I have less spare time these days so I've bought a 13m Element for those frustrating light wind days. We've just had a long weekend so I got to try it out in a wide range of conditions. The 13m Element seems to be a good ultra-light wind wave kite. There is a bit of lag in turning but it turns pretty fast for a 13m in light winds. I discovered that I could switch to toe, unhook, and carve onto a wave in 12 knots; a lot of kites would fall out of the sky in those conditions. It's a really light kite and very stable. The Nitro is not a wave kite; it generates too much power on the down-stroke. I was worried when I bought it that the turns would be too pivotal, but it's not, there is enough of a C shape to get you going but not pull you off the board. The Element probably favours the drift and/or unhooked wave riding style; the Method is probably better at the follow the kite style.
I also got out in a harbour entrance with a strong outgoing current. Unhooked is really good, no back-stalling and really even power, but it doesn't rip you off the water as a C kite like the Combat would. I am pretty impressed though. The thing I found a strange at first was that it would feel as if there was no power in the kite but once you get on the plane it feels like you have heaps and that you can go faster still. That suggests to me that the kite is really efficient.
Simon - Could you tell us about what wind conditons you had and your weight please. Further, it would be great to hear your take on the "fun windrange". I´m (90 kg) in need of a kite for the 16/18 - 25/26 knot range (TT-board), as stated in the original posting.
SimonP wrote:For me at 70 kg; 12 knots minimum, though I might be able to get a surfboard on the plane in a steady 10-12. 20 knot gusts are fine, but I wouldn't ride such a big kite over 18 knots normally.
"20 knots gusts" You mean on a surfboard then? So on a TT, gusts could be considerably higher (24-26 knots?). Give it a go and let us know will ya.
I don't think all they look that similar.
Park struts and leading edge are very different in size.
Park looks to be much lower aspect.
Tips are swept back a lot more on the Bandit than the Element and the is swept a little more than the Park.
But these are just flat panel layouts so maybe they are very similar kites.
I compared my Element against my mate's Park and they are very different. Even allowing for the 1m² size difference the centre strut of the Element is longer but the wing-tips are shorter. The concave leech between the struts on the Element is really pronounced, very Batwing in black and blue and silver. The bridle design is different; the Element has two sliders while the Park has a single pulley. The leading edge diameter of the Element looks smaller. My mate commented that he thought the Element was a faster turning kite but he does not run his back lines on the rear-most setting. It was an interesting comparison but there are also other factors that affect how a kite flies, e.g. the draft. Telekiter: We had 25 knots yesterday but I don't fly a 13m in those sort of conditions. I typically fly a couple of m² less than most people, e.g. Marc Jacobs is often still on his 13m when I'm maxed on my 9.
The Element is clearly somewhere between the Park and Bandit. Element has smaller tubes - especially in the wingtips so we needed better support there which is supplied by the mini - 'V' wingtip bridle. I don't compare across brands but can say the main design criteria for the Element are ultimate stability, low bar pressure (but not so much you cannot feel the kite,) quick more pivotal turning (than the Method or Nitro,) good upwind and easy relaunch. The intent is a user-friendly, all-round, multi-use kite that does not sacrifice performance. My other Switch designs are highly targeted to specific uses. The Element embodies much of each but in a comfortable and tasty, cuvée-like blend.