Some guys are just classics. The Gypsy has been in 'The Gang' since day one; the trigger man.When the wind is firing, you ask yourself the question: Who am I taking on the job with me? When the situation is special, conditions are really hard and there is only one open seat, the choice has to be wise. A good boss will say 'Get me the Gypsy'. A good decision. The Gypsy is a 6.25 metre kite made to serve experienced riders in strong winds and rougher water conditions. It is also a very stable and intuitive kite with a great low-end range, which makes it an excellent choice for lighter riders in moderate winds. No matter who is flying them, they always say, 'Nice shot, Gypsy!'.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
The Wainmans are definitely a breed all of their own and an acquired taste, but once you have that taste, it's difficult to let it go. Starting on the kite, the Gypsy has a number of bridle setting options - probably more than you're used to. There's are front line bridle attachments points for 'upwind' and 'downwind' with one in between the two on the kite itself, plus there's another option to bring the two bridle points very close together, called a 'single' position to make the kite incredibly direct. On the front bridle line itself there are also three more knot options that correspond to the upwind, middle and downwind knots on the leading edge. However, after spending some time experimenting with those particular settings on the bridle line itself, we found the best was the one that makes the front lines longer, opening up the leading edge. This is the 'Upwind' setting on both the kite and the knots on the front bridle line as you can see in the image. (Wainman recommend that the two knots simply have to correspond ? so if you move one on the bridle line, move the other on the actual leading edge). We were happiest with this setting for all conditions. The fact that you do have options is great for advanced riders, but for beginners and early intermediates you're best checking with the shop you buy it from and getting them to walk you through the set-up. (It comes stock on the middle setting by the way). Once you've got that sorted, there are then four speed handling settings for the back line!
The bar has a nice soft but firm grip, is very neat and tidy, has a good cleat trimming system and a little handle with Velcro so you can stop it wrapping itself around your chicken-loop line - not that it's really long. There's also a swivel above the trimming system, the safety line runs up to that through the plastic coated chicken-loop line which is nice against your fingers when you've got them butted up to the middle of the bar. Below the bar works, but is a little bit dated in terms of its release, with just a plastic collar pulled down over a piece of stiff webbing that doubles over a metal loop. When released the chicken loop comes entirely away and, as with all systems, you must practice and get used to them. It works, is simple, is unlikely to break, but it's just not the most evolved system on the market. There is now a mini-fifth line safety line to leash onto next to the chicken-loop as well as another suicide loop where the chicken-finger is attached for freestylers. The kite itself is very simple without one pump, but only has three struts and is still well made. No frills, but does the job and is one pump such an issue for you on such a small kite?
The little Gypsy is tiny - it looks like you could fit it in the boot of your car when inflated as it's also so rounded and squat in shape. It's different. We set it up on the fastest setting on the back line bridle and headed out in a range of conditions, from 30 - pushing 40 knots on a surfboard and twin-tips.
The Gypsy has quite firm steering for a six metre, but we liked this as it kept the kite in check and we always knew where it was. The power delivery is smooth and there's no twitchy feel at all. Some very small kites fly more off their front lines and can feel a bit hectic. The Gyspy isn't like that at all. Nicely balanced on all four lines it holds a decent, steady position in the window; not luffing really far forward as soon as you sheet out and not dropping back when you sheet in. It's just very easy to use and makes hectic conditions and spots very manageable.
Unless you steer it really hard (which you can) it holds some power and tracks relatively wide through the turn. Consequently you need to think about your kite loops with it, which is great fun. It's no whimp. Importantly for freeriders the steering input is nicely balanced between being intuitive yet firm, so you're unlikely to steer it by accident. The original Wainmans made their way around the sky as if sticking their chests out and creating loads of power. This seems to have been simmered down and is an excellent freeride kite.
The Gypsy has acceptable jumps, it's not a sky rocket, but takes good care of you in crazy conditions. You have huge amounts of trim on the bar so you can fully power it up and hit a wave ramp hard and you'll find plenty of beans there for jumping with full control, but it's not going to do it all for you, that's all. You can then come head back to the beach, pull on plenty of trim and still manage to unhook on it in fairly strong winds and it won't run all over the place either.
In waves it's very well behaved, but just isn't as quick as some might like from a six metre. But it is very well balanced, drifts well, doesn't jerk you around at all and will spin on command too - you just need to a bit more aggressive on the bar than with some more natural high performance wave kites. But it will do it all.
The Gypsy is exceptionally easy-to-use for all levels looking to get out in challenging conditions, relaunches well and is very reliable and in more experienced hands can be inspired into becoming more of a weapon. It just gets on with the job at hand with the minimum amount of fuss.
Balance, steadiness and confidence-inspiring performance in tricky conditions.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
Some of you may prefer one pump and more bells and whistles, plus we don't think it needs so many setting options.
SIZES: Big Mama 14.5, Boss 12m, Punch 10.5m, Smoke 9m, Mr Green 7.5m, Gypsy 6.25m and Bunny 5m
KITE BALANCE POINTS:
Build quality - 7
Full package - 7
Low end - 8.5
Top end - 8.5
Steering speed - 7
Turning circle - 6
Bar pressure - 6
Water relaunch - 8
Jumping / hang-time - 7
Unhooked - 7
Easy of use - 8