I caught up with the F-One crew on their way back home from the wind skinked Kite Expo in Long Beach when they stopped at Trancas in Malibu for a session.
If anyone had wanted to try them at the Kite Expo and could not due to lack of wind here is how it went for me....
Got to try the Bandit 3 10m and 11m. Nice kite in the waves. Took a few tacks and runs down the line to get used to the kite. Nice and stable. No problem with the gusty winds and me riding strapless and forgetting to refresh the wax on my board. Nice relaunch. Quick and easy. Either pull a line to get it to turn on the spot for a hotter relaunch or just use the bar and let it work it's way to the edge of the wind window for a gentler relaunch keeping you coser to your board. Kite collapsed once (most likely due to rider error combined with a gust/hole) but was easy to recover.
On the waves I particularly liked the behavior of the kite when riding lefts up the line (going upwind) with side to side onshore wind. Just shoved the bar out, but keeping just a tad of pressure on it and it was like making the kite dissapear. I could wiggle up the wave like I was just surfing.
Down the line it was a bit less intuative than what I'm used to, but by just keeping a bit of pressure on the bar all was good. Nice quick tight and depowered loops.
Only thing I missed was the controlled back stall ability of my Psycho 4s and Pulse 2s. I use it to delay hitting a wave face, but keeping the kite deep in the wind window for a short burst of power when the moment is right. However like the Helix the kite does not shoot too far forward if you use depower to do the same thing.... unlike other kites I've tried.
Found the bar pressure a wee bit heavier than my Psychos and felt the fact that you have to keep some bar pressure on to steer the kite or ride with speed.... but that comes with great depower and very nice feeling riding lefts up the line.
SETUP: pain in the ass, (but that's becasue I'm used to foils)... just kidding.
Funny thing I was trying to pump up the kite with a dud pump
IN THE WAVES: Great... especially up the line heading upwind.
RELAUNCH: Quick and easy. Quickest by yanking in a rear line and pivoting the kite deep in the window, but expect a hot powerd yank.
JUMPING: Didn't try it
UPWIND PREFORMANCE: Damn good and very intuative.
Self land and Self Launch: Didn't try it sorry..
Assisted launch and land: No problem. Easy stable.
SAFETY: Felt safe, didn't test the safety release... sorry... but looks pretty simple. I'm just wondering how things would be with the kite down in big surf with two lines still tensioned?
Anyway the F-One crew were super nice and took some time out of their session to get me onto both kites. Big thanks!