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 Post subject: 2013 Blade Fat Lady - Second Generation Light Wind Maven
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 5:49 am 
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Location: Bellingham, WA, U.S.
Definition- Maven: The word reached English through Yiddish, which in turn derived it from the Hebrew mevin (מבֿין), meaning "one who understands," and relates to the word binah, which denotes understanding or wisdom in general.

Blade gets it. To build a better kite, it needs to be different than what has been out there. Why does the Fat Lady have a smaller leading edge than a typical 12m Kite? Why are the struts so skinny that you do a double take the first time looking at them?

It is because this is what is needed to make a lightwind kite that is FUN to fly.

Large kites have been on the market for a while. Naish even made a production 30m V2 at one point, but people soon realized the amount of fun that you had met a point of dimishing returns somewhere above 16m. To this day, it is had to find a kite that breaks the 20m barrier. Why? Big kites are slugs, have limited range, and are hard to relaunch in their usable range.

Blade did a great job coming out with their initial Fat Lady roughly 18 months ago. The first generation Fat Lady weighed in POUNDS lighter than other inflatable kites of its size, and turned faster than most production 14m kites. At the same time, it provided great low end power, relaunched easily and was easy enough to fly that we used this kite in our school as our Ultra Light wind lesson kite.

The 2013-Second Generation Fat Lady builds on the original Fat Lady, and so far I am really impressed.

The first thing I notice about the new Fat Lady is that it looks really good. The graphics are amazing, but that's not it. The new Fat Lady is leaner and meaner, and a more solid kite overall. The aspect ration has been reduce a little, and the kite's overal structural stability seems to be more tight. Yesterday I had the Fat Lady out in 20-25mph and the kite was solid in the air. It just hung out, depowering easily, while still maintaining its ability to turn without producing tons of power. Using the new UNI Bar, I found that this kite has an incredible range, and that in powered up conditions is less of a handful than last years Fat Lady.

Upwind abilities on this kite are also improved. I was expecting this, as I had been told this was one of the key characteristics of the new design, but I was surprised that when riding with another rider who was on a 12m 2013 Trigger and identical board, I was able to consistantly able to pull upwind on the Fat Lady... something I don't think would have happened on the first generation Fat Lady. ( we met on the water before the test and both agreed to try and charge upwind as much as possible.... both on 2012 LFX 138's)

The turning on the kite seems fast for a 17m, but I haven't tried a back to back with the original Fat Lady. If I had to guess, the new Fat Lady might be a little bit slower than last years, but has better low end as well. As far as I know, the 2013 Fat Lady could be a little bit bigger than last years... but that it turns plenty fast for a light wind kite.

Jumping on the kite seemed more lofty with greater hang time and softer landings. Actually, the landings were very soft.... a good thing since I have damaged knees.

Construction wise, I noticed that the 2013 Fat Lady has an additional layer of reinforcement stitched in around each bridle attachment point. The bladder valves (all of them) are double sealed from the inside and outside of the bladder. I know there is an additional layer of insignia tape on the inside of the leading edge, but I wouldn't know that without reading about it on the Blade Website.

The Uni Bar I used was obviously set at 52cm and I did not use the 4m Extensions that come with the Fat Lady. Last year I primarily flew the Fat Lady on a 55cm bar, and since the uni Bar comes in at either 52 or 47cm, it was clear the 52cm size would be ideal. Maybe this is why I wonder if the 2013 Fat Lady might be a tiny bit slower than last years.... because last year I used a 3cm wider bar. Not sure... but I know I wouldn't give up the 52cm Uni bar for a 55cm 2012 Blade Bar. The uni bar has all the features I'd want, and is customizable such that it could be your only single bar. (i always recommend travelling with 2 bars though, just in case something happens to a line). 52cm is big enough for a Fat Lady, and 47cm is small enough for a 5m. Depowering the Fat Lady on the Uni Bar was perhaps the easiest I have ever depowered a kite. I can set the distance of the cleat to where I can reach, and a simple pull and cleat, and I am set. In one pull, I can reach maximum depower, and the 2:1 mechanical advantage makes light work of the depowering. The bar feels great in hand...and light. Approximately 8 oz less than SS's comp stick. The center 800lb lines demand confidence, and the easy to reset safety system can be reset even using mittens (did I mention I was kiting in 42 degrees?) The ceramic swivel pulley adopts the best automatic centerline untwisting system found in other brands, and the 19m + 4m extensions truely make this a one bar fits all kites system.

The one thing that I miss on the new UNI bar is a sliding stopper ball, but these are available separately, and I'll be sure to add one to my bar soon. For many people, it might not make sense to have one since you can set the throw to a custom distance for each person... but for me, I prefer to have a long throw with an adjustable stopper ball. (speaking of which.. the new bar can be setup to have 150% of last year's bar's throw!)

In summary, I am very happy with the 2013 Fat Lady and Uni Bar combo. The summer before last I was able to win the Seattle Cabrinha Race series X Class on a Fat Lady, so I am very eager to see how I can do on the new Fat Lady in a race environment. Regardless, the Fat Lady wasn't made for racing.... it was made for fun, and after just a couple of sessions under my belt, I am very excited about the continued evolution of this kite.

Yes.. the Fat Lady has a reputation..... but this year's Fat Lady is leaner and meaner than last year's.... and I look forward to many more sessions on it. (actually, I probably get more sessions on a Fat Lady than all my other kites combined due to its range and the extra certainty I get knowing I'll almost always be able to make it in if the wind drops).

Interestingly, the Fat Lady has the highest square meter of kite per pound than any inflatable kite I know of. Not really Fat at all.... but then... if it wasn't the Fat Lady... what would it be.

It aint over till the Fat Lady sings.


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 Post subject: Re: 2013 Blade Fat Lady - Second Generation Light Wind Maven
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 8:16 am 
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Very well written and very nice and informative review.
I Also think Blade did a really good job with the FatLady and with the Uni bar.


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 Post subject: Re: 2013 Blade Fat Lady - Second Generation Light Wind Maven
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 8:59 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 10:37 pm
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Location: Sweden
Very interesting that you run the Fat Lady with a race board. That is my main concern (down wind pull/pulled of the edge) since I´m planning on getting a Airush Sector-type board this season. Care to elaborate on the FL/Race board combo?

/Urban.


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 Post subject: Re: 2013 Blade Fat Lady - Second Generation Light Wind Maven
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 4:45 pm 
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Location: Bellingham, WA, U.S.
Telekiter wrote:
Very interesting that you run the Fat Lady with a race board. That is my main concern (down wind pull/pulled of the edge) since I´m planning on getting a Airush Sector-type board this season. Care to elaborate on the FL/Race board combo?

/Urban.


Hi Urban.

I should point out that I am no competitive racer like many of my local Seattle area riders are (Adam Vance / Adam Koch), and that the X Class of the race series was the Non-Race board class. Still there were probably 30 other riders in the non-raceboard group on everything from surfboards to twintips, and I was able to win the 3 day series for the X-Class exclusively using a Fat Lady and a Glide. (coincidentally Team Blade at Kiteboarding for Cancer also took first place this year using a combo of the Trigger/Fat Lady and the Glide against 30 or so teams)

I do have a custom race board, but so far, my testing has been limited to twintips.

I'll keep you posted as to what it is like on my race board, but I know that there is a Seattle local that rides on a Sector and Fat Lady (1st generation) and loves the combo. He commented to me that he gets lonely kiting by himself with that combo.


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 Post subject: Re: 2013 Blade Fat Lady - Second Generation Light Wind Maven
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 5:06 pm 
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Location: Sweden
ok, sound promising anyway. You know, I did buy my FL from you last autumn :-), fantastic kite btw.

/Urban.


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 Post subject: Re: 2013 Blade Fat Lady - Second Generation Light Wind Maven
PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:37 am 
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Yes great review, well written. Any video?


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 Post subject: Re: 2013 Blade Fat Lady - Second Generation Light Wind Maven
PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 5:31 pm 
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Westozzy wrote:
Yes great review, well written. Any video?


Yes... as soon as I can find my Go Pro. So small, yet so hard to keep track of. I am sure I'll find it soon.


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 Post subject: Re: 2013 Blade Fat Lady - Second Generation Light Wind Maven
PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:42 pm 
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KitePaddleSurf wrote:
Westozzy wrote:
Yes great review, well written. Any video?


Yes... as soon as I can find my Go Pro. So small, yet so hard to keep track of. I am sure I'll find it soon.


What is your take comparing it for low end versus the INFV2 for example? maybe even proto V3?

Have you done side by side testing...even with the previous Fat Lady 2012

I am just asking because they look quite alike in so many ways...do you think sizes are the same?

I am very happy to see Blade's wind range of the FL 2013 on their website (flat size 17.12m )

Advanced 8-20kn
Beginner 9-18kn

I really appreciate when companies keep a grasp on reality


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 Post subject: Re: 2013 Blade Fat Lady - Second Generation Light Wind Maven
PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:27 am 
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I have flown the Infinity V1, but not the V2. I have inspected a V2 Infinity, and the kites, while having some similarities, have quite a bit different.

The Infinity uses standard 170 or 180g dacron on its leading edge (not sure which), and the leading edge and struts have a greater diameter than the Fat Lady. The Fat Lady uses 160g dacron on the leading edge.

Shape wise, the Fat Lady is higher aspect than the Infinity, and each kite has a different camber profile.

As far as I know, the Infinity is not as big as the Fat Lady, but I don't think there has ever been an official announcement on the size of the Infinity.

As for construction of the Infinity V2 vs the Fat Lady V2, I don't believe that the Infinity has a double layer of insignia tape, or as much support around the bridle attachment points.... but on this, I concede that I could be wrong. I did notice that the Infinity used stainless steel rings, whereas the Fat Lady uses Ronstan Pulleys.

Both kites have great low end, but in my estimation the Fat Lady has better low end, goes upwind better, and jumps higher and farther.

When speaking to Momi (over a year ago) about differences in the V1 Fat Lady and V1 Infinity, he mentioned to me that the Infinity was more geared towards wave riding (like the renagade) and that the Fat Lady is more geared towards flat water riding.

In terms of the wind range, I find the 2013 Fat Lady's range to be at least as generous as the Advanced range given. With a race board, I am sure less wind is possible, and with more weight (I weigh in at 100kg) more wind is possible.

That being said, unless my local sensor is reading at least 10-12mph, I don't typically go out, and if it was blowing over 20mph, I'd more than likely be on a 10-12m kite. Yesterday I had a great session on a 9m Trigger with gusts into the low 40's.





SupaEZ wrote:
KitePaddleSurf wrote:
Westozzy wrote:
Yes great review, well written. Any video?


Yes... as soon as I can find my Go Pro. So small, yet so hard to keep track of. I am sure I'll find it soon.


What is your take comparing it for low end versus the INFV2 for example? maybe even proto V3?

Have you done side by side testing...even with the previous Fat Lady 2012

I am just asking because they look quite alike in so many ways...do you think sizes are the same?

I am very happy to see Blade's wind range of the FL 2013 on their website (flat size 17.12m )

Advanced 8-20kn
Beginner 9-18kn

I really appreciate when companies keep a grasp on reality


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 Post subject: Re: 2013 Blade Fat Lady - Second Generation Light Wind Maven
PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:47 am 
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...Just received the big girl the other day, but it has been blowing 25mph + Here are some pics of the nice touches to the kite. Well done Yaron, Blade is staying near the top. When the kite is already well done, the only things to ad are bonus stuff, like the new kite strap:

Image

- Droffats

www.adventurekiteboarding.com


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