I recently bought 2 CA Waves largely because of this thread, 4.5 and 8.5. The 4.5 I flew only on the beach (not enough wind). The 8.5 I used for 4 foiling sessions so far. Wow!! It’s a fantastic kite for foiling. (175 lbs on LF Rocket)
Winds were from lulls below 10 mph to gusts over 30 mph. The 8.5 is an extremely gentle and easy kite. I was never overpowered. It’s amazing what happens in the gusts: basically nothing. Between 10-30 mph, I did not trim my bar at all. (65 cm bar with 50 cm throw; 26m lines). In lower winds, it packs a punch when looped, and that’s enough to start. In a first for me, I sometimes had to fly the kite to stay up on the foil. I suspect those lulls were 5-8 mph.
Great behavior in turbulent winds too. The CA Wave 8.5 may crumple into a ball every now and then (I experienced very dirty offshore winds at launch, over a treeline), but then it recovers. I can’t be sure, but I believe my high AR kites (LF Elites) could have easily bow tied in those conditions. The secret must be in its shape - I don’t quite see how this “fatty” could bow tie.
Very easy drift launches - I made my first 3 attempts in waist deep water, all successful. [MANY thanks to Sergio Horst for posting those instructions - wonderful material. I am no longer just dreaming about it.
Great advantage - being able to avoid crowded beach areas altogether.] To drift launch I “flew” it a bit on the front lines to preinflate, then put it on its back and unrolled the lines (faster than the kite was drifting). Then just launched. There are 2 permanent dirt-out openings about 2-3 cm long (no velcro). It turns out they’re great for drift launches. About 2-3 liters of water entered the kite on my 2nd attempt and I thought I was done, but no, not at all. Kite went up with water flowing out quickly as from a faucet... a wonderful sight.
The travel implications are pretty exciting too. For a weeklong vacation I brought with me 4 LEIs, 2 LF Elites and a Peak4, in addition to the 2 CA Waves. Well I used only 1 kite on all 3 days when it was windy, the Wave 8.5.
Some downsides: high bar pressure on surfboard (tried just once, briefly, in wind too low to stay upwind); upwind angle not the best; likely not drifting as well as the Peak.
One word summary for me, for foiling: magnificent. Beats my Strutless (huge range, completely silent), high AR foils (easy, no worries in dirty winds) and Peak4 (relaunch guaranteed, no fluttering). Your priorities, trade-offs and mileage may vary.