Uncomplicated lift and tons of hang time for fully accessible fun
THIS TEST FIRST APPEARED IN ISSUE #93 IN JUNE, 2018
TEST TEAM NOTES:
We tested the 12 and nine metre Sculps this spring once back in the UK over several sessions and found there is a difference in character between the two sizes, but what an eye-popping duo. Bright, but not sickly, we always get good comments on the beach when out on CrazyFly gear.
In the past we’ve saluted the Sculp and for several seasons tested the nine metre in Cape Town. An incredibly easy kite to boost and get good hangtime on, the 12 is a bit different. We rode the 12 in averaging 15 knots and flat water and found that it’s a very adaptable kite.
Developing smooth power, the 12 is more sedate than the nine in the way it delivers power to you. There’s still lots of lift but the 12 is also a bit more suitable for all-round riding and, with a bit of trimming, is a genuinely fun unhooking kite. Trimmed down the Sculp flies forward when unhooked and is capable of creating some line slack too for bar passing. (You should also note that the chicken-loop is a superb size for a mix of unhooked / hooked-in action.) Many modern three strut hybrid kites will unhook, but once you start your trick they tend to drop back a bit in the window and become more technical because of that extra pull at the moment you want to make the pass. The Sculp keeps moving forward and has a nice combination of drive and pop to unhook, but when reaching for the bar it seems to go nice and light. It’s good! That session was the dream summer freeride combination with enough power and handling to do a bit of everything. Transitions on the Sculp are always fantastic because it’s very good at any tricks that need steady, supportive lift from the kite, such as board-offs / darkslides / hand-drag downloops etc. The 12 metre really impressed with its accessibility.
This year we had the nine metre in 20 – 25 knots and then for another session in 25 – 30 knots. In the past we have highly recommended the Sculp for bigger riders looking for an easy kite to jump with. Once again it has so much boom-boom on tap, but advising it for bigger riders makes it sound more cumbersome than it is. The steering isn’t heavy and there’s smooth depower on tap (though it doesn’t drop 100%), but it’s just so easy to jump on and that’s often where bigger riders find difficultly with kites that require a bit more accuracy in overhead positioning.
When it comes to exciting boost performance, the Sculp nine metre can hang with the big players, but what we really respect it for is how accessible that performance is.
It’s not a kite for kite looping though. You can loop on it, but it doesn’t tend to snap around the bottom of the loop. You get a good hoik but then tend to catch up and over take the kite as it gets overhead, which is more unnerving than on really drivey kites. It is however very good at downloop transitions and tricks where you’re hanging under the kite. It also likes to be sent hard round a turn when smashing a wave on a twin-tip, so it’s nicely responsive and easy to ride, but just lacks the automatic drive round the bottom of a loop that keen kite loopers will be looking for.
Anyway, the Sculp has far greater assets. Superb upwind drive mixes with beautiful lift and hangtime, and that’s a big set of boxes ticked for freeriding. Offering a great low end and easy access to power, you can sheet in, throw the kite about, there’s no lag, no stalling and the Sculp never hiccups, which is impressive considering the power it packs away.
The power band feels like it kicks-in in two stages. You send the kite and take-off and then this secondary phase of quick and explosive lift kicks in. It pulls you the whole way up fast and powerfully, but isn’t a physical exercise. Like a sports motorbike the initial lift happens low down in the rev range, and then you hit this sweet spot of 4,000 to 8,000 revs where it just comes alive.
That connected feel makes this truly one of the best jumping and hang-time freeride kites out there. Bully got 14.7 metres on a very average 20 knot day on the nine, showing how easy it is to get consistently good performance.
At the top of its range you’ll get fatigued more quickly than on other nine metres, so be ready to switch down once you go much beyond 25 knots. At that stage you’ll need good edging and kite positioning skills, but if you send it right, you can go seriously high (it’s a shame we weren’t Woo-ing!). Lots of kites can take you up in a turbo charged elevator, but it’s the quality of the Sculp’s come down journey that sets it apart. It almost does it all for you and offers so much flight time. It’s easy, rewarding and very smile inducing. As it’s very stable, you’re encouraged to start taking one hand off and reaching for the board… Although we’ve talked a lot about the Sculp’s high jumping ability, in regular conditions that smooth lift makes it a really good companion for general intermediate improvement and making sense of your first jumps. Don’t worry, you’re not going to fly away!
The whole package is legit. CrazyFly make all their own gear in their own factory in Europe and, hats off to them, it’s clean, crisp and works perfectly. Even the bag is well featured and the bar has it’s own neat bag. Mid-size inflation, lovely feeling cloth; the Sculp is up there, you’re spending your money and getting a lot back.
One of the most accessible jumping kites out there that offers very special jumping performance and doesn’t require a lot of technical skills. This is quite a powerful kite, so size accordingly, but with the Sculp you get access to the skies and really beautiful flight trajectory.
The rush of the boost and then time to enjoy the flight on the way down.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
The Sculp does get a bit manly at its top end, so make sure you get a small one in your quiver.
SCULP BALANCE POINTS:
Build quality: 8.5
Full package: 9
Low end: 9
Top end: 7
Steering speed: 6
Turning circle: 5
Bar pressure: 6
Water relaunch: 8.5
Ease of use: 9
SIZES: 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7m
SCULP PRODUCT VIDEO BELOW