Kristy, Helen, and Dimitri were kind enough to mail me a demo Infinity (16m) light wind kite to SW Colorado so I wanted to write up an honest review. It's tough to try out new kites as there aren't many shops 'round these parts.' I'm a moderate level kiter and have flown Cabrinha and Best tubes and Ozone and big Flysurfer foils. I used to have a old 15m Waroo (which I couldn't keep in the air in light wind) and now my light wind kite is a Psycho 4 19m (which turns like a semi truck and scares me in the gusts).
For starters, Epic got right back to me when I inquired about a demo. I've tried getting demos from a few other companies and unfortunately never even got a response.
I've gotten in 2 days on the Infinity with great spring corn snow conditions and our usual flukey mountain wind at 10-11k feet elevation. I managed about 70 miles of kite skiing, 1/2 on the Infinity, 1/2 on my old trusty Kahoona 11.5. Both days gave a good range of wind testing conditions from Beaufort 0-5. Here's the quick synopsis:
Beaufort 0-1: Kite sat on the ground with 100% depower!
Beaufort 2: It was real easy to get the kite to roll over for self/re-launch. I was pretty amazed at how light the kite felt, due to the thin struts and LE. It seemed easy to keep in the sky, but my old Kahoona feels this way too. The great thing I like about the Infinity is how responsive it is to a little bar input. It turns really quickly and will loop whenever you want it too. On corn snow I could cruise nicely and even get upwind. With a little extra puff, little jumps were great and the kite would easily redirect. I can't get any air on my 11.5 in these types of winds.
Beaufort 3: Being a fatty (200 lbs), this is where the kite and all that canopy was just perfect for me. Huge jumps with great floaty hangtime. I found the timing easy and the kite was fast enough to help me recover when I sent it too far, etc. Nice steady pull through downloop jump transitions. Bar pressure is perfect.
Beaufort 4: At this point, I could still tack back and forth, but was pretty scared to pull the trigger you know. The pull/pull trim strap is nice. I did test the mini-5th line safety once and it seemed to work okay. Re-ride was easy. Personally I still haven't learned to trust mini-5th lines and think that a full single-front line safety will be safer when it truly gets nasty. I probably could have continued riding a bit more, but didn't want to destroy and pay for a kite that's not even mine! Two other guys managed to continue riding 14m and 13.5 meter kites. I self-landed the Infinity on the side with a big aggressive pull on the top front line. (At least the mini-fifth is short enough to allow one to get to the Y.). After that I pumped up the old 11.5 Kahoona and was lit up on that, so there's plenty of overlap in those sizes.
A few things I didn't like: The primary safety seemed much too difficult to release, especially with gloves on. More knots on back line pigtails for trimming please. The big frumpy pack seemed useless, but the lightweight shoulder-sling kite sock is really good. (Ozone makes the only killer snowkite pack I've seen.) Any 16m tube is probably more than I want to skin uphill with for over an hour, so I'll stick with my under-powered foil for the backcountry. But for anything close to the road, it really fits my riding style and handles flukey winds just fine.
Overall, the Infinity felt big when unrolling and inflating, but once you walk your lines away and launch, the kite was quick and compact even at the low end. At the high end the thing was way less sketchy in the gusts than the 19m Flysurfer. Shameless Plug: Someone please
buy my Psycho 4 in the 2nd hand section so before my demo runs out at the end of the week! I'd love to keep the Infinity but my wife will skin me alive if I don't liquidate first. Looks like we might get a shot of snow tonight so hopefully I'll have a chance to get the Inifinity in the deep pow yo-
Thanks again to Epic for the great remote demo program. It seems as if there has been a lot of harsh words around the forum lately, so it was so great to hear the kite speak for itself-
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