At A Glance
Back with version five (V5), Ozone have a good thing going with the Zephyr. One of the original ‘light wind specific’ kites, it has been a very high benchmark for other brands to hit with their own models.
17 square meters, 5 struts and a pulley-less bridle system all club together to form a powerful, efficient and direct light wind machine.
The canopy itself is made from Teijin’s TechnoForce D2 and also the TechnoForce Dacron, which are proven to be incredibly hardwearing and high performance. Five struts and a compact bridle system ensure stability of the kite, powerful turning and a solid structure to be riding beneath.
For the V5, the leading edge of the kite has been straightened somewhat to allow for greater drive and acceleration through the turn. As with all Ozone products, the quality is second to none, and the rigorous checking done on each kite before sale ensures nothing goes unnoticed.
The Zephyr V5 has been designed as not only as a light wind cruiser, but also as an all-round kite for those who ride in winds up to about 20knots.
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The Contact Bar has stayed the same, which is certainly no bad thing. Featuring the excellent push-away ‘Megatron’ chicken loop, and an incredibly comfy ergonomic grip, it looks the bees knees. All Ozone kites are 4 lines, and all can be used on the same bar making things that little bit cheaper and simpler if you were to get a few different style kites from the brand.
The safety system on the Contact Bar is of the highest quality. A light push of the release and the bar shoots up one of the front lines to the stopper ball situated on said line.
Any twists in your lines are very easy to untangle with the well positioned ‘Spinning Handle’, and relaunch is a breeze with small stopper balls situated on each leader line showing exactly where to hold the line to get the kite to flip over. The throw of the Contact Bar is of ideal length. It allows kites to depower sufficiently, yet you will never be in the situation where you lose contact with the bar, something very important for smaller riders.
For depowering the kite, the cleat system works perfectly; incredibly smooth and there’s no need to be in the gym every day in order to have the strength to use it.
Additionally, those first few times you rig up on your own are made oh-so-easy with fool proof number and colour-coding on the lines.
In The Air
As a dedicated 12m and below kinda gal, I had reservations about pumping this kite up, let alone actually flying it! However, both turned out to be quite different to what I had anticipated. Nowadays pumping up a kite is easy, and with a large volume pump and fast inflate valves fitted as standard with the Zephyr V5 we were away in no time.
There is no denying you are flying a 17 meter kite, as on appearances (as you would expect) it looks simply massive, but very quickly the size is unnoticeable and instead the focus shifts to what you are doing. This is the surprising bit: the Zephyr does not feel big. Ozone claim it feels more like a 13m, and I can confirm it really does.
The Zephyr V5 drives very well forward into the window creating solid usable power straight away. It is perfectly content to be parked allowing you to cruise easily, and applying some pressure will get you upwind efficiently. At the top end of its wind range, pulling on a little depower will make the kite fly just a tiny bit further round, aiding your upwind angle.
Bar pressure is surprisingly light on the V5, and if used to heavier kites, once you find that sweet spot the kite comes into its own.
A slightly less expected result from the Zephyr is that it is, in fact, a cracking freestyle kite.
Jumping is just lovely, super floaty and smooth with huge distances covered. The V5 wont shoot you up, but rather float you up, along, and then back down again. For those looking to nail jumping and throw in some stylish old school moves you can’t go far wrong.
You won’t be throwing your gnarliest loops on the Zephyr, but you will give them a shot, and actually be pleasantly surprised. It’s a great way to build up your confidence and skill before trying in anger on an 8m kite!
A slightly less expected result from the Zephyr is that it is, in fact, a cracking freestyle kite. The stable design of the kite allows it to be parked and loaded against with some impressive power generated and, unlike some other light wind kites, it won’t just rip your arms out! Very confidence-inspiring, and in those lighter winds which are often cleaner is just perfect to get to grips with your first few handle passes.
Relaunching is impressive, in fact I had completely forgotten I was on such a big kite the entire session! Acting like a smaller kite, simply pull on one of the handy ‘relaunch balls’ and the Zephyr will swing round and pop back up ready to go. In the super light stuff you may need to give it a helping hand by moving forward and getting the kite to roll onto its back before swinging round to the side.
Of course with light wind abilities the size of the rider makes a difference, yet I can confidently say that the range Ozone advertise of 6 - 20 knots is accurate, and this kite is really solid option for anyone who kites in lighter winds.
A wind range into the single figures which still behaves like your regular go-to kite, and with the performance to match
Hard to find any real complaints with the Zephyr V5.
Its not often a kite will surprise you this much, but the Zephyr V5 has truly changed my perception of light wind riding. Tricking in 10knots, boosting in 12 and a wind range big enough to be a one kite option for a huge majority of people in sub 20 knots.
This review was in Issue 60 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit Ozone