gl wrote:I also have the 6.5 and 8.5 Smart Wave kites. I replaced my Flysurfer pulse kites with them. I liked the Flysurfer but love the Smart kites. Especially for strapless surfboards. The pull is very controlled and almost never pulls me off the boards. They just make everything seem easier. They handle the gusts much better and have huge depower. Launching and landing in the higher winds is much easier. The only thing I fine not as good is the upwind angle and a bit more bar pressure. Neither of these bother me and
I like everything else better. The kite also drifts well while turning towards it. I have the kites also in 4.5, 8.5 and 12.5 in open cell and they handle similarly but with easier launching and landing. I use them on snow and mountain board on the beach. Just great kites. I do prefer higher aspect kites in lighter winds.
The Smart Wave is an evolution of the previous closed cells smarts. I flied a lot the 4.5, 6.5 and 8.5 (ligh cloth) in waves and tried to give Benoît Tremblay regular feedbacks and sent the kite back and forth several times for modifications. Benoît then worked with Liquid Force for the Elite and started foiling and designed the Pulsion for the foil and on a foil (and for him). I bought the first Pulsion in 9m, 6m and 3.69m (he usually have the same sizes in Québec so that we can compare). The Pulsion is a very good kite but they are not like the Smarts: they pull more in the harness, they have a boost very useful for hydrofoil to get the foil flying, and very light bar pressure. This said, I like the 9m a lot, I found out that it is a fantastic kite for light wind sessions in wave (I am only 66kg) but I liked the smarts better in waves (strapless riding, the less I use the kite the better -- board choice is very important too). With the magic pulsion out, I had the feeling that Benoît could use his insights from the Pulsion to work on a new smart and I started emailing him ... a lot!! One day he sent me an email saying that my smart wave 6.5 was cut:
The smart Wave is thinner than the previous closed cell smart, internal structure is different and there are now stiffeners all over the leading ledge (like the pulsion). My first test in 20 knots and 1/1.5m waves indicates that the smart wave behaves like the previous smarts : linear power with no boost, very good drift (more than the pulsion, I was flying it before the smart), no clear differences between uploop and downloop and the bar pressure I was looking for (I like bar pressure because I use it to "turn around my arm and not my hips" while surfing, ie I prefer to have the pull in my arm than in the harness). The main differences is that it has a better upwind (once one has used the pulsion in waves in light wind, it is difficult to go backwards) and it is more comfortable (the depower is huge on the smarts and tips have a better behavior on this one -- not that it matters for me but for others it may (in a nutshell, on the previous smarts, when the tips start to move too much it meant that you were overpowered and it was time to change size).
I still have a lot of testing to do and I will send Benoît my impressions (Benoît is more of a craftman of kites and he listens) but I was so happy to get this 6.5 out after many years of tests and discussions with Benoît that I wanted to share it. There are still things to check but there is now a foil kite designed for wave riding nearly on the market (and not a beginner kite that you could use for waves). We are on good tracks!