I have a 13m Element on order and I'll be getting the 9m when they are back in stock.
First of all I should say I have flown a LOT of different kites. I can be a little OCD with my quiver so needless to say there is a lot of kites out there that I have flown for awhile or even just briefly that I can use as a base for comparison.
As a guy who mostly likes freestyle/wakestyle/newschool and hopefully strapless wave riding this year with the occasional big air I'll be putting together a little review with my impressions after a few sessions.
I'll also try and round up some video footage and post that at the same time. I find its always better to get some time behind a kite before you start to comment on its characteristics. Everybody is always so quick to say "I love it" or "I hate it" after 30mins of lawn mowing and the bottom line is that's too small and too narrow of a sample size to know if the kite is good or not.
I have seen a lot of positive feedback about this kite and some very objective reviews so far so here's to hopefully adding one more to the mix.
I have been out on the 13m Element a few times now and feel I can give you my honest impressions of the kite - I am not here to give you a line of BS. The first thing about this kite is it extremely stable in the air, you feel very confident in flying this kite right away. The speed of turning is good, with fairly light bar pressure although not super light, you can feel the kite which is obviously important when performing tricks. If I were to compare it the another open C kite I have used it has slightly heavier bar pressure than the RPM. The 13m has fast pivotal turning, perhaps not as fast as the 12m RPM but it is a larger kite and the RPM is an insanely fast kite and freestyle oriented. Low end is very good (alot better than RPM in my opinion and alot of other kites in this size range), so if you are a lighter rider you might want to go for an 11m rather than the 13m as your max size. In my opinion 13m is the "12" for heavier riders, 11m is the "12" for lighter riders. Relaunch is possibly the best I have seen, totally effortless and the safety works well. Kite also seems to drift well when you bear off downwind so will be good as a surf kite. Build quality is excellent, as good as brands known specifically for build quality and better than alot of mainstream brands. The only real negative I can think of is you might have to play about with the steering line settings a bit when you get it to adjust to how you want it to feel and if you havent rode Open-C style kites it might feel a bit different than your existing kite for a bit.
In summary if you are looking for all terrain kite with good stability, low end, boost, depower, relaunch which can do freeride, freestyle and wave riding you should definitely look at this kite There may be certain specialist kites that do certain areas better (and honestly if you are a freestyle specialist you should be riding a C-Kite not a hybrid) - but this kite does everything very well and is ideal for 95% of the kitesurfing population. One thing is for sure the price you pay for Switch kites is not because they are cutting corners on R&D or manufacturing, it is because you are cutting out the middle men.
I'm still sorting out the timing on the 9m element. Yesterday was the first day on it and I was pretty lit so I didn't try much other then a few hooked in tricks. overall the kite seems really nice. I can't wait to try it in some waves, this kite drifts better then anything I've ever tried.
Here's a video that's probably longer then it needs to be but it shows yesterdays session on the 9m Element
Nice video. Looks ultra stable, looked very gusty on that day. I am going to get the 9m as soon as I can sell my existing 9m Obsession. Would be very interested to hear what the low end is like to see how it will pair up with the 13m Element. How fast was the turning on it?
kite is indeed very stable. seems nearly impossible to get it to overfly. I even tried riding straight downwind with the kite directly over head and it just stayed with me. haha drift is really nice, I'm guessing it will be hard to get much slack out of this kite for wakestyle but that's the price you pay for good allaround performance, I've yet to try unhooking so its possible I could be pleasantly surprised. I think it should definitely work well for sliders and kickers though with the nice constant pull.
kinda reminds me a little bit of how my 2011 9m Envy flew except the bar pressure was a tiny bit lighter, turning circle is a little bit bigger and it feels like it develops a little more power in the turns maybe do to the larger circle. Oh yeah, and I think the kite behaves better in the gusts then the envy did.
I wouldn't say the bar pressure was light. I would say it was medium. Definitely not strong enough to give you fatigue. Just a good amount to know where the kite is at. Generally i like riding with a stopper (used to flying Hifi's and Envy's) but I didn't really feel the need with this kite except maybe once or twice during my 3hr session.
The one thing I still need to figure out is the redirect timing on big dangle jumps. It could be because I was too far depowered but I felt like it was hard to come down softly if your kite is overhead. I tried overhead loops or bringing the kite forward to ease the impact but I haven't quite figured out what works best yet. It could be that I just was sending the kite too hard and had too much depower pulled to redirect it back in time. Maybe soft landings are easier in lower winds?
I'll keep updating this thread as I get more time on it.
for the record I'm 200lbs and was riding a 136cm Xenon Laluz Twintip I also have a 5'7" Wainman Gambler and a 142 LF Influence with boots on it..I chose the 9m 13m combo as a 2 kite quiver because around here most days are 12-14m days during the summer and during the winter 8-10m days are pretty common. I may decide to get a 7m Element eventually for riding river swell kiting down in the gorge at places like rufus.
Hi guys, 190-200 pounder, own Ozone Catalyst, like it but when I see the guys on their triggers I wonder if it wouldnèt be a great option. For different reasons Trigger is not my cup of tea (reseller might be one of them, Neptune's face on it is another and I don't like High Y's on the bar). So the Element looks like fun. My Ozones are not due to be changed before the autumn but I am already looking at diffeent options. How would the Element compare to the trigger and Catalyst.... Thanks
flipper231 wrote:Hi guys, 190-200 pounder, own Ozone Catalyst, like it but when I see the guys on their triggers I wonder if it wouldnèt be a great option. For different reasons Trigger is not my cup of tea (reseller might be one of them, Neptune's face on it is another and I don't like High Y's on the bar). So the Element looks like fun. My Ozones are not due to be changed before the autumn but I am already looking at diffeent options. How would the Element compare to the trigger and Catalyst.... Thanks
Probably best thing to do is to go to the Switch Forum: http://switchkites.com/forum/index.html. There will probably be someone there who can give you a direct comparison to your current kite. You can also see if there is a team rider near you with the Element for you to try out. My previous kite was a Slinghot RPM. Compared to that it has more low end and better upwind, and is more oriented towards freeride and wave riding than unhooked freestyle, but is very good for unhooked as well. If you are looking for a user friendly all round kite I would definitely check one out. Build quality is excellent and alot better than my previous kite, so dont believe the BS that is being put out by some people who have a vested interest in the retailer/distributor business model.
I spent two days on the 11m Element so far in small surf, I love it!! Turns fast, goes upwind great, its got a great range, was riding in the mid to upper teens (MPH) 195lbs 134/41 twin tip. Still working on timing jumps. droped it in front of a head high wave, it almost relauched its self, totally blew me away all I had to do was steer it up and away. Bulid is very solid. one pump is sweet, high flow in and out. so far the my only real complaint is the zipper on the bag!