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 Post subject: Average Joe Kite Review - Cloud C2
PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 9:28 pm 
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Hello Everyone, First off I want to apologize, These last few weeks have been so busy that Roger and myself have not been in the shop together for 5 minutes to video our thoughts to finish the review. We will have a video coming soon, but I decided to put out a written review now because y'all have been very patient.

First I want to say a big thank you to Greg from Boardriding Maui. He has been a pleasure to deal with and hopefully we will be dealing with him for a while.

Overall Impression- This kite exceeded my expectations. I had heard a lot of bad reviews from riders and friends, so I have to say I was skeptical of the kite. Now I cannot say if they were true or not and Greg just did a great job with the new bridle. Kite flew very well, a lot of grunt.

This kite isn't the holy grail of light wind kites like we were hoping. Flying it back to back with the OR Flite we were able to ride in less wind on the Flite. I was riding in about 9-10mph holding a line on the Cloud. Bigger guys needed around 11-12 mph. The kite has good grunt but the window that it pulls seems smaller. When I was riding in super light wind one dive with the Flite would get me going, I would have to use 2 dives with the Cloud.

We were using Spleene doors for most of the test. Now I am not a very accomplished surf board rider, but when I did try my Wainman Passport with the Cloud I felt I could ride it in a little less wind that the Spleene. For a kitesurfer the speed and power of this kite may be what y'all are looking for in a large light wind kite.

So bigger guys, I'm sorry to say you guys just need more kite it seems, and not just in Size but in Structure.

Speed- Very fast, faster than the other 17m kites. I think this isn't a surprise to anyone.

Upwind- This was a surprise for me, because from thinking about it and hearing what other people had to say, I thought this would be a problem. But it wasn't. I was able to hold my line in 9-10mph. As the wind got better so did the upwind, but it didn't pull downwind in the lighter wind like I thought it would. I even took it out in way overpowering conditions and although I could barely hold the bar because I had it sheeted out so much I was still able to ride back to were I started. Pleasantly surprised by this.

Jumping- Didn't get a lot of this in as we usually were trying this kite in the bottom end, but the few times we had some wind it seemed to jump fine. Not amazing but not bad either. When the guys got to ride the 12m they thoroughly enjoyed everything about that one, but I didn't get to ride that one so I will let them comment on it.

Relaunch- This is what most people asked about. This was also a concern for me, but it proved to be mostly unfounded as the re-launch was actually one of the best I've seen, as long as the canopy stays out of the water, the strutless design allows the kite to bend and get on its wingtip quickly for what is usually a little hot re-launch.

Now if the canopy collapses and gets water on it, your not sunk but there is a method to get here back up. If you stand up and hold your ground the kite will not fill back up. What you have to do is drift with the kite or walk towards it. The wind will start to enter the sail at the wingtips and will eventually throw the water off and fill the kite back up. You also want to sheet in to help this. (We have video to show this)

Bar-Doesn't come with one, but I want to make a few comments. We used a few different bars during this test. The bar needs to be tuned for the kite to fly right or it will back stall on you. The best bars we found are bars like Slingshot and Wainman that have fine turn adjustments on the depower. With these cleat depower bars, the easiest way to tune the bar is to fly it overhead, pull the bar in all the way. If the kite starts to stall pull on your depower line and try again. When she doesn't back stall at 12 your good to go!

Final Thoughts- If your an intermediate rider, who isn't on the bottom end of the wind charts like us, or someone who likes to travel I think the Cloud is a great kite. The more you fly and get used to it the more you will figure out how it likes to fly. For a few tacks I didn't sheet the bar out at all just to see what would happen during transitions and the kite flew fine. It really is a different kite, and something worth trying if you get a chance.

There are kites that can ride in less wind and ride further into the high winds. This kite packs down to fit into a USPS flat rate shipping box, which surprised the heck out of us. Honestly the only concern that I could possibly have is that like some of the really high aspect race kites, in lighter winds you may have to keep a close eye as a lull or letting the bar out too much might lose control for a second, but for any intermediate rider who is used to light wind its not really an issue.

I don't think I would recommend this for someone just getting into the sport, but for anyone else give it a try. Like I mentioned earlier the guys who tried the 12m were very stoked, and I think the smaller sizes may offer more, but the 17m is no slouch. We will stick with our Turbines and Flites for the lightest winds, but if I had to travel and didn't want to miss any wind, a 12m and a 17m would fit an a bag very nicely. This isn't the future of kiting, as a kite with struts will have advantages in certain conditions, but it is a different kite that I think will have its own place with everything else. :D

As always if you have any questions please give us a call or message me on here. When we have a minute to finish the video we have some good shots that will illustrate what I was talking about. Great job Greg. He is honestly one of the best guys I've dealt with in kiteboarding, super passionate and works very hard to get the kites he imagines to you guys.

Ride On!


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 Post subject: Re: Average Joe Kite Review - Cloud C2
PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 10:01 pm 
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Posts: 88
I spent a long time researching this and after consideration of the conditions I usually have to work with and the skill I have, I purchased the Cloud C2 14.5 meter. They have a 17 meter, but I was afraid I would be overpowered with a foil most of the time.

Greg at Maui Boardriding must have replied to 20 of my emails with endless questions before I ordered, so a big thanks to him for the candid discussion about the benefits and limitations of the cloud.

I took it out Saturday and Sunday. I will just hit on the major points of my experience.

- The compactness of a 14.5 was great, plus I pumped it up in less time than my 9m switchblade. The white and green looks really clean in the sky. I have never appreciated the kites with too much graphics going on.

- It does luff a lot when you don't have the back lines trimmed, like when you are resting at 11 o'clock or when its flying through the power zone. I hope this flapping/fluttering doesn't contribute too much to shortening the life of the canopy. I make a concerted effort to keep my back lines trimmed to keep the canopy from luffing.

- I didn't find as much control loss as some people say they had when the back lines are slacked. Though yes, the kite is less responsive with slackened back lines.

- Relaunch, good and bad. While you can FLY the kite in very light wind, it is another thing entirely to RELAUNCH the kite in very light wind. But, I can't say that I have ever had luck relaunching in very light wind with any kite, especially from the water.

- It was blowing 14-17 mph so I took out my twin tip. I did a couple of reaches and man were my hands tired. On this kite, a lot more of the power comes through the back lines and bar than I am used to. Admittedly I had done a marathon session the day before and my hands were tired. On the flip side, when I was out with my foil and 10-14 mph, I didn't really notice the bar pressure.

- Handling. Take this with a grain of salt because I am coming from a 6-8 year old quiver of kites. Handling was awesome. This thing turns really fast for its size, just a tad slower than my 9m. This was critical because I was really able to work it to staty in the power zone where my 13m or 16m Cabrinhas would fly to the edge of the window and stall out. This got me planing on the board and then up on the foil and generating apparent wind, once I was going though, man it was synergy. It really was risky because I wasn't sure if I would have enough wind to make the reach back to the beach.

- Power. Totally subjective, but I felt like the power was equivalent to what I was getting from my 16m switchblade.

- And for a factor I thought was very important, Stability. This kite was great. If it wandered over to 10 o'clock or 2 o'clock. I could still get it back, where before in those conditions my kite would have fallen. Usually I could park it at 11:30 and it would just stay there. This was great for trying to turn the board around and put my foot in the strap. In the past, I would be concentrated on trying to get my feet on the board only to feel my kite falling to the edge of the window, so I would have to do damage control with both hands to bring the kite back, and then start all over with the board.

All in all I'm a happy camper. I think the Cloud kite is great for situations where a light kite is needed.


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 Post subject: Re: Average Joe Kite Review - Cloud C2
PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 11:13 pm 
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Some thoughts:
Quote:
Honestly the only concern that I could possibly have is that like some of the really high aspect race kites, in lighter winds you may have to keep a close eye as a lull or letting the bar out too much might lose control for a second, but for any intermediate rider who is used to light wind its not really an issue.
Not getting this, what has the low aspect no strut cloud in common with a high aspect multi strut race kite? Can you explain?
For the C1 at least, it is so stable, even in light wind, neither hindenburg from 12 o'clock nor stability with hands off the bar are concerns. After riding about 15-20 sessions over the last year.
Is it something else you mean?

Quote:
This isn't the future of kiting,
but it's not the past either, clearly. Nor is it a panacea.
Interestingly though, right now a dozen brands' designers are trying to figure out how to incorporate one or two of its most important features (super light, no struts) into their next prototypes. Literally, probably today, or this spring in general, this is what kite designers are doing. Among other things of course. So it is definitely not the past.

The whole "average joe" concept is interesting, but it is important to draw a line between "average joe" who doesn't have awesome skills and want to ride really technical gear, but still some progression with his fun, and "dumb joe" or "boring joe" who really can't be bothered to learn to fly or ride anything that doesn't behave just like what he is used to.
I think the cloud could work for average joe, not dumb joe.
And genius joe?
He doesn't need reviews to figure out his quiver.
While joe cool may choose based on graphics, groupies or bro deals.

I tend to agree with you (and I think Greg), the Cloud's not mainly meant for first time beginners.
But it could have great teaching value for intermediates, since it gives obvious visual and auditory feedback when it's sheeted out and luffing. This could really help riders learn to trim the bar correctly with small efficient movements, so they don't end up just hanging on until they ride under the kite, or backstall it and sink just from not paying attention to trim. It is also an asset that it becomes obvious when the kite is overpowered, and that it is stable and slower when sheeted out.
One more thing, as an "apparent wind" kite more than a "static grunt" kite, weight, board size, and type and are key to the low end. At 82 kg with a 6' surfboard I will definitely claim a mph or so better low end than the review's claimed 9-10mph with a spleene. If I did ride twin tips in ultralight wind (which seems pointless to me), I would want one with a bit more grunt as well.


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 Post subject: Re: Average Joe Kite Review - Cloud C2
PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 11:25 pm 
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With it being so light, was it capable of staying in the air better through lulls or being worked to keep it flying?


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 Post subject: Re: Average Joe Kite Review - Cloud C2
PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 11:26 pm 
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BWD wrote:
since it gives obvious visual and auditory feedback when it's sheeted out and luffing. This could really help riders learn to trim the bar correctly


I like that observation
Reminds me of the sailboat racing i did trimming the jib that had those telltales ribbons on each side
Maybe kites should have that as an option to install on their canopy
I think it would be way too far away to see them...unless their are oversize ribbons
If both ribbons are parallel on each side and flying straight out if would indicate a perfect trim :D


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 Post subject: Re: Average Joe Kite Review - Cloud C2
PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 11:38 pm 
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SupaEZ wrote:
BWD wrote:
since it gives obvious visual and auditory feedback when it's sheeted out and luffing. This could really help riders learn to trim the bar correctly


I like that observation
Reminds me of the sailboat racing i did trimming the jib that had those telltales ribbons on each side
Maybe kites should have that as an option to install on their canopy
I think it would be way too far away to see them...unless their are oversize ribbons
If both ribbons are parallel on each side and flying straight out if would indicate a perfect trim :D


You might get by with just one on the top surface?


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 Post subject: Re: Average Joe Kite Review - Cloud C2
PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 11:39 pm 
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SupaEZ wrote:
BWD wrote:
since it gives obvious visual and auditory feedback when it's sheeted out and luffing. This could really help riders learn to trim the bar correctly





Well that's one way spinning a negative into a positive..... :D :D

Thanks for the review, good stuff.


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 Post subject: Re: Average Joe Kite Review - Cloud C2
PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 12:09 am 
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Sure you can look at it that way.
But the luffing is how the strutless kite is supposed to work.
It gives it the great drift, helps prevent overflying etc.

Same point is made with cars.
You could say a manual transmission is lame because the motor is effectively "luffing" with the clutch in.
That doesn't bother those of us who choose to heel and toe our way to happiness, not at all.
Sure you accelerate as well or better mashing the pedal on an automatic.
Not so much fun though, and harder to learn control.

You could also say this:
problem: dummies don't know how to trim a sail/kite.
solution: lets add a pound or two of struts or battens, that will help the dummies sailing the wrong sail wrongly in the wrong wind.
If it worked for the hobie cat 50 years ago, how could it not be right for kitesurfers today? :naughty:

Really, there's nothing wrong in choosing a sail with full battens, or a strutted kite.
If one wanted to be chauvinistic/pedantic or whatever, the case could be made that there is little difference between strutted and strutless for freeride, if you are sailing correctly.
Obviously if powered right, you are not sheeting out much, and you have plenty of power to go fast or jump. So the canopy will be constantly full and drawing, even through your perfectly timed jibes. This argument would say, "struts are just a crutch to hide that you can't trim the kite properly, chose the wrong size" or such foolishness.
The truth is, ride what you like, as I see it at least.


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 Post subject: Re: Average Joe Kite Review - Cloud C2
PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 3:53 am 
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Yeh I see your point...or..you could buy a kite that doesnt flutter all over the place when sheeted out...just saying... :D

you can learn to trim properly on a kite that isn't so sensitive to your sheet out position...

sorry I don't see this as anything but a disadvantage, using one of the poorer characteristics of this wing (there seems to be some great aspects though) to sell as a good thing to teach people how to trim is somewhat of a stretch...


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 Post subject: Re: Average Joe Kite Review - Cloud C2
PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 9:21 am 
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Westozzy wrote:
Yeh I see your point...or..you could buy a kite that doesnt flutter all over the place when sheeted out...just saying... :D

you can learn to trim properly on a kite that isn't so sensitive to your sheet out position...

sorry I don't see this as anything but a disadvantage, using one of the poorer characteristics of this wing (there seems to be some great aspects though) to sell as a good thing to teach people how to trim is somewhat of a stretch...


I'd agree that the fluttering is a disadvantage.

How often the kite would flutter would be the key thing.
You can see in these two videos of a C1 8m Cloud, that when he is in the earlier stages of learning to foil and fly the kite, he has the kite luffed more.
Then, in the Patagonia video a couple of months later, he is riding with hardly any luffing. I think that is because he is more comfortable on the foil and more tuned into the kite (or it may be because the wind is steadier).





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