My hat is off to Flysurfer for putting the R&D into a kite that is quite different from anything else currently on the market. And they've made a damn good versatile depower kite along the way.
I'll be adding to this review as there are still a few things I've yet to try out on the kite and I need to also try it in some stronger winds.
So part 'A' is based on 40km of buggying at home in the paddock in light and gusty conditions from 6 - 14 knots and 65km of buggying in 8 - 14 knots at 13th Beach.
Now looking at those wind ranges (and having owned a 6m Ozone Access years ago) I would have thought that a 6m depower kite would only just be starting to get going at 14 knots. Not so the Peak 2 6m. Even in 10 - 12 knots I have had bags of power - even to the point of pulling a couple inches of trim in. In fact, I've had enough power to pull me up and down the paddock at home and I'm sure the wind had dropped somewhere around the 6 knot mark - could have been 7, but geez, the 6m Peak 2 makes a lot of power in not much wind. At 13th Beach there was just enough wind for some whitecaps to form, but there didn't feel to be much on the beach and I'm certain at times it dropped below 10 knots and I always had enough power to park 'n ride without having to work the kite.
Please ignore the brake strap in the photo - I added it because I'm used to having one and being able to drop it around a rear wheel to secure the kite.
The Peak 2 launches easily with a tug on the two front lines. It responds to steering input reasonably direct and quickly. It won't spin on a wing tip but I can loop it back under itself easily from halfway up the window. It's not sluggish nor is it twitchy - a pretty good balance methinks. It's quite stable too....I was able to ride and enjoy the view and use the camera without having to worry about what the kite was doing. When stopped, it was easy to keep in the one spot and seemed quite stable. In motion, it has a good range of depower - let the bar out and the power drops off rapidly. It's a little lifty - in 13 knots or so I can fly it above my head, pull the bar in and leave the ground - not a huge amount, but I get the feeling if you threw it hard in a bit more wind you could probably do some small jumps on the landboard.
It's reasonably fast - I topped out at a little over 50kph and like I say, that was probably 14 or 15 knots at the absolute most. Upwind is good, I was along side Mick with his Century II and later, Libre Bora - I felt I could match his upwind ability when we turned a fair bit into the wind at the end of 13th Beach.
I was always a little concerned with the 'flapping' of the Peak 1, but there's no problem with the Peak 2. With 3 inches of trim pulled in and probably 3 inches of bar out, the kite stayed quite taught and performed well - and silently. There was a little bit of 'flutter' at the corners of the trailing edge (which I also notice when I turn the kite hard). Let the bar out anymore and yes, the edges do start getting flappy as the power really dies off, but honestly, it's a non issue. I don't think I'd like to fly it heavily depowered and 'flapping' in 20 knots for any length of time - grab the 4m instead!
I've only had the Peak 2 luff on a couple of occasions but recover was fast and easy. Reverse launch is no problemo. I haven't noticed any tendency to overfly the window.
There is quite a bit of pressure on the bar as the wind/apparent wind builds but Flysurfer have their magic stopper ball that you can slide down the line to hold the bar wherever you want it. Bloody genius! The ball holds tightly against the bar but will easily move if you put your fingers on it. You can also use it to limit the amount of bar throw if you want.
The chicken loop and top hat release are top quality and there is a swivel in there somewhere - any twists in the line below the bar can easily be taken out just by pulling the bar down to the top hat release - and voila, the twists disappear.
The bar is very nice, with a wide double opening for the main power lines with no binding whatsoever. There is a fifth line safety you can hook a leash to which will flag out the kite on one of the front lines. I've yet to try this out.
I feel Flysurfer have created a depower kite which is very friendly and easy to use, has good speed, excellent depower and good upwind ability and if you want grunt, this kite delivers. I've read it has a good following in the snow kiting scene and I think it makes an excellent buggy engine. I can't think of any reason it wouldn't make a good landboard engine too. All this at a pretty good price point it has to be said.
It's certainly different to look at and I do not claim to understand how on earth it all works like it does. It's not the sleekest or most aerodynamic kite I've ever seen. I refer to the 6m as the 'Cheeseburger wrapper' - a term of affection, I assure you as I am very impressed with it.
I think Flysurfer have got this one right.
Stay tuned for some more thoughts over the next couple of months...