CRAZYFLY SCULP 10M
Redesigned for 2014, the Sculp is a high-performance design suitable for freeride and freestyle riders. Maintaining certain characteristics of the earlier models, the new upgrades include a new bridle set-up with four attachment points on the leading edge, helping the Sculp hold its shape in gusty conditions and adds to a more direct feel for easy control, benefitting all levels of rider. The new bridle also significantly improves the top end performance and stability. The new kite shape enhances upwind performance and generates lots of power with quick response for kite loops and big airs, yet is ideal for progression from simple jumps to unhooked tricks. The Sculp is the perfect combination of great value, high quality and performance at a fantastic price.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
So, pulling the kite out of the spacious, square bag and the first item out was the Sick bar, which we were pleasantly surprised to see was relatively short in length for a ten metre. So not cumbersome at all and very attractive. Over and above that the CrazyFly bar is a very well presented piece of kit. Constructed from carbon, it's certainly light and is also very thin with a fairly course and pimpy grip. Below the bar the chicken-loop safety system and the loop functionalities are very good indeed. The loop is brilliantly sized for freeride and freestyle, there's a manoeuvrable chicken finger and the very easy push-away quick release inspires lots of confidence. There's a nice line untwister ideally positioned just above the chicken loop and we also like the above the bar position of the trimming cleat. Our wish for next year however would be that CrazyFly use a thicker trimming line that would be easier to get in and out of the cleat. The cleat will ease up with time from this brand model, but when riding along we found the rope does get itself pretty well wedged into the cleat, often requiring pushing the bar against the cleat in order to pull on the trimming line through the cleat's teeth to free it.
Pumping the kite up via the traditionally sized inflation/deflation valves we noted that there is no extra retention system to maintain the valve cap in place if the leading edge should come under extra ordinary strain (such as an elastic collar for example), but this isn't generally a huge issue and the one pump system is very neat and tidy. We noticed that the Sculp looked very powerful as we pumped up the kite, revealing a large projected area. The thin leading edge looked fast while the powerful centre section of the kite keeps it's width a relatively long way towards the tips, which are then quite aggressively swept back.
Powerful the Sculp is, and very quick and agile, too. Other people were out on nines and eights, and we were pleasantly surprised that, although we were flying it in its upper wind range at just over 20 knots, it is by no means brutal and difficult to fly. Hooked-in and generally riding around is very comfortable, there's also a nice amount of low end that comes on progressively through the bar when you sheet in and matches the fairly progressive depower. Lighter riders should note that the Sculp doesn't depower completely at the bar; sheeting out there is still some power in the kite (which whether you like it or not comes down to personal taste or whether you've come from a kite that depowers to nothing when fully sheeted) so to fully depower you need to use the trim, but there's lots of trimming line available allowing you to find a comfortable amount of power and provided you havent trimmed too heavily, the Sculp retains adequate amounts of steering control.
The Sculp has a very natural feeling when cruising. It's moderately weighted in terms of bar pressure, the gust management is great and the Sculp has room to breathe without you needing to step on the rail of your board to urge the kite to the front of the window in gusts. Flying forward well, that thin leading edge drives forward into the window and developes good forward thrust, making good progress upwind very easy.
There's no doubt that for a ten metre the Sculp is lively, so the good combination of a big kite on longish lines with a good projected area and good speed means that you get some nice, high jumps. Yes, you can send it fast and load it up well to get you high, but you have to make sure that you have your hands butted right up together in the middle of the bar to keep the kite centralised over your head and not wondering off to the sides. So the payout for having a wonderfully nimble kite for throwing around for carves and downloops on transitions is that it just takes a little more concentration than you might be used to in flight and the feedback at the bar when the kite is above your head could be firmer on big flights. But fly you will.
We must comment that for waves, the speed and reactivity of the Sculp would make it very useful in waves for that aggressive slash and burn style of riding. Trimmed a little there is a good combination between steering and depower at the bar and the mixture of agility with good progressive power on sheeting would make the Sculp lots of fun. Plus, the impressive upwind ability would see you quickly back in position.
Even in its upper wind range we manged to throw some basic unhooked tricks, but given the powerful shape of the the Sculp and its powerful constant pull, it does need plenty of trimming first, but it's certainly capable of keeping the majority of riders that are just getting into unhooked tricks amused. Last thing on the checklist: relaunch. And it passes easily without fuss.
An agile, quick and fun ten metre freeride kite that gives you plenty of energy on the water. A good source of power that flies well forward in the window providing plenty of height and lots of manoevrability. Better in the hands of those who have learned to jump and are used to controlling a kite in flight, but it will put a smile on plenty of faces with its lively personality.
Above average speed and agility for a ten metre.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
The trimming line would probably benefit from being a bit thicker for a more silky smooth ease-of-use and also a little more of a solid feel over head when jumping.
SCULP BALANCE POINTS:
Build quality: 7
Full package: 6.5
Low end: 8
Top end: 7
Steering speed :8.5
Turning circle: 5
Bar pressure: 6.5
Water relaunch: 7
Ease of use: 6
14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 5 and 3m