I got to spend the say at Nahant, Mass checking out the new Crossbows and thought I'd share my experience.
Winds were side on and the highest reading I saw was about 12kts. Most of the checks showed 8-9 early on, eventually dropping to the 6-8 range.
It got to the point where people were checking to make sure it wasn't a "special" wind meter brought my the rep.
First look shows what looks like good workmanship and solid construction. Yes there are bridles, but they're not real complicated.
I first flew the 16 on the beach and was shown the relaunch. It was easy and worked as advertised. Relaunch an LEI on the sand? Everyone there was pretty impressed with that. Power was smooth and controllable in these light winds. At the zenith it required very little input to keep it neutral. No problem taking your hands off of the bar in you needed to fiddle with something. We also tried to make it hindenburg...no luck, wouldn't overfly, you could run towards the kite and the dang thing would just keep on flying. The depower was also every bit as good as other people have reported. Bar pressure? Some of the other guys defintely noticed it, but it didn't seem any different to me than my Rage II. I haven't flown tons of different kite brands, so maybe that plays into it.
On the water, just a fun, fun kite. The 16's turning speed seemed to be close to what I get with my current 12m. I weigh about 84k, call it 86 in a shorty and harness, and was riding a Liquid Force WLF 140. No problem getting up and staying upwind although I did catch myself watching the kite too much (not the kite's fault, I just wanted to look at it fly). There are little things to get used to, but nothing that seemed to frustrate anyone or slow them down. In fact everyone I saw who flew it came back smiling.
After begrugingly handing off the 16 to someone else, Gary (the rep) inflated the 12m as I was interested in seeing if it would get me moving. At this point the reading I took was showing 9.5 kts. The first thing I noticed is how much faster the 12 turned. Not twitchy in the air, but a quick turner. In the water I was able to get up and get some good rides up and down the beach (still on the WLF 140) I had to sine the kite pretty good but hey, I was ron the water and having fun. Between the light wind and waves, I couldn't really get upwind much though. The kite water relaunch is great (yes, I put kites into the water) even in the surf.
Of course about the same time, the Cabrinha rider Cameron (don't know your last name dude, sorry) took out the 9m CB with an underground surfboard (5 footer maybe?) and zipped up and down the beach with less effort than I was putting into the 12m (obviously I ain't got the same skillz)
Couple of other cool things I noticed throughout the day:
All three of the kite were crashed into the hard pack sand several times with no casualties.
At one point there was a CB that was leading edge down with sand on it and I watched Cameron walk over, pick up the bar and self launch it in under 15 seconds. (He wasn't demo-ing it to anyone, just went over and did it to get another kite up) Definitely one of those "did you see that?" moments.
They showed us a slick little self landing technique that puts the kite leading edge down, into the wind.
The lowest reading we got while someone was still riding was 5.4 kts. The guy looked to weigh only about 120-130 lbs, was using a litewave 179 and flying the 16m. He wasn't going upwind but was still able to cruise around pretty well. (This is where I was asked if the rep brought that wind meter)
The only other kites up were a North Vegas 16 and a PL Venom (19m I was told) The guy on the Vegas was working his kite, but struggling to gain a little upwind and came in shortly after going out.
The PL with a guy on a shorty surfboard was doing better. At one point we were able to watch both kites on a starboard tack. Everyone on the beach commented on the fact that the PL was being sined pretty hard while the CB was parked. The guy on the CB was going also about 50% faster (a guess) than the fellow on the PL.
I didn't intend to make this a glowing review, but I honestly couldn't find anything I disliked about the kite. The claims about this kite seem to be pretty accurate based on my limited experience with it. While Gary, the Rep said a couple of times the kite wasn't for everybody, I can't imagine that there are a lot of people who wouldn't enjoy flying it.
I'd like to thank Gary and Cameron for taking the time to shows us the kites and hang around while we got to have all the fun! And Andrew from Powerline Sports for organizing the thing.
Of course in return, they got to learn that in New England you can actually give directions by the locations of the many Dunkin Donuts.
Final note: I'm not a pimp and don't own any Cabrinha products (but probably will). My currently owned kites are from Windwing, Best and Ozone. I haven't flown the Nova, Rapture, HF or flysurfers, so I can't offer comparisons. If any of those other companies would like to visit the northern New England, I'm sure you could find plenty of riders willing to give your kites a fair shot.