I've spent lot's of time on my first gen 2013 Airush Cypher 5'6. I learned how to ride strapless on the board and it's been my go to board ever since. I can usually get going on it with my Airush Lithium 12 m in about 12-13 knots..all the way up to my 7 m Airush Wave lit. When it's windy I'll take out the 1st gen Naish 5'7 Global, but the Cypher is lots more fun in mushy waves even in high winds.
I see the 2nd gen Cyphers came out in 016 and now they're changed again in 2017, referred to as "blunt nose" boards by Kiteboarding Magazine.
There's lots of praise for the Firewire new shapes - Vanguard & Vader. I'm leaning toward getting a 5'1 Vader (I'm 160 / 72 kg).
After trying my friend's new gen North Whip, well I didn't like it. Feeling like a "boat", it's corky and difficult to turn tightly. Being a feel thing and it just wasn't right for me.
Kitesurfing mag did a "blunt nose" surfboard test which included the Firewire's and the 2016 Cypher. The review was generic and generalized all the boards, in other words it didn't say much.
I may replace my Cypher 5'6 with one the "blunt nose" types but from what I read you can't have it all. I know the Firewire's aren't really "low end" specific (having a bit more rocker and tail kick compared to the Cypher) and that's fine.
Any feedback on the 2016 Cyphers would be appreciated as well.