CONDITIONS TESTED IN:
Gusty 18 – 30 knots
The Zulu is Gin's 4-line SLE kite, offering an amazing lowend with lots of ground pull, combining fluid turning
performance with a high-depower SLE set-up. Notable features include; stability, predictable turning, easy lowend performance and steady pull at lower speeds, amazingly powerful lift and reasonable bar pressure. Slightly rounded wing-tips help aid the relaunch, however, he overall wing-tip shape is quite square to optimise the turning performance of the kite. In order to combine this kind of tip shape with the high depower requirements, Gin developed a new kind of wing-tip bridle attachment. All this makes the Zulu the perfect kite for beginners to freeriders or wake-stylers.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
JAMES: I quite liked this. Really light bar and steering, but not too light - you could always tell where the kite was and you still get good feedback through the bar. Again, I didn't know much about Gin, but am really pleasantly surprised. It's nice having a small bar because you haven't got masses in front of you and it's difficult to over steer the kite. I didn't feel like the bar was slowing it down like some small bars can. It's got a really direct hybrid kite feel. This is a real crossover kite and you still get a lot of depower. The kite handles nicely unhooked and there's a good suicide clip in the chicken-loop. If you get into trouble and you release the chicken-loop you can release the whole lot, whereas if you suicide onto the chicken-line as usual you limit your release. Boosting is good. Again, not massive, but perfectly acceptable.
NEAL: The fact that I'm sat here comfortably giving notes on the beach with the kite in the sky in gusty ten metre conditions is impressive. It's very comfortable. The bar is quite nice and short by some standards, but is perfect for unhooked riding and feels lovely. Good chicken-loop line but because of where the swivel is it gives the chicken-loop a bit more weight, so it tends to dangle and you have to use one hand to hook back in. Much more C shaped than a lot of the hybrids we've see in '08 and that comes across in its turning. Kite loops are smooth and although the kite flies a lot off the front lines,
not so much so that you can't feel where it is. Ample bar pressure lets you know what's going on. Power is fantastic and the on and off power is so well controlled, so you get wicked boosting. All these characteristics should make it lovely in waves.
CHRIS: Initial impressions are that there are a lot of options. I found the kite wasn't flying quite straight when
we first put it up but a quick alteration to the adjusters on the side lines made it fine. Did some kite loops and the adjusters didn't move, just stayed nice and solid. There's possibly a little bit too much fuss about the bar for me but also a lot of safety options. The sliding safety is very good. Unhooked the kite flew nicely. I like the swivel which is below the safety system; it's simple and works very well. For hooked-in rotations you can easily untwist the system as it's right next to your hook. The kite is very well behaved with smooth power delivery and a moderate turning speed with 50% pivotal turning and 50% power. The kite looped steadily and is quick enough with no hint of stall. A comfortable, easy freeride kite with no real issues. Boosts well, good hang-time and absolutely tanks upwind. I was impressed, all the way down to the build quality and it even has a carrying handle next to the inflate valve on the kite.
FX: I like it, there's a good feeling through the bar and all the usual stuff that good kites have are on here. Good power delivery and feedback. The kite has good speed but doesn't run away with you and the upwind
performance is great. I would happily buy this kite. The depower is good; you can turn the power off but you also have a lot of power on tap as well.
A tidy well-built package from Gin programmed with quick, responsive handling and power in all the right places and power dump in an instant. It's the definition of a hybrid kite. A really good all-round performer for
all levels and isn't shy in its unhooked performance either. Solid, stable, predictable and reliable.
True all-round performance.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
Dangling chicken-loop for hooking back in.
5, 7, 9, 11 and 13m
This test is in issue #35