Pansh’s latest closed cell depower foil is called the A15, this is a multi-sport kite aimed at Land, Water and Snow Kiting. Originally the Pansh A15 was released as a 15M kite, it’s now available as a 9M, 12M and 18M and additionally in custom colours. This review is focused on the A15 15M in Standard Colours.
Pansh supplies two bags with this kite, the original Grey & White bag is what it comes shipped in. The Blue kite bag is for after you’ve opened the kite and flown it, due to its increased size makes packing the kite away a much easier task. I quite like the simplicity of these Pansh bags, and people travelling with their kite gear will love them as they’re super light but add that layer between your kite and other gear in your travel bag.
The profile of the kite is a Mid-High Aspect Closed Cell with a curved trailing edge adding slightly more depth to the profile ending in squared/straight wingtips. The total cell count for the 15M is 33, once inflated the kite is quite thick between the top and lower skin holding a large volume of air. Once in flight there is quite a pronounced arc from wingtip to wingtip.
Pansh’s bridle work has improved dramatically over the years, the A15 is their next step in moving forward with some new additional features. First of all the bridle itself is fully sewn and sleeved, reducing knots and tangles when laying it out. The tabs on the A15 are re-enforced by distributing the tab inside the kite to spread the load point. Between the tab and the bridle are their new “bridle knots” which are identical to Flysurfer’s LCL’s (Little Connection Lines). These are generally a lower-spec dyneema of around 30kg to 45kg each so that if you snag your kite or overload part of it on an object they will break away before tearing the tabs out of the kite’s sail. Their pulleys seem adequate, however their new UHMWPE braided lines through the pulleys is a little on the thin side. I have no doubt the load of the line is adequate however the reduction in line diameter may lead to the line wearing a rut in to the pulley much quicker. A slightly thicker line would distribute the load over more area reducing pulley wear. The line connectors on our test kite came with metal rings, however Pansh have updated this and are now using “ELC’s” or more commonly known to those familiar with Flysurfer kites “Easy Line Connectors.”
The gaphics of the sail itself look stunning in the sky, it’s a really nice pattern. Pansh also offer a range of alternative custom colour examples, or you can choose your own combination of colours. Presently this is free for Bronze members and above, otherwise there’s an additional fee for standard memberships.
It’s beyond the sail colours that things get rather interesting, the kite itself has 5 vent intakes and utilises Pansh’s new “DAIS” system which is their “Dual-way Alternate Inflation System.” The concept behind this is to split the air intake to two, an upper and lower intake on the same position of the kite. As a kite changes angle of attack the angle of the air intake changes, by splitting the air intake to an upper and lower they change the pressure of the air being fed in to the sail via the air intake. It’s effectively like driving with your car window down and sticking your hand out, as you change the angle of your hand you feel more or less pressure push against you. In its very basic form it’s the same concept they’re applying to the air intake.
Pansh have now included a velcro opening in the middle of the trailing edge which is used for “drainage and dirt-outs” to allow sand and water to escape the middle of the kite. They then have the standard dirt-outs on the wingtips of the kite for drainage and dirt. Now interestingly to the left and right of the middle dirt-out there are two “blow-off” valves, or as I prefer to call them “blow-out” valves. These are magnetic and sewn in to the trailing edge and do add some weight to the trailing edge. One thing I did notice in flight that the centre of the trailing edge was never uniform and smooth like the rest of the trailing edge. The “blow-out” valves seemed to induce a slight deformity, overall personally I don’t like the design and positioning of the “blow off” valves.
Moving away from the centre of the trailing edge and looking at all the cells along the trailing edge there’s another improvement, and not done with the acronyms yet it’s called “DCTE” or “Double Cell Trailing Edge.” They’ve take the full cell width, and split it directly in the middle sewing in an additional piece of material giving the trailing edge twice as many cells as the leading edge. The result being in the air with exception to where the blow-off valves are located the rest of the trailing edge looks like on of the most uniform and cleanest trailing edges i’ve seen on a closed-cell kite. It seems to hold its trailing edge shape incredibly well.
Just in case you thought there weren’t enough openings, there’s also a huge zipper on the back of the kite which for packing up is excellent. I found it was easier to pack this kite tightly than my other closed cells due to the size and position of the zipper all the air flowed out as you rolled it up.
The kite is internally built really well, with folded and sewn edges where usually they would be hot-knife cut and fray over time. However they continually use some material to re-enforce parts of their kite, I'm not sure what it is however I've seen it before on the Pansh AceII in "gold." On the A15 it's frequent in White.
Finally now that we’ve gone through a glossary of new acronyms that Pansh has introduced with this kite we move to its spectacular flying characteristics.
I initially setup the lines and took it out in about 4 to 5 knots of wind, it was a slight morning breeze where I saw the opportunity to setup the kite in light wind in anticipation of the afternoon breeze coming through. After setting up the lines I had the kite directly down wind of me, gave a few tugs on the front lines to pop up the leading edge and the kite started to inflate slowly. At about 30% inflation I gave another pull and got the kite just off the ground, it then started to climb slowly as I walked backwards and after about 10meters of walking and swooping the kite left to right it was inflated. The kite sat at 12 o’clock in the window and was stable, moved it to the left and right of the window and again stable at the edges. I didn’t do much more however I could feel it was quite grunty.
Over the rest of the trip we had decent afternoon winds so on the beach in about 10 knots of wind I setup the kite, giving the kite a tug it immediately took off and started to inflate. With less than half the kite inflated I had ample control to bring the kite up and move it around instantly fully inflating it. Immediately I could feel the kite had noticeably more power than in the morning, however with more wind it seemed even more stable. It literally sat in the window like it was anchored to that position whether that was above me or to the edges of the window.
In the Kite Buggy I had a straw hat on as I didn’t imagine I’d be doing much in the way of speed with this kite. However once I was moving and the apparent wind kicked in it instantly delivered an incredible amount of power for its size. It literally sat at the edge of the window and just pulled like a tractor, there was no stalling, no falling backwards and jumping forwards, it just pulled consistently. Soon I realised on the slightly down-wind run as the wind increased slightly I was moving over 50km/h and thinking to myself “excellent choice on the straw hat for protection.” On the downwind run I never felt it a struggle to keep the kite in the window.
Going back up wind with the kite it pointed well and again continued to haul me back up the beach. As the afternoon went on the wind did shift and blow more down the beach, this meant working the kite more and at the very end required me to tack a few times back up the beach. It didn’t have the upwind reach of a full race kite such as the Peter Lynn Vapor, however I didn’t feel at any point it offered less upwind reach than my old Speed3. Overall it was consistent both in upwind and downwind performance.
The kite is incredibly grunty and pushing hard against the kite didn’t invoke it to surge to the edge of the window then stall, it literally just steadily kept hauling the buggy.
Turning however on the A15 is not as quick as the Speed3, there’s certainly a noticeable initial delay in initiating the turn before it starts to increase in responsiveness. I also feel that my old Speed 3 had a greater range of depower on the bar throw, whilst the A15 offers an exceptional amount of depower I feel the old Speed 3 and especially the Speed 4 offered far more depower on the bar throw before requiring you to adjust the trim strap.
Overall I am very impressed with the build quality and flight of the kite. I think this is by far Pansh’s best built kite to date offering a lot of new features inspired by other manufacturers and also offering a number of new features inspired by their own research, design and implementation. Pansh is clearly looking at the competition now and raising the standard of their kites to fit in amongst them. In flight I felt I could trust the kite completely, it was stable, well behaved and predictable. There was plenty of power when I wanted it and ample depower. The kite itself not only represents great value for money, however removing the price point that attracts many people to Pansh I can confidently say even with a higher price tag it would still represent a great purchase. It’s not only a kite that makes people’s first entry to closed cell kites a great choice, for those with much older closed cell kites that are starting to deteriorate it offers a good update path. In a word, impressed.