I took my time, searched and read a ton of posts in this forum about light wind kites, so I think I'm ready to formulate my open question.
situation: I own Bandit 11m 2013/2014 and the 2016 will be my 3rd season. I didn't spend much time kiting, so I consider myself a beginner, able to drive consistently upwind if conditions are ok, but that's pretty much it. In my region, only destinations reachable by car are mostly with the low wind (Austria, Neusiedler See), usually around 10knots. I'm 80kg/175lbs and bellow 13-14 knots I'm not able to ride my 11m kite, so I'm looking for low wind weapon that starts to pick up as low as possible and when wind reaches 15+ knots, I'd switch to 11m bandit. I'm looking at the newer kites, because I want to make an investment that will keep me riding and learning for years to come.
other kites I tried:
1, slingshot turbine 17m, year ~2014, wasn't able to drive upwind in 10 knots, but I attribute it to my improper small board and the lack of skill, others were driving upwind with smaller kites no problem, so I can't judge
2, liquid force NRG 16m, 2014 - this is the kite I bought as second hand, rode 3 times, one time the session was successful, other times I struggled. I'm planning to sell this kite, it doesn't suit my abilities and for me it's very hard/impossible to re-launch. And in my sessions the kite falls to the water a lot, trust me. You know what they say, Just because you love something doesn't mean you can’t suck at it.
my contestants, due to what I heard from people from the beaches, schools and from this forum and various other reviews, sorted by priority/likability:
- switch helium 2, 18m - tricky to guess if the kite is up to the task compared to the more "well known" brands, I'm intrigued to try, since they have 30-days money-back guarantee
- f-one bandit 9, 17m - not so many information about 17m size bandit 2015/2016 anywhere on the net, makes me a bit unsure, but the few reviews/opinions I encountered are generally good. I'd appriciate having a new bar with bandit 9, so I can use it for my 11m other bandit. It has an old bar, quite worn and shattered, the new one must be better.
- Core XR4 LW, 17m or 19m - good reviews here on the forum and elsewhere
- oceanrodeo flite gen 4, 17m - detto, a lot of comments and positive feedback from users here on forum and elsewhere, 60days satisfaction guarantee - good
- cabrinha contra, 17m - recommended to me by various schools
- slingshot turbine, 17m - detto, recommended by "other gruop" of schools, but some people claim that lately other options are better to look at these days
my priorities for choosing the right kite:
2, low-end ride-ability, good upwind riding performance
3, at least 17m size, so it would be a great companion to my bandit 11m
4, price is not a biggest issue here, but if I can save a few bucks buying ex. 2015 instead of 2016 model of some brand and there is no big difference, why not if it's worth it,
some of you could read this post and think, "it's here again" , but really, I'd like your input to get oriented a bit and maybe do a better decision, my current knowledge and experience is poor,