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Foil Kite Lifespan and Wind Range

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sshantt
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Foil Kite Lifespan and Wind Range

Postby sshantt » Fri Oct 30, 2020 2:36 am

If you're not interested in why I'm curious and want to jump straight to my questions, scroll down to the last set of bullet points.

I currently foil with an Aluula Roam 10m and an Armstrong 100cm HS1050 and I love it. I upgraded from the single strut Airush Ultra 10m since I felt that it fluttered way too much in the upper end of it's wind range and that was going to lead to its early death. With my new kite I foil comfortably in 9 to 17 knots and uncomfortably in 18-20 knots. I absolutely love the extended wind range. It has made everything so much easier for me.

When I first attempted to learn foiling a while back, I did it with an F-One Diablo v1. I soon figured out it was extremely out of tune due to bridle stretch which caused it to fly very very weirdly. (It was a cheap way for me to try foiling so don't comment on bad decisions early on). One thing I did love however is the lack of pump and permanently attaching my bar lines. This meant I had one trip from my car to the beach and didn't have to walk my lines. Also self launching and landing was awesome, and water launches were way easier than on the old LEI I had at the time. Unfortunately it ripped and is expensive to fix and since then I've thrown it away.

The advantages I felt with the untuned Diablo as well as the potentially wider wind range than even my Aluula Roam always make me wonder about foil kites. There are some things that have prevented me from trying again though. Which is why I'm here...

This is my current knowledge about foil kites
  • They provide much better upwind performance
  • Foil kites can fly in very light wind and hence be used for foiling down to 6-5 knots or so
  • In my opinion, they're easier to set-up on the beach since I'm OCD and pack the kite and bar perfectly when I put them away
  • Bridles will stretch and need replacing every season or two
Here is what I'm curious about when it comes to foil kites, specifically the Flysurfer Soul since as far as I know that's the most durable foil kite (please correct me if I'm wrong)
  • How many hours of use before I need to replace the bridle system? I personally do 350 hours of foiling a year.
  • Can bridles be tuned back to normal after stretching or shrinking by unsplicing and splicing to spec or do I have to buy a new bridle system every season or two?
  • Assuming the kite doesn't land in a tree or anywhere abrasive, does the canopy material or some sort of coating on it ever degrade to the point where the canopy is unusable or reasonable levels of performance are compromised?
  • Paragliders test air throughput through the canopy material to judge airworthiness. Is this something I would need to think about when calculating the kites lifespan?
  • I currently get a range of 11 knots (9-20knots) with my Ocean Rodeo Aluula Roam when foiling. Can Foil kites beat this in any way? If yes, is it some models or all models that have a larger wind range?
  • Further to the last question, are the wind ranges for kitefoiling at the end of the Flysurfer Soul page reasonable when thinking about wind range? (I'm 80kg) https://flysurfer.com/project/soul/
I know some of this information is already answered in the forums but as far as I can tell from searching not all. Telling me to go search the forum is not a welcome answer unless you paste links I can refer to. Calling me some sort of troll is not welcome either.

Thanks in advance
Last edited by sshantt on Fri Oct 30, 2020 3:01 am, edited 2 times in total.

airsail
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Re: Flysurfer Soul Lifespan and Wind range

Postby airsail » Fri Oct 30, 2020 2:47 am

My 12 mtr Soul gets me (80 kg) going in 6 knots when foiling. Bridles are adjustable and according to Flysurfer you are likely to get 10 years life from the cloth at your usage.
Just replaced my Soul with a Sonic for even better performance.
Take care of your Armstrong foil, sell before front wing becomes too loose.
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sshantt (Fri Oct 30, 2020 2:50 am)
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wheat
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Re: Foil Kite Lifespan and Wind Range

Postby wheat » Fri Oct 30, 2020 3:59 am

Below is a good link from the Our Kite Life youtube channel for your questions.
Armin from Flysurfer walks through tuning and checking the kite.
Bridle adjustment, fabric porosity and hours are covered.
The fabric used on the Soul and Sonic 3 is rated at 2500 hours.

AirSail, Which sonic model and size did you upgrade? Curious how you compare Sonic 2 and Soul from your profile gear list. I am learning foil kites this year with Peak4 4m, 5m and Sonic2 11m.

On your range question, I would say each of those foil kites has an 11 knot range. The 5m peak is least friendly with flapping at the top of the range. The Sonic2 11m at the top of the range you might want a faster foil or lock in for speed. This is from midwest USA lake conditions with changing wind (2mi/3km across size)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYXqPgO0Dc4
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sshantt (Fri Oct 30, 2020 5:01 am)
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PrfctChaos
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Re: Foil Kite Lifespan and Wind Range

Postby PrfctChaos » Fri Oct 30, 2020 4:24 am

Also have a look at the ozone Hyperlink and Chronos. They have super low maintenance bridles. As in, you are very unlikely to even need to make a adjustment within even 2 years of very frequent use.
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sshantt (Fri Oct 30, 2020 5:01 am)
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sshantt
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Re: Foil Kite Lifespan and Wind Range

Postby sshantt » Fri Oct 30, 2020 5:01 am

wheat wrote:
Fri Oct 30, 2020 3:59 am
Below is a good link from the Our Kite Life youtube channel for your questions.
Armin from Flysurfer walks through tuning and checking the kite.
Bridle adjustment, fabric porosity and hours are covered.
The fabric used on the Soul and Sonic 3 is rated at 2500 hours.

AirSail, Which sonic model and size did you upgrade? Curious how you compare Sonic 2 and Soul from your profile gear list. I am learning foil kites this year with Peak4 4m, 5m and Sonic2 11m.

On your range question, I would say each of those foil kites has an 11 knot range. The 5m peak is least friendly with flapping at the top of the range. The Sonic2 11m at the top of the range you might want a faster foil or lock in for speed. This is from midwest USA lake conditions with changing wind (2mi/3km across size)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYXqPgO0Dc4
Thanks guys.. exactly what I was looking for.

So the video answers the fabric lifespan question. It seems that the silicon PU cover changes alot when it comes to longevity. If that's true.. that should be roughly 7.5+ years of use.

Is there any source I can refer to other than the video for the 2500 hour rating?

I still have a few unanswered questions though
  • How many hours of use before I need to replace the bridle system if I do a monthly mixer test on the Soul? I personally do 350 hours of foiling a year.
  • PrfctChaos does the hyperlink or Chronos have as long lasting a fabric as the soul?
  • PrfctChaos how many hours before I have to outright replace the bridles?

PrfctChaos
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Re: Foil Kite Lifespan and Wind Range

Postby PrfctChaos » Fri Oct 30, 2020 5:46 am

I'm not 100% sure but I believe the Hyperlink V2 / Chrono V4 material is also a silicon based coated material. I don't have a reference for you for how long cloth lasts.

I do not know a single person that has outright replaced their complete bridles. I have only heard of pulley lines getting replaced as part of maintenance. Besides the pulley lines (mine still look good after 2.5 years) I can only imagine bridle lines getting replaced if they get damaged by some or another incident, not normal use. (For race kites this might be another matter, those lines are much thinner than the freeride foil kites. I see racers replacing lines on the beach every once in a while)
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sshantt (Fri Oct 30, 2020 6:46 am)
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zsteve
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Re: Foil Kite Lifespan and Wind Range

Postby zsteve » Fri Oct 30, 2020 5:59 am

>This is my current knowledge about foil kites

> They provide much better upwind performance
Generally so, but race foil kites more so

> Foil kites can fly in very light wind and hence be used for foiling down to 6-5 knots or so
They CAN, but do you know how to perfectly tack and jibe and also pack up a soggy 18m foil kite in the water and swim back with it? If not, you will learn...many, many, many times

> In my opinion, they're easier to set-up on the beach since I'm OCD and pack the kite and bar perfectly when I put them away
Generally yes, faster setup and pack. Well,unless your bridles get tangled or caught on something. Bridles are coated with invisible mini positron magnets for leaves, dried seaweed, twigs, paper, nearby kiters, kite gear, etc.

> Bridles will stretch and need replacing every season or two.
Not so much stretching as shrinking.

Here is what I'm curious about when it comes to foil kites, specifically the Flysurfer Soul since as far as I know that's the most durable foil kite (please correct me if I'm wrong)

>How many hours of use before I need to replace the bridle system? I personally do 350 hours of foiling a year.
Depends on how you ride. You can generally fly an out of tune foil kite just like you can play an out of tune guitar. It will work, but its a matter of how much your kiting or your ears can tolerate it.

> Can bridles be tuned back to normal after stretching or shrinking by unsplicing and splicing to spec or do I have to buy a new bridle system every season or two?
When it gets noticably problematic, the easiest fix is to add small tuning pigtails to the most severely shrunken lines (or all of them to OEM spec if you're diligent) This still involves a lot of time and effort, but it can rejuvenate a badly out of tune kite. You can splice likewise. The kite is more concerned about the right length of bridle segment more than how you did it.

> Assuming the kite doesn't land in a tree or anywhere abrasive, does the canopy material or some sort of coating on it ever degrade to the point where the canopy is unusable or reasonable levels of performance are compromised?
Degradation starts the moment it gets pressurized with air and sun shines on it. Performance issue the same as the out of guitar issue.

> Paragliders test air throughput through the canopy material to judge airworthiness. Is this something I would need to think about when calculating the kites lifespan?
Porosity test. Not calculating, but measuring current state. Your kite is a plastic bag. Better if it's air/water tight. Simple test, pour a tablespoon or so of water on the canopy. If water seeps through to the other side, its going to do the same thing when it touches the water.

> I currently get a range of 11 knots (9-20knots) with my Ocean Rodeo Aluula Roam when foiling. Can Foil kites beat this in any way? If yes, is it some models or all models that have a larger wind range?
That's a wide range for one kite. I've kited my 13m Sonic 3 in about those ranges and could possibly push the boundaries, but I'd much rather be on an appropriately sized kite. Line lengths can make a huge difference likewise.

> Further to the last question, are the wind ranges for kitefoiling at the end of the Flysurfer Soul page reasonable when thinking about wind range? (I'm 80kg) https://flysurfer.com/project/soul/
Reasonable enough. " Actual use will vary depending on your weight, skill level, board size/type"

>How many hours of use before I need to replace the bridle system if I do a monthly mixer test on the Soul? I personally do 350 hours of foiling a year.
Mixer tests don't correlate in a meaningful way to bridle life. 350 hours? Nonstop hard tacking, jibing, looping, jumping or mowing the lawn? How often do you drop the kite? How many scratchy launch and landings? A multitude of variables.
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sshantt (Fri Oct 30, 2020 6:19 am)
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sshantt
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Re: Foil Kite Lifespan and Wind Range

Postby sshantt » Fri Oct 30, 2020 6:45 am

Thanks zsteve. Very helpful. I really like your guitar analogy.

It seems I've gotten the wrong impression about having to replace complete bridles after a season or two. Probably due to being around people who fly mainly race foil kites.

Correct me if I'm wrong, in terms of wind range, it seems that to cover my ideal 8-22 knots range comfortably I will still need to rely on a two kite quiver.

My typical sessions are 50% hard tacking and 50% mowing the lawn and riding swell. No jumps. I drop my kite a maximum of once per session. What do you think bridle life will look like under this usage (outside of pulleys and pulley lines)?

For the Soul canopy material, does that mean it degrades at a linear pace starting day one. So hour 1250 the kite is half as good? Or is it more like exponentially growing until the 2500 where just the last 500 hours are noticably worse?

In terms of upwind performance, you say "race kites more so". Am I going to see any advantage going from my Aluula Roam to a Soul?

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Re: Foil Kite Lifespan and Wind Range

Postby nothing2seehere » Fri Oct 30, 2020 10:55 am

For big wind range you will probably need to look at multiple bars. One of the guys down at my beach uses a foil and 10m soul nearly all the time - I've been going out on my 9m LEI and twin tip when he's out on his 10m soul and foil with short lines (we're talking 25knots cold wind though he rides a mid-high aspect wing rather than a surf wing) - but locally we tend not to push the low end limit of wind so couldn't tell you what the low end for the 10m soul is but I'd be surprised if it wasn't at least as good as the Roam. The soul doesn't float as well as the roam does though if you really want to push that low end.

Note that the same with short lines will apply to your Roam and my experience is that I'm taking a kitebag and weights down to the beach in order to launch my foil kite which isn't greatly different to taking a kitebag and pump. That said, I hear those aluula roams hold their value incredibly well so its probably a good time to sell it whilst the stock in the shops is scarce
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joriws
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Re: Foil Kite Lifespan and Wind Range

Postby joriws » Fri Oct 30, 2020 2:06 pm

Soul-kite with long mixer test allows you to be very precise on bridle length. Usually bridle is adjusted by doing additional larks head loops with bridle top end to LCL (little load fuse between kite anchor point and bridle). Or you can add another LCL if you need to lenghten. I've never swapped entire bridle, maybe 5 broken bridle lines with encounter with skis and sharp hydrofoil tailing edge. Older Speed or early Sonic you needed to do spreadsheet table for bridle lenght differences and measure relative lengths so much more work if you want to check. But in 11y of almost purely using foil kites I've never measured bridles. Maybe my oldest Psycho4 6m from 2008 it would be time.. :)

Normal maintenance is checking mixer line (Flysurfer catalog spare part line) because the shrink over time. 50h is recommended *checking* time, and replacament when it looks wear our and has shrunken a lot. I've broken two spare part lines on different sessions due to wear and launching for a jump. So they do break over time if not maintained. On Ozone-side mixer "wear line" is not that easy I believe, not as easy to adjust and I think they recommended swapping those every 50h on early Chronos (v1).

Porosity can be checked by breathing through fabric. With a new kite breathing is impossible, like breathing through plastic bag. Coatings last in normal use long time like stated previosly.

Normal checkup if you launch/land beach with sharp objects is pinhole checking when you pack your kite. If found, repair is easy, a small patch of repair tape inside-side of the kite (on pressure side).
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