I've been a long-term doubter of some of the claims made about this kite and so, in a truly heroic display of putting my money where my mouth is
, I bought one second hand although it's still the most expensive dual line kite I have yet to buy. It's barely flown and very tidy - which is nice. I'm unlikely to get to fly
it for a while as my entire region has become a swamp. So let's start with build quality, shall we ?
First some numbers; it has a 2.3m span, a full length spar for the spine (ie; 82.5cm) and weighs 307 grammes.... which is an interesting view of the term "light
". The venting consists of 4 small swoopy, scimitar-esque panels out towards the LE and they are more about smoothing out the bumps in the wind than anything else. The LEs are Skyshark 3PT, the spine P2X and the lower spreaders 5PT. Again.... this strikes me as firmly in Standard territory.
Personally I'm not sold on the looks. There's something of the kabuki
mask to it and perhaps a touch of "ill advised tattoo that looks faintly exotic". It's not bad, it's just not "me".
Stitchwork is excellent
. I'd put this on a par with Peter Betancourt and only beaten by Herb Weldon. You really won't find a better put together kite.
The detail at the nose is superb.
The wingtips look very tidy from this side but....
... they are a bit of a palaver to tension up and put together. I'm glad I don't loosen these off as it is very fiddly.
The base of the spine is held in a fixed pocket - no velcro closure here. This is not going to be helpful if the spine breaks and needs replacing or if I wish to adjust the tailweight on the kite. Note that the weight is fixed in position with a glued on vinyl tube, as is everything on this kite. I have no idea
what the length of bridle line is for. Answers on a postcard please.
Two standoffs per side and dealt with oh-so-very tidily. Really lovely detail work. The line is the trailing edge leech line and there is a length of bungee there too. I've not seen this particular notion before.
The connectors are Sky Sport Design's own and I foresee issues
to come. They are made from a hard material without the flex and give that APAs offer. So even in my house they proved tricky to get spars either in or out of. Come the harsh midwinter............
But again this area is full of neat touches. From the right; stopper, bridle line, stopper, tip weight, LE fitting, stopper (hidden
), tape. You may also note the marks on the sail. Now these are supposed
to be to check your spreaders are in the correct place but I can personally do without them. They are at the upper spreader too.
Oh yes and
at the yoyo stopper. Which won't move... so they're just construction marks left on the sail. I complained when Challenger did this and haven't changed my mind.
Overall this is amongst the finest examples of kite making I've ever seen. It's no Synchro
but I wonder if we'll see the like of that again and if it takes something that magnificent to outdo, you've got plenty to be proud of. There are things that make me go "hmmm" but not a single thing wrong here and it clearly has been put together with considerable attention to detail and thought about how to make it work.
Would I pay the full asking price for a new one ? No.
Should I have paid what I did for this one ? No also. But I take a relaxed view of the matter.
I really would like to put this thing in the air at some point but presently I run the risk of trench foot. I'll get back to you.