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Is the rise of foiling affecting the sales of big light wind kites?

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Oldpeople
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Is the rise of foiling affecting the sales of big light wind kites?

Postby Oldpeople » Wed Feb 28, 2018 12:48 am

Since foiling seems to use much smaller kites in light winds than twin tip riders has the big increase in the popularity of foiling affected the sales of big light wind kites? Is that market going away for the kite companies?

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Re: Is the rise of foiling affecting the sales of big light wind kites?

Postby grigorib » Wed Feb 28, 2018 12:58 am

Yes and no.
For large sizes of racing foil kites - those are and will be in even larger demand.
For large LEIs - anything above 12m seems too large when freeride foiling. Toeside with a 15m in marginal wind sucks. So my prediction is that more of major companies will catch upon singlestrut, lightweight constructions for foiling specifically and focus/sales will shift to wings smaller than 13m.

So market will only grow because those minimal-Dacron kites won’t withstand usual freestyle kite load and abuse, but second quiver of foil-specific kites will be very welcome by many.

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Re: Is the rise of foiling affecting the sales of big light wind kites?

Postby juandesooka » Wed Feb 28, 2018 4:30 am

I've foiled with my 17m Ocean Rodeo flite a few times ... down to possibly 6-7kts. It's doable, but as soon as you're up and riding, there's more power than you want. And then keeping it engaged in the turns is a challenge, a lot of kite to loop, have to whip it through the turns. :-)

I'd think it's definitely cut into the big kite market. Pretty much never hear any chatter about them any more. The small group of kiters interested in attempting light wind, I'd bet 95% have moved to foiling.

Though I guess if that were true you'd expect to see more big kites for sale and lower prices ... haven't noticed that.

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Re: Is the rise of foiling affecting the sales of big light wind kites?

Postby windmaker » Wed Feb 28, 2018 6:16 am

Oldpeople wrote:
Wed Feb 28, 2018 12:48 am
Since foiling seems to use much smaller kites in light winds than twin tip riders has the big increase in the popularity of foiling affected the sales of big light wind kites? Is that market going away for the kite companies?
Foilboarders do use smaller inflatable kites but also big foil kites as they are more efficient is ultra light wind. Maybe big (14m+) multi strut high aspect kites will be in decline for the benefit of single strut/lightweight kites. Number of foil kites has definitely increased since foilboarding become more popular.

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Re: Is the rise of foiling affecting the sales of big light wind kites?

Postby Regis-de-giens » Wed Feb 28, 2018 9:32 am

I think it has impacted the foilkite market of 'medium sizes' significantly: light wind free-ride lovers that usually had 15 - 22 m2 foilkite before hydrofoil, have overall translated more around 11-13 m2 (while this sizes were quite rare and often dedicated to foilkite-only riders);

It also has transfered some market shares of LEI 11-13m toward foilkites 11-13 m because the low end with hydrofoil is now below the flight/relaunch limit of most LEI's. Impact on the LEI market may be limited because market is huge, but proportionally impact is more important on the previous limited market of 12m foilkites.

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Re: Is the rise of foiling affecting the sales of big light wind kites?

Postby Peter_Frank » Wed Feb 28, 2018 12:08 pm

Definitely.

Of course it might not be a big impact, as many never gets into foiling.... But apart from that:

Those times where you bought a big 17 m2 LEI to ride in lower winds on a big TT are gone, history for most.

15-17 m2 "normal" LEI kites are utterly useless for hydrofoils as you implied in your post, way too heavy for the 5-7 knots where the "size" alone would be appropiate, and they can not fly.

So yes, the market for these are not the same now.

A trend has evolved the last years, typically aiming for 10 to 15 m2 superlight or light LEI kites (Storm Voyager, Zeeko Notus Air, Airush Ultra, North Mono etc etc), as these are perfect for hydrofoiling in sub 10 knots.
And they can also be used for light wind waveriding or freestyle, as they turn even faster when lighter and less struts - but on cost of upper windrange and behaviour of course.

Regarding foilkites it is different - as the really big race foilkites around 20 m2 are used by all racers, and the big racekites 10 to 15 m2 are used by freeriders as max size.
The older "huge" 19 and 21 m2 foilkites (Old Silverarrow and similar), that were easy to handle, are gone in hydrofoil terms, just like the 15-17 m2 normal LEI kites are gone here.
These foilkites are too heavy, and they often have too much grunt for hydrofoil - does not work well...

Instead, just like with the 10-15 m2 superlight LEI kites, there are coming a new trend now with "freeride" hydrofoil foil kites (OZONE Hyperlink t.ex), so 10-15 m2 foil kites that are light and a bit lower aspect and easier to handle than the utmost race foil kites, but not as heavy and slow and grunty as the older huge foilkites.
Whether it will be a small niche market, or not, time will tell, because many will buy a used racefoilkite at a reasonable price instead.


As the majority of freeride hydrofoilers (around here) dont like foilkites, and opt for light LEI kites instead, it makes sense there is a much bigger market now for the 10-15 m2 light LEI kites that are good for other board types than hydrofoils also.
But as people and the hydrofoil sport progress, some non racers might want a better performing kite in light and marginal winds, like the freeride hydrofoil kite, eventhough more expensive :D

8) Peter

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Re: Is the rise of foiling affecting the sales of big light wind kites?

Postby pj sofine » Wed Feb 28, 2018 1:48 pm

I think so. I'm a perfect example. Was looking to buy a 17 mtr for light wind days. Watched a foilboarder flying around on a small cloud kite while four 17 mtr tt riders were plugging along. Bought a ss foil instead of 17 kite. Multiply that by # ??

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Re: Is the rise of foiling affecting the sales of big light wind kites?

Postby Oldpeople » Wed Feb 28, 2018 2:12 pm

I have noticed that there is much less discussion now on the forum about which big kites are best for light wind kiting. Big kite discussion is now generally about bigger kites for airstyle.
I always thought that you could get really good deals on bigger kites because they generally got little use. Maybe now it will be even better..

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Re: Is the rise of foiling affecting the sales of big light wind kites?

Postby Peter_Frank » Wed Feb 28, 2018 3:24 pm

Oldpeople wrote:
Wed Feb 28, 2018 2:12 pm
I have noticed that there is much less discussion now on the forum about which big kites are best for light wind kiting. Big kite discussion is now generally about bigger kites for airstyle.
I always thought that you could get really good deals on bigger kites because they generally got little use. Maybe now it will be even better..

I think it is very different in different parts of the world, and locations.

"Airstyle" as such is not really a thing carried out around here.

Normal freestyle (unhooked and hooked), and freeride, yes - but the huge kites and board off style is not really a thing performed nor seeked, here :roll:

So one could say airstyle is an extremely small niche of kitesurfing, like many other styles :wink: :rollgrin:
Hydrofoiling is still a small niche in many locations too, in others it is dominating.

8) Peter

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Re: Is the rise of foiling affecting the sales of big light wind kites?

Postby Cab Driver » Wed Feb 28, 2018 5:12 pm

This is interesting. I don't see a material difference in big inflatable kites sold. Inflatables up to 19m were never meant to ride in 5-6 knots of wind. They were more for heavy riders. Below 9 knots of wind is ultra light. Steady 9 knots is really where a TT board with big efficient inflatable was at the limit. So consider foiling to open up the <9 knot market. The fact that I can now have a 13 Contra riding in less than 9 knots is a result of foiling. However, I still prefer to rider a smaller kite than the 13 on my foil. The 13 is really more of my skimboard/surfboard kite for when it's light wind. What's really happened with hydrofoils is to get more people on the water more often because the wind almost doesn't matter anymore. I definitely still see a healthy market for a heavy rider that wants to ride a 17m lit and go boosting on a TT board. One also has to consider than many riding locations are just not conducive to ram airs (crowded beaches, onshore self launches, drifter launches, etc.), and ram airs tend to require more maintenance because of the complex and fragile bridles. There is a trade off to everything.

I understand the use of ram air in ultra light wind. What I don't understand is the use of single or no-strut on a hydrofoil in light wind. These kites just don't have a good wind range and they suffer as the draft is very unstable once up and foiling with apparent wind - they are overpowered quickly. They offer lighter weight, but lack efficiency.

I do agree that while hydrofoiling is the talk of the town and will be for some time to come, it's a minority percentage of the market and there are plenty of kiters that will never do it.


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