We received delivery of a 12m Griffin Kite by Monkey kites yesterday. I managed to blag off work for a few hours for a meeting. Strange how i came back smelling of saltwater.
First impressions, the monkey bag looks better and with everything on it. A few zip pockets, and 2 huge side pockets for bar & Lines and pump. They also have included some board straps, and a new black and white colour scheme which all looks pretty sleek.
Once inflated the kite looked very impressive (black and red), and the new panel lay out looks very solid. My understanging is that it will make the kite stronger on impact, but it's something i dont pretend to know much about. All materials and stitching look very well put together, and all the usuall double cross over stitching, trailing edge reinforcements, strut guardsand sectioned leading edge are there which give the kite a good build quality.
Set up was easy, with no adjustments or tweeks needed. The griffin uses a 4 line system which is simple, and effective. There are pullys on the bridle, and on the bar, but they come preset for immediate use.
Once up the kite felt a little strange as the wind was gusting over 30knots, and i was holding a 12m, but i wasn't getting much pull. Convinced something wasn't right, i walked down to the water anyway (prob not the best move). On the first attempt i went no-where, but i hardly sent the kite. Normally with a 12m in those conditions I would be very cautious of sending the kite too hard. On attempt 2 though i sent it a bit harder and was away. Dispite the gusty condtions i felt very comfortable very quickly. I could see local windsurfers having trouble , but i felt like i was constantly flying in the kites sweet spot. I felt no fear from the gusts (normally i hate gusty wind), and the kite was sitting steady as the sun (again i stress even in really gusty winds). I attempted a few backloops and transitions (about my limit) and performed them with ease. When jumping , the kite just seems to go huge. The turning speed is very fast, and the kite is fast when flying through the window, so it all made for bigger jumps.
The depower works on a cleat system, and is very simple, and reliable. The quick release is on the chicken loop, and again uses a simple pull and release.
I would like to see a one pump inflation system, but have heard that this can create extra drag and affect performance. If thats the case, i would just leave it, but if it could be done without affecting the perfomance it would be great to see.
All in all my this is the best kite i have ridden. I am yet to test the low end, but with the light winds due this weekend will be testing it very soon. If it is as impressive as the high end, i will be a very happy surfer.
One of our team riders was also using the griffin for about 3hrs. He is a lot more experinced than i and rides at a much higher level. I know he loved the kite and i will ask him to write a review for advanced riders.
As soon as i get the pics off the camera i will post them also