This past weekend was plenty windy. Sunday afternoon on has seen wind here in the 20 to 30 mph range with some spikes to over 40. Sunday afternoon there were three of us out on the water in wind that was in the 12 to 15mph range. There was a VERY experienced rider, a student with two days experience and myself somewhere in between. The accomplished kiter was on a 15m RRD, the student was on a 20m North R. and I was on a 16m Crossbow. On one of my outbound tacks I passed the RRD rider. The wind started to pick up. In the space of about 30 seconds it went from 15 to 30! I was starting to get lofted so I popped the stopper ball. As I looked back I saw the RRD dragging its rider toward the shore. He had been pulled off the board and was just hanging on. Then I saw the student being drug in the same way. I turned downwind to chase him. He did everything he could do right. There were people just downwind so he could not pull the release. If he had brought the kite up he would have been lofted into or over them. As I went by him I yelled for him to keep it in the water. I slid up to the kite, grabbed the leading edge and held it down until he could come over and get it. Since there were no kiters to grab my kite and I did not feel overpowered I sailed back out to look for his board and found someone else was taking it to him. I then sailed back up wind to where my friends and wife were franticly yelling for me to come in. I went past them so I could bring the kite down away from the lifeguard stand and people. And put it safely into the hands of another kiter. The whole time I was not overpowered and the kite was easy to control. After I popped the ball I was not lofted or dragged and never felt in danger of being pulled onto the beach. The wind on ikitesurf.com showed a 32mph gust. It had been a clear day and no indication of that kind of increase preceded the gust. It held there for a few minutes and the people I come with needed to leave. So I did not get any more sailing in for that day. I am so glad I had the Crossbow up. Even if I had had my 12m Nitro I would have been dragged. I would not have felt comfortable on anything larger than a 7m. The Crossbow saved my bacon and let me help another kiter who was in trouble. The kite was very impressive.
The following day I was back out on the beach with the same kite. The wind was a mild 20mph. After the day before I knew that I could take the kite out in that kind of wind. So I put up he 16. DONÃ¢â‚¬â„¢T DO THIS UNLESS YOU ARE VERY EXPIERANCED. I spent most of the day on the 16 except when I was trying out a friends 12 Crossbow. I had a great time. I flew with the stopper ball popped all day and by the end of the day was throwing forward and back spins in singles, doubles and triples. The jumps were not as high as you might think. I did not jump with lots of speed. The hang time was fantastic. So, twenty footers would last for about a six count. I watched other people jumping and I could blast one before they left the water and they would go as high but land about he same time I was just coming down. Give yourself LOTS OF ROOM. I could just go along at about 5mph, pull the kite to the top and pull in on the bar. I needed to wedge my feet into the straps because it can pull you right out of them. I think 25mph is the top of where I would have fun with this kite. As the day progressed there were lots of spikes into the 30s, which I just flew through. The bar has less pull in higher winds and I did not feel any more fatigue in my arms than normal. The kite was easy to pull through a turn and made hitting the lip very easy. Wave riding was great too. The 12 was really in its element though. It was the high jumper for the day. Although I think I could have hucked 30 footers on the 16 the 12 was easy and one of the local guys did it over and over. I spoke to a guy who was visiting our beach and owned a 9. He did not bring it because he thought he would not need it. He was about my weight and said that it comes on in about 20mph wind. The wind was at least 20 most of the day with gusts over 25. I liked the 16 and the others liked the 12s. I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know how often I would fly the 9 but I may get one because when the wind is in the 30s a 40mph gust is common. If you are new to the sport dont go out in wind over 18. Even though this particular kite can handle higher wind if you do something wrong you can get hurt fast. One of the guys went back out on his 12 after another rider had flown it. He did not realize that the stopper ball was locked back down. He jumped too close to the beach and landed on the sand on his butt and back and then was dragged hard for a few yards. Although he controlled the kite just fine he still has sore spots. it was lucky no one was downwind.