I got my new 2012 Griffin 11.5m a few days ago, and wanted to give you my first impressions.. I've only had light wind since I got it, so I only had a couple of average sessions on it, but so far it's incredible.
I've been kitesurfing and teaching since 2004. My first kite ever was a Cabrinha Blacktip C kite. I tried a few others back then, (Naish Torch, Takoon, etc) which all seemed about the same to me. When Cabrinha released their first bow kite, I was hooked! (pun intended).. I got a 2005 12m Cabrinha Crossbow, then the 2006. In 2006 I also tried their Switchblade, and hated it. I went back to Crossbow, until 2007 when I got a Cabrinha Contra. They just seemed to be getting better and better. I tried other kites, brands, models etc. throughout the next few years, but always ended up with a Cabrinha Xbow 12m.
I was first told about Griffin Kites by a very good friend in Australia but I was pretty skeptical, having always found other kite brands to never measure up to my Xbows. He told me that these Griffin kites pull like trains, but feel very small and are safe and controllable. At the time I was riding a 2010 Xbow 11m, and decided to give Griffin a shot, since my buddy was never one to exaggerate.
I was curious to see if it was all he said it was.
He told me I should order the 10m Griffin, since I'm riding an 11m Xbow, (he claimed that Griffin pulls much better than a Cabrinha). Had anyone else told me this, I'd have laughed and dismissed him straight away, but since it was coming from this particular guy I had to try it out.
I went ahead and ordered the newly released 2012 Griffin Argo 11.5m (since I always felt a bit underpowered on the Xbow 11m) and wanted some extra power.
Like I said earlier, I have not had it out in any serious wind, but already I'm convinced that I have finally found a worthy competitor to the Cabrinha kites. I'm confident that this is the best kite I have flown, to date. Here are my first impressions:
I'm going to try to compare it to my Cabrinha Xbow 11m .. pls let me know if you have any questions.
My 11.5m Griffin has much more pull than my 11m Xbow. It pulls more like a 13m Xbow. It's a very smooth pull, responsive, yet forgiving. It sits in the window very nicely.
The depower is HUGE. I have not tested the top end yet because the wind is light, but so far it's clear that it has even more sheeting out/depowering capabilities than my Xbow 11m.
Self launches very easily. It pops up smoothly from a fairly hot launch. The extreme amount of depower helps with this (as it's coming up, sheet out a lot and it launches easily and with hardly any pull, even from a downwind position).
Water relaunch is insanely easy, it basically relaunches itself.
I was able to self land the kite effortlessly as well.
Upwind performance is excellent, in light wind. Still have not had it out in more than 17mph or so, but if it goes upwind easily in light wind, it's going to do even better with more wind.
This is one of my favorite things about this kite, and the first thing I really noticed. It seems to pivot from the center of the kite, rather than from the wing-tip like most kites, making kite loops a breeze (pun intended). Turns fast, and is very responsive.
I've probably missed a bunch of stuff, but my overall experience is fantastic. This is the best kite I have flown to date. For the first time, I'm optimistic about a kite that's not a Cabrinha!
So glad I tried it!
..a few pics: