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Prophecy (Prism Designs)

Prophecy (Prism Designs)

Specifications
Name:
Make:
Designer:
Sail:
Frame:
Bridle:
Wing Span:
Height:
Weight:
Wind Range:
Rec. lines:
Price:
Prophecy
Prism Designs
Mark Reed
.5 oz. Ripstop Polyester/Mylar Laminates
P100, P300, 3PT, 5PT, 7PT Skyshark Pultruded Carbon
Active
96 in.
54.5 in.
12.9 oz.
2-20mph
90-200# at 80-150ft.
$375.00

For those of you who are delighted with the Illusion family of kites, get ready to do "The Happy Dance." This latest offering from Prism Designs Inc. will immediately feel right at home on the end of your lines. For anyone else who has been searching for a truly meaningful kite with a large, impressive look and feel, you're in for a real treat as we  finally have a larger kite that delivers high end performance.

The Prophecy, while maintaining a distinct character and feel all its own, definitely has many vestiges of the Illusion heritage evident in its  appearance and performance. Originally designed for precision flying,  this kite has evolved into something much more significant, a fantastic all around kite for the serious flyer. Indeed, one of the hardest things to achieve in kite design is a large kite that is not only stable and precise, but has the ability to do all the "new school" slack line tricks.  The  Prophecy delivers on this daunting necessity.

Prism Designs Inc. has always been known for the highest quality in materials and construction and this new model does not miss the mark. Everything on this kite is top notch, from the stitching on the taped seams to the APA fittings and Kevlar nose. The frame set is an eclectic collection of hand picked rods from Skyshark, which work with the sail to control the camber and load characteristics of the overall design. A total of six stand-offs provides depth to the sail and tensions the trailing edge, providing an amazingly responsive feel.

Included with the package is a very well-designed padded zip-up bag that holds two kites, spare rods and line sets, all in webbed pockets. This is a real bonus in that the Prophecy is too long to fit in many kite bags. 

Once out of the bag the Prophecy assembles quickly and easily. The speed of the kite is very controllable, given the many combinations of active bridle and stand-off adjustments possible. I had no problem flying mine down to 1mph, pulling off 360's on 85ft of line just by jogging  around.  At about 18mph, the kite begins to get unhappy quickly, and by 20mph the wingtips begin to shudder as it flies, indicating that it's time to get out a vented!

About the only limiting tendency to report is a reluctance to enter a back-flip. Due to the size of the sail, this move requires a bit more effort than I am accustomed to. Having to work harder for this one particular move seems to be a small price to pay, considering the benefits of the overall design. In this case, the reward you receive is a kite that floats its way through 540's, fades, axels, coin-tosses, and lazy-susans with a heart  stopping slow grace and elegance.

While the price tag may give some pause, the kite's performance, quality and visual impact does a very good job towards justifying  its expense. For me, nothing else even comes close.

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Rec.Kites Addendum for the Cyber-Kite Addicted
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OK, that was the watered-down version, so for all you Gear-Heads and Techno-Phreaks that demand a little more than your average 500 word review, here's the low down on what Matt REALLY thinks. Please keep in mind that I am  splitting VERY fine hairs here, and nothing that follows is anything more than minutiae.

Precision Characteristics:

As I said, stable and precise applies.  Having more sail depth than any other big kite that I've flown, means it also has more mass in the sail than your average precision kite (NSR for example), so that means that  you have to work to turn it.  Less so, perhaps, than most of you who fly big kites are used to, but more than my Illusion trained hands are  programmed for.  All the Mylar contributes to a certain hesitancy to lock onto right angles, and results in a bit of a wobble coming out of turns. Again, this is VERY minor, and maybe even unnoticeable to most, but I felt it worth saying, even if just for respectability. I got over this feeling very quickly, and in a few hours was having no problem practicing figures with nice, sharp, right angles. One additional thing to mention here that I neglected to go into depth on originally is that this kite tracts really smoothly and slowly. Very tunable to compensate for a bunch of wind  conditions, and the kite itself, be it sail design or bridle or combination of both, smoothes out the bumps and swirls in uneven air amazingly well. After trying to fly figures with an Illusion, this characteristic is very appreciated, especially to me as I am still trying to get the knack of precision flying. (I don't know how Michael Moore does it, but good for him!)  Having a kite that does most of the work for me in the area of speed control is great! 

Another point I wanted to make is that, being a very stable and smooth flying kite, the Prophecy is gonna do great things in the hands of an aggressive team at some point in the future.  Coupling these precision and trick capabilities in one kite means that a whole bunch of new possibilities now exist. Team fades with threading? Very cool. Team slot machines into team fades? No problem. Group 540's? You bet. Almost  any low-percentage slack-line move becomes fair game with flyers who know what they're doing and a kite that broadens the margin for error. I've been messing around with some pairs flying lately, and so far we have been able to do some very cool looking stuff. More on this later as we progress!

Ballet Characteristics:

I'm actually gonna have to think long and hard about whether or not to
switch from my Illy to the Proph for competition flying in Ballet. Those of you who know me, know what a heavy statement that is for me to make.  For those who don't, just believe me when I say that I like my Illusions a lot. (read: enough that my constant flying of them has put my marriage in  jeopardy more than once!  Sorry Karen, I'll try to be better (^8) The big key here is that the kite floats around so slowly that you are almost tempted to put your handles down and go over to the kite to help. Seriously. I'm not exaggerating here. When the winds are down to 5 or so, magic stuff starts happening with the flat-work!  This isn't to say that you can't make the kite trick more quickly, but after all, there is a limit to how fast an 8ft kite can rotate, so for a faster routine keep a back up around for sure. This tends not to be a problem over 8mph or so, as there is enough wind at this point for fairly fast movement from maneuver to maneuver.

Looking deeper, I have to mention the back-flip thing again. I couldn't mention it in the published version (again due to space), but the real problem I found wasn't so much in the Prophecy's inability to go onto its back, but in its hesitancy to go far enough back to be controllable. Ever try to initiate a lazy-susan with a kite not quite far enough nose back? Disaster!! Major tangles and ugliness commence! As I reported earlier, it's not hard to get it right, just takes a bit of work to get the steps down. Here's a hint:  give a little rock just before you go for it. This will start the kite thinking about moving, so that when you really let it go, it pops over far enough to spin. This will also help the kite to exit cleanly and crisply without sliding around a lot. 

Other moves like axels, coin-tosses, cascades, and etc. work just fine and look as beautiful as you would expect, but the wingtip stabs are massively cool. Having a kite that big race towards the ground and then slam into a tipstab really messes with my reality. I haven't been able to snap a LLE yet, but give me some more time, as I'm sure it can be done! Speaking of that, this kite has been pretty hard for me to break, so nothing bad to say there.  All the different Skyshark rods work together well, and, believe it or not, changing around the configuration really does mess with the performance of the kite.

Flic-flacs are worth a mention here as well, as they are very solid and predictable. Flying on long lines, it's not hard to start flic-flak-ing 120ft over your head and not stopping for a very long time before hitting the ground.  If the wind is smooth and even, you're going to have no trouble controlling the kite through any series of slack-line slickness.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot to even mention this. The kite will dead-launch! It was such a big deal only a year or so ago, but now it's so common place that I forgot to say it. Oops! Your standard two quick tugs put you right back into flying position, maybe even a little easier than the Illy.

So that about sums it up for me. Nothing else that I can think of anyway.  Let me know if I forgot anything that anyone is interested in finding out, and if I don't know the answer I can at least make up something that sounds good  ;->

Thanks for reading,

Matt McGee

Kite Review by
Matthew McGee (Jan 1999)

 

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