Well since Phil has pimped
the Nano 9 so well I figure I might as
well chime in about some of the other 2008 Eclipse kites that I had the
chance to demo yesterday.
Conditions were light wind (12 - 15 knots) and oceanside here on the Outer
Banks. Occasional wave of maybe knee to thigh height, so nothing big. I
weigh a solid 200 lbs. wet and was primarily riding an Airush 137 Hammer for
a board. I would say I am an advanced rider but nothing special, really just
got into wave riding this year and can do basic jumps and currently working
on unhooked wake style tricks. Currently riding 2007 Eclipse Kites (14m & 12m Thrusters and 9m Nano).
2008 Thruster 16m was the first kite I tried since I am a bigger guy and the winds were light. Here are some of the highlights that I noticed.
Excellent construction and a huge improvement from the 2007 Thrusters. A lot of attention placed on the details and beefed up where they need to be without excess material like some spots on the '07's. Kites also felt lighter, not sure why but I liked. Overall a much more polished finish this year.
In the air moves very fast through the window and likes to be at the edge of the window. Turning speed was good for a 16m but felt a little sluggish in initiating the turn. Keep in mind the wind was light so that may have had something to do with it. Because the kite likes to sit forward in the window due to it being a higher aspect kite I had to really send the kite early in my turns. Once I got used to that it was smooth sailing. The bar pressure was more than my 07 Thruster 14m but still felt great. Might have even made it easier to keep track of the kite without looking at. This kite definately pulls like a bus as far as power goes. Not sure what the high end would be at this point but definately would be the largest kite I would need here in the OBX. To be honest I don't think I would need to go larger than my current 14m.
The wind was pretty light for jumping but there is more pop in this kite than my 07. About the same hang time I would say but I think the potential for more height once you get it dialed in.
The biggest thing I noticed was that the kite was way more stable than the 07 Thrusters. Less jelly fishing and a more steady pull on the bar. Granted this could change in higher winds but was impressed compared to my 07. For freestyle in light air I think this kite will be tough to beat in 08. In the waves I think I would stick to a Nano (see below) but that is just my opinion. The kite likes to keep moving and sometimes in the waves it is nice to have a kite just sit and wait for you to finish riding a wave.
Next kite I tried was the one I have been waiting to get my hands on, the 12m Nano. This kite was truly amazing. I love my current 9m Nano but always seem to need more wind for it. The 08 12m is my prayers answered. Besides a more polished look the kite handles like a dream. Has almost the same wind range as my 14m Thruster which means it could replace the 14 in most wave riding conditions. The kite is amazingly stable and sits lower in the window compared to the Thruster. Will basically sit parked while you ride a wave, even when riding down the line towards the kite. Pivots on the spot when you want to turn and travels through the window with a little less speed than the Thruster. Jumping the kite appears to have more hangtime than the previous 07 Nanos and doesn't seem to flutter as much when diving it after a jump. Overall this kite is top on my list for buying in 08. Bar pressure seemed about the same or maybe a little more than my 07 Nano. This kite should also work pretty good for beginners I would imagine but I would wait till a beginner reviews them.
Last kite I tested, only briefly, was the 12m Thruster. Dimitri wanted me to try it and I was convinced there was no way I would be able to ride a 12m in the light wind we had. I even walked a couple hundred feet up the beach so I could drift downwind. This kite surprised me in how fast it moves through the window and can generate power. I actually stayed up wind on a few tacks much to my surprise. Not enough for me to jump but I imagine this kite due to its speed would send me flying in the right wind. Like the others more stable than the 07's with less flutter and jellying.
Well getting late for me here. The bars were improved from last year as well but will save that for another day, or someone else to comment on. Overall I am very pleased with what Eclipse has coming out in 08. The kites are worth a test run and I think many people will be pleasantly surprised.
One last thing all the kites were one pumps which I am 50/50 on.