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Postby IRSI » Fri Mar 05, 2004 3:50 pm


I'm new to kitesurfing, and it's difficult to me to get any info about foil kites down here, so i would appreciate your help to some doubts/questions I have:

1.What are the best manufacturers of foils? Are they Peter Lynn, Flysurfer and Flexfoil? If so, what are the main differences between them?
2.Compared to inflatables, what are the advantages and disadvantages of the new foils?
3.Regarding safety systems, relaunch and depower capabilities, are they as good/efficient as inflatables?
4.How about cost, are they cheaper? Do they last longer?
5.What is an "hybrid" kite?
I really don't want to start a discussion "Inflatables X foils" , I just became interested in foils reading lots of good comments here, specially about the latest models (Guerrila II, Vodoo...) Cheers :thumb:

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Postby the_lone_wolf » Fri Mar 05, 2004 3:58 pm

1. All are good - my personal preference is the Guerilla by Peter Lynn
2. I'm not even going to start this one off again - they are all different - the best kirte is the one you can use the most effectoively
3. Most kites are now very safe to use, and most modern kites are on similar performance terms
4. No, but they will last longer.
5. A foil shape with an internal bladder - never really took off (no pun intended)

There is some good advice on these forums, but ignore anything written by Pump_Me_Up and you'll do well


edit: should have added - see for some more information

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Postby Jurjen » Fri Mar 05, 2004 4:36 pm

lone wolf is right, although hybrids are also the single skin kites with spines (C-quads, Beans, etc.) They are used widely by buggiers and landkiters, but are not very well for kitesurfing.

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Postby the_lone_wolf » Fri Mar 05, 2004 4:41 pm

oh yeah - forgot about the C-Quads - there is a guy who is nuts about them on here somewhere but i don't have a clue who it is:)

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Postby oli » Fri Mar 05, 2004 5:09 pm

If you are new to kitesurfing and interested in foils,
take a look at Peter Lynn's Bombas and Flysurfers Voodoo.

Both are great kites to begin, and a little bit more...

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Postby Protos » Fri Mar 05, 2004 9:13 pm

Or go out and buy a used standard ARC. It'll work just fine, and be nice & easy on the wallet!

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Postby Pump me up » Fri Mar 05, 2004 9:45 pm

Please don't buy a ram air.

Inflatables are vastly superior to ram airs. I've summarised the reasons for the superiority of inflatables:

1: Lift to drag ration (L/D)
- The highest L/D ratio is not always optimal. A high L/D ratio is critical in large kites because they move slowly. Large kites output steady power but generally lose out in ability to turn suddenly and generate sudden upward pull.

- Because large rams (eg Titan 18.5) have a HUGE "D" coefficient compared to inflatables, they are unable to generate the sudden upward power spikes.

- For this reason, large rams can pull steadily enough, but will ALWAYS lack the jumping ability of a large quality 2003 inflatable.

-Small kites move rapidly and therefore have large power spikes. These kites are INTENTIONALLY designed to move slower by ram and inflatable manufacturers. The lack or presence of a leading edge/ram cells is really irrelevant in the small sizes since SLOWNESS is a virtue in these sizes. The things to look for in these sizes are luff curve, chord, aspect ration for aerodynamic handling.

2: Inertia
- Because large ram airs have a much larger mass of air in them (filling the pockets) their inertia is enormous. It is very difficult moving this mass of air across the sky to generate sudden power spikes and therefore lift. The inertia and slow turning makes a lot of modern moves (eg kiteloops) incredibly difficult, if not impossible. Large ram air kites like the Titan 21.5 contain OVER 11kg of air in their cells.

3: Rigidity
- Small inflatables are better than small rams because they have a semi-rigid structure. This improves consistency, stability of turning, and precision in handling. Kite makers like Naish, North, and Flexifoil are actually moving to make their kites MORE rigid by joining the struts firmly to the leading edge.
-Rigidity also facilitates turning. Bar pressure TWISTS the WHOLE kite, speeding up turns. Lack of internal rigidity means that rams can't twist as aerodynamically as inflatos.

4: Wing tips
- Far from being a hindrance, the tips of the inflatable act as rudders, enabling faster, more controlled turns (and therefore larger more controlled power spikes)

5: Foil shape
- Inflatables have a consistent foil shape because they are semi rigid. Rams deform and change their foil shape which causes an inconsistent aerodynamic profile.

6: Luff curve
- If you want a flat luff curve, choose an X3 or similar
- If you want a deep luff curve, choose a Rhino2 or similar
- If you want in-between, choose a Slingshot or similar
- Because rams sit further back in the window than equivalent inflatables (due to drag) they "feel" a bit like the R2, but without the other benefits of an inflatable.

7: Relaunch
- Ram lovers make a big issue of this. It isn't a big issue. Beginners find relaunching inflatables easy after a few sesssions. Yes, some rams can reverse launch, but so what? Rams can launch directly downwind in the water, but so what? This is dangerous for a beginner, if anything, because it increases the chances of being flung or carted. For intermediates and above, relaunching should not even be considered in the equation because a) they won't be dropping the kite much anyway and b) Relaunching inflatables is EASY

8: Safety
- Inflatables are safer than ram airs because
-- Downwind launches are bloody SCARY for a beginner
-- Rams deform, twist, wineglass, explode in the middle of the power zone etc when they are downwind of obstacles, in rotors, and in VERY gusty conditions. This is VERY dangerous. Some of the most frightening kitemares I've witnessed have involved ram users walking along beaches in cross-offshore conditions - their kites have been virtually uncontrollable and have endangered both the rider and other beach users.
-- Wind dropouts and gear failure
--- You will invariably experience a few catastrophic gear failures (eg broken lines) and COMPLETE wind dropouts every year. If you are a fair way offshore, you can use the inflatable as a "sail" to sail back in. Alternatively you can use the inflatable structure to support your weight.
--- All ram airs become hopelessly waterlogged after 45 minutes - unlaunchable and certainly unable to support your body weight.
-- Surf conditions
---While it is always a gamble if your kite gets caught by a wave, at least you've got a chance if it is an inflatable. If it is a ram air, it's all over.
-- Bridle tangles and failures - Scary and expensive (US $500 plus) (eg see thread on this forum: "Flysurfer Warrior Exploding")

9 Pre-inflating
- Ram users struggle to pre-inflate their kites in a lot of situations eg cross- offshore conditions.
- Without pre-inflation, ram users find it very difficult to drift launch. This skill is often required eg Promontory/headland launches.

10 Resale
- Contrary to the propaganda of ram lovers, ram airs and inflatos have similar lifespans. The major determinant of a kites lifespan is obsolescence - in 2-3 years, whatever you're using now won't be worth much and will have been superseded.

11 Repairs
- Ram air repairs are generally a LOT more expensive. For example, most Flysurfer kites require a dedicated PARACHUTE repairer to do the job properly (eg bridle failures). The cost for this can be astronomical (thousands of dollars).

12 Competition
Ram lovers can't prove their claims in competitions. Whenever they make some ridiculous claim about how their kites will do well in competitions, they get blown out of the water. For example, they said that the Psycho would dominate the PKRA and KPWT tours last year. It didn't happen. No ram riders are in the top 50 on either tour. They said ram airs would dominate the Cabo Verde Wave event... the one ram rider came in 2nd last. Rams are aerodynamically inferior - they can't cut it in comps. The top pro riders ALL prefer inflatables because of their superior aerodynamic properties.

Ignore the ram air propaganda. Ignore the lies. Ram airs like the Titan are aerodynamically inferior to LEIs and nothing can change this.

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Postby Kiteboarddog » Fri Mar 05, 2004 9:58 pm

Pump me up "bla bla bla"

Lone Wolf
I ride inflatables but Guerrilas seem to have a lot of range and once you become a more advanced rider I have seen some amazing jumps on Flyserfer Psychos.
I think that overall your learning curve would be faster on a med aspect inflatable then you could move over to foils later if you wanted.
Just my opinion.

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Postby Thisl » Fri Mar 05, 2004 10:53 pm

1:Peter Lynn is producing Arcs, unrivaled.
If you like this class of kites, there is no choice.
Flysurfer makes the most advanced bridled foils with closed cells.
Some companies are joining the market now too, like north.
Dont know about flexifoil, but i think they are open-cell and not good for beginners.

2: There are a lot of advantages of foils. But there are some disadvantages too.
It is not as bad as PMU told.Not even half as bad.
Not even bad at all ;-)
Dont want to tell the loooong list of advantages.
I am prefering foils(using all kinds of kites),
but there are some real existing disadvantages of bridled foils:

Leis are more simple, so less can break.
You have a swimming livesaver with your LEI, if you have to swim very long time back to the beach or across the ocean, in case you are lost.
It takes less time to dry a wet Lei than a Foil.
Most (but not all) Lei react faster and more direct than most(but not all) foils.

For me the advantages of bridled foils are more than the disadvantages.
(except the price)
But all systems work now and are enjoyable.

3: Foils were safer, but now also Leimanufacturers are selling good safetysystems. Relaunch is one of foils highlights, excluded are PL Arcs.
Flysurferkites(esp. Psycho and Titan) have more depower than any other kites.
4: FS are more expensive. It is understandable because of the complicated
and high quality construction.
Anyway it still hurts!
PL Arcs are very cheap.
5: Hybrids are not seen any more on the water..

But not all foils will suit a beginner.
Just only because it is a foil, it is not yet a good kite.
(bla bla, same with lei)

have fun,

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Postby harks98 » Sat Mar 06, 2004 12:05 am

I've ridden both LEI's and Flysurfers (not ARC's). I find LEI's much more user friendly and are less technical to fly than Flysurfers. So as a beginner go for a med aspect LEI.... you can't go wrong.

The flysurfers are awesome at water relaunch, but as long as the wind is strong enough, LEI's are easy to get out of the water.

The durability of foils shits on LEI's

If you go for a foil don't buy the FS Warrior..... it just feels DEAD with is pressure-less depower system. I rode my 9.3 the other afternoon and came back in within 10 mins and pumped up my LEI.

The new FS look nice and feel a bit more like a LEI at the bar..... but in my opinion are still more technical to fly..... just read some of the old post on the PSYCHO etc.

Can't comment on Peter Lynn's products, but I have heard good things about the Guerilla and I think the Guerrilla 2 is out soon..... I would like to give one of these a go one day.



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