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.
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.