Ozone’s light wind specific kite is designed with a high performance profile and a focus on weight saving. The Zephyr delivers the same superior handling, power, feel and control as you have come to expect from Ozone, and is an ideal kite for any rider wishing they could ride in light winds or for heavy riders looking for the ultimate large size kite with a huge wind range. A tight radius turn produces great pop while an optimised bridle with the absence of pulleys makes for direct handling and unmatched safety. With a huge wind range between six and twenty knots you'll be able to session for longer and have more fun than ever before. You ride, they watch, you laugh, they cry.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
If you thought the days of 15m+ kites were a thing of the past, think again. This wasn't the first kite I dived for when it arrived in the office but in many ways it's been the most surprising. 17 metre kites instil the idea of sluggish truck-like beasts with very little finesse, movement or adept handling. The constant threat of stalling in light winds send shivers down my spine when I think about swimming in with a monster like that. But everything about this kite feels positive from the start, including the success I had of getting out after the 14 metre kite crew at the beach had
already come in and given up.
As we said in the Catalyst review, from the fixtures and fittings, onepump
with covered clips and valves that work perfectly every time, the quality is impressive. Considering how light the kite is at 17 square metres, the build quality is still right up there. As soon as you put the kite up it feels way more positive than you might expect. Sure it's no rocket around the sky, but there's a lot of canopy up there on the end of the 27 metre lines to shift. It does take some input to steer, but all kites do in light winds when there's not much to charge them. What I was really imagining with this kite was a monster that would pull once it had built up apparent wind and was powered and would need delicate handling, but there was none of that. It flies very positively and feels like a much smaller kite. You're not going to be mega looping it, but it does downturn nice and smoothly and it's got a fair bit of loft if you get a stiff enough breeze. What it does do that I really enjoyed is allow you to forget about the kite. Light wind sessions are usually dogged with moments where you're screaming at the kite to not back-stall and fall out of the sky. Yes there were times when I was sheeting out to get it a little further forward in the window, but never a moment where I actually believed it was going to drop.
I always thought that I wouldn't have a kite above a 14 metre any more, and even then that I'd only use that kite a couple of times a year. Such light wind conditions have never inspired me, and I’m pretty light at 72 kilos, but after having the whole beach to myself in between 8 and 12 knots, with very little chop and a good ride under my feet, it's hard not to feel like trying things. Everything is controllable and smooth, whether I was riding a raceboard, a skimboard, a door or a 132 twin-tip.
Unhooked the Zephyr is lovely, barely requiring any trimming at all which is surprising for such a high aspect wing. I could unhook, ride along, perhaps miss the spot I wanted to do a trick and simply wait for the next to come along. My arms didn't get ripped out and it behaved well, rarely sinking backwards in the window during prolonged spells out of the loop. During a move, because it is big and physics dictate it can't move too quickly, it just waits there for you. This kite makes these conditions fun and really makes learning new moves in nice, flat conditions possible.
SUMMARY: The Zephyr has the sort of direct handling and positive bar feel that you'd expect from a smaller, more agile kite. Hooked or unhooked it works, and the bottom line is that I could get out as soon as it hit eight knots. Bigger riders will be out on it until it picks up to around 18 knots fairly comfortably. That's a very useful and common wind range.
KW LIKED: Having fun in flat waters with heaps of space as there was no
one else out!
KW WOULD CHANGE: The pull-down quick release is really easy to activate when needed, but unhookers may catch it the first time they hook back in if grabbing the chicken-loop.
This test is in issue #46