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2009 Airush 8.5 Flow FT Review

Created by Kitehard > 9 months ago, 5 Sep 2008
WA, 2775 posts
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5 Sep 2008 10:49PM
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Hi Peeps,

Got an exciting phone call today that the new range of Airush Kites were in and ready for pick up, so I loaded up the truck and scurried on down and grabbed a heap of Flow FT's, a Vapor 2 8.5 and a few DNA's for Demo and stock.

I grabbed a few 12's, 10's 8.5's and 7's including the black one pictured for demo, a blue 10m for demo and a white 8.5 for demo also. Dropped the stock off home and pedalled the truck down to get some wind a Pinnaroo. A few keen beens were there to greet the new kites and we had the chance to ride the 12,10 and 8.5 Flows. I'll let others speak of their experiences on the 12 and 10 as I only rode the 8.5.

Rider: Me! I weigh around 91kg today and consider myself an experienced rider (9 years)
Style: I rode the kite in Freestyle and Freeride mode today.
Weather: ~18-22 knots
Build Quality: 10/10
Satisfaction: 8.5/10
Disclosure: I own a shop, and a school, was a team rider for Airush but currently mostly ride the Ozone Instincts.

My Comments: This is my honest impressions on the kite, take it or leave it.[}:)]

Firstly, The bag is the same as last years, different graphics and colours and mildy tweakd bits and pieces but essentially the same design although the pump pocket seems much bigger as the pump fits easily into the side pocket.

The bar is basically the same as last years also with the exception of the smaller chicken loop body and rotatable donkey d1ck. There is also a place to clip the leash on the loop which is nice. As a more advanced rider using a hammerhead spreader bar, I found the chicken loop pulled too narrow and was difficult to unhook, but I am being picky and this shouldn't necessarily be an issue for 90% of riders. The 8.5m came with a 45cm bar as standard.

The pump is the same as previous years.

Lines are in two pieces 15m and 10m extensions so it gives you the ability to shorten lines if you want to teach or hype the kite up a bit. It would also cut the cost of replacing a line set if you break one.

The kite is well built and you notice the kevlar crossed wingtips as soon as it is pumped up. It looks really well made (usual Airush quality) but looks friggen' weird sitting on the beach without the centre strut to hold the middle of the canopy up.

Wingtips are more swept back than the 08 Flow, reminiscent of the Vapor actually and the Leading Edge just looks weird with the flat straight section across the middle. Not as weird as Naish Sigmas (thank god! ), but still out of place. I felt it still needed sand on the canopy to keep it down despite the flat straight section of leading edge.

FLYING - The Kite looked much better in the sky than it did on the ground and after an hour I really got quite used to it and thought it actually looked quite good. The bar pressure has been significantly reduced over last years which is a plus for my nanna arms especially after winters lack of riding . It feels more stable than last years and will sit just fine at 12 o'clock with the bar out against the sliding stopper (variable canopy curve working?).

Same old Airush Flow Grunt! Heaps of power from these babies in the past and that sure hasn't changed. The feel of the kite has been improved and the ride was dead easy. On my first run out it felt just like a 2008 flow but a bit easier, more fun, dare I say it? (smoother - Waveslave ). The first boosts was a good one, plenty of height and heaps of hangtime. It jumped effortlessly and I knew exactly what it was doing the whole flight. It's got to be the easiest kite to jump, a real no brainer - just send it and edge and release - Easy!

The 1:1 steering was good, it gave a better sense of presence to the kite but in my opinion, steering seems to be a little less responsive, it didn't have that crisp reflex that I am used to. I felt it turned a bit slow. (It felt like the bar was too small). This however is an advanced riders opinion after having flown fast kites. For most the turning will be sweet. I threw it into a couple of kiteloops and it didn't have the pivotal turn like last years and as it went round I got a good yoik off down wind with a rather heavy landing each time which added up to fun and ballsy loops!

De-power was a little less that the 08 Flow whereas the Flow 08 would flutter to earth when you released the bar with practically zero pull, the 09 still has around 10-15% pull, most likely due to the lack of pulleys in the bridle preventing the pitching of the canopy. It de-powered plenty enough for beginners though and more than enough for me.

Upwind ability is about the same as last years, no better no worse and is adequate.

I didn't try relaunch but Mikey did and he reckoned you didn't even have to touch the bar, just wait and it auto launched pretty much. I'll confirm this on my next ride and if different I'll mention it.

The Flow FT is targeted at the beginner to advanced intermediate freestyle rider and the freerider. In this aim, It's right on the money. It has been one of the easiest and most simple kites which has bags of power and lift for big jumps. I reckon most people will rate it highly. I really liked the way it felt, so intuitive and friendly to fly.

For advanced freestylers, it is my humble opinion they'll find the Flow FT too sedate (turning wise) and will prefer the Generator or Vapor, either that or I'll try the 8.5 again with the bigger (55cm) bar, it could make all the difference for me and others looking for a seriously fast turning kite.

All the other guys who rode them in differing sizes loved them (2 placed orders straight away). I reckon Airush have put together a cracker of a kite and it will sell very well in it's target market. Well done lads.

Like I always say, don't believe the hype, demo one for yourself and make up your own mind. We have demo's available in most sizes.

Good winds,

WA, 572 posts
6 Sep 2008 2:31PM
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Experience: a year and a bit
I am an Airush rider

As Darren said Airush have made a great kite this year taking the things we loved from last years flow and incorporating them into a funky looking design, I also got to ride the new 8.5 flow yesterday the first thing I noticed about the kite is that the bar throw has been shortened which is great to see. I also thought the kite was a bit slow, but I am use to riding generators which are also quite fast. The kite is targeted at beginner intermediate and I think this kite would easily be one of the best kites on the market for some1 looking for there first kite or even someone who just wants a kite that does everything.

Relaunch: the relaunch on this kite was awesome, I have never ridden a kite that relaunches so easy I crashed the kite a few times and most of the time the kite would start auto relaunching I don’t know if they are meant to, but it was defiantly working its way to the side of the window.

I know this is just going to sound like a massive pimp from a sponsored rider but I honestly believe that a lot of people are going to benefit from these kites. If you don’t believe me organise a demo through one of the retailers.


Michael Bell

WA, 2775 posts
Site Sponsor
8 Sep 2008 9:16AM
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Hi Peeps,

We had another demo day yesterday at Pinnaroo and I sent a couple of our team riders to go out and investigate the turning speed on the Flows. As you may have read, we were a little disappointed with the turning speed of the 8.5m Flow FT.

Happy to say that the only offender seems to be the 8.5m???? The 10 turns quite fast and put a smile on the guys faces. The 12m also returned to the beach after a long ride from Chris whom I believe will post his unbiased review later this week. His comment was it turns like last years 10m Flow.

I will investigate the turning speed issue of the 8.5 to see if we can speed it up a bit. Again, I'm being picky because I am used to VERY fast responsive kites and want to see the 8.5 being a bit faster. I'll start with the bar before tweaking any bridles and will report our findings here once we have an answer.

Having said all that, the 8.5 has been putting big smiles on ordinary riders faces and they have not noticed the turning speed at all but have come in grinning.

Good winds,

WA, 10 posts
10 Sep 2008 12:01PM
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Rider: 95 Kg (intermediate)
Style: Freeriding & Freestyle
Weather: 16 - 20 Knots
Build Quality: good
Satisfaction: 9/10
Disclosure: got a demo from Darren @ Australian Kiteboarding School @ Pinnaroo Point.

My Comments:

My thanks to Darren Marshall of Australian Kiteboarding School for providing me with the opportunity to Demo a 12 metre 2009 Airush Flow at Pinnaroo Point on Sunday 7 September.

My first impression was that the new 2009 flow has no centre strut and that the usual curve has been replaced by a new angular shape that is dramatic but not as marked as the Naish Cult.

The bar and line setup seems to be the same as last years with a long depower rope connected to the centre lines by a single pulley with the rope cleated off on the chicken loop, which makes it easy to adjust the power without having to stretch.
For the harness, the only difference that leaped out at me was the absence of pulleys, Airush have done away with the harness pulleys for this kite in 2009 and gone back to direct connection!

On the water I found that contrary to my concerns that the 2009 flow would not perform as well as last years flow (a kite I loved), that this years flow (in a 12 meter) turns much faster than last years (like a 7 or 10 metre) but is more stable, maybe it is the absence of the centre strut but I have never flown a kite one handed as comfortably as I did on the 2009 flow. I could easily steer the kite one handed and keep it parked in the same piece of sky making small one handed adjustments without having to closely watch the kite – fantastic if you like to adjust your equipment on the run or wave to the kids or girls on the beach before going into a jump! (bar pressure is light but firm)

Jumps and tricks, just as good as or even better than last years flow on which you could do really big jumps with (scary) long hang times. Be warned, don't be too close to the shore when commencing a transition because when you bring that kite up to 12 O'clock you will get a massive lift off the water that may catch you out and put you on the beach - I have never used a kite that provides so much lift in a transition - it is just too easy.

The 2009 Flow may have slightly less power than last years flow, but I weight 95 Kg, the wind was approximately 16 to 20 Knots and I did not suffer from any lack of power (even for jumps) and did not use any depower on the kite during my two hour session.

I did not think that Airush could better the 2008 Flow, but they have.
Try lots of kites before you put the green in your retailers hands and make sure that the 2009 Flow is on your list.

WA, 575 posts
12 Sep 2008 10:56AM
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Rider: 72 Kg (low-end of intermediate)
Style: Freeriding & Freestyle
Weather: apparently 20kts, but luffing down to 16 at times (my opinion).
Board: 133x41 cardboards freeride
Conditions: direct onshore choppy (pinaroo)
Disclosure: just an amatuer, a fan of airush kites but no connections.

My Comments:

Darran was nice enough to give me a ride of 2 Ozone Sports and the new Airush FT (10m).

I have a 7m 2008 Flow, and was looking for a bigger kite to replace my old 10m C kite that i basically never take out anymore. Having hear a lot of hype about the ozones, i drove to the beach with the intention of buying an 11m Sport II. I tried the 9m and then the 11m, but then tried the 10m Flow FT.

Although i liked the feel of the Ozones, i could not help but smile as soon as the Flow was in the air, it felt so familiar and so natural. I consider it to be very similar to the 2008 flows, but with the following impovements:

More direct feel without the back line pulleys.
Smoother. My 7m tends to go tug-tug-tug as the gusts pull you along, but the FT just gave a very smooth consistant pull.
Very similar turning speed to my 2008 7m.

I will also give my reasons why i liked this kite more than the ozones:
The 10m Flow had WAY more grunt than the 11m Ozone.
In my short time on the water, i managed to stuff up jumps twice on the ozone and run under the kite, inverting and needing to land and untwist. The flows are way more forgiving, if you ever go under the kite, just pull the bar in fully and it tends to drift back into the window and fly away. My 2008 7m is the same. Maybe this is just my blatant lack of skill, but it is definitely more forgiving in this regard.
I also prefer the simplicity of the flow bar and the below the bar depower as opposed to the ozone with all it's fruit hanging off.
The ozone also had a flutter when running the kite depowered across the wind window when changing directions, the flow seemed much smoother and quicker.
I have heard that the ozone has better upwind ability than the flow, but to me i noticed no noticable difference.

To be fair to the ozone, there were some advantages over the flow, but i won't list them here.

Both kites felt good compared to other kite i have demoed (ages ago), but ultimately the Flow FT was the one that felt smoother and more natural to me, and thats the one that ended up in the boot of my car at the end of the day. Prices between the two were comparable.

Cheers to Darren for the excellent service...

NSW, 60 posts
17 Sep 2008 2:45PM
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Rider: 80 Kg (intermediate)
Style: not much
Weather: 10 - 20 Knots
Build Quality: excellent
Satisfaction: 9/10 (only because there is no such thing as perfection!)

after riding last years flow and being very happy with it in regards to turning speed, grunt and quality i decided to buy the new model Flow. things about last years kite i think needed attention was the bar pressure (a little too much) and the length of stroke on the bar (too long).

pulling the kite and bar out of the bag was like Xmas! Airush are one of those brands that make everything feel like quality, tags on everything, packaging and presentation were way above anything else i have seen. at this stage even if the kite was not good it made me feel like a kid opening the best present i have ever recieved.

the kite looks weird once it is pumped, the end of the wing tips are fat compared to most other brands out there. after launching the kite the bar pressure has been reduced to something that is much lighter than the 08 Flow. the turning speed is still fast and the there is a big reduction on the throw of the bar (whoohoo!)

after a few tacks i felt at ease with the kite, it is very very stable and smooth. the grunt is similar to last years flow which is huge! ever since switching to the Flows my biggest kite is a 10m, i needed a 12m before.

so the 10m now does me from 10knots on a skim board and up. the wind freshened to about 25knots by the afternoon and after riding the kite at both ends of the spectrum i am super happy. i will be buying another smaller size for my GF and i will be riding it when the wind gets out of hand!

i also passed the kite around to a few other riders while i caught a breather, one guy (name withheld as he is sponsored by another well known brand) was doing F16's, crazy kiteloops and other stuff. he was blown away by the how smooth the kite was, the power and the way it looped! apparently it is good for unhooked stuff.

the only things i didnt like were no adjustments on the LE to move bridles, and the trigger on the chicken loop safety is the same as last years. pull and it releases, some like it some dont.

good job Airush!


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"2009 Airush 8.5 Flow FT Review" started by Kitehard