Sunday, January 31, 2016

Northerly at Frankston with Airush Union kite

Session 357.  A northerly was blowing most of the day. I called by The Zu Boardsports to pick up their Airush Union 10m demo kite, then checked at Brighton at about 2 p.m.  Three kites and five windsurfers were out.
Stu S and I then headed down to Frankston for some cleaner less fickle wind.  I unpacked the Union and was immediately stumped by the huge oversize single valve. It seemed I was missing a fitting for the air hose from the pump until I realised the large fitting on the hose pushes into the valve for a snug fit.  There is now only one valve instead of the two older inflate and deflate valves.

The kite inflates very quickly and deflates extremely quickly. The single oversize valve is definitely an improvement.

The Union 10m was stable and very responsive. It goes upwind very well and its easy to park and ride it on waves.   Airush say the designed the Union as an all new kite for 2016

"to unite the key freestyle characteristics of the razor, with the key characteristics of our industry leading wave kite and the freeride abilities of the lithium."

I think they have achieved this very well.

Wind speed for this session ranged from 15 to about 23 knots.

What  I liked:

  • Great turning, very responsive (on high bar pressure wing attachment points)
  • Very good depower (better than the Lithium)
  • Good boosting and landings (need to "fly it" more than the Lithium)
  • Great down the line drifting on waves
  • The inflate/deflate valve is huge and very effective to use. 
  • Smooth power on downloops and kiteloops - no big yanks 
  • The narrow leading edge and wing design provides great upwind ability
  • The Dyneema Load Frame looks good and may improve durability of the kite
Other observations:
  • The Union seems to have a bit less low end power than the equivalent size Lithium
  • The middle strut has limited free area for attaching a kitecam mount
  • The bridle is big and the rear attachment lines are long (not a big issue)
I swapped kites with Stu so he could try it out.  It has been a while since I used a Switchblade 10m (2009 model) and was surprised by its power and the sluggish turns.  I crashed and tangled it on a turn and floated in.  

Stu like the Union a lot. So did I.

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