Review of the Prodigy 14m
I am a kite instructor and a dealer for Ocean Rodeo. My all time favorite kite in 2012 has been the Cypher. Specifically the 12m Cypher as winds around where I kite are fairly light at this time of year. See my review for the Cypher here...
I had a feeling that the new Prodigy kite would be based heavily on the Cypher 2012 with changes to make the kite more stable and with easier relaunch. I already consider the Cypher to be an extremely stable kite with fairly easy relaunch. To me the Cypher is an extremely easy to fly kite with its main merit being a great flying kite even when massively de-powered. So what has Ocean Rodeo come up with in the Prodigy?
Bear in mind that I am comparing a 2012 - 12m Cypher with a 14m Prodigy.
Firstly I really like the graphics. It looks much better in the sky than in pictures. The new graphics has shed some of OR's usual graphics with the usual engineering feel to it. But do remember to wear your sunglasses when you pump up the Prodigy. The leading edge, struts and center of the kite are Persil white. In bright sunlight, you will be blinded.
Fifteen minutes of riding was all it took to get to know the new Prodigy. It is extremely stable. Even more stable than the Cypher. It relaunches much more easily. Not ridiculously easy as the most easy to relaunch kites available today but very easy launching.
The first few minutes, I felt the turning speed was slow. Until I started giving much larger bar inputs. And surprise, the Prodigy is a pretty fast turning kite as well. However under normal bar inputs the Prodigy turns fairly slowly. So I would call the Prodigy a slow turning kite that can turn fast.
The jumps are nice and floaty, which is a major departure from the Cypher which has a more sudden and powerful lift. The landings are definitely softer. I think beginners will definitely enjoy jumping the Prodigy.
Upwind ability is on par or very close to the Cypher and that means getting upwind is no problem at all. The drift is also on par to the Cypher. In fact many characteristic are similar to the Cypher but just gentler. (Read very gentle).
It also rides great when de-powered, and it’s nice to do unhooked tricks which is also very much like the Cypher.
I tried it twice in very light wind conditions, 10 knots plus or minus. While I of course struggled to get back upwind in the lulls, the kite handles light winds well. In fact in light winds you will be pulling hard on the control bar to get the kite moving fast and as mentioned, the Prodigy can turn fast when you need it to.
Whilst teaching in light winds, I switched from the Cypher to the Prodigy and immediately noticed that the Prodigy stays in the air better in very light winds. It also relaunches easily in light wind, however once the kite gets off the water (around 2 O’ clock position) it seems difficult to rise any further and needs some persuasion. However in these very light winds, many kites would be stalling and falling back in the water. Once it rises past 2’O clock, the Prodigy continues climbing up to zenith easily.
Choosing between the 2012 Cypher and the Prodigy is a close call. However we will need to compare the Prodigy with the 2013 Cypher which is currently still under wraps. I will be testing the Prodigy 12m next and I think I am going to like it very much too.
I lent the Prodigy 14m to a beginner kiter flying a Cabrinha Switchblade 12m and this is what he said. “I like the movement of the kite, much more direct and I am surprised that it turns faster than my 12m.”
I then lent it to another beginner, “Definitely relaunches easily. Can I order the 12m? Get me the blue one, damn nice, Blue is my favorite color.”
Definitely an easy relaunching kite, definitely a good kite to get started riding, definitely good if you want to start trying some unhooked tricks and nice and floaty for the old school tricks. Definitely good for beginners. Also good if you are serious about learning new tricks.
However for more advanced riders, I think perhaps you need to wait for the 2013 Cypher. With the Prodigy performing so well, I am sure OR must have some really awesome kites for 2013. I can’t wait.