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Airwave Alma single skin hybrid

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Re: Airwave Alma single skin hybrid

Postby kitexpert » Wed Sep 06, 2023 6:28 pm

Let me tell you folks, this hybrid foil kite, it's really something else. I mean, the specs on this thing, they're way above the competition. It's like they took a look at what everyone else was doing and said, "We're gonna do it better." And you know what? They did.

Now, let me talk about the bridle. They've made it so simple, folks, you wouldn't believe it. Other kites, they've got more complicated bridle systems that can be a real headache. But not this one. It's like they've taken all the unnecessary stuff and just made it work, and it apparently works beautifully.

And the design, folks, it's got this deep arch and a smooth canopy. That's what makes this kite fly and turn so fast. And let me tell you, it seems to loop and generate power like you wouldn't believe. It's like the Ferrari of hybrid kites, folks.

I gotta say, if I were the one who designed this kite, I'd be really proud too. Not because it's got some fancy gimmicks or anything, but because it's just so well executed. It's like they've taken this concept and turned it into a work of art. That's the kind of craftsmanship we like to see, folks, and it's really something to be proud of, believe me.

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Re: Airwave Alma single skin hybrid

Postby lederhosen » Wed Sep 06, 2023 7:39 pm

I could fly the Alma 8m and can agree, it is a very nice kite. It is ultra stable, it does not bend in any direction even in very light wind and drift. I wish I could have tried a 4m in lots of wind, it might be an awesome strong wind kite. The 8 on the foil was agreeable and almost too soft in the wind I tried it on foil.

Just as a sidenote, was there a technological step foreword in Designsoftware or anything? In the last year I could try a couple of surprisingly stable kites: Spirit, Alma, Sonic and I also saw the new Fone Target, all no bending and no folding whatsoever.

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Re: Airwave Alma single skin hybrid

Postby IWantToFly » Thu Sep 07, 2023 7:22 am

kitexpert wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2023 6:28 pm
Let me tell you folks…

…believe me.
This post sounds like an old timey snake oil salesman. Just reading it made me feel icky, like someone was trying to scam me.
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Peter_Frank (Sun Sep 10, 2023 10:12 am) • geokite (Tue Sep 12, 2023 7:00 pm) • Tomlutz (Mon Jan 15, 2024 9:51 am)
Rating: 9.09%

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Re: Airwave Alma single skin hybrid

Postby kitexpert » Thu Sep 07, 2023 6:24 pm

I'm here to sell you nothing but the truth about kites. So get ready for the best kite knowledge you've ever had.

I took closer look of Alma. It has 31 cells of which 20 are hybrid cells. So roughly only a bit more than 1/3 of kite is pure single skin structure. Short cells have perhaps a bit more than 1/3 of the volume of full cell so we can estimate total save of volume is about 4/9 compared to double skin foil kite. I think that is pretty good value actually. There is also less fabric because ribs and bottom skins are short in hybrid cells but this is less significant. Drawback of design is quite large keels for C line row but that can't be helped and they are not very many because of good design.

In short design of Alma is so clever it is quite difficult to improve it. I must say I wasn't very big fan on hybrid foil kites but this one has made me think it again.

Here's mine quick interpretation of theme. SP is not very well suited to design hybrid kites but if you master it you can go around limitations quite well

Image

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Re: Airwave Alma single skin hybrid

Postby funalex » Fri Sep 08, 2023 8:20 am

It remind me a very old prototype, maybe ten years ago I've made for a Brand.

But the jumping and upwind were not enough efficient to launch it on the market, but foil was an exclusive sport ten years ago.

Image

The alma is a clever approach of actual use cases.
Last edited by funalex on Fri Sep 08, 2023 10:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Airwave Alma single skin hybrid

Postby AndersP » Fri Sep 08, 2023 10:19 am

azoele wrote:
Sun Aug 27, 2023 10:09 am
I shared some preliminary information on the kite in another thread (in the hydrofoil section, of all places! :) ).

I have used now the 8m and the 6m, and am beginning to understand those kites better.

With the proviso that I have NOT tried the Marabou v.2 or the Hybrid, I can tell you that the thoughts on the weight are overblown, and are typical of theoretical reflection but at least partly detached from the reality of flying the kite. Something similar to those judging the GONG Strutless bad because it is not as light as it could be, and then overlooking its crazy capabilities in ultra light winds.

With that said: the Alma is an excellent kite.
I am not (yet) enamoured of it, mostly because I prefer even faster kites, and because I can feel bar pressure, which while not obnoxious, is taxing to me due to arm issues, so I always have a preference for ultra light-pressure bar kites.


POWER:
The 8m is relatively fast (it gets faster on 18m lines, which is what Airwave recommends), and I can ride it in about the same lower conditions as I can my 9m Maverick v.2, which is not powerful per se, but is so fast it generates loads of impulses for riding and waterstarting.
I'd say 9 knots minimum, at my 110Kg, with the real issue hauling myself out of the water.

The 6m is – as the designer warned me – not as powerful as your usual 6m kite. With my 6m Maverick v.2 I can ride in 12 knots, and in a pinch I can waterstart in 10/11 full knots, as it zips so fast around it prevents me from sinking, and eventually with some pumping I'm up. I surmise a similar performance from the Alma 6m (I used it in very varying wind, and I could see other kiters on 12m struggling and losing much water).

HIGHER END:
did not test very high end for neither. But with the 8m I was out up to 16 knots, and felt perfectly relaxed. This is where my LEIs fail me: at 16 knots the Maverick gets a handful, zipping around and generating instant surges of power. At 6m I'm into perfect 6m territory.
On the 8m Alma, I was just waiting to see if more was coming.
So, quite a bit of range, and this is very very appreciable.

SPEED:
Am used to zippy kites.
I'd say on 18m lines the 8m is a bit slower than my gen.1 Maverick 10m. Not bad. Not exciting, but certainly not bad.
The 6m is where things get fun: much faster in the air. Not as fast as my 6m Maverick, but a pleasure to ride, turn, spin, and so forth.
The designer explained to me the best sizes – fun wise – are the 6m and the 4m.
I regret purchasing the 12m instead of the 4m! (but our winds and conditions conspired against it).

BAR PRESSURE:
It is there.
Not as bad as many kites I tried, but certainly not as light as a Maverick, or a North Code Zero.
It does not increase dramatically with wind/manouvers: it is difficult for me to explain, but it is just "muscular". You feel you have to pull more, but it never gets painful (as other kites I tested in the past), and stays linear during manouvers, with no sudden spikes.
So while I do not really like it, it does not create me problems.
This is a super subjective judgement though originating from my specific ailments.
Am sure many would simply find it light-barred...

DEPOWER:
this is where things get extremely good.
The reflex profile works like a charm.
You release the bar, and the kite "dies" on the spot. Fantastic. Zero power.
I always hated foil kites and their tendency to accelerate on depower for a sudden last surge of power, the Alma does nothing like that.
Bonus point: I was self landing the 8m in about 13/14 knots, not easy the first time!!!
The kite touched down but was moving like crazy, so I decided to let it up as I was not feeling safer, and got ready to be yanked by the kite zipping super fast upwards. It *did* zip up like crazy, with zero power though. Super.

LIFT:
the opposite of depower in a way.
I use lift very sparingly, just for a micro help in foot switching (more to have power in the kite and use the bar as a "handle"). but it is there if called for, like foil kites do.
You push the bar and it begins to pull you up gently.
Not impossible to believe seing how they jump it with kiteloops in the official video.
But importantly: no residual pull (thus lift) on the vertical in manouvers due to the reflex profile, so lift is there if you wish it.
Can be jumped for sure, not by me :D

POSITION IN THE WINDOW:
Can't say, sorry!
I seem to remember it is not as forward as my Kitech FRS, but it is certainly much more forward than a Peak.
Have no issue riding everywhere. It will not be an upwind monster, but it was not thought as that.
I still seem to do better than my Mavericks.

DRIFT:
Of course, this is where the rubber meets the road.
It drifts. A lot.
I can ride straight under it on a medium A/R foil and not have it fall: it just hangs there.
Have no idea if a Hybrid drifts more or if so how much, but the issue is not drifting at all with the Alma, it just does not want to fall if you ride towards it. Very rarely I have seen it begin to lose shape, and just super briefly, and I ride against it as much as I can.
Am not super excited just because I see wingers floating their wing, and I am envious.
It will never be the same, but this is probably as far as it can go in the "set it and forget it" style.
Have not yet tried to simply park it and drop down waves, as we haven't had powerful enough waves for that. I'll try it with my high A/R foil which glides much more and will see if I can just enjoy waves without thinking of the kite.
Bonus: you can turn going fast under it, it will slacken lines, and still remain concentrated on the turn you pull the bar and it will follow and turn with you. It is a new technique for me, but it works very well, and shows what the kite is capable of.

RELAUNCH:
AH!
The 8m fell once, and it apparently tangled (looked so from the water).
Pull one backline, it turned, a gentle tug on the fronts and it was up in the air!!!
The 6m did even better: I botched a tack, and fell backwards losing sight and control of the kite, which went down. Again it looked the usual foil splattered on the water. While I'm looking, it catches some wind and bum goes up by itself! I was cheering like a child! :rollgrin:
Do not know what would happen in ugly waves, but it certainly relaunches.
Gone are the days of endless debates on the Peaks which always "relaunch with the proper technique" – and that to my personal experience are simply anchors in the water 95% of the time.
The Alma just relaunches easy peasy!

DOES IT FALL FROM THE SKY?:
have no idea, never went near the lowest limit!
but even in about 6 knots, when I had difficulty get myself body dragging along with the board, and other kites were either loopuing on the beach or just being parked on the sand, it never did fall.
I let it reach the edge of the window (yes, I can be masochist...), and just tugged at a back line, and it got slowly up no problem. This is huge in my book, no more fighting to keep a kite up in 7 knots when the water current is robbing you of a knot or 2 and thus make the kite fall down with slacked lines.

LOOK:
It is uber subjective, but I love them.
Hate not having the 4m, which has the slickest colour scheme, but 8m and 6m are both super nice.
Got compliments for the looks from other kiters, so be kind and lend a tad of credibility to this :)


TENTATIVE CONCLUSION:
to me, the Alma (as the Marabou and the Hybrid, or the Firefly) speak like a swan's song of surfish kitefoiling. This is what we should have got 4 years ago, and got now, which is probably... too late, as the whole world seems to have moved to winging, and those guys are now scraping the 7 knots barrier with the newest materials.
It is a cheaper than many LEIs, it flies very beautifully, stays up in very little (am sure it will stay up in lower winds, but did not try), drifts incomparably to a LEI (never tried ALUULA though), has both lift and instant depower, and it relaunches. It is super easy to fly so you can have people learn with it.

3 years ago I would have written: this is almost the Graal of surf-foiling.
It still may be – in good company, probably. Whether there's any market left is just another issue.
But a surprisingly nice, balanced in its qualities, easy, and performing kite nonetheless.
Can't wait to test it on shorter lines still, like 15m to gain even more playfulness out of the big 8m, and some adrenaline from the 6m :D

If you can demo it, absolutely go for it.
It flies like a LEI, it just won't fall or lose control because you slacken the lines, and it will drift so much you can practically go full downwind.
And man am I loving not having to pump it or haul a pump with me.


P.S.
I did not get them for free, paid for all the 3.
My judgement may have been made sweeter though by Airwave gifting unexpectedly a number of tshirts in various sizes... picturing the KOALA, their other kite! :rollgrin:
Bonus: you can turn going fast under it, it will slacken lines, and still remain concentrated on the turn you pull the bar and it will follow and turn with you. It is a new technique for me, but it works very well, and shows what the kite is capable of.

That is the signicant difference that the hybrids and no other kites have. The lines can be slack and still there no rush getting tension again. You do your turn and you feel a gentle pull in the bar no drama or yank.

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Re: Airwave Alma single skin hybrid

Postby kitexpert » Fri Sep 08, 2023 5:58 pm

funalex wrote:
Fri Sep 08, 2023 8:20 am
It remind me a very old prototype, maybe ten years ago I've made for a Brand.

But the jumping and upwind were not enough efficient to launch it on the market, but foil was an exclusive sport ten years ago.

Image

The alma is a clever approach of actual use cases.
From the early years I remember some foil kites which had single skin extension at the TE. I also played with that idea but I went to usual double skin designs.

Now I've looked even deeper that Alma kite and I think I can improve it, or to cut some corners. Basic layout is quite nice indeed but there is still room for some optimization. You can argue it is different kite after that but that is only good, copying existing products doesn't make much sense. I still have some difficulties with the short cells but the shape of them is not at all critical.

I see this kite so much more advanced design than others of the same concept that there is no competition, it is not even close. FS hybrid looks like a school kite compared to this. But I've heard quite good of Gin Marabou, it should be decent kite too. I'll test it asap

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Re: Airwave Alma single skin hybrid

Postby azoele » Sat Sep 09, 2023 9:23 am

AndersP wrote:
Fri Sep 08, 2023 10:19 am
Bonus: you can turn going fast under it, it will slacken lines, and still remain concentrated on the turn you pull the bar and it will follow and turn with you. It is a new technique for me, but it works very well, and shows what the kite is capable of.

That is the signicant difference that the hybrids and no other kites have. The lines can be slack and still there no rush getting tension again. You do your turn and you feel a gentle pull in the bar no drama or yank.
I do agree wholeheartedly.
I never carve without a downloop, as I usually end up slacking the lines on normal kites.
Plus for some reason, having always downlooped I never really caught the gist of having the kite fly over you during a quick jibe.

On the Alma, I did it routinely.
You turn, the kite has not turned completely, lines are slack and yet it will follow you and complete its turn easily.
This is excellent behaviour.

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Re: Airwave Alma single skin hybrid

Postby azoele » Sat Sep 09, 2023 9:40 am

Another update:

Could test the 12m twice - and if anyone is interested, it can be sold for a good discount :rollgrin: .

Of course I do not like it: a 12m foil is by definition slow when one loves the crazy-fast Kauper Maverick kites :roll:

That said, I was very surprised by it.
Used it with 18m lines.

The kite has a nice pull to get you out of the water, and it is relatively fast in the air, so you don’t fall asleep while riding.

What surprised me the most was the power it generates when riding and there is not enough wind to waterstart (during lulls): it still makes me ride almost effortlessly, and while tacks get more difficult (won’t foot switch there, and will do a wide tack to keep tension) jibes remain very easy.

If I wasn’t into “manic” (for my age and weight…) riding, always loving to loop the kite and turn and tack and ride monoski style, I’d find it a perfect companion for light wind days.

Bonus: it makes you jump easy.
I never jump nor I know how to do it, but as I was bored, I would gain speed, invert the kite and fly losing the foil, and enjoy the lift and the gentle reentry simply holding to the bar :D


Negative: I was able to have it collapse hard mid air. Only once.
I rode straight into it and probably got a lull, because it did not begin to fold, it just came down from the sky.

Positive: it fell down apparently all over itself, with apparently no chance of relaunching or coming up “clear”.
Lo and behold, it reopened itself in the water with some gentle tugging at the lines, and came up with only one bridle trapping a tip. Moved it a bit around and it got free immediately.

So have now tested all my sizes (12/8/6).
They all relaunch super easy.

Am still trying to understand how to self land it, as I can put it down and walk towards it, but eventually the back lines in my hands will make it assume a more closed shape and it will start lifting and pulling.
Perhaps once I am at the middle of the lines I ought to simply hold one back and hope it flies on it only like a flag.


Anyway.
The 12m is too foil-kitish for my tastes. The 8m is much more entertaining in flight (of course it has nowhere the same low end pull).
But it is fast enough that I could nail a couple strapless roll-tacks (which require for me fast kites), and is a pleasure to ride around because it is stable, moves relatively fast is required, and allows good upwind and downwind.
When wind picks up it becomes a very lifty machine.
But most importantly: it still retains that safe feeling that releasing the bar will instantly kill power, unlike normal foils.

Had I never ridden a Maverick before, I’d be full-in in the Almas and got me a 4m too already. So good they feel.
The 6m has already given me a nice glimpse of how fun it can be in smaller sizes. The 4m is probably just a blast to ride for those lucky enough to have enough wind :thumb:

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Re: Airwave Alma single skin hybrid

Postby stefFZ » Wed Jan 10, 2024 6:46 pm

If some of you are interested by user tests, we have organised a "La Poste Tour" (brands send us some new kites and we send them among us in France for testing) for the Alma. The thread is now 18 pages with extensive testing--in French but with a good online translator that should be ok.

https://lesfoilz.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=5925

Ate logo,
Stef


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