Just spent a week in Kihei with my new Venom 16. This kite is a refined version of the Guerilla with dramatic improvements to turning speed depower performance as well as better launch control. The first larger Peter Lynn kite that turns fast while retaining the excellent stability that the Guerillas have.
The kite comes with segmented spars so that you can fit the entire rig in a backpack rather than a tube shaped bag by removing the spars. I prefer keeping the spars in and rolling the kite up and using a tube shaped bag but I suppose under certain conditions this might be useful.
There is an inflation zipper on either side of the bottom surface of the kite. This is a dramatic improvement since the kite fills with air quicker and more completely. In addition there is a zipper along the middle of the trailing edge for deflation, which provides for more faster deflation. All in all an excellent addition.
There are Velcro tabs on either end of the kite to secure the downwind lines during a side launch while you walk to your bar. This used to be a problem with Guerillas and this simple solution solves the problem brilliantly.
Excellent launching. When fully sheeted out and side-launched from around 45 degrees this large kite can be launched safely in 22mph winds.
The kite seems to have very nice stability although less auto zenith than previous ARCs I have flown. Stability improves when the adjustment strap (more later) is not fully tightened. As with all ARCS I am amazed at how little I have to pay attention to the kite when standing on the beach etc.
This kite really performs. It flys very much like an LEI. I have been using a similarly sized Fuel 15 and the V16 turns as fast but has substantially better high end. It turns much faster than my G13. The bar pressure is a little higher than the Fuel but not uncomfortably so. Sheeting the kite has a more profound effect on the kiteÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s power than with the Guerillas. Very nice floaty jumps. As mentioned before there is an adjustment strap inside the kite that changes the kiteÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s performance dramatically. When completely tight, the kite turns very fast but is somewhat twitchy. When loose, the effects of sheeting are more profound and the turning is slower. This is very nice for increasing the upper range of the kite. As expected I found that the kiteÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s performance was best with the strap adjusted in the middle (a little more to the tight setting). I will normally just leave it set there and loosen it if the wind gets really strong. I have heard that the low end of this kite is similar to similarly sized LEIs but I did not get a chance to test this in Maui since the winds were generally over 15mph. If true I expect to get 10 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 25mph out of this kite with 12 to 20 being the sweet area. I should be getting some light wind riding in next month in Michigan so I will report on that later.
I have usually landed my Guerillas to the side with a release to the leach when the kite is close to the ground and this kite works fine this way. However I did notice that itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s ability to land down the middle (while over sheeting) is much better than that of the Guerilla. While I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t normally recommend this, it can come in very handy in tight beach situations.
I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t like the bag. The traditional ARC bags are my favorite because itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s so easy to stuff the kite into them. The Venom bag is very fancy with all kinds of bells and whistlesÃ¢â‚¬Â¦like an LEI bag on steroids. This allows you to stuff the kite without the struts in a back pack style or to expand the bag to allow you to stuff the kite like an LEI with the struts inflated. I just made a simple tube shaped bag and use that most of the time. The Venom bag would be handy if you wanted to carry the kite onto a plane or hike a while with it to a remote beach.
This is a great kite. It has incredible range, making an excellent 1 kite quiver if you are short on space or have to walk a long way to a spot. The enhanced turning speed has made it a great alternative to larger LEIs without compromising performance. It does everything my G13 and Fuel 15 did for me with even better high end than the G13.