Perfect Learning/Advancing Kite? (repost to eliminate HUGE header)
- Day 131. 1/29/1. ~3.5 hrs. flt. time (all on 4.5 ARC). Somewhat less water
time than that, due to walks of shame caused by light winds.
My first day at Long Beach, & my first day on the 4.5 ARC (projected, "630"
size). Now I REALLY can't believe anybody ever rides at Cabrillo, since
there's mega space at Long Beach & it's super-steady side ON-shore.
The only ARC negative I experienced was stalling when oversheeting (to try
not to fall over backwards in lulls). When I do this on a Naish it just
pulls more & lifts me back up. I think I could get used to it, &/or it's
likely a lot less problematic with sufficient wind (see below). I'll also
have to test the overall range, & gust-handling (at Cabrillo), and
waterlaunching [since it never luffed, AND was so easy to avoid hitting the
water (due to extreme maneuverability) even when "working" it HARD, I never
crashed it on the water, & was going to land intentionally, just to test it
before packing up, but decided to keep it dry].
The opposite of a Naish (AR3.5 or 5), the ARC is UNBELIEVABLY stable, in BOTH
directions: the "hype" about impossible luffing is darn near true (I think I
could get it to fold if I ran downwind really fast after flying past
overhead), AND it naturally hovers at zenith (the Naish naturally tends to
drop to one side or the other), in fact once I fell & was getting dragged
upside down & backwards, thinking "now I'll get to try a waterlaunch" but
when I came up it was hovering patiently overhead, just waiting for me to get
the board back on my feet. It's absolutely comfortable to hover in just the
trim loop without EVER looking at the kite, or even paying attention (you
don't even need to "feel" where it is). I think it would be ideal for wake
boarders: I took my high-top, sticky-zippered booties off (during a lull to
practice skidding across the beach) & put them back on later, all while
hovering while completely ignoring the kite. Several times while hovering
no-handed, I helped others land or launch their Naishes. I could actually
have walked to the truck, got out my lunch & eaten it, without landing the
kite (if I hadn't already eaten on the way to the beach).
PLUS, it's VERY maneuverable, takes VERY little effort to steer, AND seems
faster through the window or across the edge of the window. Power seems
about the same per projected area, at least in the low end (peak
iwindsurf.com gust was 19mph<17 knots & peak average was 16mph<14knots).
Maybe a tiny bit less, but since it takes SO much less force to steer, it was
far less effort to "work" the kite. The only other rider staying upwind
(actually a little bit more than me) was on a HUGE board & HUGE AR5 (relative
to his size).
Works fine on the same bar/lines I've been using on my AR5 (with a second
knot tied 8" down the center leader), VERY easy to back it down & land
straight downwind, but don't run towards it to slacken the lines, unless
you're ready to quit, since it will invert & if relaunched will fly inside
out & backwards (the only time I needed assistance).
Bottom line so far* (compared to an AR5): about the same low-end
power/projected area, & ease of launching/landing at the edge, easier
(possible) to stall, but 10 times as easy to steer, hover, or relaunch from
land (dead downwind).
*overall range, gust-handling range, and relaunch untested yet.