Full disclosure, I own a kitesurfing school and sell OR gear. That said, I have too much integrity to overstate my findings and decieve the kitesurfing community. Really!
I’ve had the 15m and 17.5 m for quite a while now, but the last few days have given the perfect opportunity to ride them back to back in the same conditions. Side shore seabreeze. Remember years ago when tube kites were first being made and there wasn’t much bang for your buck in the larger sizes? Old 16m kites were being replaced by more modern/ efficient 12m kites. Well, that’s changed. The Flite really does generate that extra bit of power at the low end. And there is an appreciable amount of difference between the 15m and 17.5m.
I went out today with the 17.5m (and 6’3” x 19” thruster surfboard- not exactly a race board) in hardly enough wind to keep it in the air. Perhaps 5-7knots. As I got a few hundred meters out there was more wind, but the water surface was smooth and only occassional white caps. Anyway, I’m using the fusion bar and once I got going I had the kite soo depowered the depower rope was dangling inches off the water. Wouldn’t want any extra drag, right? I was very impressed. Overpowered in .... hardly any wind. Not bad.
I don’t think the Flite 17.5m will have the same ultimate low end as my Flysurfer Speed 2 19m, but it overcomes the many shortcomings of the Sp2 19m and will be my kite of choice. Those of you that own a 19m know what I’m talking about.
I wonder what the low end is with a race board and the Flite?
-They do not fly well in heavy fog or rain. It’s like flying a wet blanket. We get lots of fog/ rain.
-They are only enjoyable to fly in near perfect steady wind. So days with gusts of more than 3-4knots become a real handful.
-It’s a fussy kite to fly. The kite’s high aspect ratio makes it pretty unstable and it has limited depower.
-They require periodic tuning, which is a bit of a pain.
-Limitations with launching. Space is required.
-Slowest steering ever.
-Very poor drift.
Having said all this, on the right day the Sp2 is a lot of fun if you’re into long floaty jumps.
Thanks Gavin. The 17.5 Flite is the top of my snow and water kite quiver, which at one time included a 15M frenzy, and 12 meter Manta. I still have the Manta. I can relate to some of the limitations of your sp2. Especially the wet blanket and slow steering, but also tip collapses and frontals in the wrong conditions. The convenience of a ram-air is nice, but I figured out just yesterday that a scuba tank is a GREAT way to fill a big inflatable like the 17.5 Flite. I left my lines and bar attached yesterday also, so the convenience level increased a notch from that too.
One of my reasons for the 17.5 Flite is to provide a HUGE platform for lofting from terrain while snowkiting. Riding terrain features and contours while snowkiting rivals the fun of wave riding on the water. A solid kite like the Flite will be a confidence booster, for sure (pun intended)
Looking into getting one of these for the upcoming season for a little more freeriding time. My biggest question is 15m vs. 17.5m. No one seems to talk about the 15m does that mean skip it and go straight for the 17.5? 6’ 180 lbs intermediate level rider.
Although I’ve had the 15m and 17.5m for some time, I have not yet been able to test the ultimate low end of each in the same conditions/ same session. Usually, when buying the big kites it’s the low end under scrutiny - hence, the 17.5m getting more attention. My guess would be that an experienced rider could get an extra 2-3 knots on the low end out of the 17.5m vs the 15m. So, if you’re able to stay upwind in 11knots on the 15m, then perhaps 8-9knots on the 17.5m. That may not sound like alot but it’s actually pretty significant. It can be the difference between getting off the beach, or not. Blazing a trail, or limping along.
One of the signs that the Flite is a dedicated light wind kite is - reduced weight. I’ve weighed all the kites on a legal for trade scale at work that is very accurate. The Flite 17.5m weighs in at 10.8lbs. (the 15m at 9.2lbs. which is only .6lbs heavier than the Flysurfer Speed 2 15m). The Razor 6m weighs 5.2lbs. and also has 4 struts - if the same construction were used to produce the 17.5 m Flite it would weigh an extra 4.4 lbs.!
I went with the 17.5 M Flite over the 15 for ultimate light wind and also to utilize the larger surface area for extended jumps/flying when kite-skiing over snowy terrain features. Have not had a day on it this snow-season yet…..seen a 10M Razor more than once, though.
The 17.5 has good manners on the stronger-wind edge of its’ range, so I chose it for water go-outs when marginal, knowing it’s safe if the blow strengthens. The 15 also has good manners, but, heck, 2.5 square meters is more wing, so…........
I’m 180 and 5’9”.
Light wind plank, surfboard, or any Mako you choose.
I’m looking for a kite to recommend to one of my students, He is about 6’ and 0ver 300 lbs, and just starting to get in to the water. I have used the flite 15 and I lick it and I am hoping the 17,5 will give him enough grunt to git him up and riding in 14 to 16 k , yet still be strong enough to to last when used in stronger winds. I hear a lot of good things about lite wind kites but will they last when used in stronger wind by bid riders?
Thanks for the great feedback Gavin - I would agree that you’ve stayed fairly impartial!
I’ll add that the 15m was designed to be a light wind kite you moved to generate pull whereas the 17.5 was designed to be a lightwind kite you could park and ride, giving light wind riders the ability to choose which style they preferred.
Regards to using the kite as a big man’s kite - I would think this would be fine. The kite will obviously loose some ability at the light wind end of the spectrum with that much weight but should still pull hard for him!
I have a Sp2 and as Gavin says limited but a day saver as long as it’s sunny ,the beach is empty, the wind is steady, and you have a spare half hour to turn but it will get you going where no other will. The 15 flight is not the ultimate light wind kite . It is a light wind kite that is fun to fly . Will boost ,turn quickly and depower in the gusts. 15 and King is way more fun than a sp2 and a normal twiny
Today my first ride with the Flite 15..
It looked like a low wind day so TT and Skim in the car, to be sure the Razor 10 also.
At the spot wind 11 kts, “just what I wanted I thought” so I pumped and pumped..
What’s happening? More wind? Anemometer up again (isn’t that the name for that thing you use to measure the wind..)
F..k.. 15kts gusting 20 (22 according off point) .. Never thought I wouldn’t like more wind.. But I’m not going back to the car to get the 10.
Finally I had a nice session, kite steers quickly, one kite loop, down loops are also fast, round before touch down.
Kite has nice pull, not so grunty as my 2009 14m Rise, better upwind also.
At the gusts it has a lot of pull.. Nice floaty jumps..
Don’t know if I under inflated the kite, relaunch was good so don’t think so, kite feels more “sluggish”, it is not annoying or so but it is not as direct as the Rise was. I suppose it is because of the different bridle, and I’m spoiled by the Razor’s I guess..
Had some 11 kts again also and I picked the Skim, was long time ago so I had to get used to it.. Tacking was funny again, had some lofty tacks.. In which I had to drag back to the board..
I think 10 kts is the low end with skim, maybe it gets better if I’m dialed in.
Tried the kite on fasted steering and on more and less depower setting, I liked the more depower setting better.
Did I mention the nice fast steering?
Will put an update after my holiday… which will have plenty of low wind (and no wind days.. )
Hey Im keen as to get a lightwind kite for this summer. I’m wanting a kite that will be able cruize in 8-15knts. I’m only 155lbs, would the 15 or 17.5 be better suited? My rises get me have fun from 16knots and up.
I’m about the same size as you (touch smaller), and would say the 15m is probably the way to go. I find the 17.5m is just such a grunty tank that I don’t have the mass to hold it back, whereas the 15m drives to the edge of the window and I can hold it down if the wind picks up a bit.
The 15m also flies more on apparent wind, so working the kite a fair bit is essential. Perhaps a little trickier to fly than the 17.5m but I would argue a touch more versatile due to the quicker turning speed.
Cheers Ned for your reply, with the 15m, what is your low end limit with a big tt?
I have a mate (heavier than me) thats saying if your going for lightwind go the biggest so the kite will be able to pull me below ten knots. I can see where he is coming from because he rides a flysurfer 19m. I just don’t want to be badly overpowered (dangerous) when it picks up a little say to 13-14knts.
I’m quite heavy and hold onto the 17 until it starts misbehaving around 20 knots - twitching and jerking . . . limit of the size and design, I think. 10-15 knots is cruising and doing stunts, or riding my 5’10” Dialer. 15+ I start hanging on and boosting, wishing I had a smaller board :D
Took the Flite 17.5 to Thailand, Koh Samui with me last month - used it every day, but only 2 days got over 15 knots . . . light, LIGHT summer wind! The following video is my fat ass in 10 knots building to 15. The guys who work at KBA there kept knocking 2-4 knots off my guesses of the wind so take it for what it’s worth. One morning, me and a smaller guy swapped kites - I was losing 10-20 meters per tack, but he was going upwind fine . . . my guess was 10 knots in the gusts, that day :(
Awesome thanks guys, 1 last thing before I buy, what bar are you guys using with the flite? I like the idea of the above bar trim but am thinking that with a big kite i’d want to have as much depower options as possible, therefore freeride or fusion. thoughts?