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Author Topic: SUL kites for really low winds?  (Read 9622 times)
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damp_weather
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« on: September 08, 2012, 03:17 PM »

Hi,

I was wondering on what are the thoughts out there about really low wind SUL dual line kites.

To explain my interest - I usually fly inland in some very pleasant playing fields, which often have very low winds, say 3mph collapsing to near 0 mph.  My two favourite kites for here are Prism QPro SULs, and Benson Inner Spaces.  (The Inner Space is the only UK manufactured kite mentioned here - so I thought I should post on the USA kite forum. - For those  unfamiliar with an Inner Space, think Skyburner Pro Dancer, but less precise steering, and maybe more flat-spinny - Would love try a Pro Dancer sometime, instead of just watching at a festival.)  The Inner Space really does fly comfortably down to 0, but it doesn't do half-axel and pitch based tricks that well.  The QPro SUL does all the tricks I can do and hope to do, but becomes a challenge to keep in the air below... ...well I don't know, but in the days 2 years ago when I could run a wind meter while the kite was flown by someone else, it used to be around 2 to 2 1/2mph.

At this point I should say that I am getting old and lazy.  So the idea of trotting around the field at 2+mph - ~4mph when recovering ground, is exhausting.  The occasional 360 is fine.  360s for most of a flying session should be left to the young fit folk.  On the other hand, walking slowly backwards to keep an Inner Space up in still air is fine.

For a long time I have wanted a kite that does the tricks of the QPro, and flies in lower winds. Besides QPro SULs and Inner Spaces, I have a 2003 style Prism 3D, ITRIX and Prism Ozone.  The 3D is hard work.  The ITRIX certainly tricks, but seems relatively unbalanced outdoors.  The Prism Ozone trick and windwise seems a half-way house between the QPro SUL and Inner Space: stops flying between those two kites and is more tricky than an Inner Space, and less than a QPro SUL.

Last winter/spring I bought a Skyburner Ocius SUL, as the new Skyshark Zero spars seemed to offer exciting possibilities.

In direct comparison to the QPro SUL, I was disappointed.  It is probably slightly more trick oriented and being a slightly smaller kite a little more difficult to steer, but seems to have exactly the same lower wind performance - no more, no less.  Now perhaps I am being unfair in that I compared my favourite QPro SUL with a new Ocius SUL on exactly the same weight and length lines.  - The Ocius being a slightly smaller kite, perhaps the comparison should be with it on smaller lines.  But that also might be a bad comparison as the kite would not go so high in the sky and pick up what little wind there was.  And the other reason that it may be an unfair comparison is that the QPro SUL is 4 or 5 years old and has been flown for many hours.   As John Chilese recently posted about, kites often seem to become better fliers with age.  I have certainly found this true to a point with standard QPros.  When there was my partner and I who were trying to learn pairs, we could directly compare a new kite bought to make a pair with the older one of the same kind, and the QPro standards seemed to need several hours in the air before the newer kite would fly as fast and in as low wind as the older one.  Also when the QPro SUL was new I used to remove the outer standoffs to get it to fly at its low end.  Now I leave them in place as it seems to fly lower than I remember.  So perhaps a fairer thing to do would be put the QPro in a cupboard and to fly the Ocius SUL only for a season and then to compare it with the QPro SUL.   

Anyway, I was thinking of buying a Prism 4D next.  Videos show it being quite tricky, and perhaps the sail is flat enough that it would give the Inner Space a run for its money.  But in Tom Paterson's posting selling his Ocius SUL, he says that it flies at least as low as the 4D.  So perhaps that is not the way forward.

- So what is low wind kite nirvana?  - The "The Morning in Venice" video is a favourite - perhaps the Nirvana SE WW is the answer?  - Anyone know what the wind speed was in the video??   

Besides "Drive to a windy hill." or "Train to trot backwards faster and longer on the gym's running machine."   What's your thoughts?

« Last Edit: September 08, 2012, 03:22 PM by damp_weather » Logged
chilese
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« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2012, 03:30 PM »

Not quite sure what you are asking for.

Your explanations were very good.

Really, really low wind kites (full-size) are in the group of:

ProDancer SUL
Benson Inner Space
Pro Wren
Wren (smaller)
Synchro

Any tricks they do will be of the spin variety (axel, 540, Taz Machine (surprisingly), Slot Machine)

Almost as low wind are kites like:

Prism Vapor
Amazing (forgot who made it)
Shadow (barely)

Then you start getting into the trickier SULs:

Ocius SUL
Nirvana SUL (the only Nirvana I really like)

Above that, there are other kites labelled SUL, but they lie.
Although the kites are trickier than other SULs.

Did you have a specific question?
« Last Edit: September 12, 2012, 10:17 AM by chilese » Logged

John Chilese: Las Vegas, NV
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lineman
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« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2012, 04:10 PM »

John, to chime in the amazing is a level one kite.
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tpatter
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« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2012, 04:12 PM »

Low wind flying, especially doing tricks, is all about technique.   You will find that the better your fly with a minimum of wasted effort and only the needed input strength, the easier it is to fly a heavier kite in very low wind.

I like the 4D, but it is very hard to trick.  Still, there is something about it that appeals to me.  It does not fly at all like a standard kite - it is super light, very twitchy, and has no precision to speak of.   It does do pinwheels, axels, fades, and lazy stuff pretty well.  Also, it backspins.  I've never flown an inner space that I recall, but it seems well regarded - perhaps the 4D is similar in ability.

The Ocius is much much easier to trick and feels like a normal kite for the lack of a better description.  All my inputs for tricks were reduced in strength, but similar otherwise.  The 4D requires a different technique.

Good luck.

Tom



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6 kite tom
DWayne
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« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2012, 04:24 PM »

Sounds to me like you need a TNT Zero.
https://vimeo.com/14239282

Denny
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country85
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« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2012, 06:26 PM »

I just picked up a New Tech Desire Ul, it's a gross design, very well made kite. I haven't ever been able to do that many tricks with any kite.  but if you want something to fly in next to nothing the Desire does rather well for the money.
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Always fly a big kite, The louder the better. That way others can't hear you screaming as it's dragging you down the field!
RobB
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« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2012, 06:46 PM »

Sounds to me like you need a TNT Zero.
https://vimeo.com/14239282

Denny

That was spectacular. I will find it hard not to buy the next one that pops up in the swap meet.

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country85
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« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2012, 07:54 PM »

Well I know what my next kite's gonna be lol
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Always fly a big kite, The louder the better. That way others can't hear you screaming as it's dragging you down the field!
madhabitz
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« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2012, 10:08 PM »

What about a Talon SUL? Reviews are good on those.  Anyone here have the details?
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ae
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« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2012, 08:50 AM »

And then there is this one:

https://vimeo.com/40535360

The Spectre XUL is perfect for when you just want to be able to fly in a Zen like experience in next to no winds. Tricks are extremely limited however. Measured wind in this video are below what all available windmeters could show. Upperlimited is about 4mph.
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bryan beasley
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« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2012, 11:33 AM »

What about a Talon SUL? Reviews are good on those.  Anyone here have the details?

Ermmm... 180g - absolutely sweet floatiness. ;-)

Bryan
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Charles P
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« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2012, 10:48 PM »

Don't buy a 4D, they do not trick very well in my experience. I bought one but I only use it if nothing I have fly's. I'm in the process of aquireing a true SUL myself and the money I spent on my 4D could have helped me to buy a true tricking SUL. I'll appologize right now to any 4D fans out there but that kite does not work for me.
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damp_weather
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« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2012, 02:51 PM »

Thank you for all your reponses and suggestions,

To John,

I didn't have a specific question.  Rather I seemed to be coming to a hiatus in my low wind flying, and was wondering what to do to take things further.  It is more a case of reflecting on where I am up to and deciding where to take things next.

I like the list categorising the kites. Interesting to see that you put the Prism Vapor in a different category to the Inner Space etc..   - I have never seen a Vapor in real life, but had thought it was so light that it was as flyable as the Inner Space but a little more controllable because of the deeper stand-offs.  In essence a sort of Prism Ozone, only lighter and with stiffer leading edges?

Don't know anything about the Synchro.  The Wren and Pro Wren would also be on my possible list - saw a Wren flying quite happily on ~12 foot lines at the edge of windless arena, except that these kites are no longer made.   Suspect the Wren's particularly good low wind performance is due to the extra thin carbon rods in sleeves stiffening the sail (i.e. the sail doesn't have to be tensioned by the wind to assume aerodynamic curves).


To Tom,

From the videos, the 4D is more trickable than the Inner Space - Check out Piero's Inner Space video on the Benson kites site - That's also my experience of what the Inner Space can do trickwise.  (Believe that zippy8 managed to backspin one - once?)


To Denny, etc..
If that TNT Zero is flying in just 1-3kph, Wow! I'm really impressed.  Unfortunately I also don't understand much German.  Certainly not enough to order a kite.


To madhabitz,
Talons are made about 25 miles from where I often work and fly during the week. And their creator Mark Clements is a nice person, so I am inclined to buy from him.  However compared to many other makes, Talons and Tridents tend to like slightly higher winds, and Mark honestly lists his SUL as for 2 to 10mph.  If this is related to his local environment, it is funny how much difference a few miles makes. 


To ae:
Thanks,  The moves in that video are like an Inner Space on longer lines.  But your newest video shows a lazy Susan and riser/lifter, which is a step up from what I can get an Inner Space to do. And elsewhere it says you are using 10daN lines and the kite weights 66g (custom rods) or 80g (breeze rods).  I've never been able to buy anything lighter than 20daN lines.  It will be interesting to see what this develops into.   

I think that the Inner Space at a "heavy" 140g compensates for using "weighty" everyday Icarex fabric by having a larger sail area for the kite's width - i.e. its aspect ratio is lower.  This helps with lift to weight ratio but reduces performance in pitch moves.
 


...I think I am getting to the point of deciding that the best thing to do is to fly the Ocius SUL regularly for a while and see how that progresses.   Usually I fly on 75ft x 50lb lines, Perhaps I should try it on a set of 15m x 50lb lines.

Peter   

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Craig
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« Reply #13 on: September 11, 2012, 04:10 PM »

You already have all the low wind kites you need, more practice will get you further than buying something new.
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madhabitz
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« Reply #14 on: September 11, 2012, 09:46 PM »


That was spectacular. I will find it hard not to buy the next one that pops up in the swap meet.



Have you ever seen one in the Swap Meet?
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"I haven't failed. I've just found ten-thousand ways that won't work."   -Thomas Edison
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