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I have Maui Clouds, sizes 6, 8 and 10. I switched from 7, 9 and 12m Wainmans. That set of Clouds covers about the same range - a tiny bit less on the top and bottom than the Wainmans. I get way more use out of the 6 Cloud than I did out of the 7 Wainman.
My take on the Clouds is that for their size, they are extremely powerful and fast. Greg, the designer is very helpful with information and it has all been dead on. You really do need to drop down 2m in kite sizes from normal kites. They are a huge amount of fun on a surfboard. The power, turning speed, drift and light bar pressure lets me do things I couldn't before. I have never managed to make it fall out of the sky, despite putting it in some pretty ridiculous positions. It always just drifts back and flies again. Relaunch has not been more of a problem than anything else I've tried. Slogging back in when the wind dies is a bit harder as you have less kite area downwind of you. The turning speed makes up for that a bit. I am not the best person to ask about jumping. I do jump a bit. All I can really say is they seem to go up just fine, but for the finer points you would have to ask someone else. They have a really short throw, on/off power characteristic. This takes a little getting used to, but opens up some possibilities. You can oversheet the kite and make it turn literally around its centre.
I've not tried the bigger sizes. But describing the Clouds as a compact travel kite or a light wind kite is missing the point. The smaller sizes were designed first and were designed for performance. For the way I ride, I am really happy with that.
I've been trying to get my hands on some Clouds to try. The designer is a cool guy but has no presence here to speak of and doesn't do demos. I even offered to give him a credit card as insurance and pay shipping both ways just to try one. He wouldn't go for it. I'm not sure what more I could have done to try to get one out here. I'm just not willing to buy a kite outright that I have never flown.
I'd love to connect with someone who has some and try them out. I'm happy to pay in beer or whatever works for you. I'm really stoked on the concept but want some hands on time before I drop some coin. It wouldn't be like buying a Cabrina or other name brand. If I didn't like it it could be hard to sell.
While I dig the designers super low key attitude and business style I don't understand his marketing strategy.....
Anybody in the South Bay/coast that is willing to demo one??
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@ Cleepa - Wasn't try to suggest that light wind only kite. Just the sizes that I bought and thought design was exceptional for light wind/travel. Watching Greg fly his in Maui shows you that design can handle all sorts of stronger wind.
@ SC-surfer - Go to Maui and Greg will let you demo one. He let me. Just got burned by a lot of prospective buyers, demoing and damaging/not returning the kites. Small grassroots business. Or just pull the trigger. If you don't like the design you'll be able to sell it for at least 80-90% of cost. Folks are always asking to try it. Guess only downside I would say is all the questions on the beach from interested kiters.
Gents, Im looking at the clouds now to update my current Caution Spitfires. I love my Caution kites except they do not drift all that well when moving down the line in the surf. It sounds like the Cloud may have a similar feel and quick turning but add more drift to the equation.
A couple of you have mentioned coming off or sizing up your current quiver with Clouds. Can you provide some feedback with respect to my desires above?
It all comes to personal preference with sizes, I tend to go similar size as others if I'm going with TT for jumps, but smaller (or when wind drops) with strapless Paipo.
Good-bye... and hello... as always!
The drift on the Clouds is ridiculous. Because the kite is so light compared to other kites, it will hang out and drift in less wind. Because the canopy luffs due to the lack of struts, you can do things that strutted kites will punish you for. At the end of last season, I got onto a nice meaty wave and made a mistake... I had the kite at 12 and was riding straight at it. I rode underneath it. With a strutted kite, this is when the nose dips and the struts make it hindenburg. Instead of doing that, the canopy luffed, the kite set back in the window and I was able to surf the wave however I wanted. The Cloud saved my ass on that one. The Cloud C2 is lighter than the C1, which I would think would make these characteristics even better in the C2.
Disclaimer: I have never flown a Caution, but I see a lot of them where I ride. Observing others, I think you will find that the Cloud turns faster. It (the Cloud C1, at least) definitely lets you downsize, which in turn makes the kite feel faster still. If you ride lefts a lot, you may enjoy the reduced diameter leading edge of the Cloud C2, which should mean less drag riding the wave upwind and totally depowered.
The way I got hooked on Clouds was by buying one, figuring that I would be easily able to sell it if I decided it wasn't my thing. After 2 sessions I ordered the full quiver.
I love my Clouds. Get it and you won't regret it. I have 5/7/9/12 C2's and in general I'd say they act like 1-1.5m larger strutted kites – so, on average, you can downside from an 8m to a 7m Cloud... YMMV of course, some kites make even less power (Cabrinha Drifter, for example), and those you might downsize 2m. If you are in San Francisco I could be convinced to meet up to give you a demo...
-- Lose the Handles
rowboat, I'm considering the cloud. I fly mostly at the coast. The video on setting up a cloud says you need to be careful to secure the kite with a sand bag attached with a kite leash. How does this work to self launch and land? What is your experience?
I mostly self launch and land. Self launch can be done by putting your board on the kite and using the usual method to pull the kite out from underneath it. You can't self land the usual way, though. In strong enough wind, the wingtips will push the leading edge up into the wind and the kite will go sailing away. So my preferred method for both launch and land is a fixed object. That works well.
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