Product Review: GK Sonic - 11 meter

December, 2005
Product Review: GK Sonic - 11 meter

The Globerider Sonic had received so much prototype response from friends and production kite glorious write ups from all over the globe that I had to get one of the first production ones to test and see if it would be the wave machine to sell to my lei customers.


  • Traig - 195 pounds on an assortment of surf oriented, larger directionals and a strapless fish surfboard
  • Dave P. - 165 pounds on short twin tip boards

We tested the 11 meter in a variety of conditions and here are our thoughts on this kite.

Our initial assessment:
The Sonic comes in a nice bag with the usual knit pullout to cover the kite with inflated struts. Bar is simple and provided with 25 meter lines. Initial visual of kite shows a high build quality. Dave immediately stated it looked far more duro than his other bow kite and most others on the beach.  The leading edge and struts are a bit slimmer and it is, of course, a bit smaller than the cross bow 12. In very light winds, the 11 needs to be ridden with very loose back lines and with speed. The bar pressure is ridiculously light and almost arc - like. The kite likes to be flung all over window and generates great apparent wind power and upwind ability with this manner of flying. It is not a "park and ride" kite in the really light stuff at the 11m size as the 14m appears to be.

The details:
Out of the bag, the kite is not set up to fly in the light stuff. You can have the rear lines much tighter in heavier winds. Set the rear lines up on the beach, so in the lowest of lows, the kite WILL NOT STALL... This setup allows the kite to generate the maximum air speed and deliver fantastic performance.

The kite does take a bit to get used to for those coming from a standard C shaped kite, but not to the extent of many other bow style kites with a flatter profile. Turning is very quick for this type of kite in its wind range though where you turn the kite while on a wave is different from what we are used to. As other reviewers have stated, the kite gets better with every day of use.  

Depower is instantaneous and a quick snap in of the bar is sufficient to boost over crumbling sections in “down the line” wavesailing applications. We both dropped the bar repeatedly and the very simple bar and line set up was a joy to use in an edge of window re-launch the kite would generally end up in.

Launching with the kites leading edge into the wind is a reality and can be seen on a few UK video clips. Landing can be accomplished independently by releasing the bar and then pulling one front line to land. (Practice in light winds on both these methods and always be sure to have the leash ready for activation). Your center line IS actually your leash on these things, though a regular sliding leash can be added.

The bar is a simple affair, as we are all used to on lei's and arc style kites, but with a much longer travel to the center depower line. The depower cleat is below the bar and though can be set while riding with a specific technique, is much easier to set up prior to riding. Here in lies the set up groans some have spoken of on different forums. This kite likes loose back lines.

The Sonic requires a different jumping technique and much can be done with just sheeting in and out on the bar in conjunction with the c lassic redirection of the kite. Those used to loading the heck out of the board and riding on the knot with a standard kite will have a few new parameters to play with.

Though the most gust absorbent of leis I have tried, the kite is still nowhere near as stable as an arc. Back to back testing in gusty conditions confirmed this repeatedly. Crawling over 200 meters of sharp rocks out to a secret Baja windy point break is easier on the Sonic than on my other leis but not the cake walk of my Peter Lynn Venom just sitting overhead with no pilot input regardless of wind velocity.

For those not lucky enough to have used arcs, the Sonic is a quite stable kite, I am told....snicker, snicker… HUGE range is a fact with the Globerider Sonic. I used it from 12 mph average to 28mph average with one day of 10mph average on a surfboard in huge wind lulls. The 11 meter kite does not like these lulls and must be flown aggressively. A friend who has been using the 14m Sonic claims much better low, low wind manners. (Look for our review of the 14meter Sonic here soon!)

The 11 meter is truly a 15 to 28 mph average kite for someone as gravitationally challenged as myself. For a light guy (spelled average weight person), it could pretty much be a one kite quiver.. If I only lived on a smaller planet...DOOOHHH!

The Sonic showed the most promise in surf when used with a larger and faster directional. I tried all sizes in various wind and surf conditions. The kite can be depowered to a huge extent and really liked sitting there while you surfed, rather than thrown around like a ski boat towing a skier. What we are trying to say here is that this kite likes a real surfboard and not a chip that needs heaps of grunt to pull out of the water just to plane up....IMHO of course. 

Opinions will vary and Dave does well with his tiny twin tips and flies upwind on the Sonic, but in my opinion would do HEAPS better in the light stuff with a board that could actually be surfed on the wave without the need for a motor. Dave is currently doing more testing of an 11 meter Sonic in La Ventana, but at this time has said he is selling his Crossbow for a Sonic due to the overall better ease of use (the bridles don't catch tips / bar is simple), upwind and speed in turn.

More to come with further testing...

More questions about the Sonic? Contact us if you're interested in purchasing one of these babies.