Wanted to post my impressions of the Minima kites. I may have a different view given this is the first foil kite I've ever ridden, and I'm a relative beginner to foil boarding (kiting for 15 years, but LEI and non-foil boards only until last year). Full disclosure, I've been close friends with Stefano for many many years so I'll try to be as objective as possible with my review but I apologize in advance for any bias that creeps in.
I had a chance to fly both the 11m and 15m sizes at Sherman Island, CA over the past two weeks, with about 6 hours total between the two. Having never flown foil kites before, one of the first things I noticed is that the launch wasn't as hard as I expected. Granted, I had help from some guys who knew what they were doing, but by the end I was able to launch it no problem. A few times I think I brought it up quite early, and even though the kite tips "breathed" a little, it was super stable and quick to fill up. (I've heard on some foil kites if you bring them up before they are inflated they can go unstable). I did notice that the turn speed was significantly slower than an equivalent size LEI, but I assume that's to be expected when compared to LEIs.
On the water, the kite was smooth and stable. I was amazed at how well it handled the gusts, minimizing the "bucking" I would normally feel on LEIs. When I foiled past the kite a few times it handled drifting with me well. A couple times there were situations that would have definitely "Hidenberged" my LEI kites. I did wish that I had a little more depower (I was using a non-racing Ozone bar). With the difficulties I initially had getting up (see below), I was opting for the larger kite when on the cusp of two sized, and this caused me to be overpowered once I was up and moving. I think as I learn to manage the foil kites better this would become less of an issue. Bar feel was really nice, and the kite's consistency allowed me to "set it and forget it" within the first session I flew them.
Getting up was a little challenging in lighter winds (15m in 9kts wind) as the slow turning speed limited the amount of power it would generate on the first stroke. After some tips from the local experts I understood how to manage this and I attribute the issues more to my newbie skills vs the kite itself. I had the opportunity to do quite a few water relaunches both LE down, and TE down. Both were super easy even in the lightest of conditions with a simple tug of the appropriate lines.
What excites me most about this kite is the price point. I've been wanting to try foil kites for quite some time but the cost has always been way too prohibitive for me. For the types of weekend riding I do, I couldn't justify spending over $2K on a single kite, but with the Minima, I can get a whole quiver at a reasonable price. It allows me to get my foot in the door and start exploring what I can do with these types of kite.
I'm not sure if this is helpful for folks that have a much more nuanced understanding of foil kites, but for all the folks trying to get into this side of the sport, and are hesitant to try, I can tell you that these kites are very manageable to learn, and seem to have quite the potential for more as I get more advanced on my foil.
If anyone in the Northern California areas (mainly Sherman Island, 3rd Ave, Coyote Point) wants to give them a try, I'd be more than happy to meet up with you. Just DM me and we can hook up.