I've now been foiling on the 2018 North Ace foil kites for several months. I originally bought the 14.5 sqm for lighter wind days figuring I wouldn't get the use out of the 17.5. I have since also bought the 11.5sqm. These are my thoughts and experiences.
The 2018 Ace is the second model and comes only in Blue as opposed to the 2017 version which only came in red. The wings are made by Advance Paragliders who make some of the worlds best paragliders.
The first thing is the kites are very light weight, using lightweight fabric, very thin bridle line and are beautifully made. The Ace's are high aspect and comparing them to many other race style foil kites, they have a very thin profile. The North Ace is really powerful for it's size and is easy to fly being a bit more forgiving. With big power, you need really good depower otherwise you become the whipping boy. These kites are designed as high end freeride kites and race and although very fast, are just one notch down from the fastest R1's in terms of speed and angle upwind. It more than makes up for this shortfall in user friendliness. At the pointy end of racing, a botched roll tack will be all the difference between the Ace and the fastest race foils.
I can fly the Aces in under 4 knots and can ride them in a steady 6-8 knots with no effort. I've been flying them from the get go, with the shorter version of the Foil Bar lines. The foil bar comes with 18m with 6m extensions to make 24m and I have exclusively used them on the 18m set. This is a great length for light wind vs control and responsiveness. It is suggested to ride 18m with foil boards and 24m with twin tips.
The Ace fills and takes shape very quickly from a downwind or crosswind launch, even in very light winds and remains stable, especially when reaching downwind.
The only real negetive is the turning speed, it's a little slow when downlooping. The 14.5 needs the leader line tugged to get it around on the 18m lines but the 11.5 will downloop without the tug on the leaders. This could be more a function of the short bar length rather than the kite itself.
I've had my Aces in the water on a number of occasions and most times, it comes back up despite it having flipped over and tiwsted etc. This does require some foil kite flying experience but I can usually relaunch it in anything more than about 6 knots from the water surface. The wing does hold it's air for quite a long time. It occasionally happens that a swim in is involved but this is part and parcel of flying foil kites.
The Ace is squarely aimed at intermediate to advanced foilers looking for "advanced freeride and race level speed" but in a much more user friendly package. Suitable for freeride, huge floaty jumps and beginner racing. I wouldn't recommend beginners on this foil as the lightweight materials and complex internal construction wont like being whumped into the water at pace. This is your next step up from the likes of single strut inflatables or even the Kites like Hyperlink or Soul. It will perfrom its best on a low drag hydrofoil.
It really is a striking looking kite in the air and does all I ask of it, can't ask for much more than that. The 14.5m maxes out at around 17 or 18 knots and gets going in as little as 6 knots. The 11.5m Ace is fun up until around 20 knots for me and will get me going in around 8 knots. I use the Slingshot Ghost Whisperer Freeride foil and the Moses Comet Race foil.
The last two are stock pictures from North, the first one is mine.
Im new to foil kites and recently got the 9m ozone hyperlink. Ive noticed that foil boarders with foil kites tend to go for larger kites and shorter lines.
I kind of did the opposite and went smallest possible kite and fly with either 23m or 26m lines. This can seem me go in 6 knots up to maybe 15 knots...? Havent gone higher yet.
So sorry for the hijack, but what's the logic for going biggest kite, shortest lines?
Long lines = deeper in the window = less upwind angle = slower
Short lines = more to the edge of the window = higher upwind angle = faster
Shorter lines also permit faster kiteloops
Shorter lines is about max upwind angle as well as maximum power.
The short lines allow the Kite to respond to gusts almost instantly by having to move a shorter distance to achieve a lesser angle of attack in the wind window. This gives maximum control due to the shortest possible time for the Kite to react to the changes caused by increased wind speed, this allows you to hold on to a bigger Kite.
Control at speed is critical. Not so important for freeride where speed is not your primary factor, but racing makes everything critical as you should be riding "on the edge of control". Speed without control is dangerous.