Review : A key lock with a difference – The Tow Hitch lock

Hi All,

Just before xmas I was fortunate enough to be given a demo of a new surf key lock that looked really interesting. I’ve been using surf locks for a while now to keep the old van keys safe whilst out on the water (or anywhere else I happen to be) and I’ve had numerous failings and mishaps with it. My previous lock was a standard lock on a hook type affair and the failings I’ve had have fallen into the following categories:

  • Forgetting the code (not an issue of the lock more me) but this resulted in me driving about with it hanging from the back of my car for a week with the key in it until i either cut it off or remembered the code – thankfully i remembered it after calling the manufacturer and was ready with the angle grinder!
  • Putting my key in it and leaving it in the van BEFORE closing the boot. (Thankfully all kite gear was on the outside!)
  • Having it seize up with the key inside and using rocks to bash it open.
  • This lock now sits in the back of the van with an ‘unknown’ combination after i accidentally flipped the toggle and set a random code. I’ve tried about 4000+ codes through it before thumb cramp set in completely and I got bored.

So, I get this lovely new one that looks the goods! It hides covertly in the larger style tow hitch of the van and is aways ready to be used, I can’t lock it in the back, it won’t dangle, I don’t have to dig about for it and take it on and off so it’s one less thing to muck about with and that means MORE time in the water :)

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Installation was pretty straight forward, it seems there are 2 slightly different types of hitch here in Aus and the fit20141223_165333 was a little too snug for my liking so I hit the corners with a file to give it a little more room to slide in, once adjusted it was easy fit and shouldn’t get stuck. The locking mechanism is really clever, there is no way to remove the 2 locking pins that hold it in the hitch without opening it. It literally takes 30 seconds to get in and out if you need to. Construction seems solid and premium, this is good as there is a chance it’ll get backed into a wall at some stage. The cover that ‘hides & protects’ it hasn’t fallen off yet and clips on very securely. There is even a bunch of differing thickness foam things that you can use to stop the lock rattling about in your hitch so it looks pretty slick when fitted.

20150104_073124For a decent review of this product I decided to use my xmas surf trip of randomness up the coast to really test it out. We had sun, rain, wind, dust & dirt with both sea and inland conditions and this lock was brilliant with a van full of gear! First thing I noticed is I wasn’t digging about in a bucket of old wet wetsuits to look for the lock, it’s always there, no kneeling under the car to hook it onto something. Simply pop the cover off, dial in the combo, hit the catch and the drawer slides out.

20150104_073203It’s easily big enough for my VW zapper key, you can even get a credit card in it or 2! Pop the cover back on and its done.. you are ready to head out. I mentioned to the surf buddy whilst out in the water that it was probably a good idea they know the combo and they managed to suss it out without ever showing them how to use it so it gets the thumbs up there!

20150104_073146The drawer never once had water in it (my old lock would leak) and there is no dust in it despite doing about 40kms on dusty dirt roads over the trip, it hasn’t stuck, jammed, fallen out or failed in any way. You can see how dirty the tow hitch is.

All in all this thing is staying on my van! It’s brilliant and if you are in the market for a GOOD surf lock, have a big square hitch on the back of the car / van / truck / boat / combine harvester then I can’t recommend this more.

If however you don’t have a hitch to fit this into I also have a demo unit of their sister key lock product that is an upgrade of the standard combination lock with a push button code which means you can use it in the dark. I’ll be testing this puppy out over the next few weeks also and be writing a review of it also.

For details on where to get this product head over to http://www.dragonkeysafe.com.au. I’ve managed to negotiate a special kitesurfing.com.au deal that means if you contact dragonkeysafe@gmail.com and say that you’ve read our review and got the details from here they will throw in a FREE MobiSafe  lock with it. That’s pretty good of them!!

Here are some promo shots from the website and a picture of the free MobiSafe lock you can use to lock a phone and cards away in a bag whilst out and about or travelling.

 

Thanks to Jen from Dragonkeysafe up on the Goldy, can I keep it please please please… :)

 

New WA kitesurfing regs: Lifejackets, parachute flares and EPIRBs!?

Well folks, new WA marine regulations have been released, and despite best intentions, some of if seems a bit, well, just stupid.

http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/kite-and-wind-surfers-forced-to-wear-life-jackets-20140802-zzr1j.html#ixzz39ClfeU1Y

“The laws state that if a kite surfer or wind surfer is between 400 meters and two nautical miles from shore they now require a lifejacket and can choose to carry either red and orange flares or an Emergency Radio Indicating Beacon (EPIRB) or Personal Locator Beacon.”

Between two and five nautical miles operators must carry a lifejacket and EPIRB. Further offshore they must also carry parachute flares.

Read more: http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/kite-and-wind-surfers-forced-to-wear-life-jackets-20140802-zzr1j.html#ixzz39DPzyW31

Two nautical miles offshore is a long way — I mean, really, unless you’re Ian Young, what business have you got being out that far anyway?  But parachute flares and EPIRBs? Wouldn’t it make a lot more sense to just carry a portable marine radio instead? Where are you going to (safely) stash parachute flares as well as an EPIRB? Realistically, no one is going to end up two nautical miles offshore on a kite INTENTIONALLY, so if you’re not intending to go out that far you wouldn’t be carrying all that stuff.

4oom is a different story — but first of all, on a kite, just how do you know how far 400 meters is? Can you really accurately guess how far that is? I wouldn’t have a clue when I’m more than 400m out or even how far out I am, just by looking back at the beach. So then, maybe it also makes more sense to require that people carry a GPS if you are going to fine them based on where they are relative to the beach?  Mixed feelings about the lifejacket thing. Yes, there probably are some benefits, but your harness does provide a significant degree of buoyancy, not far off a Type3 life jacket so is that really solving anything. I suppose, theoretically, if you knocked yourself out a lifejacke could POSSIBLY keep your head out of the water, but not sure. But lets look at the data — how many kitesurfers have drown in australia because they weren’t wearing life jackets? Well, none that I’m aware of.  And after the sport being pretty popular for nearly 15 years now and probably tens of thousands of Australians and others involved in the sport, it does seem like fixing something that’s not actually broken. Your thoughts ?

The NEW Hobbs Carbon Kite Buggy

I’ve had the pleasure of begin across Dave’s carbon kite buggies since initial conception. The first buggy was simply awesome and an engineering marvel to me being all in carbon. We had an opportunity to test out the old one a while back in some seriously stupid wind at Stockton. That was a long while ago now and Dave has progressed to version 2 of the new buggy. Named the H-BOMB this thing is a serious bit of kit!

Dave’s attention to detail is outstanding, the build quality and level of thought shows when you get up close to this thing. This is no toy, its a serious bit of kit!

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So what’s changed? Well, a lot! Gone is the carbon backbone replaced with a stainless frame member that is adjustable in length so lanky / short can fit snugly into it. The seat unit has seen a total redesign, still in keeping with the originals looks its carbon on the outside with a custom made webbing seat on the inside supported by hand crafted stainless tubes. I believe the seat is also adjustable for width when you order so thats every dimension of pilot catered for. Other tweaks to the front end for simplicity and reliability have been made and the rear end mounts have had a tidy up with full adjustability for ride height.

Optional fat or skinny wheels for hard / soft sand are available and best of all it breaks down quickly for easy transport.

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The Hobbs H-BOMB carbon buggy in action in the Gobi

Now I’m a pretty good kiter but I’m no buggy pilot. But word on the beach is this thing is purpose built to GO FAST, and I like fast. Above is an exclusive kitesurfing.com.au pic of the buggy in action during testing in the Gobi Desert.

Well done Dave for knocking out such an awesome bit of kit! Can’t wait to have a go soon :)

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For more information check out http://www.carbonkitebuggy.com/ We are proud that this has been developed and made on the Northern Beaches of Sydney!