Flyboy wrote: ↑
Mon Oct 05, 2020 7:41 am
So, we seem to go round in circles on this a bit. There's a consensus that the 5m, 4m, & 3m are "fun" because they are small, light & lively with great drift for riding downwind on waves or swell. But there's some hesitation about recommending the bigger sizes because they are slower & so lack some of the qualities that make the smaller ones appealing. However ... there's still a place for a kite that works in light wind ie. sub-10 knots for an average ( 75 - 85 kg) foiler. For that wind you could get a 10m or bigger Soul, but that's a lot more expensive & "complicated than a Peak4. An 8m Peak4 may not be as much fun as the smaller Peaks, but how much Peak4 fun performance is it reasonable to expect in 10 knots or less?
So, you come back to the question of how light a wind do you want to foil in? Will 8m Peak4 will start working in 9 knots? A 5m Peak4 in 12 knots? Perhaps a 6m Peak4 will start working in 10 knots? I think I'm happy with foiling in 10 knots & above rather than chasing the really low wind days. So a choice between an 8m & 5m quiver, or a 6m & 4m quiver?
There's really a simple explanation regarding the performance of Peak4 kites of various sizes and it's basically due to simple physics. First however I define the Peak4 as a kite best suited to surf hydrofoils of approx. 1000 sq cm and larger. So this tends to mean where not going for high speed or jumping but manoeuvrability.
So given these hydrofoil parameters we want a kite that offers manoeuvrability to match the foil in a wide range of wind conditions. The lightness of the Peak4 and the fact that it sits deep in the wind window gives manoeuvrability even in gusty conditions where other kites may overfly or stall. Accordingly a smaller kite gives more responsiveness to aid manoeuvrability because it is so light and the wind it requires to develop enough power to foil is correspondingly higher. Of course higher wind speed means more energy at your disposal as the energy embodied in the wind increases exponentially with the wind speed. A small Peak4 can also deal with gusty wind with lulls as it can be moved fast within the window to increase apparent wind for periods of time. So this paragraph pretty well covers the experience of flying a 3m, 4m and 5m Peak4 which can cover, depending on your weight, foil and skill, in winds from 10 to 30 knots.
So the physics above deals with the fun winds for kitefoiling, so when it's 10 knots or less it's the domain of the 8m, 111m and 13m Peak4 kites. However although most of the sizes of Peak4 kites will fly in 3knots, you are not likely to get enough power to foil satisfactorily until approx. 6 knots of wind. So in essence you have three sizes of kite that are focused on quite a narrow range of wind from say 6 knots to 12 knots, as after 12 knots you'll probably enjoy a 5m more. That's not to say that these larger sizes won't work in 12 knots plus however.
So given the narrow range of wind where these big kites will get you foiling, the exponential forces come into play in reverse in that the lighter the wind the more challenging it is to get enough energy out of it to foil. Surface area will get you there but the physical forces of friction also increase with size so you enter a situation of diminishing returns.
So more wind = smaller P4's = more fun. And this applies to all kites regardless of type. You can get around the forces of friction with a more efficient design of kite like having double skins. However you then add weight of material plus the weight of the air trapped inside which = less manoeuvrability an high $$.
So a Peak4 kite is a compromise in lighter winds with sizes 8 to 13. However it is a very good compromise if your using the kite within the parameters I outlined at the start, and you'll be foiling when most other kiters have packed up or their kites have fallen from the sky.
One other point, when it's stated that a Peak4 8m, 11m or 13m kite is slow ... compared to what?? Given the power a Peak4 produces for its size, it's usually considerably faster in turning and speed
through the air than a comparable inflatable or twin skin kite. Remember an 8m Peak4 for example is roughly equivalent to a 12m inflatable kite which, unless it's made from Aluula, is a relatively slow kite, especially in 10 knots!
So if you've got a surf foil and your wind speed is often 6 to 10 knots, try a Peak4 8m, 11m or 13m. For the relatively low price I can guarantee it's the best bang for your buck you'll find until Armin and Flysurfer bring our something better