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zephyr wind range

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Created by kiteflo Friday, 11 Aug 2017
kiteflo
97 posts
Friday , 11 Aug 2017 8:09PM
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quick question: why has the zephyr such a huge wind range compared to other light wind kites?

cbulota
WA, 1031 posts
Friday , 11 Aug 2017 9:01PM
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You have to remember that wind range is a marketing tool and that ''your own experience may differ''

While it's true the Zephyr has a better top end than any other light wind kites I've owned or tried you have to ask yourself why would you want to use a 17m kite in 16 to 20 knots when a smaller, more fun sized kite (like a 10 or 12m) would do the job a lot better ? Heck, I've seen guys out on Zephyrs in winds close to 25 knots, but again, what's the point?

A kite's ability to fly in a wide wind range is due to it's design and years of fine tuning. However, nowadays, almost all modern delta kites have a massive wind range.

Back to the Zephyr, as far as a claimed bottom end of 6 knots for an 80 kg rider...well good luck with that on a twin tip, even a massive twin tip. I regularly used many different 16 and 17m kites for 7 years on twin tips, and even though I gained a ton of experience and skills, I've never been able to enjoy sub 12 knots on a standard TT. The bottom line is that below 12 knots at this weight, you need some light wind specific boards (Large TT, Directional light wind board or Hydrofoil) along with some serious light wind skills.

For a 80kg+ rider with a medium sized TT on 17m Kite you'd want to have at least 12 knots in open ocean to ride upwind comfortably i.e. start having fun. You *might* get away with kiting in less than 12 knots if you have a very large TT or a super flat water spot with no current and A LOT of light wind specific skills.

If like the average kiter you weight somewhere around 80kg and own only 1 board which is a medium sized twin tip then your true FUN wind range on any 17m kite is 12 to 16 knots-ish. Any more than 16 knots might be more enjoyable and comfortable on a zephyr than other 17m kites, but in those winds you should seriously consider getting a 10 or 12m out.

Christian

cauncy
WA, 5250 posts
Friday , 11 Aug 2017 9:50PM
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Here's rob whitall ozones kite designer,
great kite to have in your quiver, personally I didn't ride it until 12/13 knots a little over that and it was great fun around 15/18 perfect, I did ride it in the low 20s but it got pretty heavy going and reqd plenty of leg work, but still felt very safe, if you like powered riding it replaces your 12/14/15 mtr kites nicely

kiteflo
97 posts
Saturday , 12 Aug 2017 8:25AM
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Thanks for the replies.
What about the design makes the zephyr a "sub10-20kts" kite?
my LF solo 17.5 would rip me to pieces in 20kts. Anything over 16kts is hard to hold down I recon.
I've seen guys on zephyrs when I was overpowered on my 12

Richoa
NSW, 165 posts
Sunday , 13 Aug 2017 12:49PM
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Im going to have a guess at it, happy for someone to tell us the design proven reason.

i think its to do with the reason its not quite as good in low end, being 5 struts so a bit heavier and holds flatter shape.

Holding its shape better allows its depower to work more effiecently and drive and hold further up in the wind window.

But only a guess so happy to be corrected and more learned!

Swavek
WA, 179 posts
Sunday , 13 Aug 2017 12:50PM
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Why would you ride Zephyr in 18-20 kn?

Because you pumped it at 14kn and it is still comfortable at 20 kn for 100kg person. Swapping kites is not fun - takes time, prefer to be a bit over-powered for a while rather than pump another kite.

holgs
WA, 245 posts
Sunday , 13 Aug 2017 2:59PM
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Good to have the top end when it's mostly 10-15kn but occasionally some 20kn gusts come through like it often is the case in easterlies on the river (in Perth).

However some people go out in constant 18-20kn sea breezes on their Zephyr when I'm out on my 9m. In those winds I have more fun and even jump better on a smaller kite than if I was on my Zephyr.

Richoa
NSW, 165 posts
Sunday , 13 Aug 2017 6:05PM
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Select to expand quote
Swavek said..
Why would you ride Zephyr in 18-20 kn?

Because you pumped it at 14kn and it is still comfortable at 20 kn for 100kg person. Swapping kites is not fun - takes time, prefer to be a bit over-powered for a while rather than pump another kite.


Agree totally, finishing work and getting out after 3pm. It may be 20knots whilst rigging but unless forecast otherwise most australian coastline see' s the wind drop as we get into late afternoon. So i would consider that. I wouldnt get going on a 9 in 15-18knots even with a big flat board well not powered at least. So weight is a factor

cauncy
WA, 5250 posts
Sunday , 13 Aug 2017 4:14PM
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Select to expand quote
holgs said..
Good to have the top end when it's mostly 10-15kn but occasionally some 20kn gusts come through like it often is the case in easterlies on the river (in Perth).

However some people go out in constant 18-20kn sea breezes on their Zephyr when I'm out on my 9m. In those winds I have more fun and even jump better on a smaller kite than if I was on my Zephyr.


I wouldn't blow a fart into my 9 mtr inflate valve at 18/20 knots, some like powered riding some dont
i only put air into a kite that I know is going to be well powered throughout my session,
Hand on heart I've never come off the water whinging that I've been lit
underpowered sessions have me throwing tantrums

NorthernKitesAUS
QLD, 402 posts
Monday , 14 Aug 2017 12:45PM
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I just repaired a client's Zephyr last week, and tested it out over the weekend in 10-12 knots.
It was no different than an old 2008 14m Cabrinha Switchblade I used to have: slow, slow, slow - and it dropped out of the sky as soon as I stopped figure-8ing it. I weigh 83kg.
Went out yesterday in 12-14knots on my Naish Cult 13.5m and I was well powered on a 136cm TT, going upwind easy no problems, even some decent 2-4m jumps!
Zephyr (and it has been said many times here and on other forums), is just "another light wind kite", that requires Moderate winds to be any good fun.
You still need strong LW skills to kite surf - no matter the kite, because the only way I can enjoy this sport and make it worth my time is either [1] winds above 15knots or [2] winds above 12knots and with a foil kite.

kiteflo
97 posts
Monday , 14 Aug 2017 12:28PM
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not sure why people keep pointing out that strong LW skills are required in LW. kind of obvious.
I love marginal conditions it's a real test. I also love being lit. that's not why I started this, I simply wanted to know why a zephyr can handle stronger winds better than other LW specific kites.
the extra struts explain why it's more stable I recon. but why can it take 20kt or even 25 if you've got a gut?

cbulota
WA, 1031 posts
Monday , 14 Aug 2017 1:59PM
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Select to expand quote
kiteflo said..
not sure why people keep pointing out that strong LW skills are required in LW. kind of obvious.
I love marginal conditions it's a real test. I also love being lit. that's not why I started this, I simply wanted to know why a zephyr can handle stronger winds better than other LW specific kites.
the extra struts explain why it's more stable I recon. but why can it take 20kt or even 25 if you've got a gut?





There is no simple or straightforward answer to your question. Kite design is complex and mostly about making compromises, that's why you can't have a kite that truly excels at everything. It comes down to tweaks in the shape, profile, bridles, materials, LE and struts diameters, etc. all of which gives each kite different and unique characteristics.

I personally noticed the Zephyr to be not as grunty compared to other 17m kites, so here is the compromise. IMO for heavier guys it's not as powerful in the lighter stuff (i.e. 12 knots on a TT) compared to other 17m kites. However it's a good choice for heavy guys who like to be well powered in 16+ knots when 10 or 12m kites might be a bit just.

When shopping for a light wind kite, I wouldn't focus much on claims being made on how they perform in sub 12 knots, simply because there are sooooo many more important factors other than the specific kite model and size that will affect performance in sub 12 knots....that's why you won't find any promo video of a light wind kite with a 100kg dude ripping it up in 8 knots on a standard twin tip.

So really, when you shop for a light wind kite just focus on the 12-16 knots range, which is what 17m kites are actually meant to cover on twin tips for the average 80kg kiter. If you are not too heavy i.e. LESS than 80kg than I'd say the Zephyr is a good choice, otherwise if you're on the heavier side, I would recommend a gruntier, more powerful 17m kite for covering that 12-16 knots range on a TT.

If your MAIN goal is to be able to handle 16+ knots on a 17m, then get the Zephyr!

Christian

AquaPlow
QLD, 567 posts
Monday , 14 Aug 2017 9:14PM
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Hello Kiteflo...
The issue is IMO to do with drag.
From what I recall Rob Whitall was involved in Hang-glider then Paraglider design.
As these evolved the ratio of parasitic and induced drag changed. Knowledge materials, and the increasing speed range meant working on reducing the parasitic drag gave best results. A given design has a parasitic drag profile which when air flows over it at a given speed is always there. The induced drag is more variable created by change and movement. Rob knows how to create low parasitic drag profiles. So low parasitic drag profile gives you the ability to keep a kite useable in stronger winds. The power available to you can be a real kicker once you start working a big kite in these conditions.
I know that I had much more control with 82-85 pies in strong winds than my current 70-73 pies even with smaller kites one of the few benefits!!

Cheers
AP



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"zephyr wind range" started by kiteflo