elliott george wrote:
joriws wrote:What I've read reports of Pansh kites - don't bother.
Few reviews have said there ok
Their very tempting considering the 22m will only cost you $779 which I think is around 600 pounds in the uk. Very cheap compared to the 21 flysurfer
Any opinions on the bigger sizes?
I have a 15m (so, not the 19m or the 22m) paired with a ~23" Naish 5-line bar. You need to ask yourself the following question when considering an Aurora, "How much is my time worth?" In order to get the thing to perform at all, it's going to take some futzing--perhaps a lot. If you're easily frustrated, it could take years off your life. Even if you aren't easily frustrated, a big Aurora could take all the remaining years of your life at once. They're unrefined and a bit scary.
Out of the box, the 15m pulls hard once moving, turns slow and has very little depower. This works fine on the snow, but on the water in light wind (which is what I got it for) the gutless high-aspect shape and the slow turning make it very difficult to get going. Then, once you get on plane and the apparent wind kicks in: holy shit, does it pull. So, you let the bar out to reduce the power--and nothing happens. You just keep going faster, and it just keeps pulling harder. Inevitably, you explode and repeat the entire process again, losing what little upwind progress you may have made against the apparent wind tractor by trying to get up on plane.
You get back to the beach and start the walk of shame thinking, "This can't be right, there's no depower whatsoever. I've got to adjust the front/rear difference." But in the interval, the wind has picked up by 1 knot--and because the depower is non-existent, progress back up the beach is slow and difficult on your tip toes. A small gust comes, and in the interest of self-preservation you release to the 5th line (which you had to set perfectly, by the way). Eventually, you make it back to the launch and deal with whatever mess has become of the bridle. Finally, you make your intended front/rear adjustment and try it all over again. Now, you've choked the power out of the kite entirely; but the light's gone or the wind has changed and you'll have to deal with finishing the tuning another day.
After struggling with this a few more times, you begin to realize why it only cost you $300 on sale (plus another $200 for the bar and lines). But by scouring forums and French websites with weak English translations you find hope: A bridle modification which promises superior depower and turning speed! So, you source suitable line and make 50 bits of spectra of varying lengths to millimeter precision. Finally, you install them on the kite; confident you've followed the instructions to the letter. You're excited to finally have what you've sought after all along: A poor-man's Flysurfer. The next light wind day, you've got everything set, and you put it in the air: "Hrm, it's not inflating fully. Probably the light wind. I'm sure it will fill-out with a couple power strokes." Proceed to the water, fail to get moving, kite won't inflate. Walk back-up beach against increasing wind, try adjusting the front/rear balance again... and then again. With dying light, decide 'f*** it': land the thing and pump the 13m inflatable for a desperation sunset session because you haven't been out in 3 weeks.
Later, you learn from a friend who's also done the bridle mod that the instructed b-line extension is total bunk, it puts too much shape in the kite and prevents it from inflating. It isn't until winter you deal with it in fits and starts 'cause it's just such a damn hassle. It sits in the car with the next tuning step ready for testing, taunting you with its inability to be tamed.
It's like a throwback to kiteboarding in the early 2000s: You need a lot of initiative to partake in something which is often frustrating and occasionally life threatening. If you're looking for a DIY project which could end it all for you, an Aurora is just the thing!
I'm still hopeful that my next time out with it will meet the expectations I had for it at the outset, and I'll see it through because I'm stubborn like that. But really, if I had to do it all over again I'd buy a gently used Flysurfer if I really wanted a foil, or one of these new lightwind inflatables for even less hassle.
Please don't take this 'review' as a knock on Pansh. I have a pair of Fluxes and a Blaze II I'm very happy with. When it comes to the Aurora, I got exactly what I paid for (probably more): A big-ass, cheap-ass foil with very little in the way of the R&D required to make a kite suitable for kiteboarding. I under-estimated the amount of tinkering it'd take (though I knew I'd be doing the bridle mod when I bought it), and over-estimated the amount of time I was willing to spend doing that tinkering. Had I been more dedicated, this boondoggle would be sorted by now--it's been a little over a year since I got it. My buddy who also did the bridle mod on 3 separate Auroras is perfectly happy with his quiver (and is clearly more dedicated than me). So, YMMV.
Oh, I should mention that I also replaced the shitty brass pulleys which came on the kite with Ronstan kite blocks. So, there's another $40-50 in addition to the bar & lines, and the specialty line for the bridle mod. When you factor in the time, we're deep into the red of any cost/value proposition.
If you decide you're up to the challenge, I wish you luck. If anyone's interested, I have local copies of the bridle mod calculator and bridle map since niaboo.com is offline now.