The smaller Flysurfer Sonics work really well in gusty conditions. For any foil kite, launches can be a little tricky until the kite has internal pressure. I personally choose to fly LEI's wave kites in really strong gusty conditions if only because I find my focus and riding is more about the swells vs aggressive upwind kiting.
I kite some stupid Conditions both on want and land. Not snow however. My preference in super Gusty is lei first, then closed cell depower foil then open cell foil.
Lei's have the widest range and biggest gust absorbing capability. Plus you can completely slack line them, run directly at them on purpose, watch em fall out of the sky then zing upwind, retention the lines and whammo your still riding. but lei's fall out of the sky easier in ultralight winds and are damaged heaps easier on the land. A foil is likely to crumple and crash out in that instance.
The closed sell will float\drift longer before it collapses or wine glasses. So it can handle more flukey winds than the open cell. Landing a closed sell foil in nuking wind is a bitch however.
Billie mentions a venom. Arc kites are indeed Gusty absorbing machines. But they are a complete arse to launch in light winds plus they don't handle slack lining very well. Also they are big slow kites for the same power output. Technology has moved on since the days of the venom. That said there are more modern arcs that are closer in performance to today's kites.
When I was kite buggying in the dunes amid some flukey assed winds including wind shadows turbulent rotor and shifting directions. First gone is the fixed bridle open cell, then the open cell depower, then the arcs then the closed cell foil. Usually the lei is the last man standing .......
But there is one group of kites not yet discussed. That is the single skin foils like the fs peak. The single skins are so incredibly light and have some curiously good stupid Gusty winds capability. I haven't spent much time on them myself. But not their performance when others have been using them in crazy assed conditions.
The single skins are so incredibly light and have some curiously good stupid Gusty winds capability.
Flew a 6m Peak2 in gusty 10-25kt on ice recently... overpowered on skis, bar-out depower works but shakes the ever-living shit out of the bar due to canopy flutter, not fun. Peak3 and especially Gin Shaman claim to improve on this and look interesting, haven't flown 'em tho.
p.s.- I don't think EDT believes in land-only kites
I tried myself Flysurfer Speed 4 lotus, Ozone Chrono 2, Frenzy, and Hyperlink and none of these kites came close to the gust handling of the Access.
Though, don't expect great jumps, hangtime or upwind anlgles. But when it comes to handling gusts Access has no rivals. It's an auto wind window chaser, allowing you not only to handle strong gusts, but also crazy wind shifts.
The only problem I have with the Access is that I always end downwind of where I started.
And you need to be crazy overpowered to jump with it.
I've heard about the Access. Definitely going to demo it now thanks! Going upwind on a hydrofoil is not a problem if you know what I mean.
If you are talking iceboard, skateboard, hydrofoil, or other "low resistance media", that changes things a bit. The "Access" is a low end machine for "high resistance medias". Still, it wins out with stability.
When kiting on "low resistance medias" I have found even a fixed bridle kite works well in gusty conditions as you do not need tons of power to get moving, or need tons of power to stay up on plane/maintain momentum. I have the notion that this is the biggest secondary reason why kite buggies stuck with fixed bridal kites for so long, and shetable foils did not take over until more focus in kiting was put on "stand up" sports.
You may be over this thread but anyhow, I have seen guys use the smaller access kites with reasonable success in some pretty lousy wind conditions. It seems the 6 and 8 are useful tools especially on rowdy survival days. I just can't tolerate foils in junk wind but they will say it's my flying skills. Too often the wind takes a sh*t and you have a foilball on the ground. I religiously use a lightweight tube kite (Envy seems heavy) that I know won't deform, stays in the air as well as anything, and will sit on its tail ready to relaunch at the next puff, off you go. Meanwhile, most foilheads are yanking on a pile. I save foils for subzero and the longest approaches. Good luck !