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Cloud turns faster, pumps up faster, packs down smaller and has more than plenty low end grunt (6knts + surfboard + 17m cloud = super fun). To each there own but as a big kite i find those qualities super aesthetically pleasing.
To extend on jrgs question - That and I'm also curious how easy it is to relaunch in really light wind - if the wind completely lulled out for a moment, it hindenburged, and hit the water messed up isn't that a lot of uncontrolled kite fabric to get sorted out?
I ride Alameda quite a bit for the vibe and safety factor. I have a 2010 Zephyr 17m that I use there probably 70% of the time...its getting a little long in the tooth and is certainly no sports car. I refer to it as my truck as it gets me up and going but isn't terribly nimble. If the wind comes up its go great de-power though...I can ride up to 17kts.
I also have a door board and a directional. I can ride and have a decent time in 10kts. Alameda throws out a lot of days that are either just below ride-able or barely ride-able.
I have heard good things about the Cloud and I see the Turbine there quite a bit as well.
Word! Thank you everyone for the input. Very useful.
Takeaway that I'm getting is to go big for a kite at Alameda - 17M seems like what I should be thinking. Could be cloud or could be something else. I already have a door TT so that should cover me on a big board.... I'll be investing in a directional once budget allows.
Does anyone know how to get a sense for average lulls on kiteable days? I accessed the historical data on windalert but couldn't sort it out. I'm asking because I know the lulls are what will really determine what size I need...
If you pop a bladder there is only one chamber I think. I've blown leading edge on smaller kites (high wind water impacts) and 3 partially inflated struts on large kite probably not going to help too much on swim anyways. Hard to pop bladder in light winds. Benefits of quick pump up seem to outweigh small risk for large kite low wind category.
Kite relaunch for Cloud is simple and easy even in light winds (even full canopy of water). I find it easier than similar size kites in light winds which seems counterintuitive. Rarely hits water because it just wants to fly even in lulls. Happy to let anyone try if you see me at beach.
I'm not affiliated with Clouds in anyways. Just met Greg on Maui, thought he did something really amazing and have really enjoyed his designs.
I'd go with a 12M and a 14M (for when it's really light)...definitely go with the Surfboard as it extends your range also think about 24M lines (or 4M line extensions for your standard 20M lines).