Charger 3 A Breakthrough Kite???

Kitesurfing/Kiteboarding on Liquid H2O

Charger 3 A Breakthrough Kite???

Postby Timothy Grossnickle » January 27th, 2018, 11:42 am

My new 18m Ch3 arrived yesterday from Traig Trumbo in California. Opening the box and then the bag its apparent that the bag with the extra interior bag and strap VO designed for new PLK bridled foils. Thus they become useless for Arcs with the long end battens installed. I immediately switched Ch3 to older Ch1 bag as I have done with the 15m Ch2. The Ch1 bag works well with large clips even after the bag zips freeze from dried salt and break down as they have on 100% of Chargers I've used.

Laying the 18m Ch3 over the older heavily modified 19m Ch1 you can see that VO has narrowed the tips on the later Chargers making it more high aspect while leaving the fat middle of the kite essentially the same width. Hard to see much difference in the outline of the 15m Ch2 and 18m Ch3. I didn't see much, but will write more on that later after I lay the 15m Ch2 over the 18m Ch3. However, making rough measurements of the 15m Ch2 versus the 18m Ch3 I calculated the flat surface area of the 18m Ch3 at 120% of the 15m Ch2 which matches the differential PLK's published kite sizes.

Looking at the 19m Ch1 and 15m Ch2 I noticed the two intake vents on the 18m Ch3 significantly larger than the earlier kites. The 18m Ch3 while 20% larger than the 15m Ch2 has intake vents 33% larger than the 15m Ch2 and roughly double the area of the 19m Ch1.

The skin of the new 18m Ch3 very different from all earlier Chargers. It for me felt a bit like oil skin, only much lighter. It lacks the crispness we normally associate with a new kite. It feels like slightly rubbery and smooth almost like plastic wrap. The overall weight perhaps a little lighter than the weight of earlier Charger skins, but not significantly so. I've read that the new Ch3 skin the same as on PLK race kites, but out of the box the texture surprised me.

Arriving at the beach with the water barely whitecapping and lots of big tube kites on the beach I thought I would meed the 22m Ch2. Not my favorite kite and a beast to turn, but better than sitting in the sand. Rigged the 18m Ch3 which filled slowly in the light winds. Launched it walking way upwind not wanting to do the "walk of shame" after getting pushed down into the beach full of big inflato kites. At a point with lot of downwind room I dove the 18m Ch3 and off we went flying upwind. The power and speed of the 18m Ch3 astounded me. With hardly working the kite I flew past lots of good riders with 12m to 16m tubes on beach or fighting to get upwind. In a few tacks I had moved upwind above all the tubes.

As I rode I'm trying to figure out why the 18m Ch3 so much more powerful than the 19m Ch1 or 22m Ch2? While some differences exists between these three kite the overall shapes mostly similar. The Ch2 and Ch3 more high aspect than Ch1, but not enough to account for the dramatic difference in speed across the water and overall power. Am thinking perhaps the slippery race skin could produce less drag. Hence making the Ch3 faster with more power.

On turning speed and pop, both felt good, more than adequate. The increased speed across the water makes for lots of pop. As for turning speed, with the power of the kite, I worked it less. Thought it turned about the same as Ch2 15 which I've found more than adequate. For stability and depower. I was riding with max power and didn't have much opportunity to depower. Stability I'd rank very high as you would expect of all Arcs as you would with depower.

Overall, I recall the dramatic improvement from the first Arc's to the Venoms. Not since then PLK and VO have produced some stinkers like Scorpion and Ch1. In the process they have lost a lot of customers to Tubes. Now with the Ch3 I think they have finally produced a kite to compete with tubes and newer bridled foils. After having tried bridled 15m F-One Diablo, I so prefer Arc's for their easy set up and use. Now VO needs to fix the bag losing the zips and going back to the clips in the Ch1 or sausage bags of Venom days.

Regards,
Tim
Timothy Grossnickle
 
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Re: Charger 3 A Breakthrough Kite???

Postby Timothy Grossnickle » January 28th, 2018, 10:56 pm

To determine if VO had changed modified the cut of the Ch2 when they designed the Ch3 I stretched a 15m Ch2 over the new 18m Ch3. In doing this I lined them up as best I could. From my eye the overall shape of Ch2 versus the Ch3 appeared identical. The two kites only differed in fabric. Ch3 has the newer slippery fabric with the Ch2 built with the older standard fabric.

Previously I had overlaid my older 19m Ch1 with the new 18m Ch3. Doing this I could easily see the Ch3 dramatically cut from the tips to the mid kite in a more high aspect shape accounting for the one meter reduction in area. In the mid kite fat part of the kite the dimensions looked very similar, but narrowing to the tips on the Ch3. The much larger intake vents on the Ch3 represented the only other significant change in the cut of the kites.

From my basic physical comparisons of the three kites I came away with the feeling that VO did significantly alter the cut of the Ch2 from Ch1, but not from Ch2 to Ch3. They made some cosmetic changes in the leading edge of the Ch3 and used a high tech race fabric. Based on my first rides of the 18m Ch3 it pulled me significantly faster than the 19m Ch1 with lots more power and pop. Am still wondering if the changes came from the fabric or the cut or both? None the less, thought the improvement dramatic...
Regards, Tim
Timothy Grossnickle
 
Posts: 162
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Re: Charger 3 A Breakthrough Kite???

Postby sparkin_larkin » February 14th, 2018, 11:01 pm

Got any other stuff to share Tim? Sounds interesting does the high tech race fabric mean handle with care or does it feel robust? I am all ears.
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Re: Charger 3 A Breakthrough Kite???

Postby andy666 » February 24th, 2018, 2:34 am

There was a comment from a team rider on extremekites.com.au that the ch2 and ch3 are the same design kite, it is just the material that is different. The new material is lighter and more air tight, which is obviously helping the speed through the window and the light wind ability.
Similar to the old speed 3 standard cloth vs deluxe cloth. The lighter cloth, made a huge difference to performance.
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Re: Charger 3 A Breakthrough Kite???

Postby Timothy Grossnickle » March 2nd, 2018, 10:41 am

Have heard from local shop owner that high tech fabric on Ch3 breaks down. So far after a few sessions haven't noticed any hint of deterioration. The Ch3 doesn't require any extra care. After a kite session I normally roll the Arcs used our on the grass and shake off the last bits of sand and open the zips part way. Then re roll the kite neatly. In Florida with the high humidity and salt the zips often stick. I open them part way which allows me to unstick them with hot water when they freeze up. Have found when they stick completely closed much more difficult/impossible to get them open.
Timothy Grossnickle
 
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Re: Charger 3 A Breakthrough Kite???

Postby sparkin_larkin » March 3rd, 2018, 1:33 am

Fabric breaks down?? that does not instill confidence. I know the deluxe fabric on flysurfers will not last as long as standard coth and hopefully that's what was meant. I have had standard and deluxe both pretty strong cloth. Thanks Tim & Andy
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Re: Charger 3 A Breakthrough Kite???

Postby jeffnyc » March 3rd, 2018, 5:22 pm

Yeah, it would be good to get some clarification on the cloth. It makes sense that thinner cloth is more susceptible to wear, but if it actively breaks down in some way that would not be good.

Thanks for the review + discussion Tim. Not a lot of info on the 3 out there.
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Re: Charger 3 A Breakthrough Kite???

Postby Timothy Grossnickle » March 11th, 2018, 1:25 pm

Hi Jeff,

Am coming to Brooklyn in April to see my daughter. Wondering if you will be kiting there then? If so, please give me a heads up as I might bring my gear. You can reach me at tog0713@gmail.com or text at 312.919.7566..

Thanks in advance,
Tim
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Posts: 162
Joined: January 14th, 2012, 11:51 pm


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