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Are Switch kites getting any better?

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Rando1994
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Re: Are Switch kites getting any better?

Postby Rando1994 » Fri Dec 06, 2013 12:21 am

I just wanted to add my 2 cents, again. Full disclosure: I am a team rider. And a 52 year old intermediate to advanced kiter with a limited quiver of tricks.

I envy the young guys that can take a beating learning the amazing moves we see on the internet. I am beyond that age. I like to boost, and my goal is have a quiver full of boosting kites. Durability is important to me as well since I'm rather quick about packdown and don't carry a sand brush ever. I like to roll 'em up quick, stuff 'em in the bag, and go home to my family. I like a simply bar layout with a simply above the bar depower. I have owned and don't like the springs, straps, sliders that some brands use for above-the-bar trimming. I've owned below the bar systems and don't like them. My opinion, mind you.
I like light bar pressure. I've had heavier bar pressure kites and got rid of them for that reason.

About Switch kites: Everyone has bias. It's human nature. If you spent a lot on your quiver, you are naturally going to be suspect of a less expensive alternative. It you just bought a new kite of any brand, you are going to be inclined to overlook any immediate perceived negative characteristics.
This forum gives all of us an opportunity to share our opinion, biased or otherwise.

A few pages back in this thread, someone was bashing the flight characteristics of the Nitro 3. Opinions matter. Many of us can see through opinion and glean some facts that help us in our buying decisions.
My problem with some individuals is dishonesty.
In my case, somehow through the intersection of luck and persistence, I was able to be the first person in North America to receive a Nitro 3. I think I just bugged the guys at Switch so much they finally decided to ship the first one to me.
Well, no sooner did I receive my kite, when someone was posting about some negative flight characteristics of the Nitro 3.
Hello, but no one could truthfully make that post because I had the only one and it was still in plastic waiting for wind.
Enough said.
As for my personal bias, I did a performance review, relative to my riding style, on the 16m N3, the 12m N2, and the 8m N2, on this very thread. You will find that I am not overly gushing in my commentary and have reserved final opinion until further riding can be done.
I will say that I see quite a few Pros and top rated riders in my home spot. Billy Parker, Alex Fox, Sam Light, Drew Christianson, even Dimitri was in town last week.
And when the wind is really cranking, these guys really display to us mortals what kind of skills they possess. But other than that limited list of riders, the rest of us ham 'n eggers really can't make our kites, of any brand, come close to doing what those guys can do. So that said, we can split hairs over this or that kite company, but in the end, we will all have our biases, and will justify our choices to suit our individual opinions.
I'd only like to see each of us just be honest about it.
And to offer some Switch Kite criticism, I do in fact have one issue: Since I pretty much roll my kite into a heap during packdown, I prefer a bag that is either a full duffel bag, like Ozone, or a fully unzippable front flap, like Cabrinha. The Switch bag front flap only unzips 3/4 of the way. It does have the expansion zip which makes for larger volume in the bag, which is good. But a fully openable front flap would be helpful for me to get my not-so-neatly-rolled kite into the bag easier. So there. Honest.

Westozzy
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Re: Are Switch kites getting any better?

Postby Westozzy » Fri Dec 06, 2013 1:09 am

Agree rando the ozone bag is simple and effective. Got north kites as well now and the zip shts me. Keep it simple.

Rando there is a spectrum of riders ability. Sure the pros are what they are, but just like surfing there are a lot of kiters out there now who have ridden a long time and are quite accomplished riders in their own right, but are not pros. Like surfing there are a number of long bearded unassuming dudes who can rip and just rip becuase they love to kite as a lifestyle.

I don't buy at all only pros know what a good kite is nor can explain better the flying characteristics of a kite. Those guys could make a paper bag fly well, don't pay for their gear nor have to go home to their families and provide through a normal job. Hence they can take more risk and improve quicker. Doesn't mean they 'understand' what a good kite is better than a good rider. Dangerous territory to start emphasising and believing this rhetoric, even if you personally feel less accomplished than them as I watch daily some bullshit kiters who don't get paid for it!

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Re: Are Switch kites getting any better?

Postby plummet » Fri Dec 06, 2013 1:31 am

Hansen Aerosports wrote:@ Westozzy - You ever see a BMW Ultimate Driving Machine ad? Promotional claims of excellence put some people off. I respect your saying so. :thumb:

@ Plummet - Disagree.
More a matter of experience and integrity. Plenty of brand loyalty and ego projection along with plain incompetency amongst unsponsored riders. Many guys who just paid $2000 for a new kite or got a deal on one from a 'boot-of-the-car' dealer are afraid to admit their kite is inferior for whatever reason - even if the struts repeatedly blow out.

In Hawaii, we hand out test kites to a wide variety of riders, both locals and tourists from around the globe. The range of feedback is shocking. Information from guys whom we know their level of ability, sponsored or not can be helpful no matter what brand or model they use. Others are useless. In all fairness, they do their best to be objective and helpful but in the end a lack of skill and experience or challenging conditions overwhelm them. Many like to use their own maladjusted bar turning a perfectly-tuned kite into a backstalling monster or gutless creampuff. Others will fly the kite directly overhead or at the very edge in gusty offshore conditions and when it falls out of the sky, blame the kite. Some guys just cannot properly kite upwind on more than a 90˚ reach or work it in light conditions sufficient to stay upwind. Others, particularly heavyweights, are constantly searching for 'grunt' and anything that does not approach a county fair tractor pull is useless. Some guys like to ride sheeted out rendering a kite sluggish, flopping around with with unloaded bridles and flapping like a flag. Some guys will bash a wave kite who can't really ride waves. Some think drift means sitting back in the window no matter what. Some have poor timing and think boost means getting dragged into the sky. Some think pivot turns are kiteloops. But, it is always the kite's fault, right?

The absolute best testers are top-level pros no matter what brand they use. They are the most skilled and experienced riders and their reputation and integrity are at stake. I've worked with the best. Flash, Lou and many others and now Felix and Marc. They absolutely know what works and what doesn't. They will try a kite and give it a good test. You just won't see them on here talking about it one way or other. Plenty of anonymous reviews here from 'unsponsored' riders with hidden agendas. Plenty from guys who claim to have ridden every kite imaginable. Maybe they have, maybe not. Who really knows?

Since Switch is a new brand, most customers were on other models and brands - many for a matter of years. We created a Switch user forum before any kites were sold. The reviews there are from a wide variety of kiters with one thing in common: they bought and own the kite. They talk to one another and discuss the pros and cons of every detail and facet of the products. Clearly some like them and some don't. But, they don't pull any punches on there and that is where we get our feedback to improve. In the end, if you like the kite, great. If you don't, return it for a refund. Pretty simple. :thumb:

Sorry for the long rant. Back to your regularly scheduled programming... :oops:


Interesting reply. But your point is somewhat moot. My statement was and still is that sponsored/affiliated riders do not give the best reviews publically. They are financially driven to provide positive and not objective reviews. They may be giving you input privately. But publically its all roses. The top pro's as you describe don't review on public forums so they are of absolutely no use to me when I am looking for honest opinions on a kites performance.

The only time objective honesty can be found is when there is not financial advantage to be had by giving the review or perspective.

You are correct though. Average Joe may give a review that is completely skewed based on their lack of experience. After a while you can pick those individuals out and disregard their advice.

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marlboroughman
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Re: Are Switch kites getting any better?

Postby marlboroughman » Fri Dec 06, 2013 1:45 am

Hansen Aerosports wrote: Some think drift means sitting back in the window no matter what.

I will use this opening to pick your brain about something, if I may. Sitting back or deep is something that I look for in wave riding in onshore conditions. You see when the wind is onshore the conditions are completely different then Hawai. You go down the wave with the kite sitting at the edge and you loose the control of it because the lines become slack whereas in Hawaii you go down the wave chasing the kite keeping it powered. My question is: Is the market for offshore wave conditions so big? I go out on Great Lakes is onshore I go to Cape Hatteras, Florida, Cuba all the same onshore. You catch my drift?

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Kamikuza
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Re: Are Switch kites getting any better?

Postby Kamikuza » Fri Dec 06, 2013 4:54 am

plummet wrote:The only time objective honesty can be found is when there is not financial advantage to be had by giving the review or perspective.

I don't agree. But you have to do a lot of sifting the wheat and the chaff, regardless.

jwoodunlv
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Re: Are Switch kites getting any better?

Postby jwoodunlv » Fri Dec 06, 2013 5:07 am

I have a 12m and 8m nitro 2 and I think they work pretty good in waves. I too ride in onshore to side onshore conditions and I would agree that a kite with upwind ability is more important than one that drifts without upwind ability. With the Nitro 2's I have to fly the kite a bit but it drifts enough to help me stay on the wave, especially if I downloop it. What I really like about them in the waves though is the ease of getting out there while going upwind. I've tried a lot of other kites and struggled but these have such good low end and upwind ability that I hardly have to work the kite at all getting out.

Nectar
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Re: Are Switch kites getting any better?

Postby Nectar » Fri Dec 06, 2013 5:35 am

Onshore, down the line works great on the methods for me. :thumb:
I'm on the team, ya. but this footage might interest you.



marlboroughman wrote:
Hansen Aerosports wrote: Some think drift means sitting back in the window no matter what.

I will use this opening to pick your brain about something, if I may. Sitting back or deep is something that I look for in wave riding in onshore conditions. You see when the wind is onshore the conditions are completely different then Hawai. You go down the wave with the kite sitting at the edge and you loose the control of it because the lines become slack whereas in Hawaii you go down the wave chasing the kite keeping it powered. My question is: Is the market for offshore wave conditions so big? I go out on Great Lakes is onshore I go to Cape Hatteras, Florida, Cuba all the same onshore. You catch my drift?

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Re: Are Switch kites getting any better?

Postby longwhitecloud » Fri Dec 06, 2013 7:30 am

i like the vid and the music.

Tiago1973
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Re: Are Switch kites getting any better?

Postby Tiago1973 » Fri Dec 06, 2013 9:21 am

Rando1994 wrote: Durability is important to me as well since I'm rather quick about packdown and don't carry a sand brush ever. I like to roll 'em up quick, stuff 'em in the bag, and go home to my family.
(...)
And to offer some Switch Kite criticism, I do in fact have one issue: Since I pretty much roll my kite into a heap during packdown, I prefer a bag that is either a full duffel bag, like Ozone, or a fully unzippable front flap, like Cabrinha.


the ultimate day to day kite bag.jpg
the ultimate day to day kite bag.jpg (30.33 KiB) Viewed 521 times

Tiago1973
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Re: Are Switch kites getting any better?

Postby Tiago1973 » Fri Dec 06, 2013 11:15 am

Westozzy wrote:I don't buy at all only pros know what a good kite is nor can explain better the flying characteristics of a kite. Those guys could make a paper bag fly well, don't pay for their gear nor have to go home to their families and provide through a normal job. Hence they can take more risk and improve quicker. Doesn't mean they 'understand' what a good kite is better than a good rider. Dangerous territory to start emphasising and believing this rhetoric, even if you personally feel less accomplished than them as I watch daily some bullshit kiters who don't get paid for it!


Don´t want to sound harsh but did you ever do a competitive sport at a high level?

The idea that the average joe, no matter how good he is, could be close to the level of perception and feeling, ie - ability to identify on how small changes affect flying characteristics, of a top athlete in his prime is ludicrous. In kite or any other sport.

Damn, I can´t even believe that between Mark and Felix Switch is able to put in place a competitive race kite, just because it´s not their – Mark and Felix - thing.

Even on the wave side, forgetting for a moment that the wave tour is a bit of a joke, the fact that Felix is not engaging into is something I believe will take it´s toll

IMO


a different side of the story is understanding market expectations for a given kite, in particular for those all around models. but then i don´t see this as something under the "Pros umbrella"


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