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FS Sonic 15m First Impression

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fernmanus
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FS Sonic 15m First Impression

Postby fernmanus » Mon Jun 01, 2015 6:48 am

I received a Sonic 15 & 18 a couple weeks ago, but persistent rain has kept them grounded. I had the first chance to try the 15 on Saturday. Before, I tell you about the kite, a bit about me. I buy my own kites. I currently own Speed 4 Lotus in 12, 15, & 21 sizes. I also have owned Ozone Chrono Kites in 18 & 15. I also have an Ozone Zephyr. I weigh 170 Lbs and I have been kiting for 15 years.

First, the only thing I don't like is the black color. Don't get me wrong it looks great, it is just going to be a bit tough to keep it looking clean.

Things I like before flying:
1. A port on the TE for inflating and deflating the kite (something the Chrono is sadly lacking).
2. Stiff bridle lines that resist tangling (the biggest problem with the Chrono IMHO).
3. Infinity 3 Race Bar - very light, should be awesome for travel.
4. The Sonic is manufactured with Deluxe fabric. I prefer the feel of this fabric to the Lotus fabric. The Lotus fabric may be lighter, but I don't like the plasticky feel of the Lotus material.

Inflation - The kite is a little more difficult to inflate than a Speed 4, but inflates more rapidly than the Chrono.

Range - I flew the kite in its upper wind range. I was impressed with the depower, it is definitely better than the Chrono and I would say equivalent to the Speed 4 Lotus.

Turning - like the Chrono, the kite tends to pivot more than arc in turns. The kite feels precise in the turns. The kite has a huge AR, so while it turns relatively quickly, it still is a very long kite to turn. It is so long that some of my friends thought I was going out on a much bigger kite.

Boosting - this kite has crazy amounts of lift. You can feel it in the bar, just sheet in and up you go. Very similar to the Chrono, perhaps even a bit more. This kite will lift you to ridiculous heights and leave you wondering when your board is going to touch down again. Landings were butter soft even after boosting high. However, a couple times I got sloppy, and like the Chrono it will punish you if you are not precise. The reason is that you have so much power on tap. The Speed 4 is the kind of kite that you might let a relative newbie try. Not so with the Sonic, there is so much raw power on tap.

Handling gusty conditions - the Chrono lacks some range and it will hammer you in big gusts. The Sonic has just as much power on tap, but is more forgiving due to the greater depower. The Speed has less power and is more forgiving. Keep in mind that the Speed is still a very powerful kite, I am just expressing these in relative terms.

I am impressed with the Sonic, as can't wait to try the other sizes. This kite fits the bill for old school big air boosting and rocketing upwind. I haven't tried it on the snow, but I suspect it will be excellent for snowkiting as well.

Strekke
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Re: FS Sonic 15m First Impression

Postby Strekke » Mon Jun 01, 2015 12:35 pm

I had a go on the Sonic FR 11m as well this weekend. First time ever on a foil kite (I had just come off the water testing the 13m Boost - nice kite too) and I must say I was suuuuuuuper impressed. It felt like it didn't really pull enough to get me going but somehow it had me up and riding with ease. Maybe this is just how foil kites feel, I dunno, but it was just very light and I was surprised to be riding because the kite didn't seem to pull that hard. Anyways, after 45 minutes of testing, there are two things that blow my mind on this kite:

1. Upwind ability. I was on a small TT and wasn't even trying to go upwind, the kite didnt seem like it was pulling that hard, but somehow I had gained 350m of ground in no time - 2 tacks or something. Just crazy!

2. Jumping. I have never flown so high and so long in such light winds (13 kts or something). All you need to do is steer it to 12 and pull in the bar (the faster/more aggressive, the higher you go). Similar height in jumps I have only achieved on my Bandit Six 12m in like 18-20 knots, so overpowered-ish and on the upper limit. Here on the 11m Sonic I didn't feel overpowered, on the contrary. The pull/lift of the Sonic is just straight up, it doesn't drag you downwind. Once off the water, this thing turns into a parachute or something, you just glide and keep gliding. A few times I got an additional little gust of wind that gave me an extra boost. Airtime is insane - at one point I was seriously thinking "holy shit am I ever going to go down again?!". Landings are smooth and supersoft. The Flysurfer sales rep on the beach said that he likes the 11m in like 20 knots, said it boosts insanely high - I definitely believe him, this thing is a rocket and will take you to the moon!

Compared to LEI kites I'm used to riding, the Sonic is slow to steer though, so forget about looping or using it in waves - it is not designed for this. This kite is meant to go fast, hard upwind, and boost high. I did loop it once or twice and then it pulls hard, and the loops take a long time to complete - I got punished and ate it bad when trying. Stability wise was very good - I screwed up a few times and rode right under it etc. but it never really fell out of the sky - it lost its shape once or twice but as soon as it got back in the wind window it immediately recovered itself.

So yeah, I've always been skeptical about foil kites but after trying out the Sonic I'm seriously considering getting the 15m for those light wind days to cruise around without a walk of shame in sub 10 knots, and boost high in 10+ knots. As soon as the wind picks up to 15+ knots, I can switch back to my 12m inflatable. Will have to test out the relaunch but should be fine as long as not dropped in waves, plus in light winds the water is normally calm anyways. Also, because of the slow steering you would really have to do something stupid to actually crash it in the first place. Perhaps not a good kite for beginners, but if you have some kiting experience with inflatables the Sonic could work as a first foil kite - it was my first time on a foil kite and I loved it! :thumb:

fernmanus
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Re: FS Sonic 15m First Impression

Postby fernmanus » Tue Jun 09, 2015 2:42 am

Flew the 18 Sonic FR for the first time the other day. I have been flying an 18 Ozone Chrono for the past 6 months. I like the Sonic better in every aspect. It inflates faster, boosts higher, has more range and has nice stiff bridles for tangle-free setup. It will be interesting how the R6 or Chrono 2 compare, but for now FS has the best high performance foil that I have tried.

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omg
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Re: FS Sonic 15m First Impression

Postby omg » Tue Jun 09, 2015 2:44 pm

Lots of good info, thanks guys!

What would be the difference for planing and jumps between 11m and 15m for a 80 expert rider (expert in milking the power out of the kite in its low end)?

I have a 138x43cm twintip and I am struggling in decision making between the two kite sizes =/ The 11m is naturally quicker and therefore the jumping is easier and redirecting as well I assume? But does the 15m have good range, ie. will I be able to hold it at around 18knots (gusting), but steady wind?

Thanks!

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pmaggie
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Re: FS Sonic 15m First Impression

Postby pmaggie » Tue Jun 09, 2015 3:05 pm

Anyone please tried to relaunch? How does it compare to the Speed (and to a standard inflated) in this department? Thank you!

fernmanus
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Re: FS Sonic 15m First Impression

Postby fernmanus » Wed Jun 10, 2015 5:08 am

Omg,

I weigh 77 kg. The 15m would be a handful in 18 knot steady wind. I could do it, but I would go down a size to the 11. I really don't need the 15. It is easy to go from the 18 to the 11. There are just those days when you have a steady 14 knots, when the 15 is the go to kite. The 11 is the kite you want to get if you want to boost to the moon in 18 knots steady. If you want a kite that is fun in truly light wind, the 18 is the call. If you were say 65 kg, then the 15 would be the kite for light wind riding.

Pmaggie,

The relaunch is just like a Speed, pull both back lines and the kite reverses off the water. I always thought that the speeds were easier to relaunch than any tube kite and I would say the same is true with the Sonic.

Flysurfer_Chris
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Joined: Mon Oct 27, 2014 3:55 pm
Kiting since: 1999
Local Beach: Lake Neusiedl / Podersdorf am See
Style: Freeride
Gear: Sonic FR 18.0 / 11.0
Speed4 Lotus 12.0 / 8.0
Boost 15.0 / 7.0

Radical5 138
Brand Affiliation: Flysurfer Kiteboarding

Re: FS Sonic 15m First Impression

Postby Flysurfer_Chris » Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:22 am

Hey guys,

thank you for your first impressions about the Sonic. Some recommendations:

Please use the the Airstyle Bar with the thick lines for every days use and boosting high!
The Race Bar is built for athletes who take part in competitions. The thin race lines have a lower breaking load, for lowest possible drag.

Speed4 Lotus vs Sonic:

Lotus is more stable in gusty conditions
Lotus cloth floats better on water; jet flaps makes the relaunch after "a long swim" still possible; easier overall relaunch
Lotus turning speed is in my opinion almost the same. Its turning radius is more tight, so if you do kite loop transitions or downloop out of your jumps, Lotus is the better kite.
Lotus is much easier to launch, no backstalling required

Sonic has a much better upwind performance
Sonic has more hangtime, lift and better turning speed

If you're not an experienced rider the Lotus is still the better choice. Please be aware that launching a Sonic may require a lot of space, especially in high winds!

Hope this clarifies some of your points, feel free to ask me anything you want.

All the best and boost high with our Flysurfer foil kites :D

Chris

fernmanus
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Re: FS Sonic 15m First Impression

Postby fernmanus » Wed Jun 10, 2015 4:23 pm

Chris,

I agree with your points. The Sonic is a more high performance kite than the Speed and therefore less forgiving in gusty and/or powered conditions.

I like the cam/cleat system on the Infinity Race Bar much better than the strap system for depower that comes with the Infinity Airstyle Bar. I guess I could swap the lines, but it would be great if FS offered the Race Bar with a more durable line set.

Flysurfer_Chris
Rare Poster
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Oct 27, 2014 3:55 pm
Kiting since: 1999
Local Beach: Lake Neusiedl / Podersdorf am See
Style: Freeride
Gear: Sonic FR 18.0 / 11.0
Speed4 Lotus 12.0 / 8.0
Boost 15.0 / 7.0

Radical5 138
Brand Affiliation: Flysurfer Kiteboarding

Re: FS Sonic 15m First Impression

Postby Flysurfer_Chris » Fri Jun 12, 2015 8:43 am

I use both Bars :D

Yes you can swap the lines. I have 3 different setups:

Race Bar
Light wind -> Sonic-FR 18.0 - 27m race lines (21m + 4m +2m)

Race Bar
Hydrofoil -> Sonic-FR 15.0 - 25m race lines (21m + 4m)
Hydrofoil -> Sonic-FR 11.0 - 21m race lines

Airstyle Bar
Airstyle -> Sonic-FR 15.0 - 25m DC 301 lines (21m +4m)
Airstyle -> Speed4 Lotus 10.0 - 21m DC 301 lines

For super strong wind I use my BOOST 7.0, I love this kite so much. Perfect balance between power and control, awesome hangtime for a small L.E.I.

Hope that helps you!

Strekke
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Posts: 171
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Re: FS Sonic 15m First Impression

Postby Strekke » Fri Jun 12, 2015 10:00 am

Hey Chris,

Can you please tell me how much do you weigh and what is the range of the 15 for airstyle? When are you up and riding on a TT holding ground/going upwind (lowest low end), and when are you doing decent jumps? And when do you switch to a smaller size?


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