I felt a review by a independent kiteboarder might be appreciated.
I Just received my new Speed 4 Lotus 21 Meter late 6/17/2014 , so 6/18/2014 was my first day out.
First of all some background: 8 years riding Twin Tip and Surfboards, I prefer Surfboards. Strapped and Strapless. I ride Foils and Inflatables. I buy all my own gear, and have no flysurfer affiliation. Have owned several Flysurfer Kites before, including the Speed 3 19 M Deluxe and the 10 m Unity Standard Cloth .
Weight: Not only is it lighter than the 19 m Deluxe, it is even lighter than my 10 m unity standard cloth.
Material: Super thin almost transparent
Bridle: looks very similar to the Speed 3 19 m
Lines: 20-30% thinner
Bar: Good old Infinity 2.0 well known
Conditions: When I arrived the wind was dipping down to 6 mph. I would never have even considered riding in these conditions, even with my 19 meter DLX. But since it was a new untested kite I felt I should test fly it in super lite wind, on land at the beach, in case any line adjustments were necessary. To my amazement I was jumping lively Down the beach in full control and knew it would be enough to kite on the water.
The rest of the story goes like this.
When the kite Arrived I noticed it included 6 m extension lines. Since I knew this would improve the low end I quickly added them to the front and brake lines prior to going out to test the kite.
On my way to the beach the wind had varied from 8 to 10 mph, so I wasn't sure I would be riding today. But I persisted anyway since I had a New Low Wind Machine and could not hold back my desire to test it ASAP. The whole time I was ready to not even unpack but drove out to the spot anyway. When I arrived the wind had continued to drop. A familiar experience for any kite boarder, but I held back my disappointment and decided not to suit up in my wet suit while I test the kite on the beach. I figured this would be a good opportunity to check all lines and Bridles, perform a Mixer Test. Assess the Bar setup and general workmanship of this new kite.
So off I walked down the beach to a quite and wide open spot for my first test flight.
Build quality is excellent. Could not find an flaw. And I was looking. The bar setup: All lines even when stretched out. Front and back lines same length.
Mixer Test: All Square. All knots A,B,C,Z even. No adjustment needed straight out of the bag.
After the Pre-flight inspection was completed and I was sure all was in working order I decided to launch the kite.
By now the wind was averaging 8 MPH. I choose a side of the wind window launch, which is my usual launch for my speed 3 19m DLX, without pre-inflation. This is my usual scenario, I have become accustomed to with my older Speed, and I had planned ahead for emergency release by being well clear of any people or obstacles.
The launch went off with out a hitch. Inflated quickly and well controlled, easily steerable to the zenith where it completed it's inflation and was ready for action. I slowly steered it from one side of the wind window and then to 12 o'clock and back to the other side several times. No hiccups or problem. Now was time to see if I could Jump.
Slightly pulled the bar in to half way and off 1 to 2 meter off the ground safely sailing down wind. This was when I realized My Magic Carpet had arrived. No one was out kiting. Heck, There was no one even at the beach. 8-10 mph does not draw a crowd to our local spot which usually requires 15-20 MPH for kiting and staying up wind. Well time to test the self landing.
I Pulled on Both brake lines and soft as a feather Down she came resting directly down wind of me. After securing the lines I walked hand over hand up to the kite and secured the upwind wing tip with some sand and readied the lines for a quick relaunch after I changed into my wet suit. FYI, I only land the kite directly down wind of me in very light wind conditions as was the case currently at my beach.
The whole walk back to my car, I questioned whether or not I would be able to even ride much less stay up wind. I was happy to try and even risk a lonely walk of shame. But deep inside I prayed the Wind god's to grant me this one small favor. It really wasn't a day for kiting at my local spot. Proof being the empty parking lot at a popular kiting location.
Well, Ten minutes later and a few prayers I was back at the kite ready to launch. Again another smooth side window launch, of note, the kite was still pre-inflated from the prior flight ten minutes earlier. I gently pick up my Board and entered the water.
I weigh 200+ lbs or 105+ kg. I was using a Spleene Monster door 164 x 50 cm. To my surprise and complete enjoyment not only was I riding but I was staying up wind and playing in the surf. For three whole hour it was just me and the seagulls. As the day progress the wind did pick up and I was joined by other kite board and kite surfers. A few were on a 17 or 18 meter inflatable kite and a 50 kg rider was on a 12 meter kite.
By the end of the session I went in and landed the kite with assistance since, the wind had picked up considerably. I quickly checked ikitesurf and to my surprise the wind had gone from 6-8 mph when I had started to 18-20 mph by the time I had returned. I never felt over powered. I had not even touched the de-power strap the entire ride.
I had ridden all day in unimaginable wind conditions testing the low and upper limits. I can honestly say I don't know what my new "too low to go" wind speed is. I was well powered up the entire time and never had to pump the kite to get going. I also don't know what is the upper limit of this beautiful new toy. I of course would just be riding my 11 meter inflatables in 20+ MPH so I may never find out how high the wind range is.
I rode in and out of the surf. Up wind and down wind with ease. Dropping in on 4-6 foot waves and easily cruising out to play on the next set. Since I had our local spot to may self I even test some of the other characteristics of the kite. Up loop and Down loops no problem. Smooth power throughout the turns easy to tell where the kite was at all time. I even tested the water relaunch. I, ahem, I fell on a wave. Dropped the kite and prayed I had not just destroyed my brand new favorite toy. Since another wave was quickly approaching. I instinctively grabbed the brake lines past the stopper balls pulled, and prayed. Like a fairy tale the kite reverse launch within seconds barely avoiding the next wave and after I released one line calmly rose to the zenith awaiting my next command.
Bar pressure. Slight to none. Perfect for my taste. I just leaned back on the front line and rode with the biggest smile of the week.
Pack down. 5 minutes. But I have been on a Speed 3 for years so prior knowledge definitely helped.
In summary. This was a no go, don't even drive to the beach day. Which turned into the longest session of the year for me. Instead of being too late or too early to catch the 15-20 mph I usually need to even consider putting on my wet suit, I was able to kite and ride my tail off. My thighs are burning from the workout. I had the time of my life.
High Praise to The Flysurfer Team. Great Work on a Great Product. Two Thumbs Up.
johan185 Foil Rooky Posts: 3Joined: Tue Oct 14, 2008 8:28 am