I flew the 18 Best Nemesis for the first time this weekend. I had three sessions in one day. Fortunatley the wind increased during each successive session.
I weigh 180 lbs and was using an Underground Wavetray 147x40. Additional background on my experience and kite quiver can be found in a previous post '14 Nemesis review' for reference, if interested.
Construction as i said before appeared conventional and of good quality. The kite is high aspect, 6.4, i beleive. Fairly narrow in the center, but wide at the tips. The leading edge is narrow for this size kite. It has a 7 strut design and the struts are all very narrow.
1st session (kinda)
Lulls 7 - 10 - 12 Gusts (mph)
I WALKED.......a long way. Obviously the wind was very very light. I wanked the shit out of the kite and had a very diffficult time getting to plane. In the gusts of 12 (oh boy) i was able to get to a plane, but short lived. The kite flew and turned as fast as could be expected in this wind. I also wasn't tuned quite right. I wanted a little more tension on the back lines. The center strap was extended, but still not enough. This tuning worked fine on the 14 Nemesis. So i needed to shorten my back lines by about four inches.
After doing 'the walk of shame' i adjusted my lines. I watched a friend who was on a Gastra 21 and a lightwave 181 (185?) plank. He is the light air king. In 10-12 mph i can usually get out and back with my Rhino (1st generation) 22.5, but that is the bottom and it sure is not an exciting ride. No jumping and working it just to plane and get back. Holes of 7 just kill. There were also other Naish 20's in the air, who walked, just not as far.
The kite was noticeably smaller then the other 20's sitting on the beach. They actually looked significantly larger and the leading edges way bigger.
lulls 10 - 12 - 16/17 Gusts (mph)
I attached the back lines on the second knot, maybe 1 1/2 inch. I also attached the back lines about 4 inches down on my leader. Effectivly 5 1/2 inches. Maybe that was a little aggressive, but my center strap was fully extended and i new i could pull 5 inches off the center. I only pulled an inch or so. OK this is leading to something. I asked a buddy for a launch and kooked out. I had to much pressure on hte back lines and tried to fly the kite to vertical to quickly. It stalled and fell back. No problems, nobody downwind. I did the same thing two more times. KOOK. pulled the center strap down and took a less aggressive climb on the last launch. My old rhino would climb very aggressivley. I self launch land often, so it is not like i don't have experience. This episode was operator error, not kite performance
In the water, OK, this is much more like it. I pointed upwind about 300 yards to some flat water, failry quickly. There will be no walkin' during theis session, thank you. The kite flew great in this wind range. Plenty of power, jumps and hangtime were appropriate. (every post i have read lately, regardless of the brand, has said 'this kite has the best lift and greatest hangtime', so i will say the lift and hangtime is appropriate). I was definetly pleased with how fast the kite flew. The kite turned rather fast also. It turned like a much smaller kite, IMO. I have flown no other 2004's in this size, so i can not compare. By my standards the kite flew very fast and truned very fast! The line adjustment was needed as this kite seemed to want a little more back line pressure. It did not deform when overhseeted. I felt immedialty at home on this kite.
During one jump i over rotated and grabbed the wrong side of the bar and accelerated the kite into the water (I try not to put big kites in the water as i had very little success in relaunching my monster 22.5). I was close to the shore and was not able to realucnh this kite within about 20 seconds before i was to shore. So i will have to withhold opinion on water relaunchabilty, evehtough i think it should realunch when there is enough wind.
I am pleased with the light wind perfromance in this wind range. I felt i had better jumps then my buds with the 20's. This could have something to do with my self centeredness. Also saw a friend walk with a 20X3. You know who you are. I here the X3's are not light wind perfomers?
lulls 10 - 14 - 18/20+ Gusts mph
No kook launching. The kite perrformed even better in this wind. I am immeditlay happy as i realize i will get useful overlap between this and my 14M Nemesis.
Great power, and appropriate lift and hangtime. I pulled the strap a little more as i was flying with more back line pressure then normal. I felt like i dind't need to in this wind range. Very pleased with the turning speed and radius. I need to adjust my jump timing a little as i was flying the kite to far back over the zenith. It got back there faster then i am used to. The kite did not jellyfish. I will also use the other catch phrases. The kite was stable and predictable. The 18 flew much more forward in the window then my other big boy.
I believe i could have comfortably handled 3-4 more mphs (17/18 - 25 gusts), eventhough i don't plan to as my 14 will work nicley in this condition. I never had any overpowered gusts and my board is not small by any means. My 22.5 was very hard to handle in gusts at or over 20 and was not giving me good overlap with my 16X2, as that kite needed a lot of wind to perform.
This is where it gets fun! I deflated the leading edge bladder so it was not rigid at all. I have a pretty long throw on the sheeting on my bar and by pumping the bar back and forth i am able to make the wings flap! Like a big ass bird. I could lift from the beach and fly at will. Far exceeding my 2 minutes of hangtime on my 14M. Actually i was so pleasantly surprised by this feature that i flew almost twenty miles home. Boy are my arms tired.....LOL Kids don't try this at home.
Overall i was very pleased with the peformance and think it would stand up in performance to the other 2004's in this size. Just my opinion, though.