The Flow FT has been designed to provide the absolute highest all round performance levels, whilst reducing complexity for the rider. The 2009 Flow introduces 'variable canopy curve'; a unique concept that optimises the central area of the canopy, making it more efficient than traditional kites.
This translates into a lower centre of effort, which increases depower while reducing bar pressure and bar throw. The shape maintains the vertical component in the wing-tip to enhance directional steering. Through research into improving the stiffness-to-diameter-ratio of the leading edge, Airush developed an Aramid composite sandwich construction, featured in the wing-tip area, creating more direct steering due to a wing-tip / leading edge structure that is 50% stiffer than a standard wing-tip. The result is that Airush have been able to remove the cross-bridle, further enhancing the steering.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
The first thing you notice is the unusual shape of the canopy. It has a big, flat section in the middle, with no middle strut and is a big power development zone. Overall the kite looks great and has fantastic build quality. One pump, uncomplicated bridles and the usual clean, functional well-built bar from Airush. The depower cleat is located below the bar on the chicken-loop. A line runs up to a roller above the bar from the chicken-loop and comes back down through the cleat. It does require a bit of leverage to pull on depower, especially when more powered up because you have to pull with your arms bent close in to your body. Good throw on the bar though and we didn't have to alter the depower very much when riding, as you get a lot of smooth, progressive depower through just pushing the bar away, which makes the kite feel lovely and controllable.
When you put the kite up in the sky it's immediately apparent how stable it is and you can happily stand there and sort yourself out without having to think you need to rush to the water to safety. The kite does feel a bizarrely long way away from you, but produces loads of low end grunt. That end of the kite's performance was really exceptional, delivering that power smoothly and predictably. The slider stopper above the bar is one of the smoothest and most effective ones we've used, sliding up when a lot of power was transferred through the bar in the gusts. It wouldn't go flying up the line, but steadily ease itself out. Good for those inexperienced with stoppers and can be pulled down to save your arms in light winds.
This is one of those kites that you can have fun on straight away. The control on this kite is super simple: just pull in on the bar for more power, or push out for less, rather than having to move the kite up and down all the time. Really smooth power and depower and brilliant upwind tracking, flying forward a long way in the window. There was just a slight lag in the turn, but once it goes the turn is beautifully steady, not whippy and unpredictable. The pressure through the bar is just enough to know where the kite is all the time and the flying speed is fairly slow and predictable with loads of power on demand, making for fantastic boosted, floaty jumps as it moved steadily through the window; all the time developing good lift.
Good low end grunt, stability, predictability and with more hang-time than an MBA basketball player, the Flow would be a fantastic first or second kite. Not advanced or quick enough for more technical riders looking to kite loop and unhook a lot, but it makes everything else so easy. Your chances of nailing jumps, rotations and transitions are massively improved on this with the kite never over flying and just waiting patiently above your head for its next command.
KW LIKED: Awesome user-friendliness and simple, friendly flying characteristics.
KW WOULD CHANGE: Add a bit more unhooked performance for advanced riders, but this really isn't aimed at that.
16, 14, 12, 10, 8.5, 7 and 5m
This test is in issue #40