I've been reading the reviews of the Crossbow and I haven't really seen much in the way of anyone wave riding with the kite, so here is my two cents.
Today it was 8 weather for me maybe 10 weather if it was only for jumps, but for the surf a 10 would have been too much. The wind was very gusty and dirty 20kts on the low and easy 30kts on the gusts. Surf spot is a very large crescent shaped reef with surf on all sides 1-3' small windsurf swell. Spot has straight onshore waves on one side with lefts and every angle all the way to straight offshore on the opposite side with rights. I'm 195lbs and ride a 131x37.5 custom twin tip.
Normally on a day like today even with an 8 trying to bottom turn in the gusts on the off shore side of the reef it becomes very hard to maintain control and hit the wave where you want to. Now with the 9 Crossbow it was almost a joke to surf. I could be running completely straight down wind, at the wave, on a gust, out of a bottom turn, on the flats, sheet the bar out and pivot the kite completely on axis and smack the wave with the kite pulling me back onto the flats for another fully powered bottom turn. Yeah I know all you die hard wave riders I know what youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re thinking, you think that you can do this with your kite now but there are several very important features that this kite has that makes this whole maneuver much easier. Number one is that when you sheet out the kite it will not pull as in stop, sinking, no nothing. The other one is that because the kite pivots on axis instead of turning in an arc you can pivot as well. Lastly by sheeting in quickly the kite generates power aggressively. I could go from powered up fast wave riding having the kite pulling me through my turns to just cruising in the pocket goofing off all on the same wave.
The biggest test for me is that I normally don't enjoy riding lefts backside, especially onshore. For the first time in a long time it almost felt like real surfing on my backhand, pretty cool stuff.
A few other notes. I never had to pull the strap and really never felt like I needed to. I was amazed at how gusty everyone else was saying it was. I knew that it was gusty but I didn't realize how bad it was, maybe thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s why the kite would do this weird shrug thing. I would be looking at the kite and the bar would load up in my hands. I would sheet it out just a bit and it would do this shrug like shrugging your shoulders and that would be it, no yank not even a jerk down wind. It was very disconcerting. It was like I was waiting to get my ass kicked and then it wouldn't happen. Same thing with kite looping. You can loop the kite in a transition or a jump and if it seems like you where about to get a nasty yank I could sheet the bar out and it would take the edge off the pull significantly.
Now to be fair just so this doesn't read like a hard blow of bullshit up your arse. My only complaint is that when jumping in order to get the hang time I needed to be fully sheeted in. I could go just as high as my 10 05' Nitro and if I had full tension on the lines I would get that crazy float but if I went for a grab or sheeted out even slightly the jump would be pretty lame. Until I have more time on the kite I'm not going to bag on its jumping ability but if I had a fixed loop or a Powerlock the hang time could be pretty crazy.