I'm another UK rider - as like John above we've had the Union for a month or so,
Kiteworld have had a 9 for a good few weeks to - test coming out in the new issue.
But Just thought I would add what we've (myself and some of our riders) found in our first few sessions with the 9 and 12.
I know that throughout the industry the patter is always better, more, greater and easier - the formula of brochure text is always a bit limited by it's very nature, so I have been asked to put a little meat in there from a riders perspective. I've been through all the VX's, and the Unions of all sizes so far... As well as the Wave and a lot of the other kites that share a similar design curve.. As well as half a season on the razors in 2017..
So what is it and what does it feel like and do?
This year it’s way more alive than last - it’s going to appeal to people who really like to pilot their kites. One of those kites that, the more you throw it around the more you’ll get from it. It’s fast turning, and super efficient. Bite against it and it hammers to the front of the window with greater attitude than 2016 or 17. It’s pulling noticeably higher woo numbers than last year n the sessions we've had.... and a lot more engaging on the way down.
Is it a difficult kite to use?
Well, no, but it's quicker and such is it’s eager pull you can find yourself running out of apparent wind if you go too far and the windspeed is light - (you can build very high apparent wind in low power conditions).. Conversely you can gain a lot more than you have ever had before if you use it’s abilities right. It’s very stall proof in general handling, stable and easy - certainly static manners are exemplary when your hands are off the controls, but when your hands are on, you have turn your brain on to get the most from what it can do, as much in light winds as in strong.
It’s also much better for unhooking (surges forward on bite as mentioned earlier) thus giving a lighter bar, mid move, and it’s speed of turn is much faster which is knocking squarely on wave kite territory.. More technical - arguably - but so much more focussed than last year - it’s going to find a lot of favour with those who can fly well..
Slightly less powerful size for size until you move it (compared to 2017), then it’s the same (apparent wind). Depending on your weight / board efficiency, you can use the same size but, I certainly, can use a slightly larger a kite than last year in any given wind. It loves to be thrown around, last years feels solid but comparatively restrained by comparison. This year the kite the kite has more life and lungs. It’s approaching the Razor in ability, but with full depower, distancing itself further from the freeride cornerstone that is the Lithium.
Fast kites can sometimes have trust issues in certain conditions (extreme overpower / gusty or gnarly wave breaks, or if you stall it out at the back of the window / relaunch) but the Union III so far has dealt with everything we have thrown at it - so certainly no issues when things get sketchy - an essential aspect in real world conditions. The 2017 was excellent in this regard, and good to see that the extra life in the V3 has not compromised it when things get sketchy.
It's a lot more engaging in varied conditions - much better in waves, quicker around the window in lightwinds when on a foil, and way better through the loop, just remember to ease yourself into it rather than trying to go around the first roundabout sideways. We had one rider who sent it for a kiteloop on his first transition, and in retrospect was not ready for the level of forward turn and speed through the loop. Make sure it's firmly tucked into your shoulder before you let loose on your first shot.
The 9 and 12 have a very similar feel and same riding principles apply to both. The 12 is a lot more lively, which is welcomed as improvements in the agility of the bigger kites is never a bad thing.
I'm also really keen to read the K/W test when it comes out.
So far we are very impressed...
pretty picture - easy on the eye