The Sculp is a high-performance kite, re-worked and improved for 2013 and performs exceptionally well as an all-round freeride and freestyle kite. An increased aspect ratio provides more power, better hang-time and increased lift. Using the highest quality dacron from Germany, ripstop from Japan and with a re-designed strut shape, the weight of the kite has been reduced, significantly improving its performance. The new strut design also makes the kite fly faster and provides more pop, and the improved bridle line system and bar modifications result in quicker reactions and a more direct feel. The 2013 Sculp is better, faster and stronger.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
The Sculp looks really fresh and different when you pull it out of the bag and is well fitted out with everything you'd expect from a modern freeride kite. The kite itself is well constructed, neat and tidy and the bar is very good indeed. A lot of work went into constructing this all carbon Sick bar in CrazyFly's own factory and the result is superb. Feeling quite thin in your hands, the grip is good ? not too soft, not too hard ? the trimming cleat system works well and the chicken-loop quick release also scores highly. In fact it must be the easiest chicken-loop to reset in the industry and simply requires you to push the end of the chicken-loop into the hole where it simply clicks back in. The chicken-loop itself is a good size, keys in really nicely when unhooked and the chicken finger rotates out of the way if you don't want to use it. Overall, this is a really nice package, super clean and well thought-out.
We tried the Sculp in a variety of conditions, from a mellow 15 knots up to 25+ knots that were moderately gusty. Performing at its bottom end, this kite is excellent. Light and spritely in your hands, it's extremely comfortable and easy to use. Lively in the sky, it takes very little effort to steer and is really happy to spin and loop on demand; ideal for getting to grips with those downloop carves or for throwing a loop as you come out of your transition. The loop is smooth and quite pivotal, and the kite is quick and responsive. There's actually very little power in the loop, which means it's a lot of fun for throwing around and building your kite handling skills and confidence. Although we didn't try it in waves, these are all good attributes for riding in waves as you often need to spin and loop your kite and the fact that there is lots of depower on demand is also excellent for that kind of riding. As we said, it feels really lively in relatively low wind, which is ideal on a surfboard.
Send it for jumping and there's plenty of loft above your head and as the kite is nice and light it's easy to pilot back down ? it's quick too, but also forgiving so you can get away without perfect timing when bringing it back into the power for landing. Unhooked it's also lots of fun and not scary at all. There's a steady amount of power to load up and pop and it doesn't want to rip your arms out. When learning to unhook you tend to get your timing all wrong after you come out of the loop and the Sculp is very forgiving of this and tends not to just keep pulling and pulling you over. Experienced freestylers will want something more powerful and solid.
Relaunching is very easy with a pull on the back line and it pops back up nicely. The safety is very easy to trigger and flags the kite out instantly. That's the most important thing. What you should then note is that the bar goes a long way up the line and so once you've triggered the release it takes some doing to feed the lines back through the bar to a state that it's ready to relaunch. There is also a bit of elastic chord that is easier to feed back through the hole in the chicken-loop with two hands when you're safely back on the beach. But as we said, the release works well and the kite immediately flags out with no power.
As a freeride kite up to around 20 knots it's safe and a lot of fun indeed.
What we did find though is that you'd want to be changing down to your seven when the wind picks up much above that, rather than trying to get away with holding onto the ten for another half an hour. As the wind picks up the Sculp becomes a bit less sure of itself and you have to be much more precise with your handling. The wing-tips are quite small and as the gusts pass through you can feel it a bit more through the bar. You can stay out and ride, no problem, but all the lovely good points in the handling are reduced. On aggressive loops the kite flutters a lot more and it's time to come in and change down a size.
The bottom end on this kite is great, you can really get going early, and the Sculp is so much fun for freeriding, following it around carving up your favourite spot, doing basic jumps, experimenting with transitions and for getting to grips and progressing with your unhooked riding. The flipside of this is that its lovely, soft, easy-going handling becomes less and less apparent as the wind picks up. But if you've got a smaller model in the car, or are a lighter rider, this isn't a problem.
A super easy, progressive freeride feeling giving intermediate riders loads of confidence to try new tricks and kite manoeuvres.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
We'd give it more stability at its top end
SIZES: 17, 15, 14, 13, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7 and 5m
KITE BALANCE POINTS:
Build quality ? 7
Full package - 7
Low end ? 8.5
Top end ? 5
Steering speed ? 8
Turning circle ? 4
Bar pressure - 4
Water relaunch - 8
Jumping / hang-time - 7
Unhooked ? 6
Easy of use ? 8