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Griffin Argonaut 12m 2014

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Created by keiranchiro > 9 months ago, 7 Feb 2014
keiranchiro
NSW, 11 posts
7 Feb 2014 7:13PM
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Rider: 81kg, Level (beginner-intermediate)
Style: Freeride
Weather: 17 - 31 knots in the same 80 minute session!
Build Quality: ?/10 Very satisfied. Looks to be strong and well built.
Satisfaction: ?/10 Hugely satisfied
Disclosure: These kites (I also purchased a 17m TRX) were purchased through my chiropractic practice with advertising printed on them at Ambassadors pricing.

My Comments:

The Buying Experience:

In the spirit of a fair and impartial review let me say that my buying experience was fairly horrible.

Once ordered it was very hard to get any accurate news about when the kites would arrive and the date of delivery kept being pushed back week after week. In the end it was almost three months after I paid for the kites that I actually had both of them in my hands. My wife actually thought I had fallen for a scam and at one point I started to believe her.

In the end I had to constantly harass Chris in order to get some action. Chris is really warm, friendly and obliging guy to speak to on the phone but follow through, reliability and customer communication was the worst I have ever experienced. I hate to say this because I really like the guy but I just feel I’d be misleading other potential buyers if I didn't share my experience here.

When I finally got the news that the kites had arrived I faced the 3+ hour round trip to collect them only to discover that Chris hadn't checked the kite he had and that it was not my kite! More weeks of waiting followed and had I not kept pestering Chris I would not have had a 12m kite to take on holidays with me.

All in all, you’re probably getting the picture here as to why I found the buying experience pretty bad. This might not be the case for someone buying something that Chris already has in stock and I was getting a 2014 kite prior to it’s release which may have complicated things.

I believe Chris may be working on a new way of distributing his products so you may or may not have an experience like mine.

Is it worth it? Ultimately I have to say “Yes”.

The Kiting Experience:

My first couple of goes with the 12 m were in deceptively light conditions at Kianga beach on the NSW south coast. While the wind felt alright and there were whitecaps on the ocean, a strong rip running along the shore in the same direction as the wind reduced the apparent wind to near zero. It was an unfair testing ground made worse by dumping waves and rocky outcrops. I had made the situation worse by robbing the kite of some much needed power when I set the rear lines too long on the pigtails.

Maybe I was still feeling a bit negative because of the buying experience but I did find myself wondering whether I had wasted my money.

My 3rd go of the kite was in marginal conditions late in the evening with a dying nor’easter at Kurnell. Here I found the kite performed nicely, pushed well upwind and behaved in a very civilised manner during jumps (I’m still a novice when it comes to jumping so control and predictability is very important to me at this stage.) But the wind was definitely at the lower end of the kites range for me with only a few white caps here and there. Even though I was using my largest board (a CrazyFly Bulldozer 138 X 42) it still wasn’t a really fair trial of the kite.

My 4th time out with the kite was earlier this week at Sandringham on Botany Bay in a crazy south-easter. I was using my North X-Ride 136 x 40. The seabreeze graph showed the wind as varying between 17 kn and 31 kn during the time that I was out but this doesn’t quite capture the outrageously fluky nature of the wind. I don’t know how many times I was screaming along fully lit only to hit a patch where there was no whitecaps or chop at all and the wind seemed to drop to near zero. This seemed to happen at least once on nearly every ride. Before anyone says it, although I may be a novice kiter, I do have a lifetime of windsurfing and dinghy sailing behind me so I know how to read wind.

I am still buzzing with how well the kite handled these outrageously gusty conditions. The feedback through the bar was always light but it is always easy to tell where the kite is. It was always easy to spill power when needed or to pull it on to get through a lull. If ever I hit a spot where the wind seemed to have altogether disappeared and the kite began to sink toward the water I could just pull on the front lines for a second and the kite would recover by bringing itself back up in the wind window with very little wind to hold it there.

Because the day was grey, drizzly and miserable and the wind was really weird and squally and there was absolutely no one else out on the water (no kites, no windsurfers, no boats, no dinghies, nothing) and because I knew I couldn't afford to get myself into trouble and not be home in time to pick up my youngest boy from school, I was kiting pretty cautiously. Bit by bit however, the kite increased my confidence and I began stretching myself: doing some jumps and more aggressive transitions.

This is the thing I am really left with after this last session, this is a kite which is super responsive, very forgiving and which encourages you to be a little more confident

I’m not yet a good enough kiter to make comment about the kites boost, float or kite loops or anything like that so I guess this review is somewhat irrelevant for more experienced kiters.

But to anyone at the same early intermediate level as me, who is looking for a kite that is really responsive, that will maintain impeccable manners through a broad range of conditions, a kite that will bolster your confidence and encourage you to trust and push yourself more and therefore learn more, I couldn't recommend this kite highly enough.

And if you buy one, just remember to ring daily if it doesn't arrive when Chris tells you it should.

P.S. I will try to find the time to write about the 17m TRX and include some photos. My kiting buddy and I had some of the most amazing sessions using these in the tidal sandflats out the front of Easts Caravan park Narooma (during high tide) . Awesome fun.

GriffinKites
NSW, 201 posts
8 Feb 2014 1:04AM
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It was a long wait for the 2 custom made colour and logo kites. New factory takes alot longer to make custom kites than planned for the first customs and did send you one of the wrong kites which I gave you a loaner kite until this got fixed. But it did take a long time sort it out.

2014 production kites are in stock ready to go. Custom kites will take 35 to 65 days.

All the best and apologies for the delay.

I Hope your new business advertising tax deductible 12 and 17m flying banner ads are a fun way to reduce your tax :)

Surfer62
VIC, 1256 posts
8 Feb 2014 9:01AM
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I purchased a 2014 17 trx with no problems at all, Chris gave me clear delivery time frames ( I chose to wait for latest bar at no extra cost) the emails we exchanged included the comment from him, "if you dont like it, return it for a refund! so no stress:) "

I actually waited longer for my Ozone edge, got the 2014 edge but with a 2013 bar !! Love it tho

Give him a break.

keiranchiro
NSW, 11 posts
8 Feb 2014 11:05AM
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Re:

I purchased a 2014 17 trx with no problems at all, Chris gave me clear delivery time frames ( I chose to wait for latest bar at no extra cost) the emails we exchanged included the comment from him, "if you dont like it, return it for a refund! so no stress:) " I actually waited longer for my Ozone edge, got the 2014 edge but with a 2013 bar !! Love it tho Give him a break.

Hi Surfer 62,

I am glad to hear that your purchase went well. The 17m TRX is an absolutely awesome kite. I want to be clear. I wasn't aiming to have a go at Chris. He has been really helpful with advice, he is always obliging and friendly to speak to and I would still like to think I can have an ongoing relationship with him and his products which are incredibly good value.

I'm not even upset about the wait time.

What was disappointing was to be told one thing ie "I'll send the bar tomorrow and it'll be there by Wednesday" or "the kites should be here next week" but then to have nothing happen and for there to be no follow up. Each time something like that happened I would be the one calling a week or so after I was expecting to hear from him. I don't bring it up to be a nob but because I know of other people who have stopped using his kites and a shop that has stopped stocking them for exactly this reason. Both still spoke highly of the products. It seems a shame to have such a great product falling out of favour because of such an easily correctable customer service issue.

With regards to the "Give him a break" again I am not dumping on Chris. I too know the difficulties of running a business. The patients of mine who have helped me the most are the ones who have been brave enough to tell me when no one likes the new front desk staff or associate chiropractor I have put on. The ones who keep quiet and go elsewhere have not done me any favours. Most people in business know that honest feedback is gold.

At a selfish level, I am aiming to use Griffin kites into the foreseeable future. I am really really happy with the two kites I have so far. But I wont be able to do that if unpredictable customer service hampers the growth and viability of Griffin!

GriffinKites
NSW, 201 posts
8 Feb 2014 2:32PM
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The Griff model is changing from just the kite designer to now having 2 full time staff and investors to keep constant stock levels up and ready to post out same day internationally for resellers schools and orders. Freeing up more time for me to do what I love which is designing kites.

Keep in mind that the custom kite order for the above did take alot more time than I had planned for and the combination of the order being at the peak beginning of the 2014 batch orders and the new upgraded factory first custom orders made the order alot longer than is should have been. My apologies for that.

We have sent out hundreds of kites for 2014 and have also ordered for stock hundreds of kites in storage ready to be posted on order. The investor is getting my rear into gear so things are changing.

I love designing kites and they are getting better and better every year. Feed back is always listened to and acted on.



bennie
ACT, 1258 posts
9 Feb 2014 12:37AM
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Hey Chris how about some info on the 2014 argo, what are the improvements/differences over the 2013 model?. Also what about the new bar?
any chance of some photos

keiranchiro
NSW, 11 posts
9 Feb 2014 1:20AM
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Select to expand quote
GriffinKites said..

The Griff model is changing from just the kite designer to now having 2 full time staff and investors to keep constant stock levels up and ready to post out same day internationally for resellers schools and orders. Freeing up more time for me to do what I love which is designing kites.

Keep in mind that the custom kite order for the above did take alot more time than I had planned for and the combination of the order being at the peak beginning of the 2014 batch orders and the new upgraded factory first custom orders made the order alot longer than is should have been. My apologies for that.

We have sent out hundreds of kites for 2014 and have also ordered for stock hundreds of kites in storage ready to be posted on order. The investor is getting my rear into gear so things are changing.

I love designing kites and they are getting better and better every year. Feed back is always listened to and acted on.





Great news Chris. Work to your strengths! I am really pleased to hear that you have made those changes to the business model and that you have had a chance to tell everyone here.

I hardly see any Griffins out at Kurnell these days just Ozone, North, Blades, a few Cabrinha's and a smattering of Riot's and CrazyFlys. But I really do imagine that a structured business model with solid customer support will win back a lot of kiters to the Griffin range.

As I said at the very beginning of this thread I actually got these kites at Ambassadors prices because, amongst other reasons, I told Chris I was more than happy to let people have a go of my kites if they wanted. This is absolutely true. If you see me down at Kurnell or Doll's Point feel free to come up and have a chat and I'll be pleased to let you have a go (presuming you can kite!). I think the 12m Argo is incredible and that the 17m TRX redefines how light and agile a big kite can be. I actually dislike calling it a 'big kite' because just like every other person who has written about the kite, I reckon it just feels pretty much like your average 12m. It just gets you out on the water a lot, lot sooner.



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"Griffin Argonaut 12m 2014" started by keiranchiro