Got a chance to get my 15.5 Titan out on the water yesterday at a beach near camber sands. Here are a few things that i found with the kite.
First of all I am a new kitesurfer, infact yesterday was my first day on the water ever, but I have flown the titan a few times on land with my mountain board and so far I have been loving it. The power in the kite is amazing and the de-power is fantastic i would say that you get 3/4 the pull when the bar is out!
So far i haven't landed it on water so i cant comment on the water relaunchability. The wind was 5-8mph, onshore and fairly steady and other people on the beach were: x 2 20m Rhino 2's and x1 16m free air.
The kite was easy to self launch take it out of the bag, unwind lines, pre-inflate it a little and then put some sand on the wind tip, walk down to lines, attach the safety clip and then clip into the chicken loop...deep breath and then take off.. for take off i had the kite on full yellow (depower) and it effortlessly went up to the zenith and stayed there at first it would slightly overfly a little but by adding a little of the blue (power up) it would sit really stable and not luff.
I walked to the water with my board (loose tx 156) and messed about trying to get on the board a few times came in after about 10 mins to have a little rest. when i got back on the water i managed to get on the board and plane away across the shore line to say i was happy was an understatement i even managed to turn around and come back the other way without sinking , by this time i had turned the power on quite alot and was up to about 3/4 on the Blue and Yellow and found i had easlity enough power to get up and plane.
things i found :
The only other guys on the beach planing were on 20m LEI's i was on a 15.5 foil so i think that they were of similar power.
I didnt have to work the kite once i was up and going, it just locked in place and off i went and i was able to hold my course very easily and not go down wind. When getting going i was diving the kite and as i pulled it back up i would pull the bar in and the kite would take my weight and it was fairly easy to get up on the board.
Landing the kite was very easy, you have two ways :
If you have a mate there... get him or her to catch it at the edge of the wind or you can just pull the chicken loop release, (and as my mate reminded me to, hold on to the blue safety line) and the kite will nearly totally depower and land in the middle of the wind. VERY useful and very safe.
So far the kite has totally blown me away (no pun intended) the depower on it is fantastic and the safety features have been fantastic, and as i bought it as light to medium wind kite it has been fantastic if you can feel wind there is enough to land board with it... and in 8mph you will be planing on the water.
I will update this when i feel i have learnt more about it and when i have had a chance to land it on water and see how easy it is to relaunch.
I would dare to say it is a good beginner kite as i have flown kites for a long time, but if if you fly alot and are looking for a kite to land board with and kitesurf i am sure you cant go wrong with a titan!
OK that was a couple of weeks ago.
In the past few weeks i have been able to use the kite lots more, not on water but on land with my Mountain board...
I have learnt to use way better than i was flying it when i got it, it very rarely over flies me now as i have learnt how to stop it doing it at all, and i have found that i can fly it in way more wind on land than i thought i would be able to. I have had two main days flying it where the wind was good (ish) where i fly is really gusty in an Easterly which on both occasions is what i had.
Wind was 3-10 mph, I was able to get going all the time and was able to do nice jumps in the gusts. when going along in the lower windspeeds i had to work the kite a little to get up to cruising speed but once there i was able to lock the kite in and cruise around the field. which was nice. Jumping was similar to the Frenzy...take kite low and then redirect to the zenith, carve up wind and pull the bar in...pull the front hand in and redirect and you float... and float and err FLOAT, this would be the only thing that i could say that makes it a little unsuitable for mountain boarding is that it is very easy to cover half a football field in the air specially when it is gusty. getting the kite up in the air in light winds is fairly easy...
You pre-inflate it by holding it up in the breeze untill it is holding its shape fairly well, then go to the bar, pull the yellow trim in all the way, clip into the chicken loop and off you go, when the kite is fully inflated and flying well you can start to power it up by pulling the blue power strap in.
In really light winds you cant really power it up loads, 50% is about all you can do without it falling out of the sky.... saying that i dont think i have ever flown it on %100 as if there was enough wind to get it going it would be scary. even in low winds it is quite quick... easy to loop the kite.
Wind started at about 5mph but increased to a fairly steady 12-15 (gulp). Started off with a few jumps without the board and found it very easy to stay in the air for 3 second but would only be a few feet off the ground. i found it alot easier to jump with the Titan than with the Frenzy i never really got it going with the Frenzy in respect to jumping without the board. i could quite happily get 10-12ft of air quite consistantly.
On the board things were really hotting up, this was about as much wind as i would like to have the kite up with the mountain board.... jumps were really quite high and very VERY long... the thing that i have noticed with the kite in comparison to the Frenzy is that the stearing is alot lighter as is the powering up... you can pull the bar in with one hand and you will get pulled up which is great for grabs, foot offs etc.... the latter is something i STILL cant do.
I found that if the kite was going to overfly me all i had to do was pull the bar in about an inch and it would stop and sit in the zenith.... as for the depower it is fantastic the differnece in the power when having the blue strop pulled in compared to the yellow is amazing... i now see why the guys at Oceanside say that they never fly theirs on %100 it would be a crazy amount of power!!!
All in all i think the 15.5 is great for Mountainboarding in light winds...in a good breeze you will find it hard to not jump too far. if you have a massive area then you will be fine... but if your in a small area you might find yourself climbing out of a tree or off the roof!
next test will be on the water....and as i am down in devon for a week next week i should have a good idea by then!!!
By : Tone
This review takes a slightly different note as it concerns the kite I chose to buy for the 04-05 season. This gives the benefit of a longer test period, as well as all the fun that goes with owning a kite. Read on...
At wallop 04 I had the chance on 2 occasions to try the Psycho 2 13, courtesy of The Lone Wolf. Having only read the internet gossip and pre-release hype up until this point I was more than eager to have a go. What started out as 2 twenty minute blasts turned into a 1 and 5 hour session, and I knew there and then I was getting one...
One house move and a lot of overtime later, a large box from the postman arrived. Time to find out if my memory had served me well...
Opening the bag (this time in blue and black, otherwise the standard Flysurfer affair) reveals an impeccably packed and presented beauty. This is one of those special moments where you get to see where all your hard earned cash has gone. Packed down to the size of approximately an A4 folder, unwrapping the foil reveals a kite bigger than my living room. Jeesus. I haven't flown a kite under 7 metres for well over a year but this was a bit of a shock. Taking it outside and laying it out, one can appreciate the carefully tied bridle, which unfurls easily. The bar is pre-connected, everything ready to go. The kite comes with a sizeable manual which has been updated since the edition I got with the VOODOO, and as well as the general flying and setup info contains a bit of extra information specific to each kite.
Laid out and pre-inflated, one notices the very long bridle. Though simple in its execution, the sheer span of the Psycho2 necessitates a long bridle to reach to the standard 3 line setup.
As on the VOODOO, the Psycho has two pulley blocks in the central section to help control angle of attack and camber, while there is a pulley on each wingtip to assist turning. Where the bridles on the centre line converge are the 'WAC' options, while the 'V' shaped line running through the aft pulley block on the centre of the kite can be adjusted for 'tip' and 'full' brake steering mutations.
The kite itself has 4 inlet valves, and sitting parked does not hold as much air as the VOODOO. The inlets themselves retain the straps on their front, seen on previous Flysurfers, for easier self inflation and water starts.
Moving down to the bar end, the item in question is pretty small (50cm) and a carbon affair, all standard Flysurfer stuff apart from the long trimmer strap. The leash is also longer than previously seen on the VOODOO, long enough now to fasten to your harness handle for those handle pass moves. Connected this way though, you may find it a little short for unhooked riding. This is easily solved by adding a loop between your rings on the back of your harness to run this line on.
Weather conditions at the time of purchase ranged from gusty south westerlies to minimum windspeed requiring unhooked riding. A few pulls on the centre line eased the kite into the air, the Psycho hanging near the ground for a few moments till it inflates enough to rise to the zenith.
The kite takes a comparatively long time to inflate compared to the lower aspect Flysurfers, the central section filling quickly with the tips of the kite taking another 3-4 seconds at most to reach adequate pressure. Now I found myself with a large black monster staring back down at me. This slight feeling of imtimidation did fade, but it did take a while to become accustomed to it.
Despite being in my own personal eclipse, the impression on the bar was of a much smaller, more manageable kite than was staring back at me. Dipping the kite into the window powered me off with the minimum of fuss, the Psycho settling into a high cruising speed. The Psychos natural attitude is to fly towards the edge of the window, sheeting in slightly gives a definite power surge and noticeable increase in acceleration. Upwind performance even on stock settings was formidable, I found I needed 20% less runs upwind to get back to my starting point than with the VOODOO. Turning speed was very good but oversheeting or turning the kite sharply could cause it to backstall, or one of the wingtips to fold in. generally this wasn't a problem, but on occasion the offending wingtip would stay caught in the bridle until the kite was brought down. Considering the length of the bridle, this happened a lot less than I expected, but most of the time the kite seemed designed to free itself from such instances as quickly and easily as possible.
A week of gentle cruising and then the wind went haywire, south-westerlies of 25 gusting to 30 mph. at this stage the setup was 1 knot off full WAC +, and full tip brake. Unrolling the Psycho while a guy was packing up his Blade 3m brought a look of total disbelief on his face. That kept me smiling for a while. The Psycho coped admirably with the conditions, I was able to soak up the gusts well with the excellent depower and a fair bit of trim on the strap. To say I was covering ground quickly was an understatement, the kite settling into a high cruising speed with ease. Even in this high wind though, jumping proved elusive. I would send the kite back and sheet in at the appropriate time according to the instructions, but all that happened was I'd either be pulled downwind, or worse still, nothing at all. Unhook and the kite would jump fine, but 13m in 25mph gets tiring on your arms in a pretty short time. A similar session in the company of some Peter Lynn Phantoms gave the same results, the Psycho having more power but I just couldn't find the pop. Something needed to be changed...
After some deliberation I elected to try a similar set of adjustments to my old VOODOO. On that kite I fitted a longer depower line and removed the gust absorber. This helped to compensate for my gorilla like arms, no doubt caused by years of unhooked flying. You've been warned kids. Coupled with a bigger bias towards WAC-, this worked wonders on the VOODOO for me. I omitted the longer depower line for now but adjusted the rest of the kite to similar spec.
On the last day of horseracing at the Knavesmire, the wind was a steadyish 15mph south easterly. Setup the kite and off we go; build up speed, the bar starts to load up, send the kite back, sheet in and...
Up we go. And stay there. And stay there. And stay there...the jumps were not that high (around 2m) but the hangtime was seriously impressive, the kite having a very flat glide with nice soft touchdowns on landing. Calamity ensued soon after with lots of spins and grabs for the rest of the afternoon until the wind died.
More crazily gusty winds until I took the kite to the x-zone games at Westward Ho. Arriving late to a beach full of kiters, no time was wasted. The wind this day was measured at 18mph south westerly. The kite simply lapped up the smooth clean conditions, I managed to get slightly higher on this occasion (circa 4m) but the hangtime got even longer still. Launching myself hard into a few spins I inadvertently did a couple of extra rotations on occasion, simply because I wasn't used to flying for this long! A bit later in the day I started throwing some tweaked inverts, having total confidence in the safety of the kite as it recovers itself so well during a jump .The next day conditions were wet, raining and generally crap, but I had a go at the freestyle and didn't come last, despite having a kite wetter than a babies nappy. Not bad after less than a dozen outings on the P2.
The next really good outing was at the Flysurfer demo day at Brancaster. Special mention must go to Arran (Sky Blu) for his assistance with my Psycho. Not only did he show me how to do the C8 bridle mod, but gave some real good advice on jumping as well as the opportunity to try his own modded P2. His kite gave better low wind performance and had a more substantial feel on the bar, but there was little wind on the day I gave it a try. I will try his adjustments in due course. The following day there the wind picked up to 18mph again, and my new found knowledge was put to the test. The bridle mod gave better response and turning speed to the kite, as well as the Psycho not losing as much energy during hard turning. Remembering my training from Obi Wan, I tried to keep as much power in the kite as possible, being careful not to over-control it. Sending the kite back and sheeting in, but not as much as previously, then re-directing hard gave me the longest highest jumps I've ever had. Even my smallest efforts this day were better than the biggest ones previously seen. To be honest, on a few of them I got scared. But the thing is, the psycho is always on your side, always working to your advantage. At worst the kite will screw itself up rather than you, but as always, use discretion. That day will be one that I remember for the rest of my life, just like my first time kitesurfing.
Due to the constraints of not driving and the fickle English weather, I've only had the chance to take the Psycho out twice on the water so far. The first day in question started off at around 16mph cross on, but dropped to around 12mph later on plus the addition of the odd squall. Given the strength of the wind initially I was concerned id need to tune down the power level with more WAC+, but this proved unnecessary, with the trimmer pulled in I was able to walk out and get my board on easily. Once up and out, the kite was fantastic, steady smooth pull and turning which was quick enough, but not so twitchy that if you caught an edge, that you'd end up being dragged off downwind if you accidentally held some turn on the bar. Unfortunately I didn't do any real jumping that day, riding the waves was just too much fun, but given what the kite can do on land, the extra edging possible on the water should give even bigger pop and hangtime. I can't wait to find out.
With the aid of a larger board, the low wind performance was also very good, it still being possible to tack upwind as long as it was above 11mph. This was using a 180 size twin tip. When sining the kite it was important not to pull too much on the bar as this killed the forward speed in the kite. Relaunching in the low wind was best achieved by backward launching the kite using the tabs on the leader lines. For a little extra performance in the dropping wind, moving the settings more towards WAC+ made it easier to generate more apparent wind, and gave a little more upwind ability.
The second time was at Redcar in around 15mph cross on (NW), with a little swell. With my 150 board (a Liquid Force Truth) I was flying up and down in the flats between the swells. My new board doesn't have as much volume as my old 180, but the psycho had the power to pull me back onto the plane if the swell started to break over my board. For manageable power I had the trimmer pulled in about a 1/3rd, which made the board fly upwind too. I gave jumping over the water my first tentative go, and even though it was a pretty gentle kite movement to get me up, the resulting jump was still over 2m. Stacked the landing though, ho hum...
Overall, the most important question is; am I pleased with my new purchase? The answer to that is yes, but the Psycho 2 is not without its problems.
Firstly and most importantly, my flying site is surrounded by trees and buildings on all sides. Although very large, this causes a lot of wind shadows over the field, as well as suffering strong gusts during the winter, and some powerful thermals during the summer. Now, the Flysurfer manual says move to a different location if the kite overflies and/or luffs, but this is the only site within easy reach. The problem isn't so much the gusts, for the Psycho absorbs them admirably, especially when set more towards WAC+ as it allows you to really sheet out. Only during the really big ones (increases of 10mph or more in windspeed) can the kite be a bit of a handful, the kite converting the available wind into huge amounts of power, whereas the lower aspect flysurfers (extasy&voodoo) let the gusts flow through the jetflaps in the kite.
What makes the Psycho2 frustrating on my local site is when the kite hits a wind shadow. Loading up for a jump requires a sizable run-up. Hitting a sudden spot of dead air causes the kite to literally 'ripple' mid air as the kite loses all tension on the lines, the kite spinning to the ground or repowering suddenly as it hits clean air again. This makes getting good air, even with 13m to play with, difficult at the best of times at this site. (note: this happens to all the kites that fly here, even the ARC type kites, though to a lesser degree. Quite frankly it's the sternest test of a kites stability I've yet found)
The other main problem with the Psycho is the long bridle. Be careless packing the kite and the resulting tangles can be truly mind boggling. The bridle is so different to conventional foils that regular points of reference are lost. I know that I'm not the only one this has occurred to, but with practice the frequence can be lessened (wind up to the pulleys and lay all lines inside the kite before folding). Occasionally the pulleys can fall through the bridle and knot themselves, but this is easy to sort out. Just check your lines as you unwind.
But I'm sure some of you reading this will be wondering how I can like the kite so much, when it can be so troublesome at the local spot. Let me explain. The kite of the moment is the Peter Lynn Phantom, and a fine kite it is too. Let's compare it to the Psycho 2 for a moment. The Phantom is more stable in super lumpy winds, but it takes a lot longer to inflate, does not fly as well unhooked, needs more wind before it comes on song, is more difficult to relaunch, and it takes 18 metres of Phantom to match 13m of Psycho 2. The Phantom will jump almost as high as the psycho, with less technique required, but the hangtime is nowhere near as good.
The Psycho may need a decent run up but once airborne jumps are never anything less than long. Improving technique gives the height, the hangtime is always there. Also, once you understand how the kite flies, you can tailor it exactly to your flying style. One day you can have massive pop for snappy transitions and wakestyle moves, the next big air and amazing upwind performance. For many the standard settings will be all they ever need, but for those who want to take their kiting further, who want a kite that will grow with them rather than just upgrading next season for the latest flavour of the month, then the Psycho is the kite for them.
For me, the appeal is having so much performance, adjustability, self autonomy thanks to the safety systems and guaranteed relaunch when I kite on the water. If you live inland and fly at a site like mine, with a regular group of kiters, then you may be better off with a Phantom. But if you live near the beach or have clean wind, kite as much on the water as the land, and rate safety as much as top level performance, go for the Psycho.
Once you've tasted the nectar the Psycho has to offer, all else becomes secondary. I'd rather make the 50 mile trip to the coast than suffer the local site now I've seen what it can do. Even if I can't make it I'd rather stick with what I have, as it's such a good overall package. It's that kind of kite. It's been said to me that this kite takes 8 months to learn properly. A lot of people aren't prepared to give that level of commitment and self discipline, but make the effort and you can step up to the very highest level in kite performance.
Deceptively easy to learn, but difficult to master, the Psycho2 is a fitting flagship to the current Flysurfer line-up. Jack of all trades, and master of all but one.
Just before originally publishing this review I altered my depower setup to settings similar to the sky-blu system.
The results have been extraordinary, the kite now flying as well inland as it does in clean winds at the coast. Jumps don't need to be loaded up for as long, and its much easier to manipulate the kite during transitions, where before you lost a lot of energy during the move. Unhooked ability still remains, and the kite still jumps great. Definitely worth the effort.
By : bushflyer
I bought a 9m Flysurfer Cool back in January of this year. This was to be my first depower kite after having a Blade III 4.9 for two years. I had just taken up landboarding and decided a depower kite would be better for me to learn on.
The kite the bag and the line setup:
I bought the kite from Oceanside Sports as they are one of the main dealers in the UK of Flysufer kites. It arrived well packaged and I soon got into it to see what it was like inside! The first thing I saw was the bag, and I was a little disappointed in it because I was used to the very well made and funtional Flexi bag. However it did the job, just not alot of spare room and not too comfy to carry.
However the apparent quality of the lines and handle soon made up for this, the handle seemed solidly made, and all the knots to the lines were secured and covered. The lines themselves seemed of high quality and were coloured for use on the snow, and to help untangle them if the need arose (never did!).
The kite itself looked great in the yellow and white colour scheme. I unfolded it and had a good look, all the stictching was sound, the cells seemed to be well supported and all the loops and line connections looked very solid.
The first time I had the kite out the wind was around 8 knots and I was at a fairly naff inland location with lumpy wind. I flew the kite quite hard to try and get moving on my board, but apart from the initial pull of bringing the kite down I didnt get much momentum going as it didnt turn quite fast enough not to go out of the window. However given the wind conditions I wasnt disappointed or surprised!
I've had more outings with the kite since then, again can't seem to find the correct wind conditions for this kite. I fly at an inland location where the wind is rarely very clean and I think the open cell design of the kite suffers due to this. I would get going quite nicely just cruising then the kite would just deflate and fall to the ground whilst I was moving along at about 15 mph on the board! This was quite scary to say the least, especially if the kite decided to repower up whilst I was on the board still! This happened to me once and I went flying off the front of my board and was pretty lucky not to seriously injure myself. My kite buddy was scared incase I wasnt going to get up!
I must admit ive never flown the kite in some clean onshore winds, however for the lumpy inland locations this is not a great kite, it cant handle the gusts very well as the open cell design just deflates the kite. This kite has scared me more than once, and as a result have sold it.
This is a fairly biassed viewpoint as I've probably been using the kite in the worst conditions for it, I just dont want someone else to buy the same kite and end up losing money on it when it doesnt perform well inland.
Hope this helps a bit!
By : crobo