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Author: Subject: Looking at Ozone Explore v2, anyone flown one?
rectifier




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[*] posted on 12-8-2020 at 05:48 PM
Looking at Ozone Explore v2, anyone flown one?


Been out of the sport for a couple years, dislocated shoulder and lack of snow. This year is better. Been getting out for some light wind sessions and getting the hang of it again. Can't fly handles anymore though which is sad, so much for my NPW collection.

I'm looking at getting a new, modern kite or two with better safety, handling, and self launch/land ability. I know a guy selling Ozone who can get me a pretty good price on the Explore v2. I want that singleskin 100% depower capability to handle my nasty inland wind.

I like the idea of the Ozone Re-ride system to ride more and play with anchors less. Question as the chicken loop and 5th line appear to be the only safety on this bar. Do you attach the 5th line to your harness hook and just pull the chicken loop when in trouble? The click in loop looks much easier to re-engage than a traditional loop if you do have to pull it.

Almost zero reviews of these kites out there and only a couple flight videos. Mostly advanced riding and doing things like water relaunching which is... pretty cool for a singleskin foil, if it can be done reliably. Not much flatland riding to look at, though. They look very Peak 4 with their wingtip cells. How does the depower range and gust handling compare?

I weigh 150lbs. Thinking of getting a 6m for snowkite, which gives me room to add a 10m for low wind days. 8m is tempting as a one kite quiver, but my wind is often gusting well over 20kts which is the top of the wind range for the 8m - unless you really can dump 100% of the power? The whole goal is to not get chucked by a gust, I'm getting too old for that.




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[*] posted on 12-9-2020 at 05:32 AM


Welcome back to the traction kite world! Glad you could re-engage. I've not specifically flown the Explore line but have a decent amount of experience with single skins and used to snow kite with various Ozone kites equipped with re-ride. Re-ride is fantastic for your purposes and would be strongly recommended. You mentioned clipping the 5th line ring to your harness hook. Not exactly. You'll want something like this:

https://ozonekites.com/products/accessories/short-kite-leash...

Doesn't need to be that exact one; I just jumped onto the Ozone website since you're looking at an Ozone kite. This little guy could get larks head knotted right next to your hook, but I'd leave your hook clean so nothing gets tangled up at the moment of truth should you need to pop the chicken loop.

With re-ride for snow kiting I used to take breathers as my legs fatigued by just pulling the 5th line in through my chicken loop to crumple up the kite. It would sort of draw in on itself and fall crumpled from the sky. Once rested I would release the fifth line and just sort of shake everything out and relaunch the kite. This worked well with the Access kites. They're two-skinned of course and may have offered more structure. I've tried this same maneuver with my 5th line equipped racestar kites with mixed success.

Any DP kite is going to dump power compared to the FB kites of your yute (Did you say "yute"? My Cousin Vinny) but don't expect all the force to be gone no matter what the marketing copy says. My personal opinion is you are going to end up not being satisfied (or safe) trying to get away with a one-kite quiver. A number of years ago a few of us single-skin freaks (waiting for the bedsheet comments...) discussed a two-kite quiver of Peak2's (6m and 12m) and I'd vouch for that in Peaks. My personal opinion is that at 150 lbs and strong janky inland winds you aren't going to want more than 6m up in the air no matter how spectacularly the Explore may depower.

Good luck!




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[*] posted on 12-9-2020 at 07:07 AM


I can't speak to Ozone or snowkiting, but I just got a 5m Peak 4 for buggy riding. The Peak is really marketed as a snow kite. Only used it for 5 sessions mostly in a grassy field, but it has been a great improvement over the FB kites I've been using. I've been flying it off of handles which has worked really well because to me it is a lot like flying an NPW. You have constant break tension - the more tension the more power. Also, a lot times I just need a quick shot of depower ( a flick of the wrist) to bring the situation back under control. Turning is very quick and precise, so I'm happy with that setup, though a bar would probably be easier. For snowkiting, a bar may be mandatory.

The depower isn't 100% as Steve indicated, but I've not had to dump it yet. Also, like an NPW, it can fly really well on short or long lines so you can get a lot of range. I''m also in the lightweight category (~140) and think Steve is probably right about sizing at least for my buggy spot. I sometimes use an 8m NPW 21 on short lines. With longer lines once there is enough wind to put it in the air any gust can be overpowering.




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[*] posted on 12-9-2020 at 08:41 AM


Thanks guys, I knew I could find good kite discussion here at PKF :) I was "lucky" I didn't hurt myself kiting, but in an accident. So I've always wanted back into the sport but am just a little more careful than I used to be.

Quote:
This little guy could get larks head knotted right next to your hook, but I'd leave your hook clean


Makes sense, I could probably use a handle pass leash too since my harness has a QR handle pass attachment going around the back. I use a convertible OR Session2 that I bought from a guy I ride with:
... Hey, I've ridden with this thing for years and just realized he sold it cheap because he lost the front leash attachment point :lol:

I've never used a leash with my Apex3's since they have a top hat safety - I've never tripped the chicken loop but if I did I always figured it would be due to a top hat failure where I don't want to be attached to the kite anymore. Will have to pick one up for the Explore.

I've pretty much been flying a 2-kite quiver for snowkite for awhile, Apex3 5m and 7.5m. Similar kites to the Access but without re-ride, of course. So if you think a 6/12 setup is practical with Peaks, the 6m is probably a good size to pick up in the Explore. My 5m Apex3 is usually my go-to snowkite unless the winds are really smooth, so that's the kite I'd look to replace. It can be a little underpowered so 6m would probably be a good fit.

When I compared the wind ranges for the Peak4 and Access2 they are very similar on the top ends, with the Peak showing really low bottom ends... I'm suspecting these are only "kite will fly" low end ratings though. Ozone gives a more practical powerband in their literature, with "expert" at both high and low end - I suppose if it flies you can always flog it to try to get back to your truck as the wind dies.

Randy, that's pretty cool that the Peak can fly off handles, that sounds like it flies a lot like my UDS NPW where the brakes are the power control. Actually I think we were talking about that crazy setup years ago! That kite has so much brake pressure that I don't think it's coming out of the bag again, unfortunately. Bars are quite a bit easier to snowkite with, anyways, as you mention. I found getting into the full depower range with handles is tricky due to the amount of wrist twist required - I ended up holding onto the very top of the handle and letting the brakes flag quite a few times.




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[*] posted on 12-9-2020 at 10:45 AM


you probably don't want to run your leash off of the back of your harness, in case you get dragged backwards somehow, especially with a bum shoulder. this comes from my own research, not experience.
as far as a leash attachment, you can make a short loop out of anything that you're comfortable with, breaking strength-wise, and larkshead that to any front part of your harness. just took a couple of pics to make that idea more clear, but can't find my adapter to save the pics to my computer.
i used a short length of conduit-pulling web strap for electrical wiring, but you could use any cord or webbing that you like. my ozone shorty leash is then larksheaded to that loop.
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[*] posted on 12-9-2020 at 10:53 AM


mix these 2 ideas together and you should be able to figure out what i mean. my webbing just has an overhand knot holding the 2 ends together, no stitching, no d ring. used it because it was free from dumpster diving. the knot is next to the harness, leaving me an open loop to hook to.
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https://fixmykite.com/prodimages/giant/fmk_kite_pump_leash_e...
https://media3.francekiteshop.com/25098-thickbox_default/np-...

wish i'd have run across these BEFORE i made mine...
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[*] posted on 12-9-2020 at 04:30 PM


rectifier so far I've found the handles balanced enough so that using them is not a problem riding on grass and a gravel road, but I'm sure as speed increases it would be more taxing. Once I get used to the peak, I may go to a strop, or eventually a bar. I'm working up a depower bar now, based on this approach though I'm using a Cabrina kitesurf bar.







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[*] posted on 12-9-2020 at 08:28 PM


Tom, yeah that rear leash point is really meant for water I suppose. Definitely don't want to be pulled backwards on land. Though a 5th line should have no force on it, and the harness does have a QR strap to pull to eject that handle pass leash. I agree it's pretty easy to connect a short leash to the end of the spreader bar where the original point would have been attached. Will have to look at it with kite in hand, I still have Amsteel and static cord around to make loops and connectors as you describe.

Randy, I suppose the Peaks are supposed to have light bar pressure which would make for decent handle flying. The UDS system I built transfers the load about 50/50 between front and back lines, so the brakes are *really* heavy. I even added pulleys to my handles to make the brake tension easier to hold.

That is such a retro bar! Reminds me of the turbo bar I built back in the day. Cool that people are getting back into simpler setups and guys are still building stuff. I can certainly see the appeal as I look to drop around $500 on the new Ozone bar and lines...




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[*] posted on 12-11-2020 at 08:39 AM


As the saying goes "If you can't say something nice..." could be why there is so little out there in regards to reviews on the Ozone Explore. Honestly it's an okay kite but in comparison to other single skins, it was much less refined than what is currently on the market.

The Explore V2 has seen a number of considerable improvements both in design and materials. We had the V1 in demo and response was always lackluster. Based on the improvements implemented in the V2 my feeling is the Explore is more on par with the competition.

We will have a demo quiver and stock of Explore V2's hopefully by the end of the month. After we get some people out there on it and get some feedback will whip up a review.




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[*] posted on 12-11-2020 at 09:38 AM


Thanks Feyd, if anyone knows singleskin snowkiting it would be you! So the V2 is new this year then which is why even you haven't flown it.

I was also considering the Peak 4 but apparently FS supply is so short in Canada that it would be the end of winter before I see one. And the Gin kites look pretty nice but nobody even knows what they are in this country!

My guy has an Ozone order coming in pretty quick that I can get in on but he hasn't flown them yet either! Feels risky to buy a brand new kite, but Ozone doesn't usually disappoint. Too bad to hear the V1 did not impress. The V2 demo video still looks a little flappy but pretty similar to the Peaks.

Did V1 sizing compare similarly to the Peaks? Would you agree that 6m is probably the most practical size for inland snowkite? It's been blowing 5-8kts for the last week, rare for SK. Can't fly anything. This is why I'm considering going to a high, gusty wind kite (6m) and a nearly no wind kite (10-12m).




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[*] posted on 12-12-2020 at 11:13 AM


Hey rectifier,

Check your u2u.





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[*] posted on 12-17-2020 at 10:42 AM


A couple quick notes, based on your size - I would not recommend the 12m. I've been getting some time on the Gin Shamans which would be similar - the 12 gets quite a bit slower than the 9, and at 150lbs you really don't need it. For smaller folks I would recommend a 4/9 split and for heavier guys a 6/12 split. Translating over to a Explore V2 I think you'd like a 4/10 or 6/10 combo probably?

And a quick word on wind ranges: the single skins do dump power really well, but I noticed that they still have a definite upper wind range, although its different than your classic twin-skin kite. On a twin-skin as the winds increase, you're more concerned about the lift they start to develop. On a single skin, its more about how much side-pull they start to generate. Once the winds start getting stronger on a single skin - you can depower, and the lift goes away, but the extra drag that a single skin has will make is sit deeper in the power zone. As a result, you feel like are getting unwillingly pulled downwind, with no way to really edge your skis hard enough to force the kite to the edge of the wind window like on a traditional kite. So in really strong winds, it starts to feel hard to control your speed, almost like you're getting sucked into a black hole directly downwind. That's been my experience anyways. This would be true for winds above the rated wind window for the kites - although at your weight, you might experience it sooner. Otherwise - I have to admit - the single skins are much more fun than I was expecting.




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[*] posted on 12-17-2020 at 01:06 PM


Quote: Originally posted by nate76  
A couple quick notes, based on your size - I would not recommend the 12m. I've been getting some time on the Gin Shamans which would be similar - the 12 gets quite a bit slower than the 9, and at 150lbs you really don't need it. For smaller folks I would recommend a 4/9 split and for heavier guys a 6/12 split. Translating over to a Explore V2 I think you'd like a 4/10 or 6/10 combo probably?

And a quick word on wind ranges: the single skins do dump power really well, but I noticed that they still have a definite upper wind range, although its different than your classic twin-skin kite. On a twin-skin as the winds increase, you're more concerned about the lift they start to develop. On a single skin, its more about how much side-pull they start to generate. Once the winds start getting stronger on a single skin - you can depower, and the lift goes away, but the extra drag that a single skin has will make is sit deeper in the power zone. As a result, you feel like are getting unwillingly pulled downwind, with no way to really edge your skis hard enough to force the kite to the edge of the wind window like on a traditional kite. So in really strong winds, it starts to feel hard to control your speed, almost like you're getting sucked into a black hole directly downwind. That's been my experience anyways. This would be true for winds above the rated wind window for the kites - although at your weight, you might experience it sooner. Otherwise - I have to admit - the single skins are much more fun than I was expecting.


Nate - this is a great write up! Really good points about 4/10 vs 6/12 two-kite quivers and BW. I'm, err, gravitationally challenged at over 225 lbs and therefore leaned towards to 6/12 split, but you're absolutely right, for a 150 lb whee-lad the 4/10 sounds like the ticket.

As for lift versus side pull, I've not snow kited since I upgraded from chubbier single skins (peaks, longstars, and NASAs) to 6:1 AR racestars. I'm curious if the lift vs side pull phenomenon you describe (and I've felt) is more of a AR & bridling issue and less of a single vs twin skinned thing? I've only been in the buggy with my racestars and do everything I can not to get lifted so I've never tested this out.

Any thoughts on this?




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[*] posted on 12-17-2020 at 02:06 PM


Great write up indeed! Answers a lot of questions I had about these kites. I'm familiar with that downwind drag in overpowered conditions from my NPW flying days as well, it seems reasonable that modern singleskins would feel similar. There's only so much power you can let go of and still have the kite flying.

That sort of excess power is definitely safer, though, which is what I'm looking for. Losing edges downwind in a gust is a lot better than being lofted. And yes, with less mass to hold me down this wee lad has experienced a fair amount of whee over the years!

The really interesting thing you are saying is that the kites still get dragged down into the power zone despite being depowered. Usually with a twin skin foil the kite flies high overhead when depowered completely and then starts tugging upwards in the gusts.

Good point about the 12m, not knowing how these depower I was starting to think of LEI sizings. I'm thinking 6/10 rather than 4/10 since here in SK it's not just windy, it's also cold. A true storm kite isn't that useful here in the winter since the windchills often start creeping below -40 pretty fast in 4m kite weather, and it's just not safe to fly in that and risk a long walk. Those are indoor days. I used to fly my 2.5m in warm Alberta Chinooks but we don't get those here in SK.

Another advantage I see with the singleskins is on good windy days after a snowfall there is often a lot of blowing snow in the air, and it fills up my kites!

The Explore V2 claims to have significantly boosted the AR and reduced the drag from the first version, and in fact they look slimmer than my flying mattress Apexes.




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[*] posted on 12-17-2020 at 04:55 PM


So good point about the windchill - its a real thing and might keep you from fully enjoying the benefits of a 4m size. I will say - at least in the Shaman - that the 6m is a really (really) fun size. Super quick, but powerful, and it almost feels like a surgical instrument in terms of just how precisely you can put it where you want in the wind window. Really really fun (I think I already said that).

As far as the drag goes Steve - If I were a betting man, I would guess you're still going to experience some of the same down-wind drag/pull we're talking about, even in a higher AR single skin foil kite. It has more to do with the general nature of single skins, then their AR - they just produce more drag in general.

Two things are causing this. The 1st reason is maybe a little more technical and not as obvious, but basically high "camber" or curved airfoils have a higher "induced drag". This is just a fancy term meaning that when you produce lift, you also produce drag - and a more bent or curved airfoil (if you were looking at it from the side or cross-section), will produce more drag. Single skins tend to have a higher camber or curve than traditional foils.

The 2nd, and in my opinion probably more important reason, has to do with what happens when you depower significantly. On a normal traditional foil, as you depower your lift decreases and your drag decreases as well. However on a single skin as you depower, initially your drag decreases - until you get to the point where things start flapping. At this point the drag starts increasing again, pulling the kite back. This is great for making a kite that will drift like crazy and almost be impossible to overshoot the edge of the wind window. But it does come back to bite you a bit when the winds get really strong, and all you want to do is dump power, but as you're doing that, its trying to force your tack more downwind which causes you to gain speed - the opposite of what you want. On an efficient wing like my Pelicans, I can edge hard against the kite, and it will force the kite to the edge of the wind window, where I can actually cut upwind pretty nicely - which further bleeds off speed. I've found this a lot harder to do on the single skins.

I don't want to overstate it too much though. I was just up in Wyoming this last weekend, and had my brother - who was brand new to kiting - on the 9m Shaman. Winds were probably 10 - 16mph, and he was having a blast, staying upwind quite well - on his 2nd day of kiting. I was on my 13m Pelican, and sure was probably staying upwind a little better, but then I've been at it a lot longer and probably had better skis for the conditions.

Oh and to your point about snow - for the 1st several hours of the one really good day we had, the winds stayed light - less than 15mph. Then they picked up into the high teens for probably no more than 30 minutes - it was amazing how the snow was destroyed by just that little wind change for that brief period of time. It went from being this nice fluffy snow everywhere, to getting scraped and now you were chattering between a hard icy base and pockets of windblown powder - not nearly as fun. So I say all that to say that I've always enjoyed lighter winds more for snowkiting - one reason being that the snow conditions just tend to be much more enjoyable, not to mention less-gusty winds.

Would love to hear about your results with your Racestar though - if you get a chance to get it out on some snow. I'd be really interested to hear how it compares to some of the other single skins.




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[*] posted on 12-18-2020 at 05:22 AM


I'm struggling with posting today. tired of trying to figure it out.

In response to Nates comment about the "black hole' though I agree with much of his assessment in terms of how the kites function, I struggle with the black hole. To me, this sounds like simply being overpowered and in my experience, modern single skins aren't any more prone to OP than any other kite. They can just as easily be muscled to the edge of the window as anything else. (the only thing easier are race kites or kites with higher ARs) But of course, this is dependent on having room and what you have on your feet, and your ability to use it.

We routinely have experienced kiters riding the Gins and Peaks 10kts beyond the factory ranges without any difficulty and without having to dump the power constantly. But these are also riders who are expert skiers on skis that they use specifically for snowkiting. They aren't simply taking their daily lift access drivers out on the kites.

The performance of what you have in the air is only as good as what you have on your feet.

In regards to sizing comparisons of single skins. With the Explore V1, we were surprised at how much canopy curvature there was. It was not nearly as flat as the Peak or Shamans and as such lacked the grunt that the equivalent sizes had. It wasn't an "apples to apples" comparison.

This however also gave it a much more "traditional" feel. It flew very much like a dual skin and felt as much.

I'm not sure if that will be the case with the Explore V2. It looks a bit flatter than its predecessor but it's hard to tell from images and vid.

On a side note. Hardwater kiting has been asked to carry Flysurfer again and we will be bringing in a quiver of Peak demos so a Peak, Explore V2, Shaman 3 comparison will be forthcoming soon.













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[*] posted on 12-18-2020 at 05:39 AM


This is turning into a nice little thread! Very interesting to learn about the inherent differences in these tools we use. Sadly, my snow kite days are behind me. Several reasons: moved from Park City to St George UT so just a whole different setting; got older; and third, after my "Freak Gasoline Fight Accident" on blades several years ago I committed to my bride to only traction kite with an AQR. The middle reason is a bunch of crap, but the other two are legit.

When I get back up to Oregon for a SOBB event I might be willing to test how lofty my race stars are. That's just not going to happen when I ride at (now only 3 hour away) Ivanpah.

Being a snow guy my whole life, I do feel like snow kiting in powder is the ultimate land version of this pastime of ours. I had some incredible pow sessions about five years ago in Park City which put a perma-grin on my face.




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[*] posted on 12-19-2020 at 10:14 PM


Yes, so the black hole might have been a bit of an overstatement; and to clarify - there was also no actual black hole present that I was aware of - that was more a figure of speech. I've never actually kited near a black hole, but imagine it would be quite scary and wouldn't recommend it unless you really know what you're doing. :)

I had the 9m Shaman out again today in a pretty fun session on some rolling hills. Winds started out pretty light and I was able to work upwind and uphill surprisingly well - better than expected. Later the winds picked up and I found myself in the same position as before - feeling like I was getting pulled more downwind more unwillingly than on my other normal twin-skin. When I started to pick up unwanted speed, I fully depowered to the point where the wing started a little flapping, at which point I could noticeably feel my ski direction change more downwind. The other kite I've been riding the most lately is a Little Cloud Pelican, which is not a race kite, but I do believe, - and have had other riders tell me - that it is pretty efficient and pulls more forward than to the side. I feel like I can edge against that kite much easier and force it to the edge of the wind window to bleed off speed. But that's just my personal experience, and I'll be the first to admit that it's probably my Girlyman legs that lack the severe pumpitude necessary to force the SS to the edge of the window like I should.

And to be clear, I am not knocking the SS kites at all - I'm really enjoying them and find myself enjoying them more every time I take them out. But there are some differences. One thing is for sure - they absolutely crush the mountains. The whole sidepull thing actually becomes a benefit when the winds are flowing uphill. I had some great runs last weekend going accross a mountain - the winds were flowing nicely upslope and the sidepull was kind of counteracting the gravity pull, so you could really lean away downhill and be halfway suspended while the kite would kind of be hanging onto you and pulling you up the hill - so fun! Granted all these sensations are there on a traditional kite, they just seemed more pronounced on the single skin. Really, really looking forward to getting these into the mountains this winter.

And totally have to agree about powder being the best version of this sport of ours - land or water! There is just something about the 3D aspect of snowkiting - combined with the spectacular views and alpenglow you get in the winter, that I will never get tired of.

God Bless everybody at PKF, and have a Merry Christmas! Even in a year as crazy as this, I think most of us still have so much to be thankful for...




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rectifier




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[*] posted on 12-20-2020 at 08:57 AM


Great description of modern singleskin performance, Nate. So they get draggy when fully depowered due to flapping, that makes sense.

I often fly here in quite steep hilly terrain so the upslope behaviour you mention is exactly what I'm looking for - with my existing kites I either need to work a small kite hard to get up a slope or climb easily with a big kite and then get picked up by the ridge lift! Riding across slope you really need to pay attention to the kite. Going to give my guy a call and get one of these on order.

I dream of getting back to the mountains someday but running this farm needs someone to be here in the winter. Love that powder like you say! Here we might get a beautiful dump of powder and the next day it gets redistributed by the wind and exposes the ice and the death cookies :thumbdown:

Merry Christmas to all as well! It might be a bad year but I've been protected from most of it out here on the farm. And I have access to things like kiting that nothing can take away from me. Can't complain.




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nate76




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[*] posted on 12-20-2020 at 12:57 PM


Think your gonna love the SS for the kind of terrain you're talking about. The real advantage I've found on the Single Skins - is kind of what you alluded to - they are super grunty for their size when you put them in the power zone. So for something like climbing and looping up steeper hills, they are perfect. Their small size-to-power ratio means they turn really tight for the power they produce - another benefit on steeper slopes that helps avoid dragging wingtips on the downloop. Also - if the Explore V2 is anything like the Shaman - which I'm sure it will be - you can kind of stall/spin-turn the kites. This creates a turn with very little power, and with a little practice you can make the kite shoot out in a specific direction to get these nice spurts of power in very localized areas of the power zone. Can be really handy, and fun - almost like a stunt kite. They are just a lot of fun to throw around, and so forgiving that it really allows you to focus more on your skiing than the kite.

Let us all know your thoughts on the V2 when you get it!




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Most used Kites: LC Pelican, Gin Shaman, HQ4 Matrixx/Montana
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sojourner




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[*] posted on 12-20-2020 at 04:54 PM


Hi Rectifier,
"Thinking of getting a 6m Explore for snowkite"... I can't speak for the explore specifically, but I'm guessing this will be nearly twice the power of a 5M Apex you're replacing.

"Do these kites really depower to zero?" On the Flysurfer peak4, say you climb a hill and it's really windy, you can push the bar out and almost all of the pull/lift will stop. It flaps like crazy, and isn't really usable depower. But it is an impressive margin of control to avoid being lifted. "The whole goal is to not get chucked by a gust." (The depower single skins are also less lifty because you can fly a smaller size.)

I started kiting on a 3.4 NPW9 and have come full circle and spent last winter on a 9M Gin Shaman and Flysurfer Peak4. For exploring around, these kites are everything I dreamed of back in the NASA wing days with better upwind, real depower and easy of use/safety. There are no drawbacks to a single skin for you and the parameters you stated. (Most of their drawbacks are for kiters who need lots of apparent wind in low wind, want to boost, or need to really go sharply upwind). Based on your background and the description of hill climbing and not wanting lift on the descent ("with my existing kites I either need to work a small kite hard to get up a slope or climb easily with a big kite and then get picked up by the ridge lift") I think you're on the right track for what you want.

"My 5m Apex3 is usually my go-to snowkite unless the winds are really smooth, so that's the kite I'd look to replace." As you know, your 7M NASA wing has far more power than the 7M Apex. If you're replacing a 5m Apex, be sure to go smaller for the equivalent power. I consider my 5M Peak4 to be about the same as my 8M Apex. My 9M Shaman can pretty much keep up with guys on 12M kites in powder. This scenario is on flat ground. If you're looping up a hill, you won't need to "work a small kite hard to get up a slope".

If you're really trying to replace a 5M Apex, the single skin equivalent size (~4M) is going to be very, very fast. "but my wind is often gusting well over 20kts" (I find buying larger kites means I'm forced to ski on more pleasant days, like Nate76 said haha)

I have spent lots of time on a Shaman and Peak4 8M and 5M high in the mountains. If you were unfamiliar with the differences between a NASA single skin and the HQ Apex, then more discussion would be needed.

The safety on the Gin, Ozone, Flysurfers is awesome. I'll leave bar discussion to others, but all these kites fly on modern bars. A modern bar just means a push away chicken loop and either a 5th line or 4th line flag-out.

Also, I don't know the prices, but Concept Air has the single skin depower Firefly and is a Canada company. To replace a "5M Apex", you're shopping for a 4meter or smaller.


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rectifier




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[*] posted on 12-20-2020 at 09:11 PM


Right as I was about to pull the trigger on the 6m, you're saying it might be too big! Oh no, more thinking on my part!

I'll be honest about the 5m Apex, it's usually underpowered. I end up looping it and sweeping it across the window. That's why I was thinking to go up a bit with the 6m Explore and then have more depower range. My goal is to get a kite that will be properly powered up and fun to ride with, but I can let the bar out and dump those gusts in a way that I can't with the Apex.

Most of the time that I'm riding with the 5m I wish I had put up the 7.5m instead, until a big gust doubles the wind on me for a short period. Then I'm glad I picked the 5m, if you see what I mean. The wind here is just that dirty.

According to Ozone's wind range guide it needs to be blowing over 20kts continuously to put up the 4m, which is a pretty windy day.

The guy I'm dealing with is a very experienced rider in this province and he said he personally would take the 8m or the 6/10 split in our conditions in the area. He even said the 8m "might sound small but it really hauls" :D Not a lot of guys with singleskin experience, though, and everyone thinks my NPWs are pretty wild whenever I show them off.




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sojourner




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[*] posted on 12-21-2020 at 07:33 AM


If I bought the 6M Explore, I'd "expect" to be a little more powered than on my 8M Apex5.

I'd "expect" a 4M singleskin to be about the power of a 6m+ ish Apex.

"My guy has an Ozone order coming in pretty quick that I can get in on but he hasn't flown them yet either!" Has he flown the Explore at all, V1 or otherwise? If he hasn't, then you understand more about single skins then he does.

SS power per square meter is SIGNIFICANTLY more. I can say that, because I bought a 9meter Shaman thinking it would be a fun "middle" size and I use it almost entirely as a light wind kite. I can almost interchange it with a 14m Montana and it is absolutely more grunty than my 11m Frenzy.

They say to use "a size smaller". I've found I use my 8m peak4 to be a replacement for my 11m Frenzy. In light wind, I almost think the 8m Peak4 has more power. If I'm cruising on a hard surface with apparent wind, I'd probably say the Frenzy has the power. There is no exact answer because SS are like Jeeps and a high-aspect Ram is like a Porsche.

When gusts are double the wind speed, I think you'll find the SS to be more enjoyable than the Apex if you size it right. Difficult wind always has it's challenges.

I should have added more explanation for the depower. You have to match the right size kite for the conditions. For all practical purposes, you'll get the same depower as your Apex. The knowledgeable consensus is that SS have perhaps a little less usable depower due to drag ratio, but I don't think you'll notice this. With the peak4, once you push the bar past a certain point, the depower curve changes completely and it flaps. Do you have a bedsheet or a wing now? It doesn't matter because you dumped the gust, but you can't pleasurably ride sustained like that. I have the full throw on the bar without a trimmer for alpine riding.

Launching, landing, reverse launch, etc is all going to be about the same as your Apex. With all the discussion on the differences, it's good to say what's the same.

In turbulent wind, I'd say I've had fewer SS bowties than an Apex or Frenzy, but I can't say the margin is too different. This is an elusive concept. Sometimes it's better to just accept that a kite won't fly in 20knt gusts that flash lull to 5knts.

If I was purchasing the 6M Explore, I would expect it to produce almost the power of a "9m" Apex. (The Drag and deeper window characteristics have already been discussed to explain this. Also, as a touring kite, part of the designer's objective is to make the most power in the smallest, lightest possible kite.)

As mentioned earlier, maybe the Explore makes less power than the other SS, but I doubt it because the design goal is the most power in the lightest possible kite. These kites are not light just because they use less fabric. They're also light because a smaller size produces lots of power.

Depower SS are totally different animals. There is some irony with Single Skins because I don't think most kiters understand the concept in the the same way the kite designers/engineers do. A lot of folks may ride a 12M inflatable kite, they see the hype of this "new type" of kite, so they buy a 12M SS for snow. However, the designers are snowkiting in the Alps, linking together valleys, carrying the weight of an extra kite or two in a backpack, using climbing skins, looping the kite in the wind window for the ascents, etc. The designers love that their 8M SS pulls uphill like a 12M inflatable and weighs like a 3meter trainer kite.

To put all this in perspective, from what I've read, the crowd that actually seems to understand the power/sqm the best are foilboarder who are flying peak4's. They go out on 5M peaks while the inflatable guys are on 15m tubes and twin tips. This happened because the foilboarders wanted a smaller kite for cruising but power on demand for getting on their boards. (They'd rather have more power in a smaller kite than have the kite float- which means they bypassed kite manufacturer marketing to do what they want! haha)

As for wind, weather, snow conditions: they always change. If the snow is hard crust, fast, with breakable spots, you're going to want to be underpowered. Different conditions require different styles of riding, which is probably why you like to be out on the 5M Apex when others may claim that "wind speed" is for an 8M explore, which is going to be like a 12M inflatable. Stick to what you like and just know that SS power/sqm is not equivalent to RAM air power/sqm.
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[*] posted on 12-21-2020 at 09:54 AM


I add this only because it references a 7m NASA wing and is a nice summary.

Monopeau shaman 2 / explore v1 / peak 4. your opinions
Translated from French
"I use Peak 1 in 6 and 9m, and Peak 3 in 12; the only other single skin I had was a NASA of about 7m ... which had about the same low range and power as my Peak-1 6m, but with (much) less heading, and without the comfort the B / C, especially in high range ( but, thanks to the increased maneuverability offered by the handles, it turned "almost" the same ).
In a buggy, or Mtb on rolling ground, in light weather (and for my "quiet" use) any of the 3 does the job. I switch from one size to another around 10 and 15kts, knowing that I happen to be lazy and only go out on the 6 or the 9. The "high" range is quiet ( but I don't never went out on land above 20kts average) but quickly becomes uncomfortable although without risk: it is enough to let flapp to lose the power, but they quickly become a little hard in bar to remain pleasant)"
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rectifier




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[*] posted on 12-21-2020 at 09:45 PM


Alright! So I had a good chat with my kite supplier and think I have this figured out.
He has not flown the Explore V2 himself yet because guys are going nuts for buying kites due to needing something to do during Covid and having surplus vacation money. He can't keep anything in stock.

In particular guys are snapping up the 8m and they are back ordered in that size. 180-200lb guys are buying them and say they are having fun. The only 6m he has is lime yellow and we both agree that it's an awful colour and likely has poor visibility in the sky, so I'm in on the next order coming after Christmas for a blue or orange. Due to the demand if I don't like it he figures he can resell it pretty quick.

Apparently guys buying them are saying they handle much like you are saying Sojourner, with similar depower range to a twinskin foil but with better ability to dump gusts by letting it flap. So I've decided to try the 6m, and if it handles much like my 7.5m Apex but with better gust handling then it should be a lot of fun.

He also made a good point that the re-ride safety and click-in chicken loop are much more usable than the old top hats, and can be let off on a whim and easily reset. Which means that I can ride with more power without having to worry about the hassle of putting the safety back together - just let it go if I feel like things are getting unsafe.

"I find buying larger kites means I'm forced to ski on more pleasant days" - if this happens with the 6m then I guess that's fine too! The sweet spot for the 4m is supposed to be 20-30kts and when the wind is up like that I really shouldn't be out in it anyways - besides the windchill issue, it tends to get *really* dirty and start swirling and changing directions randomly. And a kite that's really fast in that sort of wind... maybe not much fun.

So 6m on the way for me! I hope as Nate said above that this turns out to be "a really fun size". Since he also said his brother was flying a 9m Shaman in 15mph wind on his second day, I don't feel the 6 should be too intimidating. We have lots of 10-20 knot days here so hopefully I get some good use out of it.




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tomdiving




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[*] posted on 12-22-2020 at 05:41 AM


one thing (of many) that i gleaned from the excellent peak thread here is that the 6m LOVES 10-20mph wind.
you should be all set.
tom
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nate76




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[*] posted on 12-22-2020 at 07:11 AM


Awesome, rectifier! Honestly - if you were looking for a one-kite quiver - I think you're gonna find the 6m is hard to beat. It may not cover everything, but its gonna cover a lot of the fun wind range really well. And I think you're gonna find it has a surprising amount of low wind power for your weight, especially if you're working it hard up some hills. I don't think you're buddy will be able to pry it out of your dirty little kiting mitts - even if he wanted to, ha!

Been a crazy year for kites for sure. All 3 companies I've been involved with have been having inventory issues - between increased demand from people looking to escape the indoors, and factories being closed overseas, there have been lots of delays and shortages. A buddy and I went kiting a couple of weeks ago right after Thanksgiving, to a spot that's known for some decent - but not epic - back country skiing. Normally a few hard-core back country folk there. That weekend - you would have though we showed up at a ski resort! Parking lot was jam-packed, people like ants on the side of the hill - it was ridiculous. But good to see so many people enjoying the outdoors.




Founder/Owner Colorado Kite Sports
Specializing in Gin, Little Cloud & HQ4 foils.
http://coloradokitesports.com
Most used Kites: LC Pelican, Gin Shaman, HQ4 Matrixx/Montana
Skis: Something w/ Marker Baron or Duke Bindings
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[*] posted on 12-22-2020 at 12:39 PM


Sweet! So much confidence can come from these kites! You're going to really like what it can do. I agree that the 6m is a natural sweet spot for "better" wind. The wind range of a 6m corresponds nicely with the most enjoyable "wind strength" for snowkiting!

On an apex side note, a front line flag-out bar can really update your Apex tophat system. I don't know what the Apex3 is like, but I sure do like my Apex5. Looks like the Apex3 flies on 4 lines? It may be worth investing in a "modern" bar. (when released, the tophat still has the 2 brake lines pulling pretty hard, if I remember.)

With a "modern" bar, you reach for the chicken loop, push it away from your body to release, and the kite then flags out. It's attached to your leash by one center flying line and doesn't pull. What this means is: 1) you'll have same muscle memory to release all your kites (including the Explore) 2) it's just way simpler and kills all the power of the kite.

Converting a bar can be pretty basic. There are numerous options for a push away chicken loop. The Front line flag-out mechanism is really simple too. Explaining it won't make sense, but if you look at a picture or two you'll get it.

If I were in your shoes, I'd expect the Explore to raise my confidence. It's going to be your favorite kite. But the apex should still be a lot of fun and safer with a bar upgrade. (I had an Access that only had one center power line, so what I'm saying may not hold true if it's not 4-lines to the bar).

Thanks for letting me chip in. Years ago, I read an article on skiing couloirs on Baffin island with NASA wings for transportation and fireworks went off in my head for the big reservoirs nearby. However, the effort of sewing ran opposite to the goal of an effortless pull. Luckily, HQ was selling them, so I had an easy entry into traction kites for $150. I made that kite do everything. But I also started watched videos of the "Frenzy" (pre-youtube) and couldn't wait to try a "real" kite. And now, the basic concept of the NASA wing with a single skin and curved leading edge to make an airfoil is what Ozone is wanting their snowkiting customer base to buy. Poetic justice or something like that to start on a NPW? It's a thing of beauty to pull some fabric and string out of a little sack and go wherever you want. Lots of respect for those of you who buy the materials, measure twice and cut once and then sew the slippery fabric together and master the splicing and bridles!

Hope you get some great snow!
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TEDWESLEY




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[*] posted on 12-27-2020 at 09:04 AM


I really liked this discussion. The observations were spot on with my experience. I purchased a 6M peak when it came out, and added the 12M and the 4M soon after. Three kites could be a quiver for a 200lb
person in most conditions. I checked my log from the past couple of years and the 6m gets used the most
hands down, more than 60% of the time. The designs have moved on a little but the fun remains the same.
You're going to love the ride.




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[*] posted on 12-31-2020 at 01:21 PM


Update: I have the Explores in stock and for demo.

When I was putting them away I pulled one of our 6m Gin Shaman 3s out just to compare the size of the kites as they come packed from tbe factory.

The Ozone Explore V2 is about 20% smaller than the Gin Shaman 3.

I had to ship some kites and while I was out asked the guy at the post office to throw each kite on the scale for comparison.

The Explore V2 6m in the bag (a bag with straps and buckles, not just a sack like the Gin) is 3oz lighter than the 6m ShamanV3.

Obviuosly this isn't an indicator of flight quality, just interesting.

What is even more interesting is Explore V2s below 8m are made of standard material for improved survivability in high wind situations. While the Shaman3 is UL material in the 6m.

Not sure if this will diminish the perenial 6m being the all rounder most versitile size Explore as other single skins have historically been. I'm just gonna have to suck it up, put one together and see.

Headed out shortly.





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