It was a toss up between the Standard Speed III 19m and the Lotus Speed IV 18m. The Speed III is no longer in production so the die was cast and the Lotus Speed certainly did not disappoint. You can watch the video below.
This review is written with the background experience of my other kites, FlySurfer Speed IV 8m, FlySurfer Psycho IV 10m and FlySurfer Speed III 12m (all standard cloth). There was a bit of a delay between when the kite arrived from Briskites and my first fly, having to wait for a light wind day.
After unpacking the kite for the first time, was amazed how small the FlySurfer team managed to pack the kite down to. The kite certainly look a major portion of my hall way to unravel. The new Lotus cloth is very slippery and light. The kite bag has plenty of room to stow away the wing, especially when out in the field when you don't have the time to squeeze the very last bit of air out of the kite.
First day was a landboard session at Truganina Park. Launching was a breeze as with all FlySurfer kites. Wind speed was some where around 5 knots to start off with. Steering was perfect, no dead spots if the bar was let out too much.
Next session was at Altona in the early morning to get some very light wind action in before the wind picked up more -- wanted to take it easy at first to become familiar with the kite. The wind was cross shore with a massive 3.5 knots. With a few paces back the kite launched, I was amazed. Note quite enough to kite surf yet. The wind then picked up to 5 knots, time to give kite surfing a go with my uni-directional Underground Kipuna, one big swoop and away I went. Looping the kite on the tacks was the go to keep the power going. Lots of big grins. Not enough wind to tack upwind though with this board and wind speed.
A few weeks later another morning light wind session, this time the wind was a bit stronger, 8 to 10 knots. I was a bit apprehensive as the wind predictions, were for 15 knots, but pushed ahead, keeping in mind, if I get lofted keep the kite above my head, ease out the bar slowly to land. Well the 18m kite turned out to be the gentle giant, plenty of depower, very smooth power control, no hint of being out of control when the gusts hit. Alternated between my uni-directional Kipuna and my bi-directional finless plank. Mind you my plank is a skinny long board usually reserved for 18 knot plus days, but excelled with the 18m Lotus Speed IV. Boosting with this kite is a dream, such a long hang time with excellent control while you are up there. I was impressed with the turning speed. This is my local kiting stomping ground so know it well, I was able to take upwind tacks much closer to the wind compared to my other FlySurfers especially with the plank. In the mean time my son Zachary was filming the action with either our handy cam or from the wing cam on his FPV R/C aeroplane. Shots from the Wingcam were when the wind was stronger when I flew with the 12m Speed, so the 18m action from the wing cam will have to wait for another day.
My son Zac has a big grin as well, he gets to fly my 12m Speed on the light wind days when I fly the 18m.
Landing the giant is just as easy as landing my 12m, but pack up time is a bit longer, takes a bit of time to push the air out as I roll it up, a small price to pay for the performance boost. The 18m allows you to go out on light wind days with super flat water conditions and stable winds, Elprimo time!
FlySurfer said they want "every day to be a great kiting day", well they certainly achieved that goal for light wind days with the 18m Lotus Speed IV -- well done FlySurfer. A well engineered piece of kit.
Enjoy the video.