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69964Re: [ksurf] GK Sonik or Waroo pros/cons pls

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  • malink magombo
    Apr 27, 2006
      best waroo

      in the last year kiting has seen the 'next big thing',
      the bowkite phenomenon. these kites claimed to offer
      total depower, as well as the ability to let go of the
      bar and acitate the safety system. however, problems
      became apparent with issues such as stability, the
      power delivery and most importantly, the phenomenon of
      the kite inverting, which can end up causing a very
      expensive repair. best have released the waroo,
      claiming that all of these problems have been
      adressed, and that all the advantages of tradditional
      C shaped LEI's and bow kites have been maintained.

      ok, the bag. to look at its not that special, but it
      packs down small and can be extended to various sizes,
      including being big enough to accomodate the kite with
      struts inflated. theres a pocket for your pump, and
      you can put your bar at the side of the bag.

      the bar itself is well constructed, with a nice small
      daimeter and a contoured end, allowing you to hold it
      more comfortably. this is particularly nice, as some
      bars ive had in the past have been abysmal to hold for
      long periods. the chicken loop has a release activated
      my a loop and pin, and is mounted on the side of the
      loop, which makes it easier to reach and activate than
      one on top of the loop. the depower line is quite
      long, but reachable with my arms. the trimmer is a
      pull/pull system with long toggles, and again is easy
      to reach with the hands. theres nothing worse than
      being overpowered and not being able to reach the trim
      strap! at either end of the bar are OSR handles, which
      allow you to flag the kite out if need be, handy for
      self landing the kite and a reassuring extra safety
      option.

      the kite itself is well made, the stiching is well
      done and the fabric feels good. the quality of the
      printing seems fine, but time will tell. the kite
      itself appears very simple, there really isnt a lot to
      it when you look at it. theres only 5 struts, and
      bridling is nice and simple. the front lines attach to
      a pulley on the main bridle, allowing the pivot point
      for the depower of the kite to move back and forth
      when used. the brake lines go onto a v shaped line
      which terminates on the front and rear of the wingtip.
      on this are adustment knots for the turning style of
      the kite, as well as further knots which allow you to
      tailor the activation of the safety to your own needs.
      it reminds me of the WAC system you see on flysurfers,
      and certainly gives you the option of making the kite
      suit your flying style a lot better. more on this
      later.
      all the vales are non return, including the main
      bladder, which is certainly apprechiated. more than
      once ive had a pump nozzle come put on a windy day and
      ended up swearing. the only thing missing is a pump
      leash attachment, but you can hold onto the bridle
      instead.

      pumping up the kite is a pretty quick affair, due to
      the thin struts and small number of them. the kite
      likes to be super hard to help it maintain its shape.
      its certainly gets pumped up a lot harder than a
      regular LEI, and initially this is a bit worrying, but
      the kite can take it. also, once inflated you notice
      how light the kite is.

      flying

      you can launch the kite like a regular LEI, weighting
      down the wingtip, or its possible to launch the kite
      by rolling it over from its leading edge by pulling
      one of the brakelines. this takes a bit of practice on
      the land, but is easy enough, and certainly quicker
      and easier than having to weigh down the wingtip
      everytime you stuff up a trick. you do need more than
      10mph of wind to do this however.

      once in the air, on the default settings feels light
      on th bar, but not devoid of feel. the turning
      response is excellent, the kite responding crisply
      like a regular LEI without delay. on the default
      settings the kite turns half like a foil, i.e. on its
      axis, and half like an LEI. being from a foil
      background this is no bad thing, and as i said it can
      be changed if it isnt your thing. the turning radius
      is good but perhaps not quite as tight as a C shaped
      LEI.
      the level of depower feels smooth and progressive, and
      around the last 3 inches of bar travel, you can feel
      the pull from the kite fade and hear a gentle flapping
      of the sail. this is perfectly normal and what the
      kite is designed to do. push the bar out further and
      the pull is negligable, as my kite is set up currenty
      the kite sits at zenith for a while, then slowly
      flutters down. in stronger winds, it gradually
      descends to the edge of the window and sits there,
      benign and awaiting relaunch. by simply adjusting the
      backline tension via the knots on the brakelines, you
      can make the safety actuation more or less prononced.
      i like it set up this way as it gives the benefits of
      total depower, but the kite stays in the air long
      enough for you to recover and reride after a trick, so
      its in effect like have a safe suicide leash. altering
      the amount of backline tension also allows you to
      tailor the amount of available top and bottom end of
      the kite, giving you a bit more windrange and a larger
      comfort zone.
      the level of power in the kite is good, certainly
      more than a 12m C kite. best say the 12m is around the
      power of a 16 C kite, and this doesnt feel too far
      from the truth. the power feels smooth and
      progressive, not as grunty as a C kite but perhaps
      more like a high aspect foil. dont let this put you
      off though as this is relative, and the kite is a lot
      more grunty than a foil. the kite flys fast and
      accelerates quickly, but sheeting out into the safety
      zone soon slows things down again. inital impressions
      remind me of a foil, but only in certain ways. the
      kite feels recognisable in the way that you fly it,
      but seems to combine foil and LEI flying qualities.

      water use

      my first inital water session was at fleetwood beach
      in a gusty 20mph plus wind. a few minutes before i'd
      been out sailing on a regular C shaped kite (a yarga
      pro) and it'd been your typical sail in gusty wind,
      i.e. digging in your edge like mad during the gusts,
      and bearing off downwind and losing ground during the
      lulls. personally i find sailing in these conditions
      more like a war with the kite, rather than you and
      your kit working in unison. this kind of sailing makes
      my thighs ache and my temper frayed.

      anyway, i moved onto the waroo and headed out.
      initially apparent was that now i could maintain a
      constant board speed, instead of speeding or slowing
      as the wind changed in order to maintain control, now
      i could use the depower available on the kite to
      smooth out the ride. instead of flying off every piece
      of chop i could cruise as i wished, and the strain
      going through my legs was much reduced. compared to a
      regular blimp the board seemed to plane from the speed
      of the kite, rather than the grunt available from a
      more classic shaped kite. within a few minutes my
      condifence level had gained, and i was carving and
      throwing the board around despite the less than
      average conditions. jumping was good, but i noticed
      that it was important to maintain backline tension to
      get the most boost from the kite. the jumping style is
      quite foil-like, you didnt need to send the kite back
      as far as a classic kite, but the hangtime and pop
      felt good. it took me a while to dail in the timing
      but it soon comes naturally.

      the first time in decent conditions was over at shell
      island in some small peeling sets. i use a 129 X 39
      twintip and before on my previous kite, it had been
      difficult to get more than 2 or 3 turns on a wave this
      size without being pulled off, or worse straight
      through the face. with this kite it was now possible
      to line myself up for a section and meter out the
      power as desired, easing off as i hit the lip or when
      i carved into toeside to help maintain balance.
      bogging down didnt seem much of a problem as the waroo
      was giving me a high initial boardspeed, and i could
      blend the power of the wave and kite as i wished. this
      day i was able to continuosly link sets together for
      over a mile, something i have never been able to do
      before. to say i felt pretty good was an
      understatement. and getting back wasnt too much of an
      ordeal as you can really point the kite upwind and
      make up some ground.

      land use

      i kite with a mountainboard on a regular basis, and
      this is where i throw most of my freestyle moves as
      ive kited on the land for much longer. using the waroo
      on land is pretty straightforward, you can relaunch by
      rolling the kite as detailed earlier and the depower
      qualities certainly come in useful. my site is inland
      and gusty, and the amount of depower helps to prevent
      loftings a lot more often than on other equipment ive
      used in the past. the only time ive been able to
      overfly is inland, and this was in a severely
      unstable wind. when the kite did this however it just
      fluttered harmlessly to the ground, the important
      thing to remember in this instance is to let go of the
      bar. the kite still has yet to fully invert on me,
      despite deliberately trying on a number of occasions.
      my advice is if landboarding with any bow kite keep an
      eye on it and maintian some backline tension at all
      times so you can feel what the kite is doing.

      trickwise, once i had adjusted the turn settings to
      full 'pivot' style turning, the timing for jumps on
      land became a lot easier. in a wind of around 15mph i
      was getting good boosts from the kite with nice float,
      i still need to work on some aspects of jumping with
      this kite as i feel there is more performance to come.
      recently ive been doing some of the kiteloop moves and
      being able to sheet out mid loop and prevent the
      dreaded mis timed power surge is very useful. my
      backloop kiteloops are smoother than ever and i can
      pop them in less wind. i also apprechiated the fact
      that in blind its very easy to control the kite and
      maintain boardspeed without getting pulled off
      backwards.
      unhooked the kite accelerates well and doesnt stall
      too easily, except in very light wind. its also easy
      to turn the kite one handed with either hand, whatever
      side of the bar you're holding.

      conclusion

      the waroo certainly bridges several different styles
      of riding and flying styles well. as someone who never
      owns more than two kites, this versatility is very
      welcome. plus there is the confidence imbued by the
      safety systems and level of depower, it really is a
      very reassuring ride. the kite has the lightness and
      float of a foil, and the speed and turning of an LEI
      kite. however, the flying style is a blend of the two,
      with its own individualities. with the mixed
      references this is initially a little disconcerting
      but getting dailled in isnt difficult. i like the
      simplicity of the kite and its ease of use, along with
      the attention to detail in the impretant areas. factor
      in the price and it makes for a compelling package.
      the only real dissapointing aspect of the package is
      the pump, mine was abysmal and totally incapable of
      infalting the kite correctly. but i have contacted
      best and they're sending me a replacement. all in all
      this kite has a lot to offer to a lot of people, its
      certainly made my kiting both easier and more
      pleasureable




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