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I am an intermediate kiter. Weight 190 lbs. and kite mostly at Sherman. I need to replace my 12 meter kite and am looking for advice. My current 12 is a Naish Cult. The thing that I like to best about it is the consistent pull. My 9 meter is a RRD Obsession which I like, but it pulls hard when I encounter a gust. I don't seem to experience that variation in pull with the Cult. Any advice?
Tunces - The driving cat!
I'm with Sonny - try the 12m RRD as well to compare
Remember windspeed & force is exponential so gust delta of 7 knots... 15 gusting to 22 (on your Sigma) won't feel the same as 20 gusting to 27 (on your Obs)
The higher in the wind band you're operating (small kites) the crazier a gusty session with the same 5-10 knot standard gust delta will feel
That's why as Kirk often puts it well - you want to rig for the gusts especially once you're operating over 20 knots. It's also why you can't think linearly when you size your quiver (i.e. 5 or 6 / 7 / 9 / 12 is popular vs 6 / 9 / 12). You want smaller incremental differences between your small kites vs. your large because you're working with an exponential force line in those small kite wind ranges
I have found some kites to be better with "gust management" than others, and the tradeoff in my experience is performance vs. stability. I recently bought an RRD Obsession 12m to replace my OR Rise 12m, so it's apples-to-apples. RRD is the higher performer, but it is definitely tougher to manage in gusts. Had a session at Sherman with my RRD that was scarier than it would have been with my Rise, but I also caught some ground-breaking air (at least by my standards). Same for Cabrinha Switchblade in my experience--insane power but less stable in gusts. If you want a 12m that is rock solid and forgiving, I would recommend the OR Rise. I can't imagine buying a 12m Rise and regretting it.
12m RRD Vision might be an idea for you to try as well - the new one looks great
Check it out (I think?) at 1:45
2013 RRD line-up is about as steez as you can look kitesurfing, but it's always been that way when you wear Italian
Wainmans are worth a shot. Let me know and i can get some demos into your hands.
Benicia Kite and Paddle Sports
238 1st Street
Benicia, CA 94510
I'm not going to recommend a kite just try some in gusty conditions and figure it out, but the tradeoff is between stability and gust handling. The less stable or easier turning kite is less likely to handle gusts well. Performance is a relative term.
Is your 9M your smallest kite? Do you often fly it when others are flying 8s and 7s?
Any kite at the top end of its range will have violent reaction to gusts. If your depower strap is pulled in most of the way, you have removed most of the kites ability to absorb gusts without transferring the power to you.
As others have said, the range between lull and gust is usually much narrower when you are flying a 12 than when you are flying a 9. If you don't have a 7M kite, try demoing one on one of the windier days, you might be surprised how much better you kite.
It says 10M, but it's really a 9.
I'm 140lbs and kite mostly at Sherman and Folsom.
I've really enjoyed kiting on the following 12m kites...
Liquid Force Envy
I also like the Wainman kites, but I've only flown the smaller sizes.
The RRD Vision looks nice and so does the Naish Park. I've also been spying the North Neo.
I personally like 3-strut kites that are designed for both surfing and freestyle. My new trick is to find the right kite and then get a control bar that is to my preference, but is still compatible with the brand of kite that I fly. I've yet to find a kite and bar from the same company that I equally like. I.e. I currently fly on Liquid Force kites with a Naish Universal bar. Note: I actually like the 2012 LF control bar, but I prefer the swivel and CL on the Naish.
Good luck and try to demo as many kites as you can before you buy. PM me if you want to try the LF Envy kites. These are my new love right now.
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