Page 1


TR UE – 1 0 Y R S N K B

2

INTRO

3

In 1957 a UC Berkeley-trained engineer and Olympic gold medalist named Lowell North founded the North brand. A committed and driven competitor both on and off the water, North quickly drove his company to the top of its field. His innovations include being the first to scientifically test stretch and fatigue in sailcloth, the first to analyze sail shapes using computer flow codes and the first with computer-driven cloth cutting. Today the North brand is the world’s premier sail and kite maker with 63 major lofts and 56 service, sales, and satellite lofts in 29 countries. The first indication that the North record for achievement would be extended via North Kiteboarding, was the company’s commitment ten years ago to build kites using Dacron rather than the fatally weak mylar laminates that were popular at the time. Dacron was more expensive, but it proved to be the right choice: everyone quickly followed our lead and has used Dacron ever since. Another indication that North is committed to producing the best-performing and best-built kites is that North is the only company in the business with two full-time kite designers. Again, it may be expensive, but the upside is that our customers know that their kites weren‘t slapped together on deadline. We could spend that money on marketing, but we believe there‘s no substitute for quality and performance in the actual products that we produce. Over a period of 53 years and with an unmatched record in competitions from the Americas Cup to the Admirals Cup to the kiteboarding world championships, North is the name that stands for true innovation in the design studio and true achievement on the water.

Ken Winner

INTRO


TR UE – 1 0 Y R S N K B

2

INTRO

3

In 1957 a UC Berkeley-trained engineer and Olympic gold medalist named Lowell North founded the North brand. A committed and driven competitor both on and off the water, North quickly drove his company to the top of its field. His innovations include being the first to scientifically test stretch and fatigue in sailcloth, the first to analyze sail shapes using computer flow codes and the first with computer-driven cloth cutting. Today the North brand is the world’s premier sail and kite maker with 63 major lofts and 56 service, sales, and satellite lofts in 29 countries. The first indication that the North record for achievement would be extended via North Kiteboarding, was the company’s commitment ten years ago to build kites using Dacron rather than the fatally weak mylar laminates that were popular at the time. Dacron was more expensive, but it proved to be the right choice: everyone quickly followed our lead and has used Dacron ever since. Another indication that North is committed to producing the best-performing and best-built kites is that North is the only company in the business with two full-time kite designers. Again, it may be expensive, but the upside is that our customers know that their kites weren‘t slapped together on deadline. We could spend that money on marketing, but we believe there‘s no substitute for quality and performance in the actual products that we produce. Over a period of 53 years and with an unmatched record in competitions from the Americas Cup to the Admirals Cup to the kiteboarding world championships, North is the name that stands for true innovation in the design studio and true achievement on the water.

Ken Winner

INTRO


True – 1 0 Y rs N K B

6

7

10 years of North Kiteboarding

10 years of blood sweat and tears

10 years of continuous development but above all else

10 years of true kiteboarding The very beginning North kiteboarding was born in 2001 in the USA; right from the start the brand established itself as a full-range supplier of kiteboarding equipment. Innovation, continuous product development and improvement have always been the main priority for NKB. Over the last 10 years our experience in R&D, performance innovations and our commitment to outstanding quality have made North Kiteboarding a world-wide market leader in the industry. Even at this early stage, Till Eberle, who remains the boss at North Kiteboarding, took the reins and set the company focus on technical excellence combined with style. The moment NKB kite designer Ken Winner finalized the design of the Rhino 1; a powerful 4

line C-kite with an (at the time) innovative segmented leading edge, the brand was destined for great things. The Rhino blew minds that year with its impressive low-end grunt and huge hang time. During 2002, North Kiteboarding introduced a full range of bags, harnesses and accessories and decidedly made a point of not patenting certain kite related innovations to benefit the growth of the sport as a whole. 2003 saw the release of the first Jaime Pro Model twin tip. NKB team rider and tester Jaime Herraiz remains one of the most well-known and respected riders in the industry to this day, with his contagious smile and timeless style. His pro model board is still one of the best selling boards in our line-up and quite possibly the best selling kite board of all time.

NKB raised the bar in 2004 by setting a new industry-wide standard in board construction, with the release of the first kiteboard to utilize snowboard technology. ABS sidewalls and controlled flex remain state of the art industry standards to this day. This year also saw the release of the groundbreaking movie ‘Space Monkeys’, sparking the progressive freestyle / handle pass movement that revolutionized new-school and competition riding, as well as the surf movement. NKB team riders Jaime Herraiz and Will James opened people’s eyes by ripping apart the surf on John Amundson’s North Rocket Fish, which quickly became the most talked about kite-surfboard in the sport, igniting a surf movement that is still going on today. 2004 was also the year that the legendary Vegas, one of NKB’s best selling kites of all time, was introduced. The Vegas remains synonymous with new-school freestyle riding in today’s market and it is setting the standards every single year. 2005 marked one of the greatest safety innovations in the sports’ history. The North 5th Element safety system offers the highest level of safety and is still utilized on all North kites as well as many other kiteboarding brands. Sky Solbach joined the North team and began developing kites alongside Ken and Jaime. 2006 saw both Olaf Marting and Dirk Hanel hold world speed records and it was also the year that we launched the new style of Vegas, with it’s improved relaunch and depower. Jaime Herraiz went on to spearhead the North Young Blood Camps in 2007, bringing a new level of professionalism to kiteboarding’s youth, opening new avenues for young riders to pursue careers as athletes in the sport. Our high de-power, loaded 5th line Rebel was released and proved itself as a performance and safety leader in an extremely competitive market place while most other kite brands were busy chasing the ‘bow kite revolution’. With the growing demand for an increasingly diverse range of kites, North brought on a second full-time kite designer, Ralf Grösel, in 2008. Ralf developed the free-ride / new-school Evo with 4 and 5 line compatibility, which continues to be one of our best selling models and is now taking care also for the Vegas and the Neo. In 2009 the high performance, no-compromise Team Series range hit the market along with the Gonzales entry level board and NKB also already introduced the first ever production course racing board. It was developed by Ken Winner, Dirk Hanel, Sky Solbach and Sean Farley, making Charles Deleau the worldchampion. Since 2010 NKB has been working in close cooperation with leading global material providers like Teijin and Oxeon to develop the best materials and products, such as the Techno Force D2 canopy material or the lightest and most high-tech carbon twin tip on the market, the Select. North Kiteboarding have now utilized 10 years of experience in kite production to create ‘Progression 10’, the highest quality kite construction method ever achieved, with the closest attention to every last detail on all kite models. Quality control and steady improvement are the major tools we use to earn the respect of our customers and to fulfil your desires with the best possible products. Philipp Becker

Intro


True – 1 0 Y rs N K B

6

7

10 years of North Kiteboarding

10 years of blood sweat and tears

10 years of continuous development but above all else

10 years of true kiteboarding The very beginning North kiteboarding was born in 2001 in the USA; right from the start the brand established itself as a full-range supplier of kiteboarding equipment. Innovation, continuous product development and improvement have always been the main priority for NKB. Over the last 10 years our experience in R&D, performance innovations and our commitment to outstanding quality have made North Kiteboarding a world-wide market leader in the industry. Even at this early stage, Till Eberle, who remains the boss at North Kiteboarding, took the reins and set the company focus on technical excellence combined with style. The moment NKB kite designer Ken Winner finalized the design of the Rhino 1; a powerful 4

line C-kite with an (at the time) innovative segmented leading edge, the brand was destined for great things. The Rhino blew minds that year with its impressive low-end grunt and huge hang time. During 2002, North Kiteboarding introduced a full range of bags, harnesses and accessories and decidedly made a point of not patenting certain kite related innovations to benefit the growth of the sport as a whole. 2003 saw the release of the first Jaime Pro Model twin tip. NKB team rider and tester Jaime Herraiz remains one of the most well-known and respected riders in the industry to this day, with his contagious smile and timeless style. His pro model board is still one of the best selling boards in our line-up and quite possibly the best selling kite board of all time.

NKB raised the bar in 2004 by setting a new industry-wide standard in board construction, with the release of the first kiteboard to utilize snowboard technology. ABS sidewalls and controlled flex remain state of the art industry standards to this day. This year also saw the release of the groundbreaking movie ‘Space Monkeys’, sparking the progressive freestyle / handle pass movement that revolutionized new-school and competition riding, as well as the surf movement. NKB team riders Jaime Herraiz and Will James opened people’s eyes by ripping apart the surf on John Amundson’s North Rocket Fish, which quickly became the most talked about kite-surfboard in the sport, igniting a surf movement that is still going on today. 2004 was also the year that the legendary Vegas, one of NKB’s best selling kites of all time, was introduced. The Vegas remains synonymous with new-school freestyle riding in today’s market and it is setting the standards every single year. 2005 marked one of the greatest safety innovations in the sports’ history. The North 5th Element safety system offers the highest level of safety and is still utilized on all North kites as well as many other kiteboarding brands. Sky Solbach joined the North team and began developing kites alongside Ken and Jaime. 2006 saw both Olaf Marting and Dirk Hanel hold world speed records and it was also the year that we launched the new style of Vegas, with it’s improved relaunch and depower. Jaime Herraiz went on to spearhead the North Young Blood Camps in 2007, bringing a new level of professionalism to kiteboarding’s youth, opening new avenues for young riders to pursue careers as athletes in the sport. Our high de-power, loaded 5th line Rebel was released and proved itself as a performance and safety leader in an extremely competitive market place while most other kite brands were busy chasing the ‘bow kite revolution’. With the growing demand for an increasingly diverse range of kites, North brought on a second full-time kite designer, Ralf Grösel, in 2008. Ralf developed the free-ride / new-school Evo with 4 and 5 line compatibility, which continues to be one of our best selling models and is now taking care also for the Vegas and the Neo. In 2009 the high performance, no-compromise Team Series range hit the market along with the Gonzales entry level board and NKB also already introduced the first ever production course racing board. It was developed by Ken Winner, Dirk Hanel, Sky Solbach and Sean Farley, making Charles Deleau the worldchampion. Since 2010 NKB has been working in close cooperation with leading global material providers like Teijin and Oxeon to develop the best materials and products, such as the Techno Force D2 canopy material or the lightest and most high-tech carbon twin tip on the market, the Select. North Kiteboarding have now utilized 10 years of experience in kite production to create ‘Progression 10’, the highest quality kite construction method ever achieved, with the closest attention to every last detail on all kite models. Quality control and steady improvement are the major tools we use to earn the respect of our customers and to fulfil your desires with the best possible products. Philipp Becker

Intro


Tr ue – 1 0 Y r s N K B

10

11

10 Y e a r s o f T r u e K i t e b oa r d i ng

content NKB by numbers page 14 – 19

S e co n d T h o u g h ts

2001 – when it all began page 28 –53

Freestyle page 226 – 249

2002 – small things make the difference page 54 – 69

Women & Kiteboarding page 250 – 261

2003 – the year of the monkey page 70 – 87

Race page 262 – 279

2004 – a world in climatic change page 88 – 103

Wave page 280 – 307

2005 – the year of the bow page 104 – 119

Outtakes page 308 – 319

2006 – the REBELlion stallion page 120 – 137

2007 – the delta hype page 138 – 161 a compilation of mixed advertisings page 20 – 21  2008 – the year of sustainability page 162 – 179 NKB bloodlines page 22 – 25 2009 – quality is the key page 180 – 207

2010 – advantage through technology & quality page 208 – 223

Content


Tr ue – 1 0 Y r s N K B

10

11

10 Y e a r s o f T r u e K i t e b oa r d i ng

content NKB by numbers page 14 – 19

S e co n d T h o u g h ts

2001 – when it all began page 28 –53

Freestyle page 226 – 249

2002 – small things make the difference page 54 – 69

Women & Kiteboarding page 250 – 261

2003 – the year of the monkey page 70 – 87

Race page 262 – 279

2004 – a world in climatic change page 88 – 103

Wave page 280 – 307

2005 – the year of the bow page 104 – 119

Outtakes page 308 – 319

2006 – the REBELlion stallion page 120 – 137

2007 – the delta hype page 138 – 161 a compilation of mixed advertisings page 20 – 21  2008 – the year of sustainability page 162 – 179 NKB bloodlines page 22 – 25 2009 – quality is the key page 180 – 207

2010 – advantage through technology & quality page 208 – 223

Content


N KB by n u m b e r s

NKB

14

15

ø KiTE SiZE

12.4

Sqm ø Kite siZe iN 2001

9.6

Sqm ø Kite siZe toDAy

NUMBERS by Rhino 2001 34 PANels Dyno 2011 85 PANels

700

132 300 Kites

68 500 BoARDs

108 750 BARs

272 000 FiNs

28 850 JAime PRos

PRoDUCT SALES 2001 – 2010

DESiGnS 2001 – 2010

DESIGNS

180 KITEdEsIgns 520 BoarddEsIgns

KiTE PAnELS 2001 – 2011


N KB by n u m b e r s

NKB

14

15

ø KiTE SiZE

12.4

Sqm ø Kite siZe iN 2001

9.6

Sqm ø Kite siZe toDAy

NUMBERS by Rhino 2001 34 PANels Dyno 2011 85 PANels

700

132 300 Kites

68 500 BoARDs

108 750 BARs

272 000 FiNs

28 850 JAime PRos

PRoDUCT SALES 2001 – 2010

DESiGnS 2001 – 2010

DESIGNS

180 KITEdEsIgns 520 BoarddEsIgns

KiTE PAnELS 2001 – 2011


a com p il at io n o f mixed adve rtis ings

2001

2002 2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2010

2008

2008

2007 2009 2009

2011 2009

2010

2011

2010

2010

20

21


a com p il at io n o f mixed adve rtis ings

2001

2002 2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2010

2008

2008

2007 2009 2009

2011 2009

2010

2011

2010

2010

20

21


TH E S U CC E SS L IN E

24

25

NKB Bloodlines Years

Kites

Vegas 09 —

Vegas 08 — Evo 08 — Rebel 08 —

Bars

Rhino 08 —

5th Element Bar —

5th Element Evo Bar —

Boards

Buzz —

5th Element Bar —

Jaime Pro — Cesar Pro —

Mallory Pro —

Rocket Fish —

Gonzales —

Mallory Pro —

Freestyle Fish —

Phantom —

TeamSeries — Jaime Pro —

Race LTD —

Kontact — Bullet —

Gonzales —

Select —

Paris —

X-Ride —

Soleil —

X-Ride —

Freestyle Fish —

Kontact —

Race LTD — Phantom —

Buzz —

Neo 10 —

TeamSeries & YoungBlood — TeamSeries —

TeamSeries —

Sky Pro —

Paris —

X-Ride —

Fuse 10 —

Trust Bar —

TeamSeries & YoungBlood — TeamSeries —

Jaime Pro —

Sky Pro —

Phantom —

Rhino 09 —

YoungBlood —

Cesar Pro —

Rebel 11 —

Rebel 10 — Buzz —

YoungBlood — Jaime Pro —

Evo 10 —

Evo 09 —

Rebel 09 —

Rhino 07 —

Vegas 11 —

Vegas 10 —

Wam —

Gonzales —

Select —

Soleil —

X-Ride —

Freestyle Fish —

Whip —

FreeRace —

Spike —

Race LTD —

Kontact — Wam —

SkimFish —

Successful past

Bright future


TH E S U CC E SS L IN E

24

25

NKB Bloodlines Years

Kites

Vegas 09 —

Vegas 08 — Evo 08 — Rebel 08 —

Bars

Rhino 08 —

5th Element Bar —

5th Element Evo Bar —

Boards

Buzz —

5th Element Bar —

Jaime Pro — Cesar Pro —

Mallory Pro —

Rocket Fish —

Gonzales —

Mallory Pro —

Freestyle Fish —

Phantom —

TeamSeries — Jaime Pro —

Race LTD —

Kontact — Bullet —

Gonzales —

Select —

Paris —

X-Ride —

Soleil —

X-Ride —

Freestyle Fish —

Kontact —

Race LTD — Phantom —

Buzz —

Neo 10 —

TeamSeries & YoungBlood — TeamSeries —

TeamSeries —

Sky Pro —

Paris —

X-Ride —

Fuse 10 —

Trust Bar —

TeamSeries & YoungBlood — TeamSeries —

Jaime Pro —

Sky Pro —

Phantom —

Rhino 09 —

YoungBlood —

Cesar Pro —

Rebel 11 —

Rebel 10 — Buzz —

YoungBlood — Jaime Pro —

Evo 10 —

Evo 09 —

Rebel 09 —

Rhino 07 —

Vegas 11 —

Vegas 10 —

Wam —

Gonzales —

Select —

Soleil —

X-Ride —

Freestyle Fish —

Whip —

FreeRace —

Spike —

Race LTD —

Kontact — Wam —

SkimFish —

Successful past

Bright future


w hen it all b egan

30

31

Infected With A Poison

Intro

Infected With A Poison by Christine Gutter Jaime Herraiz River Gorge, Oregon

There’s nothing like standing on the beach, looking out to sea and watching coloured dots against the sky that seem to move around erratically.

There is hardly any sound. No engine noise that is carried across the sea and over the sand dunes by the wind, no smell of petrol wafting through the air. Kites are being rigged and de-rigged, lines are laid out, curious passers-by are watching in the midst of these activities, unaware of the true nature of the fantastic sport they are observing. They don’t realize however, that they are exposing themselves to a highly contagious virus and almost everyone who comes into contact with this fascinating sport will catch it sooner or later. It is the kite virus.

Even though kitesurfing’s history is fairly short, the use of kites has a long tradition. In Japan, kites are closely associated to religious rites. Over the years kites have even been used in different ways for military purposes; most recently by the Americans in World War II. The simple art of flying a kite has been popularized in modern fiction too, from Mary Poppins to The Kite Runner; these brightly coloured beautifully crafted pieces of flying fun have entertained us for generations.

It is difficult to say who was the founder of the sport as we know it today. At about the same time and completely independently of each other, early kitesurfing systems emerged in both France and the USA. Cory Roeseler from Oregon developed a kite skiing system that was able to drag him across the surface of the water on water-skis while the Legaignoux brothers from France claim that they were using inflatable kites that could even re-launch from the water as early as 1984.


w hen it all b egan

30

31

Infected With A Poison

Intro

Infected With A Poison by Christine Gutter Jaime Herraiz River Gorge, Oregon

There’s nothing like standing on the beach, looking out to sea and watching coloured dots against the sky that seem to move around erratically.

There is hardly any sound. No engine noise that is carried across the sea and over the sand dunes by the wind, no smell of petrol wafting through the air. Kites are being rigged and de-rigged, lines are laid out, curious passers-by are watching in the midst of these activities, unaware of the true nature of the fantastic sport they are observing. They don’t realize however, that they are exposing themselves to a highly contagious virus and almost everyone who comes into contact with this fascinating sport will catch it sooner or later. It is the kite virus.

Even though kitesurfing’s history is fairly short, the use of kites has a long tradition. In Japan, kites are closely associated to religious rites. Over the years kites have even been used in different ways for military purposes; most recently by the Americans in World War II. The simple art of flying a kite has been popularized in modern fiction too, from Mary Poppins to The Kite Runner; these brightly coloured beautifully crafted pieces of flying fun have entertained us for generations.

It is difficult to say who was the founder of the sport as we know it today. At about the same time and completely independently of each other, early kitesurfing systems emerged in both France and the USA. Cory Roeseler from Oregon developed a kite skiing system that was able to drag him across the surface of the water on water-skis while the Legaignoux brothers from France claim that they were using inflatable kites that could even re-launch from the water as early as 1984.


when it a l l began

36

37

Ken, Jaime & David Day One of NKB

Story

Ken, Jaime & David Day One of NKB by Christine Gutter

Jaime Herraiz River Gorge, Oregon

North Kiteboarding. Sure, every kiter knows the brand. They’re big and they’re involved in everything that happens in the sport. But when North Kiteboarding was launched, we had the same problems with tight budgets as any other new brand that tries to get established in the market. There was no advantage, no big investor in the background. Curious as I am, I asked three men who helped give birth to the brand what it was like in those days – Ken Winner, Jaime Herraiz and David Johnson: David: I first met Ken at one of the Gorge Pro-Ams, I think in 1986. I remember Eckhart (Wagner) intro­ ducing me to him on the beach at the Marina. It was the magic time of windsurfing, when the sport was cool and innovations were really changing the sport, like cambered sails, and adjustable mast tracks. At the time, Ken was battling with Robby Naish for the lead on the windsurfing tour. Besides racing he also invented or was involved in almost all advancements in the sport, and that really made an impression on me. Over the years, I got to know him and gained a lot of respect for what he brought to the sport and to the group. During the late 90’s I was in charge of running the North and South American operations for Boards and More, which sold North Sails, Naish, Mistral, F2, Fanatic, and JP. We had a lot of brands to take care of, but we saw the trend of windsurfing going down, and needed to find something

to replace the lost business. We started selling Naish Kiteboarding as one of the first viable brands of kites for the US market and it quickly became the market leader. Kites sales grew quickly, but we soon realized how much the equipment needed to be improved. Naish were developing new ideas but while some were good others weren’t so good. There were also a few problems with warranties that caused us some issues. At the time though Naish was the only innovative brand available and therefore our only option to be part of the kiting game. I guess this was what really promoted me to think about starting North Kites – the experience I had with the original North Windsurfing group was a lot of work but it was a lot of fun too. I was with Eckhart Wagner in the early 80’s when North Sails Windsurfing was in the same kind of position with that sport. Eckhart had won an Olympic medal in sailing and owned the North Sail

David Johnson, Jaime Herraiz & Ken Winner River Gorge, Oregon

loft for Germany and he started North Sails Windsurfing because he saw everyone else going in the wrong direction for development. He really believed in offering the best quality sails, made from the best materials and used his sail making experience to achieve this goal. We focused on quality and innovation instead of fashion and sponsored riders; we built the brand around this concept. We did it without buying the most expensive team riders or putting on the biggest advertising campaigns, instead we focused on the product and put it at the centre of the brand. And we all worked together as a team. It was a great time in my life and I thought the same spirit could be implemented into North Kiteboarding. I thought that the best approach for North Kiteboarding would be to take the same road that we did with Eckhart in windsurfing – to offer a product that was patterned after that concept – use better materials, come


when it a l l began

36

37

Ken, Jaime & David Day One of NKB

Story

Ken, Jaime & David Day One of NKB by Christine Gutter

Jaime Herraiz River Gorge, Oregon

North Kiteboarding. Sure, every kiter knows the brand. They’re big and they’re involved in everything that happens in the sport. But when North Kiteboarding was launched, we had the same problems with tight budgets as any other new brand that tries to get established in the market. There was no advantage, no big investor in the background. Curious as I am, I asked three men who helped give birth to the brand what it was like in those days – Ken Winner, Jaime Herraiz and David Johnson: David: I first met Ken at one of the Gorge Pro-Ams, I think in 1986. I remember Eckhart (Wagner) intro­ ducing me to him on the beach at the Marina. It was the magic time of windsurfing, when the sport was cool and innovations were really changing the sport, like cambered sails, and adjustable mast tracks. At the time, Ken was battling with Robby Naish for the lead on the windsurfing tour. Besides racing he also invented or was involved in almost all advancements in the sport, and that really made an impression on me. Over the years, I got to know him and gained a lot of respect for what he brought to the sport and to the group. During the late 90’s I was in charge of running the North and South American operations for Boards and More, which sold North Sails, Naish, Mistral, F2, Fanatic, and JP. We had a lot of brands to take care of, but we saw the trend of windsurfing going down, and needed to find something

to replace the lost business. We started selling Naish Kiteboarding as one of the first viable brands of kites for the US market and it quickly became the market leader. Kites sales grew quickly, but we soon realized how much the equipment needed to be improved. Naish were developing new ideas but while some were good others weren’t so good. There were also a few problems with warranties that caused us some issues. At the time though Naish was the only innovative brand available and therefore our only option to be part of the kiting game. I guess this was what really promoted me to think about starting North Kites – the experience I had with the original North Windsurfing group was a lot of work but it was a lot of fun too. I was with Eckhart Wagner in the early 80’s when North Sails Windsurfing was in the same kind of position with that sport. Eckhart had won an Olympic medal in sailing and owned the North Sail

David Johnson, Jaime Herraiz & Ken Winner River Gorge, Oregon

loft for Germany and he started North Sails Windsurfing because he saw everyone else going in the wrong direction for development. He really believed in offering the best quality sails, made from the best materials and used his sail making experience to achieve this goal. We focused on quality and innovation instead of fashion and sponsored riders; we built the brand around this concept. We did it without buying the most expensive team riders or putting on the biggest advertising campaigns, instead we focused on the product and put it at the centre of the brand. And we all worked together as a team. It was a great time in my life and I thought the same spirit could be implemented into North Kiteboarding. I thought that the best approach for North Kiteboarding would be to take the same road that we did with Eckhart in windsurfing – to offer a product that was patterned after that concept – use better materials, come


The Y ear of the Monkey

74

High Pressure Technology

75

Story

Kiteboards in High Pressure Technology by Till Eberle

I don’t remember exactly how I got the idea to produce kiteboards using snowboard technology. I remember the weak points of most models at that time very well though. The boards were not strong enough for really hard landings. The result was that our team riders regularly destroyed their boards. Another problem was that, depending on the amount of rocker, they were either fast and great for early planing or they were easy to control in high winds and choppy water. So how is it possi­ ble to build a much stronger board? And how is it possible to get both good upwind ability and early planing without losing control and comfort? The search for a solution to both problems soon led me to a new concept. The board needed flex, so that it would have a flat and fast bottom for early planing that would then curve under higher pressure to a more rounded and controllable shape. Conventionally produced boards with such a high flex would simply break. Since I had been developing snowboards for several years and for different brands I thought it may be a good idea to try the manufacturing process of snowboards on kiteboards. The problem was that, at the time, we neither had the budget nor the necessary volume to make the production of moulds worthwhile. Eventually I told my Polish snowboard producer Dariusz Rosiak (today he owns Nobile) about my idea. Luckily, Dariusz was recently infected with the kite virus and he had always had an experi­ mental entrepreneurial spirit. After a very long night of creative discussions during which we downed one or two glasses of vodka we had re­ solved the cost problem and he said “no problem, Till”. Within six weeks we had designed the first prototype in AutoCAD and developed our first mould system for kiteboards.

I remember showing up on the beach in Tarifa with this early prototype. Jaime looked at me full of doubt and said: “What is that ugly thing you got there?” I must admit that the board was really no beauty. The three-dimensional deck had a simple square shape in order to reduce the cost. It also had deep dents on the bottom that I had filled with ski wax! But what irritated the guys most was its flex. In short, it was completely different from anything else that the custom shapers around Tarifa were building at the time. It seemed almost outrageous that the board was actually good to ride and really stable. Today, the right flex is just as important for the performance of a kiteboard as its rocker or outline. Nevertheless, it was hard to imagine that this square and dented board should be the epitome of future board technology. We must mention that simultaneously Raphael Salles from F-One Kiteboarding was working on a similar concept, although we were both doing it completely independently. He was using a wood core technology laminated totally in a carbon top and bottom sheet with ABS rails. The two final products differed quite a lot in terms of looks and design. But they were equally well received and paved the way for the future of board design. Of course, materials and construction techno­ logies have been subject to further development since then. The cores are now CNC machined and the moulding is executed at a temperature of 90°C and under a pressure of 60 tons. This process has the advantage that it permits the use of 50 % more glass, since the excess resin is pressed out of the mould. These boards are lighter and stronger and now nearly all kiteboards from every brand are manufactured in the same way.


The Y ear of the Monkey

74

High Pressure Technology

75

Story

Kiteboards in High Pressure Technology by Till Eberle

I don’t remember exactly how I got the idea to produce kiteboards using snowboard technology. I remember the weak points of most models at that time very well though. The boards were not strong enough for really hard landings. The result was that our team riders regularly destroyed their boards. Another problem was that, depending on the amount of rocker, they were either fast and great for early planing or they were easy to control in high winds and choppy water. So how is it possi­ ble to build a much stronger board? And how is it possible to get both good upwind ability and early planing without losing control and comfort? The search for a solution to both problems soon led me to a new concept. The board needed flex, so that it would have a flat and fast bottom for early planing that would then curve under higher pressure to a more rounded and controllable shape. Conventionally produced boards with such a high flex would simply break. Since I had been developing snowboards for several years and for different brands I thought it may be a good idea to try the manufacturing process of snowboards on kiteboards. The problem was that, at the time, we neither had the budget nor the necessary volume to make the production of moulds worthwhile. Eventually I told my Polish snowboard producer Dariusz Rosiak (today he owns Nobile) about my idea. Luckily, Dariusz was recently infected with the kite virus and he had always had an experi­ mental entrepreneurial spirit. After a very long night of creative discussions during which we downed one or two glasses of vodka we had re­ solved the cost problem and he said “no problem, Till”. Within six weeks we had designed the first prototype in AutoCAD and developed our first mould system for kiteboards.

I remember showing up on the beach in Tarifa with this early prototype. Jaime looked at me full of doubt and said: “What is that ugly thing you got there?” I must admit that the board was really no beauty. The three-dimensional deck had a simple square shape in order to reduce the cost. It also had deep dents on the bottom that I had filled with ski wax! But what irritated the guys most was its flex. In short, it was completely different from anything else that the custom shapers around Tarifa were building at the time. It seemed almost outrageous that the board was actually good to ride and really stable. Today, the right flex is just as important for the performance of a kiteboard as its rocker or outline. Nevertheless, it was hard to imagine that this square and dented board should be the epitome of future board technology. We must mention that simultaneously Raphael Salles from F-One Kiteboarding was working on a similar concept, although we were both doing it completely independently. He was using a wood core technology laminated totally in a carbon top and bottom sheet with ABS rails. The two final products differed quite a lot in terms of looks and design. But they were equally well received and paved the way for the future of board design. Of course, materials and construction techno­ logies have been subject to further development since then. The cores are now CNC machined and the moulding is executed at a temperature of 90°C and under a pressure of 60 tons. This process has the advantage that it permits the use of 50 % more glass, since the excess resin is pressed out of the mould. These boards are lighter and stronger and now nearly all kiteboards from every brand are manufactured in the same way.


The Y ear o f the Mo nkey

76

Space Monkeys I

77

Jaime Herraiz, Shanti Berg & Will James Mauritius

Story

Space Monkeys I by Christine Gutter & Will James

That was really fun! The premiere of Space Monkeys I at the World Cup at Podersdorf in 2003 hit like a bomb, particularly with the competitive riders. Four kitesurfers showed before the contest where the benchmark was for that year. And they all knew: it’s too high! The handle pass had been done before, but only by a few innovative kiters such as Lou Wain­ man and Elliot Leboe who clearly distanced themselves from the com­ petitive carousel. Jaime Herraiz, Will James (both North Kiteboarding), Jeff Tobias (Slingshot) and super­ star Martin Vari (Cabrinha) pushed wakestyle into competitions and raised the technical level to a previ­ ously unknown standard. The result was increased nervousness among the competitors that expressed itself in targeted handle pass training. The Tronolone Brother’s movie doubt­ lessly created a milestone and was the first nail in the coffin for the ‘Deadman’. Martin Vari: “The Space Monkey days were some of the best of my life. It felt like it couldn’t get much better than that. Traveling with Jaime, Will, Jeff and the Tronolones. What a remarkable group of people! The combination of these unique perso­ nalities produced the funniest stories.

Each of us added a special spice to it. Haha, it was all about having fun, enjoying the best out of what was in front of us. Waves, flat water, flights, waiting time in hotels. We had fun in every part of the process. I remem­ ber when we were filming Space Monkeys II in Mauritius where we had no wind and no waves for four days. We were staying at a really cool house up in the mountains. We were starting to get bored when Will had the idea to find a monkey to shoot some scenes with. We quietly hired the monkey and decided to stick it in Jaime’s bed while he was still sleeping. That was hilarious! Imagine when Jaime woke up with that mon­ key in his bed. So funny! We always had a great time even when there was nothing really to do. We kept ourselves busy laughing and just having fun. For me, that was the main motivation to do what we did. To enjoy the moment, no matter what the present or the future offers to you.” Jaime Herraiz: “The weird thing about Space Monkeys was that the vision that Will and I had when we planned the video came out just right, and that’s very bizarre. We wanted to tell a story that had a message rather than just the usual porno style action

shooting. We wanted to have a video that would describe the good vibes and the lifestyle we had back in those days, just raw footage and as little ‘dressing’ on the editing as possible. From the very first moment we wanted to work with Tronolone Productions, Chris Tronolone was a reference back then, his videos marked the progression of the early stages of the sport: High, Awake! But we thought we had a problem, Chris was known for being a die hard kite beach Maui activist and we where afraid that he would not want to work with a bunch of ‘PKRA dang­ lers’ (that’s what we were called back then over there.) so we sent Martin over with his well known Argentinean ability to negotiate. Two days later he came back with a terrible hangover and ever since we never ‘Tron alone’. I think Chris Tronolone is more responsible for the success of this video and the direction of the early days of kiteboarding than anybody else involved back then, and I never saw him with a kite in his hands. He emitted stoke through all his pores and was just the biggest motivator and instigator. We pushed our riding, cracked jokes, we traveled the world and had the funniest stories to tell afterwards.


The Y ear o f the Mo nkey

76

Space Monkeys I

77

Jaime Herraiz, Shanti Berg & Will James Mauritius

Story

Space Monkeys I by Christine Gutter & Will James

That was really fun! The premiere of Space Monkeys I at the World Cup at Podersdorf in 2003 hit like a bomb, particularly with the competitive riders. Four kitesurfers showed before the contest where the benchmark was for that year. And they all knew: it’s too high! The handle pass had been done before, but only by a few innovative kiters such as Lou Wain­ man and Elliot Leboe who clearly distanced themselves from the com­ petitive carousel. Jaime Herraiz, Will James (both North Kiteboarding), Jeff Tobias (Slingshot) and super­ star Martin Vari (Cabrinha) pushed wakestyle into competitions and raised the technical level to a previ­ ously unknown standard. The result was increased nervousness among the competitors that expressed itself in targeted handle pass training. The Tronolone Brother’s movie doubt­ lessly created a milestone and was the first nail in the coffin for the ‘Deadman’. Martin Vari: “The Space Monkey days were some of the best of my life. It felt like it couldn’t get much better than that. Traveling with Jaime, Will, Jeff and the Tronolones. What a remarkable group of people! The combination of these unique perso­ nalities produced the funniest stories.

Each of us added a special spice to it. Haha, it was all about having fun, enjoying the best out of what was in front of us. Waves, flat water, flights, waiting time in hotels. We had fun in every part of the process. I remem­ ber when we were filming Space Monkeys II in Mauritius where we had no wind and no waves for four days. We were staying at a really cool house up in the mountains. We were starting to get bored when Will had the idea to find a monkey to shoot some scenes with. We quietly hired the monkey and decided to stick it in Jaime’s bed while he was still sleeping. That was hilarious! Imagine when Jaime woke up with that mon­ key in his bed. So funny! We always had a great time even when there was nothing really to do. We kept ourselves busy laughing and just having fun. For me, that was the main motivation to do what we did. To enjoy the moment, no matter what the present or the future offers to you.” Jaime Herraiz: “The weird thing about Space Monkeys was that the vision that Will and I had when we planned the video came out just right, and that’s very bizarre. We wanted to tell a story that had a message rather than just the usual porno style action

shooting. We wanted to have a video that would describe the good vibes and the lifestyle we had back in those days, just raw footage and as little ‘dressing’ on the editing as possible. From the very first moment we wanted to work with Tronolone Productions, Chris Tronolone was a reference back then, his videos marked the progression of the early stages of the sport: High, Awake! But we thought we had a problem, Chris was known for being a die hard kite beach Maui activist and we where afraid that he would not want to work with a bunch of ‘PKRA dang­ lers’ (that’s what we were called back then over there.) so we sent Martin over with his well known Argentinean ability to negotiate. Two days later he came back with a terrible hangover and ever since we never ‘Tron alone’. I think Chris Tronolone is more responsible for the success of this video and the direction of the early days of kiteboarding than anybody else involved back then, and I never saw him with a kite in his hands. He emitted stoke through all his pores and was just the biggest motivator and instigator. We pushed our riding, cracked jokes, we traveled the world and had the funniest stories to tell afterwards.


TH E Y E A R O F T H E MO NK E Y

84

SNOWBOARD CONSTRUCTION

85

MILESTONE

NKB MILESTONE OF THE YEAR

PROTECTION TOP SHEET

SNOWBOARD CONSTRUCTION In 2003 the first boards using snowboard construction from North Kiteboarding and Nobile surprised the world of kiting. Boards with a thinner profile, a wood core, much better bending capabilities and a controlled adjustment of flex. This flex is also the main reason for huge comfort when landing from high, powered tricks and when riding through choppy water. The basic construction remains the same to this day, but the knowledge in fine-tuning flex characteristics and working with special materials such as Textreme Carbon have improved every single year. The wood core sandwich construction offers a density three times higher than that of a standard foam core and it has a much higher strength and impact resistance. Fatigue resistance, as well as the ability to withstand stress caused by thousands of impacts and landings over the time, has also been improved significantly. Heel dents, split cores and cracked laminates have become a thing of the past. Kiteboards enjoy a long life and the warranty rate is less than 1 %.

WOODCORE

HPDE FLEX TIP

BIAX GLASFIBRE

ABS SIDEWALL

Impressive!

TORSION FLEX


TH E Y E A R O F T H E MO NK E Y

84

SNOWBOARD CONSTRUCTION

85

MILESTONE

NKB MILESTONE OF THE YEAR

PROTECTION TOP SHEET

SNOWBOARD CONSTRUCTION In 2003 the first boards using snowboard construction from North Kiteboarding and Nobile surprised the world of kiting. Boards with a thinner profile, a wood core, much better bending capabilities and a controlled adjustment of flex. This flex is also the main reason for huge comfort when landing from high, powered tricks and when riding through choppy water. The basic construction remains the same to this day, but the knowledge in fine-tuning flex characteristics and working with special materials such as Textreme Carbon have improved every single year. The wood core sandwich construction offers a density three times higher than that of a standard foam core and it has a much higher strength and impact resistance. Fatigue resistance, as well as the ability to withstand stress caused by thousands of impacts and landings over the time, has also been improved significantly. Heel dents, split cores and cracked laminates have become a thing of the past. Kiteboards enjoy a long life and the warranty rate is less than 1 %.

WOODCORE

HPDE FLEX TIP

BIAX GLASFIBRE

ABS SIDEWALL

Impressive!

TORSION FLEX


A wo rl d in c li m atic change

90

91

Intro

Safety and the 5th Element by Christine Gutter

The fifth line is in our opinion the perfect complement to the Iron Heart. At the beginning of 2002, a German rider Georg Koziel first introduced us to a five line system, the primary objective was to simplify relaunch but it also had a limited safety function. It wasn’t until we were looking for a safety leash system that allowed free rotation of the bar some years later that we came back to this ‘old’ idea. Apart from free rotation and easy relaunch we saw an opportunity to improve safety when the kite was released and it was only connected to a central fifth line through the safety leash with the rider. The advantage of the fifth line is that, if properly constructed, the kite will collapse after it is released and glide down onto the water or the ground where it remains completely depowered. If the safety leash is connected to one of the other four lines, there is a chance that the kite will

start twisting in a deadly spiral around the wingtip, often developing a lot of power. When developing the Rhino 05, Ken Winner searched for possibilities to reduce the diameter of the leading edge so that the kite would produce less drag. As the Rhino 05 prototypes tended to collapse on four lines, Ken attached a fifth line with a stopper, supporting the centre of the leading edge. This permitted a flatter arc and improved depower. We actually created the first SLE kite with the Rhino 05. However, it wasn’t until Bruno Legaignoux’s bow kite was launched that we were able to recognize and exploit the 5th Element’s full potential. Though today we once again build four line kites in addition to the five line models, we at North are still convinced that kites that are developed for the 5th Element system are unmatched in performance and safety.

Sequence: Till Eberle

Mallory de la Villemarqué

5th Element


A wo rl d in c li m atic change

90

91

Intro

Safety and the 5th Element by Christine Gutter

The fifth line is in our opinion the perfect complement to the Iron Heart. At the beginning of 2002, a German rider Georg Koziel first introduced us to a five line system, the primary objective was to simplify relaunch but it also had a limited safety function. It wasn’t until we were looking for a safety leash system that allowed free rotation of the bar some years later that we came back to this ‘old’ idea. Apart from free rotation and easy relaunch we saw an opportunity to improve safety when the kite was released and it was only connected to a central fifth line through the safety leash with the rider. The advantage of the fifth line is that, if properly constructed, the kite will collapse after it is released and glide down onto the water or the ground where it remains completely depowered. If the safety leash is connected to one of the other four lines, there is a chance that the kite will

start twisting in a deadly spiral around the wingtip, often developing a lot of power. When developing the Rhino 05, Ken Winner searched for possibilities to reduce the diameter of the leading edge so that the kite would produce less drag. As the Rhino 05 prototypes tended to collapse on four lines, Ken attached a fifth line with a stopper, supporting the centre of the leading edge. This permitted a flatter arc and improved depower. We actually created the first SLE kite with the Rhino 05. However, it wasn’t until Bruno Legaignoux’s bow kite was launched that we were able to recognize and exploit the 5th Element’s full potential. Though today we once again build four line kites in addition to the five line models, we at North are still convinced that kites that are developed for the 5th Element system are unmatched in performance and safety.

Sequence: Till Eberle

Mallory de la Villemarqué

5th Element


A wo rld in c limatic change

92

93

Portrait –  Jaime Herraiz

 P o r t r a i t  

 Jaime Herraiz  the Spanish Fly by Christine Gutter

Let’s start this portrait of Jaime Herraiz with a little language course to eliminate a classic linguistic pitfall once and for all: Jaime is not pronounced like the first name of the popular English TV star chef. So it’s not “Jamie” but “Jaime”. Note the position of the “i”. Since the name is Spanish, the J is not pronounced “DJ” but more like an “H” with a bit of a raspy noise that is formed by a strong exhalation while pressing the back of the tongue on the soft palate. The whole name is pronounced “Hi-May”, with that raspy sound at the beginning. This sound comes easy to the Swiss, Dutch and Tyrolean’s, but for English speakers it’s a bit of a challenge. The name of the board is, of course, pronounced the same way. Since we clarified that we can now talk about the person behind that name. And I can tell you one thing in advance: It is rewarding! Before Jaime became a tester, team rider and figurehead of North Kiteboarding, he spent his time windsurfing, just like many other converts. His home spot Tarifa was THE European Mecca of windsurfing. A bit like it is the European Mecca of kitesurfing today. He was fully into windsurfing and offered his services as a caddy to Björn Dunkerbeck for a couple of events. He rigged his equipment and rode it to the start. Then he got a sponsor of his own and started to work for Fanatic. Already in those early days, he enjoyed testing material and optimized his innate instinct for the nuances of the sport. He was a valuable tester, until he got hold of a kite. That was in 1999, when the kite virus started spreading across the globe in pandemic proportions. Somewhat frustrated by windsurfing, this new kite sport gave him what he had missed most: loads of good days on the water, compared to his three previous years in Maui where perfect days were rare. Riding contests was never really quite his thing. Nor was it his desire. He didn’t want to see his friends lose against him. At the same time he hated to lose. That’s understandable, who likes losing? He soon found out that the euphoria after a victory didn’t last as long as the disappointment after a defeat. So he gave up riding in contests. All he really wanted and loved to do was to produce good equipment. That was a noble aspiration that wasn’t taken quite so seriously by the people around him

Jaime Herraiz Mauritius


A wo rld in c limatic change

92

93

Portrait –  Jaime Herraiz

 P o r t r a i t  

 Jaime Herraiz  the Spanish Fly by Christine Gutter

Let’s start this portrait of Jaime Herraiz with a little language course to eliminate a classic linguistic pitfall once and for all: Jaime is not pronounced like the first name of the popular English TV star chef. So it’s not “Jamie” but “Jaime”. Note the position of the “i”. Since the name is Spanish, the J is not pronounced “DJ” but more like an “H” with a bit of a raspy noise that is formed by a strong exhalation while pressing the back of the tongue on the soft palate. The whole name is pronounced “Hi-May”, with that raspy sound at the beginning. This sound comes easy to the Swiss, Dutch and Tyrolean’s, but for English speakers it’s a bit of a challenge. The name of the board is, of course, pronounced the same way. Since we clarified that we can now talk about the person behind that name. And I can tell you one thing in advance: It is rewarding! Before Jaime became a tester, team rider and figurehead of North Kiteboarding, he spent his time windsurfing, just like many other converts. His home spot Tarifa was THE European Mecca of windsurfing. A bit like it is the European Mecca of kitesurfing today. He was fully into windsurfing and offered his services as a caddy to Björn Dunkerbeck for a couple of events. He rigged his equipment and rode it to the start. Then he got a sponsor of his own and started to work for Fanatic. Already in those early days, he enjoyed testing material and optimized his innate instinct for the nuances of the sport. He was a valuable tester, until he got hold of a kite. That was in 1999, when the kite virus started spreading across the globe in pandemic proportions. Somewhat frustrated by windsurfing, this new kite sport gave him what he had missed most: loads of good days on the water, compared to his three previous years in Maui where perfect days were rare. Riding contests was never really quite his thing. Nor was it his desire. He didn’t want to see his friends lose against him. At the same time he hated to lose. That’s understandable, who likes losing? He soon found out that the euphoria after a victory didn’t last as long as the disappointment after a defeat. So he gave up riding in contests. All he really wanted and loved to do was to produce good equipment. That was a noble aspiration that wasn’t taken quite so seriously by the people around him

Jaime Herraiz Mauritius


A WO R L D IN C L IM AT IC CH ANGE

96

PORTRAIT – JAIME HERRAIZ

97

Jaime Pro 2003

Jaime Pro 2004

Jaime Pro 2005

Jaime Pro 2006

Jaime Pro 2007

So far, 28 850 boards with his name on have been sold all over the world since his first model in 2003 came out.

Jaime Herraiz Tarifa, Spain

Jaime Pro 2008

Jaime Pro 2009

Jaime Pro 2010

Jaime Pro 2011

Sneak Preview

Jaime Pro 2012


A WO R L D IN C L IM AT IC CH ANGE

96

PORTRAIT – JAIME HERRAIZ

97

Jaime Pro 2003

Jaime Pro 2004

Jaime Pro 2005

Jaime Pro 2006

Jaime Pro 2007

So far, 28 850 boards with his name on have been sold all over the world since his first model in 2003 came out.

Jaime Herraiz Tarifa, Spain

Jaime Pro 2008

Jaime Pro 2009

Jaime Pro 2010

Jaime Pro 2011

Sneak Preview

Jaime Pro 2012


TH E Y E A R O F T H E B OW

108

THE VEGAS CONCEPT

109

Upward moved front attachment point: high depower

STORY

The Vegas Concept by Ralf Grรถsel

NORMAL KITE

Kim Albrecht Ras Sudr, Egypt

The VEGAS holds the accolade of being the kite with the most history in the North line up. It was first put on the market in 2005 together with its big brother the Rhino. The kite was introduced as a more moderate version of the fairly radical Rhino design, the Vegas was a true freeride kite. In 2007, the design of the Vegas underwent significant changes. Upgraded with a loaded fifth line it became a true depower miracle and developed its own and faithful fan club, many of whom still fly the Vegas today. The fundamental concept of the kite has remained unchanged ever since. It combines performance, easy handling and the best unhooked properties. Since the 2010 Vegas, I have been responsible for this kite model and its big legacy. I started my development work with a thorough assessment. For this purpose, I collected feedback from team riders and friends and compiled a requirement profile. It soon became clear that the focus would be on freestyle properties. The Vegas is by no means an outdated concept but rather the consequential further development of a brilliant idea. The combination of a rounded C-shape, a compact and very stretched outline with the loaded 5th line provides a wide range for excellent handling and a lot of performance. The stretched outline, for instance, permits short depower throw for immediate power/depower response, particularly in strong and gusty wind. Furthermore, the Vegas has two different settings for the front

NORTH VEGAS

lines, one for freestyle and one for freeride use. In the freestyle setting, the front lines are attached a little closer to the trailing edge and make sure that the kite is lower in the wind window. This changes the response of the kite when riding unhooked and facilitates new school tricks. The freeride setting on the other hand provides a lot of depower, which makes the kite great for old school tricks and for wave riding. The new canopy material D2 turned out to be an unexpectedly influential and challenging parameter for the designer but it contributed substantially to enhancing the flying properties. With its low diagonal stretch it significantly increases structural stiffness, which in turn improves the flying experience. Furthermore, it allows me to make incredibly precise changes in the distribution of tension in the wing geometry and thus define the handling properties more exactly. Everybody who tries a Vegas 2011 will quickly recognize that there is hardly a more precise kite around. I like to compare the Vegas with a sports car that is built for maximum performance but still good for everyday use. The concept of the Vegas still has a lot of potential for further development and with the help of our team riders we will be able to further enhance the kite as a whole and push the limits of the sport.


TH E Y E A R O F T H E B OW

108

THE VEGAS CONCEPT

109

Upward moved front attachment point: high depower

STORY

The Vegas Concept by Ralf Grรถsel

NORMAL KITE

Kim Albrecht Ras Sudr, Egypt

The VEGAS holds the accolade of being the kite with the most history in the North line up. It was first put on the market in 2005 together with its big brother the Rhino. The kite was introduced as a more moderate version of the fairly radical Rhino design, the Vegas was a true freeride kite. In 2007, the design of the Vegas underwent significant changes. Upgraded with a loaded fifth line it became a true depower miracle and developed its own and faithful fan club, many of whom still fly the Vegas today. The fundamental concept of the kite has remained unchanged ever since. It combines performance, easy handling and the best unhooked properties. Since the 2010 Vegas, I have been responsible for this kite model and its big legacy. I started my development work with a thorough assessment. For this purpose, I collected feedback from team riders and friends and compiled a requirement profile. It soon became clear that the focus would be on freestyle properties. The Vegas is by no means an outdated concept but rather the consequential further development of a brilliant idea. The combination of a rounded C-shape, a compact and very stretched outline with the loaded 5th line provides a wide range for excellent handling and a lot of performance. The stretched outline, for instance, permits short depower throw for immediate power/depower response, particularly in strong and gusty wind. Furthermore, the Vegas has two different settings for the front

NORTH VEGAS

lines, one for freestyle and one for freeride use. In the freestyle setting, the front lines are attached a little closer to the trailing edge and make sure that the kite is lower in the wind window. This changes the response of the kite when riding unhooked and facilitates new school tricks. The freeride setting on the other hand provides a lot of depower, which makes the kite great for old school tricks and for wave riding. The new canopy material D2 turned out to be an unexpectedly influential and challenging parameter for the designer but it contributed substantially to enhancing the flying properties. With its low diagonal stretch it significantly increases structural stiffness, which in turn improves the flying experience. Furthermore, it allows me to make incredibly precise changes in the distribution of tension in the wing geometry and thus define the handling properties more exactly. Everybody who tries a Vegas 2011 will quickly recognize that there is hardly a more precise kite around. I like to compare the Vegas with a sports car that is built for maximum performance but still good for everyday use. The concept of the Vegas still has a lot of potential for further development and with the help of our team riders we will be able to further enhance the kite as a whole and push the limits of the sport.


TH E Y E A R O F T H E B OW

116

THE IRON HEART

117

MILESTONE

NKB MILESTONE OF THE YEAR

THE IRON HEART Safety was and still is a hot and important issue that we have always taken very seriously. After all, we are all kiters and we want to go out on the water with a feeling of confidence in our equipment. We have all had a few scary experiences, and we are all happy that we are still able to enjoy our favorite sport without major injuries. Unfortunately, we’ve had to learn the hard way that the dangerous side of this sport cannot be taken for granted. It is not easy to launch a product onto the market that you can say is totally safe, there will always be outside influences which will determine it’s success in any given situation. If a safety system is not properly tested it can quickly turn out to have an adverse effect. Safety has always been a delicate issue with NKB but when Silke Gorldt lost her life in a tragic accident during a contest in 2002 we began to feel huge pressure from the riders on beaches to develop a safety system. At the time no brands wanted to build safety systems into their bars as they wanted to avoid the blame if something went wrong with it. Sadly Silke’s accident changed all that. Would a properly developed safety system have saved her life? We will never know. It is certainly not true that a reliable system can be invented quickly under pressure. The fact that, in our opinion, the

Iron Heart is one of the few reliable safety systems on the market proves how difficult it is to find a working solution. So far, a passive system, such as the safe ski binding, which operates without user input, has proven unsuitable for kite sports. The reason for this is not to be found in a lack of creativity on behalf of the developers but more in the requirements of such a system. Interestingly, the snowboard industry has also given up the attempt to establish an equivalent to the safety ski binding. Many inventive spirits, engineers and technically talented kiters continually made suggestions during the first few years but all of them failed to convince us. Then we were lucky and got in touch with a clever Swiss man who, just like many others, had enthusiastically tried to solve the problem. However, he was clearly different from all the rest: he was reliable and his idea was not only good, it could also be realized. Though the project was still uncertain in its early stages, the potential was clearly visible. In Ibo we had found a full-blooded gear head, an inventor and perfectionist. The first Iron Heart was the result of this fruitful cooperation. The current Iron Heart IV is already three evolutionary steps further along and one of the few systems on the market that complies with the requirements of the French AFNOR standard.

The attachment head can be manually twisted around the lower part of the system, which allows untwisting the front lines.

The release grip is centrally located above the chicken loop where it is always easy to find and can be released with either the right or left hand.

The Ironheart has a modular construction that can be perfectly adapted to individual requirements. Its solid V4A construction allows releasing loads of 100 kg with a force of only 5 kg.


TH E Y E A R O F T H E B OW

116

THE IRON HEART

117

MILESTONE

NKB MILESTONE OF THE YEAR

THE IRON HEART Safety was and still is a hot and important issue that we have always taken very seriously. After all, we are all kiters and we want to go out on the water with a feeling of confidence in our equipment. We have all had a few scary experiences, and we are all happy that we are still able to enjoy our favorite sport without major injuries. Unfortunately, we’ve had to learn the hard way that the dangerous side of this sport cannot be taken for granted. It is not easy to launch a product onto the market that you can say is totally safe, there will always be outside influences which will determine it’s success in any given situation. If a safety system is not properly tested it can quickly turn out to have an adverse effect. Safety has always been a delicate issue with NKB but when Silke Gorldt lost her life in a tragic accident during a contest in 2002 we began to feel huge pressure from the riders on beaches to develop a safety system. At the time no brands wanted to build safety systems into their bars as they wanted to avoid the blame if something went wrong with it. Sadly Silke’s accident changed all that. Would a properly developed safety system have saved her life? We will never know. It is certainly not true that a reliable system can be invented quickly under pressure. The fact that, in our opinion, the

Iron Heart is one of the few reliable safety systems on the market proves how difficult it is to find a working solution. So far, a passive system, such as the safe ski binding, which operates without user input, has proven unsuitable for kite sports. The reason for this is not to be found in a lack of creativity on behalf of the developers but more in the requirements of such a system. Interestingly, the snowboard industry has also given up the attempt to establish an equivalent to the safety ski binding. Many inventive spirits, engineers and technically talented kiters continually made suggestions during the first few years but all of them failed to convince us. Then we were lucky and got in touch with a clever Swiss man who, just like many others, had enthusiastically tried to solve the problem. However, he was clearly different from all the rest: he was reliable and his idea was not only good, it could also be realized. Though the project was still uncertain in its early stages, the potential was clearly visible. In Ibo we had found a full-blooded gear head, an inventor and perfectionist. The first Iron Heart was the result of this fruitful cooperation. The current Iron Heart IV is already three evolutionary steps further along and one of the few systems on the market that complies with the requirements of the French AFNOR standard.

The attachment head can be manually twisted around the lower part of the system, which allows untwisting the front lines.

The release grip is centrally located above the chicken loop where it is always easy to find and can be released with either the right or left hand.

The Ironheart has a modular construction that can be perfectly adapted to individual requirements. Its solid V4A construction allows releasing loads of 100 kg with a force of only 5 kg.


Th e R E B E L li o n stallio n

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The Rebel-Concept

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Story

The Rebel-Concept by Ken Winner

In 2006, we came out with the first Rebel. It was the first hybrid kite at that time. We wanted to attract the bow kite riders with a flat kite with a flat arc. But unlike the bow, the Rebel was on five lines and it had excellent handling. This eliminated what we thought were the major disadvantages of the bow kite. Ken Winner reflects on the Rebel concept: If I look at the original idea of the Rebel from today’s perspective, I have to say the concept has not changed at all. The original idea was as follows: 1. More depower than a C kite 2. More power than a C kite 3. Retain the safety, stability and relaunch of a 5-line kite 4. No pulleys on the bar or on the kite 5. Direct bar feel, ability to sense location of kite in the sky 6. Avoid the complexity of the bridles

Jaime Herraiz, Dirk Hanel, Charles Deleau, Soufiane Hamaini Fuerteventura, Spain

We knew at the time that the competing bow concept had severe weaknesses and history has proven us right. While the modern ‘bow’ kite now has no pulleys on the bar and fewer pulleys on the kite, and no longer has a connection between back lines and front lines, the essential elements of the Rebel have not changed at all. We have refined the geometry and improved the kite in many ways, but the basic configuration of the Rebel remains what it was in the fall of 2006, when the Rebel was introduced. What we didn’t realize in 2006 was that the 5-line Rebel would have shorter bar stroke than competing bridled kites, and that this would be one of the Rebel’s performance advantages.


Th e R E B E L li o n stallio n

122

The Rebel-Concept

123

Story

The Rebel-Concept by Ken Winner

In 2006, we came out with the first Rebel. It was the first hybrid kite at that time. We wanted to attract the bow kite riders with a flat kite with a flat arc. But unlike the bow, the Rebel was on five lines and it had excellent handling. This eliminated what we thought were the major disadvantages of the bow kite. Ken Winner reflects on the Rebel concept: If I look at the original idea of the Rebel from today’s perspective, I have to say the concept has not changed at all. The original idea was as follows: 1. More depower than a C kite 2. More power than a C kite 3. Retain the safety, stability and relaunch of a 5-line kite 4. No pulleys on the bar or on the kite 5. Direct bar feel, ability to sense location of kite in the sky 6. Avoid the complexity of the bridles

Jaime Herraiz, Dirk Hanel, Charles Deleau, Soufiane Hamaini Fuerteventura, Spain

We knew at the time that the competing bow concept had severe weaknesses and history has proven us right. While the modern ‘bow’ kite now has no pulleys on the bar and fewer pulleys on the kite, and no longer has a connection between back lines and front lines, the essential elements of the Rebel have not changed at all. We have refined the geometry and improved the kite in many ways, but the basic configuration of the Rebel remains what it was in the fall of 2006, when the Rebel was introduced. What we didn’t realize in 2006 was that the 5-line Rebel would have shorter bar stroke than competing bridled kites, and that this would be one of the Rebel’s performance advantages.


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125

The Rebel-Concept

Charles Deleau somewhere in Mexico

Jaime Herraiz Fuerteventura, Spain


Th e R E B E L l io n stallio n

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125

The Rebel-Concept

Charles Deleau somewhere in Mexico

Jaime Herraiz Fuerteventura, Spain


TH E R E B E L L IO N STALLIO N

134

REBEL

135

MILESTONE

Rebel 07

NKB MILESTONE OF THE YEAR

REBEL Rebel 08 The Rebel is the most popular kite that we produce the world over, we sell far more of these than any of our other kites. With 6 kites in the lineup it is impressive that the Rebel stands so far ahead of the rest in terms of sales. Although it offers plenty of depower, the Rebel is not a bow kite, it retains a sporty bar feel and gives the rider a very direct steering experience. The loaded 5th line concept and the relaunch bungee are responsible for the different flying characteristics of the Rebel. They work together to give huge depower on a very short depower stroke at the bar. You only have to move the bar a few centimeters to dump excess power and retain complete control, this is a huge advantage, especially when riding waves. Jumping high and long are abilities you don’t have to mention when speaking about the Rebel, because the name and the history already implement these features in the brain of the kiter.

Rebel 09

Rebel 10


TH E R E B E L L IO N STALLIO N

134

REBEL

135

MILESTONE

Rebel 07

NKB MILESTONE OF THE YEAR

REBEL Rebel 08 The Rebel is the most popular kite that we produce the world over, we sell far more of these than any of our other kites. With 6 kites in the lineup it is impressive that the Rebel stands so far ahead of the rest in terms of sales. Although it offers plenty of depower, the Rebel is not a bow kite, it retains a sporty bar feel and gives the rider a very direct steering experience. The loaded 5th line concept and the relaunch bungee are responsible for the different flying characteristics of the Rebel. They work together to give huge depower on a very short depower stroke at the bar. You only have to move the bar a few centimeters to dump excess power and retain complete control, this is a huge advantage, especially when riding waves. Jumping high and long are abilities you don’t have to mention when speaking about the Rebel, because the name and the history already implement these features in the brain of the kiter.

Rebel 09

Rebel 10


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143

Training Camps

Story

Team & YoungBlood Training Camps 2006 – 2008 by Christine Gutter & Tom Court

YoungBlood Camp 2007 El Gouna, Egypt

The YoungBlood Camp 2006 in Spain was the start of a project w ithout equal in the kite industry. The objective was to bring the most promising national tea m riders together for an entire week to give them the opportunity to learn from each oth er and from the inter­ national team. A fitnes s trainer additionally helped to improve the rider’s physical fitness and the North Kiteboa rding staff introduced the young athletes to th e principles of dealing with sponsors and the media.


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143

Training Camps

Story

Team & YoungBlood Training Camps 2006 – 2008 by Christine Gutter & Tom Court

YoungBlood Camp 2007 El Gouna, Egypt

The YoungBlood Camp 2006 in Spain was the start of a project w ithout equal in the kite industry. The objective was to bring the most promising national tea m riders together for an entire week to give them the opportunity to learn from each oth er and from the inter­ national team. A fitnes s trainer additionally helped to improve the rider’s physical fitness and the North Kiteboa rding staff introduced the young athletes to th e principles of dealing with sponsors and the media.


Th e D e lta h y p e

Mallory de la Villemarqué – ‘kung fu pass’ Cauipe Lagoon in Cumbuco, Brazil

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151


Th e D e lta h y p e

Mallory de la Villemarqué – ‘kung fu pass’ Cauipe Lagoon in Cumbuco, Brazil

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157

Portrait – Christoph Maderer

Thomas Paris Fuerteventura, Spain


Th e D e lta h y p e

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Portrait – Christoph Maderer

Thomas Paris Fuerteventura, Spain


Th e y ear o f sustainability

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Thinking About Sustainability

165

Intro

Thinking About Sustainability by Till Eberle

In the wake of climate change, the term ‘sustainability’ has become a political one, it has been elevated to a top issue and today it is commonly used, and sometimes misused, in many contexts. Apart from the fact that life in general depends on an intact environment, the practice of our sport in particular is only possible in cooperation with nature. In 2008, we became increasingly concerned with concepts for sus­tainability regarding material, production and marketing. We thought about how we could contribute to improving the environment and which possibilities we had to make production more sustainable. The most obvious idea was to produce kites from recycled polyester, similar to the outdoor sports industry. Our Japanese cloth supplier Tejin, the leading producer of textile polyester fabrics, developed a perfectly functional material for North Kiteboarding. There was only one catch. The technical requirements for kite material are so high that they can only be reached with pure polyester. Due to the elaborate process that is needed to produce such pure poly­ ester from recycled materials, the energy balance is worse than that of polyester made from new raw

Gabi Steindl Secret Spot

materials. Therefore, we can currently only wait for technical advances that will allow us to be able to produce the material in a more sustainable manner. The second large product group is that of kiteboards. These were and still are made predominantly of PVC or PVC-EPS cores that are laminated with glass fiber and PU or Epoxy. The most critical product involved in this process is PVC, which causes serious ecological problems throughout the entire product life cycle. It starts with its production from carcinogenic chloride compounds with heavy metals and ends with the unsolved problem of its proper disposal. The typical form of disposal is combustion, which releases dioxins and furans. Therefore, we have been replacing the PVC in our boards with wood and bamboo from managed plantations. These new cores are not only much safer to dispose of; they also produce better boards with more vivid riding characteristics for our customers. The boards are then UVcoated, which completely eliminates the use of solvents. Our production site in Austria, close to our main markets, offers the advantage of short routes of transport that significantly im­prove the energy balance.


Th e y ear o f sustainability

164

Thinking About Sustainability

165

Intro

Thinking About Sustainability by Till Eberle

In the wake of climate change, the term ‘sustainability’ has become a political one, it has been elevated to a top issue and today it is commonly used, and sometimes misused, in many contexts. Apart from the fact that life in general depends on an intact environment, the practice of our sport in particular is only possible in cooperation with nature. In 2008, we became increasingly concerned with concepts for sus­tainability regarding material, production and marketing. We thought about how we could contribute to improving the environment and which possibilities we had to make production more sustainable. The most obvious idea was to produce kites from recycled polyester, similar to the outdoor sports industry. Our Japanese cloth supplier Tejin, the leading producer of textile polyester fabrics, developed a perfectly functional material for North Kiteboarding. There was only one catch. The technical requirements for kite material are so high that they can only be reached with pure polyester. Due to the elaborate process that is needed to produce such pure poly­ ester from recycled materials, the energy balance is worse than that of polyester made from new raw

Gabi Steindl Secret Spot

materials. Therefore, we can currently only wait for technical advances that will allow us to be able to produce the material in a more sustainable manner. The second large product group is that of kiteboards. These were and still are made predominantly of PVC or PVC-EPS cores that are laminated with glass fiber and PU or Epoxy. The most critical product involved in this process is PVC, which causes serious ecological problems throughout the entire product life cycle. It starts with its production from carcinogenic chloride compounds with heavy metals and ends with the unsolved problem of its proper disposal. The typical form of disposal is combustion, which releases dioxins and furans. Therefore, we have been replacing the PVC in our boards with wood and bamboo from managed plantations. These new cores are not only much safer to dispose of; they also produce better boards with more vivid riding characteristics for our customers. The boards are then UVcoated, which completely eliminates the use of solvents. Our production site in Austria, close to our main markets, offers the advantage of short routes of transport that significantly im­prove the energy balance.


The y ear o f sustainability

166

167

Thinking About Sustainability

Chile

somewhere in Mexico

When talking about sustainability we must also consider the human factor. Our main production sites are located in Sri Lanka and Austria. There is no need to say much about working conditions in Austria, as the standards in Western Europe are generally very high. In the free trade zones of Sri Lanka, however, working hours, minimum age and wages are clearly regulated and monitored in contrast to conditions in India or

somewhere in Chile

China. Nevertheless, there is no child labor in our Sri Lankan plants, we pay above standard rates and provide additional social benefits. Unfortunately, we are not yet able to claim that we are a thoroughly ‘green’ business, because so far, there are simply no entirely ecologically sound materials or production processes available for many of our products. However, we continually try to optimize individual steps and

chains of production with great care in order to find the best compromise for durability, quality, the ecosystem and our workforce, even if that makes our products a little more expensive. In that respect, we hope that the concept of ‘sustainability’ will itself be recycled and not lose its current vogue, like many other ‘trends’ have in the past.


The y ear o f sustainability

166

167

Thinking About Sustainability

Chile

somewhere in Mexico

When talking about sustainability we must also consider the human factor. Our main production sites are located in Sri Lanka and Austria. There is no need to say much about working conditions in Austria, as the standards in Western Europe are generally very high. In the free trade zones of Sri Lanka, however, working hours, minimum age and wages are clearly regulated and monitored in contrast to conditions in India or

somewhere in Chile

China. Nevertheless, there is no child labor in our Sri Lankan plants, we pay above standard rates and provide additional social benefits. Unfortunately, we are not yet able to claim that we are a thoroughly ‘green’ business, because so far, there are simply no entirely ecologically sound materials or production processes available for many of our products. However, we continually try to optimize individual steps and

chains of production with great care in order to find the best compromise for durability, quality, the ecosystem and our workforce, even if that makes our products a little more expensive. In that respect, we hope that the concept of ‘sustainability’ will itself be recycled and not lose its current vogue, like many other ‘trends’ have in the past.


Th e y e a r o f su stainability

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171

GST — Austria


Th e y e a r o f su stainability

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171

GST — Austria


TH E Y E A R O F SU STAINABILITY

176

MILESTONE

NKB MILESTONE OF THE YEAR

RACE LTD Kite-course racing has been rapidly gaining momentum over the last few years and the demand for competitive light wind boards is getting more and more important every year. The hope of getting kite racing into the Olympics makes this niche part of our sport even more important. The ongoing development to push the light wind boundaries and upwind performance to the absolute maximum never stops and North’s fifth generation Race Ltd is once again trying to set the benchmark in production raceboards. The 2011 Race Ltd already features a shorter, wider design with more volume that will carry you through the lightest wind lulls. An optimized rocker makes the Race Ltd incredibly

smooth and controllable through the chop and you will never have to worry about stuffing the nose when you’re flying downwind towards the finish line. The extremely domed deck allows you to maintain lateral pressure for optimal board trimming to maximize your upwind angle. The 2011 Race Ltd also features CNC-cut G-10 quad fins and a superlight construction that is massively performance enhancing. So if you’re looking to get out in the lightest possible breeze or want to blaze around the racecourse, the Race Ltd. is the absolute performance leader. Although it has years of experience behind it there’s no end insight for the future development of this board.

177

RACE LTD


TH E Y E A R O F SU STAINABILITY

176

MILESTONE

NKB MILESTONE OF THE YEAR

RACE LTD Kite-course racing has been rapidly gaining momentum over the last few years and the demand for competitive light wind boards is getting more and more important every year. The hope of getting kite racing into the Olympics makes this niche part of our sport even more important. The ongoing development to push the light wind boundaries and upwind performance to the absolute maximum never stops and North’s fifth generation Race Ltd is once again trying to set the benchmark in production raceboards. The 2011 Race Ltd already features a shorter, wider design with more volume that will carry you through the lightest wind lulls. An optimized rocker makes the Race Ltd incredibly

smooth and controllable through the chop and you will never have to worry about stuffing the nose when you’re flying downwind towards the finish line. The extremely domed deck allows you to maintain lateral pressure for optimal board trimming to maximize your upwind angle. The 2011 Race Ltd also features CNC-cut G-10 quad fins and a superlight construction that is massively performance enhancing. So if you’re looking to get out in the lightest possible breeze or want to blaze around the racecourse, the Race Ltd. is the absolute performance leader. Although it has years of experience behind it there’s no end insight for the future development of this board.

177

RACE LTD


QUA L IT Y IS T H E K E Y

186

THE HEART OF SAFETY

187

The evolution from the Iron Heart I to the Iron Heart IV

The catalogue of requirements for the Iron Heart IV was big. The most important point was compliance with the French standard, after that it should allow untwisting of the front lines, automatically orientate itself during unhooked tricks, avoid pin hitting when released, release away from the body, have a low weight, be user friendly and all that should come in an appealing design. It should become more functional, slimmer and form an operating unit. The system’s earlier versions seemed more like an assembly of different components. The casing should keep sand and salt out and the use of a transparent material should make such contamination visible. So I basically started by isolating the individual components, testing their physical effectiveness and optimizing them. The reverse release pin plays a central role in the Iron Heart. It permits an easy release under the required conditions and keeps the pin from hitting the hand. This is a unique feature of the Iron Hearts III and IV, which is why it was patented. Another innovation that was not previously available on the market in that form is the possibility to switch within a second from ‘standard safety mode’ to ‘suicide mode’ without the need for any other component. In the development of the Iron Heart IV we simulated all tests under the French standard. We also tested the safety systems of other brands for comparison. I don’t want to tell you any details here but the safety gaps of some systems were rather worrying!

I am convinced that our Iron Heart IV is currently the most innovative and the safest release system on the market and I will do my best so that it maintains this position in the future. I hope that I gave you some interesting insights into our development department and that I was able to show you that what we do here is always pioneering work. I would like to end with a little anecdote: I was once asked in an interview what had been my worst and my best kitesurfing experience so far. I answered that my worst experience was when I was catapulted several meters in the air and across a beach by a gust in South Africa and my best experience was when my safety system immediately released before I hit the sand.

Iron Heart I

Iron Heart II

Iron Heart III

Iron Heart IV


QUA L IT Y IS T H E K E Y

186

THE HEART OF SAFETY

187

The evolution from the Iron Heart I to the Iron Heart IV

The catalogue of requirements for the Iron Heart IV was big. The most important point was compliance with the French standard, after that it should allow untwisting of the front lines, automatically orientate itself during unhooked tricks, avoid pin hitting when released, release away from the body, have a low weight, be user friendly and all that should come in an appealing design. It should become more functional, slimmer and form an operating unit. The system’s earlier versions seemed more like an assembly of different components. The casing should keep sand and salt out and the use of a transparent material should make such contamination visible. So I basically started by isolating the individual components, testing their physical effectiveness and optimizing them. The reverse release pin plays a central role in the Iron Heart. It permits an easy release under the required conditions and keeps the pin from hitting the hand. This is a unique feature of the Iron Hearts III and IV, which is why it was patented. Another innovation that was not previously available on the market in that form is the possibility to switch within a second from ‘standard safety mode’ to ‘suicide mode’ without the need for any other component. In the development of the Iron Heart IV we simulated all tests under the French standard. We also tested the safety systems of other brands for comparison. I don’t want to tell you any details here but the safety gaps of some systems were rather worrying!

I am convinced that our Iron Heart IV is currently the most innovative and the safest release system on the market and I will do my best so that it maintains this position in the future. I hope that I gave you some interesting insights into our development department and that I was able to show you that what we do here is always pioneering work. I would like to end with a little anecdote: I was once asked in an interview what had been my worst and my best kitesurfing experience so far. I answered that my worst experience was when I was catapulted several meters in the air and across a beach by a gust in South Africa and my best experience was when my safety system immediately released before I hit the sand.

Iron Heart I

Iron Heart II

Iron Heart III

Iron Heart IV


Qua l it y is t h e k e y

Jeremie Eloy Madagascar

188

189


Qua l it y is t h e k e y

Jeremie Eloy Madagascar

188

189


Qua l it y is t h e k e y

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193

NKB-factory Sri Lanka


Qua l it y is t h e k e y

192

193

NKB-factory Sri Lanka


Quality is t h e k ey

196

What is Progression10

197

Story

What on Earth is Progression10? by Ralf Grösel

Progression10 is a catchy headline and North Kiteboarding has been promoting their products under this name for a while. But what does it actually mean, what do we need it for and what is the major benefit for the customer? These are exactly the questions that I have asked North kite designer Ralf Grösel.

“Basically, Progression10 is the sum of various combined individual factors. At the beginning of 2009, during one of my stays in Sri Lanka, I critically examined the production process and workflow. The final result was a detailed catalogue of product features, similar to the building block concept. The idea behind it is equally simple and effective. By standardizing the product features and the related production processes, we are able to optimize these processes and the materials we use. This permits us to use expensive components because we are able to reduce costs through optimized cuts. For the first time we were able to use computer controlled sewing machines that ensure perfect seams and constant quality. The building block system guarantees optimized manufacturing and forms the basis of our extended quality assurance. Each step of the production process has been carefully redesigned and documented. This made the processes of day-to-day manufacturing more transparent and facilitated quality control. Every kite is supplied with a check sheet that records the main quality controls. Nearly every construction detail has been changed and optimized. The seam layout was no exception. The classic zigzag stitch is no longer used and was completely replaced by a triple zigzag. All topsail seams are now glued and stitched. The list of changes is very long and includes numerous innovations such as the

Fusion10 and the new pigtails. These combined changes raised the quality of our products to a level that is unrivaled on the market. The modular system has comple­ tely transformed the work of our designers. For the first time, the specification of product standards is centrally controlled and documented. Each North kite, each new development is automatically brought to the current production standard. This guarantees that experiences and ideas are not limited to a single kite line. Progression10 has improved the communication between designers and production because it provides clear rules for the exchange of data and channels of communication. The customer benefits substantially from this modular system, which is used in almost all major industries. From the trainer kite to the Evo or Rebel, all kites are manufactured according to the same quality standards with identical components. You won’t find that in any other kite brand. Progression10 is the logical step towards optimized quality assurance. Since the individual product details that are subject to controls are combined in a single central database that is continually expanded, it is much easier to implement a solid QA system. Due to our large volume of production we are able to maintain a special quality assurance department. This is how we combine efficiency with professionalism.”


Quality is t h e k ey

196

What is Progression10

197

Story

What on Earth is Progression10? by Ralf Grösel

Progression10 is a catchy headline and North Kiteboarding has been promoting their products under this name for a while. But what does it actually mean, what do we need it for and what is the major benefit for the customer? These are exactly the questions that I have asked North kite designer Ralf Grösel.

“Basically, Progression10 is the sum of various combined individual factors. At the beginning of 2009, during one of my stays in Sri Lanka, I critically examined the production process and workflow. The final result was a detailed catalogue of product features, similar to the building block concept. The idea behind it is equally simple and effective. By standardizing the product features and the related production processes, we are able to optimize these processes and the materials we use. This permits us to use expensive components because we are able to reduce costs through optimized cuts. For the first time we were able to use computer controlled sewing machines that ensure perfect seams and constant quality. The building block system guarantees optimized manufacturing and forms the basis of our extended quality assurance. Each step of the production process has been carefully redesigned and documented. This made the processes of day-to-day manufacturing more transparent and facilitated quality control. Every kite is supplied with a check sheet that records the main quality controls. Nearly every construction detail has been changed and optimized. The seam layout was no exception. The classic zigzag stitch is no longer used and was completely replaced by a triple zigzag. All topsail seams are now glued and stitched. The list of changes is very long and includes numerous innovations such as the

Fusion10 and the new pigtails. These combined changes raised the quality of our products to a level that is unrivaled on the market. The modular system has comple­ tely transformed the work of our designers. For the first time, the specification of product standards is centrally controlled and documented. Each North kite, each new development is automatically brought to the current production standard. This guarantees that experiences and ideas are not limited to a single kite line. Progression10 has improved the communication between designers and production because it provides clear rules for the exchange of data and channels of communication. The customer benefits substantially from this modular system, which is used in almost all major industries. From the trainer kite to the Evo or Rebel, all kites are manufactured according to the same quality standards with identical components. You won’t find that in any other kite brand. Progression10 is the logical step towards optimized quality assurance. Since the individual product details that are subject to controls are combined in a single central database that is continually expanded, it is much easier to implement a solid QA system. Due to our large volume of production we are able to maintain a special quality assurance department. This is how we combine efficiency with professionalism.”


Quality is the key

201

Through his passion for surfing, Sky also began experimenting with surfboard design more. What started out as just making a few boards for him self quickly became a major fascination and there was no way to slow him down. Through his relentless curiosity he quickly gained valuable knowledge and expertise in that field, which held great value for us. While his role in the surfboard development became more important every year, Sky finally became the designer of all of our directional boards in 2010, initially just for the surfboards and now even for the race boards, which has clearly propelled our surf and race range to new performance standards. Sky: Each time I walk into a surf shop I can’t help but feel up every board on the rack. I mean, who surfs and doesn’t like to look at surfboards? Your board is your connection to the wave and it just seems natural that if you have spent your entire life standing on a board, you also want to understand the science behind it. I got into designing surfboards because I wanted to see if I could make a board ride the way I had pictured it working in my mind. I tried to get my hands on as many boards as I possibly could to gain an understanding for the different factors that make or break a good surfboard. Then I started devoting time and focus to making all kinds of different boards to experiment with these factors myself.

In the beginning some of my surfboard designs worked well while others mysteriously did not. Despite the ups and downs in my early board development, which were sometimes discouraging, I kept pushing forward. Leaving my comfort zone and exploring new territory was often a set back at first but occasionally lead me to a big leap forward in my surfboard designs. The interplay of different design elements is limitless, which is one of the reasons why I don’t think you can ever master the science of designing boards to perfection, you can only build on things you already know and stay open minded. When I was offered to start designing the entire surfboard range for North I was really excited about the opportunity to take my fascination to the next level. I’ve found that I’m most happy when I am doing something creative, so being given the freedom to dream up new concepts and explore surfboard designs on a much larger scale is really fulfilling and rewarding for me. Lately my competitive spark in racing led me into another interesting facet of board design. The North racing team, Ken and myself have worked together closely to develop course racing boards, which has been another great learning experience.

Interview – Sky Solbach

Till: As an individual, Sky carries himself with confidence and poise. He is humble, thoughtful and sharp. In a professional regard I’ve come to admire Sky’s ability to adapt to the dynamic nature of the various responsibilities that crowd his plate and his diplomatic approach. In my opinion, you would be hard pressed to find another rider out there who is as well rounded as Sky. His ability to strike a balance in his roles as a progressive rider, designer and tester who is constantly traveling, all while still retaining his humble character and creative drive is pretty much unparalleled. At the same time Sky is fun to be around and is always easy going. He loves a good joke and spends hours playing in the ocean just like the rest of us, making him a perfect fit and an invaluable asset to the NKB family past, present and future.

Sky Solbach One Eye, Mauritius


Quality is the key

201

Through his passion for surfing, Sky also began experimenting with surfboard design more. What started out as just making a few boards for him self quickly became a major fascination and there was no way to slow him down. Through his relentless curiosity he quickly gained valuable knowledge and expertise in that field, which held great value for us. While his role in the surfboard development became more important every year, Sky finally became the designer of all of our directional boards in 2010, initially just for the surfboards and now even for the race boards, which has clearly propelled our surf and race range to new performance standards. Sky: Each time I walk into a surf shop I can’t help but feel up every board on the rack. I mean, who surfs and doesn’t like to look at surfboards? Your board is your connection to the wave and it just seems natural that if you have spent your entire life standing on a board, you also want to understand the science behind it. I got into designing surfboards because I wanted to see if I could make a board ride the way I had pictured it working in my mind. I tried to get my hands on as many boards as I possibly could to gain an understanding for the different factors that make or break a good surfboard. Then I started devoting time and focus to making all kinds of different boards to experiment with these factors myself.

In the beginning some of my surfboard designs worked well while others mysteriously did not. Despite the ups and downs in my early board development, which were sometimes discouraging, I kept pushing forward. Leaving my comfort zone and exploring new territory was often a set back at first but occasionally lead me to a big leap forward in my surfboard designs. The interplay of different design elements is limitless, which is one of the reasons why I don’t think you can ever master the science of designing boards to perfection, you can only build on things you already know and stay open minded. When I was offered to start designing the entire surfboard range for North I was really excited about the opportunity to take my fascination to the next level. I’ve found that I’m most happy when I am doing something creative, so being given the freedom to dream up new concepts and explore surfboard designs on a much larger scale is really fulfilling and rewarding for me. Lately my competitive spark in racing led me into another interesting facet of board design. The North racing team, Ken and myself have worked together closely to develop course racing boards, which has been another great learning experience.

Interview – Sky Solbach

Till: As an individual, Sky carries himself with confidence and poise. He is humble, thoughtful and sharp. In a professional regard I’ve come to admire Sky’s ability to adapt to the dynamic nature of the various responsibilities that crowd his plate and his diplomatic approach. In my opinion, you would be hard pressed to find another rider out there who is as well rounded as Sky. His ability to strike a balance in his roles as a progressive rider, designer and tester who is constantly traveling, all while still retaining his humble character and creative drive is pretty much unparalleled. At the same time Sky is fun to be around and is always easy going. He loves a good joke and spends hours playing in the ocean just like the rest of us, making him a perfect fit and an invaluable asset to the NKB family past, present and future.

Sky Solbach One Eye, Mauritius


Qua l it y is t h e k e y

Sky Solbach Oregon Coast

202

203


Qua l it y is t h e k e y

Sky Solbach Oregon Coast

202

203


advantag e t h r o u gh te ch no lo gy & q ualit y

210

211

Behind the scenes

Sequencies Movie by Carlos Guzman

Intro

Behind the scenes behind the scenes … by Philipp Becker

“I’d like to tell you about a moment in my life that changed every­thing. When I showed up at the beach and saw the ocean again after 7 years, it was amazing, because suddenly something caught my eye. As I made my way towards the beach, I saw kites criss­crossing the sky and as I got closer I realized that people where somehow connected to these kites, riding across the water and doing some insane airs. I soon discovered a sport and a group of indi­viduals so amazing and so full of energy that I set out on a mission to discover everything about this amazing sport – and a company called North Kiteboarding.”

These were the introductory words of a DVD that North Kiteboarding released in 2010. If you think that this is just another kiteboarding DVD like so many others, you’re wrong. Behind the Scenes shows exactly what the title promises and is a perfect trailer for this book. After all, the intention of this book is also to let you look behind the scenes whilst at the same time allow us to express our joy for the sport. This movie shows all aspects of kiteboarding – freestyle, wave, race, pure freeriding and having fun with your friends – but additionally it provides a real view “behind the scenes”, it shows how and where the products are made and takes the viewer to the kite production plants in Sri Lanka and the board factory in Austria. The entire staff, a camera team and several other people who are involved in NKB worked on this project for almost a year. For the first time ever, viewers get the opportunity to discover the work and the enthusiasm of a kite­

boarding brand and what goes on behind the images of glassy oceans, palm trees and perfect sunsets. Several movie night premieres with release parties have been held all over the planet, spreading the special lifestyle of kiteboarding and showing all aspects of 10 years of North Kiteboarding. Making this DVD was hard work in the first place. But when we were almost ready to distri­ bute it and almost everything was done in time, we had to remake 10,000 DVDs due to problems with the personal rights of someone who plays the guitar in the last 30 seconds of the film. Actually, the person was pretty drunk and the produ­ cers first thought it would be fun to let the film end with that performance, but then they decided that they didn’t want destroy a person’s life for a few seconds of fun and removed it. This is just an amusing little detail that serves as an example for the kind of ob­ stacles that may lie between shooting the

movie and your DVD player or computer. The products that you can find in stores or on the Internet – DVDs, kites, boards or harnesses – they all have to overcome such obstacles that may occur during production. Sometimes these problems make us laugh; sometimes they drive us to the edge of despair. Valves or prints that come off, wrong seams or 5th lines with the wrong length despite the exact specifications that we provide are some examples of such problems. They are the little hidden junctions where you take the wrong turn or make the wrong choice between two apparently equal alternati­ ves. They show that the human factor is always a decisive variable in the process. Behind the Scenes shows this variable in its various facets. It shows the human side of our business.


advantag e t h r o u gh te ch no lo gy & q ualit y

210

211

Behind the scenes

Sequencies Movie by Carlos Guzman

Intro

Behind the scenes behind the scenes … by Philipp Becker

“I’d like to tell you about a moment in my life that changed every­thing. When I showed up at the beach and saw the ocean again after 7 years, it was amazing, because suddenly something caught my eye. As I made my way towards the beach, I saw kites criss­crossing the sky and as I got closer I realized that people where somehow connected to these kites, riding across the water and doing some insane airs. I soon discovered a sport and a group of indi­viduals so amazing and so full of energy that I set out on a mission to discover everything about this amazing sport – and a company called North Kiteboarding.”

These were the introductory words of a DVD that North Kiteboarding released in 2010. If you think that this is just another kiteboarding DVD like so many others, you’re wrong. Behind the Scenes shows exactly what the title promises and is a perfect trailer for this book. After all, the intention of this book is also to let you look behind the scenes whilst at the same time allow us to express our joy for the sport. This movie shows all aspects of kiteboarding – freestyle, wave, race, pure freeriding and having fun with your friends – but additionally it provides a real view “behind the scenes”, it shows how and where the products are made and takes the viewer to the kite production plants in Sri Lanka and the board factory in Austria. The entire staff, a camera team and several other people who are involved in NKB worked on this project for almost a year. For the first time ever, viewers get the opportunity to discover the work and the enthusiasm of a kite­

boarding brand and what goes on behind the images of glassy oceans, palm trees and perfect sunsets. Several movie night premieres with release parties have been held all over the planet, spreading the special lifestyle of kiteboarding and showing all aspects of 10 years of North Kiteboarding. Making this DVD was hard work in the first place. But when we were almost ready to distri­ bute it and almost everything was done in time, we had to remake 10,000 DVDs due to problems with the personal rights of someone who plays the guitar in the last 30 seconds of the film. Actually, the person was pretty drunk and the produ­ cers first thought it would be fun to let the film end with that performance, but then they decided that they didn’t want destroy a person’s life for a few seconds of fun and removed it. This is just an amusing little detail that serves as an example for the kind of ob­ stacles that may lie between shooting the

movie and your DVD player or computer. The products that you can find in stores or on the Internet – DVDs, kites, boards or harnesses – they all have to overcome such obstacles that may occur during production. Sometimes these problems make us laugh; sometimes they drive us to the edge of despair. Valves or prints that come off, wrong seams or 5th lines with the wrong length despite the exact specifications that we provide are some examples of such problems. They are the little hidden junctions where you take the wrong turn or make the wrong choice between two apparently equal alternati­ ves. They show that the human factor is always a decisive variable in the process. Behind the Scenes shows this variable in its various facets. It shows the human side of our business.


advantag e t h rou gh tech nolo gy & quality

218

219

Milestone

NKB Milestone of the Year

Techno Force D²

Quality is a major concern for every customer, that’s why they deserve Technoforce D². All 2011 North Kiteboarding Kites are built using the highest quality Technoforce D² material. D² stands for Dynamic and Durability. Over the past few years the North Kiteboarding R&D team has been experimenting with the exclusive Techno­ force D² material and were developing it closely together with Teijin, the market leading company in canopy materials. Multiple tests over the years have consistently showed the same results: — Technoforce D² material offers a 40 % higher breaking strength — 70 % higher tearing strength and also im­proved the flying characteristics.

The main advantage of Technoforce D² is less bro­ ken kites due to much higher durability com­pared to other canopy materials – even after years of heavy use. One main reason for this is the unique coating system of the D² material. Each individual thread is first coated before being woven together and then completely coated again to produce the final material. This ensures that even if the outer

coating is beginning to wear thin after years of heavy use and UV exposure, the individual threads are still protected and the material remains crisp and durable. Technoforce D² also features a unique double ripstop construction, which significantly increases diagonal stiffness. Because of the dynamic load transmissions placed on kites, stiffness has a massive influence on flying characteristics. Practical tests have shown better flying performance of kites with Technoforce D² compared to typical canopy cloth due to this higher diagonal stiffness. Load trans­ missions when working on 3 dimensional bodies is variable; besides warp and weft the stiffness has a massive influence on the flying characteristics. Due to the unique double ripstop construction, Technoforce D² offers a significantly higher stiff­ ness across the diagonal then traditional cloth. This is the key to the stiffer structure of the whole kite geometry and this is the reason why all kites feel more solid, crispy and react immediately to steering commands. Since 2010, all North Kite­ boar­ding kites are built out of Technoforce D². There’s simply no better choice when it comes to choosing your canopy material.

Techno Force D2


advantag e t h rou gh tech nolo gy & quality

218

219

Milestone

NKB Milestone of the Year

Techno Force D²

Quality is a major concern for every customer, that’s why they deserve Technoforce D². All 2011 North Kiteboarding Kites are built using the highest quality Technoforce D² material. D² stands for Dynamic and Durability. Over the past few years the North Kiteboarding R&D team has been experimenting with the exclusive Techno­ force D² material and were developing it closely together with Teijin, the market leading company in canopy materials. Multiple tests over the years have consistently showed the same results: — Technoforce D² material offers a 40 % higher breaking strength — 70 % higher tearing strength and also im­proved the flying characteristics.

The main advantage of Technoforce D² is less bro­ ken kites due to much higher durability com­pared to other canopy materials – even after years of heavy use. One main reason for this is the unique coating system of the D² material. Each individual thread is first coated before being woven together and then completely coated again to produce the final material. This ensures that even if the outer

coating is beginning to wear thin after years of heavy use and UV exposure, the individual threads are still protected and the material remains crisp and durable. Technoforce D² also features a unique double ripstop construction, which significantly increases diagonal stiffness. Because of the dynamic load transmissions placed on kites, stiffness has a massive influence on flying characteristics. Practical tests have shown better flying performance of kites with Technoforce D² compared to typical canopy cloth due to this higher diagonal stiffness. Load trans­ missions when working on 3 dimensional bodies is variable; besides warp and weft the stiffness has a massive influence on the flying characteristics. Due to the unique double ripstop construction, Technoforce D² offers a significantly higher stiff­ ness across the diagonal then traditional cloth. This is the key to the stiffer structure of the whole kite geometry and this is the reason why all kites feel more solid, crispy and react immediately to steering commands. Since 2010, all North Kite­ boar­ding kites are built out of Technoforce D². There’s simply no better choice when it comes to choosing your canopy material.

Techno Force D2


F RE E ST Y L E

228

229

TEAM

Cesar Portas Ras Sudr, Egypt

Freestyle Tom Hebert

Stefan Spiessberger

Reno Romeu

Mario Rodwald

Tom Court

Thomas Paris

Gianni Aragno

FREESTYLE TEAM

Cesar Portas


F RE E ST Y L E

228

229

TEAM

Cesar Portas Ras Sudr, Egypt

Freestyle Tom Hebert

Stefan Spiessberger

Reno Romeu

Mario Rodwald

Tom Court

Thomas Paris

Gianni Aragno

FREESTYLE TEAM

Cesar Portas


F r e e st y l e

234

Tom Court Cabarete, Dominican Republic

Reno Romeu Cabarete, Dominican Republic

235


F r e e st y l e

234

Tom Court Cabarete, Dominican Republic

Reno Romeu Cabarete, Dominican Republic

235


F reestyle

Thomas: The top five are definitely the best riders in the world. But competing can be unfair and there is still a big part of just being lucky. You never know what can happen during a heat, that’s what makes it so exciting. After all this is freestyle expression, just show your style and if you really rip then you will score. Gianni: In racing and battle contests such as boardercross, the ranking can be really close to the true level of the riders. But of course not in freestyle or waves, because an objective machine does not judge the execution of tricks and the style. Do you mind the fact that cable wakeboarding is the source of so many tricks? Stefan: Wakeboarding is simply a different sport than kitesurfing. The good thing in kitesurfing is that we can combine so many things at once. Some tricks are the same as in wakeboarding but others are completely different. I don’t think it’s the source of our sport. Mario: It may be the source but I don’t think we try to copy tricks. We just do them in our own way … I don’t think of wakeboarding when I am learning a new trick. Angela: Wakeboarding is a good way to learn new powered tricks. The wakeboarders have a very nice style and it’s good to copy it a bit every once in a while to get the best out of it. Thomas: Kiteboarding and wakeboarding aren’t the same at all. I love both for their different possibilities and ultimately I can say that kiteboarding isn’t as limited. Wakeboarders don’t give a damn about us so why should we worry about them? Reno: It is the source, but cable is cable, wakeboard is wakeboard, and kite is kite. I like wave riding with a kite, it is fun, but surfing is even more fun and you can really get barrelled. You could never get a deep barrel at Pipeline or Teahupoo with a kite. Kiteboarding must become more creative and focus on things that are only possible on a kiteboard, like big and powerful tricks or board-offs.

246

What about bindings? Have any of you got any comments on that? Stefan: Sometimes it’s nice to go for a session with bindings. Just to get some variety into your training and to work on the style a bit. Thomas: Riding with straps is the best way to learn new tricks as they give you wide freedom of movement. Bindings are the best for powered riding as they give you better control of the board. A good rider has to be able to do both and never make fun of those who can’t. Mario: I like bindings although I don’t like the attitude of some of the riders who use them. Reno: I agree with Mario! But don’t ask me why (smiling) … Seriously though; I think most of these guys never reached a good level in competitions. So they started to try new things like using boots and claim­ ed that they were awesome, better than anything else. I’m a 100 % sure that they would prefer to be on the podium. What are events like the Triple S doing for the sport? Do you think that’s the right direction and that there should be more events with a similar format? Gianni: The Triple S is one of the best events at the moment because it has it’s own philosophy, the best riders are involved and it creates a good image for the sport and the riders. But I also think that it’s important to create a new event that includes more facets of kiteboarding. For instance an event that unites art and sports. There should be different styles with big airs and alternative riding. Angela: I like the aspect of showing the variety in kiteboarding. Hopefully, more riders will be able to compete in various disciplines. I like the sliders and for those who are fed up with freestyle they are a good option. Thomas: Angela is right. It looks like a pretty good event, kind of the best way to run a competition, but it’s not open to many riders. I’m actually working on a slope style competition with a friend.

Mallory de la Villemarqué Cabarete, Dominican Republic

Reno: I also think it is pretty good, but we cannot copy wakeboarders riding sliders. We need to do something with the sliders that they cannot do. WE are a different sport and we have to show that. Does the fact that you are pro kiters help you with the girls? Thomas: Hmmm … I try to never pull the ‘pro kiter card’. Showing off sucks. There are much more interesting things to discuss with a girl! Gianni: Come on, Thomas. Of course you don‘t need to show your card! (Suddenly, Gianni’s position in the armchair is totally upright) Whether you are a musician, snowboarder or politician, when it comes to ‘love’ it is in our genetic programming and human history to look for special personalities and people who do something special with their lives, whether it’s sports, intense experiences or a special attitude towards life. Reno: Do you think being Clay Marzo (professional surfer), a rock star, or actor doesn’t help with girls? It is the same thing, although we’re just not there yet (smiling). Cesar: (nodding) It helps. But not when you’re in a relationship… Do you tune your gear before you go on the water or do you just plug and ride? Cesar: Luckily, I just plug and play! Mario: When the new stuff arrives at home, I have to put the stickers on all the boards, shorten my lines to 22 meters and cut my bars to 49 cm. Then I am mostly done for the season. Angela: I usually shorten the bar a bit. Reno: I cut my bars to 49 cm. Imagine driving a Formula One car with a bus steering wheel, CRASHHHHH (his hand hits the table with a loud smack).

247

Freestyler, Rock the Microphone …


F reestyle

Thomas: The top five are definitely the best riders in the world. But competing can be unfair and there is still a big part of just being lucky. You never know what can happen during a heat, that’s what makes it so exciting. After all this is freestyle expression, just show your style and if you really rip then you will score. Gianni: In racing and battle contests such as boardercross, the ranking can be really close to the true level of the riders. But of course not in freestyle or waves, because an objective machine does not judge the execution of tricks and the style. Do you mind the fact that cable wakeboarding is the source of so many tricks? Stefan: Wakeboarding is simply a different sport than kitesurfing. The good thing in kitesurfing is that we can combine so many things at once. Some tricks are the same as in wakeboarding but others are completely different. I don’t think it’s the source of our sport. Mario: It may be the source but I don’t think we try to copy tricks. We just do them in our own way … I don’t think of wakeboarding when I am learning a new trick. Angela: Wakeboarding is a good way to learn new powered tricks. The wakeboarders have a very nice style and it’s good to copy it a bit every once in a while to get the best out of it. Thomas: Kiteboarding and wakeboarding aren’t the same at all. I love both for their different possibilities and ultimately I can say that kiteboarding isn’t as limited. Wakeboarders don’t give a damn about us so why should we worry about them? Reno: It is the source, but cable is cable, wakeboard is wakeboard, and kite is kite. I like wave riding with a kite, it is fun, but surfing is even more fun and you can really get barrelled. You could never get a deep barrel at Pipeline or Teahupoo with a kite. Kiteboarding must become more creative and focus on things that are only possible on a kiteboard, like big and powerful tricks or board-offs.

246

What about bindings? Have any of you got any comments on that? Stefan: Sometimes it’s nice to go for a session with bindings. Just to get some variety into your training and to work on the style a bit. Thomas: Riding with straps is the best way to learn new tricks as they give you wide freedom of movement. Bindings are the best for powered riding as they give you better control of the board. A good rider has to be able to do both and never make fun of those who can’t. Mario: I like bindings although I don’t like the attitude of some of the riders who use them. Reno: I agree with Mario! But don’t ask me why (smiling) … Seriously though; I think most of these guys never reached a good level in competitions. So they started to try new things like using boots and claim­ ed that they were awesome, better than anything else. I’m a 100 % sure that they would prefer to be on the podium. What are events like the Triple S doing for the sport? Do you think that’s the right direction and that there should be more events with a similar format? Gianni: The Triple S is one of the best events at the moment because it has it’s own philosophy, the best riders are involved and it creates a good image for the sport and the riders. But I also think that it’s important to create a new event that includes more facets of kiteboarding. For instance an event that unites art and sports. There should be different styles with big airs and alternative riding. Angela: I like the aspect of showing the variety in kiteboarding. Hopefully, more riders will be able to compete in various disciplines. I like the sliders and for those who are fed up with freestyle they are a good option. Thomas: Angela is right. It looks like a pretty good event, kind of the best way to run a competition, but it’s not open to many riders. I’m actually working on a slope style competition with a friend.

Mallory de la Villemarqué Cabarete, Dominican Republic

Reno: I also think it is pretty good, but we cannot copy wakeboarders riding sliders. We need to do something with the sliders that they cannot do. WE are a different sport and we have to show that. Does the fact that you are pro kiters help you with the girls? Thomas: Hmmm … I try to never pull the ‘pro kiter card’. Showing off sucks. There are much more interesting things to discuss with a girl! Gianni: Come on, Thomas. Of course you don‘t need to show your card! (Suddenly, Gianni’s position in the armchair is totally upright) Whether you are a musician, snowboarder or politician, when it comes to ‘love’ it is in our genetic programming and human history to look for special personalities and people who do something special with their lives, whether it’s sports, intense experiences or a special attitude towards life. Reno: Do you think being Clay Marzo (professional surfer), a rock star, or actor doesn’t help with girls? It is the same thing, although we’re just not there yet (smiling). Cesar: (nodding) It helps. But not when you’re in a relationship… Do you tune your gear before you go on the water or do you just plug and ride? Cesar: Luckily, I just plug and play! Mario: When the new stuff arrives at home, I have to put the stickers on all the boards, shorten my lines to 22 meters and cut my bars to 49 cm. Then I am mostly done for the season. Angela: I usually shorten the bar a bit. Reno: I cut my bars to 49 cm. Imagine driving a Formula One car with a bus steering wheel, CRASHHHHH (his hand hits the table with a loud smack).

247

Freestyler, Rock the Microphone …


WO ME N & K IT E B OA R D ING

250

251

WOMEN & KITEBOARDING

Angela Peral

TEAM

Women & Kiteboarding

Steph Bridge Race —

Angela Peral Freestyle Wave —

Ania Grzelinska Freestyle Wave —

Kirsty Jones Wave Freestyle —

Cindy Mosey

Gabi Steindl

Freestyle

Wave

Globetrotter —


WO ME N & K IT E B OA R D ING

250

251

WOMEN & KITEBOARDING

Angela Peral

TEAM

Women & Kiteboarding

Steph Bridge Race —

Angela Peral Freestyle Wave —

Ania Grzelinska Freestyle Wave —

Kirsty Jones Wave Freestyle —

Cindy Mosey

Gabi Steindl

Freestyle

Wave

Globetrotter —


RAC E

262

RACE TEAM

263

TEAM

Race

Fuerteventura, Spain

Olivier Dansin Jun.

Sean Fearly

Blazej ‘Blaszko’ Ozog

Sky Solbach

Dirk Hanel

Olaf Marting


RAC E

262

RACE TEAM

263

TEAM

Race

Fuerteventura, Spain

Olivier Dansin Jun.

Sean Fearly

Blazej ‘Blaszko’ Ozog

Sky Solbach

Dirk Hanel

Olaf Marting


Rac e

Sean Farley Hood River, Oregon

264

265


Rac e

Sean Farley Hood River, Oregon

264

265


WAV E

280

281

WAVE TEAM

TEAM

Wave

Jaime Herraiz

Jeremie Eloy

Sky Solbach

John Amundson

Jeremie Eloy somewhere in Mexico


WAV E

280

281

WAVE TEAM

TEAM

Wave

Jaime Herraiz

Jeremie Eloy

Sky Solbach

John Amundson

Jeremie Eloy somewhere in Mexico


Wav e

284

Feeding Your Mind

The Ocean, The Water and The Waves by Henning Nockel

285

The great vastness of the ocean, its darkness and motion has equally intimidated and fascinated me ever since I was a little child. I remember a holiday on the North Sea island of Sylt where I watched harbor porpoises ‘playing’ in a little shore break in Westerland. Were they actually playing out there? That was the only burning question I had. Did they enjoy the waves? Were they doing it for a kind of pleasure? It seemed they were. Several years later, I was equally impressed by a similar situation. This time I saw about seventy dolphins ‘riding’ overhead sized waves at South Africa’s most famous wave, Jeffrey’s Bay. I was right in the middle of it with a few other surfers and for about forty minutes we had no choice but watch the true locals dominate their spot! The sea and the waves can fascinate us in many different ways, but doubtlessly the most intense way to feel their energy is when we are

The Ocean, The Water and The Waves

riding on or diving through them. The contrast between the noise of a breaking wave and the silence you perceive when you are under the water and the wave is rolling over you is phenomenal. And in some ways, one wave is always different from another. Big ones roar like hungry bears from far away in the forest, smaller ones make more of a cracking sound. When small waves hit a flat reef it almost sounds like applause; on a sandbank the sound is more subdued, as if you heard the applause from the backstage area. Different wave shapes produce different sounds; similarly, changes occur with the color of the water. Or is it the sound of the wave that changes the color of the water? What influence does the water temperature have on the shape, color, power and sound of the wave? Have you ever thought about what memories might remain of a wave that you have surfed anywhere on this planet?


Wav e

284

Feeding Your Mind

The Ocean, The Water and The Waves by Henning Nockel

285

The great vastness of the ocean, its darkness and motion has equally intimidated and fascinated me ever since I was a little child. I remember a holiday on the North Sea island of Sylt where I watched harbor porpoises ‘playing’ in a little shore break in Westerland. Were they actually playing out there? That was the only burning question I had. Did they enjoy the waves? Were they doing it for a kind of pleasure? It seemed they were. Several years later, I was equally impressed by a similar situation. This time I saw about seventy dolphins ‘riding’ overhead sized waves at South Africa’s most famous wave, Jeffrey’s Bay. I was right in the middle of it with a few other surfers and for about forty minutes we had no choice but watch the true locals dominate their spot! The sea and the waves can fascinate us in many different ways, but doubtlessly the most intense way to feel their energy is when we are

The Ocean, The Water and The Waves

riding on or diving through them. The contrast between the noise of a breaking wave and the silence you perceive when you are under the water and the wave is rolling over you is phenomenal. And in some ways, one wave is always different from another. Big ones roar like hungry bears from far away in the forest, smaller ones make more of a cracking sound. When small waves hit a flat reef it almost sounds like applause; on a sandbank the sound is more subdued, as if you heard the applause from the backstage area. Different wave shapes produce different sounds; similarly, changes occur with the color of the water. Or is it the sound of the wave that changes the color of the water? What influence does the water temperature have on the shape, color, power and sound of the wave? Have you ever thought about what memories might remain of a wave that you have surfed anywhere on this planet?


Wav e

286

287

Dreu Beavis West Oz

Sky Solbach Hawaii

I guess that a physical formula, such as swell divided by water depth – height of the breaking wave, is probably not the first thing that occurs to you. At least, I hope it’s not! I often remember a wave’s smell and whenever there is a similar smell somewhere I immediately remember the spot or the wave that I surfed when I first perceived that scent. Paia Bay on Maui for instance, a spot that I surfed almost daily in my early twenties, still has an incomparable smell for me. It’s not the beach or the water that I remember most, it’s the waves on good days. The smell is not even particularly pleasant or natural. But when the waves get big­ ger in Paia Bay, it smells a bit like washing powder, as if you were passing by a laundry. Many years later I recognized that smell on big days in South Africa’s Big Bay. Immediately, I was thinking about my time in Maui and the friends who had surfed that wave with me. At first I didn’t even know why. But there were other situations when a smell brought back memories of waves and I wasn’t even close to the water. In certain restricted spaces with high humidity, for instance, I often remember Jailbreak, a spot that I surfed with a couple of friends deep in the Maldives. Amazing! Memories and waves can be confluent in vari­ ous ways. My home spot, where I have spent a lot of time surfing, kiting and windsurfing together with my friends naturally means more to me than any anonymous spot somewhere on this planet where a handful of daredevils have themselves towed into monster waves. There is a little wave in the Baltic Sea, about ten kilometers from my home, which I love to surf, even though it doesn’t have the quality, size or reputation to ever become known beyond Germany.

Sometimes I wish I could call a gigantic spot, such as Mavericks or Todos Santos my home spot. Then I could be proud and rightfully claim that I was one of the true heroes of modern surfing. Nevertheless, I would not want to swap my spot with anyone; I can listen to someone else’s stories about waves I have never surfed or kited without envy yet with great curiosity. Yes, I like to be impressed by the unknown and perhaps I will get the chance to see and experience all that is unknown to myself. For me, a large part of the fascination of the ocean, the water and the waves is in the myths; in the sto­ ries that people tell about the power, color, shape, quality and the smell of spots and the energy that you can feel in these stories. Waves share with us the moments in which we surfed them, they let us dream and relive memories. These may be memories of friends, good times, precious moments or other feelings. What connects us with the waves may be different things, for some it is their smell, others are more fasci­nated with their shape or overwhelming power … What counts in the end is that we all have a personal experience and we will never have any­ body else tell us what each wave means to us personally. Status, quality and the level of difficulty are just as unimportant as numbers without a meaning. The only thing that counts is what connects us with a certain wave or spot. And that is, and will hopefully always be, something very personal and unique.

The Ocean, The Water and The Waves


Wav e

286

287

Dreu Beavis West Oz

Sky Solbach Hawaii

I guess that a physical formula, such as swell divided by water depth – height of the breaking wave, is probably not the first thing that occurs to you. At least, I hope it’s not! I often remember a wave’s smell and whenever there is a similar smell somewhere I immediately remember the spot or the wave that I surfed when I first perceived that scent. Paia Bay on Maui for instance, a spot that I surfed almost daily in my early twenties, still has an incomparable smell for me. It’s not the beach or the water that I remember most, it’s the waves on good days. The smell is not even particularly pleasant or natural. But when the waves get big­ ger in Paia Bay, it smells a bit like washing powder, as if you were passing by a laundry. Many years later I recognized that smell on big days in South Africa’s Big Bay. Immediately, I was thinking about my time in Maui and the friends who had surfed that wave with me. At first I didn’t even know why. But there were other situations when a smell brought back memories of waves and I wasn’t even close to the water. In certain restricted spaces with high humidity, for instance, I often remember Jailbreak, a spot that I surfed with a couple of friends deep in the Maldives. Amazing! Memories and waves can be confluent in vari­ ous ways. My home spot, where I have spent a lot of time surfing, kiting and windsurfing together with my friends naturally means more to me than any anonymous spot somewhere on this planet where a handful of daredevils have themselves towed into monster waves. There is a little wave in the Baltic Sea, about ten kilometers from my home, which I love to surf, even though it doesn’t have the quality, size or reputation to ever become known beyond Germany.

Sometimes I wish I could call a gigantic spot, such as Mavericks or Todos Santos my home spot. Then I could be proud and rightfully claim that I was one of the true heroes of modern surfing. Nevertheless, I would not want to swap my spot with anyone; I can listen to someone else’s stories about waves I have never surfed or kited without envy yet with great curiosity. Yes, I like to be impressed by the unknown and perhaps I will get the chance to see and experience all that is unknown to myself. For me, a large part of the fascination of the ocean, the water and the waves is in the myths; in the sto­ ries that people tell about the power, color, shape, quality and the smell of spots and the energy that you can feel in these stories. Waves share with us the moments in which we surfed them, they let us dream and relive memories. These may be memories of friends, good times, precious moments or other feelings. What connects us with the waves may be different things, for some it is their smell, others are more fasci­nated with their shape or overwhelming power … What counts in the end is that we all have a personal experience and we will never have any­ body else tell us what each wave means to us personally. Status, quality and the level of difficulty are just as unimportant as numbers without a meaning. The only thing that counts is what connects us with a certain wave or spot. And that is, and will hopefully always be, something very personal and unique.

The Ocean, The Water and The Waves


Wav e

Jeremie Eloy Teahupoo, Tahiti

306

307


Wav e

Jeremie Eloy Teahupoo, Tahiti

306

307


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