Billie: can you comment on jumping with the 17 compared to the 18?
The 17 climbs much faster and feels alot like the 16 but it is more of a park and pull kite like the 18 was last year but it feels a bunch more playful.
I really like the 17 for old school, I am sure you would also.(since you are much beter at it then I am!) The 17 seems to be a little "softer feeling" it eats up gusts unlike the 18, but that also seems to change how the kite feels when you really send it, the kite has a bit of cushion when you sheet in hard but then it flys and floats like the 18m. I had a bunch of 8+ second jumps in around 10-15K, in over 15 k the jumps gets very loftey and you can still helo loop the kite out of monster airs for a very nice soft landing. I found my self doing big airs with lots of rotations and then doing full down loops to the zenith before landing, something I was able to do on the 16 last year but not the 18, with the 17 I feel more stylish, and bold perhaps even braver then with the 18. On the world cup lines the kite feels even better, almost like the 15 on stock lines.
The 17 also turns very controlled, it is not fast but it is quicker then the 18m and allows some great kite flying to be rewarded with great results. I was out on twintip last night in around 12-16K and was just going for it. While others were doing 10 foot airs I was able to go twice as high and long with aggressive kite flying. Just a treat.
When My 17 is out lots of other big kite flyers ask to try it and the feed back has been great.
There are also no battons in this years kites so they are alot quiter then last years, plus easier to fold.
I can say with out a doubt that this years Dynos are better then last years is many ways, and I am sure that was Ken Winners goal, he did a great job.
I have had some time on race board with them also now and WOW what a easy to sail kite.
And to the OP I think the fabric is the same. I dont have any of my 2011 left to compare it too first hand but it looks the same. I didn't have issues with the contruction last year and I snowkited and water kited hard on my 2011 Dynos. Maybe 70+ days on my 16m.