lunedì, giugno 18, 2012

Kalenji Keymaze 700 - first run on the water

Do you remember the Kalenji Keymaze 700 I bough last year? Well yesterday  finally rembered to bring it with me for a kite session in Laredo.

I'm pretty satisfied with this portable GPS system. I mainly use it during my mountain bike runs, and I have to say that is quite precise. It also has an heart rate monitor which is extremely useful for training.

The picture above has been elaborated by endomondo  importing the GPS data I recorded during the session. Although this online service is quite good if you only want to keep track of your training activities and share it amongst your friends, it gives you very few analysis tools. Maximum and average speeds are reported as well as distance, but nothing more that that.

There are some good tools out there to better analise your sailing performance. The one I used in the past is gpsactionreplay , written in Java and thus available for all platforms. There are two version: the oldest one is free, the newest which is called GPSarPro is shareware and the license cost around 30€, but it offers some additional feature like google map superpose and calibration. I personally don't want to spend money for a tool that I seldom use, so I must say that the freeware version is ok for my needs. Below you'll find a screenshot from GPSactionreplay of yesterday's kite session. I discovered, for example, that my upwind skills suck - well, not a surprise at all. At least I can see jibes... I still have to improve but at least my average "jiii-splash" ratio has decreased a lot.

Talking about yesterday I once again started sailing with the 7m North rebel. I thought the wind was going to blow stronger during the afternoon but I was wrong. So I find myself pumping like mad to keep kiting. Still, the North Rebel generate as said a lot of power, but it could be annoying do all that up-down-up with the kite all the time. When I finally decided to switch for the 10m (Rebel again) the wind was even less. Not good... I should remember that old refrain (coming from my windsurfer experience): better sailing over than under canvassed.

Holy truth no matter it's windsurfing or kiting.

sabato, giugno 09, 2012

New Arrive: North Rebel 7m 2012 - a user review

I use to check from time to time on eBay for some good deals on kitesurfing gear. I must confess that with a bit of luck you can save quite a lot of money on buying almost new equipment than in traditional online shops (that's where I used to go shopping... power of the WEB 2.0). Almost one month ago I was quite surprised when I managed to buy a completely new North Rebel 2012 7.0m on eBay from Germany for less than 750€. It has been more that a bargain. It has been a great deal.

This is the third North Rebel I got in the the last two years. I was happy with the first Rebel I bought (a 10m 2010model, used one), more than happy with the 2011 model (still a 10m). The North Rebel allowed me to progress quite a lot and start wavekiting. It's a powerful kite with a enourmouse wind range. I am quite an heavy sailor (between 98 to 92 kg, depending on the season), but I never had problem in sailing with 15kn winds when my friends were out with a 12m kite. It turns fast and generates lots  of power. For me it is simply perfect. Maybe it miss some hang time, but it's simply a no-issue for those guys who - like me - doesn't like those supa-coola-tricks of the month. I love wavekiting and this kite is almost perfect for what I do.

Now this are my impressions on this 2012 7m. Please note I had the opportunity to use it only two times with a similar wind range (14 to 24kn, 20kn average)...
The firts you'll observe is that this kite moves *FAST*, and when I say fast, I should add really fast. As a direct consequence, it generates lots of power, allowing you to pass those "wind holes" where even bigger - but slower - kites struggle to stay up in the sky.  The bar response is direct (I,m using  a 2010 one, to which I substituted the depower and the safety red line - thanks to North it is still compatible with the new model but North, please... use better lines) and I must tell that I love it - it is never not too hard, nor too strong, but still it gives you the exact feeling on where the kite is flying. Steering when de-powered sometimes is not that good but I will check the bar setup to see if I can get a better response. Not bad at all, considering I still have to improve quite a lot on the monodirectional board.

Construction appears solid, as all North products. The material being used here reflects the quality of the kite. No questions here. Please note that on the 2012 model there have been some changes on the back pigtail, now allowing for a better setup of the sheeting force  depending on the sailor preferences.

I hope there will be some good conditions during the next days around here, to give a you some more impressions on this kite, especially in waveriding...  next monday, maybe? :)