The Zephyr allows you to ride hard when you should just be mowing the lawn. The Zephyr transforms boring lightwind conditions into the perfect set-up for learning new unhooked tricks. Pulling like a boat, it remains stable when you miss a pass instead of looping you off down the beach. When you've dialled a trick on your Zephyr, you'll easily translate that onto your smaller kites and when you blow a trick and the kite ends up on the water, the Zephyr will still relaunch effortlessly, even in sub 10 knot winds! Cruise around, run a muck, spray some paddleboarders ? you ride, they watch, you laugh, they cry.
Historically, big kites didn't loop, but the Zephyr has got this sorted without the need for troublesome pulleys. If you're out there and the wind picks up, don't worry, just continue to load that rail and boost some air. Long live the stylish boned out snowboard grabs. Enjoy that extra loft and chuck in a vert-skating board off.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
The Zephyr is a typical Ozone product. They have such consistency running through their products, in terms of attention to detail, manufacturing prowess and that lovely, neat comfortable and smooth bar system. Exuding quality, the Zephyr is adorned with Ozone's neat fixtures and fittings, including their new wide-style pump valve that allows you to pump up and dump the air much quicker. Fitted with a really easy to use screw cap that you then cover with a really neat neoprene cap; the whole thing is all very sleek and well finished. Hats off to them as well for actually producing a bag that can easily accommodate a 17 metre kite, without having to lie on it for half an hour to get all the air out!
The Zephyr does ride like a freestyle kite. On the beach it doesn't feel like there's loads of power there, but it's nimble and with a few strokes you're up to speed and tanking along. The Zephyr has that light bar feel that is familiar with Ozone kites and is nice and easy to fly; not physical at all, especially for a big kite. Some people will prefer a bit more juice and bit more grunt down at the bar, but in its place is just this silky smooth, refined feel.
The bar naturally sits fairly close to the chicken-loop so there's not a huge amount of trimming needed for unhooking. The Zephyr does have a lot of good characteristics that give it the feel more like a 12 metre, than a 17, not in its speed, but in how it feels unhooked and when you're transitioning out of turns. It doesn't feel bulky and won't pull and jerk you about. When you unhook the kite doesn't change its manner and doesn't suddenly drop back in the window. It's actually really well mannered and allows you plenty of time to set-up for your pop.
It's got a soft, easy flight and gradual build-up of power delivery. Delivering power in more of a C kite manner we also tried this in a racing environment and it just sits a little too far back and loops a bit too wide and powerfully at the bottom of the window to be really competitive in the ultra-rapid and forward flying kite class. That's what Ozone have the Edge 15 metre for. Yes, the Zephyr gets going really early, but it's power delivery is way more suited to fun, progressive freestyle riding.
The Zephyr is a really refined 17 metre, equipped with the ultimate in power steering that will see your tricking in lightwinds and on those lovely looking flat calm and empty waters.
Effortless freestyle qualities.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
More performance at the top of the window in the lift department.
This test is inissue #52
Ozone Zephyr 17m (2011)
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