Had a great first season. Took a lesson in the Caribbean and bought some gear when I returned home to the great lakes and started improving on my basics.
So now that I am looking to spring to get back on the water. I need some more gear, looking for recommendations and even stuff to stay away from.
Skill: beginner (10 sessions on the water)
Already own a 12m Envy and a light to moderate wind TT (145x41 little rocker and no concave). I was thinking 17m for the summer, a 9m for the windy days, and a good TT for chop.
Envy is good, but I am open to other kite shapes and brands for sure. Tried a Naish Bolt 10.5 and it was fast fast fast in comparison to the envy and I felt like it had almost the same low end with a much better high end. Also had my hands on a Blade Fat Lady for a bit and I really liked the way it was just dive, park, and cruise.
Looking for something easy to fly, has good low end power, and a high end that can tolerate gusts.
I am not too worried about boosting huge air and stuff like that at this point, just want to get out on the water with the right gear. Been looking at Kahoona / TS / Park / Ride / Xbow / Switchblade / Lithium / NRG / Envy. I have no idea what to put money on tho.
Spend more time on the water. Try lots of different kites. Go to a large demo where you can try multiple kites back to back in the same conditions. Buy what your local shop deals in it makes it easier to get replacement parts.
This is the best advice you can get. Now bring on the gear pimps.
RRD is something to look into. The Obsession is a great kite but the biggest size is a 15 m. It's 5 struts so probably a little more rigid than the Fat Lady but probably not the same amount of grunt, but technique counts for a lot. The vision is another model I would recommend, I'm not sure if it comes in a 15 but if it did, it would be a little faster turning than the Obsession.
The quality is great, handling characteristics, relaunch, bar pressure and simplicity. The quick release is so simple. The smaller Obsession sizes are great. My smallest is a 10.5 which gets way squirrely in 30 plus, but have flown the 2012 and 2013 9meters and 7 meters in 30 plus with no issues. Tighter canopy just works better in high winds. I need to get a 9 or 7 for sure. One bar would work too, as with a lot of companies these days, they have a small bar setting and big bar setting so the 15 and 9 can be used with the same bar with no issues.
Buy what your local shop deals in it makes it easier to get replacement parts.
This is the best advice you can get. Now bring on the gear pimps.
+ 1 on That advise ...
Also, if Your back home in London, Ontario , hook up with a local shop
for some possible Snow kiting if they have it in your aria; the skilzzzs close
so it will add to your knowledge-base.
OH -- yea, it's Fun as well !!
Great Lakes hey? Why is there a lot of all rounder with a surf element kites in that range? If you don't want to boost take the NRG of your list it is also an amazing drifting kite. Sounds weird for a high aspect kite right! One I'm still scratching my head about. I'd say the edge but you said no boost. Same with the lithuim, kahoona and even the envy a great kite in the surf and a great kite for wake style on the flat.
What style are you looking towards on the flat water of the Great Lakes?
Smooth TT, the shinn range or even a mako...a Canadian designed board and wonderfully smooth.
Every time I see people making gear recommendations blindly makes me wonder...
What kind of riding are you trying to get into, because every kite is good at different things and will make a big difference in your progress. The Envy that you have now is a great all-around kite and is particularly good for surfing and unhooked wakestyle. If that's what you're looking for, a 9m Envy would probably make the most sense because it will feel the same as your 12. I personally ride 12 and 9 envys and they cover me from about 10-12 knots up to 30ish comfortably, I weigh 145 lbs.
If you're looking for something more for just jumping around, and still surfs good (IE- if you don't unhook as much) you might be interested in the smaller sizes of NRGs. Fun fun kites to fly, they boost high and glide forever, and go upwind very well. Some riders on the LF team are using them for surfing as well just because of how well they take you back to the lineup.
The gap between your 12m Envy and a 16 or 17m for light wind isn't very much. The Envy has amazing low end, so really a larger kite will help a bit but honestly, I see guys riding huge kites around here and they really only get started 1 or 2 knots sooner than my 12. So I would suggest buying a 9m first unless it is consistently around 10 knots every day.
If you want to stay with the same brand, you probably have the right size bar to use with the new 16m NRG light breeze. You might save a bit of cash that way if that matters to you.
I think it makes more sense to stick with the same model or at least brand of kite. That way all of your kites feel similar and if you have any problems with your control bar (broken line for instance) you have backups. Since you are still learning you will be crashing your kites more often, so my advice is just buy a used 9m Envy with bar and call it good. I don't think you need a light wind kite unless that's the only way you can get significant time in the water. The 12m should be good down to 12-15mph anyway.
For higher wind, get a 9 envy -good kite, familiar to you, & you could likely get a 2012 for a good price.
If you are are not free to drop everything on a forecast, do get a 16+ m kite too, because it doesn't always blow on Saturday! Being able to ride easily in 8-10 knots would double my number of sessions on the US east coast and I suspect it is similar to the north!
Round here it seems to blow harder on Mondays.
For the big kite it's less important to have the same brand of kite because a big kite in light air feels different anyway, and may need wider bar and longer lines than your other kites.
For boards I don't have any specific advice, it's down to preference, I ride a flexible 134x42 with low rocker in butter and a stiff 137x43 with tons of rocker in everything, or a surfboard in everything.
Eventually it comes down to skills and preference.
Generally though I would look for a TT size 135-138 by 41-42, with some flex to make chop more comfortable.
I really just want to be on the water as much as I can. I work an office job full time, plus wife and kids. So I can't just drop everything when it is windy and go, I have to plan ahead, make arrangements, sweet talk the better half ... so forth. So the more tools I have to work with when I do show up the better.
I should clarify and say, yes I want to boost, but not right now. Ultimately I am looking to just rip around and boost when I get the skills to do so. I am not really into wakestyle stuff, I do this to get out in the sun with some buddies and have fun. I don't want to spend time crashing often trying to do some technical acrobats. I am interested in trying some surf later, but I am going to stick to a TT and work on my kite skills atm.
The spot I frequent most looks like this:
Summer - 12-18knts gusts to 22knts.
Spring / Fall 15-22knts gusts 28+ knts.
I am also 6'-1" @ 190lbs so I need a bit of power to get going.
The wind is not the cleanest in my location so it can be gusty and uneven through out the day. If it is under the 20 knt range (17m) it can at times drop out to less then 12 knts for a bit.
Over 22knts (12m and 9m) and it is much more stable I find and is less prone to lull, but it is much more gusty 30+ knts sometimes.
So I am needing to work within 12-30knts to get a full day some days.
If say find a 9m and perhaps then get a bigger board for the light wind days. You could go with a door style board (which I detest personally) or break into the surf board category and get a surfboard that would be great when the wind is light And match up with your 12.
The celeritas by slingshot is a great surf board to learn on and use in light winds. Of course there are many others that would also fit that bill.