Im in Paracuru Ã¢â‚¬â€œ brasil and have been riding the 11m gk sonic for the last 10 days. Heres some info on me:
other kites: roberto ricci designs type6, flysurfer speed, flysurfer psycho2
objectivity: Im not selling GK kites, im not sponsored and i try to be as objective as possible
Depower/range: Yes its true. This is a close as it gets to your 1 or 2 kite quiver. Ive been riding the 11m in 12-30 knots. In both extremes the kite behaves the same, turning speed is not affected by the depower because you always find the point where the back lines are tense enough to make it turn quickly Ã¢â‚¬â€œ unlike with a regular tube kite thats depowered to the max, with backlines all slack. In the low end , 12 knots seems to be the bottom for me (unless I use my flydoor). Further more, you have to be careful when you trim the depowerline so you dont overpower the trim and therefore stall the kite. It takes a little practice but it is nothing comlicated.
Now even in 30 knots I never felt overpowered. You can always keep your edge easily Ã¢â‚¬â€œ in fact your ride is so relaxed and smooth that you dont even get as tired in high winds. The last 2 days we had winds of 25-30 knots in the lagoon at Taibe and any gust that hits the sonic simply disappears the moment you compensate with the bar. Theres the secret to this kite anyway: The bar is your throttle and gust compensator. Unlike any other regular kite, pulling the bar really makes the difference between full power and zero pull. You can literally kill any gust just by pushing the bar out Ã¢â‚¬â€œ no more back breaking, losing the edge, or even worrying about how much space you got downwind of you in case you cant hold the edge. You simply ALWAYS hold the edge. I know, this sounds crazy, but you really have that amount of control. Now the question Ã¢â‚¬â€œ monkey arms? The answer: NO. You can adjust the point of max power or max depower to your liking. If you have short arms, you will have to sacrifice a little on one of the two Ã¢â‚¬â€œ either on the max power or on the max depower. Usually when the wind is strong (above 25 knots) you will prefere a little less power so you can ride comfortable. When you pull the bar in you anyway have a 11m kite above you while the rest is out on 8m kites!
Hangtime: Very good. Easily as good as any of my foils from flysurfer Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and that says a lot! Beats any of my tubes by miles.
Jump: Jumping height is absolutely equal to my RRD tubes, lift off is slightly less brutal Ã¢â‚¬â€œ it gives you a smoother jerk but still far harder than the flysurfer foils. Timing for the jumps is just like any other tube kite i rode. The true advantage of the sonic here is your bar. You hold the edge ALWAYS even before lift off at 25 knots and then when you cut in to get the pop, you pull on the bar and you are on your way to the moon. It is an incredible sensation. Ive been jumping better than ever before thanks to the edge control. I truly believe this kite will make anyone jump properly in less time (you know, the usual low and fast jumps of beginners Ã¢â‚¬â€œ no more) simply because the pulling in of the bar already gives you so much lift that cutting for the pop is not as important as it is on regular tubes.
Speed: Fast. Not as fast as my rrd type6 12m but very close. It moves very quickly in the window, can be pushed with ease to the edge, especially in combination with the incredible amount of depower. I can cut upwind nearly equally well as on my speeds Ã¢â‚¬â€œ thats already a ridiculous angle compared to my other tube kites. Kiteloops are spot on, the kite pivots on ist tip in any part of the window you place it. You want a powered loop? Pull the bar in. You want to do unhooked backloops with kiteloops at 25 knots without doing a prayer before? No problem. You depower the kite so you ride comfortably as if you had wind of 15 knots and go for it. It feels like cheating - ist that easy.
Steering forces: Just like a tube. Very similar to my RRD tubes, maybe slightly softer. No way even close to the crossbow but also not as soft as my speeds.
Relaunch/Safety: Yes!!! It s foiltime!!!! This thing relaunches like all my flysurfer foils. When it falls it usually falls to the edge of the window and waits on ist side to relaunch with hardly any pull on the chickenloop. You simply handle up the depower line to the bar, steer the kite a little up while pulling the bar back and it rises out of the water. If it falls leading edge down, just pull one steering line, the kite will flip over while moving to the edge of the window and rise. It falls leading edge down facing you, no problem. Pull a steering line, the kite turns around and flips to the side. Ive tried all possible positions, this thing gets out always in seconds Ã¢â‚¬â€œ lightyears faster than tube kites, even with 5th line. No more swimming, in fact like with my foils, you hardly even get your feet out of the board to relaunch, its usually up before you know it. It is very stable in the sky and often when you mess up a move, you simply let go of the bar, and the kite immediately loses ALL power and stays a while in the sky until it falls to the side of the window, waiting for relaunch. The safety is simply the best system I ever tried. No quickrelease, no 2 step safety, nothing. Just let that bar go and you are in the safe zone. This alone for me is the perfect reason to make this our next schooling kite (im IKO Instructor in Ibiza). Further more, you are willing to do any move because relaunching is so easy and quick that you dont care where and how the kite lands if you crash. All I can say is Ã¢â‚¬â€œ you must try this safety because once you have, you will be scared to even hook in to your old system ever again. Selflaunch Ã¢â‚¬â€œ just like any tube kite except for the folding part Ã¢â‚¬â€œ put sand on the tip and use the fact that you can launch the kite close to the powerzone with hardly any pull Ã¢â‚¬â€œ just let go of the bar when in danger.
Quality: Nothing I could comlain about Ã¢â‚¬â€œ sofar the kite survived everything I gave it, and i punished it hard in the waves more than once.
Negatives: The stopper is useless. The idea might be ok to have a plastic tube inside the depower but in reality, this just rips up the depower line in a matter of days. Plus, you cant just easily move that tube inside the depower line to adjust where you want the stopper to hook in. So basically if the wind changes, you must land the kite, remove the tube, replace it in the spot you want the bar to be stopped and go out to ride. Useless. Another thing: The safety is also in danger once you use the stopper. It will not let the bar rise to the max and therefore the kite cannot depower to zero pull when you let go of the bar. I recommend you forget about it, which means learning to untwist your lines with two hands on the bar so it doesnt escape while you turn it (easy Ã¢â‚¬â€œ nothing complicated and you get used to it easily) and also forget practicing the Ã¢â‚¬Å¾deadmanÃ¢â‚¬Å“ move. Apart from that Ã¢â‚¬â€œ no drawback whatsoever. You will never miss the stopper because you can always adjust the point where the bar is at a comfortable position for riding without pulling on your arms. Either GK finds a different solution or forget about it completely.
Another thing: This kite is different in many aspects. I dont recommend mixing this kite with other tubes unless you are very seasoned in kiting different gear because you might one day release the bar, thinking the power cuts to zero while you realise that you are on a regular tube kite thats looping you into the next obstacle.
Summary: Try it Ã¢â‚¬â€œ you will like it. Nobody who had a ride on it came to me comlplaining. To me this represents the best mix of advantages between a tube and a foil kite without sacrificing anything essential. The safety aspect alone is such a huge leap forward (be honest Ã¢â‚¬â€œ how often did you have time to pull that quickrelease? Ã¢â‚¬â€œ no more Ã¢â‚¬â€œ just let go of the bar). The range is beyond belief Ã¢â‚¬â€œ To cover all wind ranges I think you need a 11m and a 14m. As the 11m behaves very well in 25-30 knots (thats all I tested it in sofar) I dont see what a 8m would be good for unless you are a lightweight. However be aware of one thing Ã¢â‚¬â€œ this kite does not have lots of grunt. You need a fast board. Other than that, I know this doesnt sound objective but it is true, this kite rocks Ã¢â‚¬â€œ just in case you doubted whether I like it.