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Flysurfer Speed 3 19m Up Close

Monday, 14 December 2009 | Kitesurfing , by Joel Theodore
flysurfer_19m_articleWe had the opportunity to inspect one of the new Flysurfer Speed III kites up close, what's more it was 19m light wind machine!  Flysurfer has certainly stepped up the bar in terms of usability between the Speed 2 and Speed 3 with some real significant improvements in flight characteristics.  The kite feels more stable and at the same time far more responsive than the previous version, the power in the kite feels far more usable and manageable.


Flysurfer Kite Bag

The bag has had no real changes, it's just a bag with a few dangly straps on it to hold your kite inside and throw it over your back and an ID card in case you leave it on the beach.

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Infinity Bar

The new Infinity Bar which comes standard on the Psycho IV but was an upgrade option on the Speed 2 is now standard on the Speed 3, this means you get the Infinity Bar as part of the standard package!  The RRP of the new Speed 3 is lower than the Speed 2, making it an even better deal!

The design of the bar and lines is excellent, the only area of notable improvement would be a small tab on the pin in case you close the eject cover without putting the loop back in.  Aside from this the safety benefits of a "jerk off" style release speak for themselves, and with 19m of kite above us we felt confident enough to test the release on land in about 13 knots at the time.  The kite pulled slightly as it flagged out and came to rest on the ground.  We were bracing ourselves for a greater yank, however the kite depowered remarkably quickly. 

Resetting the kite after this was interesting, as what looked like a complete mess of lines just seemed to sort itself out the more you fed the safety line through the middle of the chicken loop.  The end result was it was back and ready to fly again.

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Spares

Flysurfer have included spares in the pack, including bridles lines etc and a manual.

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Unpacking

The first time you really start to appreciate the size of the kite is when you unfold the first two folds and have it sitting next to the bar.

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Flysurfer Speed 3 Kite

The kite itself is impressive, even just sitting there above your head.  The colours are superb, the design is awesome and just the sheer size of the kite in the air makes you keep looking up at it wondering how such a large kite is so easy to control.

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Depowering the Kite

The new depower system on Flysurfer becomes really prominent on the Speed 3 due to the aspect and flatness of the kite.  As you sheet the bar out you find the kite increases its curve (projected area), as you pull the bar in the kite flattens out more as well as changing angle of attack to the wind.  This gives the 19m, as ridiculous as this sounds for such a large kite, a fair bit of "pop" in the kite allowing you to jump instead of being dragged waiting for the kite to turn.

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Valves

On the front of the kite are the Flysurfer intake valves, which are quite large and allow fairly quick inflation of the kite.  Once the middle of the kite had a bit of air in it we were able to fly it to the top of the window with just the middle section inflated, once up there it filled out the wingtips very quickly.

On the rear of the kite are the new Flysurfer deflate valves, which is two large Velcro openings on the back middles section of the kite.  Previously there was a zip across the back of the kite.  In our opinion it is neither better nor worse, just a change that seems not all that significant as at the end of the day it's only purpose is to let the air out of the kite.

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Jet Flaps

The Flysurfer designed JetFlaps that have been on the Flysurfer kites for a few years already carry on in to the Speed III, giving the kite greater stability.  You can read more about how the JetFlaps affect and improve the kite on the Flysurfer Website.

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Stitching & Build Quality

The new Speed 3 inside and out is built up to the expected Flysurfer standards.  The panels are glued and stitched on the kite, and the finish internally is the same as externally with no loose ends.

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Dirt Outs

The "dirt outs" on each end of the kite are very large, the largest we have seen on a kite yet allowing both the drainage of water if your kite takes any water in, and also the ability to open the Velcro when on the beach to empty out any sand or debris that may have entered your kite.

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Bar Pressure & Steering Adjustment

Similar to the Psycho IV and Speed 2, the Speed 3 continues the ability to adjust your bar and turning pressure on the kite through bridle adjustments on the kite.  Still the only foils on the market after all these years to offer true bar pressure steering adjustment.

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Bridle

Flysurfer kites have quite a lot of bridling to keep their shape and performance, however they have been clever in the design both reducing bridle drag in the kite, and offering bridle protection.  The first length of bridle on the kites is unsleeved, where there is the highest count of bridle lines.  From there backwards, with the part of bridle that will rest on a beach or park the bridle is sleeved.  This protects your bridle from being cut or damaged by debris on the beach or grass.

The Speed 3 also has a small bridle loop after each tab, where the main bridle then larks head on to this little bridle loop.  This allows you in the event of breaking a bridle to be able to replace it from the kite end, not needing you to dismantle the whole bridle from the lines end, or where the flying lines connect to the kite.  In the event you do damage a bridle line this can mean replacing the bridle line in the space of two minutes, instead of two hours.

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Landing Hands

When you ride foils and you decide to have someone help land your kite, it is not uncommon that they are a tube flyer.  So Flysurfer have including "landing hands" which indicate where to grab the kite from when landing.  This should help in your communication when asking someone to assist you to land your kite.

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Large Enough

Just to show how huge this kite is, take a look at the photo below when we went to pack up the kite.

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Kitesurfing Low Wind Test

As soon as we have a light enough wind day we will be testing the 19m Flysurfer Speed 3 and will write up a full review.  We can't wait for the next low wind day!