Seeing as no one seems to have had the chance or the time, I thought I'd pop my thoughts on the new Sport II's here.
As you may well know, we attended Kitestock in Dongara WA recently and had 11 brand new Ozone kites to demo over the three days. We took with us Instinct Edge II 13, 11 and 9m. Instinct Sport II, 13, 11, 9 and 7m, and INstinct Light II, 12, 9, 7 and 5m.
We had a great opportunity to test all of the kites in steady winds from 12 knots up to 25 knots as the wind increased very gradually all day long. This review is on the Sport II's.
Bag: First thing you notice is the quality and finish of the bag. very well thought out and ample size for the kite. When you pull out the kite, you pull out the new lightweight bag containing the kite. You also pull out the bar from it's internal pocket within the main bag (very nice). The kite has a compression strap around it, and although nice when new, I reckon it has no place in the day to day use of the kite. The kite is completed with a neat repair kit containing a large strip of Tear aid repair tape, and 30cm x 20cm sheets of all of the colours of the canopy material as well as the black dacron for the struts and Leading edge. The kit also contains spare parts for the one pump system which now comes standard with all of the kites in the range including a cable tie and spare crimpy thing for the hoses!
Bar: This years bar is exceptional and is a complete rebuild of last years bars. The new bar has the same stainless centre hole but the Beal line has had the PVS tubing removed to make sheeting even smoother. The composite bar ends are beautifully smooth and have EVA foam padding right up the bar ends for protecting hands in F16's. The new Megatron Chickenloop is awesome with a dedicated ring for suicide attachment keeping the chicken loop free from clips and suicide shackles. The Chicken dick is easy to swing into or out of position for pinned or unhooked riding and is suitable for the job.
The quick release is a 1000% better than the 07 chicken loop QR and can be reset with one hand if dextrous. It is easy to use, super safe and effective, you can even adjust the bungie tension for triggering pressure.
A super nice feature that no one told me about is the little plastic bit that is connected to the chicken loop to the beal line. You'll notice that the front lines have no swivel above the trim, thats becasue it is acheived by twisting the little plastic bit between the chicken loop and the bar. SO easy and smart. If you get a bunch of twists, just give it a spin and the twists are gone! The best invention thus far!
The Cleat for trim is perfect, cleats everytime with minimal effort and is easy to adjust powering up and down. The old webbing strap is gone and the new one is a non flapping beal line which connects in a loop to the centre line below the cleat, it makes it super easy to adjust and doesn't dangle around and flap in the wind. The other part to the bar is the flagging/landing handle which press studs onto the beal line near the depower line to keep it close but not flapping around in the wind. Very nice! This is also the place for beginners to clip their safety leash for a "kill the kite" bar release.
The steering lines have the trimmer straps on each side to allow for easy trim of power and to level the bar if the lines were out I guess???
Overall, the bar is amazing, simple, clean, comfortable, effective and uncluttered. Do I dare say ..... Possibly the best bar on the market ?????
Kite : Lines are colour coded and numbered to make it even more kook proof and are super quality. Just attach the lines to their corresponding pigtails and you are ready to go. Care must be taken to ensure the 5th line is not tangled and also the steering lines on the kite as sometimes, the anti invert lines can be caught around the outside of the wingtip outside of the steering lines. This is something you just get used to checking prior to launch, either that or remove the anti invert lines, they seem to serve little purpose.
The first thing you notice with the kite itself, apart from the build quality, is the super thin struts and the small diameter leading edge - so thin! The one pump system has it pumped up very quickly with the reduced volume and you can easily pump the kites to 9 or 10 psi. We pump the smaller ones 7 and 9 to 10psi and the larger ones (11 and 13) to 9 psi. This is adequate to keep them firm and rigid enough. Before launching, we adjust the back lines with the bar trim straps to as short as they'll go, this gives a nice direct feel to the kite on launch and allows extra power until the front lines stretch in.
Flying characteristics: The kite climbs easily to 12 o'clock and sits there beautifully. You really notice how rigidly the canopy sits in all parts of flying and all parts of the wind window whether the wind is gusty of smooth. Whilst other kites are bucking around, wobbling or jellyfishing, the whole range of Instincts sit there rock solid!
The bar pressure is very light and if you come from other more heavy bar kites, it will take some getting used to. It feels odd to have little bar pressure and yet such direct control over turning and power. It's so easy to hold power and steer effectively with one hand for long periods of time. Although you may feel underpowered, you trust the kite and send it into the wind window and feel the smooth power come on, the kite turns very quickly with minimal pressure and moves back to 12 for the second power dive and then you're planing upwind fast still with little pressure in the bar. Allowing the bar to depower you slow down immediately but progressively.
The power from these kites is strong and very smooth and the quickness in the turns makes them a pleasure to fly. There is just enough feedback from the bar to know exactly where the kites are in the wind window and the speed through the window is quick without being ridiculous. The sports boost nicely and provide great hangtime and even drop you quite smoothly back down. They don't hang or jump quite as well as the Edge II's but you wouldn't expect that anyway.
The power in the turns remains more constant than the Edge II's and the pull in kiteloops is a lot more smooth than the 07 Sport. The 08 Sport II's boost you high and when you pull the bar for a mega loop the kite responds instantly in the smaller sizes and loops hard and fast producing a scary downwind pull but then has the speed to get back to 12 o'clock to cushion the landing although it will still be at 100 mph! The 7m Sport is fast enough to double kiteloop and the 9m pulls harder in the loops.
We flew these kites all weekend in the hands of peoplewho had never flown them before and were doing all sorts of silly things to them on the beach and in the water and I thing I saw an Edge II, luff just once over the three day weekend. Sports didn't luff at all. None of the kites back stalled at all!
One of the remarkable things with the kites is their wind range. There were times when we had, 13, 11, 9 and 7m Sports all out in the same wind speed and the same went for the Edges and all riders were comfortably powrrd without being over or under powered. I am at a loss to how to explain this .
The upwind ability without even trying is insane on these kites and the same for the edges. They all power upwind better than any other kite I have flown and they do it easily!
Water relaunch is about as easy as it gets with just turning the bar usually being all it takes. We had several kites dropped in the surf and badly tumbled even rolling inside of themselves but somehow, they would come back up and were able to be flown to the beach. Again, I can't explain this as to how the 5th line wasn't wrapped around the kite, but the bars were twisted inside the back lines and they flew fine.
Overall, the kites are a serious step up on last years in all areas, especially the bar and smoothness of the kites. The only negetive I have is possibly the span lines which I would remove off my personal kites, but not a big enough issue to worry about removing off the demo kites we have. The feedback we received was amazing, the kites were excellent and I only had one negetive feedback over thew whole weekend and that was that bar pressure was too light.
I've tried to write this as unbiased as I can and it's hard to not seem to be pimping and hyping, so I recommend you try one for yourself and see what I mean.
Good winds and I hope this review was of interest.