The Epic Screamer!
As promised here is my complete review. I put a lot of time into it so please comment/ask questions. Thanks guys
I have been demoing a ton of kites recently and checked out the different companies at the recent Pismo Expo. I have flown, Liquid Force Sessions, Liquid Force Havocs (2010), Liquid Force Envy, Best Kahoona 2010, Best Nemesis NXG, Best Waroo, Caution Zombie 2010, GK Sonic 2010, Nobile 555 2010, Liquid Force Menace, Naish Cult, Epic Screamer, and the Epic Renegade. Through testing all of these I have found what I definitely don't like and the characteristics that make a great kite. I have been eager to test the Epic kites after hearing all the talk and checking out their quality at the expo.
I demoed the Screamer for only 20 mins. I was not planning on purchasing new kites this season but after trying the Screamer I put my old kites up for sale and purchased a 9 and 12 meter. I am waiting for one of my old kites to sell to order a third 7m. I like doing reviews of kites I own because I can do a thorough review and hopefully help out some prospective Screamerites, and help out my fellow Screameroians.
Out of the Bag:
I ordered one 9m complete and a 12m kite only. Each kite came in the bag with their own individual pumps. My 9m of course came with a bar. They each came with a little repair kit for the do it yourself repairs. There wasn’t any sort of pamphlet or manual. I like to see that sort of thing; it makes the product seem more “new” and has some value. Very small complaint and I am sure most of you could care less about that thing.
- • Kite: Well I thoroughly examined Epic's quality at the recent expo (viewtopic.php?f=1&t=2363440&hilit=pismo), and they are top notch. There are only a few companies out there putting forth the effort to produce durable products and Epic is one of them.
• Bag: This is the best bag I have come across. It has a huge zipper hole fore easy access, ingenious bungies on the side for your pump, and a built in bar pouch that is super nice. Only problem with the bag is that it can’t compress down a whole lot. So if you are going to travel, you will have to use the included buckle/strap to tighten it up.
• Bar: Well if you like above the bar depower and a clean system, this is a perfect bar for you. It doesn't get better than this. The below the bar swivel works well. It isn't a necessity but nice to have and very few companies have some sort of swivel. Most swivels don't work, but Epic's below the bar swivel is always there working when you want to use it. The bar's construction is refined and appears very durable. I liked the entire bar's features: the beefy pretty floats, the bar foam, the durable O'shit handles, the bar ends, the simple QR, the ease of use on the depower system, and the "adjustable" bar width for your smaller kites. My only complaint would be the red plastic piece of the SDR QR. It is plasticy. I would like to see it in the future, made out of a different more refined plastic softer to the touch. However, this QR works fabulously! For the first time ever I used a QR in a panic situation. I was self landing using a technique I could on my old kites. And managed to loop the kite twice on the beach. Reached for the QR and before I new it the kite was depowered chilling on the side of the window. The stopper ball! I liked this thing. Too many stoppers I have been using arent that easy to use and dont seem to work that great. The Epic stopper is my favorite by far. However, I doubt you will use it much on the Screamer. The bar throw is the right amount already. The O’shits are great to have on both sides too. You can reverse launch really easily with them.
• Pump: Good aluminum shaft. Has a spot for your name/number and pretty graphics on it. However it is a smaller pump easy for traveling. So it will take a couple extra pumps to get the kite tight.
- My weight: 175lbs
Board: 133 Liquid Force Recoil/145 Liquid Force WLF
Beach Conditions: Typical California coast with onshore winds and waves.
The Bar in Flight:
Well this bar looks great and dandy on the beach, but what about when you take in the water? This bar rocks! The depower and swivel are easy to use on the go. The bar pressure was in the medium range. The input was direct and immediate. The amount of throw on the bar is more like a C kite. It does depower the kite but not completely and it takes a second for the kite to slow down. I would say it cuts the power by half. But with this kite, you still have power after the depower. You can pretty much ride sheeted out or in. Just sheet in when you want some boost or speed. My arm position was natural and right where it should be. The Center lines were nice and thin and the bar slid over them really easily. Everything about this bar makes sense and is easy use. I LOVE the input on this bar. The kite never delays and immediately goes exactly where I wanted it to be. It is awesome not having to wait on my kite.
Tested over 4 days time. 12m one day; 9m 3 days.
Wind Conditions: 10-30mph over the four days
HOLY COW! This kite is sweet. But it definitely is performance kite. It has many great characteristics and very few flaws. It took me some time to get used to a kite with this much power, hangtime, and speed. But once I dialed it in, I am in LOVE! I had the biggest smile on my face yesterday after my 3rd six hour session in a row on the Screamer.
---The Screamer in Light wind: I was the first one out on my 12m Screamer. I got going on my 12m in 10mph with surf! But it was my first time on it and I wasn’t very used to it. So it was hard to ride upwind. Once this kite gets going, it will keep going. It never peters out like past kites I have flown. Most people chilled on the beach and the few kiters attempting on the water didn’t get far. The 12m Screamer is already known as the “powerhouse”. I talked with some locals and they said, “if you can’t get going on that thing (Screamer), we aren’t pumping up”
---The Screamer’s power: Hands down most powerful kite I have ever flown. It takes some getting used to. But it is sweet once you dial it in. It SCREAMS upwind. I did a 3 mile “upwinder” past our local Pismo pier. I got upwind with only 3 tacks! Normally it would take me 15+ to get up that far. Because the kite has so much power you can really get a strong edge and haul upwind. The power of this kite has allowed me to go upwind of the crowds and have a mile stretch of beach to myself, leaving 40+ kiters downwind. This kite’s power changed my kiting life! At our beach, you constantly have to fight waves and currents when you go upwind. This kite eats them up.
---The Screamer Boosting: This is what this kite is designed for. It took me a whole day to relearn my tricks. Once I got it down though, I was having the time of my life. It pulls you up and up. It takes you over waves so easily and I am talking triple overhead waves. I got the biggest airs I have ever had on these kites. And a couple of times I wasn’t even trying. When Dimitri says huge airs, he isn’t kidding.
---The Screamer Turning Performance: This is the exact kind of turning I like. I don’t like kites that pivot from the middle. This kite pivots from about 1/3 up from the wingtip. Really smooth and good power through the turns. Before I got my Screamers I rarely downlooped. Now just about every time I downloop. It is so consistent and fun to turn this kite. Seriously, I love just working the kite, bringing it high, then low. It is a kick to ride.
---The Screamer’s Downside: So with all this performance there must be some sacrifice. I have tried many other performance kites and all are typically good at only one thing. The screamer excels in all the areas you would want out of a performance kite. However because of its high lift, it does not like the top of the wind window in gusts. In fact it doesn’t really like gusts. It doesn’t eat them up like other kites. Also, this kite might have too much power for some riders. It has a load of speed and power that might be overwhelming for some riders.
Who is this kite for?
This kite is not for everyone:
• The discerning rider looking for a quality company.
• The bored kiter that has tried everything looking for the next thrill.
• The C Kiter wanting an SLE that doesn’t want big bridals and a slow kite. This kite has the direct input of a C Kite and a minimal bridal.
• The booster. Our big air king (Kinsley) has been jumping HUGE on this kite landing xtreme big airs!
• The progessive rider. This kite is thrilling and exciting.
• The racer. This kite pulls like a Mac truck and has a ridiculous amount of speed.
• The kite enthusiast. If you want the best performing kite on the water, this is it.
• ME! I am not the greatest rider, but since I got the Screamers I have been landing the biggest airs, tons of new tricks, downloops every tack, and hauling upwind.
Who this kite IS NOT kite for?
This kite is not for everyone:
• The beginner. This kite has too much power for you and too much hangtime. Sorry!
• The mellow cruiser. This kite is a bit much for you. It has too much speed and doesn’t eat gusts like your typical cruiser kite.
The Renegade is perfect for both of you.
At a Glance Report Card
Inflation system: Excellent and quality built
Control Bar: All around best simple system out there.
Control Bar Materials: This bar will last a long long time.
Safety System: Push up standard release with center flag line. Perfect!
Bridle: Small and clean. Well built with beefy bridle pads and only one small pully!
Stability: Not the greatest through gusts. Perfectly stable anywhere but 12.
Power: Extreme power! Hauls upwind.
Turning: Absolutely my favorite turning characteristics
Pop: Can it get better than this? If it does, I might being showing up on the FAA’s radar.
Bar Pressure: Ideal for me. More in the medium range.
Depower: This kite depowers more like a modern C. Not too much where it kills the kite.
Relaunch: Launches easily and can relaunch with a variety of methods such as reverse launch.
Durability: Build quality is top notch.
Kite Bag: Well thought out bag. Makes complete sense.
Tips & Tricks:
• Play around with the different knots to find the right feel for you. I found shortening the center lines by one knot is best for me.
• The swivel works great but remember to untwist the single red flag line after the session. You can do it while riding by just rotating the loop. I can’t foresee a problem coming from this twist besides maybe some extra wear.
• Spot your landings because you are going to go bigger than you plan!
• Remember, you are on an Epic kite. So go big!
Epic came out strong! Most kites need refinement after the first production but this kite is better than the generation 2/3 kites I have flown from other companies. Epic did it right and released a competitive quality product from the get go.
Please don't refrain from posting your questions and comments.
Here are some videos I took to give you a look at the product and performance
My buddy Kinsley from Xtremebigair Review/Action:
The Epic Screamer!