At the beginning of June I had the tremendous fortune to be able to spend two weeks in a beach house on the beautiful island of Oahu, Hawaii. As luck would have it, this house was situated right on Kailua Bay, which is one of the best kiting spots Oahu has to offer. The bay offers nearly endless warm choppy water as well as five to ten foot waves far out in the bay. This was a perfect opportunity to try out my newly acquired Instinct Lights.
The kites (a 9m and 12m) proved to be ideal travel kites. Their light weight and small packed size helped to ease the woes of air travel. Once I arrived in Hawaii the Instinct Lights allowed me to get on the water quickly with an amazingly brief set up time. These kites maintain all the desirable characteristics of a beginner oriented kite while successfully bridging the gap into intermediate level kite territory. These are, without a doubt, the most stable kites I’ve ever flown. The narrow beach of Kailua forces those walking upwind to position their kites over the tall palms that border the beach. This can be scary with a kite that is even slightly unstable. But the Instinct Light performed beautifully. In fact, to this day, neither of these kites has ever fallen out of the sky.
Predictably, the flying performance was somewhat less than I would have expected from a higher aspect kite. Upwind performance and low end power were the kite’s weakest points. I found that the kite simply begged for strong wind. The 12 wasn’t happy until the wind was consistently in excess of 15 mph. The high wind performance is another story. I haven’t had a chance to adequately test the high end but, having flown the 12m in gusty 25 mph winds, I can say that the upper end of the range is a long way off. The depower is simply amazing. Even in winds this strong, the pull is negligible when the kite is completely depowered. This reliable depower boosted my confidence – helping me to land my first handle passes.
While not a performance kite, the Instinct Light fits its niche well. It is an ideal high or gusty wind kite for a rider who isn’t looking for an aggressive ride.