Flysurfer Speed 2 in 19 sqm as Silverarrow Version:
Today I was out on my new Flysurfer Silverarrow, means it is a Speed 2 19 sqm with a light (Skytex) fabric in contrast to the standard version. After a long journey (it took me 10 weeks to get it) it finally arrived.
Photos/Videos can tell more than 1000 words:
And this is the windgraph of the day when the video was recorded:www.flickr.com/photos/11773832@N02/1193857290/
Fabric and Quality:
The special fabric makes the kite 2 kg lighter than the standard version. This does not sound very much but has probably a huge impact on the stability of the kite in the Air in lightwinds. But I have not tried the standard version, I am keen comparing it.
The Quality of the kite in terms of seams is outstanding. I was only a little bit shocked how thin the light fabric is. Really amazing. But after all it does not make a very fragile impression.
The Kite comes in a nice grey/Orange Backpack which you can use as well to attach a board on the backside. Really smart and practical. The Backpack is big enough to fit the kite even after using it. The kite fits easily into the backpack.
The Speed 2 SA is my first foil kite. I have used only tube (bow) kites right now and so far have had no experience setting up the foil. The setup with all this bridle lines and the five flying lines (FDS but more details later) is still a little hassle. You really need to check that all bridle lines are untangled and that there are no knots and loops. This bridle consists almost of 30 or more lines, so therefore that’s a little bit of more work compared to a C-Shape or Bow kite. But compared to pumping up a 14 or comparable 20 sqm tube it cost you much less time and effort. I think when I get used to it, it will become much better.
This bridle setup is the only hassle setting up the kite. I tried it the first time in really low wind conditions (4-8 Knots). In this lightwinds the manual says you need to preinflate the kite. That’s quite easy, just fix the wind faced wing tip of the kite and pull the other wingtip into the air. By doing this Air floats into the kite and preinflates it quite easy. It took me 2 minutes and the kite was preinflated by probably only 10 percent.
After doing that I put the kite in the middle of the wind window put some sand on the non leading edge.
The Bar is really tidy and handy. It’s a big bar, probably 70 cm but for a kite like that you in fact want to have a long bar. The bar is a composite bar. It is equipped with nice and wide adjuster straps that are easy to use.
The chicken loop as a quick release in the loop itself that. This means when you pull the quick release it will open the chicken loop and will disconnect you from the bar. More according to the safety function later.
Until now I have tried to types of launches: launching it in the middle of the wind window and launching it at the wind window corner. Both methods are so easy and really safe. I tried the wind window start with 4-8 knots. It was so easy and I felt really comfortable. The kite launches and inflates the middle section immediately but the wingtips will stay uninflated and hanging down, which reduces the wind facing area a lot which makes it so safe. The kite goes straight up to 12 o’clock. When it has arrived there you just need to pull a couple of times on the bar and fly the kite a little bit to the right and to the left and it will inflate the wingtips. This all happens without any problems and without falling back into the powerzone! I personal think you can launch the kite even in higher winds using this method. I will try it and give an update in the next weeks.
The wind window launch was as easy as the other; put some sand on the wind facing wingtip and just pull the front lines towards you and the non wind facing wingtip will come up. Than pull a little bit more and the kite is in the air. This is all happens as well very controlled and stable!
I have never had a kite that is so easy and controlled to launch as the Speed 2 SA.
Flying the Kite:
The very first launch of the Kite was crap but this was not due to the kite but it was the crappy wind. I was at a spot where it had only 2-4 knots with fast turning winds (45 degrees within seconds). I tried to fly it there but as you can imagine with only 2 knots (that’s almost nothing) and small gusts coming fast from other angels it just pushed my kite down. It was still amazing to get the kite with 2 knots into the air!
But 1 Hour later and a different spot I had stable 4-8 Knots. So perfect conditions to try the kite. I had planned only to fly the kite on the first day and not going for a surf. With this in average 6 knots, I thought it might be enough to fly it but it would not be sufficient to bring me on the board. So I started the kite as described in the middle of the wind window and just tried it flying it a little bit through the wind window. The kite was so stable in the air. There was no tendency to fall out of the sky , neither back nor front stall. It just sit there incredible stable. And I actually had underestimated the power. I was able to do some jumps on the beach and they were so smooth, the kite pulls you straight upwards with enormous power even with 4-8 knots. And this with having in mind, that I am 2 m tall with a weight of 95 kg.
After having played around for 15 minutes and looking on the nice and flat water I decided to give it a go. When it can pull me in the air, it should be able to bring me on the board.
So I decided for my lightwind setup means Spleene Door 164 x 45 because I though, this lovely kite wants to be ridden on the first time in a foreign country with a board from the same origin (Flysurfer/Spleene germany). The other reason was this great flat water (was boat harbour, its an ocean beach that is protected by a reef and therefore perfect for a board like this).
The power expansion of this Kite is just indescribable. It develops so much power in this lightwinds that I was in a second on the board and going….. UPWIND…. If somebody would tell me he would hove gone upwind in 4-8 knots I would not believe him. I was really going upwind and this much more than I would be able to go with my 14 SB2 in 10 knots. As you can imagine, there was nobody else on the water and even no other kiter on the beach (besides the guy that showed up 1 hour later, pumped up a 15 something tube kite, untangled the lines, looked again to the sky and frustrated packed up again). I had the whole bay for me alone. Fantastic. The power expansion of the Speed 2 SA is so smooth. I think smooth I really the right term for this kite, it moves smooth (of course it’s a 19 sqm kite) this means it can not turn as fast as my 10 sqm SB2 but its almost as fast as my 14 SB2.
When I was surfing in the meantime I probably got some gusts with 10 knots. In this gusts I tried one jump… Ok, I realised jumping with this kite is much different than with a bow. I just jumped below the kite and landed behind it which caused a front stall. You really need to stear it back immediately after take off. But this was the only jump I tried given that this were the first 4 hours with the kite on the water I did not want to stress my luck and just used it to cruise and getting used to it.
But I am still stoked about the smooth power generation. That is so nice and makes it so comfortable to ride it. You never feel unsafe even in more wind.
Because on Sunday I finally tried it in stronger wind in the waves (longreef Sydney). I was out in the beginning the whole time whereas other kiter had to come in because of the dropping wind. But I was still nicely powered and especially in the waves with a smaller board it is really great when you know you have enough power reserves. Finally the wind picked up to probably 20. Even in 20 knots I was still fine with this kite. I usually do not like to be overpowered, but with this huge depower it was no problem to ride it in 20 knots. I just pulled a little bit the adjuster and was fine. But the wind picked up even more and some really dark clouds came up, so I decided to land it and go for my 10 sqm SB2 because this was the second time I used the Speed 2 SA and I do not want to risk anything. I think I could have used it still a little bit longer because I did not feel unsafe.
Smooth, Soft, sponge like power generation without being imprecise. There is sometimes a small timelag of 1-2 seconds between kite movement and power generation but I think you will become used to it. According to the steering power, its so easy to steer. No strong pull on the bar in standard setting and you can feel the position of the kite in the air every time.
As described above I pulled one jump that caused a front stall of the kite because of the unexperienced kiter. The Kite landed leading edge down on the water and I was somewhere in the middle of the bay with 4-8 knots. I thought … uups… this is a challenge now, almost no wind and a foil lying in the water and nobody who could help you (thanks god the wind was onshore #61514;). I was not really in panic but had my concerns but without any reason. Because I did as described in the manual, just go with the kite, take your board and when you are ready pull both backlines and edge the board against the pull. Within seconds the kite went up back into the sky .. backwards. I released one back line, it turned it and I was back on the board. So easy…… Unfortunately id happened once again, when I tried a little bit toeside riding and messed it up. But his time the kite was leading edge up on the water. Even just easier to relaunch, pulled the front lines and up it goes. Taken into account that there almost was no wind…. Brilliant!!!! I just messed it up another two time with some moves, but this time the kite was so smooth and easy, that I was able to turn it in the air before it hit the water. With my SB2 14/10 this would not happened, they would have fallen into the water. And compared with the 14 in 8-10 knots, where it is some kind of a hassle to relaunch, the speed 2 SA is so much easier.
The Safety consists of two parts, Chicken Loop safety with kite leash connected to a fifth line. And the Quick release on the kite leash. According to the delivered kite leash I have some complains. This is a really expensive kite and the kite leash is just a sleazy rope that comes with the kite. Even with much cheaper kites you get much better kite leashes. This is something Flysurfer should really change. Another downside of the chickenloop safety is the complex construction. When you pull the chicken loop quick release, it opens the chicken loop and the bar is pulled up probably 6 m. There is a stoper. The problem with the chicken loop is that it is really difficult and cumbersomely to put together. It costs you some minutes to do it and especially if you have to do it on the water its just a hassle. I am currently thinking about changing the chickenloop against a different one. But however in terms of safety it works quite well. I ordered the Speed 2 SA with the FDS system. This is a fifth line that is connected to a special bridle point in the middle of the kite. When you let go the bar by pulling the chicken loop security the bar goes up 6 m to a stoper and the kite folds the wingtips in the back together. And this is REALLY SAFE. Its even much more safe than the bloody Tube kite fifth because you have almost no wind facing area anymore. The kite falls just down to the ground/water and stays there with almost no pull. It doesn’t loop it doesn’t rotate its calm and easy. The only thing you need to do is to pull the fifth line to you and put together the chicken loop (that is a little bit of a downside as described). Then just connect the chicken loop back to your harness and release slowly the fifth line. The kite gets back his shape and you can easily relaunch as described above. In comparison to my crappy steering line safety at my SB2 where the kite loops until it hits the ground with a strong pull, this solution as well compared to other fifth line solutions is from my perspective the best.
Safety Grade: A++++++++ (Chicken loop Grade: D-, Sleazy Kite Leash: D-)
There are three methods to land the kite: - Backstall, Using FDS safety or landing with somebody helping you. I tried all three and they work really well. You should go for the backstall method only in lightwinds because if you have 15 knots or more the kite still has a lot of power. The backstall landing is done by pulling both steering lines to you. That works really good because there are three plastic balls on each steering line that’s makes it very easy to pull them. By doing that the kite flies backwards and lands on the non leading edge in the middle of the wind window. In this position just unhook from your chicken loop and let go the bar. The fifth line security will fold the wingtips together in the back of the kite. After having done that you can connect the leash to a, tree, car or your in the sand digged board and the kite will sit there until you have finished your nap, lunch, coffee, pi## or what ever. Really relaxed.
Another method to land is just unhook your bar and release it to activate the FDS (fifth line ) security. The kite will fold and easily fall to the ground without much pressure. And then do the same as described above.
These methods are my preferred landing methods.
The last method is to land by the help of somebody on the beach. This works like landing of a Tube. Fly the kite to the wind window edge, fly it down and the guy has to grip the wingtip and need to pull it into the wind. This should only be done by somebody who knows how to help landing a foil. Most people on the beach do not know how to land it and this is the reason why I definitely prefer to selfland the kite.
This kite according to the price is really irrational $AU 3XXX. But however I would do it again everytime. Its so much fun to fly it. And if you would ask me to describe this kite with 3 words:
Smooth, power, Safe.
+ probably best low end
+ Incredible stable in the air
+ Hugh depower
+ Wide wind range 6-20+
+ Soft steering
+ Great Upwind capability
+ Brilliant Safety
+ Easy Relaunch so far in any condition
+ Perfect bag
- price but worth it - each dollar.
- impractical Chicken loop
- Sleazy Kite Leash
- Poor Repair kit. For this amount of money I would expect some more Bridle replacements and 1 spare depower rope.
Just one last word to the delivery/distribution. Thanks Ian for all your efforts organising and delivering this kite. As you can see its brilliant and I am as well very happy with your support so far. Thanks a lot and I definitely can support and recommend you. It is really a pity that there are only two locations in Australia where you can buy flysurfer kites and spleene boards. You should have more exposure especially in Sydney, because here are so many kiter that probably would like to get to see and try these wonderful kites and Boards.