Feb 5, 2009
Author: Shane Thompson
Size Tested: 7 m2, 11 m2 / Style: Four-line SLE / Wind range: 17-32, 10–25 knots / What’s new: Lower aspect ratio and deep profiles for low-end power
New on the North American kite scene, the Zulu is a four-line SLE that promises to be an ultra-grunty, low-end power machine. GIN has been building quality foil kites and hang gliders for the European market for a number of years and hits the inflatable scene with this solidly built, easy-cruising kite.
Bar setup and safety systems
The Zulu four-line bar features smooth EVA foam grip with traditional above-the-bar trim adjustments that can be easily reached with the shorter than average throw line. There are flagging-line safety handles on both steering lines located just above the convenient line-length adjustment straps. Primary safety, which is optional but essential for beginners, has the leash attached above the bar on a single front line. Suicide leash option connects underneath the chicken loop and has good depower to the kite when engaged. The quick-release trim loop separates completely from the bar and uses Kevlar webbing inside a plastic sheath.
Key kite features
The Zulu is well-constructed, and the company’s experience in paragliders and snowkites is evident in the solid build features. The kite is designed around a lower aspect ratio and deeper profile that adds to its punch power per square metre. The wingtip bridle attachments are a unique innovation that help in depower steering and water relaunching. The Zulu also comes equipped with a single-point inflation system.
The Zulu’s low-end claim was confirmed immediately by kite testers, making it one of the most gutsy SLE’s of the test. This extra grunt also gave it top marks for getting some big air with little effort. Depower was available within arm’s reach, and water relaunch capability will easily satisfy beginners and intermediates.
Good stability while hooked in and easy access to power make it ideal for learning and progressing. Turning speed is moderate and back-line pressure is not fatiguing. Good positional feedback is available at all levels of depower.
For unhooked riding, the kite needs to be tuned with the back lines at the last knot. Once the setup is dialed, then unhooked performance is acceptable. With good upwind ability and decent amounts of depower, the Zulu has good all-around performance for freeride, waves and even dabbles well in freestyle.
Unhooked, the Zulu can back fly, so steering line lengths need to be set at the end knot. Good low-end power sometimes sacrifices superior upwind capability.
The Zulu was the well-liked new kid on the block and is best suited to beginners and intermediates who want a kite with good low-end power or those who want to ride a smaller kite. The Zulu ensures beginners can have easy access to comfortable amounts of power and intermediates can learn to boost bigger jumps.