Finally got a chance to demo the V3 today in Naples, Florida.
Now the long-awaited review. I tested it against an 18 Cab XB in about 8-12 knots. When I got there it was blowing maybe 6 knots and Dimitri had his V3 in the air already.
When the wind picked up a little, I was itching to give them a shot.
First, I flew the Infinity on my Cab Rival 145/45, and I was surprised that I was able to actually stay upwind. The Infinity feels like a smaller kite in that when you pull on one side of the bar, things happen. The kite is pretty nimble for a bigger kite. If you want my guess-timate on the size, I will say it looks around 17ish. It feels like a 14 or 15 because it turns that way, especially considering the size of the Epic bar on it's outside setting. To put it in perspective, it turns quite a bit faster than my 16 Cab SB. The kite is a little bit towards the lower aspect ratio, and it is very stable in the air. It's not at all twitchy, even in variable wind. It has all kinds of pull, and I was able to park the kite and ride in 8-12 knots. In the unlikely event of a water landing (as the airline adage goes), it relaunches really easily, all you have to do is grab a handfull of a steering line and wait. The kite will find the edge of the window and relaunch itself, without requiring prayer or special acrobatics.
It doesn't stick to the surface of the water in light wind, which is amazing for a bigger kite. When I got around to jumping it did pretty well, considering the wind. Because the kite can turn so fast, you can generate the power for jumps, so you can snap it to 12 oclock for some pretty good boosts. When I used the Oxygen board with the Infinity everything got even better. Despite the board having less surface area than my rival, it made planing quite a bit easier, probably because it has less rocker and a sharper edge. I was really stoked about the new bar. It has the swivel on the chicken loop that can be turned by hand, has multiple knot settings on the lines, can be switched in seconds to operate a larger or smaller kite, and is really comfortable in the hand. I will definitely be buying the bar the day it's released.
On to the Cab XB 18. I got a chance to test this one out right after the Infinity, on my Cab board first, then the Oxygen (which did a little better, as on the Infinity). I think this kite is a very smooth operator. It is very stable in the air, for sure. When I took it out on the water, it felt enormous compared to the Infinity. The bar was about as long as my arm, and cranking on the end of it didn't produce anything immediate from the kite. I think some of this could be attributed to the longer lines. Swooping it produced great results, though, and I was able to park the kite and go in the same wind range as the Infinity. I tried to time some jumps with the waves I was hitting, and I couldn't get the timing right. Bringing the kite to zenith took longer than the time elapsed between recognizing a suitable wave and hitting it, so I ended up jumping well after the wave. The jumps seemed to produce less height, but more hang time than the Infinity. I could swing the kite, and get about 5 feet off the water, but hang there for what seemed like minutes, which was admittedly cool. I didn't get a chance to crash the kite or see someone else crash it, so I can't comment on how easy it is to relaunch. To summarize, this kite is comparable to the Infinity in wind range and stability. It is not nearly as fast as the Infinity, for sure. The jumps generate less height, but more hang time, which probably has something to do with the fact that it has a slightly higher aspect ratio, and doesn' turn as fast, meaning that it floats really well, but can't be sent as quickly to generate lift. I didn't like the new Cab bar. It had the hand-turnable swivel, and the new lines are stiff (maybe coated) and really nice, but it was waaay too long, couldn't be adjusted, and had no stopper ball to help with flying comfortably with one hand, or spinning the bar after a trick while maintaning power in the kite.
If given a choice between the two, I would take the Infinity. It is a smaller kite, generates the same power, but turns much faster on a smaller bar, and has a really simple relaunch, even in very light winds.
Now to find someone who has a jumbo Speed 3 that I can take for a test drive... Anyone within 100 miles of Sarasota, Florida?