Any input on whether or not the Speed 2 19M is worth the cost now since the value of the USD is in the tank or that's what I am being told. The price would be close to 2 LARGE. Or would the 17M Contra 3 be close? I know nothing is supposed to beat the Speed 2, however for the price are we talking night and day difference. I weigh 235lbs. and ride 85% of time in 10-13 mph.
For your weight and those winds, I think the Speed2 would be worth every penny. It has been for me - rode 4hrs yesterday in 10-12 and used my small board most of the time. Pair it with a really good light-wind board and you'll have no trouble getting upwind and jumping like crazy in that range - and still be able to get going in less than 10mph.
If your budget is tight, the 20m Waroo is worth a look, I read a write-up from someone who owned that and the S2 and said it was closer than anything other inflatible.
It depends on what you're flying now and what you're used to. I started with C kites, then Peter Lynns, then last summer I bought a Speed 2 19, then a North Rhino 06 20m, and finally an 07 Best Waroo 20m. I read all the same reports and reviews that everyone else here probably read and spent the "big bucks" for the S2-19, but to be honest was extremely disappointed and sold it. Maybe it's because of my background with inflatos and Peter Lynns that "I just don't get" the whole Flysurfer thing, or maybe it's because Flysurfers just plain suck in gusty, light winds. All I can say is I had a hard time keeping the thing in the air much less getting enough power from it to go on the water. There will be others here who will swear to the contrary, I'm just saying that that wasn't my experience.
I then bought a Rhino 06 20m and although it flew OK, it was also a major disappointment. Really poor range, poor turning and a mis-designed safety system (one bar size for all kite sizes was a big mistake by North IMHO). A couple months later I got an 07 Waroo 20m on sale for $550 and it is the best 20m I've ever flown. I weigh 245-250 and am able to fly it in winds I would never have thought possible. 10-13 mph is going to be tough, but with a big, flat board and good flying skills it will be possible. I fly mine in 15 mph all the time, no problems, staying upwind and having fun.
I've had a brief go on a Cab Contra 14 (not the 17 and not the Contra 3) and wasn't impressed. I'm just not a fan of bars with pulleys on it. But that's just me, I know lots of other guys swear by them.
If price is not an issue, I'd go for the speed2 19m any time. It's big, it's slow, it's powerful. I'd rather be powered with a slow kite than walking upwind with a fast kite. I have a speed2 15m, which is just fine for my weight. I can have great fun with it in 12 mph. Also, I like the slow-turning kite for trying new stuff, because if I take a dive, the kite will just sit there and wait for me to re-surface. (So far, my attempts at riding blind are distinctively unsuccessful, and it's good to have a forgiving kite for that.) Just make sure you get a fast board with almost no rocker to go with it. Quite literally: the rocker kills the speed.
Of course, opinions differ. But that's my 2 cents.
No kite out there has the ease of use and low wind combination of the Speed 2 19m, especially for a guy your wieght.
I weigh 225 lbs and ride with a 543 wetrsuit, Impact vest and helmet so you can add at least 15 lbs.
many low wind claims are made by other manufacturers, but strangely enough videos of them don't seem to surface, especially from end users.
I ride at normally very buisy beaches and despite my weight in light wind I am very often the only one out for hours at a time.
Also the Speed is super easy to self launch even in 5mph wind. This is important because with such low wind you will often be the only person on the beach. Same goes for self landing. Set up is also quick. This too is important as light wind often does not last long. Low wind relaunch is a major issue with other kites. In 10mph plaus winds the Speed 2 19 is really easy to relaunch. Below that it takes more skill. I can relaunch no problem in 7/8mph wind.
One drawback of the Speed 2 is that it is high aspect ratio, so it likes to fly forward in the wind window. Downwinders are not that much fun with this kite... it's more of a park and ride thing foir downwinders. Also a kite for riding downwind in the waves. On the other hand I am going upwind no problem while other kiters even significantly lighter are walking the beach. Basicly the Speed goes upwind pretty much as soon as it starts to work. I also have a Speed 2 15 with wich I can stay upwind with in 10mph wind.
I own a SA2 19M. It is the same as the Speed 2 19M, but built with the lighter fabric. Over the years I have tried a lot of foil and inflato options and I can tell you the big Speed is the best light wind kite I have found so far. It is a tad slow, but it is plenty fast enough for good boosts and the hangtime is the best of any kite I have tried. I own an 08 Waroo 17M. I love the Waroo and I had a 06 Waroo 20M, but I found it is very difficult to relaunch in light winds compared to the Speed.
If I had the opportunity to kite whenever the wind was blowing strong, I would not bother with the Speed, but for me time is a premium between work and family commitments. The SA2 gets me up and riding before and after work when the wind is on the light side.
The SA2 is also a secret weapon on the snow. It flies in 5 mph wind and so if it is in the air, you are snowkiting. It also awesome for gliding. On the water, I need a bit more around 8 - 9 mph. I weigh 180 LBS.