Hi, have been spending some time under the new 9M Hyperlink V2 and thought I would share some impressions.
Kiting since 2004. 85kg, 1,88m tall. Not an expert in any way but solid experience in handling most water conditions and board types. Mainly ride LEI but also foils from the Ozone and Flysurfer range over the years. Got my first foil-board 2018 and currently working on flying gybes and foot switches.
Majority of my kiting has been high-speed freeride TT on Ozone Edges in smaller (10M and down) sizes. Last year got really inspired by learning something new with foiling, and today mainly ride a Moses Onda 633 on a T38 board. Not sponsored, but get my stuff since way back from the Swedish Ozone importer. Appreciate the brand so, if not affiliated, at least biased somewhat towards Ozone and the way their products operate. I constantly come back to, feeling-wise, comparing it to an Edge which is a bit misleading but difficult to avoid having that kite and ride so worked in. It is not a high AR LEI-kite and I have to keep reminding myself, let’s just put it that way.
Kite came in a very slim & light back-pack but can be ordered with the Ozone Compression bag. The back-pack has been simplified in recent years. Simple thing but works well. Small and well matched to the kite size, but do not expect to stuff wetsuit, harness, beach chair and thermos in there. Given the light/thin fabric I would say it benefits from being packed apart from any gear.
The kite is ridiculously light. I think my 9M kite-only is around 1,6kg, which feels like absolutely nothing. The fabric is, compared to past Ozone foils, more similar to the slippery plastic of the FS Soul. Feels very thin and gives an impression of being very air-tight. My guess, as with the Soul, drying it out will be a project but I guess that is what you pay for to get the air-tightness. Build quality is top level. From stitching to application of painted sections, profile smoothness etc. it is an impressive piece of workmanship. Ozone product pages has all the details of kite features such as new inlet valve design, LE battens, new tip drain valves and so on. It looks and feels fantastic, as one would expect at the price these sell for.
Rigging it is straight forward. I appreciate the sleeved and short bridle. I had a Soul 12m which I felt was very prone to small tangles in the near-kite bridles from any flapping around or easily snagging stuff on the beach. I guess it comes at a price in performance but find it difficult to believe that is an issue on a general purpose free-ride kite, compared to messed up launches which I hate. The mixer is missing an adjustable speed system which I find disappointing. Time will tell if it is not needed. I know this has been debated in the past on Ozone kites with the Flysurfer crowd on one side and general Ozone user opinion seeming to be that the mixer stays reasonably true for a long time. I would have expected to be able to trim the mixer. I see no additional cost in manufacturing for Ozone, so it is either driven by user simplicity/Ozone conviction that it is unnecessary, or an ambition to sell spares/up-grades. I rigged it on a standard Ozone 50cm bar with 25m lines.
First launch was not optimal with somewhat gusty 15-25 knots but completely un-eventful. I had very little pre-inflation and the kite filled really fast. With a little braking by simply powering up through the bar it comes up nicely with tips out and is filled when it reaches the zenith. Overall, launching has been very good even without pre-inflation. The difference to higher AR kites is night and day. Had a couple of snagged tip-launches which all popped free with a few tugs on the steering lines. Kite sits very stable at the zenith with absolutely no front-stall or over-fly tendencies. Once again I assume the lower AR helps a lot. From first launch to current (about 6 hrs use), it is very neutral with very little tendency to drift down and no left/right drift. Kite can pretty much be left at 11 or 13, hands taken of the bar and you can walk out with the board and it just sits there, even in moderate gusts.
I know the V1 is appreciated as a solid all-round ride with good de-power and boosting capabilities. I have very little to add to that really for the V2. My guess is they have tried to improve on weight/materials, construction/air-retention, and introduced the re-ride for open cell mode. The rest I believe is pretty much the same kite as V1. Compared to my Edges, top speed is somewhat lower, up-wind similar but grunt/low-end is a lot more pronounced on the Hyperlink. The range is clearly bigger. I would compare the 9M Hyperlink to a 9M & 11M Edge in one kite for TT use. The de-power stroke is extremely well balanced and linear, with the 40cm bar-movement used full out. There is a very gradual increase in power and pull from full de-powered to fully sheeted. I have flown foils where, at full depower the steering lines hang in an arch and you get limited contact with the kite before you are medium/fully powered up on the bar. The Hyperlink seems to fly more biased on the steering lines and hence gives a very direct feel both powered up but also in low-wind on a foil-board. Kite is remarkably stable riding downwind. Even in light winds on the foil and riding straight at it, I have a hard time provoking it to tuck a tip or sag. On the TT, even full blast powering into a downwind gybe it just drifts and follows downwind.
Talking about line loading and bar feel, I struggle a little with the bar forces. When riding it fully powered on the TT, bar pressure is relatively high and turning speed requires some strength applied. I would not say it is an issue, just more than I would like. I am used to kicking in a fast heli-loop or down-loop when landing with no delay, nor heavy muscle applied. This takes more force and precise timing on the Hyperlink than I am used to. The up-side of this is that you feel really in touch with the kite and that it simply never stalls in the turn as I have experienced with other foils. When powered up I get that "locked-in" power feeling that I love with the Edge, and it flies cleanly through the turn and does not pivot, meaning you are never dropped if you are coming down fast and want to ask for that extra lift in a down/heli-loop and yank the bar hard. But you have to apply force and timing.
Having ridden the Soul 10 back to back with the Hyperlink, both being excellent kites, I would say that is a big difference for me. The Soul has lower bar pressure, flies more on the front lines and will do more of a pivot-turn, where I assume part of the airfoil is stalled out since the pull goes somewhat away in a fast downloop. The Hyperlink flies with the full wing active and with more loading on the steering lines. I would say the Hyperlink feels more traditional LEI in that sense giving a more direct-connect feel and feedback through the bar. The Soul has a classic power-steering foil feeling to it with a softer bar experience overall, perhaps at the cost of feeling somewhat disconnected from the kite compare to the Hyperlink in my very subjective opinion. Up side is that I would say that the Soul feels like a more agile ride in smaller sizes.
Boosting is excellent and straight-forward. Just max your speed, aim for a kicker and send it. Timing is a little different to the Edge but I did not feel I was getting less height. The kick is a bit more gradual and you can get that foil-specific pronounced second lift when a gust hit. As with most foils the descent/glide is smooth and long.
I do not down my kites a lot and actually have just had it in the water once. It taco’ed, I yanked a little on the power lines, it opened, I backed it up, let one steering line go and that was it. Cannot say much more on prolonged time in the water and water tightness but from what I have heard it is better than the V1 due to improved material, inlet design/positioning. It is light and appears very air-tight, so what could go wrong. I am sure others will have more to say on re-launch once more kites hit the water.
Having talked a lot about the TT freeride experience, I primarily got the Hyperlink as a light-wind kite for my Moses 633-wing. It matches that ambition extremely well. Paired with a big foil wing, the grunt and light weight, linear de-power plus direct bar feel really come into its own right. With some technique I can keep it up there in pretty much no wind getting it back to shore. Once I get base wind of 6 or 7 knots I am riding on the 633 wing. I would switch to a smaller kite at around 16 knots on the foilboard but just for fun and not for concern of being over-powered. For foil boarding I would say the 9M covers at least two Ozone Alpha sizes of perhaps 10/12 to 14 depending on what foil you have mounted to your board. For me it is an outstanding light-wind foiling kite, that can also cover as a quite satisfactory TT kite for high-power free-ride when powered up in the 14-24 knot range.
In summary, the Hyperlink is marketed as a do-it-it-all which is not far off. I would say it is a very good all-round freeride kite with the typical pro’s and con’s of a foil kite, but an outstanding foilboard kite with quite a big range. I imagine it will be the only kite I bring to most foiling days and be very happy with it. It will come along for travel and be perfect for that. Comparing it to the Edge’s strong points the Hyperlink does many things quite well. Looking at the Hypelinks strong points and pitching them against the Edge, the Hyperlink comes out far ahead.
Having said this, when the wind is howling and the car is fully packed with all my gear, I will pull out the Edge….