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 Post subject: [REVIEW] Advance Kobra 17.7m Kite
PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2004 1:40 am 
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Joined: Wed Nov 20, 2002 1:00 am
Posts: 1302
Location: Nova Vaga - Portugal
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The "ME" section:
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I have a 17.7m and 12.8m Kobras. My board was a Liquid Force MLF 120cm. I weigh 75Kg or 165pounds.
As for my skills, I can land simple backrolls, backloops, jump not very high, hold an overpowered wing, catch 1-2m waves, nail off-the-lips and ride switch and fakie. As you see, I'm just an experienced beginner ;)
I intend to nail the forward-loops and rolls, manage to really surf a wave and make cutbacks one after the other and fly really high and long.
My last board was an Airflow 162cm and a 14m Toro. I've tried some slingshot, naish, windwing, gaastra and north boards and kites, and x-shooter boards.

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The Advance's Kobra 17.7m Kite section
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When I bought this kite 5 months ago, I had people telling me that it was too big for the wind in Lisboa,Portugal. Usually people here get a 14m if that's their only kite. Guess what, my 12.8 was only used 3 or 4 times in 3 months. The 17.7 is MY kite, I'm on the water with 10-11knots (and the 120cm MLF) going upwind. When the wind picks some more and the 14m are getting powered, I'm still riding. When the first 12m start going upwind I'm getting on my max (16-17knots not "scientifically" confirmed). So this is only a review of the 17.7m, the 12.8 has not been on the water enough time.

What I love the most in this wing is the feeling it gives me piloting it, it just feels right, feels good and I know where it is all the time. The kobra riders know what I'm talking about, the others will have to try it to understand it.

Another interesting fact is it's stability, remember this is a 17.7m kite with a high AR, the 17.7 has a 6.4 AR, for comparisson, a Rhino 04 has 6.2 AR for kites 14m to 20m. Many times when you screw up, the kite will start falling back, will open wide, glide back and when it catches some wind it will fly again, saving the rider from a water relaunch. Over here in Lisboa there's even one instructor that uses the kobra to teach the students after they get in the water, how's that for a high AR kite?

When you really screw up and the kite goes to the water it's dead easy to relaunch it, this is due to the relaunch stiff tip, an extra batten in the tip to help the relaunch by allowing the action of the brake lines to be spread over a greater portion of the wind. In the few time I've really screw up, I could launch it quickly and without any hassle. When the kite is in the inverted C position and if it start to hover get ready to pull hard one steering line, it will launch very quickly and start to fly allready powered, this makes a blazing fast relaunch :thumb:

The wing has enough power for me, what I mean with this is that I haven't yet fully explored its potential. I'm not very good at flying high, mostly because sometimes I still lose my balance and land in some akward positions, gradually I've been able to push it a little more and jump higher, and the landings are allways soft, the "trick" is to use the repower at the apex of the jump to glide. The wing develops lots of power in slow speeds, I just need to sheet in and feel the force, but in faster speeds the power, as expected, is more powerfull, like I said, I haven't had the courage to really speed up and go big. When that happens I'll post and update :wink:

The build quality is simply excellent, it's on par with (some of) the other 04
high quality kites (you know who they are): trailling edge wear protectors, one handle for the pump leash, one handle in each wingtip to self rescue, defined valve pressure for each struct, double wall bladders at the end of each struct, 2 line attachments for the Panacea 5th line in the leading edge, 2 line attachments in the trailing edge, etc. , go to the site for more info.

One point I've came to love is the two valves in each struct, except in the last one in each wing tip. One valve (Inflate) has a return stopper, wich prevents the air from escaping the bladder (no more pinching skills required). The other valve (Deflate) is free flow and it makes deflating the kite a quick and efficient affair, even more in the winter, when my hands are almost frozen. The last struct in each wingtip has only an anti-return type valve. The leading edge has 2 free flow valves (get a friend to help you pump it faster :wink: thanks guys :D ).

This wing is not fisical, it feels really soft on my arms, long 5 hours sessions are not a problem, even when I'm riding with almost no depower left it is still light on the arms. What makes it a little less easy to turn is the fact that the depower line has a wear protecter clear rubber tube around it and the rubber can make it harder to turn and sheet in at the same time, but after 5 months it's still as new :thumb: I just had to get used to it, now it's not a problem.

The only point that Advance could and should improve is the safety. My depower loop has lost the safety pin in the middle of a session, the pin straps "lost" the sewing and away it went to the bottom of the sea, fortunately I regulated the depower to the minimum and engaged in the big loop. I'm still waiting for Advance to launch their revised version of the original depower system, it was leash-free, with the release after the bar, it was excellent except for the durability of the lines. Now I ride with a kite leash.

The Kobra really rewards you after you get to know it, it loves to fly just a little sheeted in, you can find this point by fully sheeting out, getting a little speed and then sheeting in until you see the angle of atack increasing, there's a sweet point that will allow you to rocket upwind and still be powered. Once you get it you will know it :wink:

The kobra is a really accessible wing that rewards you once you get the skills to find the limits. I'm completely delighted with my Kobra 17.7m :D

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The Learn More section
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Advance site:
http://www.advance-kites.com

Portuguese Dealer site (in portuguese)
http://www.indiantools-kites.com

Some pics and more info:
http://gallery.kiteforum.com/gallery/albun70/1024x768_91040057
http://www.kite-surf.com/galleries/allpictures.php?folder=_advancekobra&title=Advance+Kobra
http://gallery.kiteforum.com/gallery/albur75
http://gallery.kiteforum.com/gallery/albun68
http://www.airone.ch/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=29


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