It seems something very useful and easy; your own personal camera hanging above you, so you and your buddies get filmed on the water. But it is a bit more complicated and compromised as you probably would expect.
A nightmare for every kiter is a broken line. To make things worse it happens often right in the middle of a perfect session. Then the next step is thinking of a solution; buy the same lines or maybe look for an alternative?
Better to prevent than to cure
Probably the best way to prevent any breaking lines is investigating some time in what bar and lines you are using.
Which lines are the best?
One of the most important facts on a bar is the strength of the lines. A stronger line usually also means a thicker line. Thicker lines means more drag, so a stronger line will be beneficial for the durability but may also affect the flying aspects of the kite.
A key impact on our kite sport; the weather. More precisely: the wind. Every kiteboarder has its way to get his wind prediction information; either websites like Windguru.cz, Windfinder, Predictwind etctera, local media, whatsapp-alerts or just by asking your (boy)friend. All these resources rely in the end on weather models.
Windguru, for example, has a fairly understandable explanations on these models. Two important facts on these models are the long run time and the limited frequency those runs can be done in a day. Those runs (mostly four times in 24hours) are rather complex, that is why they take about three hours to finish. One of the complexities is that it needs to run for a huge area. For example the WRF model in Windguru is covering Europe, popular spots in Egypt, and also Israel, Lebannon and south of Cyprus. Argentina, Chile and Uruguay.
Three hours behind
As a result everybody currently is looking at predictions which are at least 3 hours, but on average 6 hours, old. Another inaccuracy is that those models cannot take local effect’s into account. It is a fact that wind predictions for typical local conditions like in Cape Town from the south-east, westerly Poniente in Tarifa and the North Westerly winds in Leucate all are frequently up to 25 knots off. This is probably due to local thermal effects. Even when the wind is already blowing way above the predictions, they are not used to correct the current models.
After our first test of the Woo we were left with some questions; we found a good relation between 2 Woo’s on one board, but it wasn’t perfect. After a interview by Skype with the people behind Woo Sports in the States, it became clear we had a possible firmware difference between the two Woo’s we used in the first test, which could be the reason of the 15% differences. Apparently a few devices of early 2015 have a firmware that is different from the others.
We did a second test and used 2 devices which had the same firmware and put them close to each other and made sure both batteries were fully loaded. We tested them with 9m (2015 North Dice on a Ride Clash 1.38 with boots) kite in a steady 24 knots of wind with waves up to 2,5 meters. As described before in part one of the test, the device has a difficult task. The Woo uses “just” a motion sensor. Any idea what that is? Think of it as being in the back of a car blind folded while you need to guess the speed of the car by feeling the force of somebody using the breaks.
It is just for sale for a few months. The Woo Sports is a small waterproof device which measures and records automatically the height and air time of your jumps. You may see it as something similar as some people (men?) do with their cars; show off how good looking their bling-bling car is on a sunny boulevard with plenty people to watch. One huge difference though between a good looking car and a Woo; A good looking car needs money, a supreme height on the Woo leader board demands some athletic skills.
The Woo should be mounted to you board, turned on and when finished kiting you read the results from your iPhone with the Woo App. Then the big comparing game is on; in the Woo app you will find leaderboards (World/Europe/Asia etc) including one for you and your followers/friends. Ranked either in height or air time.
Main question of this review; how accurate is the Woo? Or even more important how consistent are the readings? If you think about it, you probably start to wonder how does the Woo actually measure the height and air time? Time to dive a little deeper in the Woo Sports.