So I got a chance to ride the 12m Boss in light air at the Hood River Sandbar of all places.
I was on the kite for about 45 min. and have only flown it this one time so here are my first impressions in light wind. Mind you I have never written a review before so please bare with me.
Kite: Wainman Hawaii Rabbit Series 12m Boss
Board: Cyclone Custom Skimboard Strapless
Conditions: 8-12 knots
So first thing I noticed when flying the kite on the beach was its size and speed. It looked and flew like a 9m in the air. The turns were very fast and pivotal for a 12m kite yet was very stable even in the light stuff. Once I got on the water I was amazed with its lightwind ability. It had a very grunty pull on my first downstroke through the power zone getting me up on my skim with no problems. After making a handful of tacks back and fourth I got a good feel for the kite. Its spped really pay dividends in the light air, you can work the kite much faster creating more apparent wind. It should be a great kite for slashing the waves. Also there were a few connection options on the kite for different turning speed and overall feel. The kite was on its fastest setting when I tested it and I did not get a chance to play with any of the configurations (I believe 27 in total).
The bar had a a very linear depower feel on par with most of the current hybrids or sle kites. Bar pressure was right on for my taste, I know that it can be different for some so be sure to get your hands on one to get the feel yourself. The pressure was just enough to feel what the kite was doing without getting that infamous "Kiters Elbow".
As it was light I was only able to do some simple handlepasses and ole's so I can't comment on the pop the kite delivers for wakestyle yet. I unhooked 15-20 times and must say that the feel of the kite was very comfertable and stable. The kite stayed put and never backstalled. I can't wait to get these kites out on a stronger day to get the true feel for its unhooking potential. My one issue when unhooking was actually hooking back it. The stifness of the donkey dick made it difficult to hook back in if the chicken loop was spun 180 degrees. This should not be a problem since Wainman Hawaii provides two chicken loops with each bar. One of the loops has a donkey dick for regular riding and the other chicken loop has no donkey dick for greater ease of unhooking and hooking back in.
The Sandbar was crowded with lessons and people trying to make it work in the light wind so I didn't have a good oppertunity to put the kite down a try a ton of relaunches. I did however miss the bar during two surface passes putting the kite in the water. It landed in the standard position with the leading edge down and the bottom of the canopy facing the rider. Both times the relaunch was simple. I pulled on an outside line, waited for the kite to get to the edge of the window, and the kite pivoted on its wingtip and took to the sky. Need to get more time on it to get a true feel but first impressions were impressive.
The bar had a very nice feel in my hand, I am a fan of medium to small bars and this was right in the middle with a nice thin grip. There were some other great points on the bar that made me think "no why hasn't that been done yet?" There was a nice swival where the front lines met above the clam cleat so with any rotation the lines untwist themselves. Aslo when I went to relaunch the first time I noticed that they had a nice little plastic ball about 18" up on each outside line. It was nice to have that object to pull on instead of just a hand full of line when relaunching. The bar was clean and simple with an option of adding a "mini 5th line" through the center of the bar for leash attachment. Otherwise you can suicide it to the chicken loop, plastic depower line, or the traditional center line above the bar.
After inspecting the kite I quickly realized how much effort Lou put into making the kite bombproof. The construction is on par with the other big name kite companys and in some aspects it surpasses it. My two favorite points on the kite were simple. Thge leading edge has a large piece of scuff guard fabric from wingtip to wingtip protecting it from hard impact and rough beaches when it is sitting down. My other detail was the bridle line, most other kite companies use thin and often cheep line for their bridles, the rabit kites bridles are 100% amsteel which lasts much longer than the cheaper industry standard line. Overall the kite is very robust and it looks like it was built to take a beating. I did not get a chance to see the bag so no info on that as of yet.
I should be getting some more time on them in the near future so I will be sure to update the 12m review and also add a 9 and 6.5 review if I get the chance. But please only use my review as a guideline...if you can I suggest you fly the kite for yourself and make the decision on your own.