here is a bow kite review from a true beginning kiter.
my buddy and I are experienced windsurfers that began sporadically kiting 2 years ago. very sporadically. 3 trips in 2005. always either no wind or too much wind. both took some lessons from company with a lot of red in their logo, I might as well have just thrown my money into the Pamlico Sound for all the lessons were worth. bought some kites (fuels) and just generally got the shit beaten out of us for the next few trips.
We went down to see Ty Luckett of Kite Hatteras last weekend for a 4 day camp . Ty had moved his lesssons to Key Biscayne for the winter months. over the course of the 4 days we had wind every day. it ranged from 6mph to 30mph, mostly in the middle to upper range. we rode Switchblades on Aggression boards. We could already rig, waterstart and relaunch (with some difficulty) on our own. so with minimal but excellent instruction from Captain Ty, we launched from his boat on the pure
butter by Stiltsville in Biscayne Bay. The Switchblades were amazing. although I was doubtful, they were very simple to rig and launch. even when we screwed up and brought kite up thru the power zone, a simple push out released all the pull of the kite. Ty made me take my leash off my board before we left the first morning and without the constant downwind pull of the C kites I never fell far from my board, a couple of short bodydrags (if needed at all) and I was right back to my board. the bar is like a gas pedal with the ability to dump speed or accelerate at will I was able to concentrate on holding my edge and correcting my stance. By the end of the first day we were both staying upwind, by the end of the second day I was riding right by Ty's boat and talking to him from my board. By the third day we both jumping, my buddy was jumping, landing and riding out of the landing. the fourth day was short (thankfully, worn out, sunburned) as we had to get to the airport. lots of ripping around, jumps - sort of a two hour downwinder towards the marina.
the most amazing thing about the Switchblades was my buddy and I have a 50 lb. weight difference and we were trading the same kite back and forth. one of us would ride for half an hour and then the other would jump off the boat, hook in and ride off on the same size kite, back and forth, all day. We rode and traded every size over the 4 days, the 16, 12, 9, even the 7. beautiful, well thought out design. the Aggression boards were freakishly light, edge-grinding machines.
I had read about and researched the bows and heard a lot of forum talk about 'bar pressure'. We laughed about that all weekend. I have never felt a lighter pull on the bar. My fuels tugged like crazy. I was riding the SB's with two fingers, one-handed. We laughed about reading 'worn out arms' 'tennis elbow' and all the other BS. With nothing to gain from this, I can tell you that we rode 8-9 hours every day and Ty's pregnant wife rode and not one of us felt the slightest discomfort. Kiting went from a frustrating struggle to an f**king blast in single weekend.
A massive shout out to Cabrinha, Kite Hatteras, Aggression Kiteboards