We had a little stronger winds today, and I had the chance to ride the 2012 8m Lithium, and the 2012 9m Varial X. When I was on the 8m Lithium, winds were around 19-30, averaging 25mph. I rode it for about an hour. When I switched to the 9m Varial X, winds were more 23-35, averaging 30mph.
8m Lithium: Wow... This kite is super fun. I rode the 10m Lithium yesterday, and liked it, but wasn't blown away by it. This 8m blew me away. Super fun, fast, smooth, powerful, and good depower. Maybe it was because it was so windy(for us Florida guys), but even when I pushed the bar all the way out, it left a little power in the kite. It turns on a dime, and kept power thru the turns. And it jumps really well. There was another guy out on an 8m Lithium, throwing HUGE kite loops... Overall, I couldn't find anything wrong with this kite. I highly recommend this one to any style of rider.
9m Varial X: By the time I got on this, it was too much wind for this kite. I rode for about 20 minutes, but had the depower strap pulled all the way, and the bar pushed all the way out. I could ride, but it wasn't ideal conditions for it. Like I found out yesterday with the 10m Varial X, these kites have a lot of power for their size. It would have been a great day for a 6m Varial X...
So, now I am confused... Yesterday, I was blown away by the 10m Varial X, and liked it better than the 10m Lithium. Today, the 8m Lithium blew me away... I wish I would have had a 6m Varial X to compare... so, I may have to do a mix of Lithiums and Varial X's in my quiver now...
Below is some footage today on the 8m Lithium. The quality is not that good, so sorry in advance. I was hoping to show the kite better than it came out. Anyway, hopefully you can get a feel for how it turns, jumps, etc..
I've been riding the Varial X 8 and 10 since they came out and I have been very pleased with the wide wind range and overall performance of the kites. Since coming off of of the 2011 Lithium's which were sweet, but not the easiest to do unhooked tricks on for me. I really appreciate how easy the Varial X's are to unhook on for wakestyle tricks, yet they still sheet and ride easily without needing to constantly sign the kite for power. Really nice vertical lift but still with good float and easy landings. Stoked!
Any comments on the Varial X's freestyle/wakestyle capabilities? I'm finding loads of reviews and vids of it's performance in waves and jumping, but none about freestyle. Would love to hear from some wake or freestyler that rode this kite himself. (Unhooked, slack lines, pop, loops, trimming, bar pressure etc.)
Hessel wrote:Any comments on the Varial X's freestyle/wakestyle capabilities? I'm finding loads of reviews and vids of it's performance in waves and jumping, but none about freestyle. Would love to hear from some wake or freestyler that rode this kite himself. (Unhooked, slack lines, pop, loops, trimming, bar pressure etc.)
I've not ridden the VaporX so can't comment specifically what it would be like for wakestyle, but if you are looking for those features above then why not look at the Razor?
The UK kiteboarding forum is a good source of Airush product information, feedback from riders and the distributor seems to be pretty honest in his views. Look under the new products section which has 7 odd pages of airush stuff. (website down as of posting this reply)
The Razor is indeed better for wakestyle, but if the VarialX is more than sufficient for 99% of the riders, it would be nice having the extra range, depower and easier relaunch. (Like the RPM and the Fuel)
Hessel wrote:The Razor is indeed better for wakestyle, but if the VarialX is more than sufficient for 99% of the riders, it would be nice having the extra range, depower and easier relaunch. (Like the RPM and the Fuel)
Hi Everyone, I've not been here for a few weeks, good to see this thread.. I've come back to airush at the start of last year (was with the company up until the VPIII). The brand has been a little erratic over the past 10 year, with some very good gear and some average, but now they have a very talented designer, focussed on only one job, it's paying off... The new kites are very good.
I have ridden all but the access and they all have their merits, but I like many more aggressive and higher wind riders are string to polarise to the Varial X, which has sublime handling and so much control - especially in the windy gusty onshore conditions I ride in the Canaries.
Kyle_F wrote:I would pick the Varial X for dead onshore wave conditions.
Me too, but like others say - if you have side shore then the Lithium and one tent to offer a lot more pull down the line and gives you longer on the rail. The Varial X is INCREDIBLE in onshore though, just sublime. One of those kites that just gels with your riding and you don't have to ever look at it!
Even the Lithium which is a kite that schools can teach on have a real rider's feel to them. The range is getting far more feel than ever....
Lithium verses the Varial (2012 & 2013 models). I recently switched from Cab. Switchblades to 2013 12 m & 9 m Lithiums, and I like them for all the good things keep hearing about them. Being a rapidly progressing first year kiter it's one of the better choices I made.
I have an 012 Cabrinha Vector 7 meter that I may change. When the winds up, it's a nice kite - stable and well behaved, and I bought it "well used" so it it's going to need to be replaced within the season. The only drawback to the Vector and it's not a biggie, is size for size it's not as powerful as the Lithiums. This creates a little bigger overlap than desired when switching from my 9 m Lithium down the 7 m Vector.
As I said I like the Lithiums but like all designs there are pro's and cons. At the top end of their wind range they can, and the term I've heard used, "have a voodoo character". It tends to dart back and forth when @ 12:00. Ok, so don't put it there right? Again, I'm learning the ropes and while practicing new techniques, falling in is inevitable. I've adjusted to it's character but it can be exhausting at times while I'm trying to set up the board to waterstart in deeper water while the kite is moving around more than the norm. The Cabrinha's tend to be more stable overhead, but I prefer the Lithium for almost everything else.
I know some kites are better (have a different character) in different sizes and wind conditions. I heard the Lithiums below 9 m tend to have even more of this "darting" character. Is this a delta thing?
I'm wondering how Varial compares to the Lithium and what's its flying characteristics, especially in the 7 meter size? Does it work in waves well enough compared to the Lithium?
I'm not necessarily committed to using Airush, but already having the bars and knowing from my days windsurfing, it's often better to ride one brand of "sail". It's a familiarity thing.
I'm 158 lbs / 72 kg and primarily freeride - open ocean swell riding, small to medium waves.
windtzu wrote:I know some kites are better (have a different character) in different sizes and wind conditions. I heard the Lithiums below 9 m tend to have even more of this "darting" character. Is this a delta thing?
I have experienced this when it is really windy and I'm frankly overpowered. the kite is sitting back on full depower (or close to) and any change in wind direction or your pull on it (through breaking surf) will cause it to surge forward and then drop back. With all things left even it won;t do it, but we are asking a kite to drop a huge proportion of it's normal operating power to accommodate us, and it's falling back in the window a little, so when we wake it up it will surge forward again. Your weight and resistance to the kite in depower situations will also not bring enough tension in the lines to keep it as far forward as heavier riders so you'll find it surges a little more than someone who weighs 20kg extra..
windtzu wrote:I'm wondering how Varial compares to the Lithium and what's its flying characteristics, especially in the 7 meter size? Does it work in waves well enough compared to the Lithium?
This is an interesting question, and leads on perfectly from your first.. You are light - and that means you don't really need a lot of power or grunt - especially not when it's windy. You'll find the Varial a joy when it is windy - all lightweights do. It's a flatter kite and sits much further forward with lighter riders bringing less surging, and far more direct positive steering under higher levels of depower. The price you pay for this is light wind power. To get a Varial going well in lightwinds (and they do) you need an efficient enough board that you can build "apparent wind" and you need the skill in order to build speed and hold it.. Conversely the lithium is so easy - you just sheet in and it goes! The comparison is something like an F1 engine verses a big diesel truck engine. One's power is designed for a light chassis, the other for a heavy one.. Sadly the light chassis requires a bit more skill to get the best from it, but ultimately leads to the best performance (better to be light than heavy in kiteboarding IMHO)
windtzu wrote:I'm not necessarily committed to using Airush, but already having the bars and knowing from my days windsurfing, it's often better to ride one brand of "sail". It's a familiarity thing. I'm 158 lbs / 72 kg and primarily freeride - open ocean swell riding, small to medium waves.
Airush do make a lot of different kites, for this they have to be praised, but you need to know the real word differences between them. It's a complicated subject, and can sometime contradict, but when you get it right your riding comes alive!
Quite a few people of medium weight (which is where the biggest crossover happens) have been very happy with Lithiums in bigger sizes 10/12/14 and Varial X in Smaller - 9 and down-over. This seems to be a popular solution to the biggest range with the fewest kites..
That's a well thought out explanation - good analogies. This a big help and I find the tech. aspects fascinating as well. Thank you Mike.
I seems that at my progressing skill level and the usual gusty winds I'd encounter when I step down from my 9 m Lithium, perhaps the 6 or 7 meter Lithium is a better choice verses the Varial. This just came to mind. I've read recommendations about the Airush Wave 6 m being another option (is it too fast I wonder vs something like the Lithium in the same size range).
I read that the Wave 9 m is an excellent "freeride" kite as well. I believe you may have expressed this somewhere in the forums. My only question is whether the 6 m Wave isn't too much of a jump stepping down from the 9 m Lithium. I understand the Lithiums have a bit more power size for size and the Wave is little better on the top end.
So the bottom line; I understand their's no best choice, but a better choice and your recommendation >
Stepping down from a 9 m Lithium / riding both tt and waveboards/ riding primarily in ocean swell (I enjoy swell riding), chop, and experiencing small to med waves about 1 out of 4 times I get out.
At my 72 kg weight / starting in winds let's say @ 24 knots on up to a sane and reasonable max wind given my skill level as I time goes on / riding a TT Dundee (your recommendation - thanks and loving it) and an Airush Cypher 5'6 strapless. I found a used 011 5'6 Compact that I may consider for a high wind board, but I don't want to digress > so much gear so many questions. lol.
I narrowed my choices: the Lithium 6 m, the 7m, or the Wave 6 m?