I have been meaning to write this for a while as I tested the Screamer a couple of months ago in Kos, when the friendly Epic dealer used his formidable powers of persuasion make me try the kite. I did have some preconceived idea’s about how this kite would perform from the considerable hype and pimpin revolving around it. Well, you know what they say about assumption! I unfortunately have limited photo’s of the kite since my go pro with photo’s on the SD went for an impromptu swim in the Aegean Sea.
The bag is great, it’s big, the kite fits in it and it has strappy thing perfectly designed for the human being. Comfortable too as proven by this here Greek kite instructor chappy.. Other brands please take note and make a big bag! Nothing is more annoying than rolling your kite an stiffing it into a too small bag after a session.. #firstworldproblem
The Epic bar is a 4 line affair with over bar depower and single front line safety, moulded push away QR with suicide ring, adjustable bar length, stopper ball and oh shit handle back up, all finished off in fetching white colour, it is also very difficult to get the wrong way round! The depower is pull pull strap which I personally am not a fan of, but I would much rather take this then under bar depower. Still give me cleat anyday. The QR works fine, I released the kite on it no problems and it is nice and chunky and easy to get grip around. I released the kite in deep water and was able to reload with no problems, although it did go off accidentally when hooking back in and I accidentally released the whole kite, not sure what happened but the leash came off. Can’t beat the feeling of someone else's demo kite drifting out to sea whilst you swim in!! Lucky the dealer didn't see it happen! Sorry Nikos! The bar comes with significant throw but stopper ball is effective and easy to use. Overall the bar is fine and offers absolutely everything you would expect in a modern bar, apart from adustable throw. But it doesn't’t feel as quality as some other brands in your hands to me.
Pump up the Screamer and it inflates quickly with a good one pump system. The kites overall build is excellent, it up there with all the major players, the LE has some very good looking stitching but the TE seems to have been forgotten as it’s just a piece of folded over rip stop. Not sure why that it is considering the effort put into LE, I was told that cones on the rear of the struts reduce flutter and thus it didn't’t need reinforcing. Bridle attachment points are well reinforced and there is some scuff guards on the right places on LE. The canopy is single core rip stop and not the D2 or even 3 core stuff that Core now use, but the kite looks well put together.
In the air:
The Screamer is four line kite with a fairly long pullied bridle, highish aspect ratio, flatish C and a thin leading edge. It is the classic 5 strut layout with what looks like a deep profile. There feels like there is plenty of power on tap but also a large whodge of depower, sheet out fully (as far as my arms could reach) and the kite nearly drops from sky. Sheet in on that long throw and you get a that nice lifty sensation. Bar pressure slightly high, not an arm bleeder but still it’s got a bit of back line pressure. You can feel the kite perfectly through the bar, which to be honest surprised me. I was expecting a front liner with loads of pull through the harness and little feedback. I was very wrong on this point!
When you get to the water a dive from the Screamer and the power comes smooth and nice surge of power comes on, on the upturn there is no loss of power. Sheet out and the kite climbs willingly up the window. This kite likes to be flown, certainly isn’t a sheet n ride yawn fest and feels very C kite like. My first session was slightly under powered which often gives a great idea of how the kite really flies. The screamer whilst offering a far better low end than my Vegas is not a grunty kite. It needs to be worked to get some power into it at the bottom end. But it produces power through the turn so it’s easy to get build power into the kite. The fact it is quite high aspect and yet stays on in the turn is pretty impressive I say.
They say you need at least 3 sessions on kite to really dial into it but for me I felt instantly at home on this kite. Everything just felt familiar, from power delivery to bar feel/pressure. I was able to front/back loop, kite loop and boost with no issues instantly. The kite did catch me out with front loop timing since it’s offers a tonne of float!
The kite cranks up wind, highish aspect with loads of depower on the bar allows you to get a good angle into the wind. I am a bit shit upwind as my girlfriend likes to remind me, but this kite really helped!
So this is where the hype surrounds this kite and I was very keen to boost on this kite. The first session I was under powered so it’s hard to get an idea of the boosting performance. The second session the wind picked up and a 20kts so I was able to test this…..
Yes.. This kite boosts very well. You just load up and send it C kite style. The lift is fast, not quite as fast as C kite but the float is so long. At least twice that of my Vegas. You can tell that kite wants some wind over it to really perform and with so much depower you could take a large size out and really really boost. I was able to ride the 9m Screamer back to back with my 9m Vegas in just over 20kts. High wise the results were similar but the screamer destroys the Vegas with it’s hangtime. The Vegas gets its height from being so fast up the window, whilst screamer is slightly slower but it’s higher aspect gives that lush hangtime. There is nothing not to love here…
I was able to test the relaunch a few times by stuffing up my front’s due to the extended hang! The kite is true man and comes up off a solid tug.... of the rear line! This isn’t super fast delta kite relaunch but it is sooooo much better than my Vegas!
The chicken loop is a good size to hook back in on and the kite performed well unhooked for me. It sits back enough allow good load n pop. There wasn’t too much issue with having to trim the kite prior to unhooking, this isn’t a grunt machine neither is it high aspect race machine. Just a nicely balanced kite that I could do my not so impressive unhooked stuff on. I cant really comment about slack as I don’t \cant pass but S bends, unhooked fronts\backs, unhooked loops, railys where all a breeze on this kite. I am guessing if you are truly wakestyle then you might be better off on a more dedicated kite but for the weekend twinny unhooker this fits the bill!
The Screamer is a great looper, the kite cranks round with good power and drives up the window. You have great confidence that it is going to catch up. There is no sign of any stall on the climb that can effect some higher aspect kites. Just really good drive. I did make the mistake of looping it not quite enough wind and having a huge drop out, but that was more me just wanting to give it try! Not much else I can say about this, other than crank it! There are harder loopin kites than this but this has a solid dependable loop.
I was super impressed by the Screamer, I mean really impressed. This kite has pretty much everything the freeriding twintip rider who wants a bit more than just mowing the lawn and doing the odd leg sticking out jumps wants. Great boosting, great feedback, lovely long hangtime, doesn’t disgrace itself unhooked and drives you try things with confidence it won’t totally spank your ass. Things like backloop kiteloops were lush with extra hang time and smooth but powered loop. The fact I felt instantly at home really helped me form a positive opinion of the kite and I was trying to put my finger on why it felt so familiar, I think I know why. It reminded me of my old 2008 Vegas, only with better float, better relaunch better build and better loops!
I would probably pick up a different bar though, not that there is anything really wrong with the Epic bar, I just think there are slightly more quality bars on the market.
I could replace my Vegas’s with these particularly as I don’t like the sound of the slower full on freestyle Hadlow Vegas and the Dice really doesn't appeal Although I would really like to try one. When it becomes time to change the Screamer will be on top of the list.
Just as a note I have nothing to do with Epic kites, either as team rider or even a customer, I am just an average kiter who really liked this kite as it seemed to fit perfectly to my riding style.
So does it live up to the hype? I think hype is bad thing as it is often very hard to live up to it. The Screamer is an excellent kite but then there are many many excellent kites out there, I whilst I really loved it others may not since kites are so subjective these days. I would thoroughly recommend trying one though, you might like it as much as I did.