A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to receive a “Seven” made by Sportkitedesign in Sweden. I had seen photos of the kite and been kept well up to date with its development, so I was quite excited to see exactly what had made the long trek Downunder. I wasn’t disappointed.
What you get:
The kite has a moderate aspect ratio, 2.34m tip-to-tip with a height of 81.5cm, and is framed using a combination of SkyShark and Exel carbon. For the technically inclined, the framing scheme is 5PT spine, P200 ULE, 5PT LLE, 7PT LS and 5mm Exel for the US. The sail comprises an astounding 36 individual panels, most of which are outlined with a fine black tape as seen on some R-Sky designs. Given the complexity of the sail, the stitching is absolutely top-notch – the seams are relatively narrow but not once does the stitching stray off the panel edges or even deviate from the center of the overlapping material. The intricate outlining and large number of panels gives the kite a lovely stained-glass look without being overly busy. The nose is particularly well done, being robust looking but also snag-free.
The Seven gets a big panel of mylar reinforcement around the standoffs and along the spine up to the center T region. Some novel features also appear including an extra layer of material on the LE at the wingtips, a leech line that is adjusted at the LS fitting, and a double end-cap that sits atop the spine within the nose webbing. Bridle is a reverse turbo with angle-of-attack adjustments done at the ULE fitting. You also get a very nicely made weight kit which covers 5-25 gram ballast in 5 gram increments. The weights themselves are brass rods with a metal stopper attached to the end – a simple idea that works well and means that weights are easy to change on-the-go. R-Sky stoppers facilitate yoyo based tricks.
How it performs:
The Seven very quickly struck me as a competition oriented kite that happens to be very user-friendly. The framing scheme works well, giving the kite a nice solid feel even during aggressive moves such as a fast comete cascade, while the default bridle setting produces an even forward drive without over-steer or unreasonable pull. Using the default leech line tension, tracking is very good although not quite up to the benchmark Nirvana. The kite emits an inoffensive hum in moderate winds which ramps up to a loud buzz in high winds.
All the basic tricks are there in spades and easily accessible without quirks: axel, half axel, half axel cascade, 540, slot machine, lazy susan. The Seven is forgiving with moves that are sometimes difficult or idiosyncratic on other kites: inverse, taz machine, wap do wap, comete, rolling cascade, backspin cascade, and single-pop 1.5 rotation lazies. The crazy copter prefers the nose to be very “nose-away” before the spin rotation is given (like a Deep Space), but once you’ve got that dialed in, the Seven will spin around happily. Oh, and if you’re looking to learn to Jacob’s ladder, this kite makes it a doddle. 15g ballast is installed stock and I felt that this didn’t need adjusting for my tastes – the kite pitches quite quickly and pitching in high winds is no trouble at all. In fact, yoyo based moves are where the Seven shines and this is where I had the most fun. Start a JL, yoyo, half lewis to unroll, backspin, yoyo, half lewis to unroll, backspin…immense fun!
Special mention must be given to the kite’s tricking speed. The Seven moves between positions at a relatively low speed and this is particularly noticeable when stringing together combination’s. I think that this trait might help people who find smaller kites too lively and twitchy; I’d expect the Seven to really help people who are aiming to learn moves such as the JL and the improvisations that extend beyond the JL. The slow pace of transitions gives the pilot’s grey matter more time to keep up with what the kite is doing.
The kite’s low wind range is as good as can be expected; things start to become a lot of work in 3mph, and 5mph is where the Seven starts to play nice. I’ve also given the kite a torture-test in 25-30mph and while the kite roars along quite raucously, I didn’t feel like the kite was going to explode mid-air. The LLEs did bend inwards to a worrying extent though, and at times the kite took on an almost dog-legged Prism Alien look to it.
What the future holds:
It must be said that I’m a bit of a nightmare for kite builders when it comes to the finer points of construction (I think AudioRob must still have nightmares) and ensuring that a kite withstand intense tricking. So I’ve given some suggestions to Jorgen of Sportkitedesign and he has taken these on board for future builds. New Sevens will get a keeper line on the bridle, bundled leader lines, smooth Black Diamond spreaders, fray-resistant Dacron along the trailing edge, an extra layer of mylar at the standoffs, and a more robust yoyo stopper implementation. Given these changes, the Seven will be a kite that you can buy and fly intensely straight out of the bag without worrying about how it will hold up.
Overall: the Seven is quite a remarkable achievement for a company that is, as far as I know, a one-man operation. The kite is a great all-rounder that mixes decent precision with a heap of fun-factor when it comes to tricks. It’s not a kite that has a steep learning curve, nor should it inspire frustration at the field. If you want a kite that’s built to last, has looks that kill, and hands out tricks without fuss, the Seven might be for you.
Special thanks must go to Jorgen of Sportkitedesign for offering me the opportunity to test fly his design, it’s been a blast !