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Author: Subject: HQ4 Empulse Initial thoughts

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Registered: 9-9-2015
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
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[*] posted on 12-13-2018 at 08:48 PM
HQ4 Empulse Initial thoughts

Hey guys, so for anyone curious I've had the chance get some time on the new HQ4 Empulse and thought I might share a couple insights. I've had a couple really good days on the kite - one day was on the 7m in 15-30 kt winds in unstable mountain conditions, the other was a very light wind day snowkiting on the 16m.

For those unfamiliar, the Empulse is a closed cell, adaptive valve kite similar to the Little Cloud Pelican or Ozone Hyperlink - where you can modify the inlets sleeves and make it act more like an open cell when desired.

So here are some quick take-aways:

1. It is a fast turning kite that likes speed. I would say this is a defining attribute of the kite. The turn rate of the 16m is similar to the 15m Matrixx but with more power and speed. The 7m is just plain fast - noticeably faster than the 8m Montana X - both in turn rate and overall speed.

2. It has smooth power, much like the Montana X, and depowers well - much like the Montana. The kite relates much more to the Montana X than the Matrixx - being a bit faster but with a bit less pop and hangtime than the Montana.

3. Stability is Excellent. The 7m did really well in the shifty mountain conditions I was in. I also had a beginner (2nd day for him on both kites and skis) out on a light wind day who preferred the 16m Empulse to the 14m Montana for ease of use in those situations beginners tend to get into: getting the kite too slow at the edge of the wind window in very light conditions.

4. The 7m Empulse has less power than the 8m Montana. At first I wasn't sure what to expect since I heard that the 16m Empulse pulled like the old 18m Matrixx, and I wasn't sure if this attribute was going to carry into the smaller sizes. But at least for the 7m, the power is consistent with a smaller sized kite.

For me personally, this is what I was looking for. Between the excellent stability, depower, quick turn and slightly less power than the 8m Montana, I believe the 7m Empulse is going to become a replacement for my 5.5m Apex. So much so that I just recently sold off my Apex.

5. The adaptive valves work better than I had expected. Initially I was skeptical if the 4 small inlets on the 7m would evacuate air fast enough to be of good use in the mountains. But I found after that one day in the mountains in pretty strong conditions that it deflated quite quickly and there was no noticeable "pillow" effect like you typically get with a normal closed cell. It was good enough that I feel comfortable using it in the mountains in the future - at least the 7m.

6. Inflation with the valves open is quite quick. It is essentially inflated by the time you fly the kite from launch position to zenith. I have not tested inflation in the closed cell configuration.

7. The other defining attribute of the kite is its low lateral sidepull at higher speeds. This kind of dovetails into point #1 - that the kite just likes to go fast. I found myself riding consistently faster all the time on this kite than on the Matrixx. At these higher speeds, before I would have felt like I was getting pulled uncontrollably downwind; however on the Empulse I was able to keep a nice upwind tack with minimal edging. The speed also would just like to keep building and building. You can tell the kite was made for foiling in this regard- but think this would also make it a good buggy engine.

The minimimal sidepull coupled with good depower also made for noticeably faster mountain descents while snowkiting. You could just kind of park the kite to the side and really crank up the speed when coming down without feeling like you were about to get lofted off the mountain - it made for some of the most fun downhill skiing with a kite I've ever had (didn't hurt that the snow conditions were also some of the best I've had, ha). Lift is definitely there when you want it though, its just not quite was lifty as the Montana.

So in summary, I think this kite is going to appeal to the person and who doesn't necessarily need or want the most explosive pop on the market, but who wants a stable, nimble kite that will push their speed limits a bit without being overly complicated and unforgiving like the more race-oriented kites.

It has a lot of good attributes that make it a worthy successor to the Matrixx III (for example I think the switch to fully sheathed bridle lines is a good thing - they obviously didn't lose any speed as a result); I know for me personally the new found speed is intoxicating and has me looking forward to getting more time on it.

Founder/Owner Colorado Kite Sports
Specializing in HQ and HQ4 Kites
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Posts: 3042
Registered: 3-9-2006
Location: Massachusetts
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[*] posted on 12-14-2018 at 05:51 PM

Such an incredible playground you have there. I am jealous. Thanks for sharing your comments and the video!

Depower Quiver: 14m Gin Eskimo, 10m Gin Eskimo III, 6m Gin Yeti, 4.5m Gin Yeti (custom bridle and mixer)
Fixed Bridle Quiver: MAC Bego 400, JOJO ET Instinct 2.5 & 5.5, Lil Devil 1.5, Sting 1.2
Rides: Ground Industries
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