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Old 11-08-2005, 10:41 AM
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Now for some impressions about the demo kites. Understand, that it is hard to form deep, meaningful impressions about all the attributes of a kite and control system during a short demo session. Use over many sessions and under varied conditions is the best way to form a more complete idea of performance.

That said on to the bow/flat kites. It seems that if winds are in the moderate to higher range the bar pressure required to steer and fly the kite falls off substantially. At the low end, in limited experience it seems that substantial pressure is required to hold the bar in, to maintain steerage on the kite. So, for lower end operation you are tempted to have something to ease the load on your arms, something like a powerlock, fixed QR harness line or the SS sliding plug. For now it appears as though any of these options defeat the primary safety feature of the brideled bow and flat kites. So, in using these the rider is placing himself at greater risk particularly in gusty conditions. Riders tend to get used to the additional pressure with time on the water.

I was impressed to be able to fly Cabrinha 9, 12 and 16 m Crossbows and a 12 m Switchblade in similar wind conditions. The 9 m was a little underpowered while the 16 m was a slightly overpowered but it was readily manageable in each of these cases. The 9 m was sined more often, the 16 m fully depowered on the trimming adjustment and parked near the zenith when riding. The 12 m kites were pretty much just locked in. The Switchblade was a bit slower in turning when compared to the Crossbow.

Jumping these kites is different from C kites as far as I have been able to determine so far. It is easy to launch long low jumps with fairly fast landings by jumping conventionallly. Increasing the height takes slightly different technique that I am still figuring out. One approach consists of building up a lot of speed, avoiding edging the board contrary to normal procedures, slowly edging the kite up to around 11 and then sheet the bar out rapidly into the jump. I was able to break out of the low jumps using this approach. I heard of another approach that consists of building speed into the jump with your board flat and then suddenly edging against the kite while raising it up slowly to around 11 and then sheeting out as you leave the water. What other techniques do folks use out there?

The Turbo Diesel flew well in a way similar to the Switchblade in a short session. I liked the stopper ball system for the ease it gave my arms. Just because you like something though doesn't mean it is good for you, too many french fries! I would be concerned about reacting fast enough to shove the stopper ball up and out of the way in an emergency. You would have the option of dropping the bar after you activated the chicken loop quick release and used the bypass leash. This can take some time though.

You do need to rest your arms at times by easing out the bar and even dropping it momentarily. This is easily done with the Crossbow particularly if the stopper ball is engaged and even if it isn't. With the Slingshot you can easily fix the angle of attack by sliding the stopper into position. I didn't have a chance to fly the Wipika so I can't comment on what you can do in that case. The Ocean Rodeo had a prototype bar that I don't think will make it into production. You really can't let go of that design to rest. I liked the way the kite flew but had trouble launching much in the way of higher jumps. It could have required different technique and perhaps I was just getting a bit tired at that point.

I have noticed a much greater wind range with the bow/flat kites as compared to C kites. I also have noticed that if you are flying in the higher wind range the margin for error goes down somewhat, just like with C kites really. Remember when everyone used two line kites? The effective wind range for many riders absent a variety of board and line lengths may have approached about 5 mph. Four line kites changed all that and substantially increased the wind range. Bow and flat kites are expanding that range even further.
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