For what its worth I have been playing with a Gin Shaman 9m for foiling in very light winds - I was very inspired after watching the video of the guy on a 6m in 10 knots in the Sinai ( check Vimeo) . So far I have been out 3 times , including today. All sessions have been 5 -10knots to start with . My feedback so far:
- Kite is super stable , at zenith and at edge of window. No tip tuck. Ever. I have Chrono UL's but I won't use them at my local spot , I go further up the coast to a coastal beach to use them where the breeze is more stable. At my local ( an inner harbour spot which is pretty gusty) I launch the Shaman on a grass paddock then walk through a 30m carpark past trees , then around 100m across sand to the water's edge - its the only kite I have ( and I have lots ) that I feel sufficiently confident in its overhead stability to walk through the carpark. If the kite dropped it would be into the trees and so far it has never even looked like dropping, even when the wind is up and down while I am walking. I really trust it.
- The first time and third times out the kite stayed dry for the entire session and never gave me any issues whatsoever , even though the wind was up and down ( lulls to 5/6 knots and gusting to 10ish as mentioned). I was the only one out , was on a Zeeko Air race board with J Shapes Cruzer foil ( 1060cm2 area). I don't do any fancy manoeuvres though , just cruise around - still getting the hang of the kite and its ultimate limits
- second time out I sailed into a hole ( maybe 3 knots) and kite fell out of the sky. On this day I think the wind was less stable than sessions one and three , and I was probably a bit too optimistic - I rode a gust out (7-8kts) then got skunked. No hope of relaunch , so I packed down and a big swim home ensued.
- the Shaman is really powerful - it really pulls in the harness when you launch it. Good for getting up on board. At 10 knots I have a lot of depower on. They say single skins are powerful for their size and I would agree - apparently the 9m Shaman has the power of a 11m regular foil kite and that would be my experience
- it doesn't rattle in the turns at all so I guess the "closed cells" at the wingtips are doing their job
I have adopted the approach that Boemix mentions above ie a superlight kite is the least likely of all to drop into the water in a lull in the first place, and if it does well you are in for a swim anyway, just like you would be with any other kite. The 9m Shaman weighs 1.3kg, nothing else that I have comes close - I also have Airush Ultras in sizes 9 and 12 which weigh 2.3 and 2.8kg respectively. They are great but a single skin takes the weight thing to a whole other level. That being said I don't go out too far when it is really light and there's potential for lulls.
I should point out finally that the nice folk at Gin did make the point when I ordered my Shaman that it was not designed for water use - duly noted
. If they enclosed the leading edge and end cells it would be an even more amazing water kite in my opinion. I have been waiting and hoping for some progress from Monjet but it has all gone quiet unfortunately , so I bought the Shaman in the meantime as what I considered to be the next best option. So far it has done what I hoped it would ie get me out on the absolute lightest of days. I am glad I got the 9m , I think I would get overpowered very early on the 12.
Hope this helps.