Having at it with the 11 m CB IV early on Sunday
We headed down to the lower Keys last weekend to take advantage of this late season wind, yeeha! Hooked up with Paul Menta of The Kitehouse who graciously hooked me up with some loaners of the latest Cabrinha kites including 11, 13 and 16 m Crossbow IV kites on IDS control bars. Also got to try out Cabrinha's new light wind board marvel, the Plasma. Paul explained IDS to me but I have yet to trigger this new release system. Paul recommended it for use in emergencies or solo landing scenarios only. He did activate the IDS release for me to show what it does with a 13 m kite in winds around 17 mph and it worked as advertised.
Paul with the IDS bar without pulleys
Saturday the winds were stronger, ranging from the higher teens to gusts into the mid 20 mph range. Paul rides wakestyle a lot and very well. I'm more of a wave cruiser and jumper, like to go for long sessions (all day?). So, once BOW and flat kites came out with reduced bar pressure that is what I started using. Paul likes strong bar pressure to help with orientation during some pretty radical tricks with no stopper. You can easily dial in the amount of bar pressure by point of attachment on clearly labeled points along the trailing edge of the kite.
So, I used the 11 and 13 m kites the first day with high bar pressure and found it to be a bit tougher than I am used to. That is at least since I was regularly using first generation BOWs a couple of years back. Holding the bar in with one hand and shooting video/stills with the other was tiring without a stopper, particularly with the 13 m. Still, the 13 m had nice range and developed impressive apparent wind. With the bar pressure tweaked up you want to be careful out inducing too much apparent wind cause the kite will deliver some surprising thrust. I cycled the kite just a little bit to pull over to my board and ended up lofting myself a few feet into it! The kite has grunt! Had I been smart, I would have simply retuned the attachment points and would have found things much more to what I am used to. Didn't do that until Sunday though and really enjoyed the experience.
Rigged down to the 11 m and had a bit easier time of it. Just 2 m can make an important difference and tuning to riding style even more so. It was a fun session the kite can really develop apparent wind for some nice pop.
The 16 m CB IV on Sunday. Look at all those whitecaps!
Substantially lighter winds came on Sunday. Things started off in the mid teen mph range and backed down into the 8 to 12 mph range later on. Quite a few guys showed up but for the last couple of hours I was the only guy on the water using the 16 m CB IV and the Plasma board. Paul weighs about 40 lbs. less than me and is able to do a lot in such light conditions with the Plasma using the 11 and later on 13 m kite. He said he's had some photo shoots saved by still being able to throw some moves using this board. There was a guy from the Key West Citizen shooting for an article in the gnat sneeze breeze but despite that Paul still put on a good show.
I liked the 16 m CB IV set for lighter bar pressure combined with the Plasma for working the lower end. I wish I had retuned the 11 and 13 m the day before as I suspect the change in performance for my style of riding would be substantial. I was able to point upwind very well and cruise at speed all over with the 16 m and big board. The jumps before the wind ebbed were surprising, leaving you wondering when you might come down being a little longer. The kite fly light something smaller than 16 m and was light and lively. The CB IV has a single inflation point, simplifying blowing up and tearing down the kite.
The Plasma. It measures about 146 x 46 cm.
Unlike other big lightwind twin tips I have used, the board was very simple to use, didn't throw a lot of spray in your face and was easy to land jumps with. It gave the impression of being a good easy performer. I shot a lot of video while riding both days. Hope to put something together to pass along other impressions from the sessions.
An edge view of the board
In short, it was a good weekend down south. Thanks again Paul and good to see all the guys down that way at the beach!