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I've been split over adding a bigger kite to augment my 12m Switchblade. And I heard split opinions as well. So, little background:
I'm 200lbs and been riding a 2014 Switchblade 12m. I love it, clearly. but can't really fly it in less than 15 kts (at my weight) w/o working it really hard. I'm primarily flying at 3rd ave, which, can get both mellow and gusty at times :D
Now, I did fly a 2014 15m Contra, for 2 days. It's an amazing kite too, albeit, lower aspect than the switchblade, but nice and responsive for its size, pulls nice upwind, has tons of low end power to get you planning.
Some people told me to get a 14m SB since:
- I will be using the same bar I have on my 12m
- I get more range out of it than the 3 strut Contra
- it's more stable in gusts than the Contra
Some said, go with the Contra 15m because:
- it's designed for light wind (though I won't be going out in 10 kts anyway, I'm too heavy for that)
- re-launches easy if you drop it. (truth to be told, never had issues re-launching the SB in 12-14 kts)
- I'd be ripping nicely in 12 kts winds (at my 200 lbs weight)
So, pls, help a good fella end this debate.
PS: It has to be a Cabrihna kite. not looking to mix and match my quiver :)
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If I were looking for a lightwind kite, I would buy the purpose-built lightwind kite. Stability in gusts for a lightwind kite doesn't make much sense (gusty light conditions --- where is *that?*). Extra-range also doesn't seem to be the biggest concern if you have an adequately spaced quiver. (7-9-12-15?)
OT: You might also consider a lightwind board, or a surfboard. I had thought of getting a 15m kite as well, but after buying a used-surfboard (and rigging to the 1st knot) didn't feel I needed it.
I would purchase the Contra. I own the Switchblade 14M and 12M and I would categorize the Switchblade 14M as a big heavy kite which excels in variable (gusty) conditions. Its certainly not a light wind kite as it barely flies in light wind. Where I do kite, it certainly does get gusty with 10+kt differences between highs and lows.
A BRM Cloud 17M is my light wind kite.
- I would have no issue using the Overdrive 1X Bar with the Contra or any other bar that has the same physics - 4 line/Low V/Single Front Line Flag/Lines equal length when sheeted in. I use an Cabrinha 1X Overdrive and Slingshot Compstick with my 2014 Cabrinhas and 17M BRM.
- It took me some time to dial in my 14M and I'm happy with it, but I think 13M should have been the largest Switchblade (which they don't make). If there was a 13M, 13/11/9/7 would be the perfect switchblade quiver for me.
- Not sure your experience, but I can comfortably fly a 14M in 12M conditions, and a 12M in 9M conditions... Bigger jumps.
- Also 200lbs unfortunately.
- Get a light wind board such as a Litewave Wing or surfboard. Also helps with gusty conditions and depending on conditions, I will swap between my 144 CarbonKick or 153 Wing.
- Buy a foil. The 12M kite is all you will need ;)
Get a surfboard with no rocker.
Cheaper than buying a 14m and it's a lot more fun to work on strapless tricks in light wind than to try to boost on a TT.
Kites: 2015 F-One Bandit VIII: 8m, 11m & 14m.
Board: 2014 F-One Spicy.
Harness: Manera Exoharness.
Wetsuit: Underwave Sultan shortleg 4/3.
Second the Cloud. Best investment I've ever made as session saver. You can easily rig Cloud to be used with Cabrinha SB. Likely no change whatsoever to bar (just need even lines when sheeted in which is how must kites are rigged). I fly Caution kites on my smaller kites and have to rerig the bar when I size up for the Cloud. Super easy though.
Nice nice.. thanks for the suggestions. I did consider getting a surfboard though and keep riding the 12 SB :D. I was afraid the 14m SB will be slow to turn, and I'm glad you confirmed that. the 15m Contra was very quick I swear. I flew it and it was turning as fast as my 12m SB, granted with it's 1Xl bar. I don't ave an issue flying OPd, but when there's no wind, nothing I can do on my 12m lol.
I see a lot in love with the Cloud, but man, strutless lol, might suck on one and get a 14.5m. Though before I get there I feel a surfboard is in order :D
curious, what TT board are you using....model and size? You might consider a larger TT with a flatter rocker.
The 2014m SB pulls like a truck, and has more top end than the 15m Contra. The Contra is more livelier in the air, feels lighter in the air. Although the SBs are easy to relaunch, the Contra is even easier, and will stay in the air as it will be more efficient in the lulls
Yes, the 1X bar will work on the 15m Contra, but the single front line flagging line is shorter than the recommended 1XL and so I would be concerned about proper flagging when activating the QR (safety). Additionally, the kite will respond better when initiating a turn with the longer bar. You would still be able to use the 1Xl bar on your 12m SB as it will be the same in the smaller settting.
Might also consider finding a used 55m race bar to use...could be used on either you 12m Sb and the 15m Contra. I think the landing line on the race bar will be sufficient as the 55cm race bar is used on the 14 Velocity which is a higher aspect ration kite and there probably a longer flagging line than the 1X...I haven't tested, just speculating. The race bar will come standard with 24m lines...2m longer than the 1X
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As someone who has ridden both kites in varying conditions extensively and rides 3rd a lot, I would say go with the 15 contra.
It will allow you to go in lighter wind and by the time you are OP'ed, you can switch over to your 12m. The 14m switch won't give you as much low end which I think is what you want. I will probably replace my 14 switch with a contra once the 14m dies.
Thanks a lot. That's how I feel deep inside :). I would still get a light wind directional surfboard probably to go out in 10kts on that Contra. But yes, I don't think the 5 strutter SB will stay up "unattended" in less than 12kts... and if it drops heh... party's on! I did notice the massive low end power I get on the 15 Contra especially for my 200lbs weight. Carving turns was definitely a winner on the low end.
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