Hey all, I recently purchased a 12m Apollo and just wanted to throw in my 2 cents on first impressions, performance, and different settings.
First off I'm 165lbs, riding a 137 Ace twin-tip and 2002 Rush Randle foil
15-18mph day with a twintip (rigged top knot on A steering setting):
On the Beach:
The 12m had very little sheet and go pull (wasnt expecting much in such a light wind day) but when moving through the air, it generated a fair amount of pull. I was also surprised at how quick the kite turned, pivoting around its center. As a comparison, I felt it was slightly faster turning relative relative to last years switchblade. Another thing to note was that the kite generated little power in the turn. It felt as if the kite would stall when steered aggressively then drive forward again when letting the bar out, generating power. This was very apparent when trying to waterstart. I found I had to sweep the kite far behind me then dive it in the direction I wanted to travel and ease the bar out to get up and riding. Once on a plane, I found the kite performed best sheeted out and adjusted the trim line in 3 inches.
In the Water:
Up and riding, I was able to stay up wind very easily when on a plane however when moving slowly, the kite felt like it sat too far on the edge of the window to generate any power and found myself sinking quickly anytime I leaned hard on my heels to slow down. So on a plane, the kite was very stable and felt like it generated plenty of power. Even with the trim line pulled in, I rarely had the bar sheeted completely in and noticed the canopy did not luft very much along the leading edge when easing the bar out and planing.
As far as jumping the kite, I felt that the Apollo performed similarly to the 2013 Cabrinha Crossbow LW as far as how I sent the kite (best height and loft when sending the kite to 12 instead of behind me as I would when jumping a C kite). I would also note that when I jumped and held the bar sheeted in (depower still trimmed 3" in) the kite would not give me the loft that is boasted of in all of the video reviews by Cab. However, when I started jumping, kite sent to 12, sheeted in at first to gain as much height off the initial load and pop, then sheeting out part way and steering the kite back in the direction I traveled, I found the kite continued to generate power and loft for a much "floatier" jump like the old crossbow used to (im assuming this is because the kite was still driving forward through the air while I was jumping). This was only during an hour and a half session. I am still varying a lot of my techniques to try and find a combo that I think works the best for me. I will post more when I get to try the Apollo in more conditions (curious how well the structure holds in higher winds, if it will start to deform in over 20-25mph, how it will jump on the C settings, etc).
10-12mph building to 12-15mph with foil (rigged middle knot on A setting):
Foiling with this kite was different than I expected. With the kite generating little power when looping in light wind, I had to again send the kite behind me to get up and ride however as soon as I was up, the kite wanted to accelerate with me and I found myself depowering the sail 2-3 inches. Unlike most kites, I found pumping the kite up and down did little to generate power but there were very few occasions where I needed more. When I rode at the kite and slowed down, one long dive from high in the window was enough to get me back on a plane.
For a short period, the wind came up to roughly 15 mph and instead of riding fully sheeted out, I decided to pull in almost all the way on the trim line. The kite was still fairly responsive fully depowered, the canopy fluttered a little near the center and in the wing tips next to the outermost struts but overall retained its shape extremely well without deforming massively just behind the leading edge as I expected it to.
10-12mph with foil (changed rigging to C setting):
Changing the kite from the A to C setting significantly changed how the kite flew. Bar pressure was a lot higher (could even see becoming fatigued flying on this setting for a few hours) and the turning characteristics changed. The pivot point shifted significantly towards the wingtip but this did greatly increase the power generated during a loop. Also while standing on the beach and sheeting in, the power generated by the kite seemed more consistent (possibly due to less backstalling?) and not turn off after a second as it did when rigged on the A setting (I landed the kite and switched back and forth to the C setting and A setting multiple times to make sure this was not due to changing conditions). When on the water, finding the "sweet spot" where the kite was most stable sheeted in plaining on the foil was easier and I also felt I was able to generate more speed on a low-moderate wind day as the kite did not backstall as much when sheeted in fully, allowing me to build more momentum. I am very curious how this kite will perform on the C setting with a twintip.
Sorry that was long but I tend to tweak out a lot on my kites and go into as much detail about my experience as possible. I have always had an eclectic taste for kites and enjoy flying "different" kites and finding a new perspective on how to fly them. Would love to hear other people's experiences with the Apollo and how it performed for them!