Flysurfer Speed 4 Lotus 12 review and comparison with Airush Zero by Simon Lee
Quote of the day:"In the pure, immaculate waters, both the lotus and the slimy scum are found."
Sri Guru Granth Sahib (surely "slimy scum" referring to LEIs ;-))This is a review by my friend Simon received a couple of days ago of the Flysurfer Speed 4 Lotus 12 as well as an (unfair!)comparison with Airush Zero 18.In the end i have the SPEED 4 12m Lotus all i can say is WOW. I have a long report below you can read...
So far with the short time I have used the SPEED 4 12m Lotus it does seem very impressive. The Lotus material of course makes the difference and what a material it is never seen anything like it as has a silk type feel to it but then an oily feel at the same time. Sand and anything else just does not stick to it at all and the airtight of the material is very good but how long will it last ?
I tried the kite in just 5knts and was very surprised that it was relatively easy to get it in inflated and flying due to the super light material. Took my Sector 60 board just in case but thought there be no chance in getting going but was surprised at how fast the kite turned and how much power you could produce in the down power stroke. I tried it on the Sector 60 board and I could just about get going but was really its limit and also it was my first flight. I tried again the second day and I can pretty much confirm that 7knts works well with the Sector 60 which is pretty amazing for a 12m kite. A friend was out on an Airush 18m ZERO kite and could not get going on a large TT and he was lighter than me. I would say when I use my Airush ZERO 18m kite I can get going in about 2 knts less than this so 5knts is it min wind with a Sector 60 but it needs to be constant. I would say the SPEED 4 15m Lotus most likely would get me going in the same winds with a Sector 60.
What I find at 68kg when I use a Sector 60 I can usually get another 2knts low wind range on the kite compared to a surfboard. I will need to do further testing but the Airush ZERO 18m definitely has more low end grunt but a lot of the time its too much where the SPEED 4 12m Lotus has some surprising power when you work the kite but its a lot more refined and gentler, but very usable as the kite turns pretty quick. In a colder wind kitesurfing areas the SPEED 4 12m Lotus would be my low wind kite with the right board, I am pretty sure of that. I like to see if the SPEED 4 12m would work in the waves for lighter winds but really unsure how it would drift but I have noticed that it does have some kind of drift ability due to it being so light.
Another day of testing and direct comparison with a Airush ZERO 18m. Winds were light 7-9 knts no white caps and both riders of similar height and build with approx. same weight of 70kg. The rider on the Airush ZERO 18m was on a medium size TT 140x42cm he struggled to go up wind. I was on the Sector 60 and SPEED 4 12m Lotus and had no issues to power up wind and a lot of the time just park and ride the kite with a few 1m + jumps. The winds came down which I am pretty sure was 6-7knts but I could just about keep going by working the kite the Airush ZERO 18m rider was not able to go on the TT so he got a free race board like the Sector 60. In the end the winds were so low I could barely keep the SPEED 4 12m Lotus in the sky with some but very slight back stalling. I did not measure the winds but it was very light which I expect was 4-5knts. The Airush ZERO 18m rider also could barely keep the Airush ZERO 18m in the sky and it just started to back stall and fall out of the sky. This is usually happens at 4-5knts as I also have a Airush ZERO 18m kite and know its probably the best light wind inflatable kite on the market as it stays in the sky in very light winds when you can just feel a slight breeze on your face when facing the wind. My conclusion is very impressive and the SPEED 4 12m Lotus passes my low wind test for sure. I think the SPEED 4 12m Lotus has the advantage of being super light and being able to turn the kite pretty quick and work it to build up apparent wind and speed. I am not sure I would gain a lot from the SPEED 4 15m Lotus ?
It does appear the SPEED 4 12m Lotus has a better low wind range than I thought so it does not just feel like it has the power of a 14m but more like a 15m kite or more. The power is very deceiving as the bar pressure is so light its very "unreal" but the kite turns very well in so little winds but you have a feeling still where it is, its like having power steering or "fly by wire" like you pull the bar and the kite does it but you still have some feedback so you know where it is but I think it will take time to get used to this in very light winds. The kite also in Green looks really good in the sky.
I understand completely why many Flysufer kiters going to infallible kites must have a real BIG SHOCK and feel the bar pressure of any inflatable kite even Ozone Edges must feel very high also the kite must feel very course as the Flysurfer SPEED 4 in 12m and above are so smooth. The OZONE Edges I still feel are the closest inflatables that have that magic Flysurfer SPEED 4 feeling. An inflatable kite has a more direct instant response I would say but the SPEED 4 is not far behind.
If you can just about feel the wind on your face then you can fly the SPEED 4 12m Lotus. Once you have the SPEED 4 12m Lotus in the sky and it can be parked and feels fairly steady flying on its own above your head. Then if testing with a downward powercycle on the beach and you feel there is power to drag you a little on the beach then you will be able to get kitesurfing on a Sector 60 as long as you are around 70kg. Its very impressive and now I feel the Airush ZERO 18m may only have 1 knts better low wind range then the SPEED 4 12m Lotus.
Rider : 70kg
Board : Sector 60
Airush ZERO 18m : 5-6knts min
Flysurfer SPEED 4 12m Lotus : 6-7knts min
4-5knts both kites can only barley stay in the air flying, due to the larger surface area the Airush ZERO 18m may just stay flying in the air a little better but not by much. The SPEED 4 12m Lotus of course goes up wind alot better and has a massive wind range and very nice low bar pressure. The Airush ZERO 18m does feel more solid on the bar and would be more suited for light wind wave use I think but the wind range is very small and upwind ability is limited especially if your are a light rider and not using a big fined board. For light wind use you still need to use a Freerace board like the Sector 60 with both kites to get going in light winds under 9knts.
PS: Approving my publishing of his review, Simon said:"Hi Alex
Yes no worries you can post the review sorry it was long but kiters need to know how good the SPEED 4 12m Lotus is. The effciency with a light wind board like the Sector 60 is phenomenal. When i tell other kiters about it they simply do not belive me until they actually see it with there own eyes then they say ok i see what you mean but some dont want to believe it still.
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