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Snowkite for a big man?

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Sceotend
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Snowkite for a big man?

Postby Sceotend » Tue Aug 11, 2020 9:27 am

Hi, I'm trying to find a good kite for snowkiting. I have done some research but threads found are quite old so I think it might be worthwhile to ask this question again. 

What kind of a kite would you recommend for me based on these in order of importance:

1. safety first (very important)
2. beginner but enthusiastic / learning orientated
3. affordable
4. durable
5. good upwind properties
6. versatile / fast
7. interested in jumping / gliding   
8. small package size, easy to setup
9. water relaunchable (not so important)

Background info:

- mostly snowkiting / landkiting
- more freeriding than touring or climbing
- first kite (beyond a trainer)
- mostly light winds, 10 - 15 knots is very common, not very gusty for inland and flattish terrain
- 90 kg, athletic
- Basic flying skills (fixed bridle), experienced on skis and skates

Models thought:

- Single Skin Peak4 8m or 11m, Shaman3 or born kite long star (better choice for 1,3,4,8?)
- Foil kite, Soul 12m or 15m or similar (better choice for 2,5,6,7,9?)

Would be very interested in if someone could compare single skins above? Any sizing advice?

Thanks!

B-Roc
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Re: Snowkite for a big man?

Postby B-Roc » Wed Aug 12, 2020 5:54 pm

I can't comment on the Soul but I've been flying ram-air foils since 2005 (skiing and landboading). If you want stability, good low wind performance and small pack down then the single skins are the way to go but if you are interested in doing any kind of real jumping, I would not use a single skin. They are getting better but aren't lift machines. The funny thing about snow is it can take a bit of umph to get going (in deeper, sticky snow) but with skis you can hold down a ton of power and once you get going you kind of keep going (not sure how much power you can hold down with skis vs. a board as I'm a skier not a boarder). So while you may think you need to size up to get going, you don't need as big a kite to keep going and surface and snow conditions really make a difference.

I weigh 68kg and the winter winds are more powerful than summer winds even when blowing at the same speed (something about density or temperature). In 10-15 knots I"d be on a 10-14m especially if the snow were heavy or slow. If I were on hard pack or corn or a frozen lake and the winds were bumpy, I could get by on my 6m.

All modern kites from reputable manufacturers have decent depower, good safety and good handling. If you aren't looking at getting on the water then a true ram air foil (no or very few open cells) has its advantage on snow as it holds less power on the ground, deflates quicker when landed and inflates quicker at launch. You may want to consider something from Ozone or HQ (not sure of your budget or country or whether looking for new or used). I had Flysufers in my early days (Pulses) but didn't like how much power they held on the ground especially when relying on packed snow for an anchor (on a field) instead of an ice screw (on a lake).
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Sceotend
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Re: Snowkite for a big man?

Postby Sceotend » Wed Aug 12, 2020 7:24 pm

B-roc, thank you for your answer. Very helpful and contained some things I haven't thought of. Like advantage of quick deflates, probably especially important when kiting alone.

I'll try to first find something relatively inexpensive, so probably second hand, before knowing if I'm in for longer term. Not surprisingly most of the used ones here in Finland are old LEI models. It seems these can be surprisingly costly.

RIght now there is one HQ4 Matrixx 2018 18m on sale with deep discount (700 euros). Given your info, it seems that 9m and 18m would make a nice combo for me. Unfortunately, I probably need to start with 9m to be on the safe side. Anyway, there is plenty of time to contemplate and search deals before the first snow will fall.

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Re: Snowkite for a big man?

Postby fernmanus » Thu Aug 13, 2020 2:05 am

Hi,

I have been snowkiting since 2000. I own Peak 4’s (5, 8, 11,13) and Soul (6, 9, 15, 21).

I teach people with the Peak. I think it is by far the best kite for learning for the following reasons:
1. It flies in very little wind. As a beginner, you are going to want to fly a smaller kite for safety. However, most small kites are designed for high winds. Many are heavy and fall out of the sky in light wind. The single skin Peak requires less wind to fly.
2. The Peak is great on the ground. Unless the wind is nuking it just sits there until you are ready.
3. You can find a used one for cheap, beat on it and sell it when you are ready for a true free ride kite. The Soul 15 is an awesome choice (far better than the HQ kites you mentioned).
4. It is easy to relaunch.

I know it is tempting to buy the kite that you ultimately want, but I can tell you that my students have a lot more fun flying their Pesks when other kites are grounded due to either light wind or crumpled in a wad after hitting a wind shadow.
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Sceotend
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Re: Snowkite for a big man?

Postby Sceotend » Thu Aug 13, 2020 8:40 am

fernmanus, thank you very much for sharing your expert opinion! Very much appreciated. Given my situation I now think I truly should go with progress kite route as you suggested. I guess Peak would be handful for some years. And would always be a great travelling companion.

Yet, I currently couldn't find any second hand Peak on offer locally but there are many new Apexs on deep discount (esp. Apex V). If you don't mind, can you (or anyone) please comment Apex V vs. Peak? E.g. what is the upwind capability of those kites? Some (viewtopic.php?t=2402445) say Peak is not great for upwind riding, I think that's relative to higher end foils. So how e.g. Peak4 tacks against Apex V? It is really hard to find head-to-head comparisons between different models. I guess Apex has more lift? What about other characteristics? Also do smaller Peaks perform better than larger in terms of tacking as suggested in the thread above? I guess 11 m would work for me more often than e.g. 8 m.

As a pointer, here is some IMO good but old info on Long Star (by Born Kite) and comparison to Peak2 (Peak4 has been said to be much better than v2, LS also has now v3): https://www.extremekites.com.au/reviews ... tar-2-r59/ (Summary: Peak2 wins upwind but otherwise toss-up or LS better). And here majority of buggy riders (is that a good reference for skis?) seem to favor single skins (already in 2015): https://www.extremekites.com.au/topic/1 ... oilskites/

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Re: Snowkite for a big man?

Postby B-Roc » Thu Aug 13, 2020 3:05 pm

There are a number of Peak, Apex and LongStar riders at www.powerkiteforum.com It is a bit tricky to join nowadays because of spammers but if you wish to become a PKF member, click the following link to send your email address and choice of username. Once verified, you will receive an email with your login info. Do not wait to login... unused entries are deleted after only a couple days.
Note: Registrations are submitted manually. Please be patient.

http://www.madmoosestudio.com/contactfm.html

I am not the admin, just a longterm, active member.

The Apex is HQ's entry level / high wind / budget kite (their version of the Ozone Access which seems to have been replaced by the Pure). Some complain that the chicken loop and depower throw is too long but I guess that is all relative to how tall you are or how long your arms are. HQ kites got / get better with each revision. I know they aren't loved here but they had a strong presence in land boarding and kite skiing and buggy riding in the US during the formative years and still have a loyal following which can tell you which version of which kite is best. The strategy mentioned above (starter kite first) is sound. IMO, the problem with Peaks, Apex and Access like kites is that they get boring as skills progress. They are nice when starting out as they are predictable, stable and easy but as you learn, you really only need those qualities in crazy wind days when you want to stay on the ground and don't want to be focused on the kite every second it's in the air. Any kite like that would be a good place for you to start but something you may (or may not) outgrow in optimal conditions when you want to jump, or really carve upwind or throw the kite around. So that kite will become your high wind kite or maybe one you sell off.

I flew the Apex III and found it sufficient but I learned to fly on Blades, Begos and JOJO race kites so almost anything would've seemed more refined in turbulent / gusty conditions.
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Sceotend
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Re: Snowkite for a big man?

Postby Sceotend » Thu Aug 13, 2020 9:08 pm

B-roc, thanks again for sharing your experience and the forum suggestion.

Yes, I think I'll try to get a second hand kite if I can find one and sell it off once I have outgrown it. Something you both suggested. But I think a Peak could work as a high wind / special kite later on. It seems to have some end users too. Apex, I guess, less likely.

I definitely will register to the forum, I have already used it extensively!

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Re: Snowkite for a big man?

Postby Slappysan » Thu Aug 13, 2020 9:25 pm

Sceotend wrote:
Tue Aug 11, 2020 9:27 am
1. safety first (very important)
7. interested in jumping / gliding   
#1 and #7 are vehemently opposing criteria! Seriously dude, if safety is a concern then gliding is not something you should be doing.

If you want to use it for gliding then you'll want a Soul. On top of that most of the requirements on your list scream Soul.

The Peak is easier to learn on, easier to use and the safest option though.

The Peak is also less than 1/2 the price of the Soul.

At the end of the day though it sounds to me like you'd be happier with a Soul.
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Sceotend
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Re: Snowkite for a big man?

Postby Sceotend » Fri Aug 14, 2020 6:39 am

Thanks Slappysan! Yes I know, even choosing a kite isn't simple! There are certainly some trade-offs. Yet, I even don't know whether I really want to glide or jump but it just looks so awesome. And it also looks super easy, yet I know it isn't! But not much is lost if I manage to get a used Peak and get a Soul or some other high performance kite when I know what I really want to do.

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Re: Snowkite for a big man?

Postby fernmanus » Fri Aug 14, 2020 7:27 am

Going upwind is a big concern on the water, but not much of a concern on the snow. Most riders figure out how to go upwind within minutes.

It is true that a Soul is better suited for jumping and gliding. The Peak or Apex are better suited for learning. The temptation may be to buy a Soul, but do you really want to hammer an expensive kite while you are learning? You will crash the kite a lot at first. I say better to abuse a cheap kite than an expensive one. The Soul is a great kite and it will definitely work for learning as it flys well in light wind. I have not seen people learn with them and I have not put beginners on them because the Peak is safer and easier for learning since it flies in so little wind. I personally fly the Peaks on backcountry treks for climbing steep hills, but prefer the Soul for free riding. The Soul and Peak are very different kites. You can jump and glide on a Peak 4, but the Soul does both far better. I still think I would start with a Peak. You will probably want a larger Soul (like a 15 or 18) for gliding, but that big of a kite is a bad idea for a beginner. You want to start with a smaller kite and preferably skis.
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