it can get you out in those light wind days when other people can't get on the water. If your home spot isn't foil friendly due to a lot of shallow water, having a fun all-around freeride kite with a Team Series construction can get you out on so many more days.

Who Is the Team Series For?

If you're looking for that premium, lightweight material that's stiffer and stronger, the Team Series is for you. If you want an all-around freeride kite that is very fun and stable in all conditions and very beginner-friendly, but also fun for experienced riders, the Lithium is for you. It's up to you if you want to go for a standard construction Lithium or the Team Series Lithium. Either way, if you want an incredibly fun freeride kite that gives you serious hangtime and is very lofty but is also very responsive, the Lithium might be for you.

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21st Jun 2024 Kristen Cooper

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