Dustin and Pat take a look at some kites made with Aluula. What is it, and is it worth the hype? Is it right for you?
What is Aluula?
Dustin: Aluula is a step up from your normal kites. It's like the carbon bike of the kite world.
Pat: Absolutely. It's that carbon fiber frame mountain bike in the kite industry. Is aluminum or steel good for most people out there? Yes. Do you need carbon? Probably not, but is it a nice upgrade and do you get some performance benefits from it? Absolutely.
What are the Benefits of Aluula?
Better Wind Range = Quiver Cutter
Dustin: Last summer, I cut my quiver down from four kites to two kites. The wind range you get from Aluula really opens up a lot of possibilities.
Pat: Absolutely. I find you get a little more on the high end of the kites, and a bit more on the low end too, with how stable and light the kites are. They tend to sit in the air a lot better in those lighter wind conditions, and you can generate a lot more power. The kite does fly a little bit faster, so you can generate that power and keep the kite moving. We were just out on the Aluula Pivot in that 13 to 14 range when we first got in the water, and no way would I normally be on a 12m in those conditions at almost 200lb. I would be grabbing a 15 or 17m so I'm nice and powered up, but I had a lot of fun on the 12m Aluula. You can narrow down that quiver if you need to or if you want to. Yes, you're paying a premium for this material in the kites, but there can also be some cost savings by being able to narrow down your quiver.
Dustin: It's so much more stable on the high end, too. I was pushing a 9m into the low 30s. I'm about 200lb too, and depowering the bar opens up so many possibilities with the Aluula; it's kind of crazy.
Pat: I think it's also the stiffness and rigidity of that kite. In those conditions, it usually starts getting gustier, and the kite starts flexing out. A traditional kite flattens out a bit and gets pushed around, but the more rigid Aluula frame holds its shape a lot better. When you start getting overpowered on a traditional construction kite, it will deform, flatten out a bit, and catch more power, and as you get more overpowered, it is going to do that more and more, and it compounds and stretches the kite. The Aluula kites get pumped up to a higher PSI, the leading edge has a narrower diameter, and that material is a little bit stiffer. All that gives you a lot more reactive kite that holds that frame shape. When we got the first Flites in the shop, we thought there was no way a 12m was fitting in that bag, but they did. You can fit them in a travel bag much easier, and if you put them in a compression sack, they will shrink down to just about nothing.
Dustin: And that comes back to how it's a quiver cutter. If you're traveling a lot, Aluula is the way to go, for sure.
Pat: It's a traveler's dream. You get the weight reduction so you can get in under the airline weight, and you only need two kites instead of three kites on your trips. That makes life that much easier for traveling.
Pat: The biggest downside with Aluula is the cost involved. What are we looking at for a typical increase?
Dustin: A standard 12m is probably around $2,000, and then an Aluula 12m is around $3,000, so it's a 30 percent price increase, which is substantial. But, you're saving money traveling and you're saving money by not having to buy an extra kite, so it evens out a little bit.
Is It Right for You?
Pat: It's probably not the kite for the person who is budget-minded, but if you have the money to spend, I think it's well worth the upgrade. There is a significant difference between an Aluula kite and a standard Dacron kite. There are other options that fall in the middle between these, so there's always a good option to look at. We'd love to answer any questions you have, and this probably is going to be a topic that generates some questions, so feel free to reach out to us at the shop, chat, or email.
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