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 Post subject: Review: Gaastra Spyder
PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2006 12:31 pm 
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The spyder is a hybrid I have been flying a lot in various conditions, sizes ranging from 5m,7m9m to 12m. Theres a 15m too but I didnt get my hands on it yet.
Im around 70kgs, always on my 128x38 board. Water was always choppy.
The sweet size is the 7 or 9m - depending on where you kite and what you weigh. Most noticable is that you should ride the 7,9 and 12 with a 50cm bar while the 5 is for the 45cm bar. Only with the bigger bar the kites really turn fast and are fun to ride. The 5m though (which I rode in the worst possible levante conditions here in Tarifa) is great on the shorter bar, without being too nervous.
The spyder is one of the bows which truly are rock stable. Riding in gusty winds ranging between 30-45 knots, the 7m and the 5m never inverted or showed tendencies to cave in. The usual tricks didnt make the kite fold either - full tension on the lines with sudden depower to the max while riding straight downwind. Ive taken out the 5m in winds above 45 knots - my guess was we had gusts of 55 knots or maybe more that day (couldnt measure it on the open sea but on the beach we already had 45 gusty knots) and the 5m was absolute stable. So if you are looking for a fighting machine for crazy conditions, the small spyders are your choice.
The SBow from starkites was the only bow that had the same stability and felt that good in high, gusty winds. However the spyder does all that with minimal bar pressure(which is somewhere between the waroo and the sonic). It doesnt use any pulleys, neither on the bar nor on the kite and unlike the EH ripper, it doesnt even use sliding rings. All is done with a nice bridle system that even after the kite tumbles in the waves, doesnt leave the kite bow tied. Here again, similar to the SBow which after a tumble will always come back into staring position.
The relaunch is like on all bows, kite waits for you on the edge of the window until you pull a steering line. What is different on the spyder though is that it does not depower 100%. In fact you can ride this bow on the stopper and in nice conditions you can ride whole tacks without touching the bar at all. Did I already mention it was very stable?
That also means that you can get overpowered on this kite and if you ride thinking that even if the wind goes up to 40 knots, youll be fine on your 12m, you are in for a suprise. You can however, change the position of the stopper ball using an allen key (not provided) and therefore change the range accordingly (obviously you can also extend the back lines to do the same).
The bar itself has a nice feature where the leash line (connects to both frontlines) passes through the bar and also through the top spinning shackle. This way, when you adjust the depower strap, the leash line is adjusted in length equally and doesnt hang around loosely. Hard to explain but ill post a picture if anyone cares.
Also something very nice is the end of the depower line (depower system uses a clam cleat) you have a large velcro pad that has the opposite velcro bit on the clam cleat. Like this, you easily adjust on the fly the depower and when you finish you just slap the loose end onto the clamcleat and it stays put.
The kite is built very, very solidly. Its cam battens actually dont break (like on the rebels) and I suppose add to the kites stability (though I still think its more marketing than anything else). Its not that suprising because the designer is also part owner of the repairshop Dock11 in Tarifa - (http://www.dock11tarifa.com) and he isnt keen on seeing his kites coming in for repairs on a regular basis. The bag is very nice and big - (usable as record (vinyl) bag although im sure im the only one to do that ;) ) and works nicely even with the kites struts inflated. The only bag that beats it is the sonics bag - truly a travel bag.
The kite loops very cleanly, generating a nice, gradually increasing pull. It doesnt slide at all through the turns, cuts nicely through transitions (no flapping) and is in general very easy and precise to fly. What put me off at first was the loose feel on the bar - as mentioned before it feels like its somewhere between the waroo and the sonic, and no where near as exact and sturdy as the ozone instinct. But you actually get used to it quickly, so its not necessarily a negative thing.
Unhooked moves are great fun, landed my nicest and highest F-16s on the spyder 7m and 9m. Not suprising really because as mentioned before, the kite doesnt really have the 100% depower so its easily adjusted with the depower adjuster to the right power.
Like all hybrids, the spyder has no low end grunt. The day I was out on the 12m (a rare day here in Tarifa) I had to move the kite enough to get it going on its apparent wind. Id say the low end (for me) is around 11 knots on the 12m and my small board. What I definately didnt manage to do was make it backstall (like the sonic,ripper,Sbow). That, I guess, is due to the limited depower but then im no expert. All I can tell you is that no matter how much I tried to power the kite in low winds, it wasnt stalling and dropping back in the window.
Jumping is nice and easy - didnt have to adjust my style too much to get the timing right (unlike the sonic) - similar to the EH ripper. Hang time is good but not as fabulous as the Ripper or the Instinct. Jump height on the other hand is very good.
So overall a very good kite, not a beginners kite that needs 100% depower but really sweet and stable in gusty, hardcore conditions. I didnt find many negatives on this one, maybe the bar feeling which I would prefere to be a little more "guided" or "mercedes-like" as you can see it on the Ozone Instinct. But then surfing the waves would maybe not be so fun, especially when you are unhooked on a surfboard.
Oh and one final note: I managed to rip my handlepass leash when riding unhooked. While screwing up a kiteloop move, I let go of the bar and there was a nice sudden pull on the leash that made it rip. This is due to the security on both front lines and the kite not depowering fully, so check your leash for wear from time to time. If the kite would flag out on one line, this sudden jerk should be gone. However, relaunch is then not as simple as when the kite is waiting for you, connected to both front lines.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2006 7:43 pm 
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Location: Germany, flying GK Sonic 11+8, riding F-One Sk8 35 / Trax 39, Spleene Door 42
Hi Mark, can you say some more words about a Spyder / Sonic comparison? I know you know the Sonic very well...

8)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2006 9:41 am 
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considering how many want me to compare the spyder to other makes, I wonder when Ill get offered kites to try by other companies without me having to beg for it :bye:

So turning speed:
ozone 11m to spyder 12m: If the Ozone is the mercedes, the spyder is the sportscar. Turningspeed on the spyder is better. Remember though, I can only tell you about these sizes,im not sure how fast the ozone works in smaller sizes (eh, panchito, gimme your babies to fly! )
Also on kiteloops, the ozone pulls harder, the horizontal acceleration is very C-like, where the spyder is much more gradual in building up the pull.

Sonic11m to spyder 12m: Sonic is not the fastest turner on the block. With the backlines attached at the forward attachment points and a larger bar, the 11m sonic still is quite a bit slower than the spyder. In this configuration, the sonic is about as fast as the ozone 11m or the waroo 12m.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2006 12:11 pm 
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I am curious about the lack of 100% depower. It sound like it is caused by the way the stopper is set up? Do you think the Spyder has the same total range as other bow kites by using trimmer and chicken loop? Do you think it could have 100% depower if you got rid of the stopper?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2006 12:46 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2005 8:58 pm
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Location: Tarifa / Got 2 Ovandos and a Ripper
Hi

I saw Mark with the the Spider on a Saturday on the Pkra event.... it was a proto and I thought at first it was a Link proto since it looked very very similar , the next thing I thought was.... hey !! THAT kite flies almost as stable as my Instincts.....I mean we had that day one of the " normal " gusty like hell Levante ( East ) winds at Valdevequeros going from maybe 22-23 till 35-37 knots and not even to mention the poor guys kiting on C kites but also many other bows , the CB´s where doing ok , the Sonics too , I wonder why Best never came to the idea of putting 2 more struts in to their kites since in extreme conditions they flap like crazy when sheeted out.

Latter on the beach I took a closer look to the kite and it looks like is has a bomber construction and the best of all was the bar with the velcro attachment for the de-power rope.... have no idea how it works on " bad " conditions but sure the guys from Gaastra put a lot of work into it.

I hope the kite hits the market with a decent price tag since we have been missing Gasstra kites in Tarifa last years.... cause they used to be the most expensive kites around.

Overall I am sure the Spider will have a very good position on the bow market and it is a serious option depending on your riding style

Saludos


PS. Mark you will love the 7 Instinct :D


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2006 5:52 pm 
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OzBungy wrote:
I am curious about the lack of 100% depower. It sound like it is caused by the way the stopper is set up? Do you think the Spyder has the same total range as other bow kites by using trimmer and chicken loop? Do you think it could have 100% depower if you got rid of the stopper?


The answer is no. The kite definately pulls on the front lines even with no tension at all on the back lines. In that aspect it behaves like a C-kite. I guess thats why I like it, just like I like the feel on the Instinct, which feels very C-like.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2006 11:07 pm 
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Location: Germany, flying GK Sonic 11+8, riding F-One Sk8 35 / Trax 39, Spleene Door 42
What about lift and air time of the Spyder compared to the Sonic, Mark?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2006 10:31 am 
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The lift is harder and the hangtime is better. Also, its easier to find the right timing for jumping well where as on the sonic it takes more feeling.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2006 5:15 pm 
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Hi Mark
anymore news on the gasstra spider?
what isit compared to the max?
and the sonic 07

tks


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