A BUNCH OF JIBBERISH WITH
VOLUME 7, ISSUE 1, #16 DISPLAY UNTIL: / JULY 1ST, 2021
FOR EVERYONE Above:
Alexander Lewis-Hughes . Ewan Jaspan: Traverse Ewan Jaspan Pro Twin Tip
2 - KITESURFING MAGAZINE / VOL 7 / ISSUE 1
The Stoke Farm . Cohan Van Dijk: Drive Twin Tip
Letting our extensive and talent rich team of young riders take the lead, our new line of Naish twin tips offers an expanded range, all new shapes and reengineered constructions. The result is reduced weight and enhanced performance. Completely redesigned deck profiles provide optimal flex and our new, larger 5 cm IXEF fins offer better grip and upwind performance. Joining the lineup this year along with the Monarch, Hero, Motion, Drive, Switch, Alana and Orbit are the Traverse and Traverse Ewan Jaspan Pro. Armed with unrivaled versatility, our boards are designed to boost and intensify every rider’s style.
FIND THE FULL LINEUP OF TWIN TIPS INCLUDING THE MONARCH, HERO,
MOTION, DRIVE, SWITCH, ALANA, ORBIT, TRAVERSE AND TRAVERSE EWAN JASPAN PRO AT YOUR NAISH DEALER TODAY OR AT NAISH.COM
Pacific Boardsports LLC • (509)493-0043 NaishKiteboarding
R E B E L
H I G H
P E R F O R M A N C E
F R E E R I D E
B I G
A I R
O U R W AY T O M A K E T H E W O R LD A B ET TER PL ACE.
4 - KITESURFING MAGAZINE DUOTONESPORTS.C OM / VOL 7 / ISSUE 1
FO L LOW U S
D E D I C AT E D T O KITEBOARDING SINCE 2001
“My tacks are on point. And it’s so playful and dynamic that it gives me even more freedom to experiment.” – Steven
FOIL BETTER You don't need to be at Steven's level to jump on the all-new SLC foil and foilboard and find out what he's been talking about. The highly refined foilboard and hybrid carbon foil deliver predictable performance in all conditions.
SLC. HEAR THE SILENCE
CORE Kiteboarding / +49(0)4371-88934-0 / email@example.com / Fehmarn, Germany corekites.com | facebook.com/corekites | instagram.com/corekites | twitter.com/corekites
6 - KITESURFING MAGAZINE / VOL 7 / ISSUE 1
Rider Steven Akkersdijk / Photo Thomas Burblies
— FREEFOIL —
A L L
N E W
XTRA LIGHT XTRA FAST XTRA VERSATILE SPEED | VERSATILITY | CONTROL Featuring 88 less panels, a completely redesigned trailing edge, a 25% thinner bridle, and a 10% overall weight reduction, the all new RPX V1 is next step in freeride kite design.
LEARN MORE AT SLINGSHOTSPORTS.COM | FACEBOOK.COM/SLINGSHOTKITEOFFICIAL | INSTAGRAM: @SLINGSHOTKITE
8 - KITESURFING MAGAZINE / VOL 7 / ISSUE 1
Rider: Stijn Mul Photo: Sam Light
e 10 - KITESURFING MAGAZINE / VOL 7 / ISSUE 1
RIDER: MATCHU LOPEZ PHOTOGRAPHER: LUCCAS TOZZI LOCATION: TARIFA, SPAIN "It’s like dancing. How you move your body, your arms and legs; and what you transmit in those movements. The power, aggressivity, confidence, smile, good vibes; that all comes together.”—Matchu Lopez
12 - KITESURFING MAGAZINE / VOL 7 / ISSUE 1
LOCATION: BRAZIL RIDER: BRUNA KAJIYA PHOTOGRAPHER: DIEGO CORREIA “Nothing quite beats the feeling of going for a trick with full confidence, knowing you’ll get just the right take off, just the right wind while also being just the perfect temperature. That unique experience is what makes Brazil this heaven-sent freestyle land; a spot where, like in mother nature, the flocks of freestylers migrate every year from all around the world for the windy season.”—Bruna Kajiya
14 - KITESURFING MAGAZINE / VOL 7 / ISSUE 1
LOCATION: LA VENTANA, MEXICO RIDER: JACK RIEDER PHOTOGRAPHER: CHRIS ROLLETT “After countless days in the Choco Lake kite park, we felt like it was time for a change of scenery. So, off we went to find a freestyle spot in the ocean. Arriving at Las Palmas, I was stunned by how beautiful the spot was. It looked like something out of a postcard with layers of different blue coloured waters, reef, and palm trees surrounding the beach. To top it off the classic La Ventana fishing boat was set up directly behind the spot making for quite the scene.”—Jack Rieder
Be sure to check out the Airush Session review on page 69. Photo courtesy of Airush.
16 - KITESURFING MAGAZINE / VOL 7 / ISSUE 1
VOLUME 7 // ISSUE 1 // NO.16
FEAT U R E S
50 THE ERIC RIENSTRA INTERVIEW Kitesurfing Magazine catches up with the legendary Sheman Island rider.
58 PICKING MANGOES WITH TIM WALSH Pro rider Tim Walsh shares his favourite spots to ride on Maui.
67 MEGA TEST The Kitesurfing Magazine test team hits the Great Lakes for a look at the best new kites and boards for 2021.
UPFRO N T 10 OFF THE TOP 20 EDITOR’S INTRO 24 ON THE COVER 26 INDUSTRY NEWS 28 WHO’S THAT: FRED 30 WHO'S THAT: MARLEY
DEPART M E N T S 32 VLOGGING: Sam Light 34 STYLE: Matchu Lopez 38 SPOT CHECK: Chucktown 42 HOW TO: Snow Kite 46 SESSIONS: Big Saturday at Jaws 96 NEXT ISSUE
Read the latest 2021 Foil reviews on page 83. Photo courtesy Slingshot
18 - KITESURFING MAGAZINE / VOL 7 / ISSUE 1
Matchu Lopes pure steeze. Luccas Tozzi photo.
FIELD NOTES STYLE
What is style? It can be many things. There's good style, bad style, original style, effortless style. Style can separate the technical from the soulful, the competitor from the artist and every once in a while a combination of the two emerges that brings in a new era and expands what is possible. Style is individual, it can be copied but not duplicated. It brings personality to the forefront without words. Hard to explain but easy to see. Style is the individual watermark that all riders place on their own persona without effort or thought. How you walk, how you talk, how you ride. It all wraps up into a spectacular package that separates one individual from another and gives us the great diverse personalities and styles that bless not only the pages of this magazine but all sports, arts and lives. Thank you to all the photographers and videographers that capture these moments of art we call style, and thank you to all the riders that create and develop such wonderful visuals and memories. Rippin'. Dave Amos Art Director Kitesurfing Magazine
20 - KITESURFING MAGAZINE / VOL 7 / ISSUE 1
ENJOY THE WATERMEN'S
STOP RUNNING AGROUND ON YOUR FOIL! THE WATERMEN’S FOIL GARDEN IS THE DEEPEST, MOST ACCESSIBLE STRETCH OF WATER IN CAPE HATTERAS AND IT’S LOCATED RIGHT OUT YOUR FRONT DOOR AT WATERMEN’S RETREAT. kitesurfingmag.com - 21 WATERMENSRETREAT.COM • (252) 987.6060 • CAPE HATTERAS, NORTH CAROLINA
MASTHEAD VOLUME 7 / ISSUE 1 / NUMBER 16 PUBLISHER / EDITOR-IN-CHIEF JOHN BRYJA ART DIRECTOR DAVE AMOS TEST EDITOR SHANE THOMPSON COPY EDITOR COLIN FIELD WEB DESIGN KAI HULSHOF & ERIC FEQUET CONTRIBUTING WRITERS VICTOR DE CLERMONT-TONNERRE, SHEA GIBSON, NANCY SCARDAONI LELIVELD, SAM LIGHT, MATCHU LOPEZ, MATT NUZZO, JESSE RICHMAN, ERIC RIENSTRA, AXEL REESE, TIM WALSH
CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS JENNIFER AMRAM, ERIK AEDER, FRANKIE BEES, VINCENT BERGERON, JOHN BRYJA, MIK COOTS, DIEGO CORREIA, MARIO ENTERO, MICHAEL GILBERT, MATS GRIMS, NANCY SCARDAONI LELIVELD, ALEX LEWIS-HUGHES, JENNICA LOWELL, RYAN OSMOND, MIKE PHANEUF, CHRIS ROLLETT, ASILSON RAMOS, JAMES ROPNER, DAVE MARSHAL, AXEL REESE, DANIEL TENGS, LUCCAS TOZZI, YDWER VAN DE HEIDE,
GIRL WE COULDN’T GET MUCH
GETTING TO THE CORE OF:
THE GIRLS ARE ALRIGHT
WO MEN OF THE KPL
GEAR PREVIEW ALL NEW KITES AND STUFF THAT YOU HAVE TO TRY OUT
Volume 5, Issue2, #12 Display Until: Sept, 31, 2019
Volume 5, Issue3, #14 Display Until: January 31, 2020 $8.99
FINDING NIRVANA : THE MARSHALL ISLANDS 90 MILES : CUBA UNCOVERED TESTED : THE OLYMPIC DREAM MEETING : NORTH RELAUNCHED
DANGER ZO N E
Olivia Jenkins: Catching That Big Fish
B RA ZI L R E D I S C O V E R E D : APPRECIATING THE OVER APPRECIATED
SIZE MATTERS: THE 2017 TRIPLE-S
THE SELF-ISOLATING INSANITY
Kitesurfing Magazine is an independent publication published three times per year. —Spring, Summer, and Gear Preview — by Kitesurfing Magazine Inc. 101 Rossmoyne, Leith, ON, N0H 1V0 Phone: (519)370-2334 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: kitesurfingmag.com Youtube.com/kitesurfing SUBSCRIPTIONS 1 Year - 3 Issues $26.95 Phone: (519) 370-2334 Email: email@example.com kitesurfingmag.com Change of Address firstname.lastname@example.org ISSN 2369-3568
HE Y L A D I E S Caribbean CRU I S I N G W I TH TH E D U0 TO N E FREEST Y L E T E A M
Kitesurfing Magazine Inc. Copyright Kitesurfing Magazine 2021, All rights reserved. Reproduction of any materials published in Kitesurfing Magazine is expressly forbidden without the written consent of the publisher.
252 7 4 5 8031
LIFE IN THE BUBBLE
SUM 17 $8.99 CDN $8.99 US
DARE TO BARE ALL? HERE IS HOW
Volume 3, Issue2, #7
A BEHIND THE SCENES LOOK INTO THE BUBBLE MOVIE
SWIPING RIGHT TO THE SINGLE STRUT KITE
Display Until October 31, 2017
HUNTING WAVES IN THE LAND OF THE AMAZON
THE SINGLE LIFE
C H I LV E R S | T I M W A L S H | K I T E C L A S H ALL NEW 20-TWENTY KI T E
VOLUME 6, ISSUE 1, #15 DISPLAY UNTIL: SEPTEMBER 31, 2020
YOUR post COVID TRAVEL S P O T
TIP TOP TIPS
pros on foilboarding
Printed in Canada
KIDS ON THE BLOCK READING ON REEDIN
Disclaimer: The athletes and activities described andillustrated herein are performed by trained athletes and could result in serious bodily injury, including disability or death, do not attempt them without proper supervision,training and safety equipment. Kitesurfing Magazine Inc, and the publisher are not responsible for injuries sustained by readers or failure of equipment depicted or illustrated herein.
22 - KITESURFING MAGAZINE / VOL 7 / ISSUE 1
Rider: Arthur Guillebert Picture: Charles Tiger Location: Los Roques, Venezuela
The Master V2 C+ is crammed with innovative features and superior materials like the full layer of Spread Tow Carbon, making it our lightest and most performant freeride to freestyle crossover twintip.
● Super lightweight high-performance freeride to freestyle twin tip ● Spread Tow Carbon lamination for a precise and responsive ride ● Innovative parabolic rails for better rail grip and upwind ability ● Varying beveled rails optimize flex, speed, and pop ● Multi-stage rocker for better pop and smooth landings Sizes:
ON THE COVER
100% All Natural Non GMO “Riding the same park laps everyday can get a bit stale so to freshen things up, my homie Brandon and I go on missions to find natural features. We've gone up and down the Columbia River looking for every rock, tree and dock we could grind. One day Brandon hit me up frothing about a concrete wall he found just on the other side of the bridge. We waited for the conditions to line up and went for it. We launched on a big field on top of a levee with a bit of tree blockage so the sketch level was about a 7. The wall on the other hand was clear, but being around the bend from the bridge still made the wind a bit skitzy. My friend Dylan bought a little zodiac so we were able to get the shot looking back at land. The wind wasn't great so it took me a while to make it to the ledge. I only made it all the way twice, and on the first hit the boat was spinning in the wind and we didn't get the shot. Luckily on the second James snagged the banger you're looking at right now!”—Eric Rienstra
Photographer: James Ropner Boat Captain: Dylan Forrest Rider: Eric Rienstra Location: The Gorge
24 - KITESURFING MAGAZINE / VOL 7 / ISSUE 1
RI D E R: K I KO ROI G TOR R ES & O SWA L D SM IT H
PH OTO: KY LE C ABAN O & SA M C A RD EN A S
100% FRE E SURF
Never commit yourself to one style. Always maintain an open mind. Ride everything.
Eleveight’s Robert Bratz Kitesurfing Magazine caught up with a number of brands to find out about the impact of COVID-19 on their design, marketing, and production processes. This issue Eleveight’s Robert Bratz shares the last year’s developements at Eleveight. Be sure to check out kitesurfingmag.com/tradesecrets for updates from all your favourite brands. stoked on this versatile kite and love it for big air and powered freeride sessions. In our TT range we added a new performance freeride board: the Process C+. The outline and 3-D shape are identical to the Process V4, but other than its ancestor, it features a highly advanced full carbon construction on the inside. We fused the low-density Paulownia wood core with the latest performance-tech carbon fibers to achieve an incredible, slightly stiffer flex pattern. We are also proud to add wing foiling to our lineup. Like all of you, we all live and breathe water sport. To develop a new product range created a lot of excitement and brought back memories from the early days of kiteboarding. The WFS is a 4 meter wing with a dihedral shape (V-shape), inspired by fighter jet designs, excellent for surf and SUP foil riding. The aerodynamics are exceptional thanks to the stiff high volume leading edge with its deep profile. The frame features various grab handles to hold the wing comfortably in any position.
“The demand for freeride products is currently extremely high.”— Robert Bratz Helen Fischer photo
Kitesurfing Magazine: Did the COVID lockdowns change your 2021 R&D process, or was it surprisingly similar to before? Robert Bratz: Luckily, the COVID lockdown caused only small changes to our R&D process. The lockdown had started in March in most European countries. At this time our R&D Process had already finished for most of our 2021 core products. Also our production was in full swing before. During the lockdown it was not easy to manage production but thanks to our suppliers and the effort of their teams we could manage to release our products as planned, in the beginning of July. Has the timing of your product releases changed? Did the shops being closed for a while impact this, or is it more R&D or factory related? Our release schedule did not change for the 2021 range. It was a strange situation and I think some brands had to adjust their schedules.
26 - KITESURFING MAGAZINE / VOL 7 / ISSUE 1
At Eleveight we try to manage our stock level in the most efficient way, so that at the end of every season we have fairly low stock levels of our products. Our aim is to avoid a big closeout strategy at the end of the season. Even with the COVID-19 crisis we had not much 2020 stock left and the scheduled transition to our 2021 was necessary. We had a high demand after the lockdown and the shops were very happy that we managed to stick to our release schedule. What products are you most excited about in the new gear available this fall? Our latest addition to our kite range, the ExtremeSeries, was created to push the boundaries of big air. Powerful and playful at the same time, the XS excels in big air sessions as well as in lakeside freeride sessions. The XS is the result of an intense two year long development process, working closely with our international team as well as national riders. We are all
With travel being limited, how did your brand get product photo shoots done? This year will be different and challenging on many levels. One is the creation of video and picture content. For example, in May we planned our first big photo shoot in Sri Lanka and Mauritius to promote our 2021 range. The situation at this time did not allow us to travel, so we had to be flexible and rely more on local content. Our national teams and the area managers jumped in and offered a lot of help. In this case we were able to arrange many different shootings in diverse locations. The outcome was fantastic and our content has been very versatile for this year. With more kiters riding locally, do you anticipate a change in the sales mix for your brand in 2021? I think it is a bit early to see trends and changes in the sales mix. But we could see a general increase in sales in our key markets like in Europe and the US. The demand for freeride products is currently extremely high which most likely shows that more riders upgraded their gear. We also have more interest in our foil and wing range, which is an indication that kiters want to ride in all conditions at their local spots.
: Aloy sius P arker
THE REVIEWS ARE IN…
"ALUULA... It's just so awesome." Jake Mitchell, MAC Kiteboarding "Holy cow. This kite is exceptional..." Matt Nuzzo, REAL Watersports "This is definitely the highest performance kite I have ever flown." John Bryja, Kitesurfing Magazine "This is a seriously cheeky kite. Pure gold." Richard Boughton, TheKiteMag "It’s the only kite I want to ride now..." Ollie Jacobs, Freedom Magazine
sizes: 12, 14.5, 17m
sizes: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14m
FOLLOW US AT: oceanrodeo.com | facebook.com/oceanrodeo | instagram.com/oceanrodeo | twitter.com/oceanrodeo
FRED INTERVIEW AND PHOTO BY NANCY SCARDAONI LELIVELD
KM: Can you tell us about the twintip board you made yourself? Fred: Yes, I built that board when I started kiting. I think it’s about 15 or 16 inches wide and a little shorter than me. I took three cedar fence planks and glued them together. I ordered four fins, I acquired the straps and then applied four quarts of varnish. I'm still using it and it works great. KM: How do you maintain your strength and stamina? Fred: My garden keeps me very busy and stocked up on all my fresh vegetables. A lot of stir fries. Chicken, turkey, wild salmon, sardines and herring. No red meat or alcohol. I also eat a clove of garlic every day. KM: I hear you have a really great garden? Fred: Let’s just say numerous kiters love Fred’s famous Oliphant cucumbers. KM: When you’re not kiting, what fills your day? Fred: Every morning I do stretching, squats and push ups. I have good knees and good hips. Last winter I cross country skied 32 times, usually around four to six kilometers each time. In the summer when it’s not windy I swim. Last summer I swam a lot. Not just swimming but freestyle swimming, 46 or 47 times. On the days that I can't swim, I bike. KM: How do you deal with fatigue when kiting? Fred: I just stop kiting. I have a lot of common sense. KM: How old do you feel? Fred: Mostly I feel I am 80-something even though I do things most 80-something-year-olds don’t do. My presence of mind is not the same as that of a younger person, but I am motivated to carry on. KM: What is your favorite wind direction and wind speed? Fred: West or North West, blowing 25-40 kmph. Its the steadiest wind you could ask forat Oliphant.
At 85, Fred continues to inspire all who have the pleasure to share the shore and the water with him. Whether it be a smile, wave or a launch, he has impacted many of us. Most aspire to be that healthy and active at his age. I was honored to chat with Fred and find out some of his secrets. He said “they're not secrets, just common sense.”
28 - KITESURFING MAGAZINE / VOL 7 / ISSUE 1
Kitesurfing Magazine: When did you start Kiting? Fred: I'm a late bloomer. I started to windsurf around age 40. At the age of 69, I biked down to Sandy Bay in Oliphant and sat and watched three young local guys kiting. It looked so exciting and I knew I had to investigate this. The next summer I went to Jack n Jill's and bought my very first kite package. The kite was a Naish 14 meter C kite. This was early in the kiting era and I wasn’t aware of the dangers. I did get a couple of pointers here and there from others on the water, but I basically taught myself. Definitely not advisable.
KM: Do you have a session that really stands out or is memorable? Fred: After supper sunset kiting on a NW with a couple of other local kiters. KM: What do you fear most about kiting? Fred: I fear I am not going to be able to do it any more, but then I go out and prove myself wrong. When the kite is in the air and the board is on my feet it’s the greatest feeling ever. Kiting still has a very firm grip on me and I thank everyone that helps me continue to do what I love. You all know who you are.
Marley Franco PHOTOS COURTESY NORTH / WORDS BY JESSE RICHMAN
“We’re in an age where it’s not uncommon for young kids to be trained to become professional surfers, even before they can fathom the concept. The competition is ruthless and there is no shortage of young ripping watermen and women from across the globe. All of these groms have immense skill, but there is more to it than just that. There is a lot that goes into becoming a professional athlete; to me, the best of the best usually have an unmistakable vibe and this is the determining factor. There is a kindness, confidence and loving energy that emanates from athletes who do their sport because they love it. This energy is a rare gem in a vast sea of upcoming athletes, but all recognize it when it presents itself. Marley Franco is in a position that we all dreamt of being in as kids and even into adulthood; he has the skills to shred on the water with any craft he chooses, and he has an infectious stoke that permeates everyone around him.
30 - KITESURFING MAGAZINE / VOL 7 / ISSUE 1
Marley is the dude that will do a massive Backflip on a foil, pump back out to the line up and give you a high-five. He’s the guy that smiles when the wind blows out the perfect glassy surf because he will just paddle in and grab his kite. Marley is continually improving on the water and is well on his way to understanding the universal elements of success. He is eternally humble, positive and eager to learn even though he has more impressive athletic ability than most his age and beyond. I’m incredibly honoured and excited to have Marley join the North team because now I get to ride and hang with him as we test gear and create content together. I have no idea where Marley will go on his adventure, but I can’t wait to witness it and see what exciting path he creates for himself.” —Jesse Richman
WE MAKE NEW RIDERS
RE ALWATERSPORTS.COM | ( 2 52 ) 9 8 7 . 6 000 | CA PE H AT T E RAS , NC
WITH SAM LIGHT WORDS AND PHOTOS BY SAM LIGHT
Kitesurfing Magazine explores the world of kitesurfing video blogs. What makes for a successful video? How can we all make better videos? We track down the personalities behind kitesurfing’s most popular video blogs and find out their secrets for success. For this issue Slingshot team rider and videographer Sam Light shares his story.
Captain Sam Light at the helm.
32 - KITESURFING MAGAZINE / VOL 7 / ISSUE 1
WHAT ARE YOUR MOST POPULAR VIDEOS? My most popular videos have been my race with Alex Thompson and going around the Isle of Wight. ARE YOU EVER SURPRISED BY WHAT GOES VIRAL? Yeah for sure. You need a good thumbnail and title to clickbait them in, but you also need good engaging content to keep them locked. It’s not easy. DO YOU HAVE A LOVE OR A HATE RELATIONSHIP WITH THE YOUTUBE ALGORITHM? I prefer the YouTube algorithm over Instagram and Facebook; it’s similar but much easier to create traction even if you don’t have thousands of subscribers.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR FILMING SET UP? HOW OFTEN DOES IT CHANGE? I use a Sony 6500 and a GoPro most of the time. It hasn’t changed for a while but I do try out different tools, gimbals, housings, clamps and mounts to get some fresh content. Good quality helps but I have learned it’s all about the content and story, WHAT IS YOUR RATIO OF MINUTES FILMED O MINUTES IN THE FINAL PROJECT? That really depends on the project. Some of them are super direct and simple, and some of them take weeks. If I am filming a tutorial in my study then I use everything. If I go away on a trip for a week I use about half of what I film. I film everything just in case I need it. DO YOU HAVE THINGS PLANNED OUT WITH A STORYBOARD IN ADVANCE, OR IS IT MORE ORGANIC CHAOS? Again it really depends on the video, timeframe and location. I don’t like to script. I have tried before and it loses all its feeling. I have a rough plan of what I want to get across then run with it. HOW DO YOU MANAGE YOUR WORKFLOW? GET IT EDITED RIGHT AWAY, OR FILE IT AND WORK ON LATER? If I am on a trip I label the clips each day but save the editing until I’m home. If I’m home I try to knock it out straight away when it’s fresh.
SAM LIGHT’S SETUP Camera: Sony 6500 / Go Pro Hero 8 Mic: Rode video mic pro Lenses: Sony 10-18, Sigma 18-35 Hard drives: Lacie Editing software: Final Cut Computer hardware: Apple
WHAT WAS THE BEST ADVICE YOU HEARD THAT HELPED MAKE YOUR VIDEOS BETTER? Get your head out your arse and just accept yourself for who you are, be yourself and have fun with it. People will take the piss but who cares? So many people don’t vlog because they are worried about how they come across. You come across so much worse if you are worried what people think. I get inspiration from top vloggers like Peter Mckinnen. ANY BIG PROJECTS IN THE WORKS? Yes! I have just dropped a big project of kite foiling around Antigua. Super stoked with the outcome so go check it out.
STRAPLESS WAVE RIDING INTERVIEW WITH MATCHU LOPES
Matchu Lopes is a professional strapless rider from the island of Sal, the motherland of the strapless wave board. His style inspires many kitesurfers in the kitesurfing world. But what is style in strapless wave riding? And what makes it so special?
Matchu strapless in Tarifa, Spain. Tozzi photo
Kitesurfing Magazine: What is style anyway? Matchu Lopes: You have a style or you don’t have a style. It’s like dancing. How you move your body, your arms and legs; and what you transmit in those movements. The power, aggressivity, confidence, smile, good vibes; that all comes together.
34 - KITESURFING MAGAZINE / VOL 7 / ISSUE 1
KM: And how would you describe your personal style? ML: The people who are watching me or know me better say that I have a pretty cool style. But if I’m watching videos of myself I think that it’s okay but nothing incredible. I always try to do better, more perfect, smoother, make nice curves, with a variety of moves in the waves. I think my style is okay (laughs).
KM: How do you see the connection to surfing? ML: Surfing is the base. All the movements with the whole body, with the hands and with the board should come as much as possible from surfing. And also the position and stance on the board come from surfing. We try to ride the waves as similar as possible to surfing. So it’s not only surfing, but 80 per cent surfing and 20 per cent kitesurfing
Lip smack. Entero photo
because we hold a bar with a kite in our hands. But with the kite we don’t have to paddle out, we just pull the bar and ride. With the kite we can ride more wave per session. KM: What is your goal when you ride a wave? ML: My goal when I ride a wave is to get the most out of it, to enjoy it to the maximum and do what the wave allows me to do. But I go with the wave not against the wave. I want to get barrels, I love barrels. I’d like to do very beautiful, perfect, critical top turns, and 360s on the wave. And sometimes I’d like to ride the wave as similar as possible to surfing and let the bar go. And may I briefly add my favourite conditions? Sideshore wind, 2-to-3 metres of waves, barrelling and clean Indonesian water. KM: Many guys say you have a unique style, but what is it that makes it so distinctive? ML: I put so much love into it. I do it because I love it. I’d like to make it so aggressive. I’d like to be expressive. When I make the most of a wave then it’s the best feeling ever. I put as much love into it as possible. KM: What are the roots of your style? ML: Be smooth, very techniqual, be precise. I wanna have fun with no bad energy on the water. KM: Does the island of Sal have an influence on your style? ML: I believe yes, because I’m on the water with our
local scene every day. The guys all have a different style on the water. And I watch the little differences here or there and we all push each other. KM: How many videos have you watched? ML: I watch so many movies you wouldn't believe it! Every day when I come home from the water I watch surf movies. I watch all the competitions of the World Surf Tour. Yes and sometimes I watch kitesurf videos. But to watch surf movies is like watching football on TV; it’s like football for me. Like when Bayern Munich is playing Real Madrid. KM: And you are a fa of Bayern Munich? ML: Yes and I like Robert Lewandowski! KM: What inspires you? And who inspires you?Are they also surfers like Mick Fanning, Kelly Slater or John John Florence? ML: Rob Machado and Italo Ferreira! Rob Machado is my dream surfer and I have to meet him one day before I die. I am crazy for this guy, he has a beautiful style! That’s the reason I like to kite waves: because of him and his style. Rob Machado! KM: Do surfing videos inspire you more than kitesurf movies? ML: The kitesurf videos push me a lot. It’s Keahi, Airton, Mitu but there are not so many videos. My favourite kitesurfers in the waves are Keahi and Mitu.
Sexy new kite! Loic photo
Tucked in. Ramos photo
STYLE: STRAPLESS WAVE RIDING
Matchu just hangin. Luccas Tozzi photo
KM: Is your style as individual as a fingerprint? ML: No one on the world has the style from Keahi, Airton, Mitu, me and so on. I don’t know how incredible my style is, but, yes so it’s individual like a fingerprint. That’s a good comparison! KM: Many strapless riders try to copy you. Did you try to copy someone? ML: No, I don’t like to copy much and when I copy someone’s movements I’d like to do it differently. KM: Okay what’s your favourite set up? For Ponta Preta, side offshore wind with 20km? ML: My 8 metre Neo SLS and my Session 5’8” Duotone board.
36 - KITESURFING MAGAZINE / VOL 7 / ISSUE 1
KM: And your favourite set up for side onshore conditions on Sylt? ML: The Fish SLS 5’1” from Duotone with the Neo SLS kites. KM: How dependent are you on certain conditions? Are there any conditions that suit you better? Or do you have different styles for changing conditions? ML: My favourite conditions are wind from the left, sideshore, 20-25km, with 8 metre Neo SLS, with the Fish 5’1” or the Session 5’8” if the waves have more power. KM: I suspected that you would prefer Ponta Preta (with wind from the right)? ML: No I prefer Mauritius, Indonesia and other spots.
KM: Because you are goofy! ML: Yes I’m goofy. It’s different! KM: What is still possible for you in wave riding in the future? ML: We’ll see the direction go to pure urfing, even closer to pure surfing. The kitesurf wave boards wil be as good as a normal surfboard. We’ll see more radical surfing, more style from surfing and more professional surfers kitesurfing in the waves. And beside the pure wave riding? More aerial tricks!
WINGFOILING WILL NEVER FEEL THE SAME When the pandemic hit the world in February 2020, people were looking for freedom and ways to escape whilst being locked down. That same year wingfoiling was growing and F-ONE’s R&D team was fully invested for months in developing the perfect wing which will push the sport’s limits and open new doors for all riders out there. This brand-new wing is called STRIKE. December 2020, it is put into the hands of our talented team riders for the first time for a photoshoot.
The result in their ride is beyond
compare thanks to the STRIKE’s performances and accessibility.
2.8 - 3.5 - 4.2 - 5.0 - 6.0 SQ.M
Canada Dealer Inquiry – Quebec email@example.com Toll Free: 888. 502. 0512
INST. @fonekites FB. @fonekites
Chucktown Kiteboarding WORDS BY SHEA GIBSON, FORCE KITE AND WAKE TEAM RIDER AND IKITESURF METEOROLOGIST
Chucktown, South Carolina is a gem of a city that lies in the pure beauty of the surrounding landscape along a vast, shallow coastal plain. Fresh breezes carry the salt air through the city and hot, sultry days are perfect for hitting the water. The rich maritime zone gives plenty of opportunity for kiteboarding, sailing, surfing, fishing and many other recreational activities. There are a plethora of scenic areas to visit with various plantations and parks that host beautiful marsh land scenes and quite a bit wildlife to experience. In other words, plenty to do on-and-off the water.
Morné Diedericks at the Morris island lighthouse. Jennifer Amram photo
THE KITEBOARDING SCENE Sullivan’s Island Station 28.5 and Isle of Palms Third Avenue are the two main spots to ride in Chucktown. There’s an additional remote locale along southwestern Folly Beach at the Charleston County Park and any other desolate barrier island or spit you can get to by boat. Onshore flows are very common as the land-sea interface provides rideable winds for a good portion of any year. The local kiters are very friendly and always willing to lend a hand, which delivers proof that southern values still exist in Chucktown. Crowds can get a
38 - KITESURFING MAGAZINE / VOL 7 / ISSUE 1
little thick around Station 28.5, but a good bit more spread out along the other barrier island beaches nearby. All beaches currently allow kiteboarding without any bans or issues, and the kiters plan on keeping it that way. Heed the local rules, stay out of the small local swim zones at both the Folly and IOP piers and always use the 100 foot rule to stay away from beach goers and surfers. Everyone shares the stoke in Chucktown with great fellowship and pure fun on the water.
CONDITIONS: During the warm season, SW/SSW sea breezes are the dominant pattern with moderate winds and warm, salty waters. Plenty of sandbars at low tide make for an abundance of open slicks, with high tide a little bumpy but still great for down winders. Outside of some decent ground swells kicked up by winds, waves can build fairly sizeable from offshore lows and occasional tropical cyclone swells. Great for directional riders! Meanwhile inside the harbor, one can enjoy foiling in the deeper waters with 360 degrees of wind directions to choose from. Just need the right spot to launch and land. There are oysters inside the ICW tributaries and back marshes, so don’t even think about it back there (winds are not as reliable either). FOR LOCAL WIND AND WEATHER FORECASTS + KITEBOARD COMMUNITY My local Facebook group: https://www facebook. com/groups/ChucktownWindReport Favorite Local Wind App: wx.ikitesurf.com GEAR: Full suits 3-5 mm with booties and gloves are needed in the winter, but shedding to spring suits in the spring ultimately turns to just boardshorts and bikinis in the summer months. A 12 meter kite will do for most days; however, keep that 8 and 10 handy if the forecast looks to zip up. Lighter sea breeze days and offshore winds are perfect for foiling for those who bring it all. ANNUAL WIND SPORT EVENTS: You have to register to ride in the annual Fort 2 Battery during the month of April. This event originated with local kiter and sailor Tim Fitzgerald. This event is growing every year and includes an all-out drag race of everything that catches wind along with several additional foil races across the harbor. For sailing, we also have the well-known Race Week Charleston event, which is all run out of the Patriots Point Harbor Resort and Marina. WHERE TO EAT: Mex 1 Cantina on Sullivan’s Island is choice! They offer a wide variety of tequilas and awesome Mexican food that is much more robust and hearty than your standard Tex-Mex ranchero food. While you eat fresh locally caught fish tacos, you can enjoy surfing and sometimes kiteboarding on their multiple TV screens. An occasional surf band or other local talent on some nights adds to the great nightlife experience it offers as well. Across the street from Mex 1, Poe’s sports the Edgar Allen Poe theme has the best burgers in Chucktown. On Folly Beach, the prime spots are Taco Boy, The Washout and Surf Bar.
WHAT TO WEAR AND HOW TO FIT IN: Board shorts and t-shirts or guayaberas (I just happen to like the latter) with sandals or flipflops is all you need in the summer months. Keep it all “beachy” or casual whatever you wear. You’ll sweat too much if you overstyle it. Fall/winter/spring, check the air temp forecast. It can go from 30F to 75F or vice versa in a 24 hour period. So again, bring those summer clothes just in case. Drink local craft beers, see local bands and don’t get too hungover to ride when it is time. Be chill and guys, hold doors for the ladies. Smile and don’t be afraid to say hi to others when they look at you. It’s all part of our culture here. Just don’t try to fake a Southern drawl, ya’ll. SHOP LOCAL: Force Kite and Wake keeps a thick stock of everything you need along with a great team of coaches and great customer service. Brands currently include Liquid Force, Cabrinha, North, Duotone, Airush and Lift Foils. Stan and Amy Radev have a great staff always ready to help you for all your kite needs so stop on by. Also for surf shops, be sure to check into Parrot Surf Shop, owned by Angelo Vlceck for all your summer and winter needs. They also carry a wide variety of skateboard equipment and apparel if you wish to hit the SK8 Charleston skatepark located in North Charleston.
ROAD TRIP: Chucktown Kiteboarding
TRAVEL: Fly in to the Charleston International Airport for the ‘ole commercial route, East Cooper Airport for the private route. Drive in from a vast array of roadways or boat in from wherever. It’s ridiculously easy to get here.
WHERE TO STAY: There are a couple of KOA places to camp if you drive in, but the local Air B&B’s really are quite the popular feature for short term rentals here as we “keep it local.” Alternatives include hotels with widely varying prices on both IOP and Folly Beach, as well as several others smattered across the inland cities.
Morné Diedericks at 28.5 in Sullivan’s Island. Jennifer Amram photo
Jennifer Amram heads out for a session.
40 - KITESURFING MAGAZINE / VOL 7 / ISSUE 1
SNOWKITE With many people avoiding ski resorts because of COVID-19, snowkiting had its busiest winter ever! Mats Grims photo
42 - KITESURFING MAGAZINE / VOL 7 / ISSUE 1
Why Every Kitesurfer Should Try Snowkiting BY VICTOR DE CLERMONT-TONNERRE
For most, kitesurfing is a passion only practised during the high season. But in the last decade or so snowkiting has taken over the snow-covered lakes, fields and mountains. From November to April, depending on the destination, the northern hemisphere snowkiting season is within your grasp. That’s an extra six months added to your kiting season. With many ski resorts seeing COVID-19 restrictions, there has never been a better time to get out on the snow and try snow kiting.
SNOWKITE: 5 things to know Inflatable or foil kite... they both work! Red Bull Ragnarok in Haugastol, Norway. Daniel Tengs photo
44 - KITESURFING MAGAZINE / VOL 7 / ISSUE 1
5 Things to Know About Snowkiting 1) LEARNING TO SNOWKITE IS EASY Snowkiting is very easy to learn if you’ve already mastered your kite on the water. If you’re a good skier or snowboarder then the conversion can be done in one single session. The concept of snowkiting is quite simple and you don’t need to be an expert skier or snowboarder. When switching to snowkiting for the first time it usually takes no more than twenty minutes for kiters to become completely independent. It's that easy. 2) IT DOESN’T NEED TO BE DANGEROUS Snowkiting is practised in large mountainous plateaus. Most of the time you will have no one around you which diminishes the likelihood of collision or tangling your lines with other kiters. There are obstacles (like there could be on water) like rocks or trees but if you know how to master your kite there is no reason why you cannot stay away from them. 3) ENDLESS ADVENTURES With the ever-growing popularity of kitesurfing, water spots can be overcrowded, sometimes ruining your session. In contrast, snowkiting offers unlimited adventures and adrenaline rushes with different spots to discover every day. When kiting in Scandinavia you are caught up in the bewitching feeling of always moving further away from civilization. Snowkiting can offer thrilling experiences: trekking in snow deserts with amazing landscapes and no one around except for wild animals (reindeers, elks, etc.), higher jumps (especially when you go downhill), powder skiing, frozen lake skiing. You will be amazed how fast you can go uphill in good wind conditions. Typically, you can trek about 50 kilometers a day, going back to your starting point or reaching a mountain refuge destination for the night.
4) NO NEW GEAR If you are new to snowkiting you absolutely don’t need to buy your snowkite equipment straight away. Adapting to mountainous wind usually requires smaller kites than on water, as the winds are more frequent. The overall benefit of land kites in comparison to water kites is their lack of air chambers and they’re considerably lighter to carry. You can easily fit three land kites in the same amount of space that one water kite would require. No air chamber also means no need to carry a pump around which gives you more space to carry essential items such as food, water, skins, extra kites, cameras etc. The backpack is also useful, so you can store away your kite in order to ski down virgin powder slopes! It’s always good to carry an extra kite on treks as winds in the mountains can turn rapidly and are harder to predict.
5) SKI OR SNOWBOARD? This is absolutely a question of taste. Both are ok. We suggest that you take what you feel comfortable with. You do not need to learn how to ski if you snowboard. However, it is naturally easier to kite with skis rather than with a snowboard. Victor de Clermont-Tonnerre, 24-years-old, is the founder of Snowkite Sensation. His taste for travel and snowkiting comes from his own experience of traveling with his family. The complexity of organizing this kind of trip and the growing interest in this discipline led him to launch this specialized travel agency. Snowkite Sensation is the only travel agency to exclusively focus on snowkiting trips. They work hand in hand with snowkite schools all over Europe. www.snowkitesensation.com
Ydwer van der Heide photo
Patri McLaughlin out for a Saturday afternoon stroll. Mike Coots photo
46 - KITESURFING MAGAZINE / VOL 7 / ISSUE 1
Super Swell Saturday INTERVIEW BY AXEL REESE
Big wave kiter Patri McLaughlin had one of his best days in Jaws to date; January 16, AKA, #superswellsaturday, will go down in the history books. The storm that raged thousands of kilometers north of the Hawaiian Islands created a huge swell on the North Shore of Maui, Hawaii. This swell attracted thousands of people to the cliffs of Peahi, and was viewed by millions of people online.
“There are only a few days in a lifetime that the waves get this big. They’re the biggest kiteable Jaws waves I’ve ever seen!”— Patri McLaughlin
“We knew long in advance that the swell was going to be epic, but I never dreamed it would be that big,” says the 31-year-old Patri McLaughlin. “We had already had a few good swells over the past couple weeks. Two days before on January 14th, we had a nice warm-up session and it was pretty big, but it was nothing compared to Saturday. Usually I’m not nervous before a Jaws swell. I’m usually pretty relaxed, but the evening before January 16th was different. I could hear big waves from my house which is located in between Paia and Ho’okipa. The waves were so loud the crashing thunder made it hard to sleep. First thing in the morning I jumped into my truck to go look at Ho’okipa and it was giant. The swells stretched out across the entire North Shore. I knew it was going to be the biggest swell of the year, and possibly the biggest swell of my life.”
SESSIONS: SUPER SWELL SATURDAY Jet Ski parking at Peahi. Frankie Bees photo
Michael Gilbert photo
48 - KITESURFING MAGAZINE / VOL 7 / ISSUE 1
Eric Aeder photo
Eric Aeder photo
EARLY START “Normally we launch the jet ski at Maliko, because it’s only a 10-minute drive up to Jaws. The boat ramp in Maliko is pretty beat up, and you have to time the launch with the sets. When we pulled up I was worried we wouldn’t be able to get the ski in the water. The water was surging in and out so bad that the ramp would go completely dry, then flood over the top when a set would come in. It reminded of a tsunami. Once we got up to Jaws I couldn’t believe how big it was. I’ve never seen it that big and that windy.”
STILL BUZZING Patri is still stoked about the big Saturday at Jaws. “The website www.surfline.com hired a helicopter to broadcast what was happening on the water for four hours via livestream on their website. My girlfriend Olivia Jenkins was at a photoshoot in the Caribbean and watched the whole session.” “After three hours on the water my legs were so tired and I was mentally tired as well. The last wave I caught was huge. I kicked out in the channel and saw Billie Kemper on the next wave. He looked tiny, I thought to myself, ‘that’s it, I’m finished. My legs can’t handle a wave like that, and if I fall right now I might die.’”
“When we arrived there were close to 60 jet skis on the water. There were 15 boats, two helicopters, and even a plane circling overhead. There were thousands of people posted up on the cliff watching. Everyone knew it was going to be giant and a bunch of guys flew in from Oahu and the main land,” explains the big wave kiter. Robby Naish, Jason Polakow, Robby Swift, Marcilio Browne and a few other guys were there to windsurf it. A lot of surfers were hoping to paddle into a few, but the waves were so big and windy that they only towed in using jet skis. Patri McLaughlin was the only kiter out. “It was really not easy for kitesurfing. I have seen really big swells over the years, but I’ve never seen it so big and consistent all day. It was scary!” The windsurfer Adam Warchol went super deep on his first wave. It was close to 65 feet. He got absolutely smoked. Check it out on YouTube. It was pretty impressive. Patri caught around 20 waves throughout the session. “There aren’t many people that kite out there because the access is super difficult. You need to launch off a jet ski, and it’s a really difficult wave to kite. The wind is crazy offshore.”
SUPER SCARY “It was super scary, it was massive. I was really nervous. I dislocated my shoulder three months ago and I had only kited a couple times before this swell. Watching the waves before going out I was pretty sure if I fell on one of those monsters it would rip my arm off. I didn’t want to miss this though. After I caught a couple waves the nerves went away and I just had to trust myself that I wouldn’t fall.” After a couple waves Patri began to hunt down the bigger waves and attempt to go deeper into the more critical section of the wave. He didn’t fall at all throughout the session. Equipment The Duotone team rider used a 6 metre Neo SLS and the wind was 25 knots. “On the bigger waves there is so much turbulence that spins off the lip of the wave that the kite can get caught in a swirl and fall out of the sky. It’s terrifying when you’re mid-face on a big wave and the kite just loses power and begins to fall out of the sky.” This added a whole other stress element that you don’t have to deal with ona smaller day. What board does he use? “I use a custom board designed by Duotone’s surfboard designer Sky Solbach. It’s not a board for every wave, it weighs 12 pounds. It has to be heavy to deal with the speed and chop out there. It’s also very narrow at 16.5 inches wide, and it’s 5’11” long”.
INTERVIEW BY JOHN BRYJA
California’s Eric Rienstra has been a force on the U.S. pro kiteboarding scene since the sport’s early pro pool days at Maui’s Kite Beach. Kitesurfing Magazine’s editor-in-chief caught up with Rienstra to explore his van life roots in Sherman Island and his evolution into one of the sport’s best park style riders with multiple Triple-S podium finishes. Kitesurfing Magazine: We’ve never done anything super in-depth. So let’s maybe back up. Your parents were into windsurfing, is that how you were first exposed to kiting? Eric Rienstra: Yeah, actually it was my mom that got my dad into windsurfing. My dad was a big skier and they met on the ski patrol. I basically learned how to windsurf and ski when I was about four-years-old in preschool. I grew up in Tahoe. Sherman Island was the closest windsurfing spot, so we would drive down, it’s like three-and-a-half hours on the weekends and we had a campervan. Every weekend in the summer we went camping, basically windsurfing the whole time. KM: How old were you when you were first exposed to kiting and then took lessons? ER: I started seeing kiting in 2000, right when it was first showing up. It was then that you had Corey Roesler’s kite with the big fishing reel on it. Right at that time freestyle windsurfing was starting to become a thing. I was 15 at the time, so I was just starting to kind of get good at windsurfing. Starting some of the freestyle: the Vulcans, the loops and stuff. The kiters just looked like they couldn’t do much and I wasn’t seeing any jumping or anything, so I was still focused on windsurfing. I was pretty sure I was going to end up sponsored. But then as soon as they got the bar smaller and guys started jumping over me I was like, “Yeah!” Especially because I started snowboarding. It was like, “okay, that’s starting to look a lot better now.” Back in the day it was kind of sketchy to learn and I was a little kid, so my parents were nervous. They ended up just getting me a trainer kite for like a year. I would fly the trainer kite even when it was windy enoough to windsurf. My first lesson was at the end of 2003. Yeah, 2003 like September, around the end of the season.
50 - KITESURFING MAGAZINE / VOL 7 / ISSUE 1
“One of the coolest finds ever! I was judging an IKA event in Pingtan, China and this beauty was just sitting at the end of the beach. Let's just say I couldn't wait for the event to be over!”—Eric Rienstra Alex Lewis-Hughes photo
52 - KITESURFING MAGAZINE / VOL 7 / ISSUE 1
KM: Sherman Island is one of the hardest spots to learn. Did the school use jet skis there? ER: Oh, yeah. You have to be jet skiing up and taking a lesson. There’s no beach to kind of fool around on. I took my lesson with Kitetopia, Doni and Sandy. That year on spring break in Maui I took another lesson which was basically just a rental with a guide. Because he handed me the kite, and I immediately could ride to the right and almost go with wind. That turned into the circuit training lap type thing. Then I went back to Sherman Island at the beginning of the season in 2004. My dad bought me a kite and I just went out and stayed upwind, and threw a Front Roll the first day. As soon as I could stay up wind it was like, “okay, I want to send it.” So I sent it. And when you send the kite without pulling it back to 12, it forced me to do a Front Roll.
Since I could already do Backside 360s on the snowboard, I just kind of tucked it in and I came around and landed it but then the kite fell out of the air. Everyone on the beach was like, “you got to bring it back, bring it back.” And I was like, “oh, okay.” I went out and yeah, it took me a while to actually not do a Front Roll. So then I basically just started copying everyone’s tricks, and later that year I got picked up by a Slingshot. KM: And you were on as a regional rider right out of the gate. ER: I basically had a choice between Slingshot and Caution which were both making me regional offers by the end of 2004. I went with Slingshot because obviously their kite team was bad ass. I wanted to go on trips with those guys.
The best sessions involve finding a new spot with a friend. Vincent Bergeron photo
KM: Were you still in high school at that point or is that just when you were starting university? ER: Yeah. That was when I was 15. KM: And then you went to school in Maui? ER: Once I graduated high school, I moved to Maui. I did a little bit of college, and I got a degree in surfing and kiting basically. KM: Was the whole Kite Beach pro scene on Maui still happening then? ER: Yeah. Everyday Mauricio Abreau, Andre Phillip and Lou Wainman were at the beach. I was riding with them every day, Jesse and Shawn Richman too.
In 2005 I did my first contest in San Francisco. I was in the amateurs and I ended up getting third, but it was Mark Doyle versus Jesse Richmond in the final for the pro, and Jesse won. I was third. That was crazy. And that summer too, me and Mark Doyle were living in Sherman Island in trailers, next door to each other. So I spent the whole summer as basically Mark Doyle’s little apprentice. That’s kind of where the dangling ended because he would give me heck all the time for dangling. That’s when the whole wakestyle scene started. I started sticking Handlepasses and I started getting swayed into that style of riding.
KM: It seems like the van lifestyle almost disappeared. Have you noticed there’s been less people living out of vans kiting than back in the day? ER: Sherman Island, they call it Moho Row. We went through this huge evolution of people in converted cars. Our converted van was like the Ritz Carlton of its time. And then people went from vans straight to trailers. And then all of a sudden we kept our van and it was like, “man, all these people have these balling trailers, and we’re still in this little converted van.” Sherman Island is still just mostly big motor homes and RVs. You see a lot of them, the same people go down to La Ventana. Hood River not so much, there’s not really anywhere to do van life like that anymore. I think that’s kind of the biggest restriction on van life. The goal to sleep in a van and not pay rent. If you’re paying for camping, you’re almost paying what it costs to rent a place. KM: So after totally getting into the scene, you got that nice pimped-out white van, how long did it take you to start exploring the Northwest like Hood River, and places like Nitnat, stuff like that? ER: We were going to Hood River every year in the summer for windsurfing my whole life. It was after high school when my parents gave me the van. The van was mine, I was driving it. I was living in Hood River all summer, going back
to Hawaii for the winter. Those were the days! Living in the van, just drive wherever I wanted and doing whatever I wanted, basically. KM: What are your biggest memories as far as the on water scene in Maui at that time? ER: I mostly just liked the people I was riding with. I liked just being around Andre Phillip, Jesse Richman and Lou Wainman. Lou actually recruited me to be a team rider for Wainman when they first started. I actually lived with Lou for a few months. So yeah, it was mainly just being at Pro Point and having that crew of people around all the time. It gets pretty gnarly windy there to the point where you get overpowered on a seven metre every day. Like that’s how I was doing freestyle,and just how everything was; I was on a seven metre, and it was like, “oh my God, I’m overpowered, but still going out.” And when those kinds of sessions would happen. Dre, Mauricio and Moe would just kind of hang out to watch because they were at the stage where they were more picky about their sessions. I would be out there and be like, “yeah, the wind sucks.” But these guys are sitting there watching me and I was like, “they’re so good that I can’t impress them with any tricks. So I’ll impress them with how hard I crash.” So I would just come in, balls to the wall and just pop as hard as I could, and huck as hard as I could, and just crash as hard as I could. Rock shot: sometimes part of the mission is just getting to the beach. James Ropner photo
54 - KITESURFING MAGAZINE / VOL 7 / ISSUE 1
One man's trash is another’s treasure. James Ropner photo
And it turns out when you go into tricks with that mentality, no holding back, you end up actually landing it most of the time. So it ended up turning into this insanely, powerful style. That’s when Wainman was like, “oh dude, you need to be my team rider.” KM: From the Maui scene, how did you get into park style riding? ER: Park. That was Hood River. Hood River was park from day one. My first kiteboard, I went into the shop in Sherman Island, Delta Windsurfing. I was shopping for boards and I ended up picking a Slingshot board. I picked it because it had a sticker on it that
said, dura base or dura grind, slider base. Basically, you can grind anything. I was a snowboarder already so I’m like, “that’s the board I want!” And immediately, I was grinding on logs and stuff out at Sherman Island the first chance I could get. Once I started going to Hood River I stayed in Hood River because they’ve had a park there forever KM: How did you first get involved with the Real guys? Did you go to a Triple-S, or did you work there? ER: That was around 2008 when I was in Hawaii. I had already dropped out of college and was working for Lou Wainman. I was living in Hawaii and things with
Wainman just weren’t really moving forward financially. I was starting to realize I need to start making my own money, so that I can achieve my goals no matter what. I noticed that Real was probably one of the only schools in the country that I could work for that didn’t require a certification from IKO. And they did their own training. To get certified with IKO or PASA you have to like fly somewhere, take the course, pay for the course and pay for your hotel. And the cost of actually getting certified is insane. So it was like, I can’t afford that. But Real, it was like, “oh, I go to work. They train me. I’m good.” And I’m working at Real, just the best one to work at anyways. So I ended kitesurfingmag.com
Hand rails: the holy grail of street. Mike Phaneuf photo
up going out on a trip there with Billy and some friends of his that were making a kite clothing brand called Transcend. They kind of sponsored me. And we went out on a team trip there to do a photo shoot in Hatteras, and that’s when I took the opportunity to check out Real. And then just applied and was working there three months later. KM: What’s the scene like being an instructor there? Did they have staff accommodations? Did you rent a house with a whole bunch of different coaches? ER: There’s an employee housing building which is within a short walk, but I would skateboard. I’ve actually never had a car when I’ve lived in Hatteras. I’ve always lived there and transported myself by skateboard. All the gear’s at Real, so it’s not like I’m skating full of gear. Deli down the street, and that’s about it. That’s my three stops; house, Real, deli. KM: What was your favourite park feature for the Triple-S? ER: I lived out there so I was riding those every day. Probably the big kicker and the John Wayne. With sliders, the bigger the better kind of thing. I can’t really say the new Duotone because we didn’t actually get to use it in a Triple-S. But that is definitely the sickest feature ever. The fun box! It’s unfortunate that it arrived a day late for Triple-S but it’s still there. KM: That’d be fun to ride that for sure. For the John Wayne, did that ever get ridden very much with the middle section taken out or is it just way too sketchy? ER: We had one session with it, but that’s one of the things where the tricks you’re doing with that gap, you can still do it with the thing there. So it wasn’t like it actually changed what you could do. It just forced you to do things and it
56 - KITESURFING MAGAZINE / VOL 7 / ISSUE 1
forced you to have more risk. But I’ve found that especially in kiting, no matter how much skill you have, the wind can screw you. And if you add too much risk to it and the wind screws you, you get screwed. So I used to do a lot of land gap sliders. I would set up sliders over the land and be able to do it fine. And then one year, I really pushed the level of that and really tried to get the most insane land gap slider setup ever. And I ended up just getting totally worked because of the wind and pretty much almost blew both my knees out and ever since then it was like the risk is cool, but the wind just screws me. It’s kind of like with Megaloops; no matter how good you are at Megaloops, the wind is going to drop you sometimes and you’re going to get slammed. There’s no getting so good at Megaloops that you never get slammed. With sliders, the bigger the slider, the wind has to be perfect. And it’s like, if you’re trying to do it with wind, like no matter how perfect the wind gets, it’s never that perfect to where you can guarantee you’re not going to come off early now and then. So having a gap was just unreasonable. And I learned my lesson. KM: What do you think about natural features in comparison to man made park features? ER: Natural features are kind of like every horror writer’s dream. They kind of come from skateboarding and urban environments where you’re skating to school and everything you see just becomes a natural park. You’re able to just let your creativity run wild and see what you can do on everything that is presented to you. So in kiting on the man made feature we’re limited in building size because we’re on the water. So to build anything with any kind of size is a big endeavour and a massive thing to manage with moving it.
So aside from the features at Real and some of the features in Hood River it’s really hard to build any kind of big feature for yourself. So natural features definitely give us that ability to have access to something a lot bigger to slide on, especially walls and stuff. My favourite thing to do is wall rides and there’s really no way to build a massive wall that you can reach the potential of. Because that’s where I see kiting having more potential than other sports is the ability to do bigger features. We’re not limited by being connected to a boat. We can basically get way more lift going vertical, so we can get higher up. I go around looking for these massive concrete walls and I’m able to do wall rides on them.
I’ve never really seen another sport being able to do a wall ride that large. So, it’s definitely where I see a lot of progression as far as my riding in the future. And it’s also kind of just a challenge because for the most part when you find a feature, it’s not necessarily lined up perfect. Whereas when you’re building your own features you can always line them up perfect. That makes it so you don’t get bored on a park feature. You have to do a new stunner or 360, rewind 180 and go to blind something like that. When you find an actual feature that isn’t necessarily lined up perfect, the challenge is just being able to hit it. Just being able to 50/50 across the whole thing clean, just being able to survive
it. Because a lot of them can get pretty sketchy. They’re usually in the gnarliest wind shadow. But for the most part we’re doing transition jumps which typically you’re not able to go very high. But if you’re trying to do a 20-foot handrail or something you still need to come in with quite a bit of speed and power. And when you add the variable wind to the solid object you can easily come in with too much speed and swing in and slam into it. Or you spend the whole time just not even being able to touch it because you’re scared. So, you can spend a whole session just trying to get one clean hit. When you pull it off, it’s the best feeling ever.
Rust doesn't slide very well, but you can still bonk it! Mike Phaneuf photoa
Sal Rei West.
Tim Walsh carves the new Traverse and Pivot LE on Maui.
58 - KITESURFING MAGAZINE / VOL 7 / ISSUE 1
WORDS BY TIM WALSH / PHOTOS COURTESY NAISH
in Man go Season Springtime is typically my favorite time of year on Maui for a number of reasons, but this year a lot of the usual things I look forward to didn’t happen. So like Dr. Steve often says – if it is mango season, pick mangoes and that is what I tried to do. This spring we scored tons of amazing days with little or no crowds and I literally kited my brains out. Springtime also is photo shoot time on Maui. Many brands do their yearly product shoots here. There is a lot of excitement when all of the international riders arrive, the new gear has come in and it is time for everyone to push the limits. Helicopters and drones are buzzing around Ho’okipa and everyone is squeezing into the frame to get a moment of glory. This year travel to Hawaii was shut down and international riders and tourists were not able to make it to Hawaii. It was really sad to have the Ewan Jaspan pro model board arrive but Ewan could not be here to ride it. Beach parks were closed, restrictions were put in place, but fortunately direct access to the ocean was always kept open and we had all the new gear to ride. One of the reasons brands do their shoots on Maui in the spring are the amazing conditions. Trade winds are strong and consistent and we still have the famous north swells coming in. Because of COVID-19 our school had gone to remote teaching and we were off by noon every day. There are great kiters on Maui and we were very lucky to have a few additional riders like Ethan Koopmans, Alden Simmer, Tomas Aguirre, and of course Robby Naish, who was spending more time here this spring then he ever has in his entire adult life. It was amazing to have the best conditions of the year with only a handful of friends to ride with!
Maui's Tim Walsh ready for action!
60 - KITESURFING MAGAZINE / VOL 7 / ISSUE 1
Ho’okipa was wild! It was during the first few weeks of May and we were expecting a big swell (which is late and super rare for that time of year). We went down for a session on the first day but the waves were small and the wind was light; not too exciting. But the next day when we pulled up to Ho’okipa the waves were over twice my height and the wind was up to 20 knots at 9 a.m. It was big enough for the channel to close out. All the riders had their game face on. We were headed out over the notorious
Lanes reef. Heading out for the first tack was scary. Massive bombs were rolling through and I just barely squeaked out. I headed upwind to Ho’okipa and caught a bomb on the way upwind, that’s when the adrenaline kicked in! We scored a three-and-a-half hour session of the best Ho’okipa day ever and it was shared with some of the best wave kiters ever: Jesse Richman, Patri Mclaughlin, Olivia Jenkins, Robby Naish, Alden Simmer and Ethan Koopmans. Big score!
Big short-line Loop.
Big set at Ho'okipa on S25 Slash.
Pro Pool Session
Due to COVID-19 all gates to all beach parks were closed. We had to hike our gear in pretty far but it was worth it! Pro Pool used to be the center of kiteboarding, but over time the scene moved away and the beach was taken over again by fishermen. But with the gates to the parks closed everything was empty and we got to kite there with nobody at the beach. What makes Pro Pool so awesome is a group of rocks forming a pool of flatwater, which makes it one of the best flatwater spots on the island. The whole crew was there, and we shared an amazing session!
The most iconic location in kiteboarding, the original Kite Beach.
62 - KITESURFING MAGAZINE / VOL 6 / ISSUE 1
in Man go Seaso
Some more short lines at Secters.
Foil Session in Maalaea Maalaea is a rare spot to get good conditions, but we got lucky. We arrived at 8 a.m. to find nothing but butter flat, crystal clear, blue water and perfect straight offshore wind for foiling! What a playground with perfect scenery of Haleakala mountain as a backdrop and the islands out front!
Kite Loops at Kanaha I got a last minute call that we were going to shoot at Kanaha. I heard that Kanaha was super windy that day and empty. I left the skatepark and headed to the beach and got the perfect conditions to shoot big air. Upper Kanaha is normally only a windsurfing spot, but without the usual summer crowd, there weren’t any windsurfers and I had the place to myself, scoring 12 meter line Kiteloops!
Kiteloops at Secrets Although there were no international kiters on Maui this spring there are still a lot of really good kiters on Maui. Everyone ended up in the same spot this afternoon and it was really fun to ride with everyone. Jesse Richman, Kai and Ridge Lenny, Patri, Olivia, Ethan and more all came out this session. The energy was high, the wind was strong, the waves were lining up and everyone was pushing each other. It is a small spot and it is challenging to find the space when you are going for big jumps. I felt like I was in a beehive.
Waiehu When we were heading out to Waiehu the wind did not look too solid. When we got there we were a little disapointed, but we decided to go out anyway. The wind was fairly light and flukey, but just as we were about to give up, a good wind cycle came through. Everything lit up and it was game on. Tomas Aguirre was doing freestyle on the Torch, Alden was riding strapless and I was going for Kiteloops. It did not last very long, but everyone got what they wanted and it made the trip all worthwhile.
Tim Walsh having some good old fun on the Traverse. North Shore Maui.
64 - KITESURFING MAGAZINE / VOL 7 / ISSUE 1
COMING SOON But in the mean time check us out here. www.facebook.com/kitesurfing.magazine kitesurfing_mag www.youtube.com/kitesurfing
66 - KITESURFING MAGAZINE / VOL 7 / ISSUE 1
KITE TESTS Wave, Foil, Big Air, Specialty Kites & Do-It-All Models
WORDS BY SHANE THOMPSON / PHOTOS BY JOHN BRYJA AND DAVID MODY It takes more than a worldwide pandemic to stifle innovation in kite designs. New designs and materials push the boundaries of performance to new levels in 2021. Like most of us in North America, the Kitesurfing Magazine test crew was forced to stay at local beaches this fall, but we still managed to collect a whole slew of top 2021 equipment and log some high quality, albeit, cooler, fall sessions. With new construction materials, tweaked designs and a host of new quick release trim loops and new control bars, 2021 proves to be another year of solid performance improvement across the board. Perhaps the most pervasive trend for 2021 was the cockpit redesign with almost every brand either launching entirely new control bars or adding upgrades to their existing systems with new quick release trim loops that are easier to reengage. Check out the
bar systems from Core, Slingshot, and upgrades to existing model bars from Ocean Rodeo, Airush, North and Eleveight. The other major trend is the continuing weight reduction to increase kite performance. Two brands incorporated new framing material that gives them significant weight reduction and at the same time more durability with increased stiffness and reactivity to bar input. Both Duotone and Ocean Rodeo are using some innovative materials to substantially lighten the weight of their kites and thereby enhance performance in some key areas. With kites that are lighter and more reactive, new boundaries are being etched in the waves, in the air and on a foil. With so many models and options of different types of kites available these days, deciding what new kite to build into your quiver can be a daunting task. From dedicated wave or
specialty light wind and foil kites, to the big air or more unhooked freestyle models, to the kites that seem to do everything for everybody, the options are endless. One thing’s for sure, the performance levels keep inching forward as designers employ new high tech materials and tweak the shape of the wings, panel layouts and bridle configurations. In this round of testing we had some fun pushing the limits on some similar models of wave kites, boosting to the moon on some new big air models, and expanding kite skills in new areas with a couple of specialty light wind and foil specific kites. Not to mention the batch of do-everything, workhorse models that are more adaptable than ever to different riding conditions and modes of kiting. Here’s a quick breakdown of the different categories and models that we tested this fall. kitesurfingmag.com
KITE TESTS WAVE KITES: OCEAN RODEO ROAM A-SERIES, NAISH SLASH, NORTH CARVE, AIRUSH SESSION This group of wave kites will satisfy any dedicated wave rider that needs that extra pull and handling to get on the wave, stay on it and get out of the impact zone after some solid lip bashes. The North Carve, in its second generation is lighter and more responsive than the initial version, and it still has the smoothest pull and most solid drive and low-end power of the group. This Carve thrives in real world wave conditions and rewards the advanced wave rider with butter-sweet handling and predictable drift. It may not be quite as nimble and quick turning, or have as much upper end
wind range as the Airush Session, which is a standout for versatility and fast pivotal turns. The Session was a favourite for both unstrapped freestyle and foiling in some small waves. With tons of depower and quick helicopter loops, the Session is easy in transitions on a foil or down the line on a wave board. The Naish Slash shows what a mature legend in the waves can do, with a great combination of low end power and superior, pull-reducing depower, that combine with smooth pivotal turns. Also well suited to some wave foiling, the Slash has nice balanced drift and light touch steering
but with the most ideal feedback from the Slash’s smooth and consistent drive. Finally, the Ocean Rodeo Roam A-Series sets the bar for drift capability and quick water relaunch. The new Aluula material used in the leading edge reduces the kite’s weight by over thirty per cent, giving the Roam unmatched levels of drift capability. Having a wave kite that can stay afloat and back up down the line with very little line tension, gives the rider more time to carve up the wave or transition and travel on foil. Amazing results from all the brands that will up your game in the waves in 2021.
SPECIALTY KITES, FOIL AND LIGHT WIND SPECIFIC: OCEAN RODEO FLITE, SLINGSHOT UF
BIG AIR KITES: NORTH ORBIT AND ELEVEIGHT XS
Putting a specialty kite in your quiver can enhance and increase the number of sessions this summer and Ocean Rodeo and Slingshot have two kites that might fit perfectly for this. If you want to expand your foil skills and capitalize on the lightest of winds, the Ocean Rodeo Flite A-Series with Aluula might be the ultimate light wind weapon for 2021. The new Aluula material makes this kite ultra light weight and it comes in a couple of jumbo sizes, so you have power for any twintip riding and boosting big air as well. If you’re looking to advance your foiling skills, the new Slighshot UFO pairs perfectly with the full time foiling kiter. The UFO has a no-strut canopy, making it ultra light and ultra compact for travelling. This kite was designed for foil riders that are riding larger surf foils with smaller kites and want the ultra drift capabilty and enhanced handling this kite provides. Fast pivotal turns, amazing low end power and surprising upper end wind range, make the UFO a dynamo behind the newest freeride foils.
The big air revolution continues with these five-strut, boosting behemoths. The current reigning King of the Air contest winner, the North Orbit stormed onto the scene last year and got even better in 2021. This year’s version is even easier to use with lighter touch steering, faster turn initiation and more overall stability. For the riders that want to carry more kite into bigger wind and have the control to boost huge and throw down some sweeping loops, the Orbit offers some of the smoothest sweeping turns available today. Keeping up with the big air trend, the new Eleveight XS might give the Orbit a run in this year’s matchup, with solid upper end performance and even easier handling. Both these kites will thrust high and dangle far, so don’t bother with them unless you’re interested in riding fast and going big.
DO-IT-ALL-KITES: NAISH PIVOT, ELEVEIGHT RS, F-ONE BANDIT, SLINGSHOT RALLY GT, CORE GTS, CORE NEXUS 2 They have many labels like crossover, universal, do-it-all, or simply freeride, these are the kites that span kite disciplines and can adapt to any situation. These are models for the kiteboarder that has multiple interests and regularly takes sessions in more than one specific discipline. Some of them shine in certain performance elements over the others, so the key is understanding what characteristic in feel and performance that best suit you. None of them will fail you in any discipline but some are better suited for certain things. For example Core has three kites in their Universal Series, two of them tested here the GTS6 and
Nexus 2. They both can handle waves and freestyle and can adapt to riding a foil but they have two distinct feels. The GTS6 is better for unhooked freestyle and may suit the more aggressive rider that wants a kite that has a little less low end power. The Nexus 2 sits back in the window and offers more direct steering and feedback, and is arguably better suited to the rider with less developed skills. It also has slightly better drift and sits back in the window making it nicer for wave riding. Another model that makes skill building easier is the Slingshot Rally GT. Solid pull and more direct feedback, smooth and predictable pivot turning and easy
68 - KITESURFING MAGAZINE / VOL 7 / ISSUE 1
water relaunch, help to build skills quickly. All of these do-it-all designs are the most popular models of every brand’s kite line because they are adaptable, easy to use and advance skills within any situation. Some of them are standouts for boosting and high end performance, like the Naish Pivot, which was the a two-time King of the Air kite contest winner. It has amazing boost and glide but at the same time has the right handling, power and pivotal turning to adapt itself to waves and foil riding. The RS is also a magician in any situation, and its status as emerging all terrain legend is all but cemented. A fun kite for boosting big airs, and
ripping hard turns and tight loops, whether it’s a twintip session or cruising the waves on a surf board or foil, the RS has a wide range of high performance features that rival the best and most versatile designs of today. Finally, the F-One Bandit rounds out this group of mavericks and still reigns as one of the longest standing models in the industry with fourteen versions of the Bandit having been developed over the past decade. This year the Bandit shines again, with crisp and light bar pressure, amazing upwind drive and even more lift and boost than ever.
AIRUSH / Session Sizes Tested(m): 7, 9 / Sizes Available(m): 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12 / Control Bar: Cleat Bar
Quick and smooth pivotal turns with lots of upper wind range, nice slack line drift and handling that’s ideal for smacking waves or carving turns on a surf foil.
Size: 50 to 60 cm adjustable The Airush Cleat Bar is a well designed, low V, 4-line control system that features a comfortable grip that is nicely textured and capped with low profile moulded bar ends. This system is simple and uncluttered and has a nice low profile. The bar trim cleat works very well and provides lots of trim. Two thin, moulded lines make up the main trim line and it slides easily through the bar’s centre hole, with no tendency to bind. The new Intelligent Quick Release trim loop can be reloaded with one hand, but does require you to push the cup into place. It comes standard with the medium sized loop and there are several sizes to customize with. The Cleat Bar can also be lengthened with the additional bar length adjusters, an exclusive design feature for riders that want a larger bar for their big kites. Overall, the Airush Cleat Bar gets high marks for functionality and comfort.
LIKES The Session is a versatile, high-performance freeride kite designed for dedicated wave performance and strapless riding. It features a low aspect canopy, framed by three struts and a narrow diameter leading edge that’s capped with wider wingtips. This generationally evolved model shows high levels of refinement with stable and smooth pull and amazingly quick turns with light bar pressure. The test team rode these kites in single pulley mode, which gives the kite more progressive and complete depower, and allows you to better direct the kite into turns even while the kite is fully sheeted. The Session actually comes with two sets of bridles for rider preference. The pulley bridle set up is the better option for riding waves in more onshore wind conditions and for riding with a foil. With light bar pressure and easy
steering, the Session is an excellent foil kite and allows you to easily steer the kite with one hand while riding toe side. Many of the more advanced dedicated wave riders are also now riding the larger surf freeride foils on those days where the wind or waves are not so great. So it’s ideal to have a wave kite that also works well with your foil set up. The Session was one of the wave kites that worked really well for foiling. Its ability to quickly pivot with less pull, and its quick and progressive depower help to kill the pull of the kite when you need to. Test team riders were also impressed with the fast pivotal turns that the Session offered, and it was arguably one of the fastest turning kites in this year’s wave group. The kite turns slightly off axis, and pivots quickly on either side of the wide wingtips, and offers very low levels
of pull when aggressively directed. This flying feature makes it ideal for strapless surf and foil transition and to get you into or out of the pocket quickly or for transitioning on your foil with quick helicopter loops at the flick of the wrist. The Session’s lightweight design and balanced flight, also make it ideal for getting a wave and getting that nice slack line drift. Although the Session has good levels of low end power, it sits more forward in the wind window, with its pulley bridle, and it’s not as grunty as some of the others on the test. Also a fun and responsive kite to boost airs with, the Session will definitely keep the strapless freestyle crowd happy with its smooth pop and fast reaction time.
USERS Stable and user friendly, the Session can be used by any level of rider, but its high performance will be appreciated most in the surf on your favourite directional board or while hovering on a surf foil.
DRAWBACKS Some riders felt the Session fluttered more than the others when fully sheeted and driving across the window, however, this is to be expected with any kite that offers superior levels of depower when sheeting out the bar. kitesurfingmag.com
NAISH TORQUE ATB 50 CM
NAISH / Slash Sizes Tested(m): 7, 9 / Sizes Available(m): 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 / Control Bar: Naish Torque ATB
Refined wave riding performance for the ultimate strapless pull, balanced, slack line drift and comfortable, low pull pivots.
LIKES The Slash has been delivering top level, dedicated wave performance since the 2017 season and is labelled as the pure wave/strapless kite of the Naish line. This model has gone through lots of tweaks and transformations over the years and the newest version shows some well earned, performance maturity and refinement. The entire Naish line is built using the high quality construction methods and materials, and the Slash is well equipped to take the abuse and pounding of angry wave conditions. In the air, the Slash features some well rounded low end power and grunt, but without the sharp pull or more jolt-like feel and aggressive drive of some freeride models. Overall the Slash was one of the smoothest pulling wave kites in the group and features more comfortable pull and less
pressure through the harness during loops and when it drives across the wind window. The Slash also has nice balanced drift for parking the kite to ride the wave giving the right pull and feel when ripping into bottom turns. It has a more central pivot and when looped through the window provides good control with less pull and more smooth and progressive depower than some of the other well powered, wave kites. The Slash also features light touch steering but with the right amount of feedback for tracking the kite’s position. Nice control and easy to flick the kite hard with one hand, the Slash works well for riding with a foil, especially in the smaller sizes. The Slash also provides good jumping and boosting ability but without the more aggressive lift and hang time of a more freeride and big boosting
70 - KITESURFING MAGAZINE / VOL 7 / ISSUE 1
kite, like the Naish Pivot. Instead the Slash offers more balanced lift, that’s less aggressive and sharp pulling and gives the rider the timing and control for boosting air with or without straps.
The Naish Torque ATB control bar checks all the boxes for safety and functionality with comfortable grip, streamlined bar ends and an easy adjustable length tuning on the “abovethe-bar” trim cleat. It employs very high quality, low stretch flying lines with stiffer front lines that flow off a low center V system. This Torque bar also features 20 metre, colour coded lines with four metre extensions, which gives the rider nice options to ride with a shortened line set up by simply removing the extensions. The trim line on the Torque bar is Dyneema line with a poly core that ensures smooth and effortless sheeting through the replaceable nylon centre insert. Although many control systems have gone to PVC coated trim lines which can reduce the visible wear on the line, the Torque still uses the rope style which is very simple to replace. It has an internal PVC core to reduce stretch and increase strength. The rope system may offer better feel and feedback from the pull of the kite and ensures the visual cues of fraying, which indicates when replacement is required.
USERS Intermediate to advanced level wave riders or foil riders that want reliable performance for ripping down the line or carving transitions on a foil.
DRAWBACKS Hits all the marks for control and drift on the wave performance, but features smooth turns over aggressively quick and fluttery, pivotal turns.
NORTH NAVIGATOR CONTROL SYSTEM
NORTH / Carve Sizes Tested(m): 5, 7, 9 / Sizes Available(m): 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14 / Control Bar: Navigator 2 Control System
Wave approved performance, with amazing wind range, great low end power delivery and buttery smooth, pivotal turns.
The Navigator Control System turned heads when it arrived on the scene for the 2020 season. Featuring a simple and streamlined design, the Navigator is stocked with high quality componentry such as the Navigator quick release trim loop. This is one of the quickest to reset and is a truly single handed reassembly. The patented Connect QR system simply works like a seatbelt and easily clicks in with one push. Other cool features include the tool free change out of the trim loop that lets you quickly change the loop to a surf loop, which features a metal insert on the inside of the loop to avoid friction wear from using a rope slider bar on your harness. It also features a beefy TPU tubing main trim line which seem durable and keeps things clean as it houses the flagging safety line. A new larger loop and swivel at the safety line attachment point under the trim loop also ensures your safety line doesn’t get twisted and bind.
LIKES The dedicated wave and strapless kite of the North lineup the Carve’s second generation finds its stride with more control in the upper wind range, more consistent depower and some enhanced drift capability. Designed with a unique two stage arc through the leading edge and canopy, the Carve is very responsive to steering at heightened levels of trim and depower. Nice feedback from the bar and nice light touch steering, the Carve’s lower aspect canopy provides smooth and tight pivotal turns that pull from a more central axis point than off a single wingtip. The test riders that are dedicated and experienced in waves, preferred the Carve’s smooth and direct pull and formidable power over some of the other style of wave kites that focus on quick and complete depower over smooth pull and back up drift.
It also features a wider diameter leading edge, which sits further back in the window for enhanced drift and more control on the wave. With great low end power, the Carve gets you going with smooth and consistent pull making it easy to get to the backside for some more waves to ride. It has the low end power and range that can let the rider session with a smaller kite. Compared to the first generation Carve, this new model has also improved upper end wind range and a lighter feel overall. It’s also less pitch sensitive than its original but it still sits further back in the wind window than some of the other wave kites in the test. This is dedicated performance for riding waves as the Carve’s smooth pulling design flies nicely off all four lines and pulls lightly as you run towards the kite and provides quick and instant turn
initiation and control with the kite in that sweet spot. It also features a compact and pulley free, bridle system that produces a very direct feel with intuitive feedback and comfortable amounts of bar pressure that keeps the kite responsive but not fatiguing. With nice power range and the fact that the Carve sits more forward in the window this year, the Carve’s boosting ability is also improved, and it’s still quick and reactive to bar input, to ensure smooth landings. The lift provided is also smooth and controllable for strapless freestyle and airs without the jarring or extra hang time that more aggressive jumping freeride kites provide. Overall, the Carve is a true wave kite for real world wave riders that want a kite that lets them focus on the wave.
USERS Dedicated wave riders that want a well powered, smooth pulling kite that can disappear on the wave and come alive when it needs to.
DRAWBACKS With no pulleys, the Carve has slightly less instant power shut off than some.
OCEAN RODEO STICK SHIFT 3.0
OCEAN RODEO / Roam A-Series Sizes Tested(m): 10 / Sizes Available(m): 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14 / Control Bar: Stick Shift 3.0
Constructed with the new Aluula fabric, the Roam A-Series kite redefines slack line drift capability and opens new parameters of performance for waves and foil riding.
LIKES The new Ocean Rodeo Roam A-Series kite expands its performance with some remarkable weight reduction and a stiffer and more reactive frame provided by the revolutionary new Aluula fabric. This new stiff, light and strong material is used in the struts and leading edge, replacing the traditional Dacron used in most kites. The Roam kite design features a lower aspect ratio and deep canopy profile shape that’s capped with wide and squared off wingtips. It is framed with three struts giving it the structure and performances through a huge wind range. With the massive weight reduction and the stiffer and reactive fabric, the Roam has amazing water re-launch capability and can stay airborne in insanely low winds. The balanced lightweight frame floats like none before it, seems almost impossible to overfly itself and rarely
will it pitch forward and drop the leading edge down when line tension is reduced. This is a significant advantage for carving turns down the line or when riding a foil as the kite can float in a more inert state allowing the rider to focus on the wave or carving turns. The lightweight floating ability provides new levels of slack line drifting which can take your wave riding and foil cruising to new levels. Reducing weight from kites has been a massive trend for kites that are used in light winds and for foil riding especially. Ultimately, the lighter kites enhance performance by improving drift and balance, increasing low wind range and efficiency, and by being more reactive to steering input in very light winds. The Roam has always been an amazing wave kite, with its enhanced ability to sit back in the window and drift nicely, with lots
72 - KITESURFING MAGAZINE / VOL 7 / ISSUE 1
of instant, depower. With the addition of the Aluula fabric, the Roam now reacts more quickly to turn initiation and can float and drift and disappear for the rider to carve waves and travel and transition on a foil. Not a huge jumping kite but with more focus on depower, and wave drifting with the lighter weight frame, again everything works better. Bar pressure remains moderate to light and the Roam turns smoothly and quickly through its pivot and provides minimum pull through the turn.
The Ocean Rodeo Stick Shift 3.0 has even more refinement in automatic back line trimming, punch out safety, and a narrower diameter grip. Instead of adjusting the kite’s power with a front line shortening or lengthening mechanism, the Stick Shift 3.0 system lets the rider instantly depower the kite by lengthening the back lines. With a quick nudge of the Sidewinder knob at the end of the bar, the back lines are released towards the kite. No tension is needed on the back lines either. With the spring system housed in the leader lines, the adjustment is perfectly assisted. This gives the rider instant trim and depower without even taking your hands off the bar. The OR Stick Shift is packed with other exclusive features as well like the ultra long, PVC central trim line, that uses a special G Stop on the fly stopper adjustment, so you can easily adjust how far the bar travels up the trim line. The new punch out safety, works easily once you get used to not touching the automatic push release cup and just clicking in the end of the loop. There are several options for trim loop sizes and styles and a single hex bolt can change them out. Overall, the Stick Shift 3.0 has more features than any other control bar on the planet.
USERS Wave riders and foilers will want this kite for its amazing range, slack line drift capability and effortless water relaunch ability.
DRAWBACKS The Aluula fabric makes the frame very stiff, so we found that if you pump it too hard, it loses some of its ability to twist and reduces its turn speed. With the right amount, around 9 PSI the kite flies perfectly.
SLINGSHOT / UFO Sizes Tested(m): 7 / Sizes Available(m): 3, 5, 7, 9 / Control Bar: Sentry V1 Bar
Fast, reactive, amazing low end with incredible range and drift capability that can help elevate the whole foil carving and wave riding experience.
The brand new bar from Slingshot called the Sentry V1 is well designed with all new components and features. The new bar is equipped with a new quick release trim loop that features “click in” technology allowing the trim loop to be re-engaged with one hand and without having to pull up the release cup. The new PU covered central trim lines are quite thin and provide smooth travel through the centre line with no binding or friction. The two lines run through a divider in the bar’s centre hole that works in conjunction with the swivel and automatically untwists your front lines when you sheet in. The grip is soft but with a rubberized grip and nice texture and the new bar ends and floats are nicely low profile. Overall, an amazing new bar, well thought out from every aspect and function and perfect match to some of the innovative new kite designs like the UFO.
LIKES The UFO from Slingshot is a brand new model that’s been designed to meet the expanding demands of the modern freeride foil rider. The UFO features some of Slingshot’s most innovative and proven kite technology like the Delta C canopy shape and pulley free, IRS bridle system and reimagines them with lighter weight materials and a no strut canopy. The UFO is a lightweight, fast pivoting kite, has very light bar pressure and quickly pivots with very little pull through the turn and is very nimble to control through a surprisingly wide wind range. The 7 metre UFO is a blast to rip around with on the larger surfaced freeride foils. It has amazingly efficient low end grunt and surprising amounts of upper end wind range making it an ideal travel kite. The UFO also packs up into the tiniest compression bag
imaginable, and would be easy to fit into any quiver. The 7 metre would fit into a surfboard travel bag without much effort in packing. The water relaunch might get tricky if a lot of water is on the back of the canopy, but the shape of the leading edge makes it less likely and it easily rolls into relaunch position. The UFO has a very low aspect canopy with wide mid-section and swept wingtips. As a result, it sits back in the window and pulls smoothly with a direct and lively feel. The straight trailing edge gives it nice feeling and reactivity to turn and pivot. The UFO’s lightweight and flat, round shape also gives the kite amazing drift capability and it also responds instantly while under low line tension. This gives the foil rider extra time to perform larger arcing turns or quick pivots further from the kite’s optimum line tension as the
UFO has much less tendency to helmet down and fall from the sky than heavier, single strut or three strut kite designs. Test riders also noted how well the UFO depowers itself with a quick sheet-out of the bar. It really offers that quick kill of the pull which is handy to have while foiling or wave riding. Although when sheeted out or flying the kite at the edge of the wind window the UFO canopy has some flutter, it is remarkably solid and smooth pulling when it’s driving across the window even while slightly sheeted out or depowered. The UFO’s ability to drift downwind and follow the rider down the line or carving behind a foil sets it apart from many less efficient and heavier three strut or single strut kites.
USERS Foil riders that want to take their riding to the next level will love this kite or travellers that want a perfect wave and foil weapon for the days when the surf is blown out.
DRAWBACKS Perhaps too quick pivoting for some, so be sure to get used to the speed and handling of this kite. Self landing is very difficult because the kite’s leading edge shape and extreme light weight. Be sure to secure some weight on the canopy or the kite will take off with minimal breeze. kitesurfingmag.com
OCEAN RODEO / Flite A-Series Sizes Tested(m): 14.5 / Sizes Available(m): 12, 14.5, 17 / Control Bar: Stick Shift 3.0
The Flite A-Series breaks new low wind barriers for extreme light wind capability with direct handling, nimble turning and a massive wind range.
LIKES The Flite has been well reviewed over the years as a top performing light air, specialty model of kite. Its handling and performance is well suited to a broad spectrum of kite disciplines and for 2021 it breaks new barriers in light wind performance that’s driven by the new Aluula material which makes the frame half the weight. Last season we were impressed with the Flite’s ability to hold its own against the newest single strut designs which have become popular for riding today’s freeride foils. The incredible weight reduction with this award-winning material means the Flite A-Series is definitely the lightest 14.5 metre inflatable kite on the market. The test team managed to get foiling on the Flite in less than 8 miles per hour of wind and its ability to stay
afloat with so little line tension and with very little wind keeping it aloft, is impressive. The Flite’s shape and design is unique amongst this light wind category not only for its three strut frame, but also for the unique higher aspect shape with a wide arc canopy. The combo proves to be a winning formula as the Flite is a high performance kite that has really nice low end grunt that combines with reactive handling and nice progressive depower through the bar. The Flite can generate some extra power by sweeping turns with its longer and more narrowed out wingtips. Water relaunch, which was already top notch is also improved with the lighter weight frame material. With its added power and efficiency and the flat, high aspect canopy the Flite also jumps easily and provides lots
74 - KITESURFING MAGAZINE / VOL 7 / ISSUE 1
of extra glide and hang time. With the right timing, the Flite can really sweep into the jump and provides aggressive lift and extended glide. The reactivity in turn initiation and turn speed is also improved by the new Aluula material. Often with bigger kites, the turn initiation can lag but with the stiffer frame it reacts nicely for transitions, kite loops and aggressive manoeuvres. The Flite is also very user friendly and despite its higher aspect ratio, it doesn’t back stall and flies forward in the window nicely. Overall, the Flite A-Series is a kite that will work for any level of rider in any discipline. It has the low end power for extreme light wind flying on a foil but is also ideal for the twintip riders that want to do more than just “mow the lawn” in light winds.
USERS Beginner to advanced level riders that want great low end power and handling in a stable and lightweight design that has the stability and range provided by a three strut canopy.
DRAWBACKS The 14.5 metre of canopy is still a lot of fabric and power that can overpower a surf foil quickly. This size is better for heavier riders or for ultra light wind foiling and light wind riding on twintips or directional boards.
LINX BAR The Linx Bar is comfortable, lightweight and has a very ergonomic feel and high levels of functionality to it. Nice foam floats house the adjustable bar ends which are soft and well cushioned but still low profile. The trim loop safety release cup is very ergonomic feeling and it releases with no tension needed on the loop. Unlike some PU coated center trim lines, the Linx has a clear coat, which allows you to see any wear on the encased rope. The Linx front lines incorporate the high V front line connection, the well positioned pulleys, and safety line swivels ensuring all the trimming and safety systems remain smooth and easy to operate.
F-ONE / Bandit Sizes Tested(m): 9, 12 / Sizes Available(m): 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 17 / Control Bar: Linx Bar
The all terrain legend that can do it all with smooth and quick turning, lots of instant depower and top level boosting, looping and handling in any wind or water condition.
LIKES The F-One Bandit is a do-it-all, high performance freeride machine that has been the cornerstone of the F-One kite line for well over a decade. This year’s version, which along with the new wave specific Bandit, called the S2, represents 14 generations of Bandit designs. New tweaks for the 2021 Bandit include a new panel layout, with a slightly revised profile, and new trailing edge material. More stable and reactive than ever, the Bandit’s three strut canopy is crisp and light in the air and its narrow leading edge and low profile struts let it drive nicely upwind, with high levels of efficiency. The Bandit is a true do everything
kite that’s always ready for any style of riding or skill level. Very stable overhead with light touch steering and the ability to sit forward in the window and offer nice pop and drift capability. It is really a maverick of kite performance, offering crisp control and plenty of depower but with the edge and performance of a hard driving freestyle kite. It is well suited to the kiteboarder that wants a high performance freestyle oriented kite but with the adaptable range and depower that’s ideal for any skill level or discipline. The single pulley in the front bridle system, can be removed for pulley-free flying, but the Bandit has more depower and range with
the pulley in place. The three strut frame is light and responsive and the Bandit feels very reactive with direct steering and fast pivotal turns. It also has the stability and lightweight drift to be suitable for directional riding or foiling. Overall the Bandit remains a gem of versatility that continues to provide the multi disciplined rider the optimal kite performance for a wide range of conditions.
USERS Intermediate to advanced level riders that want a refined kite model with the least amount of compromise in performance for different kite disciplines.
DRAWBACKS Less low end power per size than some of the more, grunty, and harder pulling, do it all kites, but its upper end handling and wind range are unmatched.
NAISH / Pivot Sizes Tested(m): 7, 9 / Sizes Available(m): 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14 / Control Bar: Naish Torque ATB
A Legend that delivers top level performance in any situation from big air to waves to freeride, fine-tuned for even better upper end wind range.
LIKES The Naish Pivot has been the flagship kite of the Naish lineup for many years as it provides power delivery and control that lets it adapt to any situation. Fast pivotal turns and plenty of efficient power and lift from the light and responsive, three strut frame, the Pivot can handle almost any situation and has adaptable performance to any kite discipline. It works great in the waves with good drift and fast pivotal turns that don’t yank you off the board too much, but also has the boost and lift that can rival many of the big air, five strut kites. It has the advantage of amazing boost and glide but also is
more reactive and quicker turning than the heavier and higher aspect big air kites. New this year the Pivot has a secondary front bridle setting that opens up the upper end wind range of the kite and reduces some of the more aggressive pull and power which is also beneficial for riding strapless or riding on a foil. The Pivots were always a well powered, and smooth pulling kite, but when riding in the very upper end of their wind range they could lose a bit of its top end handling and control. In previous years the solution was just to ride a smaller size Pivot, but this new setting opens up the upper
76 - KITESURFING MAGAZINE / VOL 7 / ISSUE 1
wind range and solves that minor quirk. The Pivot also has a nice direct bar feel and is very easy to fly for any level of rider. It can initiate turns at high angles of attack while completely sheeted out, and it seems to be able to turn and move forward in a smooth and intuitive way. Great kite for any discipline from big air to waves to freeride twintip, the newest version is even better for foiling and strapless riding. The Pivot might be the most versatile kite ever made.
USERS For the discerning kiteboarder that rides everything from big air twintips, to foil cruising or strapless wave riding, this kite has high levels of performance and is adaptable to any situation.
DRAWBACKS Looking back at old reviews, many times we noted that the Pivot loses some handling in the upper wind range, but now this is fixed it’s even more difficult to find any faults. Some test riders wish the Naish kite bags were less basic and it’s annoying when you lose the exclusive pump nozzle that’s needed to pump up Naish kites.
ELEVEIGHT / RS Sizes Tested(m): 9 / Sizes Available(m): 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 17 / Control System: CS Vary Bar
Lively and reactive, quick turning, with light touch steering and great boost. Lots of easy to access performance that can adapt to any discipline skill level or riding conditions.
LIKES Eleveight kites have progressively improved with nice innovation, material improvement and design since their arrival on the scene several years ago. It’s nice to see that evolution. It’s reflected in the overall quality and performance of the whole kite lineup. As the do it all freeride crossover kite of the lineup, the RS features a popular Delta hybrid shape on a three strut platform. It has easy to access performance and the built in adjustability to adapt the kite performance to specific riding preferences and kite disciplines. With different wingtip and bridle settings, the rider changes the kite’s
turning speed, reactivity and power band to suit the conditions or styles. For more depower and tighter pivots, the short and compact, single pulley, bridle system has two setting options. The RS bridle can be set to the outside, giving the kite tighter pivots and more instant shut off. For big air and more power through the turn, the kite bridles can be moved to the inside setting which flattens the arc of the canopy giving more power lift and hang time. The RS in the 9 metre size has great low end power with an easy sweet spot to find and it drives upwind well. Lively but stable in the air, the kite has light touch steering
with lots of progressive depower. It can handle waves and directional riding, and is fast and nimble with nice drift and control for foiling as well. The big wind range is perfect if you are looking to reduce the number of kites in your quiver, especially if you are foiling with larger freeride wings. A nine metre RS could be the number one kite you fly all summer. This is a kite that works great with your foil set up, but also can cater to nice boosting, looping and big air. Truly a winner for its versatility, the RS is moving up the ranks as an all terrain legend.
USERS Perfect kite for the intermediate to advanced level rider that wants to dabble in every discipline. From surf to foil to boosting air.
DRAWBACKS The RS is a bit less reactive in the lower wind range, but given the power it has great pop and boost.
CS VARY BAR The CS Vary Bar checks all the boxes to keep in good pace with the top control systems. Even more so with the addition of their new Quick-Matic II trim system, which was not released when the testing was being done. With this new quick release cup, the CS Vary Bar keeps good pace with the newest trends in safety technology and it compliments the other nice features of the very functional and comfortable Eleveight CS Vary Bar. Smooth working trim system and nice comfortable bar grip, this bar also still uses the straight rope main trim line, which gives nice feedback and has less tendency for any binding in the centre insert than some of the plastic coated alternatives.
ELEVEIGHT / XS Sizes Tested(m): 9 / Sizes Available(m): 7, 9, 10, 12, 14 / Control System: CS Vary Bar
The XS is a boosting machine with light touch steering and massive amounts of upper end wind range.
LIKES The XS is an exciting new model in the Eleveight lineup that caters to big air and high performance flight. It fills the gap between the versatile, three strut RS, and the freestyle focussed FS. Designed with a Delta hybrid canopy shape platform, the XS is a five strut kite with all the elements needed for extreme big air, massive kiteloops and giant hang time. Amazingly fun to ride, with lighter touch steering and plenty of depower, the XS holds its shape through gusts and remains responsive and reactive when pushed to the limits. This kite has good low end power, and tons of upper end wind range. It feels solid and stable in the air and despite the heavy duty build, designed for extra stiffness to withstand more lift and pressure, it still feels quite light and nimble in the air. Also the XS is surprisingly easy to
boost with and doesn’t need special timing to find good air so intermediates can enjoy great hang time on this kite. It sits forward in the window with no back stalling or funky issues that tend to plague other big jumping, high performance kites. The depower is also quite substantial and instant compared to many big jumping kites, giving it the upper end wind range and easy control through the big gusts. Any time you have a big jumping and hang time kite, upwind drive is important and the XS fires upwind with nice power as it sits forward at high angles of attack. Water relaunch is acceptable and quite reliable given the five strut, and heavier build. The XS also offers some nice forward pull through the turn on arcing loops, giving it the exciting, performance feel and it ensures extra power for take offs and
78 - KITESURFING MAGAZINE / VOL 7 / ISSUE 1
landings. The new Eleveight XS is a fun kite to push the limits on a twintip with its great speed and driving control. This is a kite that will excite any aspiring rider that wants to get into some old school aerial trickery.
USERS Intermediate to advanced level riders that want to put the pedal down and feel more power and hang time and upwind drive of a high performance, big air freeride kite that’s tame enough for the masses.
DRAWBACKS Slightly more mechanical than the RS model, with direct feeling and feedback from the kite through the turn.
NAVIGATOR CONTROL SYSTEM At its introduction last season, the Navigator was the first quick release cup system with single handed reload capability and other brands have followed suit this season. There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to reload the trim loop and not being able to because the system is too finicky. Some other unique features of the Navigator Control System have yet to be duplicated, including the tool free ability to easily change out the trim loop to a different size. High quality, low stretch lines in 22 metre set up are complimented with reliable working safety and trim options. The Navigator bar also comes in a smaller size for 2021.
NORTH / Orbit Sizes Tested(m): 9 / Sizes Available(m): 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14 / Control Bar: Navigator Control System
King of the Big Air returns with some swagger and some improved handling and feel.
LIKES The Orbit stormed onto the kite scene last season and was used for the two podium finishes in the famous Red Bull King of the Air contest, including the top spot. There’s no doubt that this kite can boost huge air but it also delivers smooth pull through the turns, with quick handling and nice direct feel from the bar. Its lively and direct feel sets it apart as a top performance freeride kite that boosts to the moon. The Orbit uses a five strut canopy with a unique two stage arc shape that generates maximum lift and drive while keeping the kite direct and nimble. Last season the test team was impressed with North’s high performance for its direct feel, aggressive boost and smooth pulling turns. This year’s version keeps the same core features but adds some incremental improvements in some
key areas that are noticeable and relevant. Still a big jumping and fast pulling, advanced level kite, this year’s Orbit feels a little lighter in the air and has less tendency to back stall when front lines lose tension if the kite’s not fully powered up. One of our test riders this fall claimed he might have had his biggest jumps ever on this kite. The Orbit is a big air kite that still feels lively and direct in your hands, you can feel it through the whole turn. It’s a fun kite to rip into fast driving turns as the kite pulls nicely on the down loop. The Orbit reacts quicker to rider input this year with its smooth looping turns and ensures soft landings with its reliable reactivity in fully powered conditions. The depower is also smoother and more complete this year and when sheeting out the pulley free bridles still provide that direct feel and
control that are often absent from more rigid and overbuilt five strut kites. Jumping with the right speed and timing the Orbit gives amazing lift and extra hang time but like most five strut kites, it wants to be ridden with some power and speed, and not a kite that is useful to fly if the wind or the rider aren’t pushing it hard enough.
USERS Riders that want a kite to TKTK.
DRAWBACKS Not as much pure and instant depower as the more intermediate rider might seek but for anyone that rides this kite the smooth power delivery and direct feel more than make up for it.
CS VARY BAR The CS Vary Bar checks all the boxes to keep in good pace with the top control systems. Even more so with the addition of their new Quick-Matic II trim system, which was not released when the testing was being done. With this new quick release cup, the CS Vary Bar keeps good pace with the newest trends in safety technology and it compliments the other nice features of the very functional and comfortable Eleveight CS Vary Bar. Smooth working trim system and nice comfortable bar grip, this bar also still uses the straight rope main trim line, which gives nice feedback and has less tendency for any binding in the centre insert than some of the plastic coated alternatives.
SLINGSHOT / Rally GT Sizes Tested(m): 10 / Sizes Available(m): 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14 / Control Bar: Sentry V1
Solid and stable pull, with nice low end power that is balanced and direct with smooth pull through the turn and easy to access performance.
LIKES The Rally GT V2 has been overhauled with some design tweaks and bridle adjustments that give it more wind range, effortless water relaunch and more efficient upwind drive for 2021. A solid and robust build with Slingshot’s legendary Surf Tough construction, the Rally GT V2 offers versatile performance that’s suitable for the full range of riding styles and skill levels. The shape of the Rally GT, with its low aspect wide central canopy and what Slingshot calls their Future Retro C shape, delivers nice low end power and its a really stable and smooth pulling kite. The Rally GT is a kite that makes it easy to develop skills with and offers a large sweet spot and the directional feedback from the kite is very even and predictable. Depower is excellent and linear and the smooth and solid canopy is rigid and virtually flutter
free when aggressively looped. The Rally GT V2 responds with nice positional feedback through the kite lines and bar ends. With its lower aspect ratio kite shape, the Rally GT sits back in the window and has very tight pivotal turns, making it an easy sheet in-and-go kite for any style of board. The Rally GT has all the performance needed for advancing from beginner to intermediate and beyond. Its swept leading edge canopy shape along with the IRS bridles, also make it superbly easy for the Rally GT to re-launch. Simple performance with great range and stability, the Rally GT V2 can be the maverick in any quiver.
80 - KITESURFING MAGAZINE / VOL 7 / ISSUE 1
USERS Up and coming kiters that want a smooth pulling, versatile and easy to use kite that can handle a wide range of styles and skill levels and helps to cultivate new riding talent in any discipline.
DRAWBACKS The build and shape feels heavier in the air, with slightly more bar pressure than some progression freeride kites.
CONTROL BAR SENSOR 3 The new Sensor 3 bar is one of the lightest and lowest profile control systems available today. The new quick release cup, with its wide and open entry point might be the easiest to engage of any of the single handed click systems that many companies are adopting in 2021. Also new, the fold away line winders are quite cool, and the bar ends are rubberized so they are nice and grippy if you need to grab at them to steer your kite aggressively. The main trim line also automatically untwists your front lines, using the double PVC coated trim line through a divided centre hole. As you sheet in the bar the two lines untwist the front lines at the pulley. Super light and super clean, the Sensor 3 works off a low V, front line flagging system with cleat adjustment above the bar that is easy to trim.
CORE / Nexus 2 Sizes Tested(m): 7, 12 / Sizes Available(m): 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13.5 / Control Bar: Sensor 3
The high performance, mega loop master, but with depower and tuning options that enable it for waves and freeriding.
LIKES The Nexus 2 is a three strut kite, with Core’s Future C shape canopy that has some quality performance upgrades for 2021 that enhance the handling and give it even more versatility. As a true maverick that can adapt to any riding style or skill level, the Nexus is the most versatile model of the Core’s Universal Series. The wingtips have been widened out on this new version, along with lighter material in the struts which have increased the direct feel and improved the balance, slack line drift and give the kite a more sporty and responsive feel. Water relaunch is quick and easy and the Nexus 2 can also perform the reverse launch by pulling on the outside lines. This has been a popular kite to learn new skills with as the kite has superb stability overhead and the feedback it offers is very direct and allows the rider to always feel where
the kite is in the sky. The new Nexus increases the high performance, with faster and smoother turns and even more balanced drift that offers plenty of performance for waves, freeriding or even foiling. The short and compact bridle system also adds to the versatility of the Nexus 2 as it’s equipped with Core’s Intelligent Trim System. This allows three different settings on the front bridles and three on the wingtips. This gives the rider nine different setting configurations, to fine tune the depower and range, as well as the turning speed and bar pressure. Amazing stability, smooth pull, good low end power and tons of options for tuning, the Nexus 2 is a maverick that easily fits into any level of rider’s quiver. For any kiter that’s unsure what conditions might lie ahead, the Nexus 2 is a great choice.
USERS Up and coming kite addicts that want a smooth pulling, versatile kite that’s easy to use and highly tunable to handle a wide range of styles and skill level.
DRAWBACKS Sits back in the window, so unhooking and doing freestyle is not as comfortable as the GTS6 and with three pulleys in the bridle some find a more muted feel.
CORE / GTS6 Sizes Tested(m): 7, 9, 12 / Sizes Available(m): 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13.5 / Control Bar: Sensor 3
The multi-tool master that can adapt to the needs of the rider and the conditions whether on the waves, in the air or on a foil.
LIKES The GTS6 is one of three kites in Core’s Universal Series that promises to push beyond your comfort zone and unlock your wild side. Less advanced riders don’t need to be concerned however, as the GTS6 has all the quick depower and multiple tuning options that let it handle gusty winds and less aggressive riding skills. Designed as a three strut kite with a Future C canopy shape, the GTS6 has more squared off wingtips and is designed for the adrenaline seeking rider that wants a quick turning kite that offers some aggressive boost and pop and can throw down the mega loops with confidence. The kite sits more forward in the window than the Nexus 2 and pulls off the front lines, allowing the advanced rider that slack line, comfortable pull, to perform unhooked tricks and handlepasses. There’s plenty of depower
available with the ITS Bridle system that can be set to wave mode which alters the pull and amount of depower as well as the arc or the turn to equip it for faster pivots with less pull through the turn. The lighter weight three strut frame is very balanced and the kite can drift and back up down the line for waves and foiling. There’s good power in the kite but a touch less low end grunt than the Nexus 2 or the XR6, which complete the Universal Series in the Core lineup. The GTS6 is designed to tame the gusts and continue to uphold the precision handling while under more aggressive loads in the upper end of its wind range. The GTS6 is a great boosting kite with lots of upward pop and quick reaction to steering input ensuring soft landings.
82 - KITESURFING MAGAZINE / VOL 7 / ISSUE 1
USERS The GTS6 is a great choice for the intermediate to advanced rider looking to charge into some unhooked, freestyle and mega loops, but also has enough depower and drift for riding in the surf or on a foil.
DRAWBACKS Designed to be ridden with power and precision so less low end power than the other two models in the Universal Series.
2021 Foils Tested Kite foil technology continues to advance in 2021 with better construction technology and new wing shapes from the world’s top brands. Whether it’s aluminum or carbon, or a combination, companies like Naish, F-One and Slingshot have launched new foil systems in 2021 that can help advance your foiling skills to new levels and faster than ever before. Some new wing shapes from Naish and upgrades to Slingshot and F-One foil set ups have increased levels of stability with smoother control at wider speed ranges. The new systems are also driven with improved materials and better designed connection points between the mast and fuselage and wing connections. Kite specific freeride wings range in size from about 800 cm² to 1100 cm² in surface area. Wings within this size have the right combination of lift, with optimum stability and are easy cruising at moderate speeds but not so slow as to become overpowered by the kite’s pull speed. The wing shapes and fuselage length along with the size and shape of the back stabilizer wing also dictate the performance character. Longer fuselages are more stable but not as tight turning or manoeuvrable as shorter length ones.
F-One’s ICS 950 was a standout for ease of use and stable tracking. This is a perfect size and a great first foil set up for anyone learning the basics. F-One has improved their connection points in the mast and fuselage, making this year’s version easier to assemble with overall stiffer set up. The ICS 950 lifts smoothly and progressively and tracks predictably with stable and forgiving turn initiation and finish. Naish’s 2021 foil program is all new with an upgraded aluminum frame construction and also changes to the construction materials of their hybrid carbon wings. The S25 set up this year is remarkably lighter weight than previous versions and feels as light as some of the carbon systems tested over the years. The S25 810 cm² also offers an ideal combination of speed and manoeuvrability. This is a size and set up that most kite foil riders will appreciate for its greater control at slightly higher speeds. Many riders that have learned the foil cruising basics on a large surf foil with a shorter mast will find the benefit of having a kite front wing that can cruise fairly slow but also handles a bit more speed and wind power. These moderate sized foils offer the best combination
of greater control and manoeuvrability at moderate speeds. Slingshot also launches their new series of full carbon constructed mast and wings they named the Phantasm Series. This entirely new and beautifully finished, beefy carbon mast, has the incredible torsional and longitudinal stiffness that truly bring the Phantasm’s performance to the next level. The 633 front wing on the Phatasm 633 is also redesigned with added downturned winglets. With this shape revision and the new construction, the legendary 633 wing is even more stable through the turns but also more reactive to rider input for turn initiation and carving harder and tighter turns. It feels more comfortable and stable at both fast and slow cruising speeds and the reactivity to pumping and rider input is next level. The Phatasm Series is also modular and offers three performance kite wings and two lengths of their aluminum fuselage. Overall, 2021 has lots of amazing new foiling gear to help you break into this evolving discipline or upgrade your old ride and take your foiling skills and kite riding experience to the next level.
NAISH FOIL: S25 810 The new Naish S25 foil range represents another leap forward in performance with a whole new lineup of wing shapes and new mast and fuselage connections and construction. The new S25 wing shapes have a new carbon composite construction that makes them lighter, stiffer and more durable. The connection points at the mast and fuselage and on the wings are also much improved making everything lighter, stiff and more reactive. The S25 set up comes in a nicely-sized, padded travel bag with plenty of padded compartments for multiple wings and masts. It also comes with a nice driver tool that features a single sized hex bolt for the entire assembly. With the new construction, the S25 system is not only really easy to carry on the land it also reacts more quickly to rider input while up and foiling. The overall weight of the S25 system is surprisingly light and very easy to trek down to the water. The 810 wing is one of three sizes in the Kite Series, which includes smaller 650 and the larger 960 wings. The 650 is simply a smaller and faster version of the 810, with unlimited speed potential but it’s still nice to carve around at higher speeds. The 960 makes the learning curve faster with slower cruising and controlled lift. The carbon composite finish on the S25 wing is light, stiff and quite durable. It’s a nice step up from the original carbon wings that were not as ding-resistant. The 810 wing offers the perfect blend of early lift and provides more control and comfort at higher speeds while still delivering a nice carving and smooth-turning ride. The 810 is not going to cruise as slow or provide as much lift as the larger surf foils, but it’s the ideal size for the kiter that wants a foil that won’t feel too large and overpowered as the wind power increases. It carries plenty of speed through the turn and although fast, it’s a wing that never feels like it’s going to outrun you or cause too much lift, power or speed. Very stable, designed for kite foiling and carving at moderate speeds versus surf foiling where speed is capped out at a slower pace. The 810 may be the perfect choice for the intermediate to advanced level kiter.
84 - KITESURFING MAGAZINE / VOL 7 / ISSUE 1
DECK: NAISH HOVER 127 The Hover 127 is also revamped for 2021, with a lighter design and a new softer, EVA foam pad. The tail has been widened out from the original 127 version and the construction is light and stiff. An ideal size and shape for developing foiling skills, the Hover 127 has all the elements needed for the advanced rider to succeed. The low swing weight and comfortable flat deck, combines with nice stiffness for quick edge to edge response from rider input into the foil wings. This could be the perfect size for the intermediate rider’s first advanced board, as it still has enough volume for touching down but is thin and short enough to feel comfortable riding without straps.
SLINGSHOT SLINGSHOT PHANTASM KITE 633 The all new Phantasm range from Slingshot features a new, amazingly stiff and beautifully finished, carbon mast and wings. This is a package you can learn with but also never really outgrow. Equipped with the new Double-Shot 12 k carbon mast, Slingshot breaks barriers of performance with the incredible linear and torsional stiffness. Stiffer mast and wings, translate to smoother riding and increased reactivity from rider input. This system brings new levels of reactivity and smooth carving performance. There are currently three different front kite wings available for this modular system, but the most popular and universal package is the PFH 633 front wing. All three front wings can run with the PS 400 rear wing and attach to the same fuselage. The fuselage is made of very rigid, aircraft grade aluminum and is available in two different lengths. The connection points from the mast to the fuselage and for wing assembly is extremely solid and adds to the overall rigidity of the Phatasm system. The 633 wing is the lower aspect ratio front wing of the kite group and it delivers the perfect combination of early lift, manoeuvrability, and comfort and control through a massive speed range. The front wing shape is similar to the original version but with some slight revisions. The most obvious and significant are the down-turned winglets. These winglets, in addition to providing added safety, also seem to help with tracking and turn initiation. The smooth acceleration and stable feel gives amazing control and endless ability to carve both tight and drawn out turns. The stable acceleration, easy to control lift and smooth carving is unmatched. The set up comes with a tricked out travel case that features nicely faux fur padded and zippered compartments for each carbon component. An assembly driver tool, for the two different sized hex nuts is also supplied in this premium package.
86 - KITESURFING MAGAZINE / VOL 7 / ISSUE 1
SLINGSHOT DWARF CRAFT 100 The short and sporty Dwarf Craft range has been revamped, thinned out and lightened up in 2021. This is a great foil deck series that works in perfect symbiosis with all of Slingshot’s quality hydrofoils. The long adjustable track system lets you position the foil’s mast for the desired lift and foot pressure. The Dwarf Craft also has lots of foot strap options with four insert placements in the front and three in the back, and can be configured in three strap or inline strap mode. Despite its short length the Dwarf Craft has nice touch and go capability, with its thicker middle section, and wide flat center. The deck also has the ideal amount of concave in it that makes the board more reactive to foil input and output. It also helps the rider feel where they are on the board along with the soft EVA corduroy foam that provides great grip but is also very comfortable on your feet. Available in three sizes the 100 is the smallest and most travel worthy and it’s best suited for the intermediate to advanced level rider.
F-ONE FOIL: F-ONE IC6 950 V.3. The new IC6 950 V.3. from F-One makes it easy to get into foiling and build hovering skills quickly. The aluminum alloy mast and fuselage connection point have been redesigned with better connection points making everything more rigid and reactive in this third generation design. The high quality finish on the extruded aluminum alloy mast and fuselage system fit together tightly with easy and straightforward assembly instructions. The 950 wing and the 300 stabilizer is built with a carbon injection mold technology that gives the wings a nice combination of stiffness and durability. The front wing bolts on with two different sized bolts into a large flat plate on the tip of the fuselage. The connection point seems very solid and more durable than previous versions. The lift on the ICS 960 front wing is very progressive and stable and the stability maintains itself even as the speed increases. This very even acceleration and lift is appreciated by the less experienced foil riders as it grants more time to get the kite’s power in check and lock into the sweet spot for controlled levels of drive and lift. Turning the IC6 feels very smooth and power is carried through the turn. The longer fuselage makes it prefer more drawn out turns over tight carves. The larger upturned tail wings also assist less experienced riders as the upturned tail winglets can breach the water first, giving the rider time to correct the over exertion of aft foot pressure. Overall, the IC6 950 is a very controlled and easy to ride foil. It really offers a nice blend of easy and efficient lift, moderate speeds and stable carving. Any rider looking to expand foil riding skills or learning to foil should consider the IC6 950 V.3.
88 - KITESURFING MAGAZINE / VOL 7 / ISSUE 1
New Release Boards Tested
SLINGSHOT SCI-FLY XR Length: 5’4” / Width: 18” / Thickness: 2” 1/5” Fin set up: Thruster / Volume: 22 litres Slingshot’s got you ready for some post-pandemic surf action with four new surfboard models in the 2021 lineup. Built with their new XR construction, these new Slingshot shapes are both lighter and more responsive with optimized stiffness and added durability in critical areas. The boards feel light and crisp underfoot, with a responsive, performance feel. The Sci-Fly XR is a modern, snub-nose shape, with parallel rails and diamond tail. The Thruster fin set up is designed for powered up aerials and punting strapless airs, but it also handles smaller waves and can carve up the face. There’s some pretty good tail rocker that gives the Sci-Fly a nice pop and control combo and helps the Sci-Fly remain loose and reactive on the wave face. Although it is short in length, the parallel rails makes the board feel and ride longer and it delivers plenty of upwind drive. The Sci-Fly doesn’t get overpowered easily and unlike parallel rail and flat rockered, freestyle surfboards that have very wide, square tails, the Sci-Fly feels more dynamic and faster from edge to edge. Very fun and reactive to pop airs with, the Sci-Fly short compact central body still remains balanced in the air with a shape that provides the optimum swing weight for more advanced spins and aerial manoeuvres. The Sci-Fly comes with some nice comfortable tail and front deck pads and a set of FCS Reactor Tri fins. This board is an excellent choice for riders that wants to get into strapless airs and more directional freestyle manoeuvres, but still want a board that can be powered up and can handle some moderate sized surf. kitesurfingmag.com
2021 New Release Boards Tested
NAISH STRAPLESS WONDER
OCEAN RODEO JESTER
Length: 5’3” / Width: 18” 1/4” / Thickness: 2.2” Fin set up: Thruster / Volume: 22 litres
Length: 5’1” / Width: 18” / Thickness: 2” 5/16” Fin set up: Quad or Tri / Volume: 17.6 litres
The Strapless Wonder is a new model and joins the extensive and legendary Naish S25 lineup of five different directional surf shapes for 2021. This is a more conventional shortboard shape that has wide and curvy outline, and rides bigger than its length and size might suggest. The Strapless Wonder, given its name, obviously, has no foot strap inserts and comes with a smooth textured full deck pad that’s both comfortable and provides amazing grip. It features a Thruster fin set up and comes complete with a set of Naish composite fins. Very well balanced, and surprisingly quick onto plane despite its seemingly narrower tail and outline, the Strapless Wonder is a playful and fun surf shape to ride. The concave bottom, smooths out the chop and gives the Strapless Wonder a smooth and comfortable ride. This board is a great choice for the kiter that wants to start riding strapless as it feels lively and comfortable at slower to moderate speeds. It can still carve up some good sized waves with its more narrowed tail than some of the parallel-railed, strapless freestyle surfboards. Great choice for the intermediate level directional board rider that wants to expand surf riding skills and learn to carve up the surf without straps.
The Jester is dubbed the ultimate trickster of the OR line and it offers amazing levels of control for strapless manoeuvres and freeride carving. The insert-free deck is framed by a very parallel outline and follows a flat and more centred rocker line. The Jester comes complete with with a full deck pad for some amazing grip everywhere you need it and five premium fins for Thruster or quad configurations. Ocean Rodeo’s exclusive construction incorporates a very durable UV-stable cap film top sheet and a glass sandwich construction with bamboo veneer inserts in the critical impact areas. The oval shape and parallel rail outline and the thin profile give the Jester easy upwind drive and very balanced swing weight. This board is smooth and comfortable and very stable and reactive underfoot. It’s easy to rip through chop and hold an edge as its deep concave provides ideal cushioning and control through the bumps. Amazingly balanced and ready for quick chop, the Jester provides some extra swagger for any technical strapless manoeuvres. Not as comfortable or slashy in bigger surf, the Jester is quick driving, fun and easy to track with while on edge. The tail is narrow and thinned out enough that it can still paste some small wave faces and carve some tight turns but its true character is cruising on edge and looking for the timing to punt some strapless airs. This is an easy board for any level of rider to enjoy freeriding but it is also a high performance new school, freestyle board that more advanced level riders will appreciate.
90 - KITESURFING MAGAZINE / VOL 7 / ISSUE 1
CORE RIPPER 4
OCEAN RODEO MAKO
Length: 5’8” / Width: 19” / Thickness: 2” 1/8” Fin set up: Thruster / Volume: 26 litres
Length: 140 centimetres / Width: 40 centimetres Foot Strap System: Bliss pads and straps The legendary Mako twintip is more radical than ever with improvements in construction that make it lighter and give it more reactive flex. The Mako design has gained huge following over the years for its unique shape and design elements that all work together to give the Mako its own brand of riding character. The rounded and narrow tip and tail combine with some massive, edge to edge, bottom concave that bleeds into down-turned rails. This bottom shape along with the single, centre fin at the tip, allow the Mako to carve effortlessly through chop. It also makes it easier to hold an edge through gusts or turbulent waters. The rider doesn’t have to exert as much pressure to carve and turn the board upwind as rails sink and slice through the water with much greater ease and it carves on edge with more stability and less effort. This unique outline and bottom shape give the rider confidence to hold the edge through any bumps and it also offers some surf capability with its edgy, smooth carving feel. Great board to learn to ride toeside with as the tail is more narrow and the natural biting force of the deep concave makes it easier to hold an edge. For jumping, the Mako doesn’t have the big pop, or quick release of the standard, four-finned, and wider tipped freestyle twintip boards, but it lets the rider load up with lots of line tension and speed. Hold the edge a little longer and don’t push off too hard on the take-off and the Mako can soar. The concave can also assist in softening landings and any level of rider that likes to cruise through messy chop, and find some nice rolling swell to carve some turns on, will love this board. With the rounded pin tail ends and slight rocker in the tips, the Mako carves smoother arcing turns than many freestyle twintip style boards. The Bliss pads and straps are very comfortable with dual density EVA foam beds that have lots of cushion underfoot. This strap system is easy to mount and has lots of adjustability for any sized foot. Some great new upgrades to this classic and unique design, the Mako Series is available in four length and comes with two G10 fins, designed specifically for this legendary board.
The fourth generation Ripper is Core’s high performance surfboard shape that’s totally revamped with wider fish outline, new bottom concave and mini swallow tail. Core’s surf line is built like a traditional performance, hand-shaped surfboard with fiberglass layup and wood stringers. This board feels and rides like a true short board shape, but its got a heavier glass build, and all the right reinforcements in critical areas with wood stringers and strap inserts. The Ripper gives you the most authentic, performance surfboard feel for towing into waves with your kite, but it’s built to withstand the extra abuse and pressures of kitesurfing. The Ripper 5’8” has all the elements to handle any sized waves and is comfortable to ride and great upwind. The slight concave bottom shape and rounded, hand-shaped rails make it smooth over chop and really reactive from edge to edge. The Ripper also has a nice wide central area with lots of width and volume under foot that lets you find the most power on every wave. The nice narrow swallow tail also gives the board some snappy turns and nice bite for sharp top and bottom turns. The classic look and feel will appeal to any advanced level rider, but it is also a stable and easy board to ride, so intermediates can easily adapt and grow with the Ripper 4. The Ripper 4 also comes with FCS II Accelerator fins and a full front deck pad that is soft EVA foam with a corduroy grip pattern.
92 - KITESURFING MAGAZINE / VOL 4 / ISSUE 1
Subscribe online kitesurfingmag.com
•NAISH •DUOTONE •ION •DAKINE •FIREWIRE
SURF SHOP sauble beach, canada est 1996
Bruna Kajiya enjoys a session at home in Brazil. Diego Correia photo
AMERICA’S 10 BEST KITESURFING ROADTRIPS VAN LIFE PROGRESSION SERIES TOP 5 KITESURFING HACKS WINGING IT How the new wings fit in your wind toy collection. Beginner guide and pro secrets to better ripping. PLUS: Trade Secrets, Tools of the Trade, Pro Quivers and New Releases Tested
96 - KITESURFING MAGAZINE / VOL 7 / ISSUE 1
98 - KITESURFING MAGAZINE / VOL 6 / ISSUE 1
YOUR ONE WING SOLUTION
SIZES: 2.2 | 2.8 | 3.6 | 4.6 | 5.3 | 6.0 | 6.8 Completely redesigned and built to last, the new Naish Wing-Surfer delivers top performance for every skill level from beginner to advanced. As the pioneers of this fastgrowing sport, we have been able to refine our wing to give you the speed, power and stability you need. Find your balance between functionality and fun with the Wing-Surfer, and get out on the water in any conditions! Pacific Boardsports LLC . firstname.lastname@example.org . (509) 493-0043
Z Schettewi: S26 Wing-Surfer, Jet 1040 HA Foil Complete, Hover Wing Foil | Koa Fabbio: S26 Wing-Surfer, Jet 1250 Foil Complete, Hover Kite Crossover