Here is a recent review of the 9sqm Element3. You can find more on the SwitchKites forum: http://switchkites.com/forum/
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Re: Element 3 Wind Range
Postby Vertagonius » Fri Jun 20, 2014 11:46 pm
As all of you know, wind range specifications for a kite are at best the designers and engineers recommended range. Unlimited factors have an effect on wind range, such as ocean current, density of water/wind, board design, rider weight and most important - rider skill level. I kite numerous locations world wide and find that those who deal with locally adverse (gusty/flukey) on shore conditions usually "fly" the kite more than those who have constant steady powered conditions. My review of the 9M E3 is based on hundreds of hours on the 9M E2 and several side by side sessions of E2/E3. I ride expert level, wave, strapped, 6' wave board (thin) exclusively toe side...weighting in at 200 pounds. Testing was done by riding each of the kites for a session (same bar used - only changed kites) and repeated this process as wind/tide changed throughout the day. Rather than compare results from different days, this gave me a better feel for the overall performance of both kites. I will start by stating that I really liked the E2 and was not looking forward to the test so I had a negative position to start with.
My attitude immediately changed on the first dive of the E3. The power transition from dead stop to full power was smooth and predictable. I was able to lean against the kite and drive upwind with ease. On most runs - the E3 had a couple degrees upwind advantage over the E2...I think this is because of the smooth flight pattern at the extreme edge of the wind window. There was no flutter or drag back - which can pull you off axis when driving hard to windward toe side. Other kites tend to buck and drift back at extreme angles which causes you to lift towards the kite and fall off wind.
Also noticed the improved ability to send the kite up from an extreme windward angle to do an air jibe or directional change. Pulling the kite with pre-load resistance then sending it up hard - produced a smooth lift for powered and controlled jumps. I never had to wonder where the kite was...it was ALWAYS where I had placed it...waiting for the next signal.
Great low end power ( I am thinking a solid 3 to 4 MPH low end wind speed gained) which gets me out in less wind (before the crowd). and excellent control while boosting. ohhhhhh as good as this sounds - it is not where the real pay off of the E3 comes into play.
Waves - Yea baby - Waves....not only are you in the line-up.. positioned better than the other guys cause of improved upwind ability. This kite is a dream for down the line surfing. Power up for the bottom turn - take off all the power to pass beyond vertical to crush the off-the-lip and the kite sits there...no nasty stall...no wing tip dive to the water - just pure smooth power - waiting to move down the line for the next hit, I rode this in tight quarters on-shore - short period surf where the person riding in front of you feels like they are within a couple feet and this kite performed flawless. I never doubted that it would be where I wanted - when I wanted ....to thread the needle through the crowd and still bash the lip. On shore inward jumping was easy as well as the typical full power - kite low to the beach - show -off jibe...(come on - you ALL have done this). Kite powered very smoothly through the entire transition.
Excellent low end - Excellent turn speed - Excellent Construction - Excellent upwind capacity - Excellent resistance to gust induced flight patterns (no creeping around the wind window) - Excellent depower when you want it...use the adjustment and fine tune it for your session...you want it to lay flat - it will - I prefer just a little action when fully depowered so I set it a bit on the high side. Heavy riders...tie an extra knot to give you about 1 inch more load on the back lines and you will see an incredible low end result with virtually no decrease in ability to handle big wind.
Design TEAM - great Job....you nailed this one and I was a die hard nay-say'er...Damn...now I have to find someone who wants my E2. I am riding the E3...thanks
Looks like a nice kite, anybody real world experience with this kite.
I now about Switchkites as l have seen them on our beaches, and could see flawless made kites that had a great finish and the persons flying with it, loved their kites.
I like the colors and the shape, but did anybody actually fly this kite, would it be a kite that l can use with my waveboard in moderate waves?
I like a kite that turns quickly but keeps some pull into the manoevre, as most kites who turn around their tip loose power in the jibe.