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With a long-standing reputation of producing high performing kites, it was only a matter of time before CORE released a wing. Using their extensive team of highly skilled watermen (such as the likes of Willow River Tonkin and Steven Akkersdijk) CORE have developed a complete freeride offering with a wing that excels in all conditions whilst maintaining the high quality and performance associated with the CORE brand. We tested the 4m XC wing in combination with the 70L Roamer board and the 1250 Spectrum foil.
CORE have gone for an all-round ‘freeride’ wing in the XC with a moderate aspect ratio that aims to deliver plenty of power for freestyle whilst being light enough to ensure good drift for wave riding. The strut and leading edge can be pumped up separately thanks to the double speed valves, though there is a ‘one pump’ connecting tube with a valve if you want to just pump up once. CORE have utilized their ExoTex2 material in the leading edge and strut to create a rigid frame and their low stretch CoreTex2 material has been strategically placed to ensure low stretch and maximal stiffness. What is interesting about the XC is the twist in the wing tips. This twist gives the wingtips a higher angle of attack than the strut, providing an extremely stable wing that remains agile and easy to handle. Although ultimately down to personal preference, it seems that hard handles are gaining popularity in the industry thanks to their direct feel and added control. The XC follows this trend with extra wide handles with a soft coating on them which makes them very comfortable to use. The position of the handles are just right, with enough range that you can easily adjust your grip to the desired position. Accessory wise, the wing comes with a good sized and well thought out bag with plenty of storage, though it should be noted that a leash is not supplied with the wing. This allows the rider the choice between CORE’s waist or wrist leash options as opposed to having a leash option that isn’t their preference.
The material selection, design and construction of the wing ensures a taut canopy and this combined with the hard handles gives an impressively direct feel which you notice straight away. The XC definitely prefers to be more powered up. When powered the wing is very responsive and direct and pumping the wing gives instant results allowing you to get on foil effortlessly. In lighter conditions (on the edge of the wing's specified wind range) pumping the wing requires a bit more effort, but thanks to the stiff construction it is still possible to pump yourself up on foil when underpowered. Once riding the wing feels very balanced and stable with no flutter in the trailing edge. The XC goes upwind well, and there is more than enough room to adjust your hand positioning to optimize your upwind angle whilst also ensuring you are in a comfortable position.
CORE has found a great balance of stability and agility with the XC. When tacking, the wing stays perfectly stable overhead allowing you to complete the tack with ease without being pulled off balance or having to contort into awkward positions yet the moment you need it in position it's easy to handle and bring back to exactly where you need it. The same goes for in waves, despite the leading-edge handle being on the smaller side, when wave riding the XC really allows you to focus on your foiling with the wing flagging really well, floating beside you until required. Instant power allows you to get winging again when kicking out of waves and this power on demand also makes it easy to get airborne with the XC.
The XC is an easy-to-use wing with a robust, high-quality construction that is synonymous with the CORE brand. Its direct response combined with its stability make it a great freeride wing for all levels of rider across all disciplines and complements CORE’s complete freeride package. JM