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Airush Union III: Throw Loops, Throw Spray, & Throw It Down

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alexeyga
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Re: Airush Union III: Throw Loops, Throw Spray, & Throw It Down

Postby alexeyga » Wed Aug 02, 2017 3:08 am

wetdog wrote:
Tue Aug 01, 2017 10:14 pm
Interesting. Why is that? Is the Union more "solid/stiff" or how would you describe the difference?
Simply put - as the wind approaches the kite's top end (for heavier riders), Bandit becomes very edgy/nervous/uncomfortable. Union is very different in that regard and even when seriously over-powered it still feels manageable without any funny edginess.

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Re: Airush Union III: Throw Loops, Throw Spray, & Throw It Down

Postby wetdog » Wed Aug 02, 2017 12:45 pm

I'm a heavier rider myself (95 kg) and I have noticed you have to pump up the Bandit really hard for it not to feel like jelly. Even F-one recommends 10 psi in the manual IIRC.

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Re: Airush Union III: Throw Loops, Throw Spray, & Throw It Down

Postby John-B » Wed Aug 02, 2017 1:24 pm

alexeyga wrote:
Wed Aug 02, 2017 3:08 am
wetdog wrote:
Tue Aug 01, 2017 10:14 pm
Interesting. Why is that? Is the Union more "solid/stiff" or how would you describe the difference?
Simply put - as the wind approaches the kite's top end (for heavier riders), Bandit becomes very edgy/nervous/uncomfortable. Union is very different in that regard and even when seriously over-powered it still feels manageable without any funny edginess.
I think many things like the tow-point, bridle configuration, panel layout, aspect ratio and LE thickness all have a part to play e.g. you cant simply say all kites with thin LE's will dart forward under edging load... although many will. Some are designed to spill power differently through pushing the bar out - some kites 'tilt' to change the angle of attack (where the wind hits it) and some the canopy deforms to 'spill' the wind. How they turn can be different in that some will pivot fast around a wing-tip as it brakes with no power and in others this is more gradual as it 'drives' round and keeps power.

I remember getting a 5m Airush Wave as storm kite for our Scottish winters when the wind gusts from low to high 40's easily. I was out in one session when the local station recorded peak gusts of 52mph and the kite behaved fantastically; however I couldn't get any decent height jumping it - as soon as it was edged hard it would shoot to the front of the window and dump power

I also think when three strut kites first hit the market they hadn't fully tested many of the designs 'properly' i.e. in a range of real world conditions using different types of riders. I'm 76kg and remember some scary moments on [another brand] 7m that in wind that was constantly strong was OK but if it was gusty it would want to turn itself inside out under loading no matter how hard it was pumped.

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Re: Airush Union III: Throw Loops, Throw Spray, & Throw It Down

Postby MikeBirt » Thu Aug 03, 2017 1:22 pm

Kites can sometimes have frame stability issues when you've pushed them to the front of the window and unloaded the back lines - the canopy tension goes and the stability of the kite relies more and more on the frame. Though the years I've had kites that i would say have never bitten me, (those days are thankfully over) but you can feel the kite twitch around when you are close to your limit. When you are fighting it's not such a great feeling, takes away some of your brave juice.... Some kites are rock solid, all the way to their limit - though most of these don't tend to sit that far forward - they have a canopy tension that you cant fully turn off.
Really fast efficient kites are statistically more prone to this, so it's a good kite that gives you extreme efficiency and keep it's cool when you take it to the physical limit of it's wind range. I've not had the Union III at the ragged edge yet.. Maybe John has.

If it's been designed for better woo performance in Cape town, I cant image it will be a handful when the back lines finally go slack, but I guess we'll find out!

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Re: Airush Union III: Throw Loops, Throw Spray, & Throw It Down

Postby BamBam » Wed Aug 09, 2017 2:22 pm

So I guess that I will also throw my two cents worth in on the improvements of the Union III... Just to preface, I am a local Hood River Team rider for Airush (www.airush.com) and 2nd Wind Sports (www.2ndwind-sports.com). I started kiting in 2000 and worked for a few years back in 2007-2009 on Maui for Naish doing mostly bar design. Pretty much have ridden the Torch and Razor as my personal kites, until recently moving to Union in 2016. At some point the old knees started complaining heavily. I mostly ride a Livewire with boots or a strapless surfboard. The attached pictures were taken on the new Apex. Recently I have picked up a foil as well.

Okay, so I believe that the proof is in the ride and am always skeptical until I get to ride it and make my own impression. If you ever get to Hood River, find me and/or Pepi at 2nd Wind Sports and we will make sure you get a go at these kites. I am going to provide my impressions in the framework as the differences between the 2017 Union and 2018 Union III... One thing that is similar is the load frame and overall build quality. Over the last seven years Airush products have been slowly evolving and build quality has been no exception. My local nickname in Hood River is "Bam Bam", and my Airush kites have definitely lived through serious punishment.

The Union III definitely has a more compact feel and look in the sky... even though the aspect ratio is actually higher. Initially I thought the new 9m was a 8m while I was pumping it up and checking it out on the beach. The slightly more square wingtips really do have an effect that I noticed when coming down from larger jumps. The Union III is significantly softer on re-entry. This softer feeling on landing was noticeable both hooked and unhooked, and my aging body really does appreciate this attribute.

Another positive difference was that over sheeting no longer results in the annoying tip folding/back stalling that was prevalent in the larger sizes of the 2017 Union. The Union III flies positively both under and over sheeted. This really makes the Union III work better in underpowered conditions where you want to unhook. The 2017 would start back sliding out of the sky in light conditions the moment you unhooked and went for a trick. The Union III also tends to fly slightly further forward towards the wind window, and this in conjunction with the higher aspect ratio and fuller wing tips also improved the kite for foiling by keeping it stable in its position in the wind window.

I really feel a solid connection to the Union III through the bar. The bar pressure does not fluctuate as much the 2017 Union, and the kite remains positive during turns/looping and allows me to be able to keep track of it in the sky. Bars are another topic I could spend a lot of time on. Just know that I really enjoy the Pastor Bar and that the new Core Cleat bar is right there as well. I made sure to ride all of the sizes that Airush brought to the Hood River Demo (7m, 9m, 10m, and 12m), and was pleasantly surprised at how similar all of the flying attributes stayed throughout the range. I connected with this kite so well that I made sure that the 7m and 10m did not leave, and are now safely tucked away in my garage.

In the weeks after getting these kites, my riding time exploded from the days I have been on the water over the last four summers. I can unequivocally link this to these new kites. Yes, they are still the Union and fly similarly to a lot of other really good three strut kites from other brands... but Airush have produced a top notch four line kite that fly's smoothly and predictably for any level kite boarder, while giving the more experienced rider access to the performance those young kids are getting out of the full bore competition five line c-kites. I am keeping these Unions III's around for sure... They make me feel more like the rider I was ten years ago...

Hmmm, so people are probably wondering if there areas for improvement... I would advise people to be aware of the long bridles. Although they are shorter than the 2017, the Union III gets its range from a relatively long bridle and it can become wrapped if the kite is crashed with excessive line slack. The Union III also prefers to be well inflated, and can buckle under high loads if under inflated. In the end I hope people get out and try the Union III's, but more importantly I hope people are getting out and finding gear that keeps them out riding happily and supporting the industry as a whole.

Thanks... and, kite on... Jon
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danielescobarg
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Re: Airush Union III: Throw Loops, Throw Spray, & Throw It Down

Postby danielescobarg » Thu Aug 17, 2017 10:47 pm

Hey Guys!

Its my first post on the community, long time lurker....

I currently ride a 9M 2014 Varial X. Im well overdue to changing my kite, I love how it rides, but its starting to show its years and Im considering the Union. My dealer has some great deals on 2017, but not sure if its worth to move to 2018. Also, I read somewhere that Union is more "powered" that the old Varial X, but I think they are referring to the last VX (2015), which i have ridden and its really "underpowered". My dealer says that on the Union I should move one size down, but he has not ridden 2018 Unions yet.

Any advise from the Airush Varial X /Union users?

Daniel

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Re: Airush Union III: Throw Loops, Throw Spray, & Throw It Down

Postby SonnyRider » Sat Aug 19, 2017 11:15 am

In my experience, I would go straight to the 2018 Union, they have a similar feel on the bar to the 2014 VX's.

The 2014 was a good year for the VX's IMHO. And the 2018 is looking like a very good year for the Unions'. I have a 9 and it's nice, very, very nice.
No need to size down with the 2018's

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BamBam
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Re: Airush Union III: Throw Loops, Throw Spray, & Throw It Down

Postby BamBam » Wed Aug 23, 2017 11:51 pm

Hey Daniel,

Both the 2017 and 2018 Unions are a far cry from where the kite started with its Varial-X heritage. But, I also agree with the last post. The improvements I outlined are noticeable, and if your going to upgrade... I would not settle for the 2017's... Not sure I would buy the advice on downsizing. I think what you will get out of the newer kite is a better range that will include the low end improvements, but these kites can still handle a ton on the top end. I flew, but did not own, the Varial's in the same sizes I currently ride (7m/10m) and although the Varial's definitely lacked the low end punch, I would not go down a complete size.

Good luck and hopefully you can get yourself behind a demo soon, Jon

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Re: Airush Union III: Throw Loops, Throw Spray, & Throw It Down

Postby MikeBirt » Fri Aug 25, 2017 8:51 am

danielescobarg wrote:
Thu Aug 17, 2017 10:47 pm
I currently ride a 9M 2014 Varial X. Im well overdue to changing my kite, I love how it rides, but its starting to show its years and Im considering the Union.
Like you, I've ridden unions mainstream since 2014, with a dabble on razors for half a season.. The 2014 was a good year to those who can really fly kites well. The reason that 2015 went a bit porky was to cut out the backstall. I would go to demos and honestly, half the people who rode the 2014 couldn't get going - seriously - they would end up with a size bigger than the lithium, then when they got going they would claim they were overpowered. Sounds crazy, but it's the truth. Those who could ride - the 2014 was a really good kite.
2016 and 2017 struck a really good balance between the guys above and you (and me). It's a very good kite, but really easy to use..
2018 is different to '16, '17, and '14 in feel if not ability
It's easier to use than 2014, but it's taken a step into the performance window of 2014 again (in the eyes of those who revered the 2014 vintage). To get the most from it your piloting skills need to be higher (like 2014 riders). It's faster than 2014 in the turn, much more forward turn (constant power) - the 2014 power did drop off a bit when you really hooked round corners. Efficiency is right up here with 2014 but more resistant to backstall in inexperienced hands. Feels a lot more solid than the 2014 - the canopy/frame is rock solid and it's a little harder to read to the eye, as the tips don't flare anymore, and the kite's stall seems to come more from you noticing power loss before you see it choking, that said it's so much more athletic in the window that in light winds it encourages you to throw it around alot and find power / apparent windspeed, so much so that you can get it so deep in the window that you have to remember it's not a Lithium, as kites this flat will eventually stall out if your apparent wind starts to drop. You'll plug staright into it though, coming from 2014.
danielescobarg wrote:
Thu Aug 17, 2017 10:47 pm
My dealer has some great deals on 2017, but not sure if its worth to move to 2018. Also, I read somewhere that Union is more "powered" that the old Varial X, but I think they are referring to the last VX (2015), which i have ridden and its really "underpowered". My dealer says that on the Union I should move one size down, but he has not ridden 2018 Unions yet.
2014 was the same power as 2018. 2015 was really powered (close to lithium) 2016 and 2017 were between the two, but between these two years I did feel that the 2017 had more static pull, and though used more depower sooner, had more (infact total) stability when your fighting for survival, (aka trying to get the biggest woo number of the day) lol. 2016 was a magic kite to use with a foil (before the Ultra turned up) it's ability to steer in super light winds and almost complete depower was ace. Just don't stick it in the water when it's less than 8 knots!

See if you can get a demo.
2018 is for sure a very different and in my opinion a better year for the more elite rider.
Time will see how popular it is with the masses - and this will have a bearing on what the next generation will be like, but for now, I'd say, make hay :-)

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alexeyga
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Re: Airush Union III: Throw Loops, Throw Spray, & Throw It Down

Postby alexeyga » Fri Aug 25, 2017 3:44 pm

One thing about Unions - they compare very well size for size with flatter kites like Lithium. This was the main reason why I chose Union over FX or GTS4 - my 12 Union pull like an honest 12m.


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