When I'm kiting at home I mostly split my riding between 11 to 14m kites. Every once in a while I break out a 7 or 9m but the small sizes in the quiver haven't been updated much (still using 2009-2010). When I update my larger kites it's clear to me that there are still some gains being made every year for mid to light wind performance, not as much as the marketing hype around every model every year but it's there for sure.
I'm heading to a windier spot this winter and was wondering about the value of new small kites. It's my impression that the engineering of ultra light wind kites has led to better performance for 11-15m kites, but is that as evident in the smaller sizes? Past a certain point I don't care about faster turning or better feedback or higher jumping but range, drift, stability and turning characteristics are still valuable.
My priorities are wave riding and carving with tricks second so I'm not as interested in what is going on in wakestyle though I'm sure it's very interesting. Also I didn't talk brands but feel free to mention your favorite if it's relevant to a larger point.
Also, I just have to tell everyone that I had a great wave day yesterday using a 2013 14m from brand x. The wind was light for sure and there wasn't power to spare but the kite drifted with me, it got me out of tight spots and it let me access faces and pockets in ways that I don't think I could have on kites from 4 years ago. I just had to let everyone know it feels great to be calorie deficient and cramped up and sore because my girlfriend doesn't want to hear it again. Thanks to all the kite designers who made it possible. Please keep it up!
I only use 9-7-5m kites - mainly 7 and 5m They have improved too but maybe not that much. My 7m with RRD Maquina 5'9" gets me going at 18knots when current and waves are not hefty. As from 20knots with hefty Not Sea current and shit waves. The 5m gets me going from 25 knots. The 9m is for 15knots.
Only on Caribbean holiday I use 10m as the warm air needs more surface.
in 2007 I was using 7m on high wind days around 26 to 35 38 kn. now in the same place with same conditions I use 5m that has same performance more or less of the old 7. 7m 2013 model I use now from 18 knots to 26 27 kn. brand is the same and model is the same I was using those years TT and now SB that allows less kite size so comparing is not super easy but there has been improving in small sizes without any doubt on all parameter. cannot imagine now going out with a 7 with strong wind . in terms of power I have impression they gained 1,5 m at least. I have even thought of keeping only the 7m as biggest I have,so much is improvement on performace this last 2 3 years but since june I had many good sinking days so bought an 11m to float again ! ciao
Change, and 'wider wind range' is what they say to make you want a new kite. I would say different designs and brands have different characteristics. Newer big kites always seem to have 'better bottom end' Maybe, but maybe makes them slower (ss rally 14m ?). So be careful if matching kites to another size. I.e New sling RPM 12 is more powerfull than older. Have a look at Sling wind graphs over years. 2013 9m is also now more powerfull. But, is the top end less? Try is the only way to be sure. BTW a sling Rally 8m will have a bigger range and drift than an 8m RPM, so open 'c' versus delta design can be an important factor.