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Author Topic: Sheetable foils  (Read 2311 times)
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timothymcmackin
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« on: October 17, 2012, 09:19 AM »

Hi, all. I know power kites aren't all that big on this forum, but I'm familiar with this forum so I thought I'd ask here before I ventured elsewhere.

I have long lusted after kiteboarding. Three years ago, when I hit one of those round-number birthdays, I had some lessons, but the weather went sour before I could really get comfortable doing it. I want to try again but haven't been able to allocate the vacation time to head to the coast and get some more lessons.

Anyway, I've been thinking about the kind of kite I used in kiteboarding lessons: a sheetable four-line kite that's attached to your waist by a harness and controlled by a bar. You pull on the bar (or "sheet in") to increase the power of the kite and it pulls on your waist. Relax the bar ("sheet out"), and the kite "depowers," or stops pulling but keeps flying. I currently fly two-line foils, two-line delta stunters, and Revs, so I really want the new experience and greater control that comes with sheetable kites rather than just a 2 or 3-line foil. I'll be using it just for fun and for a light workout, letting it pull me around my local flying field in winds 15mph and below, and ideally it would be a kite I could let beginners fly safely. Does anyone have any recommendations in that area?

Here's what I've been considering:

HQ Hydra Powerzone edition: This is an HQ Hydra foil kite that a kiteboarding shop in Washington state has modified to be a sheetable four-line kite. I have not been able to find any reviews of this modified version, but the price is not unreasonable. Probably tougher than LEI kites, so it would tolerate being lent around to newbies.

Ocean Rodeo Rise 2m: This is a scaled-down Leading Edge Inflatable just like kiteboarders use, so in theory the experience of flying it should be the same as a real kiteboarding bow kite. The price is comparable to the modified Hydra, but the only review I've found was negative, saying that the LEI design doesn't scale down well to this size and doesn't really approximate the experience. There's a good instructional video of this kite on youtube.

Tutor 2.5m: Another scaled-down LEI. Have not been able to find any reviews or to find out why it's so much more expensive than the Rise.

I've also considered a "real" (non-trainer) traction foil or LEI in a small size, but I'd have to be very careful with it on land and I couldn't let just anyone fly it unless the wind was light. (This class of kite is also very expensive given what I plan to use it for, unless I could pick up a used kite.)

I'm also wondering if an affordable traction foil kite like Prism Tensor 3.1m could work with a harness, but the description on the Prism site implies that it works only in 2-line bar and 4-line Rev-like handles modes. Might take some rejiggering that I don't know how to do.

Any suggestions or tips?
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Smeagol
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« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2012, 10:36 AM »

I just recently got into depower (sheetable) kites myself, so I can comment but I am by all means not an expert when it comes to them as I'm still learning myself.  Much depends on where you wanting to fly/ride:  on water, typically LEI's or arcs are used.  On land, typically foils or arcs.  At least, this is what I've gathered through reading on the forums.  I have never flown on water myself.  Arcs seem the most versatile as they work on both water and land, but they do require setup (inflation) before launch which some find tedious.  Hint: cordless leaf blower. Cheesy

The Tensor doesn't hook into a harness.  You can fly it on the bar or convert the bar into handles, which is nice.  It's great if you're sticking to land & flying static.  I have heard of people buggying with these.  Probably best with the handles & a strop.  I'm sure you could rig a Tensor to fly on a depower bar, but like you said it would likely require some tweaking and it would be much easier to just get into a starter depower that's already set up for it.

The main thing I've seen & been told repeatedly is that depower kites aren't really designed to be flown static.  They really are meant to be moving in a buggy, land board, kitesurfing, etc.

I recently picked up a HQ Apex III 7.5m depower and a PL Phantom 15m arc.  Two completely different beasts, but I like having some variety. Wink  I have only tried the Apex out once so far, but it's a very nice starter depower.  Took me a bit to get used to the different controls -- I'm so used to flying on handles it was strange at first being hooked into a harness.  Great kite for buggy/landboarding.  I have yet to try out the arcs but plan to very soon.

You should definitely check out the PKF (power kite forum).  It's a great resource.

I'm sure others will chime in here as well, but to me it sounds like the Tensor would be a nice choice if you're sticking to flying static on land.  There are several other nice choices out there too.  PL, Flexifoil, HQ, Ozone, etc. all make great kites.

thanks,
  Mike
« Last Edit: October 17, 2012, 10:56 AM by Smeagol » Logged
dihongshao2000
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Location: Seattle, Washington

« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2012, 09:53 PM »

Hi, all. I know power kites aren't all that big on this forum, but I'm familiar with this forum so I thought I'd ask here before I ventured elsewhere.

I have long lusted after kiteboarding. Three years ago, when I hit one of those round-number birthdays, I had some lessons, but the weather went sour before I could really get comfortable doing it. I want to try again but haven't been able to allocate the vacation time to head to the coast and get some more lessons.

Anyway, I've been thinking about the kind of kite I used in kiteboarding lessons: a sheetable four-line kite that's attached to your waist by a harness and controlled by a bar. You pull on the bar (or "sheet in") to increase the power of the kite and it pulls on your waist. Relax the bar ("sheet out"), and the kite "depowers," or stops pulling but keeps flying. I currently fly two-line foils, two-line delta stunters, and Revs, so I really want the new experience and greater control that comes with sheetable kites rather than just a 2 or 3-line foil. I'll be using it just for fun and for a light workout, letting it pull me around my local flying field in winds 15mph and below, and ideally it would be a kite I could let beginners fly safely. Does anyone have any recommendations in that area?

Here's what I've been considering:

HQ Hydra Powerzone edition: This is an HQ Hydra foil kite that a kiteboarding shop in Washington state has modified to be a sheetable four-line kite. I have not been able to find any reviews of this modified version, but the price is not unreasonable. Probably tougher than LEI kites, so it would tolerate being lent around to newbies.

Ocean Rodeo Rise 2m: This is a scaled-down Leading Edge Inflatable just like kiteboarders use, so in theory the experience of flying it should be the same as a real kiteboarding bow kite. The price is comparable to the modified Hydra, but the only review I've found was negative, saying that the LEI design doesn't scale down well to this size and doesn't really approximate the experience. There's a good instructional video of this kite on youtube.

Tutor 2.5m: Another scaled-down LEI. Have not been able to find any reviews or to find out why it's so much more expensive than the Rise.

I've also considered a "real" (non-trainer) traction foil or LEI in a small size, but I'd have to be very careful with it on land and I couldn't let just anyone fly it unless the wind was light. (This class of kite is also very expensive given what I plan to use it for, unless I could pick up a used kite.)

I'm also wondering if an affordable traction foil kite like Prism Tensor 3.1m could work with a harness, but the description on the Prism site implies that it works only in 2-line bar and 4-line Rev-like handles modes. Might take some rejiggering that I don't know how to do.

Any suggestions or tips?

Check out the Swap Meet for the 2m depower foil kite, kite only or with bar/lines

It was converted from a 4-line fixed bridle kite with adjusted bridles and added pulleys. Any depower bar/line set should be able to fly this kite. Great training kite for youth to understand how depower kite works and for high wind kite landboarding. Great condition! Video link provided below for review.
 
magma depower demo

 
Kite only - $180 - shipped in the US
Bar/Line set $80 plus shipping or free local pick up (Seattle, WA)

Also posted on Power Kite Forum with link provided below

http://www.powerkiteforum.com/viewthread.php?tid=23641
« Last Edit: October 17, 2012, 10:11 PM by dihongshao2000 » Logged
timothymcmackin
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« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2012, 01:23 PM »

Check out the Swap Meet for the 2m depower foil kite, kite only or with bar/lines

It was converted from a 4-line fixed bridle kite with adjusted bridles and added pulleys. Any depower bar/line set should be able to fly this kite. Great training kite for youth to understand how depower kite works and for high wind kite landboarding. Great condition! Video link provided below for review.

Murphy's law of kites doesn't seem to apply to me: when I get a new kite in the mail, I often get appropriate wind for it within a few days. Dihong's modified sheetable foil arrived on friday and I had a strong wind day on saturday, though highly gusty due to the storm blowing through the east coast.

This kite is more or less what I wanted: a toy to play pretend with and get thinking about kiteboarding lessons in the spring. It really does sheet in and out and provide power when sheeted in. At 12-15ish mph, I could sit back into the harness against the pull, and a few gusts (and clumsy power-ups) pulled me forward a few steps and even once pulled me briefly off my feet.

It took a while to get it adjusted for the kiteboarding bar I bought. The best I could do was to set it up was for "balanced failure:" if I sheeted out all the way, the leading edge flopped over and the kite rolled so that I was looking at the back. Conversely, when I sheeted in all the way, the kite stalled and tried to fly backwards. For a first flying session this was manageable, because I think this flyable range meant I had it adjusted in the butter zone and I just had to be very small and gentle with the bar movements, all while keeping it in the flyable zone of not over- or under-sheeted. I don't know if this oversensitivity is (A) an unavoidable fact of flying such a small sheetable kite, (B) a product of the gusty wind, (C) a side effect of using a full-size bar rigged with overkill 500# line, or (D) bridle misadjustment. I'm hoping that I can do something to the bridle or the bar to reduce the sheeting sensitivity (the steering sensitivity felt about right), but as long as the wind is stable, this will teach me very careful control over the kite. It will also result in many, many walks of shame, but fortunately this kite reverse launches without much trouble.)

-Tim
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dihongshao2000
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Location: Seattle, Washington

« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2012, 03:31 PM »

I am glad you got to fly it so soon and enjoyed it so far.  This is my second depower kite conversion.  The first one is a closed cell 4-line fixed bridle 3.5m kite.  It was converted with the help of John at Powerzone Kitesports of Bellingham, Washington.

What you have experienced is common due to the fact that the kite is small and a regular depower kite bar has a much wider sheetable range than what the kite needs.  A depower bar for smaller kites should help.  In addition, make sure you limit the sheetable range to avoid loft over head (sheet out too far) and back stall (sheet in too much) by adjusting (a) the stop ball on the bar if you have one (to control the maximum sheet out allowed) and (b) flying line length using the knots on the lines (to limit the maximum sheet in to your chicken loop).  My Recon 2 bar was for a 6m kite and the sheetable range is approximately 8-12".

Have fun with the kite and keep enjoying it as much as I did.

BTY.  I just bought a 7.7m fixed bridle 4 line kite and I am planning on making it a due purpose kite that one can fly it as a regular fixed bridle kite with handles and as a depower kite with a depower bar.  The switch will be a few simple adjustments to the bridle with moving a few knots.  I will post the result if anyone is interested.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2012, 09:48 PM by dihongshao2000 » Logged
dihongshao2000
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« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2012, 03:44 PM »

Now I have two tube kites, one 12m and one 16m.  As far as flying on land, I find my 10m Flysurfer Phycho-3 John of Powerzone Kitesports recommended suits me the best.  I will see if my 7.7m new kite is a keeper or not.  It should be a nice winter project for sure.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2012, 09:48 PM by dihongshao2000 » Logged
timothymcmackin
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« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2012, 08:05 PM »

Are there any guides online for converting a fixed bridle kite to a depower kite? I'm just wondering -- I'm not a kite-maker and wouldn't attempt it.

I thought I'd mention that for my second session with the converted 2m depower foil, I swapped out the heavy-duty kiteboarding line on the bar for 150# line that I use for my Rev stack. The difference in performance was HUGE. The wind was only 6-8 mph but the kite flew fine, and it was much more tolerant of over-sheeting and under-sheeting. It might break that line if the wind gets high, but for now I'll risk it because now I can fly this kite like I stole it... not like I borrowed it from someone with mafia connections.  Grin
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