During the summer our team rider Julien Kerneur set off on a last-minute tropical kiting adventure to the exquisite island of Fiji. With plans to tour the coast on a yacht with his partner Manon and fellow team rider/buddy from the GKA strapless wave competitions, Paulino Pereira. Knowing that space was going to be limited, he had one choice of kite gear in mind that would be perfect for this occasion, the Alpha V1. A veteran in kite travel, Julian gives us his evaluation of this unique design.
“The Alpha V1 is a brilliant travel kite, I am happy that it weighs so little as it meant I could pack several sizes and by really pulling on all the bag’s compressor straps I could make them into small bundles. This meant I could fit way more than I thought in my boardbag, which ended up being under the airline's max weight…that pretty much never happens with me!
Our trip to Fiji was the perfect test for the alpha as we were moving around a lot and had limited space on the boat, I can confidently say it was the best option. In general, for these types of trips you don’t want to carry too many kites because of space but you never know what the conditions are going to turn out like so you also want to be covered by having various sizes available. In its compressor bag the Alpha is very easy to store on the boat and access quickly, it even got used as a pillow one evening!
For actual use, preparing the kite is really easy, having only one strut meant it inflated quickly, the overall shape is compact (lower aspect ratio) which didn’t take up so much space (compared to the Edge for example)
In Fiji the boat we were traveling on anchored at a stunning but gusty spot with almost no wind, from 5 to 12 kts max. In the gusts, I thought it would be a challenge to try but wanted badly to take the foil and traverse through the gaps in the coral. In the end, it wasn’t a problem, launching the Alpha was a kids play, and was up in the air really quickly with a lot of stability, I felt very comfortable launching even so close to the boat.
All I can say is the riding was magical, a real dream session. The kite has a good low end wind range, it was fun to ride the 10m Alpha in 5-12 kts, although sometimes it got a bit too light, a quick loop of the kite to get a boost of power and its fine, especially with the foil board, once you are up and planing you don’t need so much pull.
I had a great time riding between the Fijian reef at this spot. The conditions were offshore and gusty, but the water was beautifully clear and mirror flat, only the alpha was able to be my companion on this magical session.
Full trip video coming soon!
Video: Glen Bowden
Location: Secret spot west of Kadavu Island, Fiji
Yacht: Grazia, Fiji Beach house