I have scored a couple of epics after demoing through Nigel in Qld Australia.
I tried the 9 but for the moment I am packing the Infinity V2 and the Renegade 3G 11m. The 9 jumps high and quick and is easy to land, but the wind here is more applicable to the 11 and Infinity. The Infinity IMO is like a giant version of the 9m. But it's the 11 that steals the show for me. Yesterday on the 3G I ran straight at the kite in 12-14kt straight onshores whilst flying down waves and the kite luffed easily in the sky. I did give it tiny bits of feedback to stay up but this was not a full time consideration and I had most of the time to study the wave. (which was worth some study! Shoulder to just overhead waves) I thought I would out run the kite in these conditions (cross on shore) but there were no dramas and waves were had! There was no need to cutback which was great for the wall(ie) waves and the response time for smacking the lip and gliding some foam took next to no time to get dialled in.
I have a mate who is a fast progressing noob. He started on the cabs, and I gave him a few sessions on the Renegade and that was it. He still has other kites 14 & 9 and rode friends and he says he only wants to fly this 11. He said he wished all his kites were this kite! I feel the same way. Awesome kite. We're sold on it. I just now want the rest of the 4g family to be the same way! This is the kite as far as i'm concerned. I have not been on the 13 or the screamer or judge, but I've flown a lot of other brands and models and I realize that when you vary the size, you vary the performance. This is a shame because I would like my quiver to be all like this 11.
What is wrong with the kite?
Ok, so nothing is perfect. I prefer continuous safety lines on the bar. I have heard that the new bar has addressed this issue. Also I don't like the strut feeder tubes being activated early to avoid bladder explosion. I simply took 3 zip ties and secured the LE end of each tube. Whallah! problem over. The quick release is a little stiff at first. I put in a little olive oil and that's fixed too. The depower rope looks very much like the North Trust element system so it may need some wax melted in to help preserve.
Good things about the kite?
:p lots! relaunch, drift, pivot turning, look, build quality, bar, lines, bridle, sliders, delta tips, easy maneuverability, Out of the bag it's all impressive. The bag is easily one of the best made for kiting. Loads of room for everything. I have 2 bags and I just keep both epics in the one & have the at the beach every time to cover margin calls. Both bars fit in the sidepocket. Check. The pump is still gr8 and I have been using it heaps. Mainly on the infinity - such is the season we're having here.
Just to touch on the infinity debate that seems to be raging here lately. I really don't see the fuss?
The kite flys in 3-4kts. I have done it. I have a wind meter. It is exciting for about 30 seconds then when I realize it's not strong enough and it won't pick up it's back in the bag and back to work! I waded out in the waves in this wind speed and paid the price by having to pack up a very wet and sandy kite after some small waves pushed me towards the kite, very boring, but what kite would even fly in this range? The Cabrinha? Also since all those Cab guys had the video's ready for the infinity, you'd expect they would have one up for their 18 on this day or in similar winds - can anyone here point the way to this video? That would be awesome. I would like to point out that I like cab kites. I'm a big fan, I have a switchie and a convert and have used their large kites and owned quite a few in the middle sizes. I think they're awesome at what they do. Plus they are very durable kites. But since a lot of mud is going towards Epic because of a Cab riders video (or do I have this wrong? ) it would seem fair to show the video of the cab on the same day. Much the same result at best, I would expect. It is a fact that the Infinity will lift off the ground in the 3kt range. Get out your gauges do it yourself. It's been done. It's been video'd it's been posted. It will be done again (not by me unless it's for a bet!_ otherwise I've got better things to do) It's boring to do. It's a fact.
The infinity will go in small waves with no or favourable currents in 6-8kts. In downwind flowing currents it has taken 8+ kts solid to get it going. It is not the fastest LW kite around but it goes upwind better than most. I have had swap sessions with the core 17m xr2 and it is slower to turn but definitely goes upwind better. Even the core owner said this. I preferred the infinities feel but I would like it to turn a little more faster like the core and I think it could be made to have a touch lighter bar pressure (like if it was a giant 11m!! nudge wink). but maybe there is scientific trade off there that is set in stone for now? The thing I do know is that a lot of big kites will get you out there at 6-8 but it's up to you to figure which one you like the most. For me the Epic is just that.
Thanks for reading all this - I hope it helps you with any decisions you have to get a demo or not. I would definitely say try them out. The Epic crew are great and easy to communicate with and will always stay in touch with you about anything you would like to know. A lot of companies let you fall off the radar so it's refreshing to feel like you are making a contribution to the brand you ride.