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It has been a few days since the expo so I thought Iíd post on what I demoed at the expo on Friday 22nd.
I am very sad to say I only got to try one brand of kite as Mother Nature didn't cooperate with us for Saturday or Sunday. That one brand was Peter Lynn as they seem very rare in the bay area yet are loved in many other places in California and the world for that matter.
The first kite I took out was a Guerilla II 16M. I would say the wind was around 18mph or so at the time of the test. Ok first things first the auto zenith or whatever it is called, is damn cool. It does work and it is pretty amazing to see in person. (More on the auto zenith later.)
I really wanted to ride the new Venom kite but decided to try the Guerilla II first for comparison. The Guerilla was a slow moving kite the performed as stereotyped by pretty much all of you that are reading this now. The kite had plenty of power to get me on plane. The one thing that was noticeable on my first tack is the auto zenith feature. I would park the kite be riding along looking at my direction of travel then I would feel like I was light on the board. I looked for the kite and it was at the 11:30 position. What the hell! This was the big difference between the PL and a LEI kite. The PL kite wants to go to neutral so bar input was required to keep it in the parked position. I did 2 jumps with the Guerilla II and they did have a floaty feeling to them just as stereotyped, with the landing nice and soft. Besides the auto zenith thing nothing really knocked my harness off regarding the Peter Lynn Guerilla II kite.
Now the Venom is a totally different ball game. When I went out on the Venom the wind had picked up just a little bit, it was around 20mph. I demoed the 13m Venom. The first thing I noticed when I flew this kite was that I was holding onto a crazy small control bar. The bar for this kite was a 40cm bar. From what the Peter Lynn guys were telling me was that this kite turns so much faster that you need to use the smaller bar. All I can say what a difference some designing makes. This kite was just a little bit slower than my 12m Boxer would be. It turned twice as fast as the Guerilla II. Although the Guerilla was one size larger there was a very noticeable difference in turn speed. I forgot to ask the PL guys what would happen if this kite was on a larger bar. Would it make it just as fast as my boxer? I was very impressed with the Venom. Self launching was a snap and very controlled. This kite would be a very good all year kite. You could easily take it from the water to the snow. I know some of you guys and gals call the PL kites ìflying sleeping bagsî but donít knock it till you tried it.
Thanks to the PL guys Blake, Aaron, and Dean.
Hey, how many people does that sleeping bag fit? I got a camping trip coming up. Nah....
Blair, are you ever going to claim your new free 12m kite from the contest?!? It's sitting in my closet still crispy new!
i used to fly peterlynns and they are amazingly good kites, the ones ive flown didnt have autozenith but were more of an autopilot feature, you let go and it stays where you left it.
The kites relaunch fine, they are closed cells so when it gets down in the water it DOESNT fill and it floats because its still full of air, so relaunch is not a problem. It also has little vents in the corners in case it rains so itcan leak water.
The thing that made me switch to tubes is that arcs turn soooooo slow, i know venoms are way stiffer because of double the number of cells, but still, i find theres a lot of propaganda and exagerration when it comes to turning speed. The last arc generation i had was the bomba's, i had flown the g2-11 and found it too slow =(.
I didn't specifially look but i'm pretty sure when Blake unzipped the kite to fill it with air no feathers came out. So the kite should be fine if it hits the water.
I will be getting my new kite soon. I haven't forgotten it.
I think foil pilots are used to slow turning kites, that once they create designs that turn fast they slow them down on purpose with smaller bars
Same with the Extacy. It comes with a tiny bar. If you pull one of the brake lines it turns crazy fast by any standard. I think the next thing to do is to replace the bar to a bigger one.
So how do you compare the venom to a good inflateable in other aspects? Up wind, wind range, jumps and the such. Before I bought the XTC I had to decide between it and the Venom, without any ability to test either. I am interested because I think of getting an inflateable, but if these work they will get second consideration. The XTC 10 is a fairly high wind kite, which I was not so much aware of when I bought it (again, the claims of better wind range than previous years, better turning, blah blahÖ).
I read that the venom has better wind range than other arcs, which is not saying a lot since you have to compare it to competitor kites from other brands and not older models. I was looking on the web for side by side comparison of the Venom and a good tube, but did not find anything.
I think that the venom is turning as fast as a high aspect tube. I didn't get to fly one, but I watched the guys fly them on the beach and it turns faster than any other Peter lynn kite I have ever seen. I'd still go with a tube though.
What's interesting is that there isn't a big price difference between the foils and most tubes (excluding Best and the other cheaper brands). The expensive tubes are more expensive than foils, but foils still have that stigma of expensive gear. Maybe because their second hand prices are higher.
I have a 2004 15M guerilla 2. It is a slow turning kite, but has a lot of pull. It is my favorite kite right now. It likes to be ridden lit. I am 200#, and I find this kite is no fun in winds under 18 mph. It flies like a wing, rather than a lei cup to scoop up wind. When parked at zenith during gusts, it accelerates upwind and overflies you. Knock on wood, but I've never been lofted on a foil. I like how they spill 100% of the wind when you engage the safety (the kite lies flat because no rigid shape like a lei). I find it to be safer and simpler than any other system out there:
-5 line setup (more tangles due to extra line)
-recon system (no moving parts to worry about (bullets))
-no bladders to fix or pump
Because of the auto zenith tendency, water relaunches are rare, but easy.
I see a 13M venom at OB a lot. He has been having problems with the battens breaking in the surf (3 times already). Hopefully they'll fix this in the 2006 design.
I have yet to see two foils out in the water at the same time. They are definitely a minority.
I was also at the expo and flew the venom 16m on sunday in very light winds only on land, as well as the venom 8m on a buggy. they are definatly have a different feel than a lei. Absolutly i feel that the foils are more safe becuase of the shape, also the problems with lei's overflying the rider is not apparent in the PL foils. An interesting story i heard from Blake was that the pl foils can be flown with out touching the bar the harness loop can be atached to anything strong ie. trailer hitch, and the kite will just sit there. i thought that was very interesiting. after the expo im definatly sold on the venom 16m.
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