Best Yarga 13.5m
Rider: 165lbs (75kg)
Other Kites Owned: 16m Aero2, 12m Aero, 10m Aero, 14m Fuel 02, 6.5m Airush ATV
Board: 147cm Hammersurf GTO
Bar/Lines: 50cm bar, UDS, 27m lines
Test Day 1: 12-14mph
Test Day 2: 18-28mph
Pictures of Kite (see post below)
I wish I could do a full review on the kite, but I really only got the chance to try it twice. The first session was pretty underpowered, and the second session started good but then got overpowered. If you are looking for a review from a rider with more experience on these type of kites (newer moderate AR) please read SQ's review here: http://www.kiteforum.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=2299981
For my review I will say that I am mearly an intermediate rider, and don't have a lot of fancy tricks under my belt. But I'd imagine a lot of people reading this are probably at the same point in their kiteboarding career, so my review is for you.
Lots of material, very stiff tips and struts. The foam backing on the LE and struts may be what cause this kite to feel a bit heavier than my Aero2 16. The material also seems thicker in many sections where the Aero2 is very thin. The kite looks nice pumped up, I am a fan of the 1/3 Blue 2/3 Black color layout, but not all my friends were. The struts match the color of the canopy, and some people I showed it to were suspicous of how the black fabric will last in the sun. I have had non symetrical layout kites before, but never with different colored struts. Time will tell if this will effect long term performance or not. Its certainly not the only primarily black kite out there (my friend's 04 Fuels are both primarily black with half black struts.)
When pumped up the kite is very stiff, especially in the struts. The tip struts are fed from the LE blatter, and are much stiffer than on my Aero2 for the same amount of air pressure. Even with the kite not pumped up to 6 psi, the struts on the tips felt very firm.
In the Air
No real surprises here. It did seem very stable, and I liked how the kite maintained its shape even when I drastically changed the sheeting. My Aero2 has an annoying quality where the end tips pinch in when its sheeted in, this causes the the handling of the kite to change every time you change the AOA. The Yarga seemed to maintain its shape and handling characteristics until I completely oversheeted it.
It had more bar pressure than my Aero2, which took some getting used to. Depowered the steering didn't change too much, and I was surprised how much control I had even with the rear lines completely slacked.
The low end was very impressive. Even when I probably was asking more of the kite then I should have, it still responded with plenty of power. I could generate a lot of speed and power and even jump head high in 12mph wind, but it took 14mph before I could stay upwind easily. Even in low wind, the kite moved me along the water more quickly than my others do.
The upper end didn't reveal any magic. Its kind of an odd sized kite for me, that feels pretty big. I didn't feel comfortable on it past 25mph. This could be in part because of my bigger board (which I plan on replacing soon.) I was happy with how the kite would shoot forward in the window when I needed it.
Unfortunately I never got to ride the kite in its sweet spot wind range (15-20mph), which kind of sucks since I think it would have done well. I was happy with it even outside of its range, and would say that its very friendly from 14-25mph.
Never had a problem, relaunched as easy as my older kites, way easier than my Aero2.
Since I never quite had good wind, my jumps were either little baby ones, or crazy high ones. The big jumps were higher than I've been before, but I never quite got the timing down right. It was also on my very first week after not being out in months, so I am still a bit rusty. I can say though that the Yarga had me going high enough that I'm not sure that a higher AR kite (like the Nemesis) is really necessary.
No big surprises here. It turns pretty quick. I think I might need to go to a bigger bar (currently using 50cm) to get the most out of the turning.
I think the Yarga is a fantastic kite. At first my buddies all made fun of the name (what the hell does it mean anyway?) and the fact that its cheap. It doesn't have the sex appeal and cool features of say a One Pump Fuel, but it flies just as good (I rode it on the same day as my buddy on a 04 Fuel.) I'd say if you have a deal on an 04 Fuel that makes it just as cheap, go for it. Otherwise, its a no brainer: Buy the Yarga, take the hundreds of dollars you saved, and go to the offseason spot you've been dreaming about. You can be assured that your money was well spent on a kite that will not disappoint, and when you start jumping higher than your buddies who spent 30% more, then you will have the last laugh.