In The Air
Having used the previous Zephyr V5, it was noticeable on the first flight, just how refined the new V6 model is. The kite feels tighter, with improved turning response and lighter feel on the bar.
The Zephyr V6 was stable to fly and hydrofoil within super light conditions around 8-10mph. Remaining responsive with easy relaunch off the sideline stopper balls in these lighter conditions. The next session the wind ramped up, so we were able to put the Zephyr through its paces in around 10-18mph, classic pulsing UK conditions. The ability to have such a solid amount of power in the lighter breeze meant you could still have a good session remaining upwind between the gusts. This kite just pulls and pulls. It's powerful but doesn't feel like you are connected to a bus, as some of the first light wind and race-style kites used to. Even when the winds gusted through, it was still possible to get dialled into some unhooked riding with the Zephyr without the need to have your arms shortened again after the session.
This kite has so much wind range it's bonkers. A huge amount of depower available from the bar makes this kite manageable into the realms of 12/11m weather—a true one kite light wind option. The Zephyr V6 remains stable in a variety of conditions and trim variations at the edge of the window, which allows you to maximize upwind ability and control in a broad spectrum of conditions.
The handling of this light wind kite is fantastic. It's so light on the arms to turn that even the smallest of riders can manage it. Turning speed of the kite is phenomenal, considering it's a 17m. It doesn't feel that different from flying a 12m kite. Sure, it's slightly slower through the air, takes slightly longer to climb back up and does take slightly longer to complete its turns - it is a 17m after all. Top marks for feedback through the bar and turning response and speed from this kite, nice and direct.
Due to its quick turning speed, you can send some decent jumps, which are then accompanied by tons of float! Great for practising some old-school moves. The kite remains stable even in lighter winds when going for unhooked moves, giving plenty of slack to perform your passes.
The Contact Bar has had a facelift: the results keep the same simple and stylish design we have grown to love, yet added a few key elements to make our lives even easier, the Contact V4 bar is quite good. This time we've gone for the larger variant of 55cm for lighter-faster turns coupled with 27m lines for extra power and light wind performance.
Starting with the new Click-In chicken loop: sometimes the simplest designs are best, and Ozone have produced a chicken loop which is every bit as functional as you would imagine. A moulded loop for easy hooking in and out, a releasable suicide mode, so the safety is always ready to be activated no matter your way of riding, an above-loop swivel which doesn't lock into the bar but does sit close. The safety release is industry-standard push-away with single line re-ride, and taking inspiration from a seat belt, to reengage the release you simply click the release back into the top of the loop with one hand.
The centre line is hidden inside a PU tube, keeping everything smooth as you sheet in and out on the bar. The bar itself has had an update to the grip and colours. The new grip has been shaped slightly differently, so it sits perfectly below your fingers along the top.
The new EVA coating has been wound around the bar rather than a continuous coating; this simply adds more ridges and bumps which again aid grip; simple and very effective. Integrated bar ends and floats remain on the new Contact Bar, but now feature the additional ability to trim the back lines at the bar ends. This is easy to do and incredibly useful.
Moving up the bar, the trim system stays the same using a racing-grade cleat, as well as the bungee trim line. The new Ozone lines came into play last year and are now shipping as standard with all Ozone bars. Lighter, stronger and with less stretch than the already excellent lines.
The Zephyr is such an adaptable light wind kite; its performance in the slightest of breezes coupled with the huge wind range allows for use by a variety of kitesurfers chasing different riding styles and wind conditions.
There were not any major flaws with the Ozone Zephyr. The only downside is the fact that it's a 17m so it takes a while to pump up. Maybe in years to come, we will continue to see reductions in leading-edge and strut volumes and increased valve sizes and larger multi-chamber pumps.
The Zephyr should be a seriously strong contender for your next light wind kite. It's versatile not only in use but in wind range also. It's built to last; high-performance feel will ensure you have a sick session even in those lighter conditions. Suitable for everyone from beginner through to advanced level riders, foiling to freestyle. A great choice for the larger riders out there needing something a size up from a 12m kite. Coupled with the Contact V4 control system, you couldn't want for much more out of a light wind kite.
This review was in Issue 81 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit Ozone