Armin sent me th e17m speed proto (although it looks like the final version to me) to test it in lightwinds and film it. Today was day one and I will try to document every day here and publish the videos and photos as soon as I have them ready.
My weight: 72kg
Usually I ride: rhino2 20m, RRD Type6 12 and 15m, Psycho2 21m, psycho2 7m
Board: Flydoor (159x42cm) and Loose heavy drug (130x36cm)
I am: Best, RRD, Flysurfer imprter and dealer in Ibiza/Spain. My review therefore cannot be 100% objective but I will give my best - no hype, no bullshit
windmeasurement: windmaster2 at the beach 2m height.
The session started with 8-10 knots, choppy (playa den bossa / Ibiza) airtemp. 30 degrees celsius.
I had the steering set to 1 knot towards soft steering.
First I went out with the flydoor. As soon as I let the door run the kite got really fast and I was going a lot faster than on my 21m psycho2 or my 20m rhino in these conditions. Due to the choppy conditions it is not that comfortable with the flydoor because it sends a lot of spray into your face. When the kite catches apparent wind it starts pulling hard but even with the door, if you edge the board hard the kite moves instantly to the edge of the wind window, giving you control over your riding speed in a split second. My 21m psycho2 or my rhino 20m arent that forgiving, they are much harder on your back leg and often dont budge no matter how much i press.
Once the kite is running on the edge of the window, you gain height at an ridicolous rate. Going upwind with the flydoor is always easy but the kite adds another large part.
Still riding at about 9 knots average, I could do floaty 2m jumps with rotations. At first I had trouble with my timing but it wasnt because of the turing speed. The Speed turns faster than my rhino2 20m, comparable to a 17m tube - the problem was the hangtime - it was quite a bit larger than my rhino or the psycho, so rotations often turned out to be double instead of single.
Flying the kite and sining it actually does what you expect from a tube - flysurfers usually like to be "pumped" at the bar, sining hardly helps. You sine it maybe once or twice and the kite goes off on its apparent wind really fast.
Then I tried a different board - a sk8 with 129cm now with about 10 knots average. I was going downwind and losing height rapidly. The board couldnt get going and showed clearly that you need a fast planing board - the speed works on apparent wind and if your board is slow, you wont get going.
Now the wind went up to 10-14 knots (average 12.5 knots) and I changed to my loose board. Its a very fast board with a good edge.
Again it was very suprising how easy it was to send the kite to the edge of the windwindow and therefore controling riding speed. I had the depower strap pulled 1/4 and the wind was peaking at around 16 knots.
The speed you get when you let the kite and board run is truly impressive. You tend to ride faster than usually because you can control the kite position in the window with such ease. I was definately the fastest guy on the water. Apart from me there was a 17m fuel and a 15m type6 RRD. Both were going upwind but not jumping.
By now the height and hangtime got better and better. Catch some speed, pull the bar back, the kite turns rapidly (as said before like a 17m tube), pop off and airtime.
Jumps turn out much better than with the psycho2 21m because of the fast turning - it lets you hold the edge longer before you pop off the water. Again, very tube like.
The wind now went down to about 10-12 knots (estimated - was on the water and opened the depower strap again) and it was time for the real turning speed test: Kiteloops.
So let the board run, catch speed, send the kite to 12 oclock, deep breath, short prayer, and to make sure i pulled on the bar with both hands on one end.
The Speed turns around its own end. So have one end of the kite practically static while the other end does the turn around it. The pull is really soft (no back breaker) but instead of falling pretty rapidly downwards (like im used to it from my tubes) I stay afloat with the hangtime and actually pull the whole loop through in the air - no landing on the down part of the loop. Once the kite turned through i landed with quite a lot of board speed going downwind. After that I was pulling them one after another - its actually fun especially if you remember that this is the biggest Speed model available. However I recommend to pull with both hands on the bar, otherwise the kite doesnt turn as tightly and you will land on the down part of the loop.
The wind now went down to 7-9 knots and I decided to ge out although i still wasnt losing height on the loose board (albeit not jumping either) - i was spent after 3 hours on the water (its been a while...). Next time Ill see how low i can go with the door.
Its actually quite difficult to find bad pointers on this kite. Something I didnt like to see are that the speed has 2 pulleys on each side. Those pulleys usually block quickly with the fine sand we have here and it isnt instantly obvious. So the line passing through starts to wear quickly and replacement is imminent. Armin told me the pulleys are not the same as on psycho2s and they should not block up. That we will have to see in the long term.
Also when self launching at the wind window edge, you will experience more pull than on the psycho2s - so plan more space downwind before you launch.
I cant say anything about the relaunch yet - it simply didnt drop in the water. The kite is as stable as to be expected from flysurfers.
In lulls i had an ear fold in but only on the turns. It didnt affect the flying characteristics and usually buy pulling the center line you could easily get the kite up again.
Thats it for day one, ill post photos and videos as soon as they are ready plus of course more info once i get on the water again.