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 Post subject: Best kite for marginal conditions ?
PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2015 10:32 pm 
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Hi everyone !

I had my till now, personal "record" low end day.

77kg, out with a 15m2 ELF kite on standard 25m lines.

And as said, my personal lowest wind I've ever kited :naughty:

An awesome experience, smooth stable wind, gusts was hardly much over the sustained average on the very close weather stations.

What are your experiences regarding what size will give you the lowest possible wind limit ?

Of course we are only talking foil kites here, as they are so far ahead in terms of peak power, and apparent wind power - and the ability to "hang" in marginal winds :thumb:

BUT, there is a but, as smaller kites are able to hang in less or at least the same wind, we all know that.
The smaller kites are much better at turning/looping - so they can be flown back and fourth, or looped, easier.
With any LEI kite, you wont stand a chance to start, as you can not get sufficient peak power to waterstart.
But there is sufficient power in a modern max performance foil kite.

So the balance is, do you have sufficient peak power to waterstart with a say 12m2 in the same wind ? Or compare an 18m2 to a 15m2 if you are a bit heavier.
AND, much easier handling regarding keepring the kite in the air ?

If so, it means a 12m2 foil kite (Chrono or ELF or similar as the only interesting ones in this respect...) might be able to start just as early, OR slightly earlier maybe, if easier to keep in the air when walking/board dragging out ?

We are talking about low winds here, where I can only keep my 15m2 in the air if at 12, max 1 or 11 o'clock - but further out, it will not hang.

Maybe a 12m2 will give almost the same, or the same, or even more, peak power when looped, and easier to "hang", so it would be better ?
Maybe a 12m2 will NOT give you sufficient pull, to get up, nor get into foiling state - so you wont gain ?

What do others experience in terms of foil kite sizes in marginal condtions ?
As there must be many now, who has a bigger (of full) quiver of foil kites :thumb:

And remember, your weight is the most important parameter here, in order to compare.
Line lengths are also an issue, as maybe bigger kites will deliver more power than smaller ones, when looped.
But if they can not hang in the lowest wind, it is of no use.

I know for sure (can not say why, I just know), that an 18m2 wont give me anything, on the contrary -- with my weight.

So if hunting the extreme low end - what do you experience with these kites, regarding which size gives YOU the ultimate low end ?

Main problem in these conditions, is getting out when onshore.
You typically can not boarddrag out....
You will fold the tip inside out if looping too narrow.

This will normally be better with a tad smaller kite.

Ciao from Peter


Last edited by Peter_Frank on Sat Apr 11, 2015 9:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Best kite for marginal conditions ?
PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2015 10:48 pm 
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You wrote a long post, Peter, but I'll give you my 2 cents.

I'm on an Alpine Foil with the XLP wing and the biggest kite I need is a 12 m. I am using a Flysurfer S4 Lotus. I don't rely on a wind meter and I don't really give much credit to local wind readings either. All I can say is, if the kite stays in the air, even just barely, I can ride. Sometimes it has been a struggle for me to walk out into deep enough water in the onshore breeze and keep the kite in the air. That is how weak the wind is on the lightest wind days.

I ride strapless, but I'm now thinking about straps. That way I could downloop the kite to get started. Hard to do that strapless while holding onto the board.


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 Post subject: Re: Best kite for marginal conditions ?
PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2015 10:58 pm 
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What is your weight John ?

And have you got smaller and bigger foil kites, and found the 12 is the "max" for minimum wind ?
Or is it more a rational view - that you can kite in so low wind with the 12, that you can not imagine going lower with a bigger (or smaller) kite ?

Agree, wind meters are useless, weather stations in 10m height somewhat better - but still, it is not important as we all know individually, when we are "on the very limit", which is what matters.

8) PF


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 Post subject: Re: Best kite for marginal conditions ?
PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2015 6:41 am 
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i own the chrono 12 and 15 m2 and it seems to me that the 15 m2 is the better choice in ultra lightwind; it flys nearly in the same conditions, the 15 m2 is amazingly fast even with 35 m lines and 65 cm bar (500 cm2 frontwing 9 mm profile 82 kg; 142 clm 48cm wide board) i prefer it clearly to the 12 m 2 and it gives very high lift and hanging times , and you can downloop it after jumping


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 Post subject: Re: Best kite for marginal conditions ?
PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2015 9:28 am 
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y3434 wrote:
i own the chrono 12 and 15 m2 and it seems to me that the 15 m2 is the better choice in ultra lightwind; it flys nearly in the same conditions, the 15 m2 is amazingly fast even with 35 m lines and 65 cm bar (500 cm2 frontwing 9 mm profile 82 kg; 142 clm 48cm wide board) i prefer it clearly to the 12 m 2 and it gives very high lift and hanging times , and you can downloop it after jumping


Yes, I would think so.

I use around 600cm2 wing.
Compared your weight and wing area are 27% more powerdemanding (at first obviosly not linear).
But the smaller or faster (flatter) wings requires more pull than the bigger ones, and I also use a size bigger kite for these.

So it seems you find the 15 to be the best choice for you to be able to start in ultra marginal winds ?
Or did you just say that you preferred the 15 because of more power and hangtime ?.

For me it might be an 11-13m2 then, but I dont know.

As the main problem is the waterstart, and the second challenge is to get foiling.
The waterstart itself requires some size and "diesel" pull, which is awesome with the big ones when looped around - they have a long solid pull here, and you can most often get up AND up foiling in one and the same move/loop :thumb:

Still, as you also write, a smaller kite CAN stay up easier in these conditions, no doubt.
Might be a small difference yes, but if it is there, and you have sufficient power for the start - it will be a choice that might lower your personal "low wind record" :D

I think, that for me the best size (with these kind of kites) is between a 12 and 15 somewhere, and maybe a 12 would be better.
But I only have a 15 so dont know.
Besides, you can only find out IF you have smooth stable marginal wind, and ride both neck and neck changing, and you are sure the conditions dont change while you change kites.

With new kites and non-foilboards earlier, on say freeraceboards or waveboards, this could take half a year or a year, till you finally knew, as you not only needed the perfect days, but you also needed to get to know these new kites in every situation.

So discussing here what personal experiences we have on this very topic, is an awesome way to share :rollgrin:


Notice, I am not talking about which size is the best for riding or for vmg og jumping.

I am only talking about which size will be the one you can set your personal low end record with, as riding is easy peasy - it is handling and starting which is the issue solely IMO.

Long post, sorry :roll:

-----------------------

The difficulty is obviosly getting out - I had almost straight onshore the last time, and when you keep it close to 12 in this wind, board dragging upwind is not possible anymore.
Used a shorter mast, and walked out, swam a little upwind kite at 12 - and got up in one downloop sweep so I could ride over the sand bars and out.

Later, when out, the wind went a little down - but deep so here I could truly explore my personal low end limit regarding starting/foiling.

Carving is difficult, as the kite loses lift when you carve around with the wind - and if downlooping on 25m lines, it will turn slow when you are in the middle of the turn straight downwind, and maybe not recoverable from down there in this wind - so I found the "up" turn to be better for this, as when closer to 12 the kite can still pull and you got tight lines, and more wind.

Longer lines is the solution of course, as then you can downloop and avoid it getting low, and use the weight of the kite to an advantage.

This is what I do sometimes too, but not yesterday, as many practical advantages with shorter lines.

8) PF

PS: It is not that important, but interesting to see if others have found a perfect size, smaller than the max, for this, or not.


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 Post subject: Re: Best kite for marginal conditions ?
PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2015 4:14 pm 
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high AR foil will win every time.

I haven't got my hands on a sonic 18 yet but my FS Speed lotus 15m goes on a foil when the kite will just about fly. I am talking it will sag above my head.

I am using the Zeeko foil with Freestyle and race wing. I think the Freestyle wing goes a little earlier.

I am 109kg at the moment which is heavy I know but foiling seems to have me out when there is barely a rustle in the trees!

I love it!

Tony


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 Post subject: Re: Best kite for marginal conditions ?
PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2015 5:50 pm 
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Peter,
I'm about 78 kg.

I have a big old 19 m Flysurfer, but there is no point trying it. As I say, if I can get the 12 in the air, I can ride. The 19, also made from the deluxe lightweight material, won't fly in winds as low as the 12, since the 12 is lighter due to size. It's as you wrote, "I can not imagine going any lower with a bigger (or smaller) kite." If I _had_ a 15 m, I might try it. But I don't think it would really help, so I'm not going to buy one. I was in Colombia in February out on a lightwind day on my 12 m using the foilboard while another guy was on the Chrono 18 with a race board. My equipment was the better and faster choice. He dropped his kite once or twice and eventually it wouldn't re-launch and he's a better kiter. I know the Chrono is supposed to perform better and I believe it, but I think the Speed 4 has a more reliable relaunch. Heck, one day they used a 12 m Speed 4 Lotus for my wife's lesson. It was in the water many times and always relaunched.

Once I started hydrofoiling, at the beginning of last year, I realized right away I needed smaller kites. I already had a 10 m, but I bought an 8 m and a 6 m. 10 m and 8 m are Flysurfer Speed 4 kites with the lightweight "deluxe" material. The 6 m is a Core XR3 pump up kite. I would have gotten a 6 Flysurfer, but they hadn't released it yet.

I will want the Sonic 11 m, if they decide to release one in the Lotus fabric. Maybe it could replace my 12 m Speed 4.

I collected a lot of data last year from the wind meter which is basically exactly at my spot. It's a little research project I want to do to try to correlate the wind data with my sessions. But I haven't had time. The wind meter always reads much higher than what I feel on the beach. If I can walk downwind and the wind disappears (i.e. about 3.3 mph) then I can just about launch. So, I will guess, 4 mph to launch and 5 mph to safely walk into the water to account for the lulls and not dropping the kite when I lift my feet from the bottom and start to drift downwind. I know the wind is stronger up at the kite.


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 Post subject: Re: Best kite for marginal conditions ?
PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2015 7:34 pm 
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Johhnn wrote:
You wrote a long post, Peter, but I'll give you my 2 cents.

I'm on an Alpine Foil with the XLP wing and the biggest kite I need is a 12 m.


+1 With my AlpineFoil XLP, I was flying my Chrono 15M but now I find both my Switchblade 12M LEI or my Ozone Chrono 12M Foil are more than enough in light conditions.

So funny - You generate so much apparent wind, you think it's blowing hard... until you stop ;)


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 Post subject: Re: Best kite for marginal conditions ?
PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2015 10:02 pm 
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Hi John.

The 15 or 18m2 is definitely faster if you are racing, as they use these quite powered, compared to us freeriders - but they are also significantly faster even in the same marginal wind.
But that was off topic :wink:

It seems you experience the very same, namely that you can start early with a 12m2 (and average weight), and dont think you will go lower with a bigger one (but you havent tried, correct ?)

What if one used an even smaller kite that stays up and handles even better, and a bigger wing - would that make you able to ride in even lower wind - or will the waterstart be ruined ? (I think so, as you need quite a lot for this, in extreme marginal conditions)

Or CAN the 15m2 hang just as well as a 12 or 11, so the better choice for low end records ?

8) PF


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 Post subject: Re: Best kite for marginal conditions ?
PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2015 12:07 am 
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The 12 chrono generates some power in ultra low wind. I'm don't have a hydrofoil yet. But I do kite buggy.

Its surprised me how much power it can generate in 4-7 knots. Its actually convinced me several times that the wind must have picked up to 8-10 knots. Then I stop and realise how little wind there is.

Not sure how that corresponds to hydrofoil. If you could loop and get some apparent up in those very light winds I think the 12 would work well.

From my research hydrofoil and kitebuggy use similar kitesizes. Powered 10 knots on the 12 chrono and looling to down size 15knots. Of course the kite buggy doesn't need to overcome the resistance of water to build apparent.

Side note. Now end of my 12chrono on 145x45 TT door is 9-10 knots.


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