If someone said to you last year that you'd be riding around on a big kite with no struts you'd have said, 'No way Jose!'.
At just 3.4 kilos the 18m Zero is comparable in weight to a regular ten metre kite. Any unnecessary material and drag has been reduced and the Zero boasts a crazy power-to-weight ratio.
The idea behind the Zero is that it doesn't luff up. If you've done much kite flying in light winds you'll know that you often end up engaged in a delicate dance trying to get some tension in the lines and stop the kite flying over your head or over sheeting and dropping back.
The Zero never overflies because if it gets too far forward in the window it starts to flutter and drop back, holding a nice stable, relaxed position in the window.
And it works incredibly well. Combine that with the big Sector and all you need is for someone on the beach to have had a few too many baked beans at lunch and you're powered. And we don't just mean moving slowly; you're moving quickly and making rapid progress upwind. In over eight knots it's time to put the Zero away if you're using it with the big Sector. You're done. Literally. You can get away with a bit more on a twintip, but in 4 – 7 knots on a surfboard and trying some strapless ricks you're literally living the dream with the kite just sitting there in complete obedience.
It sounds bizarre talking about these wind speeds and being powered, but in over eight knots we were struggling and wanted to lengthen the back lines by four inches or so to regain that dynamic, controlled body position and further destroy the morality of the windsurfers using their nine metre rigs on SUP boards.
The Zero makes sense aerodynamically – and even flutters less than lots of kites with struts. Plus there's nothing about the kite that makes you think it won't last. It's well made and as it's a light wind kite will never get battered by strong winds. The steering is nothing like a 16 metre of old, it's smooth, light and feels just right.
This isn't a kite for everyone because you do have to be of a certain level of experience. Inexperienced riders will stick it in the water at some point. The unique wing-tips found on the Zero allow more of the canopy tips to be shown to the wind, assisting in the light wind relaunching, plus the high sweep of the canopy reduces the contact of leading edge to the water. Remember you'll be launching in very light winds though, so there's always going to be a bit of an experienced knack to it. However, if you do get it on its back, with lots of canopy and no struts it tends to turn into a little fish farm. The good news is the leading edge will form a boat and you can float your way home.
This and the Sector in six knots are a match made in heaven and we heard ourselves telling people that we couldn't believe that we were actually going really fast in six knots. They must have thought we were talking cobblers.