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2010 Lightwind kitesurf kites

May 12, 2010

Author: SBC Kiteboard Test Team / Shane Tompson

Lightwind kitesurfing kites - One of the main benefits of today’s bridled kites is the distinct improvement in low-end power and reactive steering of the larger kites. The flatter canopy shape delivers more power with less size making many jumbo kites as small as 13 metres. The key to lightwind riding lies in the combination of power delivery between the kite and the board. Deciding what style of lightwind riding that you want to do is the first step. If you want to work on twin tip skills then the largest, most powerful kite coupled with a new wider and flat rockered twin tip board will put you on the water while the others are sitting on the beach. Directional riding takes practice and many kiteboarders equip their quivers with surf boards that double up as their lightwind setups. Many kiteboarders are getting away from riding jumbo kites, and instead opting for a directional board and then working the power from the kite with some aggressive steering. Practising directional skills and kite handling in light winds is a great way to develop skills and in many cases a 13 m kite can be the largest kite the average sized rider will need. The jumbo foil kites have also increased in popularity for light winds in recent years and this test we had the chance to compare them to their inflatable competitors. The foil designs from Flysurfer, HQ and Ozone have evolved in recent years to have good water relaunch capability, good depower and stable pull both hooked and unhooked.


Head-to-Head

Ozone Zephyr 1 15 m / Speed 3 Deluxe 15 m / Airush Lithium LW 13 m / Cabrinha Crossbow 13 m


The lightwind kites tested show a diversity of feel and function for the lighter winds. Determining the style of riding that you want to do in the lightwind will help to define which type of lightwind kite you might consider. For pure park-n-fly power the Flysurfer Speed 3 could generate the most power and fastest flight in light winds of all of these designs. Its long wingspan and surging apparent wind power can get you out on a twin tip and cruising at good speeds in very light winds. Once you’re up and cruising, the Flysurfer is capable of delivering some good pop and big hang time for jumps. The Ozone Zephyr is similar with good punch for getting the smaller twin tip up and riding in light winds. The Zephyr has snappier turning than the Flysurfer Speed but like to park-n-ride also. The Zephyr pushes some good low-end grunt and requires no aggressive input to get things moving. It pushes upwind as good as the Speed 3 but not at the quick pace. Both of these models are ideal for those that want to capitalize on the light winds with a some solid twin tip riding cruising and boosting floaty jumps with the some occasional unhooked manoeuvre. The Airush Lithium LW and the Cabrinha Crossbow are more smaller and more nimble kites, with big kite low-end power. These kites have faster steering and generate a lot more power through downloops and transitions. The are nimble enough to practise cruising on a surf or skim and can generate some extra power with some nimble flying. Both the Crossbow and the Lithium are very easy to fly and offer great stability. Both the Lithium and the Crosssbow are easy flying character and have great stability which make them better beginner designs than the Zephyr or Speed3. The Crossbow has more bar pressure than the Lithium but also more arms length depower. The Lithium has quicker pivotal turning that gives some more nimble performance for a big kite, but the Crossbow pulls the fastest of the two and peaks upwind at higher angles of attack. If your getting into racing the Crossbow is the optimum choice, but if you want a lightwind wave kite the Lithium has a quicker turn radius.

Be sure to read all the individual 2010 Kite Reviews.

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