Home Gear Airush Vapor 3 10m (2009)

Airush Vapor 3 10m (2009)

The third version of the Vapor is a fully refined performance freeride and freestyle machine featuring the most positive steering Airush claim to have ever engineered into a high depower kite. Combining roll-over re-launch, high depower and increased stability, it's excellent for all levels of riding, from dedicated wave riding to dedicated freestyle, with improved unhooked performance and reduced back stall. Performance oriented freeride and freestyle riders looking for a kite with the steering performance and characteristics of an advanced C kite with a radically increased top end wind range, roll-over re-launch and depower comparable to a bow, SLE or hybrid kite will find all they need in the Vapor 3

As soon as you get the kite out of the bag it's apparent how good the build-quality is. Airush really are up there in terms of quality manufacturing with this. Good one pump and there's a clever fifth line system and really comfortable and well-finished bar. Feels really robust, yet isn't really chunky; just solid. There are also plenty of options on the bar for where to clip your leash onto, depending on how you want to ride and the conditions, including 'oh shit' handles on each side. There is also an above-the-bar depower system included in the bag, allowing you to change the depower set-up according to what you prefer. We tested it on the standard below-the-bar system that's attached to the side of the chicken-loop and has a big loop grip that's easy to clip onto and to grip for good purchase when pulling some depower through the cleat.

We tested the kite over a couple of sessions in a range of conditions, from fully powered-up 25-30 knots and over-head waves at Witterings and also at the opposite end of the scale in underpowered, gusty 10 ? 18 knots. Gets going in 15 knots upwind no problems and at the opposite end was easy to hang on to as the wind got up to 30 knots. During both sessions the first thing you notice is the stability of the canopy. The kite feels really balanced in the sky and very rigid. The depower is also good, but you don't quite get that 100% level of depower; the kite still maintains some power, which is good for more advanced riders, and still actually has way more depower than anything you would have learnt on a couple of years ago.

The steering is very positive and nice and direct. Not super heavy but not too light and there are plenty of well-explained options on the kite to further affect this, by moving the front bridle up or down the kite for quicker turning and more bar pressure or a more freeride set up, providing a slightly slower kite and less bar pressure. Even in the light wind session this kite wasn't an arm killer, the steering always remained firm but predictive and the turns were more powerful than they were pivotal, providing lots of power through the turn, which is why we think this kite is more suited to advanced riders than beginners to early intermediates.

Another great point that advanced riders will like is the fact that the kite doesn't change its characteristics when you unhook on it. There was no drifting back in the window and slowing down which is really important for a performance kite like this. It does what you want it to do and you don't really need to depower the kite before unhooking to set it up right, unless it's really windy, of course.

The kite loops are beefy and require a bit of commitment like other good freestyle kites. For someone who already likes big, powerful loops this is ideal ? it pulls you and really holds that power through the turn, but could be too much for someone looking to get to grips with kite loops in the early stages.

The jumps are good, nice and floaty, but in terms of pure height it's not the most boosty kite, but because it's so stable, it keeps you up there for a while and floats you back down brilliantly. There's no flapping at all, the kite just always feels really balanced and never luffs up. It doesn't go flying really far forwards either when you land ahead/downwind of the kite and tends to drift back into an area you can regain control of it rather than fall out of the sky ? a really good feature for a freestyle kite on which people will be trying a lot of tricks.

This is a great freestyle kite that's well-built, quick and direct, but the major thing to mention is the kites' stability. It's just so well behaved. The low end grunt is fantastic and matched at the other end by it's top end capacity. Being able to comfortably use a 10 metre, between 15 and 30 knots is a great quality, making it a natural choice for so many people.
Overall this is for the more experienced rider who knows what they are looking for in terms of performance. They won't be let down as this is in the very top bunch of refined freestyle kites on the market today.

Stability, reliability and direct, smooth handling.

Intermediates learning to kite loop might want something a little less beefy, but then it wouldn't satisfy the advanced rider like it does.

16, 14, 12, 10, 8.5, 7 and 5m
Airush Vapour 3 10m Review

This test is inissue #38

Airush Vapour 3 10m Review
Airush Vapour 3 10m Review
Airush Vapour 3 10m Review
Airush Vapour 3 10m Review
Airush Vapour 3 10m Review
Airush Vapour 3 10m Review
Airush Vapour 3 10m Review
Airush Vapour 3 10m Review
Airush Vapour 3 10m Review

Added: 2009-04-22

Category: Gear

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