Shem's Blog | Creative solutions | Dyfi Mountain Biking | Surf | Design | Beer Shem's blog!: Star kites Taina review, (independant)

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Star kites Taina review, (independant)

So, Ive kindly had a Starkites Taina 9 meter to play with over the last couple of weeks. Weighing in at 88 kilos, given a pie or two Im no light weight and my usual day to day kite is an 11 meter Caution Mayhem, so a 9 wouldnt be my daily choice, but Im always up for a change and through working with kites for over 10 years now Ive flown a lot of kites and always enjoying trying new ones.

First impressions

So, the initial package set up looks great. The well designed bag is ample in size, and easy to get the kite out of and more importantly back into. I have a huge dislike for bags that are to small to easily get a kite back into after a session without extracting every last piece of air from the bladders, so a good start! The bag is nicely styled and could easily be mistaken or a quality ruck sack.
Open the bag and your greeted by a good quality sail cloth, still nice and crisp, even though Id been told this particular kite has had a good amount of use.

Im a big fan of keeping things simple and not over complicating matters, and the bar set up is just this. Simple twin control straps for depower and trimming the kite, which work easily, both in light wind and under pressure in stronger winds. Theres a large amount of throw on the bar, and those with shorter arms will certainly want to adjust the trim if they dont want to spend the whole session getting their arms stretched. The throw incidentally, works brilliantly in fully depowering the kite, but Ill speak more about this later.

Set up

The kite flies on four lines, and has a really simple bridle system. Once more, this is right down my street, keeping the simple is best principle alive! The rear lines attach directly to short leaders and the front lines attach to the minimal pulley system.
The kite pumps up quickly through the non return inflation valve, and deflates equally well via the deflate valve. The one pump system is solid, and inflates the kites three struts with no bother or need to twist tubes. The only factor I did have with the one pump system was that the shut off valves kept popping back open when trying to shut them off to lock the air into each chamber individually. This took a few attempts to get right and it would be very easy to not realise that the clamps hadnt been shut off properly.
The main depower activator on the bar is a solid plastic push away device. I worked well in tests, and was simple to re load and re launch. I personally preffer a textile mechanism, as Ive had sand jam units like this on other kites, but on my own tests here, this model worked well. Definitely worth giving your bar and especially this area a good wash down after sessions to ensure any sand is removed.


Self launching was pretty easy. My current kites are set up with a side line re ride system for safety, and the star kites use a centre line re ride. This means that you cant self launch using my preferred  (leash around the foot strap, board covered in sand method), without attaching the leash directly to the chicken loop itself. This works well though, and launching is simple.

Self landing is simple. The push out on the bar de-powers the kite pretty close to 100%, maybe even a full 100%, I tested this in a solid and gusty 25 knots and it sat out of power with ease. (see video later).
The safety of landing the kite and de-powering it will fill any new kite surfers with masses of confidence!

UP in the air, the 9 meter Taina looks deceptively small, in my opinion for a 9 meter kite. Probably due to its lowish aspect ration compared to my Mayhems. Get it flying though and its power is far from small kite!
On my first session on the water, I knew I'd be pushing the kites low wind ability. With an agreed wind strength of 10-12 knots, (3 of us at the beach, the other 2 decided it wasnt worth even blowing up big kites), I set off into the flat water of Ynys las estuary on my crazy fly 132 x 41 twin tip, and after a couple of serious dives was up and riding. I really was shocked at the low wind grunt the kite produced, and wished now that Id set up the kite with the  faster turn option on the kite itself to help produce a bit more power via quicker turning ability. After a longish down wind run, I amazed myself more by managing to carefully pilot my way back upwind, (much to the amazement of the two guys sat on the beach watching). So this was a 13.5 stone rider just about staying up wind on a standard twin tip in 10-12 knots. Pretty impressive.

Next session
Having tested the kites bottom end I now wanted to test it nearer the top of its capabilities. Sunday the 30th of September and weve got 20 knots gusting to 25 knots. Id normally not start to use my 9 meter Mayhem to 25 knots, unless I was using a surf board, but it would be ample for a solid sesh anyway.

On the water, the kite is stable and solid, the long throw on the bar coped well with the big gusts, but I did find the throw a little bit to much on standard setting, so de-powered a little to take a bit of this out.

With the kite being a lower aspect to what Im used to flying, I dint expect anything special from jumps, but on cranking my first well powered one in, I was pleasantly surprised and saw myself looking down from a good 25-30 foot within seconds. The other factor that stands out is how floaty it is on the way down. A lot of smaller kites can really drop you compared to bigger models, but this kept me hovering nicely, before a quick pull on my front hand had me landing smoothly. Jumping using this kite is so simple and really fun. It will get new or progressing kite surfers reaching heights they've only dreamed about within a couple of sessions,and the back up of the kites great de-power will furthermore fuel their confidence when doing so.
For wake style tricks the kite has heaps of pop and again is super stable. One hand can easily control the kite, and they seem to sit at 45% with little effort.
I did find the dumpier shape, slightly effected how far into the wind I could fly and sail, but it really wasnt a problem.

All in, a really good little kite with a great wind range. Jumps are big floaty and simple, and the kites stability is one of its big plus points. Build quality looks good, especially as the one I flew was a well used kite. The right areas are reinforced well, without being so heavy that it affects flying, with excess weight. I didnt get a chance to use the kite in surf, which is a real shame, as I think it would excel here. Its an ideal kite for people learning to progress quickly, learn new tricks or just have a plain easy kite to keep them powered. Personally I prefer a slightly higher aspect kite, and expect the Arawak model would probably be more my kinda kite. As already mentioned though, this is a smaller kite than Id normally use and a larger model could be a different kettle of fish.

I may have forgotten stuff here, as I prepare Sunday dinner in between typing, so please ask if theres any relevant areas of this kite your interested in.

Ill upload a video to go with this very soon. (and a few screen grabs from the GoPro)

For more info on Starkites, click here...

1 comment:

  1. Hello guys If you really want to buy any electric pump then I suggest you first preference give the kite hand pumps