Thought I would chime in with my point of view , as I have tried a whole lot of kites for foiling since learning to foil a couple of years back. I learned on 3 strut Naish Parks ( 2012), a 10m and a 14m – they were OK but I soon learned the following:
• If you can’t relaunch the kite off the water easily you can’t learn to foil, or get back to your board
• If the kite can’t stay in the air at the edge of the window in a lull you can’t learn to foil, or get out when the wind is onshore – see point one
• Being overpowered sucks
• Big kites that can’t be adequately depowered also suck
• Preserving / creating line tension becomes a major deal after a crash as you usually have to go a fair way to retrieve the board – often you are in far lighter conditions than with a twin tip so having the kite maintain its steerability is important as you body drag back to the board
So since then I have been pursuing the holy grail – a kite that has great range (so you don’t need to change up or down sizes if conditions change or are gusty), hangs in lulls and drifts well, maintains steering low in the window after a crash or when trying to get out in onshore conditions, relaunches in light conditions, has enough power to get you up on the board, reasonably light bar pressure, good depower within an arm’s length. I have realised that there is no such “unicorn” of a kite , and that it is all about what trade-off’s you are prepared to accept – I strongly suggest that anyone slagging off a particular kite try to bear in mind the trade-off’s that the designer or company was striving for. (Note: I have pursued low end foiling conditions more than high end conditions, there’s a lot of guys locally who just use small wave kites for windier conditions)
My personal experiences:
1: Zeeko Notus Air (12m) : +ve = robust build, top end range
-ve = steering not super light, bottom end not amazing, relaunch in light conditions. Behaviour in lulls (eg overhead or at edge of window) is average , not exceptional
Summary = clearly designed more for top end than low end range. Good for gusty conditions where a lower aspect design might overpower sooner. A 12 that behaves like a 10.
2: LF Solo v1 9m: +ve = low end, drift in lulls, great relaunch. Good with a twin tip, great jumper, well built
-ve = top end , is a grunty kite for its size so there’s a risk of being overpowered if the wind comes up
Summary = the opposite design philosophy to the Notus Air. More grunt from a smaller size. A 9 that behaves like a 10. Even though is not built super light it actually drifts really well ( falls back when overhead in lulls , similar to the Cloud) , and steers well at edge of window – very forgiving. Handles longer lines well too. I think LF are trying to pitch this kite at the widest possible audience ( incl twin tippers), not sure why they have defocused the marketing pitch for the v3 away from foiling as it seems to go well for this (esp in the 9m size).
3: Cloud C2 (12m): +ve = drift , stability and steerability in lulls ( best of any LEI I have tried), relaunch in lulls ( once you know the technique), power generation to get up on foil
-ve = top end in gusty conditions , not so good for a twin tip compared to other designs
Summary = superb if wind conditions are stable and don’t increase too much, hangs in the air like a foil kite ( it has saved my session many times) . Its super light build hasn’t been an issue re durability thus far
4: Ozone Edge ( 2013, 9m): +ve = range , stability in gusty conditions, power
-ve = loses steerability when highly depowered ( heads down to water), relaunch in light winds, drift in lulls
5: F One Furtive (8 and 10m): +ve = range, drift, turning speed , stability, steering when depowered
-ve = relaunch in lulls
Summary = lighter on bar than Edge , more drift , better depower and steering when depowered, but probably less power size for size even though both are high aspect. I believe it was designed to behave well and stay in control when overpowered for speed kiting, whereas the Edge pulls harder and is designed to be more of a powerhouse for jumping etc. The 8m Furtive in particular is super sweet for foiling, surprisingly good stability in lulls (and great for speed kiting, naturally).
6: Chrono v2 Ultralight (11m) – my curiosity re foil kites got the better of me ! : +ve = amazing drift and performance in lulls , good power spike for getting going, very forgiving, good relaunch, upwind ability
-ve=complexity vs an LEI, some launch spots are unsuitable for a foil made with lightweight cloth ( eg when shelly or with sharp objects), expensive, potentially complicated pack down on water vs an LEI
So what do I use when?
- My local shelly inner harbour beach ( which is tidal and has a long walk to launch depth , so is a real pain if you need to change kite sizes) – if stable 10kts or under = Cloud 12m. If gusty ( 8-13kts) either the Notus Air or Solo. If gusty 12-20kts I’d use the Furtive 8m. Have now sold the Edge 9m.
- My local sandy beach – Chrono UL 11m for 8-15kts, esp if the wind has lots of lulls or if there’s not too much chop , and also because it has a different feel to the above kites which can be fun – if I want to race around at high speed this is my choice. Solo is probably my other most used kite in this spot as it covers a really useful range and the chance of needing to come in and change up or down is reduced
I hope this helps in some way. There’s a lot of us looking for the ideal foiling kite, but as I said it is really a question of understanding what properties are most important to you and what you are prepared to compromise on . There’s a lot of factors to consider , one of the most important to me overall is whether the kite is a low end or high end biased design – especially important if you kite in gusty conditions
All of the above kites have some really good qualities, and some areas that I wish were a little better or different. None of them are dogs.
Disclaimer: I pay for all my own gear, no brand alliances ( as you can see !). Sorry for the long post