I got my 8m Dice out on the water yesterday for the 1st time. I was using it with the 2014 North Quad Bar 22m. The wind was 22mph gusting into the mid 30's. When I first took off there was some significant "bucking" of the kite. Kite was really reacting to the wind surges enough so you could feel it in your arms. Keep in mind the launch site had some big holes in it because it is shadowed a little bit. So surges were extreme. Get out a few hundred yard and it was game on. For the meat of the wind I rode with the 8m fully powered up, on the factory knot and on the "hard" setting (to slow the turning speed a bit). At times I felt the need to depower but I didn't because 30 seconds later I was perfectly powered.
I was on my Mako King and I wasn't feeling like the kite was smooth through the gusts. Kind of very "reactionary". A lot of canopy bucking. Keep in mind there were no collapsing or folding incidents. In fact the kite really flies in a straight and predictable way. No back stalling or flying over my head… A look at the wind meter shows how crazy the conditions were (see below). Perhaps this was really 6-7m and it is not a fair assessment of the 8m in these conditions.
As I continued riding I started to dial it in and trust it. The good thing about the kite vs other "grunty" or "delta-styled" kites is that I never felt I would get yanked out of my shoes. Even had some lulls in the 17mph zone and I was able to move it to stay afloat. The upstroke on the Dice is incredible. When I hear people say it's got "poor low end" or "no grunt" I think it's people who are just used to Switchblades and Deltas and have forgotten or don't know how C-ish kites fly.
After a break I hopped on the 5'6" North Whip and had the most fun. It just is so light and turny. One minute I'm shooting in the air off a wave with just a simple send of the kite and the next I'm downwind on a roller slashing it up.
Later I went back to the Mako. The wind peaked at steady 25, gusts to high 30's, I set the lines on the "soft" setting which increases turning speed. I didn't really want to do that since wind was peaking but I wanted to know the difference. Though the kite flew essentially the same I did prefer the "hard" setting in these conditions. Turns were slower and appreciated in the variable conditions.
Even with these wind speeds the bar pressure (whether on soft or hard) on the Dice is pure joy to me. Sessions are long and fun and the feeling is light and transparent. Downwind runs on the big lake rollers really show off this kite's attributes. Just behaves so well, drifts nicely.
However I'm not about to say this kite is everybody's cup of tea. I can see how someone would want a super plush ride (as plush as possible) in these conditions. Perhaps the Ocean Rodeo 5m is made for these variable conditions. The newer Rally's seem to be pretty well behaved in wind surges.
I'd like to know what folks who have ridden the Dice in smaller sizes think...
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