During the past year I researched and learnd about light wind kiting, coz that's what I have plenty of.
80% of the year 7 to 12 knots.
My first step forward was using a bigger board,
but then I got stucked on the 10-12 knots without being capable of going upwind under 10 knots.
So I started to test every kite that I could get my hands on.
I tried the following (of course in different situations, but always under the condition that my 16 can't take me upwind):
Yarga 21, Venom 19, Contra 16.5 and 19.5, Machine 17, RRD Type Z 20, Hellfish 17 and SofX Eagle 24.
Finally I reached the under 10 knots upwind fun-riding mark, yeahhh !
I can't tell if it's because of the size or the design,
but the only kite on which I could go upwind and even do some small jumps
was the 24.
Besides the low end feature of the kite, it has excellent upwind capability.
I'll try to describe how I got into that conclusion:
I'm 76 kg (naked ) and was riding side by side to a guy weighting 65.
He was on a big directional, while I was on a big twin tip.
He was on a Venom 19 and I had the Eagle 24.
The guy is one of the pioneers in kitesurfing (about 8 years in the field) and a very skilled rider,
while I'm a two year old 'intermidiot'
The fact was that I was pointing easily while he was going downwind.
What really surprised me was the holding of the kite in the air during the lulls.
When riding under light winds, the most difficult situation is
when you do a jibe and at that specific point in time the wind lulls down to 5 -6 knots.
Hey ! there are black holes in the wind !
(did I say that Murphy is mother f..r ? )
Despite it's size and weight, the kite sticks up to the air like with glue.
Kill me if I understand why. I am starting to believe that big kites have a better lift per weight-unit than the smaller kites.
Another nice feature is the speed that it developes on such light wind conditions.
At about 9 knots, the kite reaches the sweet point and you speed through the swell as if you are on a 16mt at 15 knots.
As I was getting impressed with the 24, I gave a good look at it's design and I found the following interesting points:
It has a peculiar stitching on the LE. The closing of the LE is on the inner part of the u shape, what seems to give a better support (like a beam) that reinforces the kite while openning wide, for whatever reason.
I had two different kites that exploded because of that issue.
Another point of interest is that the material of the canopy is kind of siliconish (?). The sand doesn't stick to it as to other kites. Also when it gets wet, the water drops out of it faster.
What pissed me off was the inflating inlet on the LE.
It has a one way valve that makes the inflating job a killer (you die on the job ). So I inflated it through the deflating outlet (which is as small as the inflating one, instead of using a bigger one in like most big kites).
If you don't have too much alternatives but to ride in light winds,
try the big monsters.
I can guarantee that you will have a lot more of joyfull riding days.