Helix 9 Review.
Firstoff...what a NICE NICE kite. I'm just in from a nice session in some huge sets and I am soooo stoked. Having used this kite for quite a while now, I really feel I can say something about durability and build. Bomber build, and no point wearing. When I got thew kite I was a little weary that the new shape would bring with it new types of wear, but this kite holds up very well.
Someone really put some effort into their design.
I've read a lot of different comments about the kite, but it is clear to me after riding the kite for maybe 30 sessions that this a superb piece of flying dacron / ripstop. All I can say for this is the BEST EVER KITE!!! I love it. I still have not had a bad session on this kite.
First thing, unpacking a brand new Helix is the bag. It is similar to last years, but they have addressed the sizing and the ability to leave the struts inflated on the bag. It now comes with extra material to fit the kite with inflated struts. Excellent as this is what I do often if I know there is a new session right around the corner, or if my kite is wet and sandy. The bag has extra pockets, and lots of thingies to pack the kite very tight.
The kite design this year is a lot cleaner and my kite is white, and orange with blue leading edge and struts. I am happy with how it looks...although looks is secondary.
The bar is addressing issues that people had with the stopper. Last year. I disengaged mine and found that fine...now that I have a stopper I find I am using it more and more. It is also a very elegant stopper. , which only needs a slight push with a finger to move..even when the bar is pushing against it. The bar basically comes in two versions, one with a 2:1 switching to 1:1 option and 1:1. The newer bars also have a smart loop that is just about the cleanest bar I have ever had. I now have maybe 60 sessions on my smartloop bar, and it shows no visible wear.
The bar also has a metal hole(?)..a part that would wear out last year with the stopper.
On the non-smartloop bar there is still the â€œproâ€ leash attachment, which find super nice. I use it for a lot of self landings..witrh the smartloop I smply let go of the bar, and you really don;t need a pro-leash attachment. I simply attanch my leash to the chickenloop when unhooking with the kite.
The bar and kite construction seems bomb proof, and I usually pump my kite up hard.
So for the meat.
I've used this kite in winds ranging 10 â€“ 18, averaging under 15 mph, going up wind on a skim board, on my fish I go fairly effortlessly upwind in about 15 mph. I've ridden the kite in over 30 mph, and the kite has no problems handling it. I have no idea what the high end of this kite is, I have not even been close to it (from the feel). I think the kite excels in wind from maybe 18 mph to upper 20 on surfboards.
It turns very fast, and is a super nice kite to use in the waves for sure. This goes actually for both the (9 and the 12). It turns fast, without the delay that older SLE / bows has, and with power. It loops fast, and and with power, but of course you can dump the power whenever you feel l like it. It did take me some time to get loops dialed in on the kite, and being a higher aspect kite, it isn't as gentle with you as the Cult for instance is while looping. The kite really jumps super high, and have better hang time than anything I have ridden. I've ridden this kite in big surf (for me big..double to triple overhead), and it performs very well, fast turning, keeps the power in the kite, and floats with you better than any other kite I have ridden. I've messed up a couple of times, and when the lines go slack the the kite instead of turning upside down or anything weird, it simply floats downwind until the lines tightens up.
The kite has pretty good low end I think, but excels in more powered situations, I've had it out in under 15 mph and I have not been close to the top end..I've had it out in well over 30 mph...
The safety is simple and effective, you have a huge depower on the bar. There are two bars to choose between the smart loop, where you can attach your leash the the depower strap...if you let go, the kite will simply depower it self and go into the water slowly. Relaunch is super simple. the shape of the kite lets it leave the water early, simply pull one of the back lines, and off you go. Self launch, easy, attach you CL to something, put the kite upon its side and go...or walk up wind and launch like you would relaunch...easy as pie.
Relaunch is a breeze, pull one back line, and the kite tilts over and relaunches. I'd say it takes about 2-4 seconds to relaunch it after I mess up. I dare anyone to find a kite easier to relaunch.
Very good if you want to get your kite in the air before the next set hits.
Another nice thing IMO is that the kite can be controlled though the sheeting range. This is big step forward compared to other kites. You can still turn the kite while depowering. The shape makes it tilt from the center, and thus keeps tension on the back lines a lot better than other SLE and bows I've ridden.
Jumping is awsome...it jumps better like a c kite, but hangs longer than anything else I have ridden....even the old x10. Actually you can choose if you want to jump it like a bow or c...you can send it to the top and sheet in, and off you go..or you can send it hard across the window and off you go...either way gives super good height and hangtime. I've already put mine through the grinder in terms of different conditions, and the kite is very well behaved. I does not have any bad habits. Super stable, even in crazy gusty changing direction winds, and I think the only thing the kite is somewhat sensitive to is oversheeting. Nothing bad will happen you will only loose power, and the fix is easy..if the kite is oversheeting adjust the depower slightly..the 9 helix is so far my all time favorite kite. I took it out in nice super gusty conditions, and the kite is just so easy to ride..yet it has a lot of stored power for when you want to jump, or loop, or do whatever. The only thing I have not done a lot of yet is unhooking..but I've ridden waves, flats, choppy, gusty, rainy, squally, steady, close to shore and in open ocean conditions...with a full range of different boards...surfboards and TT's.
Still: Helix 9 Best ever.