Why you should make a point of attending an EPIC demo.

There is no doubt that getting some real riding time on a kite is the best way to make an informed purchasing decision. Many companies offer demos where you can take a kite for a short spin. If you’ve been keen on giving an Epic kite a try, here’s why you should make a concerted effort on getting some face time with one.

The experience:

This one tops my list compared to other companies — bar none.

I took a family trip to Florida in February and after a few trips to the beaches (I brought my gear) I found that the water was a lot colder that I’d anticipated. Being from Canada, we have thick skins, but still – being in the water for a long period would have required a wet suit for sure. I just dropped $80 to get my gear there and now I’d probably have to drop another $100 plus on a wetsuit. Grrrr.

I also have a 4 year old and 7 month old in tow, so whatever kite time I had required my wife to take double duty (which she was happy to do while I got my fix) – so the session had to count.

Through Facebook I learned that Epic was in Florida doing demos but not close enough for me to easily get too. I got in touch with Dimitri asking if he could give me a lay of the land and perhaps offer a suggestion for a wetsuit on the cheap. The feedback I got was rather unexpected. The email reads: “We’re actually going to be in Naples on Tuesday, which is 30 mins away from you and I can set you up with a wetsuit and harness – whatever you need, you let me know. We’ll see you soon” wrote Dimitri. Not only did I get a response in less than an hour, but I now had a game plan. We changed family things around so that my special kite day was on Tuesday, and that was that.

When Tuesday arrived, I got a text message that said, “It’s windy. We’ll be parked on 2nd Ave, just look for us and we’ll see you soon. We’ll be there at 10,” he wrote. My wife and I then packed the kids up along with a mountain of beach things to keep them busy and set off for Naples. The drive was nice and Naples is a beautiful place with a sweeeeet beach. I’d highly recommend this spot when looking for a kite destination.

The gear:

I was pretty giddy as not only was I going to kite my butt off, but I was going to do it with one of the sport’s legends. It was hard for me not to just run from the car to the beach, but responsibility kept me sane. Walking up to the Epic tent, I noticed that things looked a little different. I saw the crew pumping up both 4G and 5G kites. Right away I reached out to Dimitri who met me with open arms and he paid extra attention to my family, almost like he recognized that this trip took a lot to pull off and wanted to make things easier. He gave me the key to his truck where I was to grab a wetsuit and harness while he found a shady place for the family to set up shop. My 4-year-old daughter got in on the action by acting in one of his famous movies. He had her pumping kites and acting like a ham. She loved it and it allowed my wife to get a diaper change in for the littlest one. I was totally set up and my family was taken care of. When you go to an Epic demo, it’s not just about trying the latest and greatest in kite equipment, it’s about the whole experience. After I was in the wetsuit and Dimitri was put the finishing touches on some family photos, it was time to rock the new gear. I had my eye on the sweet looking Renegade 5G, 11 meter that was set up and waiting. Dimitri gave me a quick run down of what was new and improved (you’ll all be impressed but the pump system, construction and graphics) and had Radek give me a launch while he took pictures.

I’ll profess here that I’ve ridden Epic kites for some time and have always really liked the Renegade. But the 5G Renegade is something special for sure. It was the perfect cap on this already amazing day. It has improved boost, hang time and is a little faster in the turns. But it doesn’t trade off the low end that I’ve come to love, or the forgiving nature. As I passed by the tent I could see Dimitri mingling with other people as well as snapping shots. But sadly he missed my first ever front roll (totally by accident) and my spectacular beach entry where I ended up eating a good deal of sand. My only instructions were “if you see me waving my hands, come in as someone else wants to give it a try” Dimitri said. I was out for about an hour when I decided to come and check on the family. Enthused and exhausted.

I landed the kite with a smile from ear to ear — the perfect day. Dimitri was kind in his efforts and it really made me feel like I was a part of a special club…no scratch that. He really made me feel like I was a part of his family. He was absolutely sincere. Its just part of who he is.