Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Best Waroo 9 vs. GK Sonic 11

Update: 7/24/06 -- i'm really liking my Waroo 9. when the wind is strong enough - mid 20's to mid 30's - the kite is in it's sweet spot for my weight (155 lbs.). in this wind range, the kite handles exceptionally well. Set up is quick and easy, the kite is very stable after launch, and now that I am used to it's responsiveness its my favorite kite. It has similar power to the GK when you need it and it's more stable. Bar pressure is lighter on the GK but you give up 'feel' as a result.....

Original Post

I've been wanting to compare these two GREAT kites for some time now. While I've been riding the GK 11 for months now, it hasn't been windy enough for me to use my BEST Waroo 9.

Wind on test day Yesterday, it was FINALLY windy enough to try out my new WAROO - low 20's with gusts into the high 20's. Note the gusty 8-10 Mph (25-30%) range.

Unquestionably, both of these kites handle gusts supremely better, provide MUCH better range, and provide much more power at the top of the wind window than C-kites.

Here's my conclusion thus far: I love both these kites for different reasons:

Best Waroo 9 Best Waroo - Strengths :
1) This is a much better kite for jumping than the GK.
2) It performs much more evenly across the entire wind window than the GK. It's a more stable kite and is less susceptible to oversheeting than the GK.
3) It's easier to rig and set up than the GK.

Best Waroo - Tradeoffs :
1) Flying a waroo requires bar pressure similar to a C kite.
2) The Waroo back line attachment has 5 knots spread over 10 inches of leader. 'Out of the box' I wasn't sure where to set the lines - it requires some experimentation to set them. Onthe plus side the broad knot range enhances the kite's wind range.

Best Waroo - Dislikes (very subjective):
1) The standard leash attaches to your wrist. I don't like wrist attachments in general so did my own 'mod' to change the leash mechanism to attach the safety leash to my harness bar.


Orange GK SonicGK Sonic 11 - Strengths :
1) The GK has incredibly light bar pressure - great for cruising one handed for a long time.
2) The light bar pressure makes aggressive riding feel smooth, as variation in line tension is absorbed by the rigging. This makes practicing spinning tricks easy compared to a tightly wound rig that reacts to every jiggle of the bar.
3) The GK rig (bar, lines and bridle) is incredibly simple and uncluttered. I really like not having to use a depower strap (it does not need one) to adjust it while i'm kiting.

GK Sonic - Tradeoffs :
1) The GK feedback is 'spongy' - the 'slip' makes it easy to practice tricks, but makes it harder to 'nail them' - I find it easier to practice backloops with my GK as the kite absorbs the line tension from spinning, but I still can't jump with my GK as consistently as I can with a C kite as I can't yet pinpoint the kite's response to a hard tug.
2) The GK's performance at the top of the wind window is awesome - it performs like a high aspect kite - GREAT vertical lift. The tradeoff is that the shape that provides that lift also makes it susceptible to flying backward, stalling and crumpling on oversheeting. This can be overcome with looser back lines on the GK. The Best Waroo does not seem to have the same sensitivity.

GK Sonic - Dislikes:
1) Kite inflation : there are no 'stopper balls' in the valves - almost all kites have those, or single point of inflation 'octopus systems'. The GK has neither and takes longer to inflate than any of my other kites. The end struts also have a different size valve than all the other struts and main bladder - which requires a nozzle change on top of 'pinch sealing' all the other valves.

All said, I do like both kites, and want to use them in different conditions.

On days when I want to cruise, or if I know i'll be out for more than a couple hours at a shot, ill use my GK. I'll also use it when I want to practice spinning tricks.

On days when I want to 'tear it up' and push it on jumps, or if I feel like I have a spinning thing 'down' ill use my Waroo. I also know that I'll definitely use my Waroo in the waves where I will want quick response and don't want to worry about oversheeting at an akward moment.

3 Comments:

Blogger Direwolff said...

Bill, I'm hearing some complaints about the GK's material not holding up the test of time. Has this been your experience as well?

10:05 AM  
Blogger kiteVC said...

I've not had 'materials'(cloth) problems with my GK SONIC. It's been rock solid from that perspective.

Over a whole season, I've only blown one bladder on the GK from over inflating, and had the strut rip (under the GG bridge) once as well (when the lines were twisted together, and possibly wrapped around the tip of the bladder as it hit the water).

On the WAROO, I've blown 2 bladders during inflation. I think the shape of the struts (very 'curved') that gives the kite great handling also makes it hard for the bladder to seat well when it's new. The bladders need to be 'worked' to get them to seat without voids that can later pop.

6:17 PM  
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