Flysurfer RookieII 4m
Having recently sold all my Arcs and bought a 10m Flysurfer Spirit, I was on the look out for a high wind depower kite. I wanted to stick with Flysurfer, but, as usual, budget was an issue. A 7m Spirit would have been my preferred choice, but they just weren't available for sensible money.
So I took a chance on a 4m RookieII.
I say 'a chance', because I had already owned a 6m Rookie and sold it after two weeks due to its instability and general poor handling. However, I had been assured that the 4m was a different kite altogether, so I went for it.
The kite arrived and was up to the usual Flysurfer standards. Well constructed in a sensible back pack, but this time with the pulley bar, which looked tiny.
First time out was at Shell Island in Wales. Horrible offshore winds, ranging from 20mph to a maximum recorded gust of 39mph, but proberbly averaging about 25mph. So this was the perfect wind range.
Up it went with manageable pull, but in this wind it was never going to be easy, the gusty, offshore winds made it particularly unpleasant to fly any kite, let alone one you are not used to.
This session did however, raise a few issues.
When landed on the safety, the kite landed, but pulled really strongly when sat on the ground. Not good. I also felt that the bar was too small, and that the bar pressure was too heavy, especially after flying the Spirit. So, when I returned home, I dug out a spare 55cm bar from my Spirit. (The Rookie bar is 45cm). Made up an adjuster strap, (the smaller Rookie's just have knots), and set the bar up in the usual depower configuration without the pulleys, although it didn't have the rotor kite leash, just a normal, non-spin able leash.
Next time out was on the local field (inland) with about 15 mph winds, but with higher gusts and lower lulls. After setting up and staking out, the kite sat up ready to go, but wasn't pulling nearly as hard on the safety. (Although the winds were lower).
I hooked in and launched. Nice and easy with just a hint of pull. The next bit bought a big smile to my face.
I started turning the kite at the top of the window. What a difference the pulley less setup makes. The kite turned much quicker (remember, bigger bar) and the bar pressure was much nicer. More like the Spirit, and other depower kites I've flown.
Depower range isn't as good as with larger kites, and nothing like the 6m Rookie, but then, my homemade strap is a little short, but you still get a decent boost in power.
I was starting to like this kite.
I then tried it unhooked, with the trimmer set to full depower. WOW. It flew really fast, was nice and stable, and was wrenching my arms out. I'd say flown like this it has the same sort of power as a 4m BladeIII.
I dropped it onto the safety and it just curled up and floated down with next to no pull. Perfect.
I was very impressed with the alterations I had made. It makes the kite much nicer and easier to fly, and I think it should sit nicely below my Spirit when the wind starts to pick up past the 20mph mark.
I've now flown the Rookie a few more times in low winds (5-15mph) and I am very impressed.
All this flying has been done unhooked as it seems to be a nicer way to fly in lower winds.
The kite will fly so long as you can feel a steady breeze. Above 10mph the fun starts.
Flown unhooked it starts to generate pull. I imagine that you could get going on a board or in a buggy from about 12mph. Now this is going to be one very versatile kite. It flies fast and smooth, and is very easy to manage.
This would make a great introduction to depower and maybe even as a first kite (with training) as it will fly in any wind upto and maybe over 30mph when you've got the skills (and bottle). And because of the wind range, and ease of use (with or without a harness) makes a superb recreational kite as well. You can have fun just flying it in lower winds, but make good use of the power as the wind starts to pick up.
I am so glad I went for the 4m RookieII. I had been having problems finding a kite that was fun to static fly. (I didn't want fixed bridle). I was getting to the stage of not wanting to fly inland, but this kite has sorted me out. It is just a very good, well made, well thought out kite, which can be picked up very cheaply. Just get somebody who knows what they are doing to ditch the pulleys and convert to a normal depower style bar setup and you'll have a kite that will always be fun to fly so long as there is wind in the air.
Finally flew the kite in decent on-shore winds on the Isle of Wight. Wind was about 25-28mph. Sanded the trailing edge to hold it down on the (very long) stake.
Hooked in on full depower and up it went with just a little scud. Not much in the way of turning so added a bit of power. Flew it around the top of the window for a bit then started to drop it lower for some scuds. Then POP. Looked up and the plastic buckle on my home made adjuster had snapped! but luckily just sent the kite back to full depower.
So with it still flyable, I had a blast getting 50m scuds up the beach.
I have had many kites in a short space of time, always selling one to fund the next, but I can safely say that this one will be staying with me for a very long time. It really is that versatile. Fun to fly in any wind, and suitable for any level of flyer.
By : andrewjohn
A bit of personal info:
Weight : 70 kg
Days on the water : approximately 50-60 x 1-2 h (2 years)
Kiting level : Intermediate
Boards: Loose AX 150 (2002) (lightwind board); Currently no available smaller board (thus borrowed LOHF (2002)) Previous kites: Flysurfer Warrior 9.3 (2002); Flysurfer Maniac 7.0 (2002); Flysurfer Warrior 9.3 WAC:ed
Current kites that I use : Psycho2 10.5; Flysurfer Titan 15.5
LEI-experiences : Naish Boxer 9 (about 1 hour 20-25 knots); Takoon 17 (2002) (about 30 min 10-12 knots). In other words hardly no LEI-experience.
Preferred conditions : Medium powered.
A bit of info regarding the kiting with the Psycho2:
Days on the water : Around 10 (x2h)
Wind conditions : Mainly gusty ranging from around 6-7 (guess) to 12 (measured)
Water conditions : Flat/choppy
Don't really know, only self released it in the water once due to extremely gusty conditions near shore. Excellent durability though on my previous Warrior and Maniac. Still have the Wac'ed Warrior in my possession and it looks like new!
Jumping performance :
Haven't really jumped a lot previous, except for a few weeks of jumping with my Titan 15.5 and the Wac:ed Warrior. Supposedly not one of my stronger talents. The Psycho2 is fairly easy to jump with though and have a gooood hang time. It's extremely difficult to judge how high I've jumped. When looking down from the air it looks high, probably not so high looking from the ground... A GUESS is that the best jumps are maybe 5-6 m. Personally I think that a lot of people have a tendency to put a few meters extra on their jumps, maybe me as well...
When switching from the Titan 15.5 to the Psycho2 I now try to be careful since the speed of the kite and the bar pressure necessary when turning the kite back in the riding direction in jumps differs so much. Have done jumps, just after I've used the Titan when I've (automatically) used to much power on the bar and thus landed with the kite far down in the power zone. Managed to stand up, but not a nice landing... If you fly both kites at regular basis, or have enough kite talent, I suppose this 'problem' will solve it self. The good thing about the speed is that it's possible to correct the kite in the air when flying and also get going again when having landed and still having the kite in zenith.
The stability when messing up jumps is AWESOME. Have landed with the kite far out on the wrong side, with the kite far behind me, done major crashes etc etc and not even been close to put the kite in the water except for once when I got an involuntary rotation and didn't really know were I had the kite when I landed. Even then I wasn't extremely close to put it in the water. Good work Flysurfer!!!
Upwind performance :
Well, what can I say, the 'problem' is more that I have to do a down winder quite often not to get to high upwind (only jump in one riding direction). The down winders however are very pleasant. Good speed with minimum work and very smooth and joyful riding.
Water relaunchability :
Never tried it with this kite, but with all the others it has been great. Never been left with a kite in the water and having had to swim back to shore.
Difficult to judge. Supposedly a beginner with some talent could use the kite. I know beginners who have started on high AR LEI
I rode my Voodoo 14 for the first time today. After about 2 hours on the water, here is my review;
very cold, air temp 47 degrees, water temp 38 degrees, flat water (the pond). Wind was 13mph to 18mph max. Other kiters were on Cabrina 14m LEI and Takoon 14-16ishm LEI. One windsurfer was on an 8.0M sail. Rider weight - 178lbs. Board 140 Hana Crew Stealth.
The Voodoo has a nice newer style bag than the other FS kites. I like the way the lines are already attached to the bar. The set up is real fast - it took less than two minutes to unroll the lines and be ready for launch. The bar on the 14 is small and color coded red and green unlike the smaller size voodoos. The depower line is new and looks much more durable. Everything else is typical FS high quality.
After much thought I decided to go with 1 knot from Full WAC - and one knot from Full Tip Break for settings. It takes less than 10 seconds to change settings and is practically foolproof. When I first launched the kite I thought the lines or bridals were messed up because it flapped around for about 15 seconds but everything was A-OK and it filled up with air with virtually no pull or drag. I do direct downwind launches and it went up with no pre-inflation, no drag, no pull, no BS.
At first the wind was light and the kite felt real twitchy and did not want to stay at the edge of the window. It was difficult to stay upwind in the light stuff. Me and the other LEI riders all lost ground, I tried to pull the yellow trim in for better upwind ability but it did not help much. After that the wind increased to about 17mph and things got much better........
All it took was a little additional wind and the Voodoo came to life. It turns at least as fast or faster than last years Titan 9.5M. The kite has lots of pop for jumping. I had no depower in the strap and was able to boost higher and longer than the Titan 12.5.
The voodoo is increadibly stable in the sky. I wanted to try the re-launch but the kite would not FALL from the sky. I even tried to induce it to fall with no success. A couple times I drove the tip into the water because I was not used to the speed but it came right back to zenith no problem. I assume it had excellent relaunch like all the other FS kites.
In the gusts it was real stable, you could pull on the bar to brake the kite and there was absolutely no back stall. One thing I did notice was there was more bar pressure than I am used to - could have to do with the WAC settings or the fact that it was my first time kiting in 3 months. In one gust the kite lifted me up much faster and higher than I am normally used to. A normal jump with a 360 rotation quickly became a 720 etc. Also I noticed that the additional bar pressure improved my toeside riding tremendously. You can carve toeside upwind with the Voodoo due to its lack of backstall and direct feel.
I had a buddy catch the kite so I can't comment on the Kill stop system. The pack up was very easy - unzip the vents and the kite is in the bag in less than 3-4 minutes.
Size wise, you want the 14M voodoo when other LEI guys are on 12's and 14's. It likes wind and the windier it got the more stable it became. What surprised me was the fact that the kite still turned real FAST even in the lightish 12-14mph wind. I think I could take it to 25-28mph.
Armin has done it again - The voodoo is a great water kite and should be an absolute blast in the waves. If your looking for tremendous turning speed, good pop, versatility and stability then look no further than the Voodoo
By : nukin