My Airwave Sport 4
(McKinleyville, CA USA)
Before getting the Airwave Sport 4, my first 3 years of flying were on a SOL Ellus (M). It is a very good wing once you're in the air. However, our local flying site, Table Bluff, near Eureka CA, can be a piece of work on launch.
The launch slopes back from the edge, causing a dead zone where you lay out the glider. As well, there is as a nasty rotor about 10 meters behind the edge of the cliff. In moderately high winds, you pull up in wind shadow to about 10 o'clock-high and then the wing accelerates like a daemon! In addition, there is a road and barbed wire fence behind launch and trees on one side that cause additional rotor if the wind is northerly instead of NW.
The SOL Ellus is all heavy gelvenor - tough but heavy - and the inertia, when it accelerated was hard to stop without being popped up 15' even using an A's and C's launch technique.
Kevin Biernacki persuaded me to get the Airwave Sport 4 in a Small and I am so glad I did! It comes up smoothly even in high wind and is so easy to keep overhead in shifting gusty conditions. It makes me look as good as my old wing made me look bad.
In the air, it is very fast and turns flat. I stay up in very light scratchy ridge lift. I haven't measured, but the glide ratio on the Sport 4 seems very very good.
I missed Brad Gunuccio's SIV clinic this year because I'm recovering from surgery. I would have loved to get up there and get to know how the Sport 4 flies on 33% of the wing and how it recovers from frontals with the speed system pulley-to-pulley.
By the way, the Ellus did great in this department. Speaking of the Airwave Sport 4 speed system, it can be applied very smoothly and you get a good sense of the wing's pressure through the legs.
So, the next step is Woodrat in Oregon or Hat Creek Rim near Redding CA to try mountain thermal conditions.