Just afraid of the trade off. 19m2 is so massive. Would it be worth the gain?
Please don't buy a large Ram Air. I've listed the reasons below why you need to avoid them:
14: LIGHT WINDS
Ram airs are inferior light wind kites for the following reasons:
a) Excessive drag
(bridles, lack of internal rigidity), compromising the Lift/Drag ratio
b) VERY slow turning
The Speed 2 19 contains over 11kg of air in its pockets, compared to about 3kg in the largest inflatables.
d) Bridle failures and tangling
e) Wind dropouts and gear failure
--EVERYONE experiences a few gear failures (eg broken lines) and COMPLETE wind dropouts every year. You're usually safe with an inflatable. It can be used to "self-rescue" or you can swim in with the kite. If things go REALLY bad, you can just use the inflatable structure to support your weight, eg viewtopic.php?f=1&t=2368004
--ALL ram airs become hopelessly waterlogged after 45 minutes - unlaunchable and certainly unable to support your body weight.
-- The following is an example of "diraklib's" experience with ram airs in wind dropouts:
diraklib wrote:"the SA-19 is huge and can whack you silly if you let it get down wind of you in a low wind launch. It is downright scary - be ready with the QR at all times if not up and riding!!! I can't say I agree with claims that you can ride the SA-19 in anything lower than a steady 8 knots. I made a personal choice to not ride the SA-19 any more. It went down twice in lulls and managed to bow-tie on the way down - there was no way to relaunch. I was not as lucky as others that self rescued. My kite was full of water by the time I dragged my very tired and frustrated a$$ to shore. It sounds simple, "wrap the lines around the bar, fold the kite in half, roll it up on your board and paddle in"... noooo... there are lines everywhere under water that wrap around your feet as you are trying to manipulate the kite. You just pray that a gust won't pop the kite up and slice of an appendage. The kite ... is just too scary when it goes down. My attitude now is - if my LEI won't fly, I shouldn't be on the water. Anyone interested in a slightly used SA2-19m??? Cheap???"
For the full admission, checkout the following link: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=2360979&start=40
-- The following is an example of FredBGG's experience with a line failure:
FredBGG wrote:The other day I had a front line fail.
Wind was slightly off shore...
I really needed a tow to the beach.
I had the kite safely on the 5th line folded in half (flysurfer Foil)
I waved down two kiters.... both expert judging by their riding.
Both refused to help.
One even yelled if you can't relaunch it's your problem.
Anyway after a difficult ordeal in the surf and current I got back to the beach.
I had to rest a bit but my board was still out there.
For the full admission viewtopic.php?f=1&t=2362065
The problem here isn't with the other kiters, it's with Fred's choice of kite. If Fred had an inflatable, he would have been able to "self-rescue" by grabbing the tips and "sailing" to shore. The other kiters refusing to help is understandable: Fred made the choice to choose less safe equipment (ram airs - for self rescue) - it's his problem and he shouldn't impose on others to make up for the deficiencies in his equipment. Also, towing a Flysurfer to shore is like towing a sleeping bag full of water - horrible.
f) 8 knot limit
-- Despite what anybody tells you, you won't really have fun on any kite (ram air OR inflatable) unless the wind is over about 8 knots. This is the starting point for BOTH ram airs and inflatables, but because of the reasons I've outlined above, inflatables are vastly superior. And this is just the starting point. You won't really be having fun until it hits about 10 knots on an inflatable OR a ram air.
- Ram lovers have been shown to lie repeatedly about their light wind capabilities:
eg "jumping 8m in 8 knots" viewtopic.php?f=1&t=6349
Please let me know which Kite you use that will allow me to get out in less than 5 knots. My Speed 3 19 DL gives up under 5 knots, so if you could please let me know about a flying tyre that will outdo my Speed3 please let me know - Gunnar Biniasch
NO kite - ram air or inflatable - will perform in under ~8 knots and NO KITE WILL PERFORM UNDER 5 KNOTS. The physics is complex, but primarily involves the power that wind moving at 7 knots (13km/h) can deliver. There is simply not enough power or velocity at this wind speed for ANY kite to perform.
Gunnar's exaggerations and lies can be found at viewtopic.php?f=1&t=2361421
This is typical of the ridiculous and unsubstantiated claims made by ram lovers. Kitesurfing in under 5 knots.......laughable.
g) Objective Testing
-- A variety of kites were tested in light wind conditions in San Diego a few years ago viewtopic.php?f=1&t=2319439&hilit=ram+a ... +san+diego
. Despite the ridiculous over-hyped claims from Flysurfer reps like Ted Bautista, Flysurfer ram air kites crashed and burned. The overall consensus was that Flysurfer ram air kites are ok in light wind, but they turn VERY SLOWLY. The overall impression was that there are much better inflatables. It's interesting that a lot of the ram air guys who were excited about this showdown were remarkably SILENT afterwards, in particular, Ted Bautista, the U.S. rep for Flysurfer. His alpha-male chest-beating rants in the lead up to this showdown almost defied belief.
For an example of the LIES that ram lovers tell about their kites, checkout viewtopic.php?f=1&t=2350141&p=539227#p539227
h ) Flysurfer and Light Winds
See the thread about the poor light wind properties of Flysurfer viewtopic.php?f=1&t=2349064
i) Peter Frank's opinion
Peter Frank, a well respected commentator on the sport, says 8-9 knots is the bare minimum viewtopic.php?f=1&t=2365531
Night_Thrasher wrote:What is the lowest wind condition I can go kitesurfing and what is the best kite brand and size for it?
It depends a lot on your weight, how low you can go.
If you are "average" around 80kg, the lowest you can go will be around 5m/s (10knots) with the right kite and board.
If you are REALLY experienced, you will be able to push the lower limit down to about 8-9 knots, but this is the absolute lowest wind possible to kitesurf in (holding ground/going upwind) with average weight IMO.
We are talking about 14-17m2 typical SLE kites and raceboards here
And talking about EXACTLY how "low you can go" is just pure bullshit - as you can not measure the windspeed at the kite, which is the only true value for this.
Sometimes you have a huge windgradient, sometimes a small one, and air temperature and height also influences.
But around 10knots is the limit for most kitesurfers, and just a small tad lower for the "extreme" ones
When you talk about windspeed - where is it measured then ?
At headheight, maybe around 2 meter above the water ?
Or at 10 meter height, which is our (Denmark) meterological standard height for wind measurements ?
There is a difference of typical 2 knots, so VERY important.
My point is - always take those claiming "this and that" as their minimum wind speed with a grain of salt
But the answer to your question would IMO be around or just below 10 knots measured at 2 meters height (in normal "summer" temperatures), and it is not dependant on brand, as many brands has excellent kites for this - and more and more has raceboards now too.
There are better inflatable kite options for light winds, eg http://forum.bestkiteboarding.com/viewtopic.php?t=6999