Rider: Weight,Level - Pro
Style: Race, Freeride
Build Quality: 11/10
Sonic 18m - First Impression.
So excited- I took the new 18m Sonic Full Race kite from Flysurfer for a test ride today.
I will write a more detailed review about the impressive build quality and design features at a later date.
For now, I just want to quickly convey my first impressions.
Admittedly, I have never been a big fan of the large, cumbersome 18 or 19m kites, especially when using a foil board as the kites are slow turning an often require a lot of work.
So with some hesitation I launched the 18m Sonic in light gusty 5-10knt wind.
The kite inflated quickly, smooth without any of the characteristic wingtip folding or collapses common to many other foil kites. Wow, I was quietly excited. This could be good.
So I parked the kite at 12 and walked easily out toward the waters edge. I was impressed how the kite just stayed directly overhead, never moving or wandering off course. That was impressive for sure, I've never had a kite park so well without the need for constant bar input- however annoyingly small.
I was now fully primed with anticipation, eager to put this monster through the test routine here on the Townsie coastline, riddled with great Crocs of danger! Yes 4m Willy has been seen this morning so i was on the move not to screw up ;)
I reached the waters edge ( looking for Willy) and got quickly, effortlessly up on the foil. The kite turned so nicely, surged forward and parked beautifully at the edge of the window. I was ready to go. Come on a baby.
As I kited further out from the shore the wind progressively increased and so did the pressure in the kite. 1km out from the beach with the wind 12-16knts. Fully powered, the kite has a lot of bottom end grunt and it feels like a lot more power than the kite i was riding last year. I depowered the kite. I instantly felt the big depower range. This kite will is the go to kite for big lads and light air kiting.The pulley system responded effortlessly, and the kite responded directly to my input. Firm, without unwanted movement the kite sat evenly in the sky. The bar pressure remained firm and predictable with the kite continuing to respond well to input.
By now I was amped, the kite was nicely lit, flying ever so smoothly, never pulling me off balance. The bar pressure and pull remained light and smooth with loads of power still available . I looked forward to the challenge of tacking.
Admittedly, I've never liked foil tacks on the big slow softkites, so when I floated the Sonic I purposely cranked it forward, forcing myself to tack fast. Man, what a buzz! It felt so similar to the 11m and 15m Sonics- accelerating incredibly well, coming forward and regaining speed making the exit smooth and reliable. I have to say - this is the easiest kite to foil tack that I have flown. AWESOME
Upwind the kite locks in an easily handles the gusts, sucking them up and spitting them out allowing for an effortless climb. It pulls high into the wind, more than any other foil kite that I've flown. It is supersonic and i just opened full power and leaned hard into my harness pushing hard onto the KFA Hydrofoil.
Downwind the kite is powerful too and it sits easily when parked nice and low, responding well to bar input, flying smooth figures up and down gaining speed and depth.
The gybes are easy and the kite flies well providing a predictable floating phase when the lines go slack -just drifting and holding shape.
The turning speed and bar input is surprisingly good for a big 18m. It cranks up and down, on/ off the breeze, going where you want it to without stalling.Downloops are smooth and when needed it's possible to pivot loop the kite, sheeting the bar in and turning it in an even tighter loop. So good, so easy.
Reaching is also easy -the kite sits in the power pocket never moving forward or backward.Jumping is fun, predictable and easy to manage due to decent turning speed of the 18m Sonic. Def the fastest turning 18m i have flown.
Overall I love the 18m Sonic, not wanting the session to end, I kited until the sun went down.
Good to hear !! Looking forward to receiving mine (18 too, for ultra light wind hydrofoiling).
Don't you feel like you're uselessly overpowered with the 18 when hydrofoiling, in winds above 6/8 knots ?
I could hear your YEOOOWWWSSS all the way to Castle Hill Marvin!