I am considering buying a 2nd hand Smoke. I would like to ask Wainman users if there is much difference between '13/'14 and '10/'11/'12 Wainmans. From the reviews that I've read there are not big improvements in the latest versions, just minor tweaks...
It seems that this is the perfect kite for me, waveriding but also some FS and big jumps.
What do you think?
I may be wrong but I believe the 2009/10/11 are one design and the 2012/13/14 are the current. I don't believe there's a huge difference in models yet I think if I were you I would spend a little extra and get the newer model. No matter which model year you get, definitely get the newest Carrott bar. I am extremely happy with my 2011 smoke on a 2012 Carrot Bar.
I own 3 Wainman kites. I have the 2011 Smoke and Big Mama and the 2013 Boss. To be completely honest, the smoke is by far my favorite kite that I have ridden. My local kite buds have let me use their ozone edge, ozone reo, cabrihna drifter and swithblade. I'd say the ozone reo rides closest to the smoke. I weigh about 180lbs and need about 18kts before i can really start to ride the smoke and start having trouble holding it on surf board over 30-32 kts.
Now, to direct your question to older vs newer, I can't give you a great answer. I have had issues w/ the 2013 boss going upwind on quite a few days and other days it seems fine. Frustrating at times. Properly trimming the new boss seems to be more fickle, it seems to like to sit back in window and then shoot forward sometimes past the edge of window. My friend that used to ride the boss said he had the same issues and could only ride it choked up on the depower and in upwind setting. The boss has a 3 string bridle system and smoke has 2 string, so it isn't the best comparison. The older big mama seems to also upwind easier than the new boss.
So that being said, I'm not sure what they changed on the newer kites or if they changed anything on the newer kites other than a few sizes, but I can say, the 2011 wainman kites are great kites and I think if you plan on riding waves, go for it. It can jump well too but it isn't the best kite for hangtime by any means. It's a great all around kite, but more suited for surf style. If you can get a good deal, I say go for it!
I've owned smoke 2009 and now the 2012 and i can tell you there's not much difference betwin the two of them other than the bar (the carrot bar is better). Now that been said, i also owned the 2010 boss (sold it after 4 months) and the 2013 boss (hopeing for improvments) and also sold it after 4 months.
Don't get me wrong, i'm a huge fan of wainmans (i love the standard inflation and the simplisity of them) but anything over the 10.5 punch (boss and big mama but especially the boss) are by far the most boring kites i've ever owned, and believe me i've owned a lot.
The smoke is by far one of my all time favorite kites that i'll never get tired of and i'm thinking of buying now another one just to make sure i'll still have it in case they think of changing it or make it one pump in the future.
Also take note, the bladder valves on them were shitty back then and are still shitty now, but to me thats just a minnor throwback to an otherwise stellar kite and i don't take it into much consideration since i can fix them in about 15min. time.
I've been on Wainman since early 2010, owned a 7m Gypsy (and still use it), and a Smoke. As opposed to other comments, the Gypsy was by far my favorite one. I found the 2010 Smoke too slow and too much pressure on the bar. This year I switched for the 2013 edition. This one is great. With the same settings (middle on the front lines, fast on back lines), the kite is smoother, turns better with less effort. The rest is the same (speed, upwind, amazing relaunch). So I would definitely go for the 2013. Soft ends on the bar is a great improvement (for my surfboard). The rest of it, I simply dump all the bells and whistles and put my own set of lines on (stock ones are damn thin and extensions, weirdly, are installed close to the bar).