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Where to go for more LEI-like depower?

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MartinO
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Where to go for more LEI-like depower?

Postby MartinO » Fri Feb 14, 2020 3:55 pm

I recently bought a HQ4 Apex 8m and tried it last weekend on snow with skis. It was guite gusty and from time to time strong winds. I have been kiting on water and snow with LEI:s for almost 20 years and I consider myself to be a very experienced kiter. Not advanced in terms of manouvers and tricks, but I feel very secure in pretty much all conditions on water, from lightwind hydrofoiling to nuking winds in waves. I have also snow kited every year atleast for the last 15 years and have never gotten into trouble. Until now.

The wind was pretty strong last weekend, but by no means challenging if I have had something like a Naish Pivot 9 that I normally use. With the Apex kite I felt that I was almost back on a old 4-line C-kite in the early 2000:s with basically no depower. The Apex was folding in half in lulls every now and then and powered back up again to throw me off the skis and then collapsed again, then powered up another time and dragged me a far bit and so on. Overall a pretty scary experience and some real dangerous crashes. Sure, the wind was gusty, but I don´t think I would have even considered it to be difficult with my LEI:s. I have never experienced anything like it with a LEI. Ever. Not even close. I haven´t had one single kite control incident really in 20 years.

Is it just to dig deep and learn to control that kite? Or can I get more LEI-like feel and especially depower if I go somewhere else on the foil market? My main use for the kite is to use it on ski tours and climb up mountains in stronger winds, so I would like a open cell kite. After this experience I am not sure I dare to try to climb with it, since I am sure I will find it a total handful when I reach high altitude and stronger winds. How about a Ozone Access or similar? Or Flysurfer Peak? How do they compare in terms of depower?

gl
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Re: Where to go for more LEI-like depower?

Postby gl » Fri Feb 14, 2020 4:45 pm

For gusty turbulent winds I like my concept air smart kites. They are fairly low aspect. They have a really large depower range. Even in the worst conditions I find they're still reasonable to fly. I'm not sure they're the right kite if you're jumping a lot. I don't jump much. But I find the lift is less than my higher aspect kites. I like them because they're so comfortable and easy to land by stalling them with the strap even in quite high winds. All that comfort does give up a bit of upwind angle. Which I don't find it a problem on snow.

Herman
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Re: Where to go for more LEI-like depower?

Postby Herman » Fri Feb 14, 2020 5:09 pm

I don't know the Apex but open cell foils do take a bit of getting used to if you are coming from LEI. If you are in conditions comfortable for a 9 m pivot I would have thought that the 8m Apex would be too big. This would result in flying it trimmed in which means it will be close to the edge of the window and wind shifts were causing it to luff which drives the air out of it resulting in taco collapse. It then drifts back into the window reinflates and woosh off you go - opposite to LEI backstall but similar result.

There are all sorts of subtle things to learn and I had very similar feelings to yours when I first started using foils. However, I am glad I persevered. Weirdly at first I thought the trim strap was hardly worth it, now I use it a lot for different circumstances.
Early days yet!

Regards Herman

PS Foils trimmed with angle of attack too low can be horrible to fly, worth checking to see if this was the case - was the kite difficult to backstall down etc!
Last edited by Herman on Fri Feb 14, 2020 10:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

tomtom
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Re: Where to go for more LEI-like depower?

Postby tomtom » Fri Feb 14, 2020 5:35 pm

Peak 4 is safest snow kite. Very LEI like feeling minus possibility to back stall kite. Also IMO best climbing - exploring snow kite. Not much glider though.

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Re: Where to go for more LEI-like depower?

Postby Matteo V » Fri Feb 14, 2020 7:09 pm

There are good and bad foil kites out there.
There are good and bad inflatable kite out there.

You can't really comment on kite performance other than in general terms when citing only whether a kite is a foil or inflatable. In light wind, foils certainly rule, though there are some great inflatables that can have a much wider range than almost any light wind foil kite. In high winds, inflatables seem to have an advantage, but I have flown some foils like the ozone access in smaller sizes, that I would put up against any inflatable in high winds.

So don't judge your foil kite experience based on this single kite. There are some good foils out there that would have likely provided a much better experience in the situations that you described.


I hate to say it, but the HQ Apex from the Apex 2 until the latest version is a horrible kite. I'm not saying it's completely useless, but I use my 3 meter mostly for training because of how bad it is. It's unfortunate that HQ, which made some of the best foil kites ever, never really updated the Apex.

I don't know if it was always one designer that was hanging onto a design that should have been tossed in the bin back in 04, but those same designers made kites that were Superior to some well-known ozone kites. So HQ had the capability to produce an actual easygoing beginner kite, but they never did. The ozone access, the best beginner foil kite ever, was almost always light years ahead of the Apex series. But my opinion is that the ozone Frenzy never lived up to the HQ Montana series. At least not compared to the Montana 5 6 and 7.

But even some of HQ's more advanced kites, kind of took a turn 4 the worst in that they were easier to use, but lost some performance capabilities in later versions. The Montana 8 was a pretty big disappointment to everyone that had really loved the previous Montana versions. The Matrix 2 was also pretty big disappointment vs the Matrix one.

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Re: Where to go for more LEI-like depower?

Postby foilholio » Sat Feb 15, 2020 3:04 am

Foil kites in general are less stable and do not feel like LEIs. They require different techniques to get the most of them. Foil kites can vary in stability, performance and feel. The Flysurfer Soul is said to be one of the nicer ones. There is a new modification for foil kites in general that makes them fell and turn basically the same as a LEI. Here is a vid from someone that just used said modification.



This was applied to a very cheap kite called the Pansh Genesis, they start at $89 (serious). I have tested the mod and it offers a radical change to the kites feel. With it you will definitely feel more at home from LEIs but foils are still less stable, you will however have better control with the mod, including over stability.

The most common technique to make a foil more stable is to use some backstall on your bar throw and sheet in to restrain and stabilize the kite. Foil kites are also most stable directly overhead. There they will drift best with slack lines for surfing as well.

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Re: Where to go for more LEI-like depower?

Postby ToeKnee » Sat Feb 15, 2020 7:57 am

I agree with Herman. Angle of attack may be too low. Try adding pigtails to front lines.
I have an Apex 3, 7.5m. I bought it used with bar. It flies great, good depower with short bar throw. But one time I tried to tune it for higher winds by attaching the front lines to the closest knots. It was like you described, no depower and collapsing. I had never dropped it in the water before, but had to swim to the beach that time.
I haven't shortened the front lines since then and really like it in strong gusty winds. It does feel very safe snowkiting on the ridge tops.

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Re: Where to go for more LEI-like depower?

Postby plummet » Sat Feb 15, 2020 4:12 pm

I don't snow kite. But I do kite buggy in sand dunes with hills, turbulent rotor, changing wind directions, upslope, slope etch. So my guess is the requirements are similar.

Anyway I use lei's for this and they are brilliant other than I have to carry a pump and spare kites take up a lot of room. There is no foil kite that I have seen or have ridden that's as good as a lei in those turbelent rotor, downwind, downslope in the wind shadow of a dune conditions. None! I quite often slack line the kite on purpose, run towards it so the lines are literally falling on the ground to get down and around a feature in. The lei will start dropping out of the sky and all you have to do is tension the top steering line before the kite hits the deck and it will snap back and you can carry on riding,

The best foils kites I have seen to compare with the lei stability is that single skins like the FS peak. They drift very well and reasonably good at slacklining. But they will crumple up and fall out of the sky if slack lined in real gusty turbulent rotor conditions. The other problem with single skins is that they are low performance by comparison to lies. Their upwind ability is crappy, size for size turning is slow. Closed-cell foils a second-best after single skins for stability. You can slack them for a bit and they will drift back and you can snap them back. But they too have a limit and will collapse in turbulent rotor conditions. The higher aspect closed cell foils have outstanding upwind and top speed performance and well outperform any single skin or lei if you want upwind and high-speed ability.

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Re: Where to go for more LEI-like depower?

Postby Herman » Sat Feb 15, 2020 5:54 pm

^ I fully agree with the above analysis and would add the following. I also ride buggies in gusty conditions but mostly on flatland and so I can be patient waiting for power to kick back in. If I am short of time rather than pump an LEI I will use the smallest fixed bridle foil which will still be fun and I do this with handles. Not only do you have to work the kite hard but, the key factor is using plenty of break to avoid the luffs. (Not necessarily talking powder-puff stuff my 2m Pansh Legend has had me out of the buggy and up the beach.)

If the conditions allow I have also started using undersized depower foils in a similar way. Trimmed right out, last knot on front pigs etc. Again you will be working the kite hard and sheeting hard to keep away from luffs. As you get better at recognising what's happening you can use the trim strap to optimize etc. (May even have to trim in just to get it launched in this set up!)

Not saying this is any panacea for your scenario just offering my experience as food for thought!

Regards Herman

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Re: Where to go for more LEI-like depower?

Postby foilholio » Sun Feb 16, 2020 2:39 am

plummet wrote: There is no foil kite that I have seen or have ridden that's as good as a lei in those turbelent rotor, downwind, downslope in the wind shadow of a dune conditions. None!
While I agree with you, have you ridden the Psycho4? I have seen tube kites that are worse than foils and then also people can pilot a foil to be better than a tube.
plummet wrote: I quite often slack line the kite on purpose, run towards it so the lines are literally falling on the ground to get down and around a feature in. The lei will start dropping out of the sky and all you have to do is tension the top steering line before the kite hits the deck and it will snap back and you can carry on riding,
I do this on the water all the time riding waves, it is the mainstay of surfing with a kite :-). A foil kite directly over head will drift back still flying never turning to the ground, some tubes will do this but can still on occasion turn to the ground. Foils even if they collapse will still float. Partial collapses can be easy to recover. A big difference between a tube and foil recovering from slack lines is a tube has instant power and a foil does not. It has benefits and negatives.


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