I finally got a first chance to fly my Contra 17 in what I would almost call NO wind (<4knots). I only used it on the beach, but I finished my trial with a big smile on my face. That thing has bottom end, but what's the top end???
Have a look at the pictures...
Pic 1: The water is dead flat. Not a wrinkle!!!!
Pic 2: The kite lying on the ground facing the wind and it isn't moving. There is literally nothing I would consider calling wind!!!!
Pic 3: A friend of mine is doing a 'beach jump' to see if the kite has lift in almost no wind. I was holding her down by the harnes while she was flying the kite as it was dragging her down wind (she weights around 55kg).
Pic 4: Another friend of mine flying the kite and being dragged down the beach (75kg).
Tomorrow I will try it on the water. If it doesn't rain, the forecast is ideal to test the bottom end. I will then make more comments on the kite's performance including my first impressions from today.
Beach Jump.JPG (19.42 KiB) Viewed 10354 times
Kite in Wind.JPG (77.79 KiB) Viewed 10354 times
Flat Watter.JPG (17.39 KiB) Viewed 10355 times
Last edited by Phillipp on Wed Jun 07, 2006 2:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Phillip: Is the cover light weight? I've had everything up to 20M and the laws of gravity, combined with light air, seem to pull almost all kites down except foils. I don't mind cruising on top of surfboards but most kites [I've had] won't stay at zenith under 8kts. Maybe you can explain why you think it works...
I actually only wanted to pump up the kite and see how it looks. But stubborn as I am I decided to connect the lines and give it a 'hot' launch (straight down no-wind )
I was totally (surprised) when the thing went up and was actually flying. I could even leave it parked in the air. My friends and I had our jaws hanging down.
I was actually expecting to have to give it a good run to get it up and that it would literally fall out of the sky once I stopped.
I will ride it tomorrow in more wind (hopefully) and give it a little write up.
But as I said before...
Go demo one. I would recommend that with any kite. Don't make your mind based on what I wrote. This should just help you to narrow down your choices, not to make them for you!!!
P.S.: Jim, I assume this kite needs less wind to stay in the air since it has a better ratio of useable (projected) area per kg of weight. More similar to a foil. But I'm sure there are better placed people to answer this question. I just kitesurf.
I actually tested the 14 and 17 yesterday with one of my coworkers in about 5 MPH with mega-gusts hitting about 7 MPH. Unfortunately, the tide current was also running downwind, so the test conditions were super poor. The reality is that the wind was too light to really kite, but we tried the two kites with a skimboard, a Custom 133, and a protoype Prodigy 148 to try to get a feel for the power. I was nonetheless able to go on the skimboard/14 for most of the time. I was mostly going downwind, but occasionally I was able to get lifted nicely upwind. I found that the kite was very efficient if I could just get a little speed and then sheet out to let the kite breathe. I noticed a significant reduction in bar pressure when compared to the Crossbow 16.
The 17 wouldn't really go on the Custom 133 at all (we didn't even try the 14 with this board) - too much rocker for that little wind. With the Prodigy 148/Contra 17m combo, the performance was about equal to the skimboard/14. While riding the skimboard, the 17 could be locked in place (a little sheeted out once moving along) and would hold it's ground nicely. We noticed most of the power of the 17 coming on the downstroke when moving the kite around to develop speed. I wish we had more time on this Contra 17/Skimboard combo, but the wind totally died off.
Basically I would say that a bigger rider (200+ lbs) on the 17m can expect to get the same light air performance as an average weight rider (170 lbs) on the 14m in the 8-10 MPH wind range. A 170 lb person on the 17m can go in less wind than the 14m, but the overall range of the 17m will suffer on the top end with that rider weight. I think once you get to the type of conditions that we rode in yesterday, you are still better off spear fishing. One more thing, to get the best light air performance out of the 17, I would recommend a bigger board with a fast (flatter) rocker line, a specialized light wind board, or a skimboard to get the maximum light air performance out of the kite.
More to come when I ride the kites in 8-10 MPH. Demo for yourself, don't take my word for it. Contact a Cabrinha dealer to find out when demos will be available.
I took those pics, I could not beleive the kite would fly, there was virtually no wind, only my very lightest, specially built lightwind sport kite would fly in what that Contra 17 was flying in, incredibly efficient profile and design.