Test conditions 6-10 knots (you probably wouldn't bother)
I have flown both the Flysurfer Speed II 15 meter & the 10 meter. Based on my test flys with those kites I purchased the 12 meter. this light wind test was the first flight.
When I opened up my new Flysurfer S2 12m on the floor of the shop, the first thing that grabbed me was the length of the bar, its really short for such a big kite which I am a fan of in a buggy. The second thing I noticed, was the aesthetics, the green colour on the leading edge is the most contrasty out of the 3 I have seen in person. (15 meter =blue 10 meter = orange). Bag is big enough for two kites, and the extra courage your going to need to take with you.
All in all I was most impressed and chuffed and I hadn't even flown it, the wing tips are really long.
I read the book, watch parts of the DVD that comes with the kite, some nice short action clips on that and some brief but reasonable explanations on the rather complex yet effective set up of the bridals and lines and tweaking adjustments you can make. Information overload, I am best off just flying this kite.
Took it to my local, a small patch of grass on the Northern Beaches in Sydney its basically a launch ramp, you work your way up a slight slope, just so you can turn around build up some speed and boost. The wind was lousy, in the shop my FS looked cool, outside in the sunlight it looks Bling.
I watched the part on the dvd about pre inflation, thats all well and good when you have 12+ knots of wind on your back, I didn't have anything like that, infact I didn't think I would get the kite 20ft off the ground before it would sink back down, I gave it a go anyway with a half hearted attempt at pre inflation. I pumped the flying lines a couple of times and it sucked air into the centre section of the kite, no way near inflated but enough put a bit of air in the leading edge so that it would sit up on the ground.
I yanked on the centre lines in a 7 knot gust (whoo hooo) took it up towards the top of the zenith, before reaching the zenith pulled hard on the bar & sent the kite sideways across the wind window, turned hard and flew it the other way, you can actually watch this kite inflate in the air, I am sure I will get over the novelty value but it was pretty trippy at the time watching it come to life.
Now the kite was inflated, I was flying it across the window and getting dragged across the grass skudding on my feet, I looked at the water behind me, it was calm and the kite was powering way above me, at no point did it fall out of the sky.
I grabbed my buggy (this slope is even all the way up to the top, but its not exactly a gentle slope from top to bottom on the eye line over 80 meters its a fair way up. I think at this point I had about 7-8 knots of wind and was working the kite up and down to get up the slope, once at the top I turned around and headed back down, built up some speed, sent the kite towards the zenith and got lifted out of the seat of the buggy with my feet still in the foot straps (hadn't bothered strapping in as there was no wind) lesson learnt, put the lapbelt on and headed back up the slope, on the way back down I sent the kite more agressively to the top of the window pulled on the bar and put about 5ft between the ground and my buggy in 8 knots of wind.
A mate of mine who owns a quiver of Flysurfers turned up about now, first thing he said was "those colours look bling", or words to that effect, he unpacked his 15 meter S2 and joined me in a very light wind session that I am almost convinced is only possible to enjoy on an S2.
The 12 meter in the sky looks much smaller than the 15, the wind had picked up to a whopping 9 knots and the occasional eye watering gust of 10 knots, I could now set the kite low in the window and head straight up the hill without working it, turning around we were now doubling the speed for take off, I sent the kite agressively behind me, redirected then pulled on the bar as I went up, looking down it was a very respectable jump by any standards on land, considering the wind conditons, it was outstanding!
Even in 9 knots, the back of my buggy was stepping out going up the hill the power of the Flysurfer S2 is hard to describe for such light winds, I could not have launched many if any other kites in such light winds that would give this much power.
The boosts the S2 is capable of in light winds are brilliant, sure they weren't all great but the ones where it was timed right with that extra .5 of a knot sent you straight up.
The float just rocks, whats to say? Light winds and still landing softly I was itching to get this kite going in 13 knots of wind I can see height records being smashed with no effort and the extra hang time that would come with it.
The bar feels good in your hand, its a pretty wild design, while you familurise yourself with the colours occassionally it caught me out at a quick glance both sides look similar, especially when you are spinning the bar. The only thing thats a problem with the way the lines are connected to the bar is centre line twists are a chore to get out when it happens as you have to untwist the lines then untwist them through the bar also.
The trim strap that has got to be the easiest and best design I have come across, pull the yellow (which has padded finger loops that hold their shape for easy grabbing) and it slides smoothly, the highlight for me though was the blue one, which powers the kite back up, one pull on that and it slides straight up to the top in a fluid motion, it is the first thing I could safely say I would reach for if a really big wind front came through and feel at ease, its really that effective, brilliant design and colour coded. Considering this kite has a wind range of 8 knots to 28 (that would be for water, on land you won't be able to get the traction at anything like that) It is a very effective system. Its very long though, I don't have the shortest arms yet pushing the bar right out is just out of reach.
The Chicken Loop
Its kinda like that smart control knob on the BMW's that Jeremy Clarkson writes off on a re run of Top Gear with that pained look on his face! I am currently looking for alternatives, for those on water its not going to bother you, as you will be using a hook and won't have to release it, yet landkiting we mostly hard wire onto the chicken loop and that is a big issue with how fiddly it is, you won't be doing that with gloves on in the snow. Again adding a D to avoid this puts the full de-power which I struggle to reach an extra few inches away again.
The aesthetics of the kite is radical, its like no other kite in the sky, it may be a matter of "spot the flysurfer" at your local beach but be assured if their is a S2 flying, its the first kite that will grab your attention & the last kite you will forget, pure eye candy to even people that don't fly (many people stopping and asking me questions about the kite out of curiosity).
The air intake I am not sure if FS is having a laugh but they have a graphic on the air intake that you see on the front of jet aeroplanes saying stay clear or you will get sucked into the engine! Make your own mind up, from the photo :)
The pulley design excellent, its the attention to detail on the FS kites that you will seriously appreciate, instead of tying the line off on the pulley they put a knot about a half inch behind it so that the pulley no matter where your lines are will aways be going through the centre of the pulley rather than on an angle.
Hard & Soft Steering.
If you feel you have to much or not enough pressure on your bar you can adjust the steering on them with easy to understand tweaking for dummies taps on the flying lines, I don't mess with my settings yet with the clear instructions on how to do it I will certainly try this at one point out of curiosity.
The reverse launch is still hard on the shoulder muscles, a cross strap attaching both lines for reverse launching is the first edition I will add for my next session. A similar set up to what Ozone uses will work really well.
Blow Out Valves
The most radical feature of the kite is what I call the blow off valves, works like a blow off valve on a turbo engine. They are self sealing strips on the underneath of the kite designed to open if you crash the kite hard on the leading edge in both water and land, its a brilliant design you can open one up and its like a vaccum blowing air in your face, that kept a few of us amused, everybody had to have a go.
Something we may see in the future on other brands of kites is the cut away kind of jet flaps towards the trailing edge on the FS2, it kind of works when increasing the angle of attack it minimises chance of stall and "higher lift per square meter" making the kite look like the wing of an F-14 and thats cool!
Anchor it down
If you leave the kite on the ground for approx 20 minutes it does deflate slightly, which isin't such a bad thing, keeping a flysurfer on the ground is not an easy task as they want to take off, flip and do anything but sit still, you will have to pin it to the deck with sand on a windward tip, or a buggy tire or land board, and let the rest of the kite trail out behind it.
How much fun can you have in no wind?
Are Flysurfers worth the price?
Fly one once you won't ask that question again!
Performance for light winds... outstanding, I am already amused at the thought of sending this 12 meter behind me in 15 knots on land, only because I am not sure when and where I will come back down again, I may be looking for a bigger park very soon.
Street Cred...... yup, my mates want one now, including the guys who want to take it on the water..... fat chance Mike, Brad! [}:)]
The FS2 as a kite to look at nothing even comes close, as a performance kite its a class leader in power, for float its the beez kneez, for upwind ability you won't get anywhere near somebody on an FS2, for speed, I still cannot get my head around how fast an inflatable kite can be even in light winds.
It points really high, I pushed past the edge of the window and it folded the lower wing tip giving me a warning, thats what I loved about this kite, it was predictible in its behavior.
The kite is worth about $2600 retail its a lot of money isin't it........... its worth every cent and flys straight out of the bag beautifully!
Next report 13-17 knots..... the next time somebody in a shop asks me if I have "fly buys" the answer will be a "Hell Yes, I own a Flysurfer S2"!
Special thanks to Steve and Jon From Kite Power Sydney for the fast delivery and price on the FS, nice one guys. Also Ian Young for some tips and tricks while getting it all organised.
After seeing the 12 in action and flying the 15 in the same wind i would say that the 12 is the biggest you would ever need for land based kiting. The bottom end of the 12 (at the absolute bottom 6knots) is as good if not better than the 15. It's lighter weight and quicker flying due to smaller size makes it unreal.
The 15 however is da bomb for the water where you can hold a heap of power and if the wind is light build apparent wind on longer runs. In the 80meters where we flew it was too easy to run out of room on the 15.
Of course the 15 will have more float (at 10knots) but if i were land based only the 12 would be big enough.
pretty cool, that you took so much time to write such a long test about the SPEED2!!
Thanks a lot for that...I'll put a link on my homepage.
Your result matches pretty much my personal impressions about this kite.
Since I do mainly ride freestyle on the water, I do prefer the PULSE2, which is a bit more agile but doesn't create as much power as the SPEED2.
But you're right...for lightwind there's no better one, than the SPEED2!
You should give the 19m² SPEED2 Silverarrow a try one day...
19 meter speed II
Id probably permanently hover [}:)]
Cheers for the feedback!