Kite Size: 12m
Wind: 18kn to 30kn SE
My Weight: 80Kg.
Board Size: 133X40cm.
Notes: First Impressions.
The Bag's pretty much standard for North, black with white print.
The kite came set up with the 5th line ready to fly. No set up needed. (But can be removed and flown with 4 lines. Still to be tested.) The new 2 pump system is actually really simple, one valve on the centre strut linked by a "tube" running along the inside of the leading edge to all the other struts, quick and easy. Then the Leading edge gets pumped up with its own valve.
The first thing we noticed was that it was marginaly flatter than the rhino. The wing tips are quite a bit wider, than any regular C kite. I think this aids in turning speed and gives the kite almost bow like characteristics. Build quality looks good and the kite was put through some extreme testing later in the day and came out unscathed.
The Kites got quite a few connection points for the lines, 3 for the back and 2 for the front. I tested all and found my favourite to be the furthest front and back (widest setting). This set up produced the lightest bar pressure and fastest turning, but still had great depower. You can tweak the bar settings till you find your ultimate ride style. With the chicken line at its longest one can do kite loops on the beach with very little pull. But i prefer a regular depower length and re-set it.
On the water i noticed how smooth the kite was. Soaking up the gusts, with very little pull or tugging on the bar. The pressure needed is lite and after spending 4 days on the water with a BOW was very refreshing.
De-powering the kite is smooth, with a gradual shut off, which is easy to controll. When fully depowered the 12 couldnt pull me on the water, but i could still feel it and it would still fly. This can be set to fall out of the sky if you want, by lengthening the depower line.(Not Tested).
When fully sheeted in the 12m didnt feel like a 14 or 16. I prefer this to the BOWs as unhooking and no-whipped stuff felt alot better. Simply because when riding a bow in strong winds and the depower line is fully pulled, is fine when the bar sits half way down the the chicken loop line. but when you unhook or during the jump pull down on the bar the power boost is scary, and plays a big part in your confidence. So it was nice to know that i could unhook and there would be that regular (read "mellow") pull on the vegas. The kite sits nicely in the air, stable.
Up-wind ability was fine, but needs to be tested in lighter days. I feel the kites turning is fast but there is about 10 degrees of play where you can "wiggle" the bar and the kite is unresponsive. This is really cool for handle passes as theres some room for rider error, but for wave riding i would enquire about stiffer end-battens, i think this would increase the responsiveness.
Re-Launching was easy, there was alot of wind so this needs to be tested in lighter conditions.
The Final Quality test: Well ill just say the kite came down hard! Straight down and in the power . Smashing directly on the crest of a swell. Forcing the the Leading edge valve out on impact, thats whate the velcro is for, next time put it on tight. The kite spent 20 minutes in winds gusting to 32kn. attatched only by the 5th line. It was twisted, whipped inside out, slapped and washed through alot of swells and white wash, literally beaten. With some heroic efforts the kite finally made it back to shore. Later it was discovered that the damage summed up to a single cam batten break. Not bad. But i think a carbon alternative would solve the issue of broken battens.
Over-all (first)Impressions: The kite flew great. Total controll, steady pull large amount of depower. Compared to the Rhino '06 the vegas has more depower. Large range up towards the high end, Low end still to be tested. Could be my next kite.
the full review is in the http://www.ikiteboarding.com
forum section, with on going posts.