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 Post subject: Cloud 17 Full Review vs. Speed 3 21meter
PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2013 1:58 pm 
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Sorry, but this is a little long. I wanted to wait to get several sessions on my Cloud 17 before spouting off and posting this review. I know all of the arguments about why it’s not worth it to kite in light wind. Generally I agree, but I live in an area that has several months out of the year during which if you are not geared for light wind, you don’t get to ride. Over the years I have had so many big kites, both inflatable and foil, and I currently own the Cloud 17 and a Speed 3 21 meter, which has been my big gun until now. I’ll compare the Cloud to the Speed.

First of all let me say something about the awesome service from Greg of Boardriding Maui. He is very communicative and responsive to emails, and stayed in touch through the whole process. The kite was at my doorstep within 10 days of placing the order. And it had to come from Hong Kong! Very impressive. He is also just a really great guy, and pleasant to do business with. we need more people like him in the industry.

The Speed 3 21 probably has a slight edge over the Cloud 17 in just pure, raw, low end power, but the Cloud has now replaced it completely as my light wind go to kite because it is just a more fun and usable kite. It has a very light feel, and you can throw it around. It turns like a 12 or 13 meter depending upon which brand of kite you now use. The Speed 3 21 is more like driving a tractor trailer.

The Cloud is super easy to launch, and you can launch and land it anywhere you would launch any other inflatable. The Speed needs a big clean beach area, and becomes a complete nightmare if there are a lot of twigs or coarse brush in the launch.

I weigh 210 lbs (95 kg) and ride a Mako King (165 cm). Out on the water I find that on the Cloud 17 that I can get moving and hold my line at 10 mph and above. At 12 mph I can easily go upwind. And by 14 mph I am fairly powered. With the Speed 3, it’s about the same except that I can maybe get going at 8 or 9 mph, but at that low of a wind speed I am always fearful that a good lull might cause me to drop the kite into the water. Swimming that kite in could be your worst kitemare ever. Swimming in the Cloud is like swimming in any inflatable. Not fun... but not really a big deal. A much less stressful situation.

I have read others talking about a short throw on the bar, but I did not find that to be the case at all. This is a bit different kite, and you may need to experiment with your line settings a bit. If you don’t really understand the role played by altering the length difference between the front and back lines, maybe get a friend to help you out. That being said, finding the sweet spot is not really that hard. Once you do, it flies like any other kite.

Others have also mentioned the luffing or flapping of the leading part of the canopy when sheeted out. It is kind of like the sail on a boat in that respect. I find it very useful. I sheet out slowly until the canopy just starts to luff a little, and then sheet in slightly, and I know that I am trimmed optimally for going upwind. It works really well!

If you are trying to get out to some small surf during light winds, the Cloud is also your choice. The Speed 3 21 is sadly very awkward in the surf, but with the Cloud’s light weight and great turning ability you can keep it moving down the line. But I frankly don’t recommend chasing any really big surf in very light winds. It will get you eventually.

I have also had several other large inflatables (two 17’s and two 20’s). The Cloud’s combination of a large surface area unbroken by struts, wide tips, and super light weight make this the right combination for those of us who are trying to maximize the number of days out on the water.

So that you don’t have to ask, I have no affiliation with Boardriding Maui in any way. About Flysurfer, let me say this. They make amazing products, and those who dismiss then out of hand, are really missing the point. Look at the new Kronix. The Speed 3 21 has been unsurpassed for a long time, but frankly it is a kite that requires a special kind of aggressive, dominant, yet gentle finesse to fly well. It takes a while to develop those kind of skill levels. The Cloud 17 actually comes very close to matching it for raw power, yet still is a fun kite that anybody with basic skills can use to enjoy more time on the water. It probably will add 50 kiting days to my annual kiting calendar.

Oh yeah, the Clouds pack down to a very small, light package. For those of you who are tired of repairing valves, this kite has only one. I am saving my lunch money now for a full quiver for a travel kit.


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 Post subject: Re: Cloud 17 Full Review vs. Speed 3 21meter
PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2013 2:22 pm 
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What advantages does the Cloud have over kites like the Zephyr 17m, Turbine 17m, etc? Does it have good water relaunch? Does it have any upper wind ability? Can it jump? How will it handle gusty conditions? This kite intrigues me but does it have limits that a strutted kite would be the choice?

I fly the Zephyr and it has pretty much the same low end as the Cloud. But when it picks up it's great (up to a point of course)...


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 Post subject: Re: Cloud 17 Full Review vs. Speed 3 21meter
PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2013 2:45 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 09, 2003 2:50 am
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Advantages: Lightweight, very stable in the air, easy relaunch, packs down to about the size of a 12, and turns very fast. Also less bladder and valve repairs.

When it gets powered up it is awesome, but at 20 mph or above it gets to be just a bit too much to hang on to to be much fun, but you should be on a different kite then anyway. It accelerates quickly during gusts. All in all very happy with it. The first really different idea since the LEI evolution.


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 Post subject: Re: Cloud 17 Full Review vs. Speed 3 21meter
PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2013 2:49 pm 
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Location: Islamorada, Florida Keys
I rode last Sunday in Cocoa Beach on the Cloud 17. When I got there, 3 Speed 21s were ride on Spleene Doors. I only had my skim board and a surf board. At first it was blowing @ 7-8 knot sand I could not stay upwind but if I had a Door it would not have been a problem. A 4th Speed 21 showed up with a SS Glide and he could not stay upwind either. Slowly the wind came up to @ 10 knots and then I didn't have a problem and started having fun. It was light enough at times that when 1 of the Speeds went down, it was not relaunchable. I did not drop my kite but am confident that it would have been relaunchable. Then a Dyno 18m showed up and was unable to stay upwind on a SS Dialer. My surfboard was an Airush Cypher 5'8" and was able to stay upwind once the wind came up to @ 10 knots. The Cloud was much quicker steering wise and made for a fun day. So glad I got the Cloud! (especially for 1/3 the price of the Speed)


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 Post subject: Re: Cloud 17 Full Review vs. Speed 3 21meter
PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2013 3:14 pm 
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noel wrote:
I rode last Sunday in Cocoa Beach on the Cloud 17. When I got there, 3 Speed 21s were ride on Spleene Doors. I only had my skim board and a surf board. At first it was blowing @ 7-8 knot sand I could not stay upwind but if I had a Door it would not have been a problem. A 4th Speed 21 showed up with a SS Glide and he could not stay upwind either. Slowly the wind came up to @ 10 knots and then I didn't have a problem and started having fun. It was light enough at times that when 1 of the Speeds went down, it was not relaunchable. I did not drop my kite but am confident that it would have been relaunchable. Then a Dyno 18m showed up and was unable to stay upwind on a SS Dialer. My surfboard was an Airush Cypher 5'8" and was able to stay upwind once the wind came up to @ 10 knots. The Cloud was much quicker steering wise and made for a fun day. So glad I got the Cloud! (especially for 1/3 the price of the Speed)


You were in Cape Canaveral at Cherie Down Park....Cocoa Beach is south of there
Good report.....by the way i know all those guys you were riding with
You must be a better LW kiter than they are
In 7-8kn a SP3 21 with an efficient rider will blow by any kind of 17m2 tube..on LW TT or surfboard

Yes at @10 knots ( which is not much wind in Florida) is reasonable start for a Cloud 17m

Many people who own big 21's or big kites for that matter are not necessarily good at light winds

Glad you had fun ! Wish you would have kited at 5th CB

BTW i gave up the SP3 21 a while back and was really good at making it turn fast in XLW

Got now a XR3 19 and Nugget 2013....7-8kn is no problem..
....and in @10kn i say bye bye to all
:bye:


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 Post subject: Re: Cloud 17 Full Review vs. Speed 3 21meter
PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2013 4:58 pm 
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10 knots on a cloud an 80kg rider can go upwind and jump a little.
Even in 8 knots a decent rider on cloud 17 can hold ground on a surfboard.
With no chop or current, even make a little upwind.
For the ocean or chop, mileage will vary with board choice and skill.


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 Post subject: Re: Cloud 17 Full Review vs. Speed 3 21meter
PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2013 6:02 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 31, 2004 2:58 pm
Posts: 251
Thx for the reviews.

What's the bar pressure and force needed to turn the kite like? Is it a reactive kite or slow to start the turning?

Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: Cloud 17 Full Review vs. Speed 3 21meter
PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2013 7:05 pm 
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noel wrote:
Then a Dyno 18m showed up and was unable to stay upwind on a SS Dialer. My surfboard was an Airush Cypher 5'8" and was able to stay upwind once the wind came up to @ 10 knots.


Yeah, I think there may be a difference of skill or weight going on there. The Cloud has some good qualities, but it doesn't beat the Dyno in going upwind (everything else being equal).

I've ridden Cloud 17 back to back with my 14m Rebel and 18m Dyno. 165 lbs riding Slingshot SP 5'4" x 21.5" in about 10 knots. I'd say the Cloud had slightly more power than the 14m Rebel, but the Rebel sits further forward in the window, so ability to stay upwind was about the same.

I'd be interested to see what the projected area for the cloud. Riding side by side with me on the Rebel my buddy on the Cloud, the Cloud's projected area didn't seem much more than the 14m Rebel (which is much higher aspect ratio and flatter).

Going from the Cloud to the 18m Dyno was like night and day. Cloud turns much faster, but the Dyno has more power and goes upwind way better.

I could use some more time on the cloud though, it takes some getting used too. Maybe if I was used to it, I'd see a bigger difference vs the Rebel 14m. Definitely an interesting kite.

Beachboy wrote:
I sheet out slowly until the canopy just starts to luff a little, and then sheet in slightly, and I know that I am trimmed optimally for going upwind. It works really well!


Someone else had mentioned this method before also. I have to try this out next time. When a gust would hit, I would ease the bar and try to point upwind, but the Cloud would just flap around instead of moving forward in the window. I'll have to try it out again and not ease the bar quite so much.


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 Post subject: Re: Cloud 17 Full Review vs. Speed 3 21meter
PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2013 7:11 pm 
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Great review, I was just wondering what the Cloud would compare to other XLW kites


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 Post subject: Re: Cloud 17 Full Review vs. Speed 3 21meter
PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2013 9:36 pm 
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Location: Islamorada, Florida Keys
davesails7 wrote:

Yeah, I think there may be a difference of skill or weight going on there. The Cloud has some good qualities, but it doesn't beat the Dyno in going upwind (everything else being equal).

I've ridden Cloud 17 back to back with my 14m Rebel and 18m Dyno. 165 lbs riding Slingshot SP 5'4" x 21.5" in about 10 knots. I'd say the Cloud had slightly more power than the 14m Rebel, but the Rebel sits further forward in the window, so ability to stay upwind was about the same.

I'd be interested to see what the projected area for the cloud. Riding side by side with me on the Rebel my buddy on the Cloud, the Cloud's projected area didn't seem much more than the 14m Rebel (which is much higher aspect ratio and flatter).


As for skill and weight, i am not sure about skill as I don't ride at that spot or with those people. First time. As for weight, we were about the same though he may have been a little lighter than me.

As for the Rebel 14 being close in power with better upwind? Tell that to the guy here that has 2013 10 and 14 Rebel and bought the cloud 17 because he loved it so much. If it had close to the same low end with better upwind, everyone would be riding Rebel 14s in 10 knots which they aren't. That's why they buy the Dyno.

People do tell me that I am a very efficient rider. I could have rode the 14m Rebel if I had my Sector 66.


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