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N O R T H K I T E B OA R D I N G .C O M – MMXIV – ›CRAFTED WITH PRIDE‹

# N O R T H K I T E B OA R D I N G


Editor Roberta Pala roberta.pala@kitesoul.com Wave Thecnique Editor Mitu Monteiro Freestyle Thecnique Editor Alberto Rondina Thecnical Expert Renato Casati Photo & Video Maurizio Cinti Design Giuseppe Esposito

FEBRUARY2015 - MARCH 2015 TWO-MONTHLY

Texsts Mirco Babini, Steff & Olly Bridge, Renato Casati, Julia Castro, Craig Cunningham, Stefano Gigli, Alberto Rondina, Gabrielle Steindl, Reo Stevens, Simone Vannucci Photos Aswey, Renato Balbino, Vincent Bergeron, John Bilderback, Gilles Calvet, Tim Davis, Mario Entero, Tony Fish, Stefano Gigli, Rick Jensen, Tim McKenna, Alex Mowday, Rick Pryce, Xede Santa, Gary Silvester, Reinout Smit, Gabriele Steindl, Jason Tsai, Yung-Han Wang, Dave Withe, Jason Wolcott

ROBERTA PALA Editor

Cover: Rider Luke McGillewie Photo Dave White Publisher and advertising VISU Media Via Cavour, 20 24030 Ambivere (BG) Amministratore Unico Federico Sugoni fs@kitesoul.com Registration Tribunale di Bergamo n°10/2014 del 15/04/2014. Periodicità bimestrale Copyright Kitesoul Magazine All content is copyright of Kitesoul Magazine / Visu Media Srl.

RENATO “DR. KITE” CASATI Technical Expert

Sports photographer since 1997, kiteboarder since 2001, she has worked for the most exponential kite magazines for the last 15 years. A free and wild soul, she has left the luxuries of town living for a life in contact with nature: a sea and wave lover. Nowadays you can find her on the shores of Capo Mannu, Sardinia, one of the most beautiful spots of the Mediterranean Sea.

RRD Wave team rider. Kiteboarder since 2000, he has been PKRA athlete and judge. He’s a professional sportswriter for several technical magazines. He lives between Como Lake and Sardinia, but he spends every winter in the waves of Cabo-Verde. MAURIZIO CINTI Film-maker Movie buff and keen photographer. He’s a skater, snowboarder and wakeboarder, but he actually burns with passion for kiteboarding. He started off with freestyle a few years ago, but nowadays he’s more into chasing big and powerful waves. This is what he loves the most.


KITESOUL MAGAZINE Feel The Flow

FEDERICO SUGONI Publisher He’s a manager and a businessman. He fell in love with kiteboarding almost 10 years ago in the wild and amazing North Shore of Oahu (Hawaii). Aside from kiteboarding there is only one other important thing in his life: his baby daughter. He’s responsible for the 2014 launching of KiteSoul Magazine. MITU MONTEIRO Technical Editor-Wave Riding

ALBERTO RONDINA Technical Editor-Freestyle

He comes from Sal. Official F-one and Manera rider. 2008 KPWT World Champion and three-time Vice World Champion. He started to surf and windsurf as a kid and but he definitively fell in love with kitesurf as soon as he discovered it.

He’s the best Italian rider of the competitive kiting world. Cabrinha, Neil Pryde and GoPro official team rider and four-time Italian Champion. Alberto has won the 2001 edition of the European Championship and third place in the 2012 PKRA World Championship. GIUSEPPE ESPOSITO Art director Kiter since he was in the baby pram, he is a rider for RRD Italia and he have a Bachelor in Comunciation Design at Politecnico di Milano. With this assignment, he finally has been able to put together his two passions: kite and design.


EDITORIAL January is the coldest and hardest month for kiters living in the Northern Hemisphere, which is why from November onwards, many migrate south to legendary lands such as Brazil (where the beautiful Julia Castro is going to take us with this issue), Australia and South Africa. And it is exactly in South Africa that, at the end of January, all the greatest names from the world of kitesurfing reunite, to witness the most spectacular event of the year: The Red Bull King of the Air. We are actually in Cape Town as we write these lines, to share with you the surreal atmosphere emanating from these places. We will introduce you to the legends of this sport, visit the spots around Cape Town and share with you one of the most exciting trips ever experienced. Back in the Northern Hemisphere where riders are happily Snowkiting their way around… you will find a brand new Snowkiting guide and, in the next, an extensive report of the World Snowkite Contest in Roccaraso, Abruzzo. January is also the perfect month to ride the unbelievable Sal’s waves of Cape Verde. Maurizio Cinti could not miss the chance to meet some of the greatest wave-masters around: Mitu, Airton and Matchu, and steal their secrets for us. Whilst all of this is happening, we are going to let you enjoy the first issue of the year, as usual Rider: Abel Lago | Photo: Dave White

filled with rich content where Alby will take us to the imaginary Fiji; Gabi will show you an unreleased side of Taiwan; Reo Stevens will talk about himself in a long exclusive interview and, last but not least, the Bridge brothers will take us into the world of Foil Kites. Welcome to Kitesoul’s brand new 2015! “Feel the Flow” Federico Sugoni


SUMMARY

Portfolio

Trip:

Taveuni Island Fiji “Bula Vinaka”

New soul:

What about HF boards?

Trip:

Made in Taiwan

Snowkite:

Safety and technical tips for backcountry snowkiting

New projects:

The Makulo Project

Itw:

Reo Stevens

Tips for a special trip: Things nobody told you about Brazil...


SUMMARY

Strapless moves: Backroll

Test:

RRD, Religion Kiteloose, Raw

Strapless moves: 360째 Shove it

Freestyle moves: Blind Judge + Blind Judge 3

Tech:

Harnesses and hooks


14 PORTFOLIO

Brandon Scheid

RIDER: Brandon Scheid PHOTO: Vincent Bergeron


16 PORTFOLIO

Patri McLaughlin

RIDER: Patri McLaughlin PHOTO: Mario Entero


18 PORTFOLIO Jerrie Van De Kop

RIDER: Jerrie Van De Kop PHOTO: Reinout Smit


20 PORTFOLIO

Mitu Monteiro

RIDER: Mitu Monteiro PHOTO: Gilles Calvet


22 TRIP Taveuni Island Fiji “Bula Vinaka”

We left by boat at 9am on the way to a sunken caldera inside an ancient volcano on an outer island; 4 hours sail away when the fishing battle began! Rick Pryce our professional photographer on the trip has heaps of fishing experience and helped to set the basic gear we had, being a light fishing rod and some heavy hands. Trent is dreaming every night after watching Monster fish to catch a proper big fish he can be proud of; Trent was definitely the most focused. Virgil was hanging out on the side of the boat with him, having a beer, a bit early in the day and maybe that was the reason for what happened a second later. Steph, Rick and I saw this massive Dolphin fish jumping and hanging on the line, it was big, blue and yellow, so bright and strong, just beautiful. Before Trent even realized, the fish, the line and the hand reel was gone from his hand and now floats in the deep blue South Pacific Ocean. That was just the start of another great day in Fiji islands…

TAV E U N I I S


SLAND FIJI

“BULA VINAKA”

Text Alberto Rondina|Photo Rick Pryce


24 TRIP Taveuni Island Fiji “Bula Vinaka”

I’ve always wanted to have a trip together with Trent and Steph from Moon Tours, and since I’m taking a break from the PKRA this year, I had a good chance in June to join and catch up with them. He called me on Skype and invited me to hit Fiji; after 24h I had my flights booked and was getting ready to leave for what was going to be one of my longest trip to date. Everything went sweet though and after something like 42 hours I arrived on the little island of Taveuni in Fiji’s far north. As a kid I always wondered where the days start and end, I mean, how does it really work in the world? Only after travelling from South America to New Cal a couple years ago for the PKRA I realized that there is a “date line” on the map that goes along with the 180’ parallel where it simply goes from one day to another. Taveuni is actually sits right on that line, on a map they move the date line around Fiji to avoid confusion, this 180’ parallel makes Fiji the the first country to see the


light of a new day in the world, pretty awesome. Taveuni is the least touristic of the Fiji Islands; the little airport where I landed is basically a roof with some chairs underneath, that’s all you need really. I’ve been to Maui, New Cal and quite a few places in the last couple years, but I’ve never seen a place as green and wild as here. The famous tropical rains are actually happening almost daily, they don’t last longer then 5-10 minutes and they are very enjoyable, refreshing and rainbow makers. The coconut trees are just everywhere; they grow next to the street, in the fields, on rocks and on the beach. Climbing up a coconut tree and grabbing some coconuts to eat with friends is as cool for them as it is for us to ride a motorbike. Only the older guys can do it, while the younger ones have fun breaking the coconut up, drinking the juice and eating the inside; its unbelievable how tasty and good the green ones are. The juice is nothing like any “coconut water” you buy at the supermarket, the soft coconut pulp is so good I had one almost every day after I tried one for the first time. Well all this green around can only be justified by the over 600 waterfalls that are on the island.


26 TRIP Taveuni Island Fiji “Bula Vinaka”

“The kiting was also unreal, there are so many spots and locations you can go out and it’s different everywhere.”


Yes, I couldn’t believe it, still I can’t figure out how there are so many on a little island in the middle of the pacific ocean, but its true. One of our travel adventures was going by boat check out these waterfalls that go straight into the sea. Unreal, I didn’t know these actually exist. From the high cliffs on the east coast of the island, which is a World Heritage listed National Park where there are no roads; here you will find enormous waterfalls dropping right into the ocean. Diving into the ocean and jumping from the waterfall, it was definitely my first time feeling the fresh cold water coming from the inner island mixing with the warm and salty water of the ocean, just a great experience. The kiting was also unreal, there are so many spots and locations you can go out and it’s different everywhere. The main spot where we kited is in between Taveuni Island and the little private island of Viubani. The wind funnels through and its always windier than anywhere else. I had some of my best sessions here, also because the little village of Naselesele is just up the hill and all the kids come down to play and check us out while we are kiting. That’s where our friend Duxon is from, he’s a local kid and at 16 is already over 180cm tall with the proper Fijian rugby player look. Trent taught him to kite last year, and in just a few lessons he was up and going, while I was there we started working on his first jumps and back rolls. Not bad for someone that only get’s to kite one month a year while Trent is there. I started jumping a closer to the beach and the kids were just loving it, they started jumping around, screaming and trying to get as close as possible to me. When they came in the water and I jumped over them they literally freaked out. The smallest kids were the funniest, they would be shaking cold with goose bumps after playing all day screaming at me to jump again, and again. After that moment I realized how happy they were, chilling and playing with each other, enjoying the nature, having a good time and always with a big smile on their face. In those situations you really understand that


28 TRIP Taveuni Island Fiji “Bula Vinaka”

happiness is not given from things, you can have all you want and still be sad and unhappy. But these kids, seemed to have all that they needed, living with a pair of pants on, in a little muddy house on the hill of Naselesele. We were on Paul’s 43ft Catamaran, named “Looping” would you believe it? at 9am to start our day sailing to the outer reef. The wind was just perfect for sailing, those 14-16knots that just make it sweet to ride on a big cat enjoying the beautiful scenery. Taveuni has the tallest mountain in Fiji, De Voeux Peak, reaching 1200 meters and is the reason why all the clouds passing by get stuck on there causing a lot of rain and making it so green, it’s this along with steep mountains that create all the waterfalls. The water of the ocean even in the depths outside the protection of the islands is so clean you can see some really deep reef and fishes passing through, just feels like sailing over an aquarium. We get to our destination - an ancient and partly submerged rim of a volcano reaching up from the depths of the Pacific and leaving a huge bottomless lava tube on the inside surrounded by reef, the walls reaching out were high and really green of course. It was an amazing site and being able to kite in it was just awesome. I was cruising on the outside then passing over the reef, where you could just see black shadows swimming fast through the coral. The reef was dark blue and orange with bright fluro colors, almost too bright to be real. As soon as I kited off the reef and into the inside of the caldera, that’s the real name for it, the water goes deep blue and the bottom disappears, quite scary really. It got me thinking about how deep could this hole be and what could be inside


it. Luckily the wind was clean enough to make the ride back and fourth enjoying this scenery and amazing colors for while, until I decided to go for a snorkel and SUP around it. That turned out to be one of the best things I did during the trip. Trent and I paddled all the way to the inside of the caldera, right where the wind wouldn’t touch the water and the surface would be glassy like a mirror. It was amazing, hard to describe with words, just imagine the cleanest water you can imagine, not even a breath of wind, and just the most colorful and alive coral you will ever see, about a meter under your feet. What I also remember was the silence, you could only heard the voice of the few birds that are living on the island, together with some little waves breaking on the reef, but that was it. It felt like everything was in the right balance there, the perfect balance. After paddling around the whole caldera above this ancient and bottomless lava tube, we started to wonder how Rick was doing as we hadn’t heard from him after we dropped him on the beach when we got there. He wanted to climb all the way up, and take some shots from the best angles; we couldn’t see him anymore, at all. We were thinking about sending a search party or simply leaving him a 6 pack and a blanket on the beach for the night. When he finally showed up he was all scratched and dehydrated after walking through thick bush in the heat and up the very steep sides of the caldera but with the biggest smile on his face, he was more than stoked about his pictures. He’s so dedicated to getting the shots. Cruising back to Taveuni was another adventure; sunset is always a great time for fishing and having the wind blowing from our back also made the ride more mellow and enjoyable. The fishing battle was on again; everybody had eyes on the lines hanging on the back of the boat. We were following birds and going over every bit of reef for a higher chance to catch something. At one point we saw fish jumping, and they were not small ones. Trent was holding his line with pride


30 TRIP Taveuni Island Fiji “Bula Vinaka”

If you fancy having a trip like that, give Trent a call or shoot him an email, he’s an amazing guy and he’ll be more then happy to have you onboard.

www.moontours.com.au


ready to catch a big one. Twice he felt strikes, but then nothing. We even turned back to pass over the same point and still nothing. Finishing up close to Taveuni we sadly packed the fishing gear; after Trent wound his line in he called rick and launched his lure at him. Rick was like, “Careful with the hooks”, and Trent was like, “There are no hooks damn it!” We all said “what?!” Took us a while to realize that Trent was fishing the whole way back with a lure but no hooks in it. A hilarious end to the days sail. Heading back to the airport I felt I had so much more then just a normal kiting trip. I met so many great people, got to know the local culture, played guitar while drinking Cava with the Fijian boys at night and spent time with the youngest kids inside the village school. I’ve seen some stunning places that will remain in my mind forever and Fiji’s got a place in my heart for sure. Thanks Trent and Steph from Moon Kite and Adventure tours for this amazing opportunity, it’s been a pleasure hanging out with you and I’m looking forward to the next trip together soon… hopefully Africa 2015. Thanks Cabrinha for making this happen one more time.

Ciao! - Alby


32 TRIP Made in Taiwan


MADE IN TAIWAN Researching the globe for a new destination for my next explorer-mission, I was astounded to discover that this island in the Pacific lies pretty much exactly on the same latitude as Hawaii and. With surf hitting from a 225° swell window it seemed absolutely blessed with promising conditions for wind and wave-addicts as well as conditions all yearround! So I picked up the phone and booked myself a ticket‌

Text: Gabriele Steindl Photos: Aswey, Jason Tsai, Tony Fish, Yung-Han Wang, Gary Silvester, Alex Mowday, Gabriele Steindl


34 TRIP Made in Taiwan

BLOWING SIDE-SHORE AT 20-30 KNOTS DURING THE MAIN KITING SEASON It was already gone midnight, when I arrived at

winter (October to March) northeasterly winds

Taipeii, Taiwan’s capital. Despite the hour I was

at semi low-tide. Although lighter at 14-25knots

warmly welcomed in the arrvial hall of Taoyuan

there is wind in the summer too and the water

International airport by the country’s “Godfather

looks cleaner as it comes from the south.

of SUP’ing” Tony Fish and his wife Li-Ming as well

The island Taiwan lies approximately 160km off

as their two small children Sean and Dora. A true

the south coast of mainland China in the Pacific

waterman today, Tony’s been windsurfing for

Ocean. With Korea and Japan in the north as well

several years before becoming one of Taiwan’s

as Hong Kong and the Philippines in the south

first kiters and now owns the “Spotclub” – www.

as its neighbouring countries, it is an important

spottaiwan.com - in Chunan, Miao-Li province,

platform for travels to and in Asia. It’s easy to see

on the west coast, Taiwan’s only little kite, wind,

why Portuguese seafarers who reached the coast

surf, SUP school (shop, board rentals, lessons,

of Taiwan for the first time 400 years ago, called

trip packages, B&B and café).

the island “Ilha Formosa” - the beautiful island,

Tony kindly invited me to stay there. A good hour

and why I think there will be more kiters here in

after leaving the bustling city lights behind, we

the future.

arrived at his enclave, an oasis to the people from

Tony and his wide took me to local markets and

the capital and their busy city-lives. I could make

temples over the next few days so I could learn

out palm trees in the dark walking through the

more about the local customs and traditions as

gate of the club and a big shed entirely made out of surfboards. I slept like a baby in the cute timber-lined guestroom that night. The next morning after a quick coffee I took a stroll down to the beach which is only a minute away. The spot boasted an incredibly wide, sheer endless fine sand beach, with a rather slow and soft beach break. The water here was brownish but not because it’s dirty but due to all the sand moving and strong winds in the Taiwan Strait. Due to consistent winds nearly all year round, Chunan is very popular amongst wind and kitesurfers. Blowing side-shore at 20-30 knots during the main kiting season, the northeasterly trades play their part in transforming the surrounding sand banks into super fun little wave parks. Five miles downwind there’s a rivermouth that offers perfectly flat waters, ideal for freestyle and also works in the


well as to dig in to the local cuisine. What I really liked about the restaurants was that everybody sits around a round table that has a big turning platform in the middle. A large variety of dishes are ordered, served onto the platform and everything is shared as you spoon vaious yummy foods onto your plate. Drinks (water, wine, beer etc.) are all drunk via very small glasses, a bit like shot glasses, and one never drinks alone in Taiwan! You raise your glass, choose one person to cheer with, call out their name, look into each other’s eyes, smile and both take a sip. Next stop on my adventure was Taitung on the east coast, aka “The Hawaii of Taiwan”. The ASC (Asian Surfing Championships) Taitung Open was about to start, the country’s largest surfing competition and Tony had organized a booth to promote his school at the event. The road-trip there


36 TRIP Made in Taiwan

took us past several bigger cities, yet Taiwan is

houses in various states of use and disuse, just

generally a relatively small island - only 394 km

like alleyways filled with single story Chinese style

long and 144km at its widest point. However it

houses. Tony told me that Taitung is today known

is not so easy to get from one side to the oth-

as hub of Taiwan’s indigenous culture with many

er with the Central Mountain Range forming a

of the neighborhoods largely aboriginal with their

steep barrier running from north to south. Com-

own celebrations and unique attributes. Devel-

prising more than one hundred peaks over 3.000

oped by the Japanese in the early part of the 20th

meters, it divides the island unequally into two

century, it has emerged from the modernization

parts. Reaching the very top of the mountain

in Taiwan virtually unscathed due to its shortage

pass after a whole day driving, my little tired eyes

of flat open space and “unfavorable” position fac-

nearly popped out of my head when I got the first

ing away from mainland China.

glimpse of coastline to the easts. Surrounded by

Paddling out early the next morning on my surf-

steep mountains that fell right into the sea, the

board and looking back towards this coast for the

Pacific Ocean glowed in the brightest turquoise

first time (this might sound cheesy but it’s true!)

on the horizon. Coming down from the pass and

I felt like in Tahiti. The view of the tropical palm-

driving through the little villages of the east coast

lined mountains directly lining the Pacific Ocean

felt like we were in another world to those of the

shore was mind-blowing. Everything around me

days before. Rice fields, orchards and Japanese

was so different than I had imagined Taiwan. It


shots from an ROC coast guard boat. A large proportion of Taitung’s coastline is rocky but there are a few kick-ass spots that are great for kiting, including Tuli, Donghe and Xingchang. The northeasterly trade winds are generally lighter here (16-25 knots) and not as reliable as in the west, however, there are clean, peeling waves that frequently roll in between two and five metres along this turquoise Pacific coast. Beware of strong rips at most spots, though! I absolutely adored Taitung and spent my days surfing, kiting and exploring the area, sharing laughs, stokes and a little tear with the locals when I smashed my finger with the fin of my SUP, and required a few stitches that keep me out of the water for a few days. A new chapter in my Taiwan-adventure opened up when I accepted an invitation of a new found friend Jose Chuang, the president of the Taiwan Ocean Recreation Sport Association, who kindly offered to show me his home Kenting. Another hotspot for surfing on the most southern tip of Taiwan located on the Hengchun-Peninsula, you have the option of kiting the waves of the Pacific on the eastern side, or enjoying the perfect flat water action in the waters of the Taiwan Strait in the west, or the Luzon Strait in the south. I enjoyed was absolutely “Formosa”! Taitung has a really unique flair. Small chilled out, groovy cafes, surfboards and surfers everywhere on mopeds with surfboard racks. The area is lush and abundantly covered, radiating in many colors with tropical flowers and vegetation. There are a lot of longboarders here as the majority of waves in the area are rather fat and slow. Everybody is

an incredible peaceful session all alone near Jialeshui Beach, one of the main surfing spots in the area.Another kiting highlight was riding near the gates of Houbi Gang, the largest fishing port on the Hengchun Peninsula, where more than 500 fishing boats moor up. Fishermen and ferry-passengers alike all had a curious smile and a wave for me as they headed into the harbour.

incredibly welcoming, I felt extremely safe and I had no trouble whatsoever hitching a ride back

In Kenting I get to enjoy a real Taiwanese “Night-

from a late sunset-session at Donghe Bridge.

market” that was packed with hundreds of people

Most of the surf action in the area is concentrated

and small stalls and for a few good hours I ate,

around Donghe Village. Surfing got really popular

bought souvenirs and enjoyed being part of the

here in the last 10 years, a complete contrast to

craziness. For the next days Jose puts his work on

two decades ago when the few westerners (US

hold in order to explore the beaches with me for

soldiers were the first to ride waves in the coun-

potential kite spots. About 45 minutes north of

try) brave or foolish enough to attempt to surf in

Kenting we find “Ghinzhi Beach”, that was pretty

Taiwan often found their fun curtailed by warning

much as perfect for kiting as it could get: An ex


38 TRIP Made in Taiwan

tremely long bay with a wide sandy beach and a

The next morning I took a plane from Kaohsiung

joy Pacific Ocean beach break. Sadly there was

to the Penghu Archipelago, 64 islands (formerly

no wind. However thanks to my little angel An-

known as the “Pescadores”) located in the Taiwan

gel Jose I got to sample local delicacies such as

Strait, the windiest waters in Asia, notorious for its

crumbed squid beaks, fried puffer fish skins and

mean currents. Penghu translated means “roar-

the most amazing oysters during an amazing

ing sea”. The windsurf adventurer Arnaud de Ros-

seafood dinner that marked the end of my time

nay went missing here mysteriously in Novem-

in Kenting.

ber 1984. Gary and Alex, two windsurfers I had


TAIWAN, A LITTLE PIECE OF PARADISE IN OUR CRAZY WORLD SURPRISED ME IN SO MANY REGARDS.

been in touch with via email were already waiting

400m beginner’s pool that allows perfect learn-

for me in the arrivals hall. Both settled down on

ing conditions to beginner wind- and kitesurfers.

the islands due to the incredible wind-statistics.

Considering the fact that, during the days of

Alex Mowday moved here in 1990. With aid mon-

martial law, and even for several years after, pri-

ey from the government he built a wind- (by now

vate sailing vessels were forbidden by law, water

also kitesurf) centre, right at the Rainbow Bridge,

sports in general have come a long way in Taiwan.

the landmark of Makung, which frames at night

That the local government of a key strategic area

in the colours of a rainbow the artificially created

like Penghu is so enthusiastic about promoting


40 TRIP Made in Taiwan

PENGHU TRANSLATED MEANS “ROARING SEA” windsurfing on the island is a good indicator of just how far the ROC government has stepped away from its traditional defensive war footing. In general, however, Penghu (just like Taitung) is an exception and kite surfing and other water sports are developing only very slowly in the rest of Taiwan. The tense relationship with China affects the people here and the country. The use of the beaches and activities along the coasts were severely restricted for a long time. But not only politics slow down progress, also the attitude of the older generation is who is scared of the water. They superstitiously believe there is a monster in the water that will pull them under and drown them. Thus many parents warn their kids of rivers and beaches, instead of getting them to learn swimming. Many have never seen the ocean apart from TV, ironic really given they live on an island. Renting a motorbike and exploring the main island of Penghu turned into a true highlight. With only a few streets it is small enough not to get lost and to find one’s way around even without Chinese language skills. On Taiwan mainland it’s rather difficult as a foreigner, with heavy traffic and with most street signs in Chinese (only the main highways and roads are signposted in both English and Chinese). Penghu in general differs in many respects from the mainland. Although amenities and comforts of modern life have found their way here too, residents hang onto their simple, modest lifestyle, which is very different from the hustle and bustle of the cities. It is an island paradise with incredibly friendly people, quaint villages, beautiful landscapes, clean beaches and ocean basins naturally shaped by the tides. The main wave-spot of Makung for kiters and

windsurfers is “Longmen” or aka “Dragonsgate”. During winter, extremely reliable strong winds (word has it, the strongest in Asia) bring regular swell to the north-east coast that breaks on sand banks and reefs. The spot Longmen has the shape of a boomerang and its pebble beach drops off steeply into the sea. The spot boasts three different conditions: To the left and a bit further out small waves can be ridden with sideshore wind or used as ramps for tricks. Centrally there is a decent flatwater area and to the right there are slightly larger waves with the prevailing wind coming in more onshore. Leaving island-life behind, the last stop on my tour took me to the most northern tip of Taiwan. Jason Tsai, the North &ION importer for Taiwan, a great guy and totally obsessed kitesurfer is my host. The drive was breathtaking! Volcanic


mountains, most of them over 1000 metres high, stretched for the entire journey along the coastal road spanning around the northern tip of Taiwan that took us to Fulong, in the Gongliao township. The setting there blew me away: A gigantic golden sand dune flowing into the estuary of the Shuang River with a beautiful traditional old bridge spanning across. Right next to it a stunning, super wide beach split the river from the ocean. A clean lefthander was peeling its way directly in front of a breathtaking temple, 25 knots, some windsurfers and a few surfers out, high mountains as backdrop. The wind angle was a bit too cross-offshore for waveriding and pretty gusty; I had an absolutely amazing time regardless. Stoked as and with a sparkle in the eyes of a little kid, Jason drove us back to Taipei. My return flight left in a few days and I still had to check out


42 TRIP Made in Taiwan

“The big smoke”.

few spots in the area: Tamsui (needs wind from

Taipei is the capital of the Republic of China, seat

the E, ESE), BaiShaWan (NE, ENE, E), DingLiao (E,

of the government, as well as the economic and

ESE), Suao (SE, ESE, S), however, the wind is a bit

cultural centre of Taiwan. I spent a whole day

fickle and all of the spots require sunny sky with

sightseeing and visited “Taiwan 101”, that held

almost no clouds to have a consistent breeze to

until recently the record of the world’s highest

kite.

building at 508. Taipei sparks with many places

Two nights before leaving Taiwan, my friend Jose

of interest: the national palace museum with the

Chuang, called me from the south: “Gabi, the

biggest art collection of Chinese treasures, old

forecast predicts sunshine and wind here for the

temples, hip shopping quarters and night mar-

day after tomorrow. You should come, we could

kets. One never gets bored here! One of the main

go to Ghinzhi for your last ride in Taiwan!”. Jason

kitespots for the inhabitants of the metropolis lies

declared me as mad, but I made the 8 hour train

directly by the river Danshui which borders onto

journey south, sessioned some onshore wind

Taipei in the west. Jason and I checked the con-

and a wild beachbreak and made it back to Taipei

ditions there during one of my last afternoons. It

shortly after midnight.

was really amusing to walk through busy down-

The next morning I had elephant’s tears running

town Taipei with our kitegear. There are quite a

down my cheeks saying goodbye to Jason at the


airport. My “Made in Taiwan-Adventure” had taken me 2500km across this truly fascinating and extraordinary country, and was an exceptional experience. Taiwan, a little piece of paradise in our crazy world surprised me in so many regards. The people and places that I was privileged to get to know during the 3 ½ weeks and all the special experiences will always have a very special place in my heart. Wo( 我我) ai(爱爱) ni(你你 ), engl. “I Love Taiwan“.

© 2014 Gabriele Steindl www.kitegabi.com Please “Like” Gabi on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kitegabi


44 TRIP Made in Taiwan

TAIWAN FAST FACTS All along my trip, I have not met a single other ki-

Chinese (Mandarin). Most of the younger people

tesurfer apart from Tony and his team and Jason

speak English. At touristic places normally one

Tsai. There are hundreds of miles of kiting-poten-

gets around with English, in rural areas it might

tial around the country completely untouched

get a bit tricky. However, with sign language, ge-

and very worth exploring. Particularly in the nor-

stures and a smile most problems can be solved.

th, cliffs and rock beaches make a rather large

The coach and train network is very well develo-

proportion of the coast un-kitable as launching

ped. For taxi rides it is advisable to write down

and landing would be too dangerous. To come to

the address also in Chinese characters to avoid

Taiwan in a group and to explore this truly spe-

lacks of clarity.

cial place would be an adventure of a lifetime for

LOCAL CUISINE: Most small restaurants only

any kiter. With a good bi-lingual road-map and

have Chinese menus, however, the majority of-

given the welcoming and really helpful nature of

fers also pictures of the dishes that can be orde-

the Taiwanese, one might face a few difficulties

red unmistakably by pointing out what one wan-

with directions and the language barrier at times

ts. There are a lot of coffee and sandwich shops

that surely can be overcome easily and might

in the streets. Gastronomically there is quite a lot

even make it a bigger adventure. You should go

to discover and who loves Sushi will love Taipei!

for it guys!

Very popular and a must to try is the “Bubble-

TRAVEL TO AND ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: Direct

tea”, tea with pearls of tapioca, available on every

flights from Europe and most mayor airports to

street corner, the “Papayamilk” and the “Stinky

Taipei. With valid passport for 6-months: Dura-

Tofu”, one of Taiwans most famous specialities

tion of stay without visa for 30 days.

(love it or hate it but definitely try it !!).

COMMUNICATION & GETTING AROUND: The Taiwanese are very obliging and helpful towards Europeans and travellers of all nations in general. It is not unusual to get some special attention on the streets. The national language is

SAFETY: Taipei and Taiwan in general have a very low crime rate, one feels extremely safe here. No doubt, it’s always recommendable not to behave too frivolously with money. In particular at the night markets one should be a bit more cautious. HEALTH & VACCINATIONS: Taiwan posses a


46 TRIP Made in Taiwan

network of modern hospitals that certainly can

Contact, always happy to help with words and

keep up with European and Western standards.

deeds, B&B’s and accommodation:

The medical care all throughout Taiwan is very

Mainland Taiwan:

good. At entry in Taiwan no vaccinations are

Chunan: Tony Fish, “Spotclub“, www.spot.com.tw

compulsory, however, recommended are: Teta-

Kenting: A-Lang “Kenting Surf Shop and B & B“,

nus/Diphtheria/Pertussis, Polio, Hepatitis A+B.

www.kentingsurfshop.com.tw

No malaria risk. Risks: Intestinal infections, Den-

Penghu Archipel:

gue fever.

Alex Mowday, “Liquid Sports“, Makung

POWER SYSTEM:

110-220V

60HZ (American

power connector/plug). TIME ZONE: UTC/GMT + 8 CLIMATE & WIND: Strong north-easterly monsoon winds blow (‘normally‘) consistently from October till April. October and December are statistically the windiest months. The temperatures during winter are generally mild to warm, between 12 and 28 degrees Celsius. The water temperature is about 18-20 degrees. When the wind is hauling, it can get a bit chilly, thus a hoodie and a beanie is always a good idea to throw into the luggage. “LOCAL KNOWLEDGE”: Taiwanese people love Karaoke, Beer and Beatlenut which can be bought legally on the street in small plastic bags. I definitely would recommend to go out at least once for a Karaoke night, however, experimenting with the Beatlenut can be skipped.


ONYX AMP AlessAndro PiU wearing

ONYX SERIES Onyx amp 4,5 DL

SURFING ELEMENTS ion-products.com


What Abo

text Steff & Olly Bridge, Mirco Babini, Simone Vannucci photo Courtesy Edgewatersports, Mirco Babini, Simone Vannucci

48 NEW SOUL What About HF board?

MASSIVE POSITIVES: 1. Silence 2. Such great amazing feeling - like being the first down a power field slope  3. Easy on your joints - works the small muscles- full pilates work out  4. Do not need a big kite & its easy to get going in light winds.  5. Upwind & down wind angles are ridiculous apparent wind sailing just got better 6. Foiling is Cool - perceived as being acceptable and you would be surprised how many more people stop to watch hydrofoiling.


out HF board? Steff and Olly Bridge The great thing if you are looking to get into HF this season is that many of the big manufactures and lots of smaller niche players have spent many hours testing & developing foils and boards for you to learn & have fun with. In previous years demand has exceeded supply so now there is more choice to suit everyones budget & where they want to go with the sport. For 2015 it will be possible to buy a foil & a board from Sroka for £1100. Suddenly many kiters will look at the price of a new kite against a foil/ board set up & decide on the latter. Sroka is one of the Racing & Long distance Legends in our sport. Bruno Sroka decided to ensure the sport of foiling was accessible so that more people could enjoy the feeling. Watch out for his Sroka foils in shops all around the world this year.  The deal is that its tricky to just give people a go! It takes around 10hours to get the feel of it and you need to want to learn it! Its like learning to kitesurf all over again in lots of respects.  To ride along back & forth on a foil is what most people will aim to do. Cruising along the coast, exploring & journeys are what the majority of people want to do. However - at the top end the deal is to get the fastest foil upwind & downwind ensuring good angle in all winds & ease of use for transitions when it gets rough. FOILING IS THE FUTURE- once you have a taste you never look back! MAYBE BREAK SUBJECT DOWN INTO: RIDER: The people winning have either been foiling for a long time or been top 10 in the formula 70 class & practicing now kite foil. Being good on a race board is NOT a pre-requirement although is especially useful for grass routes training. To give an example- our middle son age 14- Guy has never been on forma 70 board or in a race but attended this event & got 16th overall in a strong big fleet. Like any wind sport, the most important thing is TOTW (time on the water) & especially getting used to your foil & board. having the transitions (tacks & Gybes) nailed is crucial although takes some learning.


50 NEW SOUL What About HF board?

FOILS: the sport is developing very fast and a few companies are investing heavily in this area of there sport. Many brands have and are coming out with entry level Foils which will be production foils that you can buy in a shop & be great for learning and free-riding. these include bands such as Sroka, Levitaz, mosesl, Ageura, North foil, Fone, Liquid force and Zeeko. Then there is the top end of the scale which is where its really interesting and companies like Taaroa (Sword) , Lift, Spotz, Levitaz, Radical and Aguera are all making the cream of the top end products. This is a fine balance between instability & speed with generally the more unstable foils the more tricky to ride but yet very fast.  Important components to the foil: the Mast, Fuselage, front & back wings. All these can be different shapes, sizes, connection systems and many company’s will produce different wings for light/stronger winds. The finish and to ensure there is no damage to the foil is crucial to performance.  KITES: Any kite from any year & any size can currently being used for hydro foil racing.  Currently there are no limitations on kites, sizes, foils or boards. Higher aspect, light weight & fast include the North Dyno, Ozone Edge, Airush Reactor. Then there are foil kites which are working insane such as the Ozone Chrono,  Joker- Elf and flysurf. All seem very competitive under 20knots and extremely light bar pressure. You will need a smaller kite- down to 5mtr and for racing at least 15mtr .  BOARDS: as important to get right as the foil. The board to suit your foil, weight & riding style. Plus the most important factor is where the foil is positioned on the board which is crucial. The board must have enough float but & foots rap / foil position crucial. Advice to being with is really important.  THE SCENE  Massive mix of people wanting to win and those that are also having a race back in 50th. More girls than in other disciplines.  static leg strain- quad burns/ similar to race board  Helmet, impact vest… good idea!


52 NEW SOUL What About HF board?


Below is a small diary I wrote last June 2014 which sums up the year: Heading to our 1st Kitefoil event in la Ciotat for the French International Kite foil event was like going to my first Race event in 2007 in Portimao. Preperation involved running a round the car park looking for screws, allen keys, sand paper, drills, has haw blades etc. People all have their own view on what is right & what is slow while we, to be honest, are still learning. Compared to the Formula 70 Class where you have your 4 kites, 1 x production board & a couple of sets of fins, there is nothing that we don’t really know & are not prepared for. But this is now after 7 years of development that we feel like this, it was only 4 years ago that we would show up in the event tent for kite racing  and find that someone had produced a new board in a garage that had 3 fins and not 4 or had put a centreboard on a twin tip.  Whereas this we had questions which needed answering: + Do we wear seat or waist harness? + How much smaller kite should we take? + Where is the foot pressure upwind + How far is the board angled over? + dD we stay on the foil for all pre-start manourvers?  One of the surprising things was that there was way less kite tangles than at the formal class events. I think this is because the level is even higher at the kite foil events. You have to have a very good level to kite foil & then to kite race. You have to remember that the french have also been doing this long before we got excited about it, many times racing with over 10 Thanks to our sponsors: Edgewatersports, NorthKiteboarding, Volvo, Meanline Fins, ION, Taaroa. 

http://www.team-bridge.com http://www.team-bridge.com/myportfolio/olly-foiling-at-woodies/


54 NEW SOUL What About HF board?

Mirco Babini – IKA President I’ve been in touch with the “foil” around the 2010 wiht a friend of me and right after during the world youth & master championship in Duarnenez in France were we’ve been race together with the formula class. Since then i was impressed for the performance, angle to the wind, speed and easy planing. Unfortunately i couldn’t spent the time in the water i would, (argh!) But in the last 4 years the foilboard as grown a lot and new appeal as been brought to the kite world; I’m fully equipped with foilboard and kite to keep myself update and is amazing how the foil “mania” is everywhere, from the AmericasCup catamaran to the next Imoca for the Vendee Globe, and the most impressive dinghy, the Moth class who scored 160 participant to the last world championship and in other many boats. IKA is fully supporting the foil and in the 2014 we’ve sanctioned the best kite foilboard race around the world and ranked as Gold Foil Cup, and 2015 will be the same with more event and more price money. We’re looking on different format too and IKA Executive member Robbie Dean as been in charge to manage the Gold foil tour; we ‘re also supporting few organizers to have one big event in Italy and we sanction the Foil Week who’ll be in Garda lake in july like last year. My personal achievement is to improve my skill on sailing with the foilboard during this winter season and maybe to cross some starting line with old friends soon. The world will fly? Simone Vannucci Hydrofoils have been around in kiteboarding for years. When with Mirco we went to Brittany for the Formula Masters Worlds in 2011 there was already a hydrofoil class as in France lots of guys have been riding   them for a while. The formula boards were faster around the course and I didn’t think much of it. Things turned around for me when I watched Heineken  showing us that foiling tacks and jibes were totally possible and that hydrofoils could be raced smoothly around the course. At that moment I was sold and

HF


F

got hold of Spotz, three weeks later I had one in my van. What is essentially a HF board and how it works… well basically any directional board can be an hydrofoil board but a specific HF board are generally a mix between a race boards and a surfboard. They are generally between 150 and 160cm long and between 50 and 60cm wide. The dimensions are super compact compare to a race board and they are just as easy to travel with as a surfboard. The weight is big factor when you ride 1m above the water so the construction is as light as possible. The shapes has been developed over the past year to answer some specific needs: - Enough volume to help rider float when not foiling and allow rider to safely paddle the board to shore in case the wind dies or if there is a failure in the kite/rig. - provide enough thickness and strength to support tuttle boxes required to connect modern hydrofoil - a wide and comfortable deck that allows for comfortable transitions - a specific bottom and heavily tucked under edge rails shaped to


56 NEW SOUL What About HF board?

best handle the accidental contact with water . Materials and construction, strengths and weaknesses carbon fiber has proven itself to be the best and most used material and the one used to make the fastest HF on the market. However some cheaper constructions started to appear on the market and they represent a cheaper option for a first freeride hydrofoil purchase. The moment that an hydrofoil starts to “fly under water” and elevates you and the board from the surface of the water, the incredible efficiency of that submerged wing will just leave you speechless. All of the sudden you are no longer effected but the chop and the total silence around you is amazing. Modern HF offer performances that are incredible with angles and speeds that are over 15% faster then already fast Formula Kite boards. But what is great is that even a freeride hydrofoil that is not made for racing is capable of incredible performances in light wind offering the opportunity to ride regular freeride kites in much less wind then normal. In other words hydrofoils are  fun for everyone and can  radically increase your days on the water without purchasing any other additional kite.


58 SNOWKITE Safety and technical tips for backcountry snowkiting

SAFETY AND TECHNICAL TIPS FOR BACKCOUNTRY SNOWKITING Text and photo Stefano Gigli/Ozone

Planning and preparation is key

and kites). Usually they pack a

ve the kite will save them from

when approaching backcountry

large size kite with connected

an avalanche; this is not true

snowkiting in high mountains

bar, a medium size, also with

and also disrespectful towards

and should be religiously obser-

bar, and a small (4-5 sqm) kite

your guest: Nature!

ved by all members of the team.

without the bar. Weather con-

The first thing to do before star-

Before venturing yourself outsi-

ditions can change pretty rapi-

ting your backcountry excur-

de, it would be a good idea to

dly in the mountains which is

sion is to tell someone where

check your equipment thorou-

why we recommend you check

you plan to go and at what time.

ghly and somewhere warm! You

at least 3 different weather fo-

Essential, especially when clim-

should start by checking your

recast channels: general, local

bing Vulcanos, is to communi-

skis or snowboard, and bindin-

and wind forecast. You should

cate your route and estimated

gs. Everything has to work per-

also study the snowpack by lo-

time of arrival.

fectly. In a rucksack you should

oking at the snow showers and

This way you can simply con-

pack your kites (2-3 sizes) and

temperatures for the last 7 days

centrate on having fun and re-

everything you might need du-

(this way you can choose the

aching the summit. You need

ring an emergency situation.

best side to climb, avoiding the

to make sure you have a plan B

Snowkiting lovers and pros use

risk of avalanches). Many riders

should things backfire, knowing

ultra-light

overlook this point as they belie-

that rescue is on its way.

equipment

(bags


LET’S RECAP WHAT ALREADY SAID IN OUR LATEST COLUMN. YOUR BASIC EQUIPMENT SHOULD CONTAIN THE FOLLOWING: + SHOVEL + PROBE + ARVA (avalanche transceiver) + VHF RADIO + ANEMOMETER + BINOCULARS + GPS device + “SPOT ME” (personale tracker) + FIRST AID KIT + AN EXTRA PAIR OF KITE LINES + KITE REPAIR KIT + SWISS ARMY KNIFE + KARABINER + DUCT TAPE + SPAIR PARE OF GLOVES + HELMET + MASK + COMPACT TELESCOPIC POLES + SKINS OR SNOW SHOES + WATER BOTTLE (FLAKES) + CHOCOLATE, JAM OR ENERGY BARS + MAP WITH LEVEL ZONES + TOPOGRAPHIC MAP + GPS PHONE WIT EXTRA BATTERY (we do not recommend using GPS apps on your phone because they drain your battery and often in the mountains there is no covera ge anyway)

+ SPARE T-SHIRT


60 SNOWKITE Safety and technical tips for backcountry snowkiting

TECHNICAL ADVICE

is to keep your kite at the zenith position. The steeper the

If you have decided to climb a

mountain, the greater is the risk

mountain as a team, the first

for you and your kite to take off

rule is to make some!

due to the presence of strong

Most important: never leave

ascensional currents.

anyone behind!

When looping your kite you

First check the snowpack and

should untwist your lines by

inspect the mountain side you

looping it in the opposite di-

want to climb. Then you can

rection; we do not recommend

start thinking about which size

you let go of the bar to untwist

kite would be best to climb the

your lines, as this simple exer-

first part up. In normal condi-

cise could be dangerous in the

tions, the higher you climb, the

mountains.

stronger the wind; however re-

The snowpack can also change

member that in conditions of

dramatically as you go up: from

thermal inversion, the situation

powder to ice, soft or compact

could be the reversed (i.e. wind

and on sunny mountain sides,

intensity, direction).

you can even find plastered

We do not usually climb up

snow. This could compromise

upwind but rather downwind

the smoothness, control and

or sidewind, which might sound

safety of your ride, which is why

strange but you have to re-

you should study the mountain

member that we are not at the

first and choose the best itine-

beach and that the inclined pla-

rary. Another important tip is to

ne changes many things.

avoid close proximity to cliffs

The

generate

or crevices. The traction of the

traction when riding uphill is

kite and your speed could pre-

to loop your kite. Experts and

vent you from disconnecting on

experienced riders know exact-

time in order to avoid falling in.

ly when it is time to pull a kite-

So remember to keep your sa-

loop or a downloop and this de-

fety distance (at least the entire

pends on the type of slope they

length of your lines) from any

are climbing in that moment.

potential danger.

You should also remember that

Remember also to use a short

the most dangerous thing to do

safety leash so that it won’t be

best

way to

in your way when riding and won’t get stuck on some obstacle. In case of danger simply pull your safety release system to flag the kite out and land. Foil kites have a safety release system studied appositely to offer total security in landing and launching your kite on any type of terrain. Also keep an eye out for your lines; they might get caught on a rock or ice pack and break when riding. I can assure you it’s not nice breaking a line when climbing up. Although it is important to plan your route before reaching the peak, you should remain flexi-


ble as obstacles and change

remember to never disconnect

tracks and, should visibility be

in weather conditions could

the equipment from your feet.

bad, find your way by following,

oblige you to change itinerary.

Often the snow at the top is icy

as a point of reference, the ob-

This mainly goes down to the

and swept by the wind, and it is

stacles you encountered during

ability of the rider, which is why

pretty easy to lose your balan-

your ride uphill. This said just

we recommend you approach

ce.

lay back and enjoy your freeride

backcountry snowkiting with an

Do not retrieve the kite by pul-

experience!

expert guide.

ling it towards you, as you could

Remember that the game starts

At this point you have reached

easily damage the lines or the

with your first uphill ride!

the summit and your adrenali-

fabric, if on the other hand you

ne has reached an all-time high.

only want to stop for a break,

Once at the bottom, re-laun-

Nevertheless you should re-

you can simply pull the rear bre-

ch your kite and off you go, up

member to land your kite, once

ak line. Once finished, you can

again!

again, respecting the safety di-

put your kite away in your bag

stance. Usually we land the kite

and start your descent which, I

Enjoy the ride,

downwind of the ridge so that it

can assure you, will be an enli-

Stef

doesn’t pull and it is easy to re-

ghtening experience. Try to re-

trieve. If you are on a steep trail

member your route, follow your


62 NEW PROJECTS The Makulo Project

The Makulo Project Text Craig Cunningham | Photo Courtesy Makulo e Rick Jensen


A lot of people have been asking, “what exactly is

with a genuine feel.

Makulo?” Well in short, Makulo is company that

Now with that being explained, where you pro-

links action sports with brands from outside the

bably saw Makulo was in the Facebook app.

industry. We create real time branded social me-

2014 we were working on growing our athlete

dia content.

database, hence all the sessions you may have

Steffen Roth the founder of Makulo has worked

been seeing over the last year or so. Athletes

within the marketing world for quite sometime

from a broad range of action sports were logging

and thought he could fill a void he saw within

and posting “sessions” to the app that would be

the industry. After working on traditional mar-

loaded into facebook. The interface looked cle-

keting campaigns for years, he was looking to do

an and the sessions were a nice way to post so-

something different that would revolve around

mething fresh. To a lot of people this may have

social media and how companies could have au-

just seemed like another session tracker app,

thentic branded content created for their chan-

something that had been tried but unsuccessful-

nels. He realized every major brand had Facebo-

ly executed over the last 5 years. This was no

ok, Instagram or Twitter or some combination of

session tracker but more of a database of athle-

the three and that a lot of these channels provi-

tes that brands could take a look at. With Maku-

ded very poor content or none at all. This is what

lo acting somewhat similarly to an agency, any

sparked the idea of the Makulo houses. The brand

brand could come in, check out the database,

provides the product and a percentage of their

find athletes that fit into the categories needed

marketing budget and Makulo provides a house

and track them to see what they’ve been up to.

filled with athletes/models that would work to-

The could also use this tool to check out how fre-

gether with a photo and film crew to incorporate

quently or not athletes have been posting as well

these products into their daily lives. The end goal

as the quality of content they produce for the cur-

being quality content that would be create qui-

rent brands they work with.

ckly from following action sports athletes all over

Over the last year we’ve had lots of work and inte-

the world. It would be produced in real time and

rest from major brands outside the normal action

In


64 NEW PROJECTS The Makulo Project

sports industry interested in a future with Maku-

we packed it with over 12 different athletes from

lo. Brands like Mercedes, VW, Nivea, Lufthansa

all over the world.

etc are all keen to work with Makulo and super

with a perfect location. a beautiful view, ocean

interested to see what we’ve been up to. The la-

access, pool and only a quick drive down the be-

test house in Brazil was a huge success and we

ach to the lagoon we were set. For the next 10

proved to a lot of brands that we can create a lot

days we broke up into three groups, each with a

high quality content very quickly and efficiently.

VW and would take off for the day going about

With a huge house situated right in Cumbucco

our daily lives but incorporating these products

The house was massive and


into it doing just what Makulo does‌ creating quality branded content . For more info on Makulo check out the website www.makulo.com or sign up for the Facebook app and start logging some sessions to get entered into the database.


66 ITW Reo Stevens

REO STEV ENS ITW Roberta Pala and Alberto Rondina Photo John Bilderback, Jason Wolcott, Tim Davis, Tim McKenna


Name: Reo Stevens D.O.B.: December 24, 1985 Home spot: Haleiwa, Hi Sponsors: Cabrinha, Patagonia, Dakine Years Kiting: 14 Favourite Spot: Teahupoo Other sports: Surfing, Towsurfing, SUP, Snowboarding Instagram: @reostevens Twitter @reostevens Website: www.reostevens.com


68 ITW Reo Stevens


KS_About you… RS_ was born and raised on the North Shore of Oahu where I still live today. It is the surfing capital of the world so it was only natural that I started surfing at young age where I fell in love with the ocean and it’s waves. My parents were windsurfers so I began windsurfing at age 8 then progressed to kitesurfing when I was 14. KS_Kiteboardoader and big wave surfer, what took you to end up this way? RS_ It was only a natural progression, it was never something I looked at as “I’m going to do this one day” it was always just to get out in the water and find new challenges to challenge myself. Bigger waves are an easy way to do that, especially in Hawaii as the waves get big quite often and you can go weeks with surf that never gets smaller than double overhead so if you want to surf, you’d have to force yourself to get out and learn how to deal with, and catch bigger waves. Still to this day, I’m still trying to push my comfort zones and in comparison to a lot of other people, I still have a lot to learn and grow into.


70 ITW Reo Stevens

“I THINK SURFING HAS ALWAYS BEEN A MAJOR INFLUENCE TO ME”


KS_What influenced you growing up on the North Shore of Oahu? RS_ I think surfing has always been a major influence to me. It is a sport that I am constantly surrounded by and am eternally challenged by. Surfing has to be the hardest sport in the world to master, a lot of people do it nearly their entire life and still suck at it (including myself). I don’t think that will ever change, I love the ocean and it continues to challenge me everyday and that will never change KS_Who is your mate you are sharing all the sessions with? RS_ I spend a lot of my time with fellow Cabrinha teammate, Keahi de Aboitiz. Over the past few years we’ve become pretty good friends and we tend to surf, kite, tow, sup (whatever is best for the day) together. He is a really good person to hang out with because he is extremely motivated to get out in the water every day no matter the conditions and his motivation will motivate me to get out and get in the water as well..


72

ITW Reo Stevens

“IT WAS ONLY NATURAL THAT I STARTED SURFING AT YOUNG AGE WHERE I FELL IN LOVE WITH THE OCEAN AND IT’S WAVES”


KS_You are one of the only ones out there surfing regular or goofy depending on the conditions. Was it something you were doing surfing already or that came up with Kiting? How long did it take to work good? RS_ People ask me that all the time; I surf only goofy foot (my actually stance) and ride front and backside, but coming from a windsurfing background and with starboard tack wind direction I was forced to ride a wave “switch” as there is no “backside” option for windsurfing, so when I started riding waves with a kite, I just naturally rode switch, I didn’t really think about riding backside, didn’t even think to attempt it actually. Riding switch is actually a really good way to practice you’re technique, you are forced to look at where and how your body needs to move, from positioning of your arms, how much to bend your knees and where your head is looking. By forcing yourself to take the time and think about where these things need to be, you can improve your switch stance technique and even apply it towards your natural stance riding KS_If you had to choose between a barrel or a few power turns, what would you go for? RS_ Barrels! There’s nothing like it! I love laying into a nice strong turn, but I’ll never turn down a barrel for a turn. (or even an air)


74 ITW Reo Stevens


KS_Kiteboarding at Pipe, what were the emotions you had in that day, making history in kiteboarding? RS_ The session with Keahi at Pipeline started off as just another session as it begun as nothing new. Pipeline has been kited many times before through out the years, but what made this session special was the quality of waves that were coming though. When Pipeline gets windy, it’s from an onshore direction of wind that causes the wave to go bad very quickly so the waves that you do catch at pipe do not really resemble anything close to a “pipeline wave”, but for some reason, this day the wind was slightly more sideshore allowing for a few “diamonds in the rough” to come through. The main feelings that both Keahi and I had were not from the conditions themselves, but rather the fact that we were on the famous stretch of beach with almost every pro surfing in the world staying at one of the beach houses in front of the wave watching us with about 100 tourist that were also on the beach… KS_How is your relationship with Cabrinha, how you feel with the products and your team mates? RS_ I feel like I’m at home with Cabrinha. The fill their offices with good people with a passion for kiteboarding. Everyone there are great people that work together well on both the office level as well as the team level.. I always look forward to catching up with the people who work in the office when I go to Maui as well as organized team shoots. KS_How do you feel about having a promodel surfboard in the line? How did you develop the Proto? RS_ I couldn’t be more stoked to have a pro model with Cabrinha. The Proto is the first pro model that I have ever had and am really stoked with the first one in 2015. Pete and I went back and forth on what we felt the Proto should be, a board that works well for down the line wave riding, but still usable for “strapless freestyle”. It’s a great board that I’m stoked on and feel a lot of people will like it as well.


76

ITW Reo Stevens

KS_The one wave you can always remember…and the one still have to surf... RS_ Two waves that stand out in my mind are my first barrels surfing and kiting, and my session at Teahupoo. Those are waves I will never forget. As for “the one I still have to surf?”.. That’s easy.. “The next one” KS_How was your last trip to Indo? RS_ My last trip to Indo was good, they always are. It is my most frequently and regular places I travel to… People are nice, food can be good (and cheap). Wind or not, the waves are always fun! KS_Your projects for 2015? RS_ No set plans for 2015 yet, I suppose I’ll just let the forecast decide. Keahi and I have been having fun with the new drones filming... We just put out or first video with it now… We’re just getting started with it and learning how to fly/film with it... Looking forward to getting it out in better and bigger surf... Check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cm8PUb2ouz4 KS_When Reo is not surfing big waves… RS_ Usually hanging with the girlfriend and finding fun stuff to do with her… That’s the great thing about Hawaii, even with no surf there’s still a lot of outdoor activities to keep yourself entertained with.


“I KNOW I’M ALWAYS GOING TO GETTING OUT IN THE WATER HAVING FUN ONE WAY OR ANOTHER”


78 ITW Reo Stevens

KS_How do you see yourself in 20 years? RS_ Hopefully still as happy as I am today and having just as much fun… I know this are bound to change, but I know I’m always going to getting out in the water having fun one way or another. KS_Our magazine is called Kitesoul, because we are sure that our soul has been somewhat filled up by this sport. What’s your feeling while you are in the ocean, during a competition or during a sunset session? RS_ Total relaxation when I am in the Ocean… Just going for a quick swim can relieve so much of my stress. It’s “salt water therapy”.


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80 TIPS FOR A SPECIAL TRIP Things nobody told you about Brazil...

Things nobody told you about Brazil... Julia Castro, sexy rider from Spain, give us some special and funny tips for a trip in Brasil…

1. The plane Probably is not your first international flight but, if it’s your case (like mine) you’ll find out that the plain you expected to be huge with a lto of space for the legs -is not-. At least I thought that If we were going to make a 7 hours flight the plane would have some special features... But nope, is a normal plane were you’re going to spend a lot of time in with the only difference that you have 8 seats. Text Julia Castro | Photo Xede Santa e Renato Balbino


2. Food At least from Spain, in the little flights you get food. Thats actually amazing!

3. Anoying people So, imagine, someone in the seat behind you playing COD with the sound in level 100... Can someone kill him, PLEASE.

4. Passport control So, if you’re a rookie like me, and nobody tells you, when you arrive you’ll probably spend more or les 2 hours at the passport control. You wont do this only if you start running to the control once the doors of the plain are opened. RUN!

5. It’s f*cking hot OK, you’re coming to Brasil because it’s hot, I know. But If you dont like sweating, you’re going to a wrong country. Brazil has a very hot weather and, more, the first days untill your body understood the difference, you’ll be sweating like crazy.


82 TIPS FOR A SPECIAL TRIP Things nobody told you about Brazil...

6. Cold drinks? Trust me, you’ll miss them.

7. Your next love You thought your only sickness was kiteboarding? Your only passion was the wind? Fasten your seatbelt because you’re going to try açai. And, If you’re lucky enough to try as first the “Açai da Sara” you’re going to fell inmediatly in love.

8. The clothes OK. Maybe this tip is more for girls but, if you’re wondering what to bring to Brasil, easy. The temperature in Brasil is around 27-29 degrees so short pants, short tshirts and a lot of boardshorts and bikinis.

9. Internet The internet in Brasil is slow. The advertising is going to anoy you every second of internet navigation, a lot of virus in every webpage you visit... So download addblock and a few good antivirus.


10. The best (or maybe the worst) If you’re a water yunkie and dont need to much to life, probably you’ll fell in love with Brazil and you dont want to life. At least, I realized that we need a lot less to life and to be happy. In Brazil you dont need much to smile (as you’ll see in the faces of the people). Well, you’ll need a 4 by 4 with some good sound system :P

11. Sundays On Sundays, the people from Fortaleza (the big city) is coming to the little town and to the beach to relax. If you go to kite to the lagoon between Saturday and Sunday you’ll enjoy a lot of people with their typical brasilian music as loud as they can in their big trucks. Sundays, for me, the best day fo the week.


84 TIPS FOR A SPECIAL TRIP Things nobody told you about Brazil...

12. Wind the whole day Wow, really? Are you kiding? Okay, I only want to say that you’ll have a lot of wind, dont go the first day and kite for 8 hours because maybe of the month youre going to stay, you’ll kite 1 week because of the pain. Take some rest, drink a lot of water and do short sessions.

13. Insurance Is not nice to think that something can happen to you... But, insurances are not so expensive and is better to have one if you need to go to the doctor. Make sure that it covers you were you are and that they are open 24x7.


14. Space for the come back. Probably you’re going to like a lot of things from the country. Let some space free for the açai, the granola, the Havaianas, the hamocks...

15. Bring a fit body It doesn’t matter if you kite a lot or not, if you do freestyle, waves or race, if you only go from on side to another or if you’re a beginner. Go to the gym (or make the gym at home), but bring this cute body to Brazil a little bit fit. We dont want you to fell pain in every part of your body (even in the ones you didn’t knew that existed). And, if you’re fit, less risk of getting injured.

16. Bring 2 Probably you’ll kite a lot and your gear will suffer it. Bring some valves, repair kit, leashes... In Brazil is hard to find spare parts for your kite so, bring them.


86 STRAPLESS MOVES Back Roll

BACK

Text and Photo Courtesy Reo Stevens


ROLL THE BACK ROLL HAS TO BE ONE OF THE MOST SATISFYING MOVES TO STICK WHEN YOU FIRST START LEARNING TO KITEBOARD. TRYING THEM STRAPLESS IS A GREAT WAY TO BRING BACK THAT SAME FEELING OF STOKED WITH AN OLD FAVORITE TRICK.


88 STRAPLESS MOVES Back Roll

1.

You approach this trick as you would with a normal back loop and is lead with your

shoulder and opening of your chest. Before you

3.

Continue looking over your shoulder until spotting your landing. When you spot your

landing, start to straighten you legs while using

leave the water start to turn the board into the

your ankles to point your toes to keep the bottom

wind so at the point of leaving the water the bot-

of the board into the wind.

tom of your board is already facing into the wind.

2.

As you leave the water, look over your shoulder and begin the rotation. Bring the

board up over you while keeping the bottom of the board facing the wind. Use the wind blowing the bottom of the board as well as gravity to keep it on your feet. Be sure to keep your knees bent as much as possible through the rotation as the amount your legs can extend is your “forgiveness zone� to keep the board connected to your feet as it starts to fall away from you when landing.

4.

ward.

Land as you would a normal back roll: knees slightly bent and head looking for-


TIPS 1.

Don’t wear a surf leash because the possibility of your board “bouncing back” can

create a very dangerous situation.

2.

Depending on the wind angle, sometimes it helps to take your front hand off of the

bar as you approach and leave the take off point. This allows you to open up your chest more and get the board up and into the wind to keep it attached to your feet. If you keep your hand off the entire trick, your kite will drift to the other side of the window and it’ll turn into a back loop transition.

3.

Spinning too fast will throw the board off

4.

Use the chicken loop to control your veloc-

your feet half way through the rotation

ity through the air, if you feel yourself go-

ing too high or too fast and separating from the board, sheet out accordingly.


90 TEST Kitesoul test 2015

KITESOUL

TEST 2015


UP W

IN

VE TI AC RE

D

LOWEND

RACE

*

Le infografiche sono state realizzate sulla media dei valori espressi da più Kitesoul tester.

G

N

RI

EA

ST STEEARING OVERPOWERED

ALL ROUND

DEPOWER 3.

2.

4.

A’ IT IL

RN

IN

G

AB ST

SP

EE D

1.

FREESTYLE

POP

TU

WAVE

RRD - RELIGION KITELOOSE - RAW


92 TEST Rrd, Religion

UP W

V TI AC

IN

RE

D

LOWEND

RACE

WAVE IS MY RELIGION

E NG

RI

EA ST STEEARING OVERPOWERED

DEPOWER 1.

3.

2.

4.

ALL ROUND

FREESTYLE

POP

TU

A’ IT

IL

RN

IN

G

AB ST

SP

EE

D

WAVE

We clearly remember when, five

This technical kite was the suc-

ever, increasing and advancing

years ago, we met Roberto Ricci

cessful “Religion”, a specific kite

the search for pure wavering.

and Abel Lago on the coast sur-

totally dedicated to pure radical

From a technical point of view,

rounding the magnificent Cape

wave-riding. The true nature of

the three struts construction

Town (where RRD develops

this kite is hidden in its name.

and short bridle system make

its new products), surfing very

Thanks to the work of Werther

this kite very light and responsi-

spectacularly at Plat Boom with

Castelletti, the new “Religion”

ve, key features for wave riding.

a brand new prototype.

is pushing the level higher than

The kite also has unmatched


RRD, RELIGION Available sizes 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 10.5 - 12 mq www.robertoriccidesigns.com


94 TEST Rrd, Religion

drifting characteristics.

make it the ultimate wave kite

cleat, which is placed on the

In addition, a new leading edge

100%.

front lines; the backline adjust-

design helps the kite to be even

Compared to the smaller sizes,

ment tips have three different

more stable.

the 9 sqm has an increased bar

settings for efficient trimming.

Compared to last year, the sha-

pressure feeling, and is slightly

The one pump inflation system,

pe of the 9 sqm has been modi-

more consistent. The kite did

with a large valve and protecti-

fied to increase light wind per-

not lose its ability for fast and

ve cap to prevent wear and tear,

formance, and generate more

progressive

is very efficient.

traction.

more power at the same time.

Aggressive

We have tested the 7 and 9 sqm

Which was good considering

tching colours, and a washable

on 1,5 meters waves, in on-sho-

the light wind conditions.

and

re wind condition. The riding

As usual the bar is very simple

ti-compartment bag, with a Vel-

was strapless, and the level of

and solid. Throughout the years,

cro defined lining, perfect for

our testers was from advanced

RRD, has been refining its bar:

careful storage.

wave riding to beginner.

now with an easy and reliable

His ability to turn, the huge de-

chicken loop and quick release.

power, its progressive power

The depower system is entru-

delivery and the incredible drift

sted to a traditional and reliable

loops,

delivering

100%

design,

eye-ca-

waterproof

mul-


The opinion of our team: The Religion has, once again, proven to be one of the top performing wave riding kites around and is therefore highly recommended for experienced riders, who make wave hunting their religion.... During the test, the fast, stable and top of the range drifting characteristics have proven to be very useful under less pleasant conditions as well! Our team therefore recommends this great kite as the kite which will never forsake its rider.


96 TEST Kiteloose, Raw

UP W

V TI AC

IN

RE

D

LOWEND

RACE

KITELOOSE, RAW

E G

N

RI

EA ST STEEARING OVERPOWERED

DEPOWER 1.

3.

2.

ALL ROUND

4.

FREESTYLE

POP

TU

A’ IT

IL

RN

IN

G

AB ST

SP

EE D

WAVE

Kiteloose is a small italian

ducts have evolved significantly

with a three strut construction,

brand, famous for its custom

up to their latest kites: the new

and pulley-less bridles. Compa-

surfboards and for the reliability

Raw and Essenz 2015. The com-

red to the 2014 model the struts

of his boss Max Galtarossa has

pany’s weapon of choice is the

have been moved and the sha-

brought forward his ideas, over

top rider Erik Volpe, who won

pe of the tip has been modified,

the past 10 years.In the last few

the latest Freestyle South Afri-

making it slightly more squa-

years, thanks to the company

can Championship. The 2015

red. These changes intended to

total commitment, Loose pro-

Raw is an open 4 lines, C kite

make the kite faster and more


KITELOOSE, RAW AVAILABLE SIZES 5 - 7 - 9 - 11 e 13 mq www.loose.it


98 TEST Kiteloose, Raw

reactive. We tested the 7 sq.m.

During testing we re-launched

front lines; so easy that it can be

in side-on wind conditions and

the kite many times; the opera-

operated with two fingers. Four

1.5 m waves. The Raw felt qui-

tion was always fast and easy,

back lines attachment points,

te light but with a good bar feel

pulling on one back line was

and three front lines adjust-

at the same time. Very enter-

always sufficient. The Nuke bar

ments will allow you to trim the

taining both in waves as well

is simple and light: a chicken

kite with a huge range settings.

as free-ride sessions, thanks

loop with a straightforward and

One pump system with traditio-

to its ability to follow the rider.

reliable quick release system;

nal inflate/deflate valves.

Raw’s forte is probably this abi-

the depower system is entru-

lity to turn every session into

sted to a traditional and reliable

fun. Another strong point of

clam-cleat, placed on the front

this kite is stability and its abi-

lines. Here you will find a smart

lity to re-launch off the water.

system to help you untwist your


The opinion of our team The Raw is an all-rounder, perfect for wave riding in his smaller sizes, it follows the rider very well: it’s stable, fast and light. Its strong point is its huge stability, a much appreciated feature in wave riding, where reliability is a must. As mentioned its re-launch ability is also very good. The Raw is an Italian product, with a very affordable price, good performance and overall quality. We recommend this kite to all riders who are looking for a valid and modern kite at a very affordable price.


100 STRAPLESS MOVES 360 Shove it

360 SH This was one of the first strapless freestyle tricks to come from skateboarding influence and although it may take some time to figure out, you can practice it in flat water and perfect it on the face of a wave.

Text and photo Courtesy Reo Stevens


HOVE IT


102 STRAPLESS MOVES 360 Shove it

360 SHOVE

1.

Like any jump, whether it’s strapped or strapless, to leave the water you must load

4.

The board is spun by using your back foot to kick the tail of the board into the wind.

up the kite and board by setting a rail and edging

The speed at which you spin the board depends

against the kite. This creates added tension in the

on the height and distance of the jump. Be care-

lines that you will use to lift you off the water.

ful not to spin the board too fast or too slow; too fast, it will over rotate and too slow, it will under

2.

You will start with slow to medium speed,

rotate. Rather than stopping the rotation with

just enough to finish the move with some

your feet, you will aim to have the tail of the bo-

forward momentum to ride away. If possible, time

ard hit the water to stop the rotation of the board.

your take off with a ‘kicker’ such as a small wave or chop to help you initiate your jump.

3.

As you leave the water, use your toe pres-

5.

If everything lines up correctly the fins will catch the water and stop the board from

rotating with the nose pointing in the right di-

sure to angle the bottom of the board into

rection and your feet are on track to connect with

the wind. The board will push back against the

your board. Keep your eyes on your landing and

bottom of your feet and you can use this resi-

land with your knees bent to absorb the impact.

stance to initiate the spin of the board.


E IT BY REO STEVENS

TIPS 1.

Don’t wear a surf leash because the possibility of your board “bouncing back” can crea-

te a very dangerous situation.

2.

Watch for the possibility of your board landing fins up. To avoid injuries from sharp

fins, watch the rotation of the board and if you’re landing fins up, then tuck you feet up and continue to send the kite in the opposite direction to get away from your board.


Text Alberto Rondina | Photo Roberta Pala

104 FREESTYLE MOVES Blind Judge + Blind Judge 3

FREE

The Blindjudge has been for years the basic trick

The Blind Judge is nothing more than a raley with

of freestyle, a trick that any rider must learn be-

a backside 180, where the pass happens in the

fore moving onto any possible variations of tricks.

air.

Long time ago we used to learn the first air han-

The rotation and movement are the same as a

dle pass with the kite at 12 o’clock, sending the

classic raley to blind, but with some small vari-

kite like a classic jump…but nowadays this is the

ations. So before going into the Blind Judge you

first air pass you should go for… so if you are in-

should be able to do raley to blind no problem.

terested sit back and read well!


ESTYLE MOVES

BLIND JUDGE BLIND JUDGE 3

ALBERTO RONDINA

The BlindJudge 3, a raley with a backside 360, it’s another basic in today freestyle moves. It is also one of those tricks you can do in all conditions so its what most of the riders do in the first minutes of competitions. In this trick you play a lot with the slack moment of your kite, edging hard and doing a raley while waiting for the kite to slack and then go for the flat 360.


106 FREESTYLE MOVES Blind Judge + Blind Judge 3

BLIND JUDGE

With the kite at 45’ and good

Keeping your arms bended is

Until the middle of the jump you

speed, choose the point where

gonna make things easier at

are gonna be fully extended,

you wanna take off and get

the beginning, later on you can

then the lines are gonna slacked

ready to edge hard.

stretched them out and its gon-

so its gonna be time to start the

Send the board against the

na look more stylish.

180’ backside.

wind, push hard with the back

The head as always is driving

leg to get some height and

the body, whevever the head

stretch out your legs.

goes the body gonna follow.


Turn your head over your back

If you have followed all the in-

shoulder and leave the back

structions right, when you are

hand from the bar. Don’t forget

gonna go look for the bar be-

to bring your legs forward, in

hind you back, it is gonna be

the direction of the kite unless

right there waiting for you! Grab

its gonna be hard to reach the

the bar with the other hand,

bar and stay balanced in the

been your knees and get ready

landing.

for a soft toeside landing.


108 FREESTYLE MOVES Blind Judge + Blind Judge 3

BLIND JUDGE 3

With good speed and the kite

When your legs are high behind

turn your head backwards. Just

at 45’, unhook and edge hard.

you the kite will fly forward in

like in every other trick, your

Push hard with your back leg to

the window and the power will

body will follow what your head

get height and try to stretched

go down to zero. This is the

is doing.

your whole body as much as

magic moment when you have

you can in the raley, this will

to pull your legs back down and

make the next 360 easier.

go for the 360’. So leave your back hand from the bar and


The stronger you turn your head the

Smile, this is a great trick to

faster the 360 is gonna be. Keep the

start… or end your session! And

bar close to your hip, and pass it be-

remember, even an easier trick

hind your back grabbing it with the

can be cool if it’s done with

other hand.

speed and style!

Keep on pushing with your head even while your passing the bar to finish the last 180’ and land heelside!

CIAO! ALBY


110 TECH Harnesses and hooks

HARNESSES AND HOOKS The harness is an essential, yet often

underestimated, piece of your kiting

equipment. Most often riders tend to choose the cheapest and easiest option. Maybe just because the shop has only that one model

fitting your size, or because you want the most fashionable colour…However you should

remember that the entire traction of the kite is absorbed by your back through your harness, and that knowing its characteristics could

dramatically improve your comfort and reduce your fatigue.

Text Renato Casati | Photo Courtesy RRD – Mystic – Jay Kiteboarding


Modern harnesses can be divid-

veloped models, have improved

would like to be. Nevertheless

ed into three main categories:

the design of the leg straps and

this drawback has been some-

have changed the way the trac-

what solved by the invention of

tion is absorbed: no longer from

the sliding or moveable spread-

the centre of your thighs up, but

er bar, of which I will be writing

rather towards the external part

in the next section.

SEAT HARNESSES (with leg straps) a.k.a. RACE HARNESS: all level riders/ all styles. Ideal for all level kiters, manda-

of your thighs; making the ride

tory for course racing, and ideal

more comfortable.

for beginners and “freeriders�. It

You can ride in overpowered

can also be used for wave rid-

conditions more comfortably,

ing if equipped with a sliding

without putting too much stress

WAIST HARNESSES (without leg straps) a.k.a. WAVE HARNESSES: advanced riders/ freestyle and wave dedicated harness.

spreader bar.

on your back. This way you can

It is the most used harness by

Their pull point is lower, limiting

prolong the length of your ses-

wave and freeride riders as

lumbar distress. They are the

sions considerably.

it can guarantee an incredi-

ideal and often only choice for

The hook is situated lower,

ble freedom of movements.

riders with back sensitivities or

so closer to your barycentre.

The only drawback is a greater

problems.

Thanks to this you will have a

stress and discomfort on your

Its main advantages are:

greater control during rotations

back. Older models also had the

It does not ride up, and does not

and will be more in contact with

tendency to ride up a lot, put-

squeeze your ribcage thanks to

water when performing a bot-

ting excessive pressure on your

the leg straps which transfer

tom turn during wave-riding.

ribcage, causing it to fracture at

part of the upward traction of

This feature makes it the best

times. However recent harnesses

the kite to your pelvis bone rath-

choice for very tall riders as well.

have dramatically improved this

er than your lumbar muscles. In

Its main disadvantages are:

problem, sometimes even solved

the past riders used to com-

Some kiters find it uncomforta-

it thanks to the different therm-

plain about the pain caused by

ble as they feel it is too bulky.

oforming technologies, adapting

the leg straps, but recently de-

They do not feel as free as they

perfectly to the back of the rider.


112 TECH Harnesses and hooks

SEAT HARNESS

HYBR

HYBRID HARNESSES all level riders/ all styles.

are some common character-

An insert or a pocket to store

istics that should be taken into

your safety knife, to cut lines

consideration when choosing a

during emergencies, or even to

These new types of harness-

good harness:

store your car keys.

es have a higher spreader bar

First of all remember to pur-

A good spreader bar: this is the

position (similar to waist har-

chase a kiteboarding vs. a wind-

bar that holds the hook through

nesses) with a generous lumbar

surfing harness. The latter are

which your kite is connected. It

support. Some models also use

designed differently as they are

should be soft and quite large

leg straps to avoid the harness

conceived to absorb a different

in order to distribute the trac-

riding up too much. It’s a combo

type of traction.

tion on a wider area, so as to

that combines merges the ben-

A sturdy grab handle on the

prevent your hook from riding

efits of both a seat and a waist

back for your security. This way

up inopportunely (in the case

harness, in order to reach a bet-

someone can get a good hold of

of waist harnesses) and/or pro-

ter balance.

you during launching and land-

vide greater comfort (for seat

ing or in gusty and/or danger-

harnesses).

COMMON CHARACTERISTICS:

ous wind conditions.

Regardless of which type of

Strong leash attachment points

harness you are going for, there

or metal rings.


WAIST HARNESS

RID HARNESS

HOOK A.K.A. SPREADER BAR (FIXED VS. SLIDING):

popular solution is the use of the

itially it might take a little get-

SLIDING SPREADER BAR. The

ting used to, you might want to

It is the hook attached to the

bar can move back and forth

spend a couple of hours to feel

front of the harness, connected

sideways (DAKINE and MYSTIC)

how it works. However, once you

to the chicken loop and it is of

and also up and down (JAY). It

get used to the pulling point of

absolute IMPORTANCE.

is the perfect solution for riders

the kite changing continuously,

It is not by coincidence that

who want to use a seat har-

you will never go back!!!

there are companies dedicated

nesses even when wave riding.

I do not recommend the use of

to the production of spreader

If you use a waist harness, this

the sliding spreader bar to free-

bars.

moveable hook will allow you to

style riders. During rotations

Hooks which are too open could

tighten your harness a lot more

the rider needs to have a fixed

cause your chicken loop to un-

(to avoid it riding up) without

centre of rotation or else he will

hook accidentally, on the oth-

losing too much lateral move-

feel the unbalance.

er hand, hooks which are too

ment.

closed, could not release as

In my opinion, these sliding

easily but they are considered

hooks, are a MUST for wave and

safer overall.

freeride riders who want both

Another,

recently

improved,

comfort and performance. In-

MAIN COMPANY DIFFERENTIATING CHARACTERISTICS: The following characteristics are quite subjective, not standardized.


114 TECH Harnesses and hooks

SLIDING HOOK They vary according to the per-

more resistant.

els as possible. You should feel

sonal preference of the rider,

SPREADER BAR POSITION: de-

the exact pulling point either by

style practiced, and feeling.

termines where the traction of

hanging from a rope in a shop

LUMBAR SUPPORT: the posi-

the kite will be absorbed.

or even better, by testing your

tion of the spreader bar deter-

PRICE: my advice is don’t skimp

friends’ harnesses directly on

mines the height and amount of

on the price. The harness is

the water.

lumbar support.

the piece of equipment which

Your performance, comfort, ses-

FLEX: the ability of the harness

you always take with you and

sion length and fun will improve

to bend backwards and forward

which determines the length

once you swap your standard

(some models come with an ad-

and global performance of your

harness for your IDEAL one.

justable flex).

sessions.

I think the time has come for

TIWST: the ability of the har-

you to say goodbye to your usu-

ness to flex laterally.

CHOOOSE AND TRY!!!

al harness, and discover some-

COMFORT: comfortable during/

You should start with a good in-

thing much better for you!!!

between sessions.

ternet search. Companies’ web-

GRIP: how well the harness

sites will list their models and

grips to your skin/wetsuit.

characteristics, you can com-

EASY TRIM: easy open/close

pare them to find the features

mechanism, easy straps con-

which most appeal to you, for

nection, easy fit.

the purpose intended.

WEIGHT:

depends

on

the

A harness should fit like a good

type of construction material.

dress… and adapt perfectly to

Bulky harnesses are just more

your shape and size. This is why

weighty BUT not necessarily

you should try on as many mod-

Renato “DrKite” Casati Technical Expert RRD Wave team rider. Kiteboarder since 2000, he has been PKRA athlete and judge. He’s a professional sportswriter for several technical magazines. He lives between Como Lake and Sardinia, but he spends every winter in the waves of CaboVerde.


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Kitesoul magazine #4 English Ed.  

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