Before I start, a big thanks to Nicolas at Zeeko in France and David here in Western Australia for getting this new wing to me barely 10 days after its launch on July 1.
I was away at the time, and have only managed two sessions on it so far because of highly variable winter conditions.
I was hanging out for a 'big wing' - the technical term is 'phat' : - after riding my first swells on a small Neil Pryde Glyde last September.
The '950' came at the right time and it has now prevented me, luckily, from buying a $A2000 12m foil kite for 10-12kts. Bargain!
Firstly, the 950 is an object of black beauty. A combination of the cross hatching on the surface, raised tips and curves make it something to behold.
French girls on the beach watch out, there is something even more curvaceous about .... .
The first session was last Sunday - 21st June - in a westerly of about 20kts on the Swan River, a large estuary downstream from the Perth CBD. Wing lift was instantaneous on a 5m drifter, which was eventually de-powered to cope with the wind. I had the mast too far back too, and I realised this too late to be bothered about going in to move it, so was occasionally using a bit of my back leg. It took time to adapt for turns, but it spun on a dime and was a total giggle to use just to relax and practice. I was worried I would have too much lift and 'porpoise'. No so. Caught a bit of wind chop, and noticed just how little input was needed to make her move on the swell and turn - unlike the Glyde. The narrow leading edge of the wing, and therefore the lack of drag and speed, was highly noticeable when I chased a mate on a much smaller Cab wing about 1km across the river. Bonus.
Second session, yesterday, was in 13-16kts, south to SSE, up to 800m offshore at Leighton Beach, North Fremantle on my 2018 7m Drifter. I had to de-power that too, but had moved the mast about 1.5cm forward and had no rear leg pressure. What a joy she was! Wobbly little transition carves toeside off sloppy wind swells about 50cm tall. I've only ever managed those a few times before when highly powered on the old Carver. The 950 would also pick up the wind swells when I'd transition heel to toeside, and I just run with the wave for 10ft, not needing the kite to turn. OK, I was slower than my mate's Slingshot, but who cares?
The obvious conclusion is that because of the amount of lift you just relax. In "iffy' conditions you are no longer worried about getting enough speed and lift to get back in, or out. Chillin' is worth the $$$ .
I can't remember breaching more than three times in both sessions combined. When I did, I remember thinking how long the 'sucking' sound was beforehand, leaving me time to unstrap, and take a step off the board, rather than being flung forward.
Please don't ask any technical questions - I just ride for pleasure, and I'm now really looking forward to find that slow, curving swell that no surfer would go near. I'll need a 3.5m for planned downwinders , and it looks like it could get me around on the Hyperlink at 10kts.
It's that low-end of the wind scale that I'll be most looking forward too, apart from everything else ....