Flysurfer PSYCHO 2
Every few months a new version of a kite comes along which is claimed, by those who are looking to sell it to us, to be better than the one before. I don’t doubt that each tweak of the profile and each fettle of the bridle makes getting upwind a shade easier and jumps a bit higher and a bit longer, but these days the majority of developments are simply not that noticeable to the average kite monkey. So when something comes along that makes you sit up and notice it’s quite an achievement. The PSYCHO2 from Flysurfer will not only make you sit up and take notice, it will have you begging to have a go.
For sometime now I’ve been visiting the Flysurfer website with the regularity of an atomic clock. The news that Flysurfer have recently released the PSYCHO2 has had me thinking. Improved in every department, a kite that does everything, a kite with a huge wind range, a kite for both land and water. I need to try some of these.
A gloomy Monday in July… and its raining
So here I am again, sat in the office, watching the rain against the window, wondering if it will be windy and sunny at the weekend. An email comes in informing me that there is a “large box” waiting for me in the reception area. The box contains two kites, the PSYCHO2 10m and the 13m from Armin at Flysurfer. I have these kites for one month of testing, to do with as I see fit.
This is going to be fun !!
An email asking to two days holiday to pad out forth coming weekend is quickly sent. A four day weekend, that should be about right. Five minutes of anguish later, holiday request approved. The rain suddenly stops, the sun breaks through the grey clouds and the guy at the desk next to me is wondering why I’m grinning on a Monday morning.
I’ve tried pretty much every kite related activity there is. In the buggy I use a set of race kites. On the mountain board I use Blades (although recently been looking at getting Frenzy’s) and out on the water North LEIs. My kite bag is therefore somewhat larger than most. From the gossip on the web forums, I hear that I can use the full potential of the PSYCHO2′s on both land and water, but how do they stand up to real world use ?
Here is the first real chance to cut the number of kites I carry by at least half, if not more. Can they really replace both land and water kites ??
Lets find out…
The development goal for the original PSYCHOs was to build a high performance kite for the experienced kiter. After several prototypes, it was soon clear to Flysurfer that if they want to be better than the other products on the market, then they need a kite with an optimally projected surface. They came to the conclusion that, nothing will be better than a double-skin kite. In other words, a foil.
One of the main objectives for the Flysurfer guys was to develop a new depower system which will take the kite to its limit. They had to combine the simple angle-of-incidence change, which a four line LEI uses, along with the “Flap System”, with which airplanes land and which Flysurfer have been using since the Titan. The combination of the “landing flaps” and the angle-of-incidence theoretically increases the maximum lift !!
The PSYCHO2 takes this technology to a new level, so much so that the PYSCHO2 has very little in common with the original PSYCHO. However, all this technical stuff is fine. What really matters is how it flies, is it fun and more importantly, how does it compare to the competition…
So what do you get ?
When I first started out with proper kites in the dark and distant past there was no such thing as a kite manual, you were expected to attach the lines, throw the kite in the air and see what happened. Then, my first Blade1 7.2 had two pages of poorly photocopied instructions. You could tell they had writing on them, but you weren’t quite sure what language it was written in.
The manual with the PSYCHO2 is a welcome addition (its also for the Voodoo and Spirit) and is proving to be invaluable. Described is how to set up the kite, the safety system and how to launch. It’s definitely worth flicking through. The Multi WAC tuning tips are especially worth looking at. In typical tradition however, the manual was only read after playing with the WAC settings and finding that the kite was virtually impossible to get going, without folding, in the very light winds we were testing in… It was only then that the manual came out to see exactly what we had done.
I may be expecting too much, but it could be better however. To me it appeared to be somewhat vague in some of its descriptions, maybe things have just got lost in the translation. Something that would make a huge difference and would be fun to watch, would be to have a DVD of someone actually setting up the kite, showing what each bit does, and the effect any adjustments make on the flying characteristics. I know its asking a lot but it maybe something worth thinking about. Finally, shame about the few spelling mistakes I found; however you can’t have everything.
With big kites you often don’t get a bag big enough to enable you to easily get the kite back in. The kite as supplied was folded to a precision that I could only dream about, it was a work of art, my attempts of packing are feeble by comparison. As always, the bag supplied by Flysurfer for the PSYCHO2 is great. On my first fly, I easily managed to get the kite in the bag without any difficulties. I’m wondering what it’ll be like packing the 26m away though. When I find out I’ll let you know. Other nice touches include a couple of pockets at the front, in which I found a repair kit. Very nice. Hope I don’t need it though.
The main problem with many kite bags are the zips. The number of times you’ve packed away, hurrying to get out of the way of the fast approaching tide, zipped up the bag, to find later that you have got a bit of your kite stuck in the zip. Zips on kite bags are a bad idea. Flysurfer however, have thought about this one. Yes there is a zip; however the difference is that it has a flap behind it. The zip can never come into contact with the kite. So you never need to worry about snagging the kite and running the risk of rips or tears. Again this is a very simple but good idea, so full marks here, other manufacturers take note.
Bar and Lines
The bar feels very solid. It is wrapped in colour coded neoprene so you know exactly which way around its meant to go. After a crash, doing tricks or while undoing twists, you can never be sure if you have the bar the right way around. No problems with that here. Orange on the left, green on the right, bright red with a white horizontal white line and you know you got it the wrong way around. Excellent.
The bar is full carbon and is 50 cm long on the 13m and 45cm long on the 10m. The auto restart safety line has a quick release. This consists of a pin which goes through two loops of cord. It appears to be very easy to use and works well when you actually connect it properly; unfortunately I hadn’t and couldn’t understand why it kept popping apart.
Running through the hole in the centre of the bar is the Auto Restart Safety and the trim line. The Auto Restart Safety connects to a suitable location on your harness. The other end attaches to the Auto Rotor and allows multiple spins to untwist the lines. One problem I’ve found with the Auto Restart line is that it likes to get wrapped around the centre line. I’m not sure why this is, however you need to be aware of it. I’ve had several twists while flying, even though I hadn’t looped or crashed the kite once. Maybe its just me, I do seem to attract tangles.
The trimmer again has a very solid feel, is easy to operate and works well. The trim in and trim release are different colours so you’ll never get them mixed up. Again it’s the simple touches that make the difference. My North LEIs have clam cleats which I have never really got on with, this system however is great and easily allows for easy adjustments while moving. The trimmer on the PSYCHO2 is one of the best I’ve seen for a long time.
The kite is on three good quality lines which are split into sections allowing the rider to add or remove sections, to lengthen or shorten the line as required. Given that it does so much, the bridle itself looks very simple. The majority of the structure supporting the kite is internal. Two pulleys are used to control the angle of attack and at the wingtips others are used to alter the wing shape when powering up and steering. I’ve only had a few tangles with the bridles; however I always get tangles regardless of what I’m flying.
The quality of all the components is excellent. Everything has been thought about and for me, apart from the Auto Restart twists, everything works as designed.
The Multi WAC System
If you don’t trust Flysurfer to trim the kite correctly, you are given the option of setting the kite to your own personal preference. The Multi WAC system allows the rider to adapt the flight characteristics of their kite. As standard, the kite is trimmed as a compromise between the extremes. There are two different trimming options; these are for WAC and for steering. For each option there are five possible settings. The adjustments are made by moving a larks heads either up or down the knots on the relevant line.
By altering the WAC settings you are able to optimise the kite for Wakeboarding, Freestyle and light wind, or for Races.
Wakeboarding, Freestyle and light wind
By going more to WAC minus (WAC -), the kite profile will have more camber as the C lines are slackened off. This increases the lift of the profile and the kite pulls harder, but has more downward pull. The JETFLAPS are used for lift and the kite is more direct and harder in pressure build-up giving more direct bar forces, therefore not as stable in the sky with the possibility of front stalls.
The advantage of this is less backstall, more upwind / lift and more direct bar forces. However disadvantages are more downwind pull and more vulnerability to frontstalls.
By going to WAC plus (WAC +), the kite profile will have less camber. The resistance of the profile is reduced. Therefore the kite has less downward pull and you can get more air. The lift of the low camber is also less. However, more feel for the kite is demanded so you don’t provoke the kite to backstall by oversheeting (powering up too much). Therefore the kite is less vulnerable to frontstalls.
For freestylers and beginners
By increasing the green brake trim line, brake plus, the kite is depowered more in the center and is therefore steered more over the wingtips like a tube kite.
The kite can’t be powered up as much, has less backstall and is therefore easier to fly. The steering forces are harder and more defined. This does however give less lift.
By decreasing the green brake trim line, brake minus, the kite is powered up with the entire surface like a classical soft kite. The kite can be powered up more, but is therefore easier to backstall by oversheeting. The steering forces are very soft.
For some reason, the 10m and the 13m are not made from the same material. I’ve not been able to find out why this is, however the 10m is much thicker and heavier than the 13m. It also feels greasy to touch. I’m guessing that the 10m is made for higher winds and therefore needs to be made of stronger stuff. However, if anyone knows the real reason, get in touch.
One of the first things you notice about the PSYCHO2s is the huge aspect ratio, both kites come in at 4.5. There are 34 cells on each kite in the range, and 12 Jet Flaps, however more about those later.
In the most part the kites are very well made, although I’ve just got one comment. On both the 13m and 10m there were a few threads where the stitching wasn’t 100%. This hasn’t affected the flying and they haven’t pulled or developed into problems and it’s uncertain that they ever would, however on kites like this it really does need to be flawless. If these threads did pull through, would it be a serious problem? I’m guessing it would, but who knows. I’ve seen issues like this on many kites so it may not be as serious as I’m making out. I just like my kites to be perfect.
There are four air intakes and the kite inflates easy and more importantly stays inflated and holds pressure for a long time. To help deflate the kite, there are two zips on the leading edge which work perfectly. Air escapes quickly and by the time your out of your wetsuit or packed your board away, the kite is ready to go in its bag.
Four “Over Pressure Valves” can be found on the trailing edge. These are flexible lengths of plastic covered in a soft material. This is a great idea and not only allows sand and water to be easily removed from inside the kite, but also allows air to escape if the kite is crashed. There’s nothing worse than a popped kite, so top marks here.
The graphics on the PSYCHO2 are much improved over the original Psycho’s. Some have said they don’t like them; however I think they look pretty stunning. Someone also said that they don’t like the 10m as its yellow. However, this is probably going a little too far. At least I think they look good. With a sky full of LEI and a PSYCHO2, I know which kite I’d be looking at. If you really are unhappy I hear that you can get the kite in a special design, however I’m not sure what this means and how much more its likely to cost though.
These kites look the business and are very well made, if the issues regarding the stitching were sorted, then in my view, they really would be perfect. Overall, its all very impressive. You can tell immediately that its all been thought about and planned. Everything is made from high quality materials and no expense has been spared. This is quality kit.
The jet flaps are as far as I’m aware currently exclusive to Flysurfer, however I’m guessing that it won’t be long before other manufacturers also start to use them. The Jet Flaps essentially add to the kite’s stability and also increase lift.
All kites have a crucial compromise between performance (reactivity, lift and upwind performance) and stability (no over flying, easy water relaunch, constant power at the edge of the wind window). This is because a high performance kite requires a high AR and a thin profile which is somewhat of a contradiction for aerodynamic stability. Therefore when choosing a kite, you have to decide if you want maximum stability, maximum performance or a compromise between the two.
The Jet Flap technology enables Flysurfer to produce designs which pass beyond the limitations implied by normal kite aerodynamics. Jet Flaps automatically regulate the air pressure system surrounding the kite and lead to two significant performance features :
- Max power with no stalling : For a normal kite (foil or LEI), the lift produced is limited by the stalling point, in other words, when the angle-of-attack becomes too large a kite would not create more lift but stall or even start to fly backwards. The Jet Flaps help to overcome this, since the excess air pressure can be dumped through the flaps. This means that the angle-of attack and consequently the vertical boost and hangtime can be increased beyond anything seen with a traditional kite.
- Max stability : Jet Flaps balance uneven aerodynamics forces (for example, when the kite is close to leaving the wind window or a gust forces the kite to fly far overhead or a rider under jumps the kite). Therefore, when changing wind conditions or bad steering cause the kite’s air flow to break off, the Jet Flaps compensate for lack of pressure on either side of the sail and cause the kite to find its optimum position in the wind window.
Basically, we love em !!
Getting the kite ready to fly is relatively straightforward. If you are used to foils then its easy. If you come from a LEI background then the extra bridle lines may be a little strange but you’ll soon get used to them. I’ve not yet had any major tangles and the problems I have had come from me not packing the kite away properly. Maybe if I read the manual it might be easier.
Take the bar from the bag and unwind the lines down wind. Then remove the kite. A simple shake will sort everything out then sufficiently weigh down the upwind tip. Make sure that there are no tangles, hook up the bar and your ready to fly. Easy. And of course there’s nothing to pump up !!
I’ve managed to fly the kites in pretty much all conditions and at various locations. They’ve been used by several different people and have been flown at inland static sites and used for inland mountain boarding. They have also been used for mountain boarding and kite surfing at the beach. These kites have really been tested in all environments. Everyone who has flown the kites has been impressed. Several people who have flown them are also seriously thinking about buying some.
Coming from LEI’s I initially found the bar forces a little lighter than I’m used to however I quickly got the hang of feeling the kite and its never been an issue. You just learn to adapt.
The 13m will fly in around 2 knots, however at this speed there’s not really much there. At around 4 knots you can get going on a mountain board. The 10m needs much more however. In around 10 knots the 13m is just starting to get good and jumps are becoming long and floaty. As the wind increases so does the ability of the kite, its such a nice kite to fly and gives the flyer just the right amount of confidence. Too much confidence can be dangerous, Flysurfer has got it just right.
One of the most attractive features of the Flysurfer range is that they can be launched and landed without assistance. Launching from the side of the wind window is simplicity itself. Fold over a bit of the upwind tip and weigh down with a bit of sand; a gentle pull to lift the down wind tip is all that’s required. Hold it while the kite fills with air and then you’re ready.
Landing is equally as easy. Take the kite to the edge of the window, let it loose any traction, pull the auto restart line and gently steer when required as the kite drifts to the centre of the window. Keep the auto start pulled all the way in and the kite happily sits on the ground. Perfect.
Both the 10m and 13m turn relatively quickly for their size, not as fast as the Voodoo, but quick enough. Steering is quick and direct. If you gently power the kite on the bar while turning I’ve found that the kite turns much quicker and if you get it right, you can actually spin the kite around its central point. Very nice.
The PSYCHO2s are very stable and you feel very secure flying these on both land and water. I’ve not ditched the kite once, no matter how bad I’ve gotten things wrong. After one particularly badly planned trick out on the water, I found myself facing upwind, being dragged backwards not knowing where the kite was. Getting out of tricky situations is so easy with this kite. I’ve never felt so comfortable holding and using so much power in a good 20 knot wind. These kites are just so much fun to fly. Top marks to Flysurfer here.
Unfortunately, I’ve not really had much time flying the 10m as the winds have been pretty pathetic lately. In very light winds the kites do have a tendency to back stall when flown aggressively, however this can be addressed by adjusting the WAC and not powering up quite as much. I’ve spent the last few weekends at the beach waiting for the wind to pick up so I could get these kites out. My usual mountain board and surf kites have been put to the back of the pile; my first choice is the PSYCHO2.
When powered up, I’ve never found it so easy to get air either on land or on the water. In around 15 knots, all that’s required when flying the 13m is to pull in the bar and up you go. Hang time is huge, its just so floaty. It takes so much longer to come down than with any other kite I’ve tried. When riding, jumping becomes second nature, this kite makes it easy.
Riding On Land
This kite is just made for boarding. I’ve heard it called the “low wind weapon” so many times and to be honest on the mountain board it really is, you can get going in such little wind. The power delivery is very smooth, however can be as explosive as you want it to be. I’ve used the kites in inland gusty conditions and it hasn’t misbehaved once.
Once locked into position, it produces wonderfully smooth power and a nice steady constant pull. There’s lots of lift there too which is perfect for tricking and its so stable that you can happily try out new manoeuvres without worrying about what the kite is going to do when you take a heavy fall.
This kite lets you explore your own limits and the limits of your board. There’s nothing like it. When compared to other board kites, if its not the best, its certainly among them at the very top.
Riding On Water
One of the most important aspects of any kite on the water is its relaunchability. There’s nothing worse than struggling to get your kite back up. The PSYCHO2 comes into its own here. It’s just like launching from land, it’s just as easy. I’ve tested the water relaunch in pretty much all wind conditions and never had a problem, regardless if the kite was leading edge or trailing edge down. There’s none of the nonsense you have to go through with LEI’s. It just works first time, every time.
After riding with the PSYCHO2 for the last few weeks, my allegiance has slowly begun to change. I’ve always been into LEI’s on the water, but no more. The PSYCHO2 is just so competent, so stable and so powerful. Yeah, it does the same thing as a LEI, however for me it does so much more. Comparing a LEI with the PSYCHO2s is like comparing a typewriter to your computer. Yes, it kind of does the same kind of thing…
But you try installing Doom 3 onto a Remington Atlantic…
Flysurfer really have been working hard to create the PSYCHO2, they have tweaked everything that can be tweaked. You even have the option of tweaking it yourself, so you can get it just how you like it. Everything has been thought about. This is the problem with Flysurfer. They like to analyse, with wind tunnels and computers, every single detail of every single ingredient of their kites. They like to get things just right, and when they have, they then make them even better… Problem ?? Its not a problem for us !!
As you may have guessed, I really like these kites. My initial reason for looking at them was to try and cut down on the number of kites I have to carry and also to save money. Can you really use the PSYCHO2′s effectively for both mountain boarding and kite surfing ?
Too right you can !!
These kites really do perform in all activities and in all wind conditions. They are ultra stable and create huge amounts of useable power and lift. You can use them both on land and on water to excellent effect. It looks like Flysurfer have not only broken into the mountain boarding realm, but have done so by knocking the leaders off the top spot. There’s not much that currently can perform like the Pyscho2. They make the current offerings from other manufacturers look old and dated.
Just given the fact that you can happily replace your land and water kites with these makes them an excellent purchase. When you take into account the performance they offer, you just can’t resist. I can replace all my mountain board and surfing kites with a quiver of maybe 3 or 4 of these !!
If you’ve just put an order in for a LEI you might like to reconsider.
If you’re looking for a land based mountain board kite again, you might like to reconsider.
If you want the “perfect” kite, you simply have to have a Flysurfer.
I liked them so much, that I bought some.
By : racekites
Flysurfer PSYCHO 2,