It's been around for possibly more than 18 months now, but this year has seen manufacture handed to Tim to get this kite out to the world. Nobody else has said anything so I thought I might.Construction and Design
This kite is designed by Chris Goff and put together by Tim Benson. I'll not go on about it being a remarkable, laser-beam-clean kite, because the piccies on Tim's website
speak for themselves. I'll mention that - despite the hard-core trailing-edge reinforcement - single-stand off kites will always provide a point-contact with the ground that inevitably wears. I like to keep vulnerable bits covered up: a little fabric-tape over the peaks on the back of the sail, and replace them as they wear. This might not be your style - it'll last well even if tape is heresy.
I think it is worth mentioning the spirit behind the SF. Chris's kites have always been minimal and elegant, which maybe refocusses the importance of the flyer, and that satisfying/complex/tricky flight is in the hands of the pilot. The panel layout of course tips a hat to an earlier generation, including classics like the Phantom, North-Shore Radical and Midi-Sandpiper. As many will know, Chris is paying homage not only to those designs but also the memories of kiting. Those memories are saluted and cherished in the SuperFly.Flight
It's light on the lines, and it's sensitive to the wind. The feedback it gives you about the wind is extremely detailed: ie, if you are flying in shitty wind, it will go on and on and on about it. In the rare moment you might decide to fly it in too much wind, wah-pads are actually quite effective at giving a little smoothness, though speed and pull remain unchanged. I rarely fly in on-shore beach breezes, but I can imagine the SF is qualified to tell you "this is what smooth wind feels like". It turns and stalls like a Benson tricking kite: tightly and abruptly, with oversteer that can be dealt with. It is light, so goes low, you can have plenty of fun in 4mph on short lines.
The wide aspect ratio and wide bridle points make the SF a very agile kite, responsive to small inputs. Full axels are back, and flatspins from all sorts of angles make tricking fresh yet floaty. Best of all are the taz machines. The SF just hurls itself into them, keeping horizontal momentum and making the move - which can look laboured on many kites - very dynamic. An aim was for deep deep turtles, and it does so: all sorts of wrapped cyniques and multilazies are open to play with. This heavy turtle comes at a cost though, making snappy landings demand a perfect touch, or you end up floating in a turtle six inches above the ground instead (or at least, if there is a knack to not doing this, I don't know what it is yet (and nope, I never got to grips with aggressively landing the Cosmic with any consistency either...). Another thing about the deep turtle is the way that the kite grips the wind in this position - rising multilazies and the "Goff" (rising turtle - PAW has some good videos of this trick) can be done. However, until you are used to it, this can make the SF a little frightening if you catch a turtle wrong, especially in unpredictable wind since it has a habit of reversing powerfully at the ground at spar-breaking angles.
Is it easy to fly? My opinion is that it is, yes. I'm still on the learning curve but many tricks that might normally be fairly straight-forward require care. Multi-slots comes to mind, as do the sharp landings. It is a kite that likes to be left alone when spinning - if you are used to kites that respond best to slight line tension during tricks (ie bigger kites) you're going to have to remember to not touch the SF while lazying/backspinning etc. Put micro-tension on the lines, and the trick is often lost. Maybe this is just a bad habit of mine. Anyway, is it fun? Yes, definitely! It's all about combos and abrupt-yet-flowing tricks, as you might have guessed considering Chris designed it. It just forces precision and agility (with hands and feet, as ever) or the tricks look messy. But when they are clean, they are very very clean, and repeatable. This kite has demoted me from "sometimes really quite up there" (not my words) to "skilled amateur" - which I'm all up for. Chris and Tim say it's a "door opener", and I think they might be right - I wasn't doing double-ladders (1.5 of each JL rung), copter-backspins or taz-cascades with any kind of confidence before I flew the SuperFly. As Chris's new video shows (May '13), there are some never-seen-before shapes that this kite can throw (admittedly, in Chris's hands). That is about all I want to say about the tricks, everything I haven't mentioned is a given. Some might find its fade a little hard to hold, but I'm not sure that matters much - this kite is all about transitions not positions.
So, it's a kite that certainly rewards if you have the timing and agility to lay down some technical tricks. But, glancing at Chris's design record, I'd also say this is his first accessible kite. The Fury .85 (with Carl Robertshaw/KRD) had an attitude problem when it came to fractured-axels, couldn't lazy nicely and was too heavy. The Element is probably best-described as a curious retro-fusion experiment. The SuperFly however is not some jazzed out record you only "get" once you've played it a million times. It is on Tim's catalogue, where a kite really has to speak universal "kite-ish", not just "Goff-ish", to earn its place. It is a really good kite.
Thanks Chris and Tim.