I have been kiting for around 8 months now and have the opportunity to buy a brand new RRD Vision 10.5 at a really good deal. I was wondering if it is worth replacing my 2011 Cab Switchblade 11m with the Vision.
I mainly go out in conditions around 15-30+ mph and have a big (15m) kite for light days and a 9m Nomad with short lines for the high wind days. This kite would fill the 17-25 mph range as that is what my SB fills right now.
I mainly ride waves w/ a shortboard strapped and strapless. The SB is kind of slow and i have, on a couple occasions, missed sections that i wouldnt have with a faster kite. I heard the slack drift w/ the Vision is pretty good.
Im mainly worried about the
Durability of the kite
I would go with the vision. RRD quality is excellent. I ride the Obsessions but I wouldn't mind having a vision for the waves. 3 strut fast turning kite but stable. I have taught on Cabrinhas for years and had a quiver of S/B this year and did not enjoy the 12's or 14's. They back stall a ton when they should be yanking you around. Can be used to your advantage which is what I did but I preferred the smooth bar pressure and clean line setup. The smaller S/Bs were okay as far as flyability but I don't think the kites can really take as much a beating as the RRDs. Go demo some RRDs, The vision or the religion.
if you 2013 SBs were mfg'd prior to Sept 2012, I believe the rear bridle line is a bit to sort. Take off the rear line pigtails, tie an overhand knot on the bridle line below the loop on the end where the bridle line is double/sewn. reattach the pigtails.
You kite should now have a bit more low end and feel a bit more direct.
Based on your riding style (surf oriented) and what you want in a kite, it sounds like you might want to look at the Cabrinha Drifter rather than the Switchblade.
Wicked video from Cabrinha with Keahi (on Drifter) riding with surfboard on flat water and waves in Mauritius. .
I have 12 & 9m Visions and have ridden 13.5 and 10.5, have weight 80kg (185lbs?). Also I have 15m Obsession 2012 for low wind 8..16 knots.
Imo Visions feel like smaller kites in all means, both handling and wind range. I have seen 11/12m kites that pull like truck and 12m visions are not one of them, they feel more like 11/10m kite and 10.5 is closer to 9m. My wind range on 12m is 16-20 knots sweet spot, maximum 12-28 and for 10.5 (have flown something like 5x), was something like 18-25 and 16-32 knots.
Build quality on RRD kites is decent, maybe not the toughest, but as the result the kites are light and compact!
For me Vision's are really very nice, fast turning and easy riding kite with medium to low bar pressure and I'm really enjoying myself them in both small/medium waves and freestyle (unhooked, entry level). If you like more "hardcory" feeling and bigger jumps, You should consider Obsession instead.
btw- have had stalling problems on Vision also and thus problems going upwind in lower winds, but as it turned out it was bar problem, as front lines had stretched over time, because I'm using single bar on all three kites.
Thanks for all the imput. After posting on this forum i found an awesome deal on a 2012 Drifter. I checked out the Vision but i mainly use my 2011 cabrinha bar and the pigtails were opposite of the Visions bridle (knots instead of loops). Im sure there is a way around this but I really wanted the Drifter anyways.
I think it would probably be a good idea for me to buy some new pigtails and tune my bar before using the kite. Ill have to check out cabrinha's website for a tutorial on tuning.