Little review of the new Switch Element 2
When I bought an 11M Element 1 last year, I came from Naish Cults. I really had a hard time getting used to flying the Element. It was such a quick kite and there was hardly any bar pressure at all compared to the Cults. I had doubts if I was ever able to get a feel for it. But then again I was still a novice kite boarder then. After some time struggling to get in tune with it, I came to love it. I sold my Cults and bought the 9M en 15M too. A 7M was still missing in my quiver. And with such variable winds here, it was a necessity to get one. However, the 7M Element 1 was out of stock. And then the Element 2 came along. So I bought a 7M Element 2.
And now it was time to give it a spin. I bought the 7M for 25-35 knots wind. In summer such strong winds are rare though. So I gave it a try in 20-30 knots on the 28th of July. I used the stock setting on the kite. I will have to try the 4 different settings later on.
I really felt unsure what to expect. I heard the kite was actually quit different than the Element 1. Next to that, flying small kites is not one of my strengths. I kinda tend to give too much steering input. But from the moment I launch it, it was love. The kite behaves so very stable in the air you could build a house on it (dunglish). It really didn’t feel like the small and nervous kite I expected it to be. Happy times.
Hello bar pressure
You could say it is a moderate bar pressure. You can feel exactly were the kite is. Very nice! However, now that I’m used to flying the Element 1 with hardly any bar pressure, this was kind of a weird surprise. I’m still not sure how I feel about it. It gives direct feel and control, which is nice. But I have to put in some extra effort holding on to the bar. This is something I have to get used to again.
Low end sweetness
I expected to fly the 7M Element 2 from 25 knots. And that for me (82kg) the sweet spot would be 28-32 knots. So I was positively surprised I could fly it to day in 20-30 knots. Only when the wind dropped to 18-22 knots, I slowly started to drift downwind. However, I still felt there was pressure in the kite. If it weren’t for the waves and the strong high tide current, I believe I could have kept my height. It was a blast. The low end is a really big improvement compared to the Element 1. I haven’t tried the high end yet.
Effortlessly going upwind
Though some say the Element 2 goes upwind even better than the Element 1, I belief this is not the case in my experience so far. It goes upwind pretty darn good and steady too. But not as steep as the Element 1. And I think this is a good thing. The Element 1, especially in it’s high end, went upwind like crazy. Too much for my taste. With the Element 2 I control how much up wind we go 😉
Getting on the throttle
This is something I really appreciate in the new Element. It seems Switch has build in a throttle. You can now control to go slow or really fast by just pushing the bar away or to pull it in. And when you pull it… it seems to generate a lot more speed than the Element 1. This put a big smile on my face anyway.
Drifting down the line
Well… hell yeah it drifts. I always had some trouble getting down wind in chop or down the line when hitting a wave. But not any more. This kite drifts really good. Even with the current against you. It maintains power when you put it in front to drift down. And on demand you can tune in more or less power without any hesitation of the kite. Usually I’m a “straight line kiter”, but to day I was all over the place. I might even take up wave riding 😉
Keep it hanging
I’m a beginning intermediate kite boarder. I can jump, but not so high yet. I’m afraid of heights. So always a bit reluctant to speed up, really edge hard and throw the kite before jumping. But I guess this is history too. When I tried to jump the new Element, like I always would with the Element 1, there was a noticeable difference. I got stuck in the air for a while. My jumping skills had either quantum leaped or the hang time of this kite is improved much. I think it is the latter, though I really wished it was the first 🙂 This is a kite that certainly gives me confidence to progress. I’m sure I will stick that back roll soon too.
Something to nag
I don’t know if this is just me or perhaps the way my bar is tuned, but there is some wiggle space on the bar when flying the kite. This is something the Element 1 didn’t have. Also this is something unexpected. Because of the fixed bridle, I think it is a bit strange. It is not very disturbing, however noticeable different from the Element 1 in not such a positive way as the other attributes. Other than that no negatives found yet.
The build quality is of course to last. They even improved the bag nicely. Great all round kite. An all round kite, is a kite that can do all lot of things well, but it excels in nothing in particular. However the new Element seems to be made to excel in being an all round kite.