High riding speeds in light winds, superb stability and perfect for floaty moves
THIS TEST FIRST APPEARED IN KITEWORLD #103 IN JANUARY 2020
TESTED BY: CHRIS BULL AND JIM GAUNT. FIND THEIR DETAILS AND TEST SCORE BREAKDOWNS HERE.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
We love Cape Town because it gets nice and windy. Now we love the Hyperlink V2 11m because it’s been a session saver on our first three days here! Ozone are pitching this as a kite ‘that’s as dynamic and engaging to ride as an inflatable, combined with the high-performance characteristics of a foil.’
Firstly, you must understand that using and riding a foil kite is very different to an LEI. That said the Hyperlink V2 is pleasantly uncomplicated. Nevertheless, spend some time reading the instructions (or have an instructor / expert show you). Learn how the bridle should look when correct and, if you pack up neatly after your session, it’s then very quick to set-up next time. We haven’t yet used the Hyperlink V2 on a hydrofoil, but have ridden it for many solid hours with a twin-tip in light onshore afternoon breezes. You’ll be surprised how small this kite packs up. Super portable and light, this kite can replace your 14 / 15m LEI kite and packs down to a fraction of the size.
The Hyperlink V2 is relatively quick and easy to get inflated with air. It’s also not super high-aspect and skinny, so the wingtips inflate easily, too. Remember, at any point that you want to put the kite down you can pull that grab handle joined to the back lines, killing all power and collapsing the kite.
Undoubtably this was the best performing kite on the water on each of our three sessions. All other riders were on ten to 14 metre tube kites and were nowhere near as well or smoothly powered. The Hyperlink is so solid and stable compared to a big LEI in light winds and the stability overhead is mind blowing. The kite just sits there without wandering.
The onshore wind was only eight to 14 knots most of the time and we always had plenty of power. This isn’t the sort of kite that you can move around sharply to generate power. You dip the kite, steer it forward, sheet in and then there’s huge amounts of park and ride performance. Once you’ve reached optimum board speed you can sheet out or be quite aggressive with your rail and the kite rewards you by pulling extremely efficiently into the window. We were having just as good a time as the foilers on smaller LEI kites in those light winds, following them and able to hold a good upwind line on a regular 138 twin-tip. Our advantage was that if we messed up a turn / fell in on a gybe, our kite always stayed firmly rooted in the sky in the very light winds.
One of the best things about the Hyperlink V2 is when you’re flying along, despite lots of power through your legs and harness at times, you won’t get pulled downwind. Treat the V2 hard and it will fly forward into wind and you’ll also enjoy very good control of your edging because the kite depowers so progressively. On a 15 metre LEI – first you have to lose the battle, sheet out and then you can control the power.
Don’t expect the turning speed of an 11m LEI though, which you can turn aggressively and sheet in at the same time to jump. Rather than sending the kite back aggressively, the technique for jumping a kite like this is to get good board speed, then sheet out and move the kite up. Once the kite is overhead, carve into wind and sheet in. In onshore conditions it was so easy to edge up a wave and sheet in with the kite overhead. The float is undeniable. Riding with the kite at 11 o’clock, if you simply pop over a wave you’ll always go two feet higher than you might expect.
We got riding in just eight knots and that’s super impressive performance, so we just can’t imagine needing a bigger size. Most people could use this from ten to 14 knots and enjoy looking better than anyone else… which is important! Jumps, grabs and spins are all very predictable and fun. You get so long to get in position and hold your grab because the lift is so persistent. Riding waves on the twin-tip in onshore conditions is also fun because if the kite eventually loses line tension, you have more time to re-engage your rail and ride against the kite before it drops to the water like an LEI would.
In stronger wind, 15 – 18 knots, you really need to steel your legs against the kite, but it’s possible with some experience. Steam into a ramp with great speed and, as long as you sheet out and edge upwind for take-off you’ll fly for miles. In more wind, coming into land is more technical than an LEI because the Hyperlink V2 produces so much lift and hangtime that you can pendulum in front of the kite, meaning it’s important to be able to heli-loop on landing. Skill and experience in stronger winds will help.
The sacrifice to all this light wind performance and lift is in the slower speed of turn, making downloop transitions more physical for example, as you have to steer more bullishly.
For foiling, we can’t imagine ever needing to use this 11 metre. We were riding a twin-tip in eight knots, so what would you be riding your foil in? Four knots? The smaller sizes will be great foil kites for that magic eight to ten knot range – and we’ll be testing the seven metre out here very soon. Overall this kite really oozes quality. Every aspect feels a cut above in terms of workmanship and detail. The control bar is essentially the same as Ozone’s excellent regular bar, but has the depower safety handle.
If you enjoy riding a twin-tip and want to continue doing so in ten to 14 knots, this is so much fun and not tiring at all. Stable and sedate enough that it won’t put itself in trouble, you’ll get going easily with powerful sheeting drive. The Hyperlink V2 is also perfect for floaty moves like air walks, rodeo airs, any sort of board-offs and grabs. More skilled riders with strong edge control will also enjoy pushing the kite into stronger winds for massive, gliding jumps.
Easily getting up to high riding speeds in very light winds as well as the superb stability of the kite. No hint of back stalling, ever.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
The turning speed – but you can’t really compare apples with oranges, or LEIs with foils.
HYPERLINK V2 BALANCE POINTS:
Build quality: 9
Full package: 9
Low end: 10
Top end: 6 – Good if you’re prepared to muscle it
Steering speed: 3
Turning circle: 8
Bar pressure: 6.5
Water relaunch: Depends how it falls. Very light wind relaunch gets a high score. Scores less than a good LEI in regular winds because there is some technique to apply. Definitely goes up though, even after a while in the water.
Unhooked: 5 – Some basic, lazy freestyle on a cruisy, light wind day Crossover: 5 – Foiling in the smaller sizes
Ease of use: 6 – Not difficult, but needs a little dialling into for set-up and handling technique.
13, 11, 9, 7 and 5m
Find out more: www.ozonekites.com