Rider backround: I have been kiting for 7 years, started with Naish X2s, Aeros, Nitros, Co2s and then bowkites until I tried the 2008 Thruster. That kite impressed me so much after just 10min of ride that made me change to Thrusters. Then I had the 2009 Thrusters and this year I was hoping that Epic Screamer was the evolved Thruster, keeping the characteristics that made me fall in love with the Thruster.
After a bad knee ACL injury and a long rehab I'm finally back in the water and been honored to receive brand new Epic kites to go with my comeback. 10m and 7m Screamers and a 9m Renegade.
First day on the beach and the wind is averaging 18-20kn with gusts up to 23-24. I had a dilema about which Screamer size I should go with cause i'm light 70kg and I prefer my kite to be set up fully powered so I take the size acccordingly. I have read that the 10m Screamer is very powerfull for its size but I was very anxious to fly it so I thought, what the heck, if i'm overpowed I will come back and change.
So, first kite out of the bag : Screamer 10m LTD
First of all, that was a big bag, it could easily take 2 10m's in there. Unfolding the black Screamer I started looking at the detailed touches here and there. The pump is small, takes some strokes more than a big pump but in the end its easier to put lots of pressure in the kite and its more compact for traveling. I don't mind some more strokes but some people may prefer the big pump. The pump leash attachment on the kite is heavy duty built. The kite pumped up feels very solid. Thick LE material and a neet cover stiched along the LE on top of the main LE stiching. The struts are very firm and thin with camber and I liked the onepump clips sewed on the struts. Also the scuff pads are the thickest i've seen and their shape is a genious stopping the kite from drifting fast and helping it relaunch easier when in the water. I will run some tests on relaunch when the winds are light and see how those work.
The bridal is short, short enough so it can't rap itself around the wingtip. Only 2 Ronstan pulleys on the front bridal and from my experience they need minimum care, just washing with fresh water when you wash the kite.
Down to the bar and the first thing i've noticed was the weight. It felt lighter than previous bars and especially the Eclipse bar with that metal release mechanism that made the bar so heavy.
Now its a cool push away plastic release system with the emergency depower line running through it with a small chicken loop and a the chicken stick that moves out of the way for unhooked riding. After an emergency quick release securing the chicken loop back in place is very easy.
Ok, lines connected, harness on, time to launch. The grip on the bar is soft, perfect diameter and it has little steps for possitioning the fingers, niceee.
I was getting ready to launch being overpowered but surprisingly it was quite a comfortable smooth launch. I was expecting an aggressive behaviour in the gusts being a high AR kite but the kite was smooth and absorbing gusts like a beginner kite.
Pulling the bar in it felt very grunty and powered up so I threw a jump start. TONS of hangtime, smoothest jump start I ever had and the Screamer felt right at home like i've flown it before. The legendery bar feedback the Thruster had just got better.
Not so sensitive as the Trhuster ( where the slightest bar input could cause accidental redirection ), I would say its just perfectly trimmed.
Went out, turned back in and oh boy, I have never experienced such upwind ability before. Effortless and with speed, this kite is a time saver for pulling more tricks and a true racer!! You have to try to believe.
It was a smooth ride at first but when I started pushing, the Screamer becomes a beast. Fast and stable flying, responsive and explosive with unreal hangtime. I also noticed the silent flight. No flattering whatsoever when crossing the power window even with the bar fully extended ( depowered ).
I havent tried relaunch cause more or less all kites relaunch easy in strong wind, will give it a test when the winds are lighter. I would like to see if the shapy scuff pads actually help relaunch.
Wind started picking up so I packed up the 10m and drove to our fav wave spot.
Time for the 7m Screamer !!
Pumped up hard and up in the sky and the 7m had tons of power as well but far more aggressive flying. This kite is a seriously fast performer.
Surpisingly, turning efford was similar with the 10m. It was not turning like a muskito and I had the bar at its long setting just like on the 10m. In flight it behaves like a high AR kite wanting to go more and more to the edge of the window. Upwind ability again was insane. It flies very fast accross the window and it turns in an arc with speed. Unlike a wave kite the 7m Screamer is a an aggressive kite for a fast ride and huge jumps and kiteloops always wanting to fly further and further forward. Havent tried any kiteloops yet but I can tell it has a serious pull judging from the downloop jybes.
I will add my experience when I loop it. I don't trust my knee yet.
Forgot to add before that I flew both on 20m lines.
In summary, I'm inlove again, I am happy that I got what I expected from Epickites. The quality is top, the kites perform like I expected with extra bonuses and Dimitri is always by your side.
It's going to be an Epic season !!
pictures and more coming soon