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THE SELF-ISOLATING INSANITY

ISSUE

HE Y L A D I E S Caribbean CRU I S I N G WITH T H E DU 0 TONE FREEST Y L E T E A M

ALL NEW 20-TWENTY KI T E

MEGA

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$8.99

VOLUME 6, ISSUE 1, #15 DISPLAY UNTIL: SEPTEMBER 31, 2020

YOUR post COVID TRAVEL S P O T

TIP TOP TIPS

pros on foilboarding

NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK READING ON REEDIN


FIND YOUR MATCH DASH & DASH LE, FOR THE NEXT LEVEL. SIZES 6–12, 14 | FREESTYLE/BIG AIR

BOXER, FOR ANYWHERE.

SIZES 2.8, 3.4, 4–14, 16 | ALL-AROUND FREERIDE/FOILING

TRIAD, FOR ANYONE.

SIZES 6–12, 14 | ALL-AROUND FREERIDE

With the newest technology and performance features in the industry, the new Naish lineup has a kite for every condition. Whether you want the ultimate foiling and light wind weapon, highperformance freestyle with added freeride versatility, or just an allaround cruiser that performs in every wind range, find your match with the new Naish Dash, Boxer, and Triad. Built with our industry leading construction, Naish Kiteboarding continues to fly forward and progress the sport the same way we have for the past 21 years: making every day on the water a good one, no matter what the conditions.

SEE THESE & THE FULL LINE OF AWARD-WINNING KITES INCLUDING THE PIVOT, SLASH & TORCH AT YOUR NAISH DEALER TODAY OR NAISH.COM 2 - KITESURFING MAGAZINE / VOL 6 / ISSUE 1


P O W E R E D BY N AT U R E

Pacific Boardsports LLC NaishKiteboarding

Naish_Kiteboarding

Naish.com

Alex Kibble

(509) 493-0043

pbs@naishsails.com

kitesurfingmag.com Stuart Downey: Dash LE Kite, Monarch Twin Tip

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W A V E

N E J O I N

T H E

P O W E R

O CHOICE OF THE 3× WORLD CHAMPION A I R T O N

C O Z Z O L I N O

D U O T O N E S P O R T S . C O M

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O F

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N E W

E R A


D E D I C A T E D

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F O L L O W

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K I T E B O A R D I N G S

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E L Y T S E E R F & A J NIN OOP L A G E M E N I H MAC

HOOK

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D UN ASS? S, AN ER ATIVE D P A O B O IS ITEL E OF I T GTS4 GEN5. IM P L R E D K DE C A DE E E H W T E .AS O K H A S P T N E E I C D C LE E  H O YOU T ILL YOU SE RE FUTURE , E XPERIEN ITH CIT M Y, FREEST Y R W T W T TU OU WAIT 4'S SIGNA NDARY. NO OVED GTS5 OM A GRUN ONE WITH . TS GE FR PR ST 'E M T HE G NC E I S L E N D I M T H E G T S 5 R R I O R . T E 'L L L O V E A W E E ID . Y OU E WA C HE S UR N C ONF TH O OA R D SWIT NING WAV I B T W F N R C E U M A GI U S T M E C I S E T UR S S 72 0 S E E ADJ R L L P P D I A A BR STR NTO 3 OR IN E I MACH YLE BOLT ST WAKE E

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5.0 6.0 7.0 8.0 9.0 10.0 11.0 12.0 13.5

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ODES CIT M R ADIC

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CORE Kiteboarding +49 (0) 4371 / 88934-0 info@corekites.com Fehmarn, Germany

+ YLE T S E E FR WAVE DE I FREER

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4x4 CANOPY TECH New for 2020, we’ve upgraded our canopy construction with Teijin 4x4 reinforced ripstop material. This is the strongest, stiffest and most durable canopy material on the market. Your kite will last longer, have a higher resale value and feel more solid and stable in the air, especially in gusty wind.

FLYLINE BRIDLE A combination of the pulleyed bridle featured on previous RPM models and the bungee IRS bridle we engineered a few years ago. We introduced pulleys on the RPM to give the kite more structural stability and dynamic steering. Then we replaced the pulleys with our IRS bungee system to achieve a more direct feel and smoother power delivery as the kite flies through the window. The FLYLINE bridle combines both pulley and bungee in a new configuration that results in a faster, higher-flying, more powerful RPM than ever before.

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IT’S GOTTA BE THE KITE.

3 PKRA CHAMPIONSHIPS 2 GKA FREESTYLE CHAMPIONSHIPS 1 GKA AIRGAMES CHAMPIONSHIP 4 KITE PARK LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIPS 6x TRIPLE S CHAMPION

Learn more today at SLINGSHOTSPORTS.COM

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LOCATION: Beran Island, Marshall Islands PHOTOGRAPHER: Damea Dorsey Beran Island, in the Marshall Islands, is about as far up our bucket list as you can get. It’s no wonder the Naish International team shot their 2020 mid-season release product shoot there.

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LOCATION: Marshall Island RIDER: Moona Whyte PHOTOGRAPHER: Damea Dorsey “A beautiful wave from a beautiful day in the Marshall Islands for Reo Stevens’ kite camp. There were only three of us out this session trading waves like this with Damea in the water shooting. We couldn’t help but marvel at our circumstances. We were scoring wind and waves off a tiny tropical island in the middle of the Pacific, just our little boat moored in the channel and no one else around for miles.” —Moona Whyte


kitesurfingmag.com

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LOCATION: Mindoro, Philippines RIDER: Nick Jacobson PHOTOGRAPHER: Ydwer van der Heide Nick Jacobson launches the new North three strut Reech kite into the upper atmosphere at the North/Mystic Philippines Shoot.

kitesurfingmag.com

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Ewan Jaspan bones out this Seatbelt to the fullest. fishbowldiaries photo

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VoluME 6 // ISSue 1 // NO.15

FEAT U R E S

48 RIDE GUIDE Boa Vista - Travel, Spot and Lifestyle Report

60 DRENCHED IN TURQUOISE Caribbean Cruising with the Ladies

HEAD TO HEAD GEAR TESTS Test editor Shane Thompson and the Kitesurfing Magazine team check out 2020’s best new gear

68 THE RISE OF THE FOILER 2020 Freeride Foils

76 BIG AIR KITE SHOWDOWN

84 THE FOIL MAGICIANS 2020 Single Strut Kites

kitesurfingmag.com

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UPFRO N T 10 OFF THE TOP 20 EDITOR’S INTRO 24 UPFRONT 26 BOARD SHORTS

DEPART M E N T S

30 COMPETE: King of the Air 32 RANDOM TIPS: Foilboarding 36 HATTERAS WAVE CLASSIC 38 DESIGNER’S CORNER: Reedin Kites 40 GKA CORNER: Rope Spreaders 42 KITE VLOGGING: Ryan Goloversic AKA Rygo 98 NEXT ISSUE

David Tonijuan loops the Eleveight FS V3 in Tarifa. Guillebert photo

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MAKE NO M YSTA K E S THE MOST COMMON MISTAKE MADE WHEN PURCHASING A HARNESS IS BUYING ONE THAT DOESN’T FIT. FIT COMES IN ALL SHAPES AND SIZES. OUR HARNESSES COME STANDARD WITH A HUMAN DATA ENGINEERED ERGONOMIC FIT THAT NESTLES INTO YOUR BODY’S NATURAL CURVES, ENSURING A MORE COMFORTABLE AND SECURE CONNECTION, SOMETHING THAT OUR IMITATORS DON’T HAVE AND NEVER WILL.

USE THE ORIGINAL THE FIR ST HARDSHELL HARNESS. THE ONLY HARDSHELL HARNESS WITH ERGONOMIC FIT. THE ONLY HARDSHELL HARNESS WITH LUMBAR LOCK. THE ONLY HARDSHELL HARNESS PROVEN NOT TO RIDE UP OR TWIST. THE ONLY HARDSHELL HARNESS BACKED BY HUMAN DATA. THE ONLY HARDSHELL HARNESS NOT IMITATING THE ORIGINAL.

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Barbara Bryja photo

FIELD NOTES CHANGES

Our lives are changing in ways we could never have imagined. The global spread of COVID-19 has changed the way we kite. Our collective actions are helping protect the most vulnerable in our families, and in society. Our social distancing is helping healthcare workers maintain some semblance of a functioning health care system. There will be stretches of time when we can’t kite, and hopefully many more where we can. When the first wave of this corona hurricane passes, and it will, many may use kitesurfing to clear their minds. Freeing their brains of the hardships that have passed, and the hardships that may still lay ahead. We all enjoy kitesurfing for different reasons, but the mental clarity that kitesurfing brings is undoubtedly a good thing. Kitesurfing sessions might be more local for a while. For those of us in the northern States and Canada, a warm wetsuit will be the most tropical thing we do. When we start traveling again, destinations within easy driving distance will possibly be the norm. More of us will be making do with less, using well researched equipment choices to make the most of the conditions in our own backyard. One thing in the future is certain; we will all find a responsible way to kitesurf, and maintaina healthy balance in our lives. See you on the water, John Bryja

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LighT As NeVeR sUpPorT aS EvEr

CURV SELECT

LIGHTES T HA R DSH E L L H ARN E SS O N T H E MARKE T NOW 4 0 0 G RAMS L IG H T E R #40 0 G RAMST O G AIN kitesurfingmag.com

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MASTHEAD VOLUME 6 / ISSUE 1 / NUMBER 15 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 Keahi De Aboitiz, Christian “Chris“ Bösch , Colleen Carrol, Kristen Cooper, Craig Cunningham, Reider Decker, Gage Fichter, Sensi Graves, Damien Girardin, Ryan Goloversic, Lauren Holman, Hilary Huffman, Matchu Lopez, Sam Medysky, Richard Myerscough, Matt Nuzzo, Evan Netsch, Axel Reese, Arne Schuber, Tim Walsh, Moona Whyte

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Vincent Bergeron, Christian Bösch, Robervania Bösch, Damea Dorsey, Dave Marshal, Axel Reese, Olga Shmaidenko, Ydwer Van De Heide, Eric Wojciechowski

STONG MIND, STRONG BODY:

GETTING TO THE CORE OF:

THE SUM OF 5

BOARD SHAPING

THE GIRLS ARE ALRIGHT

2 0 19 FOIL T E STS

BIG

AIR KITES

WO MEN OF THE KPL

WHAT

D R E A M S ARE MADE OF SLINGSHOT X WIND VOYAGER

$8.99

$8.99

HIGHWAY

Entering the Green Room

Volume 5, Issue2, #12 Display Until: Sept, 31, 2019

Volume 5, Issue1, #11 Display Until: May 31, 2019

KIT E PA R K S

TO THE

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

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: info@kitesurfingmag.com Website: kitesurfingmag.com Youtube.com/kitesurfing SUBSCRIPTIONS 1 Year - 3 Issues $26.95 Phone: (519) 370-2334 Email: info@kitesurfingmag.com kitesurfingmag.com Change of Address info@kitesurfingmag.com

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LIFE IN THE BUBBLE

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DARE TO BARE ALL? HERE IS HOW

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GOING STRAPLESS

A BEHIND THE SCENES LOOK INTO THE BUBBLE MOVIE

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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

Kitesurfing Magazine Inc. Copyright Kitesurfing Magazine 2019, All rights reserved. Reproduction of any materials published in Kitesurfing Magazine is expressly forbidden without the written consent of the publisher. Printed in Canada 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.

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WE MAKE NEW RIDERS

Every Day

LESSONS

|

CAMPS

|

OFFSITE COACHING

|

GEAR

R E AL WATER S PO RTS .C O M | (2 52 ) 987. 6000 | CAP E H AT TERAS, NC

kitesurfingmag.com

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COVID-19

A year of distancing COMPILED BY JOHN BRYJA

As Kitesurfing Magazine goes to press, it’s early days in the Covid-19 pandemic. This page marks the point in time that the world was enveloped by the Coronavirus. Pro kiters were scattered around the globe and their experiences were shockingly different, while hauntingly similar.

Craig Cunningham surfs in lockdown mode.

Peniche, Portugal “I’m at home in Peniche, Portugal. I thought it was too risky and slightly selfish to try and get back to Canada at this time. Didn’t want to add to the chaos and petri dish. Plus the thought of possibly having Covid-19 or contracting it on my way back to North America and spreading it to family and friends seemed horrible. So I figured I already work remotely, I’ll just stay home and hopefully kite and surf on my own. But we just had full state of emergency go into effect Wednesday. They’ve closed down all the beaches for kiting and surfing. Locals were pissed and the vibe not super friendly but overall I’d say everyone is starting to take things seriously. Especially with the news that Italy just overtook China in total deaths. It’s crazy to see the mindset of the baby boomer and older generation to this situation. Hopefully in North America there will be enough

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examples of how countries reacted and the outcome from those reactions and that in turn will influence people to take the recommended precautions from the authorities. Fingers crossed it goes faster than we all think and it mutates to a less deadly virus instead of the opposite and that we’re all back on the water as soon as possible. For now I’ve just been joined by my girlfriend who’s off work and cooking up a storm and finding fun home and art projects to work on. So I'm just going to continue working (with an adjusted work flow and goals) and try to use this time to reflect on what’s important in life, take a look at my perspective and see what I need to adjust. Was chatting with a friend yesterday and they said they’ll use this time to reset and create new good habits. I like this mindset, so let's go with that for the next month or however long it takes.” —Craig Cunningham, Duotone

The Netherlands “So far the coronavirus has had a huge impact on our daily life. In the Netherlands we are advised to work from home, don’t go close to people and if you have any symptoms stay in quarantine for two weeks. Luckily we are still allowed to go outside if we keep at least 1.5 meters from other people. We can still kite, but a lot of people don’t go because they don’t want to get in a situation that they need help and get rescued or have an accident and go to the hospital. There is already way too much pressure on hospital staff and other caregivers. I live in a quiet area close to the beach so I can still go kite, but I’m extra careful, keep proper distance and only use my own pump that no one else can use. I’m driving in my wetsuit to the spot, go for a little ride, mostly to clear my mind and stay active and healthy, and go straight back home. I FaceTime a lot, call my grandmother everyday and my boyfriend who I haven’t seen for two weeks and who is now in lockdown in Belgium. I hope that in the cities in the Netherlands everyone is living by the advice the government is giving us so we can still enjoy going outside and getting some fresh air and movement. My thoughts go out to all people affected by the virus and I’m glad that everyone is sharing so many positive vibes during these hard times. I think next week will be a really hard week in the Netherlands with a lot of cases, but the hospitals are preparing the best they can. All the best to everyone, stay healthy, stay safe, stay away from each other but call each other and help each other where possible.”—Annelous Lammerts, Cabrinha Visit kitesurfingmag.com for more from the world’s pro-riders.


S E I R D A N O U B K A E R B # If you like to go bonkers, the Majestic X is right up your alley. A slimmer waist harness with a Carbon composite plate, giving you all the support you desire while maintaining comfort. It comes with features like Soft neoprene edges, Knitflex and Fix Foam. The stiffness of the Bionic Core Frame makes this Carbon harness perfect for riders that like riding overpowered.

MAJESTIC X HARDSHELL HARNESS

M O R E AT M Y S T I C B O A R D I N G . C O M

kitesurfingmag.com

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INDUSTRY NEWS TACK JOINS NAISH Christophe Tack will be flying Naish kites this year. The former freestyle world champ and 2019 vice world KPL champion hails from Ostend, Belgium but spends his days between his travels, events, and local kites sessions around his home in Peniche, Portugal. When asked how he began his love for the sport, Christophe told us, “I’m the youngest kid in the family and I just wanted to do whatever my big brothers were doing.”

Tack and his brothers skateboarded and surfed, but always dreamt of a sport with non-stop action. “When we saw a kiteboarder pass by while surfing, we knew we had to try it too. A few months later we were together on the beach with a close friend figuring out how to fly a kite. This was in 2003. No kite schools, no YouTube…it was crazy looking back!”

NORTH REACH “The North Reach is a lively and playful all around performer with unparalleled versatility and wind range for big jumps, upwind performance and effortless relaunch. Evolved from a calculated fusion of the Orbit, Pulse and Carve, this kite is designed to excel in every condition, from wave riding to boosts, loops and freestyle tricks. In keeping with our less-is-more philosophy, we’ve designed the Reach to travel lightly, enjoy whatever nature has in store, and be ready for adventure. Its stable, fuller profile generates power and efficiency, while the lighter three-strut design with tight turning radius, light impulse and bar pressure helps to deliver fast, responsive steering. It has a fun, nimble feel and effortless park and ride, is your go-to for wave riding in lighter wind and the perfect match for our Sonar Foils. In the larger 13, 15 and 17 meter sizes the Reach is a powerful lightwind specific kite, specially designed with a predictable, consistent drive for twintip riding long after everyone else has gone in. All conditions. All purpose. Always ready. The Reach is the one kite you’ll always reach for. Your desert island kite.”

CABRINHA UNDER NEW OWNERSHIP Cabrinha, the iconic kitesurfing brand, founded in 2000 by namesake and surf industry pioneer Pete Cabrinha, announced new ownership on the eve of the company’s 20th anniversary. Pete Cabrinha along with Water Bound Investments, led by former professional kitesurfer and long time Cabrinha professional athlete Jon Modica have partnered in the purchase and future development of the Cabrinha brand assets. “As part of the Cabrinha family since 2003, I jumped on the opportunity to work alongside Pete and other committed investors to bring the brand back home to where it all started,” says Jon Modica. “We are now a fully American-owned company backed by a passionate team of active kiteboarders ready to push the future of our sport and our industry forward. Most of all, our team is a family of like-minded individuals who have worked with each other for years. Together, we have made sure to create a seamless transition for our consumers and retail partners.”

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The RS is a high-performance freeride kite with a huge sweet spot over an impressive wind range. It is very well balanced and works for all riding styles.

Sizes: 05 / 06 / 07 / 08 / 09 / 10 / 12 / 14 / 17

Rider: David Tonijuan Colomer Picture: Samuel Flotat Location: Almeria, Spain

kitesurfingmag.com

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JESSE RICHMAN

King of the Air Maui’s Richman soars past champions for Red Bull King of the Air crown

PHOTOS TYRONE BRADLEY/RED BULL CONTENT POOL American kiteboarder Jesse Richman got the better of fellow former Red Bull King of the Air champions Nick Jacobsen and Aaron Hadlow to win for the second time after seven hours of intense competition at Kite Beach in Cape Town. Here is all you need to know: • The elite field headed to Blouberg in South Africa’s legislative capital city looking to use monster waves and wind to produce stunning tricks for the judges and fans. • The event featured a new format with Rounds 1 and 2 (video entry winners, wildcards and the four ‘Fly to Red Bull King of the Air’ winners) completed before lunch. • The top six from 2019 then joined the fray as seeded competitors in Round 3 for the 10,000-strong crowd with the iconic Table Mountain in the background. • Richman was runner-up to three-time champion Kevin Langeree last year and used that to fuel his later progress against Dane Jacobsen and Briton Hadlow. • The 27-year-old won after 34 heats and seven hours with consistent winds from early on in the biggest single day of Red Bull King of the Air competition ever.

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• The Hawaii native, who won back in 2013, said: “This feels incredible. This is magical. It is amazing to have my newborn daughter here and share it with this crowd. I’ve had really good heats leading up to the finals in many years and usually kind of crack in the final, having peaked too early. So this year I adjusted a few things and was really confident in my plan and my strategy. It was really cool to see it play out. To have it all run in one day was kind of just like 2013 - just one epic day.” • Sportive Director Sergio Cantagalli added: “We managed to score the perfect day. It was arguably the best day we were going to get during the weather window. It is very unusual that we could start so early on in the day and have consistent conditions throughout.” • New Zealand’s Marc Jacobs won the ‘Woo Highest Jump of the Day’ after soaring 22m into the air, while ‘Mystic Move of the Day’ went to Jacobsen for a kite-loop board-off that scored a 9.02 out of a possible 10.


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TIPS FROM THE PROS

Foilboarding Tips make the world of difference. This issue North America’s top riders share their top tips for foilboarding.

“Do less. The foil is a nuanced craft and every motion affects it. When you’re first starting out, the name of the game is to move less.” —Sensi Graves, Liquid Force, Sensi Bikini

“One of the best tips that I received was that you should ride the board flat (not up on the foil) first. When you want to begin foiling, point the board upwind to initiate the first pop up. I think riding the board flat for a bit is important because it allows you to gather your balance and control, instead of diving the kite and immediately popping up on the foil for the first time.”—Lauren Holman, Cabrinha, NeilPryde, Josea Surfwear

“This advice is for newbie foilers; pump the board to get a feel for the wing underfoot. This will help a lot when you start to think about working on transitions and turns.” —Colleen Carroll, Duotone, Ion

“Do yourself a favor and start with a large surface area and low aspect ratio wing. This will be much more forgiving and make the learning curve much easier.” —Sam Medysky, Airush, Dakine

“Ride a big wing, big board and short mast when you are starting out. You need to unlearn a lot of kiteboarding skills you have acquired, so the right gear will help you transition to the foil.” —Matt Nuzzo, Real

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“The trick to foiling is time; it’s unlike any board sport, so just take it slow, ride at least three meters smaller of a kite than you would normally; as soon as you power up on the foil all the drag from your board is gone. Keep your weight forward and stable to begin, the slightest weight shift has a huge impact. You are not edging a twintip, so stand tall, weight forward and centered, not over your heel or toe edge.” —Evan Netsch, Cabrinha, Neil Pryde

“When learning strapless foiling, the start can be a challenge. It is hard to keep everything lined up and to keep foot pressure on the board. I make sure that I don’t park my kite in neutral, I keep slowly moving the kite to keep pressure so the board stays in place before I dive my kite to start.” —Tim Walsh, Naish

“Really small things make a big difference with the performance of your foil. Make sure to keep the mast and wings clean from sun screen and other substances. Sand out scratches and take good care of your foil.”—Tim Walsh, Naish


ENJOY THE WATERMEN'S

FOIL GARDEN

WATERFRONT ACCOMMODATIONS • RESTAURANT & LIVE MUSIC LESSONS & CAMPS • BREATHTAKING SUNSETS WATERMENSRETREAT.COM • (252) 987.6060 • CAPE HATTERAS, NORTH CAROLINA kitesurfingmag.com - 31


BEST TRIP EVER

New Caledonia PHOTOS OLGA SHMAIDENKO / WORDS BY EVAN NETSCH

“To qualify as a best trip for me means more than scoring perfect wind or surf, it has to be something memorable that stands out.”

"The last visitors they had were just over a year prior to us."

"In the spring of 2016 I went on board the Cabrinha Quest. The boat had been in Micronesia for the past three months and I was on their final trip before they set sailed for New Caledonia. The South Pacific for me has always been a dream, as it is one of the farthest away places from home, and the most difficult to get to. To have the opportunity to explore by boat was exceptional. I flew into Pohnpei, where we spent our first few days then set sail across the island nation visiting many islands over the course of 12 days before departing out of Chuuk. The wind was generally light, and we really only scored good surf and kitesurfing the first few days of the trip, but for me it was the experience as a whole that stands out. This was my third time onboard the Quest and after my first two trips I could not help but have high expectations. Remote areas and historical relics have al-

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ways fascinated me, and Micronesia was full of my type of exploring. From native archeological mysteries, post WWII scares and finding some of the most remote islands in the world, it was a fascinating adventure. One island we visited named Oroluk had a population of seven. The last visitors they had were just over a year prior to us, and their boat remained behind as they had ended up shipwrecked! To spend a day with its inhabitants was one of the most interesting things I have done in my life. I was even able to take the three small kids kiting with me and only hope I could have given them a memory as valuable as they had given me. The surfing and kiting was really just the icing on the cake, and the experience to explore such a different landscape is what made this trip a stand out that I will never forget.”—Evan Netsch


Phot o by

: Mih

THE LIGHTEST, STRONGEST KITES IN THE WORLD

a Ce

ALUULA AIR-FRAME No words can truly capture the improvement in performance of ALUULA framed kites. They feel completely different to fly, with previously unseen levels of responsiveness, an expanded wind range allowing for insane light wind performance, and incredible precision at the top end.

FLITE A-SERIES

ROAM A-SERIES

sizes: 12, 14.5, 17m

sizes: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12m

FOLLOW US AT: oceanrodeo.com | facebook.com/oceanrodeo | instagram.com/oceanrodeo | twitter.com/oceanrodeo

kitesurfingmag.com

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rpes


REEDIN

New Kids On the Block Does the world need another new kite brand? Big air master and three time King of the Air Champion Kevin Langeree and top kite designer Damien Girardin have joined forces to start a new kite brand Reedin Kites. Kitesurfing Magazine’s John Bryja caught up with designer Damien Girardin to find out more about the new brand.

Reedin founders: Damien Girardin and Kevin Langeree.

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CONGRATULATIONS ON THE NEW COMPANY KITES. WHERE DID THE NAME COME FROM?

REEDIN

Damien Girardin: Thanks a lot. It’s been a lot of fun so far, I’ve been working in hiding for the past seven months for countless hours, and every single minute has been pure enjoyment! The name is a simple mix of Kevin’s and my last name. We liked that it didn’t mean anything, so what we do with the brand and the products will give it a meaning!

When Pat Goodman started at North, he made some big changes in his design directions. Are you pursuing a similar path? What are the biggest changes? Surely, if we were to make similar products to what I was doing in the past, I feel like it would be a bit useless. So when I started the design of our Reedin product line, I set pretty high expectations on what the product should be and do. The first criteria Kevin and I had was that we would only make products that we would want to buy ourselves. This means a really high level of quality, design, sourcing of materials and manufacturing. For example, our boards are manufactured in Europe, our cost is higher, but the quality is just amazing and you can feel it in your ride; it is simply better, stronger and lighter. I of course have a way a of designing products and I know that the people that have liked my designs in the past will love the new products. But the Reedin products were designed with a very different approach and different design objectives compared to anything I have done in the past. On the kite design side, we teamed up with a software designer that provided us a platform to make actual efficient airflow, strength analysis and all kinds of simulations on how a kite flies. The approach is extremely interesting to me because the software actually takes into account all the deformation and stretch that a real kites goes thru when you’re riding. So when I combine the data we get from the software together with the experience of testing and designing kites for so many years it really opens up a whole new world to me. Overall, with all the time spent designing, I ended up with every single product exceeding my expectations! From the binding that is certainly the most comfy Kevin and I have ever ridden, to the Dreamstick (our control system) that ticks every box of what a control system should do (and more!) to the kites that are certainly the best I’ve ever made or the boards that ride just amazing. The best reward was when Kevin got to try the kites after his sponsorship contract was finally over, he left me a message on my phone that was just so awesome. He kept on repeating how he couldn’t believe how good the kites were and how they felt like an extension of his arms.

What are your first releases going to be? The first release will be our SuperModel kite. It’s a true freeride kite that was designed with the simple observation that whether you’re new to kiteboarding or aspire to ride as hard as Kevin Langeree, you need an intuitive and easy kite that lets you focus on your riding while taking you to the next level. It really outperforms everything I have ever tried or designed in both jumping and wave-riding, while at the same being so intuitive and predictable! It will come with our DreamStick control system that features our auto-swivelling system that cancels the need to ever have to untwist your front line after a loop or a rotation, a click Quick Release, the whole new Cousin MEL lines that have virtually no stretch, and our new small diameter stick. Seriously after I got the first prototype, I could no longer use any other control system! With the new bar are you going high V or low V. Why? We’re totally going low V! The first reason, is a selfish reason, I always kite way into the evening on Maui, when the wind gets a little more offshore and the crowd is gone, so quite often, no one is left on the beach when I come in, so a low V lets me land my kite alone with a simple quick pull on one front line. But really in the end our kites are designed with a low V bar setup, because Kevin and I like the feel. We like the little bit a of a lighter bar feel and extra precision in the steering that the low V provides. Kevin is a YouTube marketing machine. Will he be sharing his secrets with other Reedin team riders? I think Kevin doesn’t really have a secret, he’s just a genuinely good, honest person with good values. He doesn’t need to fake a public personality that would be different from who he really is, and I believe that’s what people like. I know that’s why I like him! Oh yeah and he is a hard worker. That’s no secret that success requires hard work! What distribution model will Reedin be following? To be honest, since we announced the brand, we’ve received a lot of inquiries for distribution. Our model will be a mix of everything. I am a huge fan of kitesurf shops. Since I was a kid, I have always liked hanging out at surf shops, they are the ones making the sport happen. So I surely look forward to see Reedin in all the best kite shops in the world.

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ROPE SLIDER

Tech Talk COMPILED BY AXEL REESE / WORDS BY MATCHU LOPEZ

What’s the best way to go wave kiting? With a harness hook or a rope slider? With the rope system, the chicken loop is fixed to a pass-through rope or webbing which allows the chicken loop to slide freely from left to right instead of being connected to the hook in the centre of your harness plate. It’s a question of personal preference and riding style. One of the riders in the GKA Kitesurf World Cup who uses the rope system is Matchu Lopez. As one of the top strapless wave professionals, riding with a conventional harness hook is not an option for him. "I don’t want to use anything else. No way! For maximum performance in the waves you have to use the rope slider!”

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“I don’t WA N T to use any T H I N G e l s e ! ” MATCHU Lopez:

What are the pros and cons of the rope slider system? + When kiting “switch” and riding waves, the chicken loop slides to the preferred side without pulling, allowing for optimal freedom of movement. + Improved load distribution on the harness in strong winds. Forces are spread more evenly as opposed to riding with a conventional hook, when you really start feeling loads directly on the hip bones and in the lower back area. + With the rope system, the chicken loop moves to where it needs to go for maximum support and freedom of movement. “It’s so brilliant, I often totally forget that I’m wearing a harness at all. You can’t even feel the chicken loop sliding, but it’s always at exactly the right spot, no matter if I’m riding a wave or tacking upwind,” Matchu says. + Because the chicken loop slides from left to right, the harness effectively doesn’t. It stays perfectly in place and doesn’t ride up or move around your waist. + Also foil kiters love the rope system: as the chicken loop can move freely along the rope without any resistance, the pull of the kite is beautifully balanced and consistent. - Riding a twintip, the rope interferes with creating maximum tension in the lines just before initiating a jump as the chicken loop moves on the rope when you steer the kite back to boost. Thus it’s really tricky to jump as high with the slider system as you would with a fixed harness hook. - "I can't do any unhooked tricks with it!" Matchu grins. Obviously, as you can’t unhook being connected to the rope. - “A little maintenance is required too, like changing the rope once in a while as it does wear out. You want to make sure you don’t have to swim back to land in pumping surf,” admits Matchu. ‘Spreader bar with rope,’ ‘rope bar,’ ‘slider bar,’ are just a few names that brands use for the rope system. For Matchu it´s the ‘ION C Bar 3.0’, a harness plate that offers both a hook and a rope. "If I want to use the rope, I just remove the hook. It’s so easy! With a normal fin key I unscrew three screws and remove the hook,” says Matchu. "ION replaced the rope with a super strong Dyneema Webbing on the new C Bar 3.0. This kind of webbing is usually found in climbing equipment and hardly wears out. It’s freakin’ awesome!” How long have you been using the rope system Matchu? “Ever since ION launched the first harness with a rope slider. I tried it and fell in love with it from the very first session!” Matchu had one more tip for us: “Use a chicken loop with a metal plate where it runs along the rope. That will not only save the chicken loop but also the rope! Plus, the chicken loop slides so much smoother with the metal attachment. Check out the Duotone Rope Harness Kit for the perfect solution. Or, you could attach a stainless steel ring to the rope on your harness and hook your chicken loop into that.”

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VLOGGING

Ryan Goloversic AKA Rygo INTERVIEW BY JOHN BRYJA / PHOTOS KRISTEN COOPER AND HILARY HUFFMAN

In this new series for 2020, Kitesurfing Magazine explores the world of kitesurfing video blogs. What makes for a successful video? How can we all make better videos? Kitesurfing Magazine tracks down the personalities behind kitesurfing’s most popular video blogs, and finds out their secrets for success. For this issue Michigan videographer and editor Ryan Goloversic shares his story. Office on the road in the Florida Keys.

How did you get into kite vlogging? Ryan Goloversic: The short version of the story starts in 2016. Five years prior, I had left my career to pursue freelance videography in the kite industry. It turned out to be a wild ride because the industry and videography were changing fast! What was once a unique and high-demand skill was becoming something everyone had access to. Luckily for me, I stepped into a content creation role for MACkite, and Steve Negen, the founder, was open to trying new things and giving people a shot. I was given the opportunity to create videos. MACkite’s marketing director, Jake Vanderzee, asked me to start doing vlogs for the shop. I thought about it and decided to build a team of vloggers, each sharing their lifestyle and helping people within their areas of expertise.

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I teamed up with Blake Olsen, Crystal Veness and Tucker Vantol. The rest is history. We had Blake on trick tips, Crystal doing a travel guide and Tucker was the hydrofoil guru. I would function as a producer, planning content, filming and editing. I would also handle reviews and behind-the-scenes vlogs to share the adventure with everyone. What have been your most popular videos or topics that you covered? In a word, kiteloops! Beyond that, tutorials always do well, as does content that sheds new light on a subject. It seems that as long as we give the topic at hand the attention it deserves and genuinely aim to help people, there is always someone who will appreciate it.

Are you ever surprised by what goes viral? I wouldn’t say we’ve ever had a viral video, but I have been caught off guard. Sometimes a completely random topic will blow up. Blake did a video on how to trim your kite and people came out of the woodwork in droves. I did a comparison of board shapes, sizing and construction. That also received a surprising amount of views. More often than not, I know a video will do well before we even film it. Blake and I wrote up a video titled 5 Steps to Better Kite Control and that has been a top performer for years. Do you have a love or a hate relationship with the YouTube algorithm? I’m 100 per cent neutral on this topic. At the end of the day, you have to cater to the machine and to the humans using the


machine. It’s like driving a car. You don’t have to be an expert on the science. You have to stay current and work with the machine but, in the end, creating content focused on people will win out in the long run in spite of the occasional burn from changing algorithms. Tell us about your filming setup. How often does it change? I like to try out new toys every year or so, paired with my standard gear. For consistency, I shoot with a 35 millimeter. I try to get clean riding shots with a shallow depth of field. Most important for me is keeping my gear compact! I prefer a professional camera for action shots, a drone for storytelling, and a GoPro for vlogging. I’m on the road about every eight weeks, traveling to film and kite. Between the kite and camera gear, I feel like a backpacker always trying to reduce the weight of my pack. Some airlines are now weighing carry-ons. I’ll never forget the half-confused, half-annoyed look on an airline employee’s face as she flatly stated, “sir, you have 15 kilos in your bag.” What is your ratio of minutes filmed to minutes in the final project? This varies greatly from project to project. I’m always working on improving my workflow and staying organized. Three years ago, I would spend days filming and days editing a single video. For perspective, my first project was with Chris Bobyrk in Brazil back in 2012. It took us thirty days of filming and three weeks of editing. Last November, we linked up for 45-minutes of filming and edited for about four hours to produce the same amount of work. For our staple video series, most videos average roughly 6-to-8 hours of editing, motion graphic work and photoshopping the thumbnails. I can film about eight videos in three-to-six hours of time on the water. Vlogs are filmed sporadically during a trip. For shorter videos, sometimes filming takes an hour and editing takes an hour. It just depends! I’m not sure how to quantify the rest of the time spent on these projects. Strangely, there is no separation from my everyday life and this gig. We’re just sharing our lives and passions with people. YouTube is as much a part of my life now as brushing my teeth or getting a session. Do you have things planned out with a storyboard in advance, or is it more organic, chaos, or a bit of both? Let’s call it planned chaos. Everything starts with a plan. I draft up a mission statement for every trip with a list of goals. From there, it’s about ebbing and flowing with the circumstances. Sometimes the weather doesn’t cooperate; it might be storming or not windy. I’ve had shoots where we planned on filming twin-

tip tricks that were scripted out and, due to light wind, we made up hydrofoil tricks on the spot as it’s all we could do. Sometimes these creative moments are the most fun! When you’re having fun and simply enjoying the process in spite of it not going your way, that will show through on a project. People appreciate authenticity and a huge part of our sport is that wind can be fickle. How do you manage your workflow? Get it edited right away, or file it and work on it later? I keep all my projects organized by date and label everything. I’m fortunate that my professional editing background trained me to be systematic. I like to label footage right away and lay out each video on a timeline. From there I’ll edit anywhere from a week to a few months later. At this point, most everything is habitual. I don’t need to think much while editing unless I’m starting a fresh series.

damental move with drills and goals to practice in order to progress faster and safer. It’s something I’m passionate about and I would love to see more people who previously thought, “I can’t,” to give it a try! Of course, at the end of the day, viewer response will dictate the future of this series. I’m curious to see what happens. All and all, I’m stoked to have the opportunity to contribute to the the kitesurfing community the only way I know how. YouTube, like kiteboarding, has changed my life in ways I never imagined possible. It has taken me around the globe and allowed me to meet like-minded kiteboarders everywhere. I never would have guessed that one day my full time job would be traveling and making kite videos with my friends. I’m grateful for the past three years and look forward to many more adventures with the MACkite team.

What was the best advice you heard that helped make your videos better? The best tip I ever got is the most timeless: help people and make it all about them. We live in a time where tech changes daily. No matter what changes in the next 10-to-100 years in content, I imagine this rule will still be paramount. When it comes to advice based on trends, in my experience knowing when to break the rules has worked best. Usually, by the time someone has written about it, things have changed. For example, a common rule for content was that you needed to keep videos short. In truth, as long as they are entertaining, you can make them as long as they need to be. You have to respect people’s time. Any big projects in the works for 2020? Yes, I’ve been working on a progressive trick tip series focused on unhooked riding, cleverly called Unhooked. The past few years, I’ve noticed that fewer people on the beach are unhooking. It seems that it’s exclusively pros and a handful of people on local breaches practicing. My theory is that shops and riders, myself included, have deterred new riders from trying because it comes off as intense. While that’s true for first-season riders, no one is telling second-year riders it’s a good time to try. It’s a shame as this is one of many fun disciplines in our sport! On top of that, the amazing athletes competing have pushed the level so high it seems unapproachable to the average rider on the beach. Often, those who are interested don’t know where to start or what to practice. Big air is easy to understand! Wakestyle, not so much. In truth, all these advanced moves are simply combinations of fundamental moves. This next project is going to give riders a starting point. I’ll break down each fun-

My Setup CAMERA: Sony FS 700, Mavic Pro, GoPro Hero 8 MIC: Rode Videomicro Compact LENS: Sony 18-200mm F/3.5 5-6.3 HARD DRIVES: A huge pile of powered two terabyte drives. EDITING SOFTWARE: Adobe Creative Suite COMPUTER HARDWARE: Mac and Macbook Pro

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BACK TO THE CLASSICS

The Cape Hatteras Wave Classic PHOTOS BY ERIC WOJCIECHOWSKI / WORDS BY GAGE FICHTER

The 2019 Cape Hatteras Wave Classic presented by Patagonia went off! We had epic Cape Hatteras conditions, cranking wind and well overhead surf. Everyone was absolutely ripping with crazy airs, barrels and huge hacks. Kevin Langeree busts out the straps and controversy.

With Hurricaine Homberto about 600 miles off the coast, the surf raged with double overhead, meat eating waves and the wind nuked around 30-40 miles per hour from the north. We had competitors from all around the world show up and we got to witness the talent, as well as pure stoke and love for the sport. As someone who had family visiting for it this year, it is an awesome spectator event! The Cape Hatteras Wave Classic is an annual event held in September that focuses on wave riding, as well as strap-

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less freestyle. Instead of having the pressure of traveling around the world on a competition circuit with contests that are either wave or strapless freestyle events, this competition combines the two (with a little more focus on the wave riding aspect). It’s nice to have an annual event to show off new tricks and skills that allow us to feel accomplished on everything we worked on throughout the year. We all have a blast and look forward to the next year’s event as soon as the previous year’s is over.


THE RIDERS The cool thing about the Cape Hatteras Wave Classic is that it’s an open event and anyone can compete. We get all kinds of skill levels; from people who have only been kiting a couple of years, to riders who have competed internationally and want some of the prize money set forth by Patagonia. We get impressive performances put on by talented and professional kitesurfers. Reider Decker, Evan Netsch, Mark Medima, Jason Slezak, myself and Jesse Kilgour, have competed in the CHWC every year since the first one in 2014. Kevin Langeree made his second appearance this year and Keahi Aboitiz, Moona Whyte and Reo Stevens participated in this year’s event for the first time and got to see some true Hatteras conditions. Getting big named kitesurfers and therefore more coverage will help keep this event exciting and growing.

Mark Meidema

STRAP VS STRAPLESS The CHWC is a kitesurfing event which has never mandated that all riders go strapless. In fact, to include all skill levels the wave classic has included strapped surfboards. Tricks or wave rides performed on a strapless board will be deemed more difficult than the exact same action performed on a strapped surfboard. However this creates a problem because many actions performed while using straps aren’t even possible on a strapless board and therefore cannot be compared. Rarely have we seen straps in the CHWC and when we did they were used by riders to boost their confidence in the conditions and allow them to safely participate. This year at the 2019 CHWC we saw the first professional kitesurfer choose to use straps instead of go strapless. It was fun to watch Kevin Langeree blast off the lips, throw Backrolls off a wave and then get back into it and dangle much higher than any other competitor (I mean he is known for his big air). But these actions seemed unparallel to the others riding strapless surfboards. Kevin is a really talented kiter and probably rode a strapped surfboard better then most anyone in the world could, however, it seems we need to clarify the rule book on exact deductions for using straps so that us competitors can make our own decisions to see if straps would give us a better score or not. We either need to make it easy and have a no straps policy or have an exact percentage decreased (from strapless to straps) on scores so that the results are more transparent. Despite backlash over wearing straps and not really knowing how the judges would score his strapped riding, Kevin Langeree went for it and ended up fairing quite nicely. This modification created concern because competitors don’t know how the judges can really score strapped riding in comparison to the other talented strapless riders. I believe strapped riding is its own event entirely and as a very hardcore strapless rider I think strapless and strapped kitesurfing scores are incomparable. I fear allowing straps to all level riders could change the CHWC event in the future. We will have to see what Real Watersports decides to do for the CHWC 2020. MAGIC MOMENTS Honestly everyone’s skills were impressive in the wild conditions but the finals had all spectators electrified. The women started the day with Jesse Kilgour and Adrienne Kina testing out the waters and showing everyone what fearless looks like. Then came my heat against Moona Whyte which unfortunately felt personally hectic with deciding which waves to choose amidst the chaos. Moona and I charged and found some mammoth sets to slice through despite the challenging conditions. On the men’s side Keahi de Aboitiz was pulling into sandy closeout barrels and Reider Decker was carving out turns throwing 30 foot spray. Evan Netsch hucked massive airs. Jason Slezak charged some monster waves with his familiar grace and Kevin Langeree thrilled us all with throwing it back to straps and hucking mega airs off the top of some bombers. All in all it was a great event that I’m sure we all look forward to watching or participating in again. kitesurfingmag.com

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WAVE CLASSIC: New Kids On The Block

THE PODIUM

Oahu's Moona Whyte looking at home in the OBX.

WOMEN’S FINAL RESULTS 1 Moona Whyte $ 4,000 2 Gage Fichter $ 2,500 3 Jessie Kilgour $ 1,500 MEN’S FINAL RESULTS 1 Reider Decker$ 4,000 2 Keahi de Aboitiz $ 2,500 3 Kevin Langeree $ 1,500

“September’s a great time to be in Cape Hatteras and we got lucky with a really fun swell for the event. The highlight for me would have to be scoring a perfect 10 for a super fun barrel in one of my earlier heats. It was tricky conditions with slightly onshore winds but I was stoked to find my way out of a mutant little nugget to everyone screaming on the beach.”—Keahi de Aboitiz Moona Whyte.

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Jon Modica


REIDER DECKER INTERVIEW What did you think of this year’s conditions? This year we got some classic heavy Hatteras conditions. We had some heavy hitters coming down for the first time so I was hoping they would see Hatteras at close to full potential and I think they got it. The waves were heavy and random, which is Hatteras in a nutshell, so perfect for the contest. The second day of the contest had some crazy waves. There was a large rip current zone where I had to hop down the wave face mid-wave because it sucked out so much. And then another wave looked like it would barrel but no two waves seemed the same. Hatteras anarchy!

Esben Boxer.

What’s the contest format for the wave classic? The contest format is 50 percent your best two waves, 25 per cent your two best tricks, 25 per cent overall impression. Do you have a strategy you use in your heats? I try to get some decent waves and roll with whatever the waves are doing for my heat. Sometimes the only thing consistent about Hatteras is its inconsistency. If you spend your whole heat looking for a particular wave or section you might miss a lot of your heat while looking for it. I try to make two decent air tricks and not get downwind out of the contest zone and lose my board! What do you think of the strapped vs strapless riding? It’s nice to showcase a different style of riding but I think it makes the judge’s job a hell of a lot harder when people are doing both. Kevin was ripping in straps and showing how epic old school strapped wave riding can be. I had a few people come up to me and say, “wow, now I’m going to try straps again,” which I thought was pretty epic. Some of his turns I watched he would go to the lip and blowout his tail and get held up at the top but then be able to air drop almost the entire wave face to bottom because he was wearing straps. When I watched that I thought that must be really challenging to score. If the same turn and stall was being done strapless it would almost be impossible to make, so it is hard to judge the different style being so far from each other. We were also not really sure how much you got your score decreased for straps. So I think a direct percentage decrease from the final score would be the most accurate way to score strapped riding instead of each judge individually discounting what they thought.

Langeree.

Keahi de Aboitz.

What are you spending the $4000 prize money on? Already spent! Haha. Gage Fichter and I spent it traveling this winter to New Zealand which was 100 per cent worth it. We traveled the whole island and found some uncharted surf and kite spots. It was a pretty epic trip! kitesurfingmag.com

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TRADE SECRETS

Duotone’s Till Eberle INTERVIEW BY ARNE SCHUBER

In 2018 Boards & More boss Till Eberle decided to stop licencing the North name and launched Duotone; it was a high-risk move. Despite doubters, the German-Austrian company now sells more kites and boards than ever before. Duotone was able to expand its position as market leader right off the bat. We met Till Eberle in Tarifa to sum up what the past year has been like, how Duotone succeeded in their launch, and what he thinks of the new North Kiteboarding.

When your Duotone bomb exploded in spring 2018, there were many doubters; in particular on social media. What do you want to tell the critics today? Till Eberle: Maybe time is winning? No, to be honest, I have nothing to say to them. Can you briefly explain what this litigation is about? Till Eberle: Put simply, they do not agree with us that we have launched a new brand with Duotone. They are of the opinion that we could not have done that. Our legal advisory board, in turn, sees things differently and says we can do that. There is no infinite contract and every relationship is terminable. That’s what it’s all about. Why did the launch of Duotone exceed the expectations of many industry experts, maybe even your own? Till Eberle: There are, I think, several reasons. We already had a good run before. We have retained the product names and the products themselves. One has to say: kiting is a crazy little sport, there are maybe 300,000 active kiters worldwide. And apparently for many people, the product and the experience of our company were more important than the brand name stamped on it. We have always said, “if you marry and accept a new name, you are still the same person.” And many customers have joined us. The second topic, which plays in there, is that maybe one of the other competitors has weakened a bit. Be it financial difficulties that I believe are now resolved, or other reasons. That played a bit in the cards and was not to be expected. I suppose, and that was our secret hope that a new brand could be very attractive and attract customers. We have a big overlap among our customers, many customers have joined Duotone and a few new ones have been added. The whole brand has also become a bit younger and more emotional. That was also our goal: we did not want to do the same thing again, but we knew that we wanted to position ourselves differently for the future. And that seems to have worked relatively well.

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TRADE SECRETS: Duotone’s Till Eberle Not a lot of brand CEO's rip this hard!

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ARE YOU SATISFIED WITH THE PROGRESS OF THE PAST YEAR? Till Eberle: I am absolutely stoked. It went better than expected. It could have been really bad, but at the same time I had the small hope it could run really well. All in all, I am really satisfied. The only pity is that we are in a lawsuit with the guys (Oakley Capital, license holder of the North Kiteboarding brand), which is probably annoying for both sides.

Will Duotone be well received in all markets around the world, or will individual countries have problems? Till Eberle: The first half of the year went equally well globally, around December or January. At first these were the early adopters. They found the new brand sexy, that’s why we worked hard with marketing. By March it was a bit quieter. As far as I know, however, that was not only the case with us, but similar in the overall market. For example, in Europe we had a lot of snow. In Germany, we are almost 15 per cent above the previous year. France is also very strong. Overall in Europe, where we have our roots, things went really well. At the moment we are slightly behind in America and have lost some points. That is normal. Precisely because we are a European company, we can play better here than in other regions. Besides, the American customer is more conservative. If you had to make such a decision again, would you do it again? Till Eberle: I would do it again. During the first two months when I made this decision, although I have discussed it with many people, in the end I am the boss of our company and must answer for it, both to the shareholder and to my employees. There are many people involved and of course I did not want to risk the company. But nobody could predict what would happen. The risk was definitely there. Once you’re inside the tunnel and you’re running, it’s just going to be more forward anyway. It was so much work and so much stuff to move; to be honest, it was a great time! It was tough for the whole team, but they all worked really well together. Maybe one can compare this to sailing: you are sitting in a boat together, you are in a stormy sea and very close out of control. But if everyone sticks together and you end up seeing what comes out, it’s really fun. You told me last year you would have taken the step, to be able to operate more freely in the brand design and possibly to revive new, or even old business areas. I’ve recently seen somewhere that you want to release snowboards? Till Eberle: No, that was a joke. It was not from us. But the joke has succeeded. After all, you are not the only one who has gone to pieces. How do you perceive the activities of North Kiteboarding? Is it strange for you to observe what others are doing with your old brand? In your presentations, I felt that you avoided the name North wherever possible. Till Eberle: Sure, at the very beginning, you’re thinking it feels like someone else is sleeping with your wife. But at some point you get over it. It takes a little getting used to, so they are now committed to being market leaders and leading all innovations as theirs. That may be true for the brand name, but not for the specific products, for the team behind them, or for the team riders or any other content that ultimately

makes up a brand. But of course I can understand their play as well, I probably would have done the same in their shoes. I do not take that too personally. We are a small industry and the guys like Klaus Warkentin or Mike Raper mostly come from Cabrinha, are okay, have experience and are sure to do well. Whether a copy-andpaste strategy is effective, I cannot judge. But sure, they have the brand name right now and somehow have to pretend they did what we used to do. So we decided that we should do our own thing. Duotone should not be a copy of North from the start, but we want to go our own ways and evolve. We try to re-position the brand on the emotional side, both in terms of brand values and content. And if you look at our language, be it what we communicate about graphics or content or which team riders are with us, then that is quite successful. Last question about a current trend: surf wings; will that be the big new thing or is it a nice gimmick you like to sell? Till Eberle: I cannot tell you. But you’ve produced a bunch of wings? Till Eberle: You might have to go back there. It’s a bit of a hassle to say who really got that topic moving, and it’s fair to say that Slingshot worked in that direction a few years ago. I like to give them the credit, but they shot down the project then. Before that, we had even played around with the topic for the SUP area, but that did not work. Then at some point we saw the Slingshot guys play around with it and Ken Winner (Duotone’s kite designer) has put a lot of energy into the project in the last two years. At first, this was a small, illegitimate child. Eventually, however, the thing was leaked and created an insane virality. That was about the end of January. Then we thought, “there’s no such thing as interest in it!” Suddenly, others approached us, such as Raphael Salles from F-One and asked us how we would assess the potential. What’s interesting? Its got huge hype! We presented the Wing at the dealer meeting in Tenerife in April to see how exciting it was. From then on it went around. It developed a competition of the brands to claim who had the wing surfer first. Naish took it in incredibly fast. You also have to be grateful to Robby, because he has a huge reach, and if he does something, that brings a lot of momentum throughout the story. He releases a video and the whole world talks about it. That was already the case with standup paddling, just as with kiting. To set trends, Robby is a power. Anyway, we currently have a lot of demand with our wings and lots of orders. Whether it will be the next big thing on which the wind sports community really jumps up, you have to see. Interestingly, we also have demand from the foil surf community. This is quite a big topic in Australia and America. It’s not a huge sport, it’s too technical for that, but I can imagine that in three-to-four years, around 50,000 foil wings will be sold each year.

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Sal Rei West.

A GOO D V I E W

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TEXT: CHRISTIAN “CHRIS“ BÖSCH- TEAM RIDER: CORE, CARVED, DAKINE, MOSES / PHOTOS: ROBERVANIA BÖSCH, CHRISTIAN BÖSCH

After a four-hour flight, I’m passing over the Canary Islands. Two hours later, the plane is in its final descent towards the island of Boa Vista. I’m looking forward to a month filled with tradewinds, white beaches, turquoise water, summer temperatures and the colourful Creole culture that’s brimming with joie de vivre. It’s my fourth time on the Cape Verde Islands, but until now, I haven’t spent much time on Boa. Until my wife Robervania and my daughter Luna can join me, I spend the first two weeks on my own. I booked the accommodation only for the first few nights, as I often do, so I can find a suitable apartment and/or hotel locally. Spending a part of the travels on your own and without all-inclusive organized tours gives you a much more authentic impression of the country and the people you meet. For nearly 20 years, I’ve travelled to kitesurfing spots around the globe. I made the conscious decision not to learn too much about the destinations beforehand so that my first impression is as unbiased as possible.

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LIOWA, rider Ulrich Frank, Biffi photo

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BOA VISTA The Cape Verde Islands are an archipelago of nine inhabited and a number of uninhabited islands of volcanic origin. They are located in the Atlantic Ocean, 1,500 km south of the Canary Islands and 500 km west of the coast of Senegal. The island Boa Vista is 31 km long, vaguely pentagonal in shape and its landscape consists mostly of rocky deserts and sand dunes. Apart from being known for its hot, arid climate and dusty, dry air, Boa Vista is also famous for 55 km of fabulous beaches and the crystal clear, turquoise LIOWA, rider Ulrich Frank, Biffi photo blue sea. The economy of Boa Vista once relied strongly on the mining and trade of salt. Nowadays, fishing and the island’s burgeoning tourism industry are the locals’ main sources of income. Boa Vista has a population of 12,000 people, of which approximately 8,000 live in the island’s capital of Sal Rei. Sal Rei has a range of accommodations, restaurants and cafés. Several grocery and souvenir shops, a hospital and two petrol stations are also part of the town’s infrastructure. The big town square invites you to a leisurely stroll and the beautiful, sheltered bay is perfect for swimming. All in all, Sal Rei is a lovely tourist destination. Numerous new apartment and hotel complexes are being built in Sal Rei and other places on the island. Santa Monica beach serves as a shocking example: 13 km of the 18 km beach have been sold to a Spanish hotel chain and the first massive hotel facility is already under construction. Unfortunately, construction work is also being done close to the beach near one of the kite spots with offshore wind, which won’t exactly improve the quality of the wind. KITING At the moment, there are nine water sports and kitesurfing stations on the island, seven of them on the Sal Rei beaches Praia do Estoril and Praia Carlota. The other two stations are located a little further south on the neighbouring beaches. Each station is equipped with a rescue boat, which is regularly called into action due to the offshore winds. There are no shallow water areas on Boa Vista, but the conditions are nonetheless good for learners. An instructor accompanies learners with a boat out to sea in offshore winds. This gives the learners a lot of time on the water and they have more than enough space and no obstacles to worry about. After a session, the learners are safely returned to the beach. Even experienced kiters do well to remember that you should never go out alone in offshore winds. Preferably, you should only kite in spots that have a rescue boat available. During my time on Boa Vista, 10 to 25 kiters were on the water at the same time at the main spot Praia Carlota. A few windsurfers were there as well, but they mostly stuck to the bay a little further west. That way, there was plenty of space on the water. The spots of Sal Rei are great, but there are many other intriguing kite spots to discover on the island. It would’ve been a pity to only kite in Sal Rei. Joining a group at a kite station might be your best option to get to the remote spots that are difficult to reach due to bad roads. Alternatively, you can hire a 4x4 pickup truck taxi with a local driver.

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English Reef.

Sal Rei square.

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Chris Bรถsch, Praia das Dunas, north (upwind) from Riu Hotel.


STATIONS IN SAL REI Planet Allsports 1 This windsurfing, surfing and stand-up paddling station is located at the southernmost end of Sal Rei, on the beach Praia do Estoril. The station is equipped with a wind gauge and webcam and the current wind and surf forecasts are posted on a board at the station. Need a good boat with power? They have the best. I wouldn’t recommend this section of the beach for kiting due to the gusty offshore wind, limited space on the beach and shallow water with a reef. The station is integrated into the restaurant Tortuga. Tip: You can get a delicious Caipirinha here, served in a clever glass with a lid. O Brasileiro As its name suggests, Attila, the likeable owner of this small diving, surfing and kiting station, is Brazilian. The diving season starts in March and lasts until the end of summer. This station at the beach Praia do Estoril is combined with the restaurant Toca da Garoupa, which is managed by Attila’s Italian wife. A friendly, familial ambience and tasty food await you here. Boa Vista Wind Club The Wind Club is the third water sports station on the beach Praia do Estoril and was the first one created on the island. Like the other two stations, it’s within walking distance from the town square of Sal Rei. The station offers kite storage for 12 Euros a day, which includes rescue and boat shuttle to the kiting beach Praia Carlota. Right next door to the station is the restaurant Alisios. Tip: The terrace of the Wind Club bar is the ideal place for having a drink with like-minded water sports enthusiasts at the end of the day. From there, you can also admire the sunset and the skimboarding action of the locals. Kitezone Bubista Behind the huge dune begins the beach Praia Carlota. In April 2019, the Agua Beach Club opened here, along with the kite station Kitezone Bubista. Just like in the other beach restaurants I’ve mentioned, the Agua Beach has beach chairs available for their guests to relax in. Planet Allsports 2 Apart from lessons, the well-organised station Planet Allsports 2, which opened in December 2018,

also provides kite storage and equipment rental. In front of the station, near the beach, is a reef with the remains of a shipwreck. Be careful of the reef at low tide, the water can get very shallow there. The station is integrated into the beautiful beach restaurant Bahia. In the stylishly furnished restaurant, Italian owners Valerio and Veronica serve fantastic food and coffee. If you’re there, you’ve got to try the delicious tuna tartar! Morabeza Kitesurfing The Cape Verdeans use the word “morabeza” to express their cordial hospitality. It conveys the friendliness and joie de vivre of the Cape Verdeans and their culture. You can reach Morabeza Kitesurfing in 20 minutes on foot from Sal Rei. From the Hotel Riu, it’s a 30-minute walk along the beach. I decided to store my kiting equipment here and went out onto the water. The cross-offshore winds are decidedly less gusty here than in the spots towards Sal Rei. On the water, further out in the bay, the trade winds blow more steadily. From Morabeza station southwards, there are no more reefs; the wings of your foilboard will thank you for that. The water conditions depend on the swell, just like in the rest of the bay. You can have superb flatwater, impressively tall and orderly waves or shore break. The Morabeza restaurant, where the kite school is housed, is also popular with families and nonkiters. In this sheltered oasis with its palm leaf roof and relaxed atmosphere, you can enjoy delicious meals and refreshing drinks. Here, you have the chance to truly live the Cape Verde motto: no stress.

City beach Sal Rei.

Prai Carlota, Station Kite Kriol, Kite Downwind Event.

Station Kite Kriol.

Kite Kriol This is the fourth kite station on the beach Praia Carlota. Thanks to the wide beach, free from obstacles and with few swimmers, you have an abundance of space to launch and land your kite. The school is led by locals, as you might have guessed from the name. They offer kitesurfing lessons in five languages, kiting trips with beach BBQ and wave clinics. In flatwater, the sea turtles bask in the sun near the water surface close to the shore. They can grow to a length of up to 1.2 metres! Keep an eye on the water surface while you’re kiting so you don’t accidentally hurt one of those beautiful animals.

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Kitebeach Praia Carlota.

Sal Rei.

WAVE SPOTS IN SAL REI Liowa This point break spot is located between the cargo port and the small island Ilhéu de Sal Rei. To get a good overview of the spot, you can check it out from the restaurant Casa do Pescador. The strong, clean right-hander wave reaches between 1 and 3 m and is best during rising water. The wind blows side-off to the wave and at low tide, the water is a good 2 m deep above the reef. Tras Djeu The spot Tras Djeu lies in the immediate vicinity to the southwestern part of the island Ilhéu de Sal Rei. With its offshore winds and the water less than 1 m deep at low tide, this spot is only for experts.

Iberostar, Bigwave-day.

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English Reef The challenging waves can get huge and heavy and form powerful tubes in this big wave spot south of the Ilhéu de Sal Rei. At low tide, the water is only 1.5 m deep, so to be safe, only come here with a boat as backup. By kite, you can reach these three spots in just a few minutes from the beaches Praia do Estoril and Praia Carlota. They are most enjoyable during northwest swells. As a side note there is a small beach on the Ilhéu de Sal Rei where you can take a break. You can visit the remains of a fortress that the Portuguese built in the 19th century to defend the island against pirate attacks. You can also kite around the island, but I would recommend that for a day without swell.


Chris Bรถsch at Iberostar.

Chris Bรถsch, north from Riu Hotel, background Sal Rei.

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FURTHER STATIONS AND SPOTS OF BOA VISTA Surf Vista/Riu Karamboa At the beach Praia das Dunas, near the Hotel Riu Karamboa, you’ll find the water sports station Surf Vista. It is managed by two Poles, who offer courses in surfing, kitesurfing and windsurfing as well as equipment rental. The northeast tradewinds blow side-off from the right. A good direction with respect to the wave, but the winds are slightly gusty as they come from across the land. The best kiting days are those when the wind blows more from the north so it comes steadily sideshore. Generally, the wave runs between the dune above the Riu Karamboa and the end of the Hotel Riu Palace. At the dune as well as at the end of the Riu Palace are huge reefs, but between them, you’ll be fine thanks to the sandy ocean floor. Especially during high tide, the waves break close to shore, which might result in intense shore break. In large northwest swell, the conditions are only suitable for experienced kiters; if there is little to no swell, the water might also stay flat. For twintip and foil kiters, I recommend kiting above the sand dune since you’ll have less or even no waves. In this section of the beach, the students of the kitesurfing school also train to land. An obstacle worth knowing about is the shipwreck that lies about 300 m outside of the sand dune. One of the wreck’s masts is always visible, but at low tide, you can see the bow and stern, too. The lagoon above the dune isn’t suitable for kiting at the moment. It is too shallow and the water quality is poor. The lagoon only fills during a high tide in combination with a big swell. The ideal event is when heavy rainfalls bring water from the mountains into the lagoon, so it opens towards the sea. All the dirty water is flushed out, the lagoon closes again and refills with clean water. Sadly, this last happened in 2015. But then, the lagoon was big enough that up to four kite teachers could hold their classes in there at the same time!

Ponta Antonia This kite bay, located in the north of the island, can be reached in 40 minutes by car. Depending on the wind force and tide level, you’ll find anything from small wind waves over choppy water to flat and shallow water in the bay. Outside the bay, there are bigger rolling waves. The wind blows steadily side-onshore from the left. Ponta Antonia is a great spot for twintip kiters, waveboard freestylers and beginners. The 500 m wide bay has enough space for about 15 kiters to engage in some relaxed kiting.

Boavista Kite / Iberostar “You can do what you like, but at your own risk”, was the station manager’s response when I asked about this spot’s conditions. He also said that the waves were too big; they couldn’t go out in the boats should somebody need help. Understandable, since the waves were massive, getting my heart pumping. With a healthy respect for the prevailing conditions, I went out onto the water and had an absolutely unforgettable session. The kite school Boavista Kite is located at the beach Praia Chaves, near the gorgeous Iberostar hotel complex, which is built on a slope. The beautiful, over 4 km long beach that spreads underneath the Iberostar is free from reefs and other obstacles. The wind blows steadily sideshore from the right. On some days, the conditions here get too rough for regular kiters due to extremely powerful waves. Those days call for a trip to another spot. For lessons, teachers often take the boats pretty far out to avoid the breaking waves. During huge tide and swell, you can kite in shallow lagoons that sometimes form on the beach.

Ervatao Ervatao is the kitesurfing beach farthest from Sal Rei. It takes about 1.5 hours to reach this spot by car. This awesome wave spot works during northeast swell and is one of the few spots on the island for goofy riders. The wind blows sideoff from the left and the clean, long left-hander waves allow you to surf several turns on the same wave. Close to shore, there is also an area of flatwater. If you get into trouble in this spot, you can use the prevailing wind direction to get safely to the other end of the bay.

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Shipwreck/Santa Maria Beach The second kite spot on the north coast is on the beach Santa Maria, where in 1968, the Spanish cargo ship Cabo Santa Maria ran aground. I recommend driving a few minutes along the coast because the beach near the shipwreck is small and rocky. Only 5 minutes further west, you’ll find a vast beach with constant onshore winds. Unfortunately, a lot of trash gets washed ashore here. Especially during low tide, this spot has big areas of flatwater between the waves running onto the beach. The enormous freestyle playground is fun to use with the twintip and waveboard. Be careful of the currents, though, they can get pretty strong. In the onshore wind spots on the north coast, the winds are gentler than in Sal Rei and in the south of the island. So plan your trips to Ponta Antonia and Santa Maria for high wind days. Varandinha At the southwestern tip of the island, you can find the wave spot Varandina. Like all spots on the west coast, this one works best during northwest swell. The winds are strongest in this part of the island. They usually blow steadily side-offshore from the right. But be careful: you are at the southwestern tip of Boa Vista and the winds blow offshore!


Ulrich Frank at Liowa.

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Chris Bösch at Iberostar.

DOWNWINDER AND EVENT Downwind enthusiasts will get their money’s worth on Boa Vista. A brilliant downwinder is the one going from Morabeza along the coast to Varandinha. If you take your time, you can kite the distance in about 1.5 hours. The route is great to surf with a waveboard or twintip. A little bit below the Hotel Riu Karamboa or the Iberostar, the winds blow sideshore and you can use the waves as kickers for massive bigairs. The drive back from Varandinha to Sal Rei in a pickup truck taxi takes 45 minutes and costs between 30 and 40 Euros. You can also take the short version of this downwinder to the Riu Karamboa or the Iberostar. Another interesting kite route runs from Santa Maria Beach downwind to Sal Rei (Praia Carlota).

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You best kite the downwinder together with a local kiter (organised through a kite school). They know the optimal conditions regarding wind and tide levels and can warn you of potential dangers like reefs. A real adventure for a good cause is the Downwind Week, which took place for the third time in February 2019. With daily downwind trips, the week’s highlight is the immense Kite Downwinder from the island Sal to Boa Vista. The 75 km downwinder takes about 3.5 hours and is accompanied by big boats. Visit www.kite4change.com for more information on the event.

TRAVEL INFO Wind The best kiting months with high chances of wind are December to April. Regarding wind reliability and strength, the season peaks in February. The tradewind’s direction varies from NNE to ENE, but generally comes from NE. The wind force is often at 25 knots and higher. The number of weak wind days is low. The most used kite sizes are 8-12 m with the twintip and 6-10 m with the foil or wave board. It’s up to you whether you want to pack a big kite for the few weak wind days.

Wave


With my daughter Souvenir shopping, Sal Rei.

The kite wave conditions are best from December to February. In March and particularly April, the frequency of swells decreases. In winter, the prevailing swell direction is northwest. It works on the entire west coast. If a northeast swell comes in, the waves run on the east coast. If the direction of the swell, period and height are right, world-class waves break on Boa Vista’s shores. The tidal range (height difference between low and high tide) on Boa Vista spans 1 m. If you prefer moderate conditions on swell days, the best time to go kiting is around low tide. Then, the waves break further out and there is less shore break. The best waves, qualitatively speaking, form during rising water. Accommodation Boa Vista offers a variety of accommodations in all price ranges. You can choose between rental apartments, bed & breakfast, a hotel in town or an all-inclusive resort. The easiest way to have an overview of the various Prai Carlota, Station Kite Kriol.

accommodations is to enter “Boa Vista hotel” into Google Maps. In Sal Rei, I recommend living in the southeast of the city. That way, you can walk to the kite spots. For two weeks, I lived in a small and neat apartment in the AHG Zodiaco situated in the town centre. I then moved to the apartment complex Estrela do Mar with my family. The swimming pool on the roof was out of service, unfortunately, as it is habitually closed for a few months at the beginning of February. For the last week of our stay, we treated ourselves to the luxury of the all-inclusive resort Hotel Riu Karamboa. After three weeks, it was a nice change to see lawns and foliage plants again. The Riu Karamboa, built directly at the beach, is a stark contrast to life in Sal Rei with its two pools, 850 rooms, four restaurants, kid’s club etc. This hotel is well-suited for a family kitesurfing holiday where everyone gets their money’s worth.

Carneval, Riu Hotel.

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Seven days with no wind in the Caribbean but Pippa Van Iersel still spent plenty of time in the water.

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Caribbean Cruising

with the Ladies

INTERVIEWS BY COLLEEN CARROLL / PHOTOS BY VINCENT BERGERON

A sequel to last year’s Sum of 5 project, the leading ladies of the Duotone freestyle team reunited in one of the most iconic kiteboarding regions of North America; the Caribbean. Drenched in turquoise and engulfed by luscious tropical backdrops, the crew sailed 500 kilometres in search of wind. Starting the trip in Martinique, part of the Antilles Island chain, the ladies scoped some epic places only accessible by boat that burst with potential to rival any of their favorite flatwater spots. Yet day after day, Hannah Whiteley, Francesca Bagnoli, Paula Novotna, Pippa Van Iersel and Colleen Carroll kept missing the one key ingredient that any kiteboarding trip just can’t go on without; wind. After almost a week of struggling to find anything more than a puff of wind, it was time to change plans and leave the enticing lagoons that speckled the eastern coastline.

Leaving Martinique was a tough call as the forecast was only marginally better in more southern waters meaning that the days spent sailing could all be in haste if things didn’t improve. The temptation of kiting at these relatively unknown spots, pulled at the curiosity of everyone onboard instilling hesitatation to pull anchor. However, without a solid breeze, they would never come to know their potential anyway. So they charted the route and headed south, bound for the Grenadines and the promise of stronger wind near Union Island. We had the chance to catch up with the ladies (and gentleman) on board the Caribbean Kite Cruise Catamaran and find out more about the potentially epic trip they had.

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Paula, tell us a little bit about what it’s like to be on a photoshoot cruising through the Caribbean with your team mates? Paula Novotna: It feels really nice to be on a catamaran with four other team mates, having a lot of fun and exploring the beautiful Caribbean. We didn’t have much wind in the beginning but that wasn’t such a bad thing because we got to explore and do fun things that we normally wouldn’t get the chance to do and we were able to spend more time out of the water together.

Did you ever end up getting wind? PN: The second week, we finally got wind. Kiting with all of these amazing girls feels so inspiring and motivating. Most importantly, it’s just so much fun to kite all together, push each other, help each other and enjoy this beautiful paradise. Francesca, this trip sounds like the dream. Tell us, what’s the catch? Francesca Bagnoli: We were planning to do the shoot in Martinique but there wasn’t any wind so we travelled down to Union Island more than an 18-hour sail for the chance of wind, which was a bit of a gamble. But it actually ended up being really good because we had the opportunity to see so many other islands where the nature was incredibly beautiful. So really, no, there isn’t a catch. Hannah, what’s it like for you traveling via boat? Hannah Whiteley: It’s a whole new experience coming to these islands on a boat as opposed to staying in a hotel. As a team, I feel it creates a stronger bond between us living together so closely. I love the perspective onboard, looking back at the land and also into the depths of the openness of the ocean. It brings such a sense of tranquility and freedom. Part of what makes an experience so good is the journey. I’m really enjoying discovering the Caribbean and sharing these special moments. It’s a beautiful part of the world. Vincent, is this your first time on a girls’ trip? How do you fit in with all the ladies? Vincent Bergeron: No, it’s not my first time on a girls’ trip but it is my first time really being alone without any other guys on the shoot (besides the captain) and it’s pretty easy. I’m stoked being with all the ladies. Despite everybody in my entourage back home telling me that it was going to be bad with lots of drama and hair pulling; this doesn’t happen. It’s a strong team; they know what they want

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and what they need to do and most of the time they listen to me. So boys, take notes from the women! Pippa, this is your very first official team photoshoot. How does it feel getting the chance to do such a trip and work on a project like this with your team mates? Pippa Van Iersel: To be honest, I didn’t expect it and I was positively surprised when Colleen called to ask if I would like to join the shoot on a catamaran in the Caribbean. She talked me through her ideas and how it would work, I heard what she said but at the same time I was already picturing the team shredding in magical places around the boat. I couldn’t get the smile off my face. I feel honored and especially grateful to get the chance to experience this with the team. I am proud to be part of this journey. So tell us, what was a highlight of the trip for you? PV: During the 18 hour sail to Union Island, we had a stop in Buccament at sunset. Hannah, Colleen and I went for a swim and spotted a cave along shore. After scoping it out and making sure there was an exit, we decided to swim through the cave. Right before entering we looked at each other, I could see a mix of fear and excitement in their eyes. I entered first followed by Colleen and then Hannah. The sound of bats scared me but I mostly had a wide smile on my face. There was a part where it got super narrow with a strong current and I couldn’t go forward anymore. The current dragged me forward and backward. I felt Colleen’s hand pushing me through this part. We both made it; Hannah got herself through by using the walls of the cave to hold on to when the current would drag her backwards. After we passed this point, we swam around the corner and saw the light coming from the other side. It felt unbelievable and special to experience this together. The feeling was indescribable.


The working cover photo for the ladies’ upcoming pop album they recorded while searching for wind...just kidding!

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Colleen Carroll feeling at home in the flatwater of Frigate Island.

Hannah, in addition to being an adventurous swimmer, you love to spend time in the water. How many hours do you think you spent swimming on this trip? HW: I think I feel drawn to the ocean, like I just want to spend as much time in the water whether it’s windy or not. Coming from the northwest of England, I never go to just swim in the sea because it’s cold and not so nice but with the turquoise of the Caribbean, how could you not want to spend every extra minute of the day in the water? It was also nice because, one by one every girl from the crew joined me on a swimming mission.

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Hannah Whitely back in the water after a minor head injury to start the trip.

Canouan Island.

Francesca and Colleen delirious for the third morning of 5 a.m. wake ups.

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Paula Novotna ecstatic to be back in the water after days spent chasing wind.

Anything, that got in the way of your laps? HW: I can’t explain why but for some reason I grabbed a shower cap from the hotel we stayed in the first night. This came in handy because the first day on the boat I split my head open and had to keep it dry for the next five days. This way, nothing could keep me out of the water! Tell us about your best session from the trip? CC: On our sail back up to Martinique, we got super lucky with the best wind direction we could have asked for and smashed our expected 18-22 hour sailing time, cutting it short by more than 5 hours. This meant that we were able to squeeze in one last session in Martinique before heading straight to the airport. We were still a bit restricted on time as sailing to the spot is a slow process so a few local kiters

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offered to pick us up and show us their favorite spot, Le Vauclin. They came first thing in the morning and even brought us chocolate croissants! When we got to the spot, the wind was perfect 11 metre conditions; the most power we had for the whole trip. The spot was flatwater with a gorgeous mangrove backdrop that connected to a rugged hillside spotted with cacti. The locals brought Vincent out on their boat so that he could shoot the session since the best flatwater was around the corner from the launch. All the girls were landing some of their best tricks of the trip and the local’s 12-year-old son, Elliot, joined us to show us the latest moves he’d been working on. For me, this ended the trip on a high note, going straight to the airport with wet hair, salty skin and a bit tired from a great morning on the water.


Colleen, any interesting boat stories to share? CC: I was sleeping in the forepeak, which means I have a pretty small cabin with two ways to get in and out. One way is by climbing over the bed that Vincent was sleeping in and the other is through the top hatch. At night, I would use the top hatch to get up and use the bathroom so that I wouldn’t have to climb over a snoozing Vincent. One night it was particularly dark and my eyes hadn’t adjusted but I continued to find my way to the back of the boat. One second I was standing on the deck and the next, I was half in Vincent’s cabin, dangling from my other leg that was caught by the deck. It knocked the wind out of me and scraped up my leg but the hardest part was actually not bursting out laughing. Even with all this ruckus, inches from Vincent’s face, he never woke up.

NEED TO KNOW POPULAR PORTS ARE:

WHAT’S IT COST?

Unions Island, St Lucia, St Vincent, Grenada, Barbados, Martinique.

$1550 for a one week cabin cruise .

GETTING THERE:

BEST TIME OF YEAR:

Union island has direct connections with the neighbouring islands of St-Vincent, Barbados and St-Lucia with the company SVG Air. Union island also has connections with Grenada.

November to July during the trade wind season. The strongest winds are from December to April. The most consistant month is June.

SKILL LEVEL: Beginners to Advanced riders.

HOW TO BOOK: caribbeankitecruise.com

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RISE Freeride

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WORDS BY TEST EDITOR SHANE THOMPSON PHOTOS BY DAVE MARSHALL The foil revolution continues to evolve and expand with an explosion of new, cutting edge, wing shapes, deck models, and redesigned mast and fuselage systems for 2020. The foil’s transformational reach is wide and spans across the multiple foiling sports of surfing, windsurfing, wakesurfing and SUP. Refinement of foil wing shapes and improvements in mast and fuselage connection technology has improved the smooth and stable lift and drive of the newest freeride foil designs. The newest surf-oriented foil designs are smooth cruising and stable designs that can keep hovering at ridiculously slow speeds. All the brands have developed modular frame platforms, so the same fuselage and multiple sized masts can be equipped with multiple wing sizes and shapes. The more experienced foilers are now putting multiple wings in their quiver which can alter lift, speed, and manoeuvrability to cater to different skill sets, riding conditions and kite foiling styles. The sheer number of foil models and their performance evolution reflect the expanding skills and evolving needs of the modern day foiler. Looking back, it’s hard to believe that just four years ago, very few kiteboarder’s had a foil board in their quiver. The first expansive freeride foil board test that Kitesurfing Magazine conducted was for the 2017 gear line. The first generation freeride foils had advantages for learning and developing the basic hovering skills over the speedy and more aggressive race style foils that started the kite foiling phenomenon. As foiling has exploded in surfing, stand-up paddle surfing and the windsurfing industries, these larger surface area, high lift foils, have proven to be ideal for learning and expanding kite foiling skills as well. Simply put, expanding carving and transition skills was made easier by the stable, slow cruising and easy carving surf wings whose origins were in the surf and SUP foiling designs. Able to lift and go with less power in your kite and their slow cruising performance makes learning to foil safer and less daunting and makes foiling accessible to even the less experienced kite flyers. There’s truly never been a better time to learn to kite foil or expand your foiling skills and hovering style with a new foil

system or an additional wing for your current assembly. The options are many and each kite brand offers their distinct feel, performance traits and different systems of assembly, connection, materials and construction. All the brands have a series of different sized wings which offer varying levels of low end lift, carving ability and access to speed. Essentially there are three categories of foils that have different performance characteristics in lift, speed and manoeuvrability. First there are the high performance, fast driving, and more kite specific wings. These smaller surface area wings under 600 square centimetres are best suited to more experienced foil skills as they can reach much higher speeds and allow the rider to handle a bit more kite power and pull. If boosting with a foil is your game then these smaller foils are definitely the ticket. More speed means bigger boosting potential and also carries you at speeds for higher wind and long distance cruising applications. On the other end of the freeride foil spectrum are the large surface area surf foil wings. These have proven to be the best for ultra- light winds and also learning the basics of foiling. These large surf wings can cruise at very slow speeds of under 12 miles per hour and need very little kite power to get up and hovering. Learning on a shorter mast, 50-to-70 centimetres is ideal with a jumbo foil, and you can also take them behind a boat or into some surf if you have a deck that is suitable to mount a foil for SUP or prone surfing. Finally there is the mid-size surf wings that still offer early lift and slower cruising performance but have more speed and upper wind range than the bigger, more surf specific or lightwind category of jumbo wings. The mid-sized wings are still surf style oriented, with nice carving ability at slow to moderate speeds, but they can handle more power and speed than the slower cruising jumbo surf wings and are more sporty and nimble at faster paces. These wings are ideal for all around freeride kite experiences as they offer the most well rounded performance and mix of early lift, stability and carving ability with easier access to moderately fast cruising speeds.

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RISE

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CATEGORY: Big Surf Wings; High-lift, lightwind masters, slower speed, ultra stable, learn to hover and carve, crossover performance for wake, SUP, wing and surf FOIL MODELS: Slingshot Infinity 76, North Sonar 1150, Cabrinha HI:RISE VARIAL Large , Duotone Spirit 1250, Slingshot Space Skate 65, Naish Jet Foil 1050, Progressive Tri Foil Learning to foil has never been easier with these larger crossover surf wings that grant early lift and extra stability for lightwind cruising and learning the basics of staying up on a foil and learning more technical transitions and carving. These are true crossover wings that can be used with or without a kite and have applications for any rider that wants to develop hovering skills in other foil disciplines of prone surfing, wakesurfing, SUP, wing-surfing or boardsailing. Behind a kite these big surf wings are in their element when it’s very light, sub-12 mile-per-hour winds with 11-to-13 metre inflatable kites. As well, many riders with more advanced kite skills are using this size and style of foil for catching sessions with smaller kites in moderate to higher wind speeds. In order to keep these types of foils more controlled, it’s important to keep the kite power and size lower than you would with a smaller, more speed oriented wing. Using a large foil like this with a kite that is 3-to-8 metres gives the rider enough power to get the foil up, but with the added manoeuvrability of the smaller kite and the ability to kill the pull entirely and just ride the foil. The Progressive Tri Foil encapsulates the multi-sport nature of this foil category by its very name. It’s designed for kite, wind and SUP. With a factory direct pricing model, the Tril Foil offers an ideal value to performance ratio, with all the required elements to get you hovering quickly, safely and easily. It’s a great all around design for the emerging, multi-disciplined foiler. The Tri Foil has smooth acceleration and reaches its lower cruising top end speed quickly. Stable and easy to carve, the downturned back stabilizer wing shape is one that a lot of brand’s second and third generation surf foil shapes have abandoned but the design is proven to give the foil nice turn initiation and a smooth carving feel through the back half of a carve. The largest wing set up of this group was the Cabrinha HI:RISE VARIAL Large which is suitable to learn to kite foil with, but its true calling may be in the surf. This is the largest wing of the Cabrinha HI:RISE series with a front wing at 1489 square centimetres. Although it might be a bit of overkill if you only kite with this wing, for those interested in expanding the foil experience in the surf, the HI:RISE L has great lift, stable glide and smooth carving with nice reaction to pumping forward momentum into the foil. The new lightweight construction of the HI:RISE wings and the wide fuselage connection system steps

up the Cabrinha game in the foil category in 2020. The HI:RISE series also has Medium and Small front wings available, which are better suited to higher winds and kite foiling at faster speeds. If you want to have a foil system for lightwind kiting and prone surfing, Cabrinha’s new Autopilot direction surfboard is a perfect shape that can kite strapless in ultra light winds but is also perfect for taking into the waves when the wind is down and there’s some swell to ride. The Slingshot Infinity 76 is back for its second season and its smooth and easy carving drive has made it a popular model to learn on. This is really the multisport magician with performance that taps into any foiling discipline from kite to surf, wake, wind or wing. It’s a foil that generates a lot of lift and will load up with front foot pressure when it reaches top speed. One of the smoothest carving of the group. The unique shaping of the front wing, and its smooth drive and stable lift have set the bar for the ultimate crossover performance for any discipline of foiling. The Slingshot Hoverglide aluminum frame is the longest standing modular set up out there, so even if you tried to get into foiling on a smaller freeride wing as far back as 2017, you can upgrade to any of the newest Slingshot wings and expand your skill set into the waves or beyond. Also in this group from Slingshot, the Space Skate 65 wing which comes in the Slingshot’s FKite package, and it’s the one set up they recommend for learning to foil. The Space Skate 65 is true to its name and offers the most ‘skatey’ feel of this group, with faster reacting edge to edge turning. It was originally designed to provide quicker and more reactive turning on smaller waves, but this performance trait also translates to more intuitive turn initiation and tight radius arcs behind the kite. Tough choice between the two Slingshot foils in this group as both are excellent first time foil set ups. The Slingshot foils all have a similar feel across the line, with slightly more front foot pressure build which gives the amazing low end drive and allows the rider to really push hard into the carves and turns like a hard biting bottom turn on a surfboard. The new Jet Foil Series from Naish represents an evolution in foil wing shape and design replacing the popular Thrust Series from last season. Naish kept the smooth driving riding feel and easy cruising nature of the Thrust Series as well as the convenient one bolt foil attachment plate system called the Abracadabra. The new Naish series of foil wings, are called the Jet Foil

and are again one of the smoothest riding foils of the group. The Jet Foil 1050 is a great size to learn on and for a slower cruising and easy carving ride. Compared to similar sized foils, the Jet Foil has nice all-around performance that’s smooth and reliable. Good comfort on a rail and nice upwind and downwind stability, the new Jet Foil wings are more streamlined and stable and carry their momentum nicely through the turns. The bottom mounted, angled downturned stabilizer wing from last season’s Thrust series has been replaced with a top mounted wing with upturned winglets. This design of stabilizer wing is better suited for kite foiling as the older design with angled down wingtips had some durability issues, especially when kiting in shallower areas where the chances of a brief bottom scrape are greater. Two of the newest foil set ups come from Duotone Kiteboarding and the new North brand with the North Sonar and the Duotone Spirit series of wings. Both of these multi wing modular foil systems emerge in this category with some stand out performance that rivals the established foil producing brands that have dominated this category. They both adopted intelligently engineered fuselage-to-mast connections systems that have improved the rigidity in their frames. The North Sonar 1150 has a distinct feel with its shorter fuselage and a wing combo that offers more back foot driving performance and tight carving turns. The shorter fuselage has its advantages in this sense, with the only drawback of being slightly more sensitive in the lift or drop. The Duotone Spirit Surf 1250 is the largest wing of the series and is perfect for strapless light wind foiling. This was one of the smoothest carving foils in the group, with comfortable control at both ends of its speed range. The Duotone Spirit foils also come with a series of shims which change the angle of attack of the rear stabilizer wing. This gives this, large, multi use foil better kite foiling applications as you can reduce the lift and increase straight line speed with one reverse angle shim. Overall, combine one of these jumbo wings with the right kite set up and you can capitalize on winds from 7-to-10 miles per hour and if you keep the kite size down you can continue cruising right into 20 miles per hour and up. If you are learning to foil, or are a heavier weight rider, these wings are ideal. They will get you out on the water and hovering around in just a few sessions.

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CABRINHA

DUOTONE SPIRIT SURF 1250

DUOTONE SPIRIT CARVE 950

The Spirit Surf 1250 is the largest of the four sizes in the Duotone foil range and caters to the rider that wants to cruise strapless in light winds and have a foil that works equally as well behind a kite or in other surf, SUP or wake foil disciplines. So in addition to being an easy foil to learn with in light winds, with the right kite this a great foil system if you want to get into surf or wake. Both the Spirit 950 and 1250 have similar drive and feel, but the larger surf wing has quickly accessible lift and more pumping power at low speeds. The 1650 is actually easy to plane and is smooth and intuitive with natural front foot driving at speed. There are no jitters but it tops out much faster than the 950 with less top end speed. While the lift increases and speed decreases the acute reactivity and smooth carving nature of the 1650 never subsides. It’s also more stable at slower speeds and stays on a foil at a slightly slower pace. The Spirit Surf remains controlled and feels well balanced through the turns. Having the abiltity to stay on a foil and the added stability of the large wing makes it easy to learn transitions, ride toe side and get comfortable with kite skills and foil skills at slower speeds. The short fuselage length combined with the finely tuned wing set ups, also give the Sonar more back foot directed carving ability. Many kiters that have learned to kite on a larger surf foil will need to adapt to a foil feel that has drastically different weighting of front versus back foot. Each foil has its sweet spot and that spot can also change at different speed levels or other forces being exerted on the submerged craft under your feet.

The Spirit Carve 950 was smooth and comfortable, and it’s the right size for a big range of wind and speed levels that really offers the ideal performance behind a kite. The Duotone foil program for 2020 features the new Spirit Series foil range with four new carbon wings and widened aluminum mast and fuselage system. Easy to use with more performance, a modular system with multiple wing sizes, the Spirit series easily rises to the new industry benchmark. The Spirit foils are easy to assemble and come in a nicely padded and zippered travel bag. Solid connections at all point, Spirit foil systems use two different sized stainless steel bolts for assembly with supplied Allen keys. The Carve 950 is the mid-sized wing designed for easy lift, moderate speed generation and smooth carving. Perfect for learning and advancing skills, the test team riders gave high praise to the easy carving feel and smooth riding character of this foil. Plenty of speed and no hang ups when it’s pushed to its top end, the Carve 950 keeps a nice balance between front and back foot at speed. For riders that want plenty of lift in light winds, or for riding at slower speeds with smaller kites, the Carve 950 is big enough to work in light winds but not so large that it loses performance with more power and speed.

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MID-SIZE SURF WINGS: All Around Kite Foiling Slingshot Apollo 60, Duotone Spirit Carve 950, North Sonar 850, Eleveight HCS, Duotone Spirit Carve 950, F-One ICS 850, F-One Mirage 650,

DUOTONE FREE 4’1”X18 ¼” The Duotone Free Foil deck has a simple low profile design with a compact outline and durable twintip style construction. The Free comes with a four point, fixed connection point for any standard foil four bolt base plates. Foot straps and inserts are included with three or two strap set ups. Overall this deck performas well for kite foiling with both the Spirit Carve and Spirit Surf wings. There’s plenty of early planing ability with wide and flat surface area and the thin rails make it light and easy to manoeuvre the board into position for water starts. The Free is designed with more thickness and stiffness through the flat section at the tail and mid-section. The nose scoops up slightly as the deck thins out past the front foot section. It’s stiff enough to keep things reactive underfoot but there’s a bit more dampening and bend if pumped hard on the front foot compared to thicker foam core, epoxy wrapped constructions. The Free also features a unique, cork-rubber top sheet that provides good comfort and grip for strapless riding. These thin decks are a bit harder to spot on the water if the foil gets away from you and some riders felt the rubber deck felt stiffer than some of the more cushioning EVA foam pads. Others test riders didn’t notice any drawbacks and preferred the low profile and solid grip of the cork rubber blend. Overall the Free matches the solid and accessible performance of the new Duotone Spirit system.

For any kiter that has learned the basics of kite foiling on the first or second generation freeride kite wings, these mid-size surf wings are ideal for advancing foiling skills in light to moderate winds. They have slightly less ultra-light wind performance in sub-10 mile per hour winds, but offer advantages in the upper wind range and have more manoeuvrability at faster paces. The Slinghshot Apollo is the perfect example of this next generation, mid-sized wing. A favourite in this test, the Apollo shows how the evolution of wing shape has driven all around freeride and surf style performance to new levels. For example the Apollo can cruise at very low speed and has low wind threshholds close to the larger surf wing, but it has a top end speed that exceeds some of the original kite specific freeride wings that many learned on in the early generations. Like many of the Slingshot wings it has more front foot pressure at moderate speeds, but its front lift does even out as it reaches its very top end speed and still lets you stay in control and check the power and speed of the kite much better than the larger Slingshot surf wings of the first group. Similar performance from the North Sonar 850 and Duotone Spirit Carve 850 also support this performance trend. The Duotone Spirit Carve 850 was smooth riding and very stable with quick, slippery performance upwind and down. Having a slightly smaller wing like this lets the rider come into the transitions with more speed and angled drive and also lets the rider carve harder into the turn. The hardest carving foil of the group goes to the North Sonar 850. The Sonar Series has the shortest fuselage of the group and rides with more even or back foot pressure focused lift. This could be helpful for kiteboarders that are just getting into foiling as the more back foot pressure ride is more akin to standard kiteboarding on surface riding boards. Also tagging into this subgroup the Eleveight HCS Performance foil. This foil cruises at slower speed and was very easy to rail from edge to edge. That’s one of the nice things about having a smaller, mid-sized wing like this. It really lets you carve from edge to edge at higher speeds but if you want to angle it out and push it to higher speed limits you don’t have to fight back the extra lift and drive of a larger winged foil. The Eleveight HCS Performance foil is a perfect example of this as it offers easy and stable lift at the low end but with turns and carve from edge to edge with amazing ease and fluidity. Eleveight took their time to develop a foil system that would work for everyone from beginner to advanced, and they dialed it with this system. The F-One 850 also offers a similar ride to the Duotone Spirit Carve, with some of the smoothest acceleration and maybe even more stability at slower speeds than the Duotone or the North Sonar or Eleveight HCS. The F-One aluminum framed system is also one of the lightest aluminum frame set ups and has the same modular capability as all of these set ups. F-One has their foil program dialed and the 850 is a great choice for learning to kite foil on a modular system you can never outgrow. F-One also sent us the smallest performance wing of the group in the 650 Mirage. This wing is smooth and fast, but doesn’t have the light wind lift offered by the other models in this group. Having this size wing is ideal for the rider that wants to push speed limits up and also get into boosting with their foil. Smaller foil front wings are better for jumping because when you come down for a landing there’s less surface area to enter the water, so you can come down with more speed and still stick the landing without getting bucked off. Overall, every foil system in this group shows the evolution of this quickly evolving, kite discipline. The intelligent engineering and fine tuned designs are driving performance to new levels. If you’re a kiteboarder that hasn’t learned to foil yet, the only question should be where you want to start and how far you want to go. The equipment is here to take you to the next level.

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CABRINHA

THE DOUBLE AGENT SIZE: 145 X 58 CM

CABRINHA HI:RISE VARIAL L Cabrinha steps up its foil game in 2020 with the new HI:RISE VARIAL series that offers universal performance for any skill level that wants access to foiling in the surf. These are high lift, smooth cruising designs that feature loose and reactive carving and can cross into any foil discipline from surf to SUP, wake to wing or light wind kite foiling. Cabrinha’s new construction keeps things light and stiff with the new wings made of Paulownia wood core and durable basalt fibers. The tail wing is also adjustable forward or aft for tuning the foil for more carvability or straight line tracking. The new wide nosed fuselage is more streamlined and provides a really solid connection to the front wing. The test team rode the HI:RISE Large which had the largest surface area of any front wing in the test and was a test favourite for ultra light winds. On a surf foil with tons of lift like this, it’s key to ensure you don’t have too much kite power and lift, in fact just enough to pull yourself out of the water with a hard dive of the kite is best. With extra lift from a surf oriented foil like this, you can pump yourself onto a plane and work the kite for power when you need it. Super smooth carving from edge to edge, the HI:RISE is ideal for any rider that wants a versatile foil to learn to foil in lighter winds and advance their skills in the surf.

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Back again this season the Double Agent is a foil board that can also be ridden in skim board mode behind the kite. It matches nicely with the new HI:RISE series of high lift and smooth riding foils. Built in a wood construction, the Double Agent comes with a nice thick full EVA deck pad which os comfortable and provides nice grip under your feet. Fairly light, the board is a great size for travelling with. The thinner deck make it easy to tip the rail into the water for strapless water starts but there’s not as much float for touch downs as some of the larger sandwich shapes. The double agent has a little flip in the nose of the board which helps prevent it from pearling on touch downs when you come off a foil. In essence the Double Agent is great all around size that has just enough surface area for the beginner but is small enough to not get in your way as you progress to strapless freeriding. It also has center line or three foot strap inserts so you can dial it in for some jumping or strapped cruising. The Double Agent is also equipped with some small fins so you can pull it behind a boat or kite with some added grip for kiting or wakeboarding. A great set up to have for learning new foil skills with back up duty for skim and wake styles.


ELEVEIGHT

ELEVEIGHT HCS PERFORMANCE FREERIDE 860 Eleveight’s HCS Performance Freeride foil is designed for accessible performance for a broad range of rider skill levels. Its design focus is for easy cruising at top level speeds with a fluid, loose carving, feel. The HCS comes standard with an 85 centimetre aluminum mast and a fuselage system that’s constructed from an anodized aero grade alloy making it both durable, fairly light and more corrosive resistant. The test team gave Eleveight top marks for the easy assembly of the HCS which also comes in a slim padded travel bag. Smaller mast sizes are also available for learning and cruising in shallower water. The torx head, marine grade hardware ensures nice connection and long life of the bolt heads. The HCS front wing is lightweight, stiff and reactive with carbon reinforcements in strategic areas. The solid connecting back wing is built of G10 for durability and ultimate stiffness. With the front wing of 65 centimetres and a surface area of 860 square centimetres, this was one of the smaller and faster riding foils in this year’s test grouping. Although not as quick to lift as the larger surf oriented wings, the HCS has some excellent early planing power and doesn’t lose its carving feel at higher speeds. It’s a stable and smooth riding foil in a straight line and builds confidence to push some extra speed into it without feeling like the foil is going to levitate out of the water as you push speed into it. Unlike a larger, slow powering wing, the HCS offers access to slippery speed and more control with a powered up kite. Impressive reaction to rider input and quick turn initiation and tight pivots are definitely the highlights of the HCS. This is a great foil for the aggressive beginner or intermediate that wants a well thought out foil system and performance that goes beyond just cruising and carving in lighter winds. For more ultra-light wing capability or learning at slightly slower paces, the HCS+ system with 65 centimetre mast and a sized up 120 square centimetre wing is also an option from Eleveight. Overall, Eleveight offers a well thought out, and nicely engineered system that pairs nicely with their new one strut foil kite, also tested in this round.

ELEVEIGHT CARVAIR PERFORMANCE FREERIDE 4’3” Eleveight’s freeride foil board is the ultimate control station for their HCS and HCS+ foil system. This thin profile, twintip constructed deck is packed with a ton of amazing features that make it one of the best foil decks of this design type. The construction ensures the ultimate durability with a Paulownia wood core and ABS sidewalls and lots of reinforcements around the inserts. Carbon stringers also keep the deck nice and stiff and the extra scoop in the nose ensure you don’t bury it on touch downs. The dual density EVA foam deck pad also has a nice combination of cushioned feel and grip. The Carvair also has an adjustable track system as the foil bolts mount through the top of the board in the slot track system. A lot of boards like this just have a single mounting system with only fixed inserts in the bottom of the board. Having the ability to adjust the foil position is ideal for anyone learning or if you like to ride straps, as you can tune the desired amount of lift and front and back foot balance of the foil underfoot. Great deck for any level rider and a compact shape that makes it easy to travel with and store. kitesurfingmag.com

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NORTH

NORTH SONAR 850 The new North Sonar series features a fully modular, aluminum framed system, with three carbon wing sizes. Intelligently engineered, the Sonar system has smart and easy assembly on a single hex head bolt size. The aluminum mast and fuselage system also have a solid connection point North calls, Geolock. This ensures more efficient transfer of load into the mast form the fuselage making the whole set up more reactive to rider input. The Sonar 850 is the more kite specific all around freeride wing in the size range and with less drag it offers impressive control and smooth carving at the full range of speed. The 850 was one of the fastest in the entire test with the ability to stay controlled at higher straight line speed and also initiate and complete tight radius turns and smooth powdery carves. The 850 was also surprisingly easy to get up and going even in the lighter winds where larger foils work more efficiently. Despite being slightly smaller than the surf style wings the 850’s ability to pump and pop up on a plane, and keep afloat at slower paces was surprisingly impressive. The Sonar has a shorter length fuselage which seems to lend to its ability to drive some tighter radius turns. Great foil as skills advance and foil riders become comfortable with more speed.

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NORTH SONAR 1150 The new North Sonar foil system has solid performance characteristics within a modular set up with three wings that offer different levels of lift, speed and manoeuvrability but with a similar feel. The Sonar foil wings are suitable to any skill level or riding style. The set up features an aluminum mast and fuselage with nicely finished, carbon constructed, front and back wings. The Sonar 1150 is the second largest surf foil wing, and has lots of low end power and early lift. For light wind or smaller kites and slower riding, or carving and just general cruising performance, the Sonar 1150 checks all the boxes. It has the same feel as the 850 but with nice floaty lift over top end speed. Perfect for light wind sessions or heavier riders though, where extra lift and planing power is key. The Sonar 1150 also drives on a foil with more equal foot pressure making it a balanced and stable ride and maybe more familiar to standard kiteboarding with slightly more driving and steering from the back foot versus the front. Compared to similar foil designs from F-One and Duotone, the North Sonar has a shorter fuselage. This translates to tighter radius turns with snappier back foot finishes that advanced riders can have some fun with. For experienced foil riders that are used to a foil that is more front foot lift oriented, it might take a few sessions to dial in. Overall, the North Sonar 1150 is a great foil for any level rider that wants a foil with low stall.


NORTH SCOOP 120 CM

NORTH SENSE 135X47 CM The North Sense is a foil deck designed for amazing value and ease of use and easy travel. Built in the twintip style construction with a stiff Paulownia wood core, the Sense features a nice foam padded deck with lots of width and a large flat section for foot work. Easy for set up with a fixed base plate mounting inserts, the Sense works in good unison with the Sonar Foil system wings that we tested. The thin ABS sidewalls are durable and its size and thinness minimize space consumption in your board bag for air travel. Having a thin twintip style deck like this makes tipping the foil on edge for strapless waterstarts effortless. Roll it over and go, the grippy foam deck and wide surface of the Sense ensure the set up pops up in the lightest of winds. Great deck for any rider that wants to learn the ropes and beyond. There’s enough flip in the nose to limit burying it on touch downs, and the flat surface area underfoot pushes plenty of water. More flex in the deck and a flat deck make these style of boards slightly less reactive to rider input and pumping, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing when learning the basics of foil riding. The foam padding on the top sheet is nice and thick on the Sense which makes it nice and comfortable while the corduroy texture provides excellent grip. The Sense also has footstrap inserts for three or two strap set ups. Overall, the Sense and Sonar combo work were well liked by the all test riders and was a go to with the Sonar 1050.

The North Scoop nicely compliments the reactive performance of the Sonar foil system with its lightweight construction and concave deck. True to its name, the Scoop has lots of flip in the nose which ensures you don’t bury it when touching down off the foil. The EPS foam core is wrapped with an epoxy construction that’s both light and stiff. It ensures quick feedback to and from the rider and makes the board more sensitive for carving and pumping. The Scoop has some aggressive concave on the top deck along with a nicely padded and corduroy texture foam grip. Test riders were impressed with the compact shape and the comfortable and reactive ride of the Scoop and Sonar combo. The combination gives this board amazing reactivity and much admired, comfort and grip. Having the concave in a foil deck has some key performance benefits both above and below the water. As mentioned the foil reacts quicker to input, and also feels more comfortable driving the foil hard into carves or on a speed run when you are heeled out over the foil. The Scoop 120 also comes equipped with a track mounting system. This is ideal for riders that want to ride straps or for learning in general, as you can tune the correct lift and foot pressure into the foil by moving it forward or back. The Scoop is a great board for the foil boarder that has the basics down and wants to take it to the next level. kitesurfingmag.com

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PROGRESSIVE TRI FOIL 1161 The Progressive Tri Foil set up offers some great value and easy to access freeride foil performance, across disciplines. The set up keeps things simple with an easy to assemble package that uses single Allen key to mount the well built, carbon constructed wings. The 60 centimtre aluminum fuselage is a great all around size for starting a foil. The Progessive Tri Foil can also be ordered with a tuttle configuration. Last year we tested a larger version of the Progressive Tri Foil that was great for low powered, or light wind foiling. The thicker profile and larger surface area created a lot of lift, and granted a slower travel speed with more application for SUP and surf over full on kite foiling. This year’s Tri Foil system has been redesigned and is offered in three sizes of front wings With 1160 square centimetres of surface area the Tri Foil 180 is a great all around size for light wind kiting. It was a step up for the foiling applications as it offers some more slippery speed and quicker turn initiation and tighter carving turns. Great for light winds but also offers some decent speed and smoother acceleration than the larger models in the range.

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PROGRESSIVE RISER 4’X18”X 2.9” Designed for all around kite foiling, the Progressive Riser is a great size for the aggressive beginner to learn with and never outgrow. With just enough volume to keep from sinking when you come off a foil, the Riser also has a double concave vee nose which helps deflect and soften landings. With just the right amount of thickness turned up rails and a wider surface area through the nose, the Riser guarantees early planing but doesn’t feel too big and bulky or have too much swing weight to distract the rider from the foil reactivity. Great all around set up with a nice EVA foam deck and foot strap inserts for an inline or three strap set up. The Riser also features a track mounting system that works with any standard plate mount and ensures the proper positioning of the foil to customize the tuning and lift from the foil beneath it. This is a great deck to take your foiling to the next level.


NAISH SURF JET FOIL 1050 For 2020 Naish has launched the new Jet Foil series which includes eight new carbon front wings, and a new stabilizer wing system. The Jef Foil replaces the popular Thrust series from last season which was a test favorite for its easy cruising and smooth carving performance. The single bolt mounting plate system Naish calls the Abracadabra was also an industry exclusive feature that’s back again with some design refinements and a single thumb screw assembly. It’s the ultimate for getting on the water quickly. Although for 2020 the aluminum fuselage and mast system have changed slightly, the new front wings work on the same mounting pattern, so if you have last season’s Naish Thrust, you can easily upgrade to the new Jet Foil set up. The back stabilizer wing system has also been redesigned and a mounting conversion kit is available for the 2019 fuselage as well. The Surf Jet 1050 wing is the smallest in the surf series, and has crossover applications for kite, windsurf, wake and surf. Test riders were impressed with the quick lift, nice stability and smooth acceleration with intuitive balance between front and back foot. With a thinner profile and a refined delta wing shaping, the Jet Foil 1050 is slightly faster and looser from edge to edge than last season’s Thrust Surf. This is a great wing shape to learn with and progress your foil skills. Great for the beginner, the Jet Foil 1050 is a perfect choice for the less experienced riders who want to expand into a more surf oriented style of foiling. It has plenty of low end power for light wing kiting but won’t feel too large and over lifting if you want to push some more speed into the turns. The Jet Series is also nice and reactive to pumping and carving as the new stabilizer fin and front wings work together for a more balanced and smooth carving feel. The Surf Jet Foil 1050 is a great choice for kite foilers that want to advance their carving and transitional prowess and the modular set up makes it an ideal choice for any foil application from kite to surf, behind the boat or with a wing or sail. The Jet Foil package also includes a nice padded carry bag, wing covers and a torque driver tool for assembly.

NAISH HOVER 127X45.8X3.8 CM Naish has six different foil decks to choose from in their Hover series of boards and the 127 is the second to smallest and a sweet shape for the more advanced level riders. Riding with a smaller board like this makes it easier for water starting without straps as the thin, and in this case, nicely rounded rail, sink into water easily when the board is tipped on its side at take off. The Hover 127 is a minimalist design that is constructed using a CNC, closed cell foam and wrapped in their new lightweight Durafinish construction. Nimble but not tiny, this deck was one of the favourites of the group for its overall size, feel and compact shape. The deck is comfortable and the overall stiffness makes it nicely reactive to rider input. The ten inch track system also lets any rider tune their foil mount position, for the preferred amount of lift and foot pressure. The small amounts of flip in the nose reduce the chance of nose catches when coming off a foil. Great for travelling with its small and thin design it won’t take up as much a space in your board bag. kitesurfingmag.com

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SLINGSHOT HOVER GLIDE FSURF INFINITY 76 CM The Slingshot FSurf Infinity 76 is back again for 2020 and continues to be one of the most versatile, multi-discipline foil models of the extensive Hover Glide foil series. It features a large surface area with lots of lift for light wind foiling and low speed carving with less low speed stall and quick and stable pumping power. The unique inverted gull wing shape also promotes reactive turning and more control at a surprisingly comfortable top end speed of 26 miles per hour. This is a great set up for beginnners to learn the basics with its great stability, smooth acceleration and easy handling. The Infinity 76 drives on an angled upwind edge with plenty of power and is a comfortable cruiser at moderate speeds. Downwind, the Infinity Slingshot drives smoothly and carries lots of lift and has been a leader in the foil revolution with their modular Hover series in its fourth generation. They have a full gamut of wings for surf, SUP, wing, windsurfing and kite foiling that are interchangeable on the Hover Glide. For 2020 Slingshot has added a few new wing set ups to their range but the Infininity Surf continues as one of the true maverick’s of multi-disciplined foil riding. The Infinity 76 has an amazing amount of lift and is ideal for light wind foiling or riding with less power in your kite. Often when kiting with a larger surf wing, too much kite power can cause the foil to get too much lift and speed, causing loss of control, so it’s important to keep the kite size down if you’re foiling in more more than 12-to-15 mile per hour winds. For lighter weight riders or more performance in heavier winds and more kite power, there is an Inifiity 65 available or check out the review of the new Apollo wing in this issue. This is well suited for learning to foil or advancing transitional and foil carving skills.

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SLINGSHOT HOVER GLIDE FKITE PACKAGE: SPACE SKATE 65 Getting into foiling is made easy with the Hover Glide FKite Package and the Space Skate 65 wing. The Hover Glide platform isa fully modular system that is compatible with the comprehensive range of different wings that Slingshot has available not only for kite, but for wake, SUP and surf foiling. The new kite package from Slingshot comes complete with a nicely padded travel bag and neoprene wing covers, and includes a 70 centimetre mast, an aluminum fuselage, with carbon composite front and rear wings. The Hover Glide system is very robust, with stiff and very solid aluminum fuselage and mast system that’s built to last and enables you to build a quiver of different Slingshot foil wings that can cater to different performance demands required for various disciplines, conditions and skill levels. It’s a bit heavier than some of the other aluminum set ups but once up and foiling weight is not a huge performance factor. The Space Skate 65 has been one of the most popular wing set up s to learn to kite with because of its unique design and riding characteristics. It’s very stable and quick to lift and stays on a foil at very slow speeds. At the same time it doesn’t feel like it has as much drag or locked steering as some larger surf foils. The unique wing shape, with its double dihedral curvature gives the Space Skate 65 some quick turn initiation throughout its speed range. Any kiteboarder looking to get into foiling can’t go wrong with the Slingshot Hover Glide FKite package with its great lift and easy handling. Look for the Space Skate to get you into foiling. It’s also useable for SUP, surf or wake disciplines if the wind is down or you want to get you buddies hovering behind the boat.


SLINGSHOT HOVER GLIDE W/ APOLLO 60 The Apollo 60 centimetre wing is one of the exciting new wings that have been added to the Slingshot’s Hover Glide Foil series for 2020. Based on the same wing shape as Slingshot’s, all carbon, Ghost Whisperer 633 wing, the Apollo blends efficient lift and slow speed carving with higher levels of speed than most surf oriented foils. Designed as an evolution of the Infinity Surf series of wings, the Apollo is slimmed and sized down, for the kite foilier that wants a bit more speed and control with more loaded kite power and drive. At the same time the Apollo has very early lift and can foil in very light winds. It only loses out to the larger surf wings in sub-10 mile per hour winds for early planing power. The performance of the Apollo 60 centimetre is ideal for both learning the basics but is a shape that has the speed and performance that you will never grow tired of. In fact, this wing is as fast as many of the early generation freeride kite foils that have much less surface area and lift and lacked the stability at slower speeds for learning transitions and carving waves. Test team riders were impressed by the smooth carving and comfortable quickness of the Apollo. It is very stable with quick and smooth acceleration. The Apollo drives comfortably with good amounts of front foot pressure during take off or when driving hard. The Hover Glide series is completely modular and comes on the same reliable platform as previous years. So any rider that got into foiling three years ago when the options were limited, can upgrade to any of Slingshot’s highly evolved wings. The Apollo’s easy crusing and stable riding nature, combined with the quick acceleration and good top end speed, make it a top choice for intermediate riders looking to push their skills to the next level.

SLINGSHOT DWARFCRAFT 3’6”

SLINGSHOT DWARFCRAFT 4’6”

The Dwarfcraft 3’6” is a short and compact performance shape that’s ideal for intermediate to advanced riders. For strapless riders having a shorter length and smaller outline is essential to keep the swing weight down and the foil more responsive to rider input. The 3’6” blends the benefit of lower volume and smaller outline but keeps some thickness which adds float and stability that can help less advanced foilers develop skills and stay upright when you come down off a foil. Compared to similar outlines that are thinner with less volume, the Dwarfcraft 3’6” has more float and a nice flip nose that can keep you from submerging and help bounce you back up on a foil during touch downs. For the less experienced foiler, that has dialed in the basics, moving to a smaller deck will enhance the responsiveness and carving from wingtip to wingtip. The Dwarfcraft 3’6” is also equipped with a track system so any level of rider can tune their preferred level of lift and associated foot versus back foot pressure. For riding with straps or learning the basics, having this ability is key. For 2020 all of Slingshot’s foil decks are covered with a new corduroy textured, EVA foam deck pad that is ultra-comfortable and also provides amazing grip for dancing around on the deck during transitions. Great for strapless riding the Dwarfcraft’s sensitivity to rider input is also enhanced with the subtle concave shape on the top deck. The thinned-out, angled rails also help to sink the foil onto its sides for strapless water starts or getting into the straps or foot hooks. The Dwarfcraft 3’6” is also available in a thinned out micro version that features the same outline but with a much thinner profile. Overall, the Dwarfcraft 3’6” is a great dedicated foil deck that will never be outgrown. It has the perfect blend of features to help riders transition into more advanced levels of foiling.

The Slingshot Dwarfcraft 4’6” has great performance features to help riders both learn and advance their foil skills from the basic to intermediate and beyond. Unlike the thin and flat decked, twintip style deck, the thicker, sandwich style construction of the Dwarfcraft allows for bottom and top deck shaping that’s more dynamic and compliments the input and the reactivity and response from the foil. It has enough volume and float to learn with but its not so large as to be cumbersome once skills progress. The nice scooped nose and thicker volume also assist the rider with more cushioned touch downs, greater stability when off a foil and greater control to pump back onto a foil. The top deck features a nice corduroy EVA foam pad and the deck itself has some subtle concave that adds to the overall reactivity, comfort and responsive feel. The bottom also features a track mounting system that is essential for learning to foil or when riding with foot straps as it allows the rider to tune the desired lift and front and back foot balance that guides the lift from the wings underfoot. The rails on the Dwarfcraft bottom are also angled and thinned out which make it easier to tip the foil on its edge for waterstarts. This is an all around freeride foil deck that’s suitable for any level of rider, has enough volume and float to learn and progress with, but is still compact enough to not feel cumbersome as skills progress.

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F-ONE MIRAGE 650 The Mirage series from F-One comes in three sizes and we rode the smallest of the group, the 650 which was insanely smooth and quick. Mounted on the same aluminum mast and fuselage system as the ICS 850, the Mirage front wings are built of prepreg carbon, making them very light, stiff and reactive. The F-One system is completely modular giving you access to the full of range of F-One’s extensive foil wing lineup. Their aluminum mast and fuselage system is one of the most technically intricate with slightly more assembly and a nice stiffness and weight compared to some of the aluminum frames. The Mirage was definitely the fastest and highest performance wing at high speeds of the test. The smaller surface area combined with the flat section turns kite power into smooth acceleration and great control at higher speeds than the more surf oriented foils. Not as quick to plane with the smaller front wing, but it still will get you ripping around with more kite power and greater control and carvability at more exciting speeds. The Mirage is not a straight line race foil though, as it offers smooth and reactive, edge to edge, carving. It’s a design that gives the more advanced rider reactive carving at a faster pace. You can rip into your transitions with good control and if you like to boost with your foil this is a great choice. Overall, with the full carbon wing the Mirage 650 was one of the lightest foil set ups in the test. If you are an experienced rider looking to take it from the slower paced surf wings to a faster wing with more performance the Mirage 650 is a great choice.

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F-ONE IC6 850 F-One has been fully invested in the foil revolution since the beginning and has developed an extensive range of high performance foil wings for kite, surf, SUP, windsurf and wing foiling. Their extruded aluminum mast and fuselage system, stands as one of the lightest aluminum set ups in the test and its precision CNC assembly adds excellent structure and stiffness. Stiffness through the connection points and hi flexion zones means better input transfer and more instant feedback from the carbon wings. Having a modular system like this is ideal for the full range of conditions and foil styles, as the front wings can be quickly swapped out with a single long rod that bolt through the nose of the front wing. The IC6 850 wing is made from F-One’s exclusive injected carbon technology, which has carbon-like stiffness but offers much more durability and ding resistance. Everything about the F-One foil is designed for optimum performance with the freeride foil experience in mind. The ICS 850 feels very solid underfoot and with stable lift it accelerates with smooth deliberation. It was one of the most comfortable foils to push lots of speed into and reacts quickly to rider input for carving turns. It is a nice foil to carve long drawn edge to edge turns at comfortably fast speeds. Although it has access and stays in control at a good pace, the IC6 850 also has plenty of lift to carry you through slower turns and keeps lifting in light winds making its overall wind range one of the best of the test. The IC6 850 is an all around freeride kite wing that is easy and intuitive to use and has access to plenty of speed with great control. The size and lift of the IC6 strikes a nice balance between low end lift and easy foiling at slower speeds, with nice access to smooth and controlled power both upwind and down. A great choice if you want a foil to never outgrow and an amazing modular system that you can add wings to as your foil disciplins expand along with your skill level.


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BIG AIR KITES

IMPROVE WORDS BY TEST EDITOR SHANE THOMPSON PHOTOS BY DAVE MARSHAL

The big air category of kites continues to grow in 2020 with more brands offering new kite models designed to jump big and hang in the air for long distances. Jumping is truly at the heart of kiteboarding and today’s big boosting kite designs are making it easier and safer to boost huge than ever before. All of these new big air kite models are more user friendly than they were in the past and this can help build rider confidence to jump big and stay in the air. The smooth pull and power delivery, high levels of range and depower, easy water relaunch and their direct feel and responsiveness, all combine to give the rider confidence to send the kite and soar for long distances. These big air kites provide top levels of control through gusts and in their upper wind range, they inspire the rider’s confidence to build speed, load up the lines and trigger the biggest lift possible. Their direct feel and feedback and quick response to turn also ensure the rider can bring the kite back to the right position for a soft landing. There are some key differences in shape and feel of these big boosting brethren and some distinct design features that may attract certain riders to one over the other. In this head to head showdown, the Kitesurfing Magazine test team put these 12 metre and 9 metre big air models to the test in some epic conditions in Cape Hatteras, NC.

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STRATOSPHERIC MASTERY High Performance Freeride Five Strut Kites: North Orbit, Core Starship XR6, Duotone Rebel, Ozone Edge Most kites that are designed to jump big are framed with five struts and feature more powerful canopy shapes with a flatter section through the middle. This gives them great low end power, and efficient lift and hang time. The extra struts give the kite more structure and keep the power smooth and driving through the extra load exerted on the kites in full and overpowered conditions. There were four models that had a similar overall feel and performance that are worth noting for a closer comparison. All of these four legends are stratospheric boosting machines that provide the most efficient lift and hang time and they also share similar design features. They have medium to higher aspect ratio canopy shapes and are user friendly for the intermediate or even beginner. With their highly evolved bridles and leading edge sweep, these kites offer quick water relaunch, easy to find depower and great wind range with solid stability that holds up through gusts and overpowered conditions. The Core XR6 in its sixth evolution, has been the workhorse of the Core lineup and this kite is arguably the most user friendly, five strut big jumping kite ever made. It makes jumping easy for any skill level. To jump with XR6 simply sheet in, pull on the back hand and the kite lifts and drifts for great distances. Our less experienced, big jumping test members love this kite for its power and user friendly nature. This year many test members felt the XR6 had a more direct feel with less lag in turn initiation than its previous versions. It also has the most efficient low end power of the group which makes it great for beginners that have a harder time finding and feathering the kite to get the right power. The Orbit and the Rebel are not far behind for low end power but up their game in turn initiation and nice smooth power and pull through their loops. The Rebel has also evolved to be more user friendly with lighter touch steering in the newest model and a slightly more fluid and reactive feel over the others. This is a kite that may be the best jumping kite when driven fast and in the right hands. The Rebel’s smooth and fast pull speed and its ability to push hard and retain its reactive steering may be closely matched only by the Ozone Edge. Both these kites are the most efficient and speedy, upwind drivers. The Edge feels the most slippery and fast pulling with its race oriented nature and the narrowest diameter leading edge. It also may have the lightest touch steering and quickest pivotal turns of the group as well as the most instant shut off and depower. The North Orbit has the smoothest arcing turns with the most buttery pull and controllable power through the loop and its performance keeps delivering in the upper end wind range with its smooth and controlled power delivery. Through gusts and turbulent conditions the Orbit’s canopy remains rock solid, and the quick turn initiation and

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smooth power through the loops is impressive. In the hands of the more advanced the Orbit’s jump, hang time and control may be unmatched. In conclusion, the less advanced skill levels will love the low end power of the XR6 and it is a kite you can learn on and never outgrow. It also has the most tunable performance with its multiple attachment points and bridle settings. The Rebel and the Orbit have the smoothest pull through their turns and the most direct feel. The Rebel offers some of the most direct drive and its precision and performance keeps getting better the harder it’s driven. The Rebel also adds some superior stability in underpowered riding and could be used behind a foil or in the waves. The Orbit has the smoothest driving power and the most consistent and smooth pull through its loop. Finally, the Edge was the fastest pulling kite with the best upwind drive, lightest touch steering and the quickest pivotal turns. Progressive Boost and Easy Handling Cabrinha AV8 versus the Slingshot Raptor These two models have big jumping and hang time performance that’s comparable to the first grouping, but distinguish themselves for their own unique character and feel. Both have a five strut frame and flat central canopy that give them amazing boost and glide and some smooth and easy power delivery. The Cabrinha AV8 is perhaps the most unique big boosting model of the entire group with its familiar Cabrinha bow kite feel, and the great low end power and lightweight efficiency. Both the AV8 and Raptor V1 are very smooth pulling kites with amazing range in the upper end and have more of a central pivot versus the sweeping and pulling turns of the first group. They smooth out turbulent wind and keep things controlled as the rider tracks hard for more speed. These two kites may have slightly less aggressive upward boost as some in the first group but offer enhanced control in overpowered conditions. They deliver some of the best hang time of the group with their wider leading edge arc and flat canopy section. The AV8 sits more forward in the window than the Raptor V1 and it pulls smoothly with moderate amounts of bar pressure and some nice pivotal turns. It’s more efficient in light air and has the best applications for foil cruising with its smooth downwind pull. Both of these kites are also very easy to jump and provide the rider with excellent amount of control through a huge range. Jumps get bigger the faster you go and the windier it gets, so having a kite that stays controlled and manoeuvrable when under more load is essential. While the AV8 has a bit more low end power, the Raptor V1 keeps things controlled and stable in the upper wind range and keeps delivering the controlled handling and massive glide even when the kite has got loads of power. It also has tight pivotal turns that don’t produce the pull through the sweep of its turn. Very smooth through gusts, the Raptor V1 is a kite you can set and forget as it keeps driving through heavy gusts. If you want

a big jumping kite that also doubles as your light wind foil kite, Cabrinha’s AV8 is the answer. For true big air and hang time performance that gives you the most control and confidence to send it when the wind is pumping, the Slingshot Raptor is the best of the entire group.

All Terrain: Three Strut Jumping Legends Naish Pivot and the Eleveight RS The final pairing in this big air showdown is the Naish Pivot and the Eleveight RS. Both feature three struts that frame their hybrid canopy shape, and so predictably, both of them deliver a similar style of performance and feel. They lack the wider arced, flat section and the bow style trailing edge, like many of the other five strut designs in the test, so their overall horizontal hang glider ability is not as formidable. The Pivot and RS are still great jumping kites however, and offer some additional sporty performance and precision handling. The Pivot and RS may take some more coaxing and slightly more precise timing and speed to get the biggest loft and glide out of them, but in the right hands they can boost huge. They have the precision steering and intuitive and reactive control with smooth pull through their loops for soft landings. Both the Pivot and the RS also offer very light touch steering with direct feedback and great low end power. These all terrain masters have more adaptable flying performance for waves and foiling than the heavier and five strut canopies of the other sub groups with the exception of the AV8. The Pivot has proven its jumping prowess with two King of the Air wins in the past two seasons and its handling in the air after big jumps is smooth and reactive. It might have a slight edge over the RS in its overall hang time ability but they are very close. Once you are accustomed to the Pivot’s feel, it has the uncanny ability to react quickly to rider input and offers stable lift and pivot for soft landings. The Eleveight is even more similar to the Pivot in 2020 with its new stiffened frame that matches the Pivot’s quick response time. Where the Eleveight RS design has an edge is in the adjustable bridle settings, which can alter the pivot point of the kite turn. This allows the discerning rider to tune some more sweep and pull into the turn of the RS, which can increase the power and lift on take-off, giving more forward thrust through the kite loop. Intermediate to advanced level riders that want a bit more well-rounded performance but also a kite that offers exciting jumping and more sporty handling should consider the RS or the Pivot. They both offer the least compromise in performance across disciplines and can truly adapt to any session from boosting to the moon off wave kickers, slashing waves at your local break or cruising on a new freeride foil.


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CABRINHA AV8

ELEVEIGHT RS V3

SIZES TESTED (M): 11 / SIZES AVAILABLE(M): 9, 11, 14 CONTROL BAR: AV8 1X TRIMLITE

SIZES TESTED (M): 9, 12 / SIZES AVAILABLE (M): 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, 17 CONTROL BAR: CS VARY BAR

SYNOPSIS Big range, smooth and controlled power delivery with lots of easy boost and extra hang time and glide.

SYNOPSIS A true Jack-of-all-trades kite, the RS V3 has precise handling, aggressive boost, is smooth and quick turning with adaptable performance across disciplines.

THE GOOD STUFF The AV8 is a unique design in the Cabrinha lineup that features a lightweight five strut frame with a flat and powerful, bow shaped canopy. Good low end power delivery with a big sweet spot you can park and ride this kite with its smooth pull. Lots of depower can quickly smooth out the gusts and pull by sheeting out the bar. It handles very well in underpowered mode with even balance, drift and high levels of efficiency. It can boost big, and it’s also ideal for riding today’s freeride foils. Stable and controlled with good low end power the AV8 drives upwind smoothly while also offering nice floating and downwind pull. It’s unique in this sense, as not many big air kites are as stellar for foiling in light winds with their heavier five strut frames. The AV8’s got more lightweight efficiency, pulls smoothly and is very stable with less tendency for back stalling than the higher aspect, big boosting kites. When Cabrinha introduced the revolutionary bow kite, named the Crossbow, it started a new era of kite design and controllable depower. The bow kite became loved by so many for its ability to boost and glide long distance without the extra skills or that perfect timing required by the four and five line C style kites of the time. The AV8 follows this design philosophy and keeps things consistent with that legendary Cabrinha feel that sucks up gusts and keeps the rider in control while loading up for a big boost. TRADE OFF Not as nimble and light touch steering as some would prefer but has the performance combo that many freeriders look for. BEST FOR The freerider that wants extra hang time in an easy boosting kite that they can also be used behind their new foil set up.

THE GOOD STUFF The 2020 Eleveight RS V3 shows the refinement of a mature design that keeps getting better. Light and crisp, the RS has a delta shape canopy that’s framed with three struts. Designated as the freeride cross over kite in the Eleveight lineup, the RS has well rounded performance for anything you throw at it. Last season, Eleveight introduced X4 Technoforce canopy material that stiffened the canopy and enhanced power delivery and handling. For 2020 new material in the leading edge and a new bridle arrangement has improved the crisp handling and made the kite even more playful and precise. The RS is designed around a three strut platform and features a delta hybrid canopy shaping which is a classic and proven design shape for well-rounded performance. The RS feels light, crisp and solid in the air and offers quick steering and turn initiation and solid and direct feedback from the kite. This kite also has good low end power and the light weight design features let the RS excel in light air for some light wind foil sessions. The RS is also surprisingly easy to boost and offers great hang time. It holds its own against some of the top big boosting kites of the test. Also new for 2020 the adjustable bridle system can alter the way the RS turns from more pivot oriented ahead in the window. In the air the RS has easy to access power and offers smooth pull and can perform more drawn out turns that have some nice smooth pull, but also responds to more aggressive rider input. This is a kite that can be flown aggressively and it rewards the rider with smooth and predictable steering and even pull. Nice evolution in performance with new materials and bridle tweaks, the Eleveight RS is a great choice for the multi-disciplined, freeride junkie that wants a kite that sacrifices little and delivers performance. TRADE OFF Not as much hang time or float as some of the more flat canopied five strut designs, but more sporty handling and versatile for performance across disciplines. BEST FOR The intermediate to advanced level rider that wants adaptable performance across disciplines.

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OZONE EDGE V10

NAISH PIVOT

SIZES TESTED (M): 9, 11 / SIZES AVAILABLE(M): 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, / CONTROL BAR: CONTACT WATER V

SIZES TESTED (M): 9, 12 / SIZES AVAILABLE(M): 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 ,10, 11, 12 ,14 CONTROL BAR: TORQUE ATB

SYNOPSIS A decade of legendary freeride and race performance with big boosting and fast pull speed, this kite slips upwind and has optimum control in the upper wind range.

SYNOPSIS Back-to-back winner of the Red Bull’s King of the Air, the Pivot jumps huge with smooth power and hang time, plus it’s easy to fly and can handle almost any kite discipline.

THE GOOD STUFF The Ozone Edge V10 has been a performance leader for over a decade and provides the rider with a kite that gives exciting boost but also remains nimble and reactive at high speed and full power. It’s designed with a longer and narrower shape with a flat central canopy and supportive, five strut frame. Built for high speed action and smooth turning performance, the Edge V10 delivers on its promises for pulling fast, boosting big and offering great control and exceptional performance in the upper wind range. It was one of the kites in the category that had some of the lightest touch steering and fastest turn initiation with smooth and progressive pull through the arcing turns. Having a little lift and drive through the turn is great for helicopter looping your kite when coming down for big landings and the Edge V10 does this admirably. Boosting big jumps also requires speed and the Edge has quick pull speed that increases with each notch of added wind power. It also has some very progressive depower that comes on easily at arm’s length. This helps to swallow up the gusts and keep the rider in control and driving the Edge to the max speed and big air. The Edge has a narrow leading edge which helps it slip through the air with great speed and also lets the Edge rip upwind which is another great performance trait for a big boosting kite where you’re always fighting to get back upwind after some big jumps.

TRADE OFF Not as much low end power as some of the other big air kites, but the handling and upwind drive more than make up for it.

THE GOOD STUFF The Naish Pivot has emerged as a big jumping legend over the past couple of seasons but it’s much more than just a big air kite. Its hybrid delta shape with a light three strut frame features swept but widened wingtips. New for 2020, the Pivot has some nice new tweaks with some new critical seams and panel shaping in the wingtips giving it even more precision steering and reactive performance. As well the new inflation system and flat valve give the Pivot some new style and better inflation functionality. The Pivot has been a performance leader in the freeride category for many years. It simply has very adaptable and easy handling that works in the waves, behind a foil or for almost any type of riding discipline. With its great low end power and efficiency and great range and depower, the Pivot is one of the few kites that any rider can grow their skills with riding on any board in their quiver. The Pivot has very direct feel, as well, with great feedback but light bar pressure. Turning is smooth, direct, quick and pivotal with just a bit of smooth pull through the loop. The lift when jumping is also smooth and pushes you to the stratosphere with the right speed and timing. It’s not necessarily a big air kite that’s just an easy sheet in and boost type ride, but enter with speed and the right timing and the Pivot will soar. The Pivot also has the amazing ability to get back to where it needs to be for soft landings. It’s a kite that can be way off axis and still respond quickly and zip itself across the top of the window to dive down letting the rider land softly. This is important as the hang time of the Pivot is amazing even though it doesn’t have the big flat canopy and five struts. The solid frame with high PSI inflation keeps its shape and performance at all times.

BEST FOR Intermediate to advanced level freeriders that want a big boosting kite that has specialized performance for going big and soaring long distances.

TRADE OFF If you are only strapless riding waves and don’t care to jump or freeride, the Pivot has more power and lift than some might care for. BEST FOR Intermediate to advanced level riders that want a freeride kite that can boost big but also has the power range and versatility for a wide range of conditions and riding disciplines. kitesurfingmag.com

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CORE STARSHIP XR6

DUOTONE REBEL

SIZES TESTED (M): 9, 12 SIZES AVAILABLE (M): 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13.5, 15LW, 17LW,19 LW, CONTROL BAR: SENSOR 2

SIZES TESTED (M): 9, 12 SIZES AVAILABLE (M): 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 ,13, 14,15 CONTROL BAR: CLICK BAR

SYNOPSIS A big air machine packed with performance, with easy to find power and lift, adaptable to all disciplines and skills, the XR6 feels more direct and responsive than ever.

SYNOPSIS A lighter feel and more fluid feel than ever, the newest Rebel offers aggressive drive and big boosting and hang time for the pedigree of rider that knows how to push the limits.

THE GOOD STUFF The Starship XR6 is the latest version of Core’s legendary model in its Universal+ series of kites. It’s designed to be adaptable to any riding discipline with its triple option bridle settings and wingtip attachments that can alter the depower and pivot style of the kite. The XR6 is a solid kite with a nice tight canopy and solid feel. The bigger sizes have lots of low end power and one thing’s for sure; most riders love the stratospheric jumps this kite can perform. Great low end power, superbly stable in the air, the XR6 has easy to find power and lift that comes alive when you sheet and go. This is another kite model anyone can learn with and never outgrow its performance or be ill equipped for any kite riding discipline. Some exclusive design technology in the bridle system and the bow delta hybrid canopy shape combine to assist in the XR6’s smooth power and pull, plentiful depower and soaring hang time. When the bar is sheeted in the bridles flatten the leading edge arc of the kite, giving extra lift and glide for bigger jumps and more power. Sheeting the kite out the kite rounds out and the kite becomes faster turning and more responsive to steering input. The only drawback in the past was that the larger sizes in particular had slightly less direct feel and a slight delay in the turn initiation. The newest XR6 however is more lively and reactive with better feedback and quick turn initiation. The XR6 has a quick and central pivotal turn radius and the smaller sizes can work well in the waves.

THE GOOD STUFF The Rebel is one of the longest standing freeride legends and continues as the big boosting, do-it-alll master of the in the formidable Duotone kite lineup. The Rebel has great low end and offers smooth control through gusts. It turns gusts into acceleration with fast pull speed and slick upwind drive. This year the Rebel has the direct drive it’s always been known for but with a slightly lighter, more crisp and fluid feel. With new panels and the elimination of Dacron on the trailing edge makes this year’s Rebel feel lighter and more efficient in the air. The Rebel has always been a great boosting kite with a fast pull speed and explosive lift and the newest incarnation is no exception. With the adaptive tips the Rebel can also alter the depower making it more accessible for the intermediate skill levels with more sheet in and go performance. Smooth power that drives forward with nice pull speed keeps handling well in the kite’s upper wind range. The Rebel performs best for jumps and hang time while fully powered and this kite can be pushed to the limits of the upper wind range. Nice smooth power through the sweeping turns helps the rider with honed skills, get that extra boost on take-off. The Rebel rewards timing and controlled speed and drive with giant lift and glide. More exciting speed, upwind drive and fast and reactive turning are key standout features of this new Rebel. The five strut canopy holds strong through massive gusts and the efficiency and upwind drive of the Rebel is best in class. For those that want extra hang time and glide for fun aerial manoeuvres the Rebel is in a league of its own.

TRADE OFF Less direct feel, or powered loops and turn speed than kites like the Core GTX that have less sweep through their wingtip. BEST FOR Any level of rider that wants easy sheet in and go performance with the easiest to find boost and glide of any kite ever built.

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TRADE OFF Not as light and reactive as some three strut kites but boosts and glides with rock solid stability in the upper range. BEST FOR Freeriders looking for a kite that can push the limits of boosting but is playful and reactive enough for foil cruising and almost any discipline of riding.


SLINGSHOT RAPTOR V1

NORTH ORBIT

SIZES TESTED (M): 9, 12 SIZES AVAILABLE (M): 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13.5, 15LW, 17LW,19 LW CONTROL BAR: SENSOR 2

SIZES TESTED (M): 9, 12 SIZES AVAILABLE (M): 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 11, 12, 14 CONTROL BAR: NAVIGATOR

SYNOPSIS A true hang time specialist, with the right combination of smooth pull, efficient range and predictable handling that lets any rider gain the confidence to load it up and jump big.

SYNOPSIS High end performance, big boosting machine, with ultra-smooth and predictable drive, fast and controllable speed, great upwind drive and buttery and consistent pull through the entire loop.

THE GOOD STUFF The Raptor V1 is one of the newest members of Slingshot’s revamped, refined and re-energized kite lineup for 2020. It features Slingshot’s exclusive open C canopy shape with a five strut frame that keeps it solid through the entire wind range. With ultra-smooth pull and moderate bar pressure the Raptor is easy to keep track of overhead as it sucks up the gusts and drive with nice smooth tension through all four flying lines. It has very smooth and controlled pull and easy power to find and control with low back stalling tendencies. The wide wingtips ensure you can initiate turns with good response and without the lag time of some more pinched win tip style kites. The Raptor’s turns are very pivotal, not aggressively quick but predictable and smooth. The pull is also nice, but not aggressive through the whole turn and the open arc of the kite. The Raptor’s flat central section, ensures it drives with easy to find power. It also keeps the kite aloft for good distances through the boost and rewards any skill level with some controlled hang time. This is a kite for great hang time and will help any level rider build the confidence to go big even when wind is gusty and less predictable. The leading edge right through to the wingtips is slightly larger which keeps the kite rock solid when under extreme load and ensures the same control and predictability when it’s in its upper wind range and you want to push the limits of big air. TRADE OFF Not as much low end power as some of the others but smooth and predictable response keeps the rider in control for boosting and gliding big in heart-pounding upper wind ranges.

THE GOOD STUFF The Orbit is the big jumping and big hang time freeride kite of the reinvented North Kiteboarding line. Designed with a solid, five strut frame, the Orbit was one of the smoothest and most reactive handling of the big air, five strut kites tested this round. It keeps its fine-tuned performance through its entire wind range. Direct and responsive steering with nice feedback but light bar pressure for turning, it pulls smoothly on the front lines and depowers nicely to smooth out the gusts. The Orbit has nice aggressive lift that is smooth on the way up and nicely controlled on the way down. Very impressive hang time and the smooth and consistent pull through the sweeping turns of the Orbit make it easy for the rider to direct the kite for soft landings from high altitudes. The Orbit also has great upwind drive, sits nicely forward in the window with consistent and quick pull speed that lets the rider stay in control and load up the lines for boosting to the stratosphere. Easy to find low end power with a nice big sweet spot, the Orbit was close to the more powerful kites of this group. Nice turn initiation and smooth and consistent pull through the entire sweeping turn of the kite give the Orbit an admirable combination of control and high end performance. Impressive first version of a kite design from the new North Kiteboarding brand, the Orbit will not disappoint anyone that likes to jump big and float for long distances.

BEST FOR One of the most user friendly of big air kites, the Raptor will suit any level of rider that wants a smooth pulling, big lofting kite that gives the rider confidence to send it and push the limits at high altitudes.

TRADE OFF In lighter winds, the Orbit can be more pitch sensitive combined with the heavier five strut frame this can cause more back stall for those riders with less skill. BEST FOR Intermediate to advanced level riders that want a high performance big air kite that loves high altitude jumps with butter smooth loops and quick and reactive steering.

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THE MAGIC OF THE FOIL 2020 SINGLE STRUT KITES WORDS BY TEST EDITOR SHANE THOMPSON PHOTOS BY DAVE MARSHALL

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Foiling is the kiteboarding industry’s youngest and fastest growing discipline. For 2020 there’s an explosion of new gear to help any kiter master the magic of the foil. Many brands have new single strut kites or tweaked and redesigned models that are now explicitly positioned as foil specific designs. These light and responsive kites enhance the foil riding experience, make it easier for beginners to learn and help those with more intermediate skills push their foiling game to the next level. It’s hard to believe that just four years ago very few kiteboarders were into foiling. Fast forward to 2020 and many kiteboarders have at least one foil specific kite in their quiver as well as an expanding number of different size and shape foil wings for different conditions and riding styles. There are a lot of valid reasons why a more foil specific kite is a good idea and the right investment to add to your quiver. At its heart the kite is the power and these models guarantee the most efficient foiling success and enhances the overall performance of your kite and foil set up. All these new kites have great low end power and deliver the handling characteristics unique to foiling, especially in very low wind conditions or when flying a kite size that would be considered traditionally underpowered. The most common foil sessions, especially in the initial stages, are done in the lighter winds from 8-to-15 miles per hour. This is the best wind range for advancing your foil hovering skills. If you have a kite that is designed and constructed to be ultra light weight and have the extra power and flying performance in these underpowered conditions, it really helps your foiling. The newest lineup of single strut and reduced weight kite models can initiate turns and have more sensitive levels of response even at super low levels of line tension. Low line tension and underpowered riding happens a lot when you’re foiling on the highly efficient, quick lifting foils of today. Foiling on the larger surface area freeride wings, most average weight riders can easily use a 10-to-12 meter kite and be riding with plenty of hovering power in and around 10 mile per hour winds. In 15 mile per hour winds on the same larger foil you could be using an 8 meter and be perfectly powered. The lighter the kite, the more efficient it’s power generation becomes. That translates into more power for pulling the rider and keeping on a foil. Lighter kites also stay afloat, while having more balanced drift with less stall. These single strut kites also water relaunch more efficiently as their light weight frames can easily lift and pivot off the leading edge and onto a wingtip or some can even reverse launch by pulling in the trailing edge with a tug of both steering lines. When on a foil and carving toward your kite the line tension to your bar can decrease very quickly and this can quickly negate your ability to steer or loop your kite back into the power. If you can’t steer your kite back into the power or carve away from the kite to power up the lines, the kite will fall from the sky. These lighter weight kites can initiate turns with lower

line tension and this allows the rider to keep the kite in the right position, giving the rider greater control and a better connection between the kite in the sky and the foil under your feet. In this round of head to head testing, the Kitesurfing Magazine test team was hard at work again in Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, taking sessions on the latest single strut and light wind models from all the industry’s top brands. The results are impressive with plenty of advancements in all around kite performance and handling from all of these highly refined foil magicians. Similar to their respective foil designs, all of these different models have comparable traits but they all have their own distinct feel and performance character. Here are some key takeaways in some head to head showdowns of the industry’s leading single strut models and reduced weight designs. Back again in 2020, the 2019 Naish Boxer SLK set the bar for low end power and ultra light wind performance in the single strut category. The Naish design has some exclusive features which may give it the advantage in the lowest end of its wind rage. It has a deep canopy shape and the central strut is actually floating, or more loosely attached to the underside of the kite canopy. This allows the Boxer SLK’s canopy to breathe and expand and give the kite amazing low end grunt and the unmatched ability to stay in the air in the lightest of conditions. The newest single strut designs from Core, Eleveight and Duotone were the models in the group that were very close to matching the Boxer SLK’s low end power and the quickness of their turning speed and turn initiation may have a slight edge over the Boxer SLK. But for smooth and controllable, low end power, light touch steering but with nice positive feedback, and the ability to stay afloat in the slightest of wind, the Boxer SLK keeps its edge. Almost equal in low end power but with more direct feedback provided through its wider wingtips and more central pivot, the new Mono is a solid performing single strut kite that has the tightest canopy that maintains its shape with less flutter through aggressive, quick pivotal turns. Totally redesigned for 2020, the new Mono has a more squared, lower aspect shape and its wide wingtips and high vee front line connections ensure slightly quicker turn initiation than the Boxer SLK. The Mono also drives with more equal front and back line tension, and turns with a slightly more central axis point than the Boxer SLK. The Mono has the most direct feedback of any kite of this group and its canopy is also one of the tightest and least fluttering when sheeted out or driving hard at the edge of the wind window. Both the Boxer SLK and the Mono take top marks for superb ease of use, with the best performance accessibility to lesser kite skills. The Boxer SLK for its superb stability and more instant depower and the Mono especially has very little tendency to back stall, both are key traits for anyone with slightly lesser kite skills and for learning to foil in lighter winds.

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Some of the newcomers for this 2020 season bring impressive new levels of performance and do a better job of blending some the high performance feel of a three strut kite with the light weight efficiency of a single strut kite. The Core XLITE, Eleveight OS and Ozone’s Alpha are all examples of these new generation of high performance, single strut designs. All three have solid performance characteristics within their lighter weight single strut frames. The Ozone Alpha has a compact canopy shape with nice squared off and wide wingtips, but it has lighter touch steering and fast pivotal turns that smoothly pull and initiate the turn instantly and finish it quickly. The solid, pulley free compact bridles, and swept C shape may have slightly less instant low end power than the Boxer SLK or the Mono, but the smooth and nimble pivots and fast reactivity of the Alpha is impressive. Anyone with some honed kite flying skills will be impressed with the familiar performance feel of this kite. The Alpha is one of the kites that would be ideal to travel with especially if you want it to double as a strapless surf kit. Eleveight also raises its foil game with the new OS model. Along with a new foil system the OS is slightly less technical to fly than the Alpha and it has impressive low end power and easy handling. The Eleveight has quick depower and removes forward pull with quicker efficiency than wider shaped single strut kites of the test. Both the Eleveight and the XLITE can have some aggressive canopy flutter when sheeted out and in the upper end of their wind range. They remain controllable and can still initiate turns however and the feedback is not as distracting as some earlier single strut versions. Having lots of depower is key for learning to foil as you need spill as much pull and power as possible when you don’t have the foil riding skills quite dialled. The Core XLITE set the bar as the lightest and most reactive steering of any kite in this test. The smaller models even fly off a super compact and shortened bar system which is a testament to how quickly and smoothly, with light touch steering the XLITE is. Perhaps the most unique shape and performance among the single strut design comes from Slingshot with their new foil design called the Ghost. This kite is a direct answer to the surf carving and strapless style of foil riding that many kiters are doing with larger surf foils. The ultra wide central canopy of the kite guarantees it will pivot off the water and relaunch very quickly without much effort. This kite has an extremely wide central canopy, flies farther back in the window and pulls smoothly while driving with more equal tension on both front power lines and back steering lines. The Ghosts turns quick as it rotates, with low amounts of forward pull and a central pivot that lets the rider change the direction of the kite without much pull through the harness. The test riders were most impressed with the performance of the 6 and 8 meter kites. Both had lots of power for their size and provided smooth, manageable pull and really nice drift as lines slacken with some carves and transitions. The shape and feel of the Ghost

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gives it some unique flying characteristics that can have some definite advantages especially for those that like riding on a high lift surf foil. There was one kite in this test that has avoided the elimination of struts and features most of the benefits of a single strut design without the drawbacks of a less solid canopy. The Ocean Rodeo Flite is the only light wind kite in the test that had three struts. It has the float, low end power and quick handling but maintains its quick pivotal turning and direct steering and input even through higher winds and gusts. Water relaunch was also surprisingly easy with seemingly little difference in light water relaunch ability over the single strut designs. This is a great choice for kiters that want a kite that’s excellent for foiling but will still hold up to twintip or directional board sessions. The Flite is also a great kite to boost airs with as its more high aspect canopy shape grants some nice glide and hang time. The only real drawback of the Flite is that the smallest size it comes in is a 12 meter. The Flite is a light wind kite that has been fine tuned over several generations of design, and it came about in the era before foiling, so there was never a need for smaller than a 12. Ocean Rodeo also has some exciting developments to look for in 2020 with their Allulah Project; a leading edge material which could take their three strut designs to new levels with kites that are thirty percent lighter than the current technology. In conclusion, there’s never been a better time to learn how to foil and take your kiteboarding abilities to the next level. Having the right kite will make your light wind sessions better and also enhance your foil riding experience. These latest, single strut and light weight designs have the power and handling that best suits the unique lift, effortless drive and smooth carving nature of today’s foils. If you are a beginner and looking for lots of low end power and ease of use, the Boxer SLK and the Duotone Mono are both standouts. They have different feels and turning styles, but both get the job done in light winds. The Eleveight OS, Core XLITE and Ozone Alpha have a more three strut feel, but with the decent low end and precision steering and fast pivots with a bit more flutter in the upper wind range. They are impressive for their excellent feedback, light touch steering and low line tension. They’ll suit the lesser skilled as well, but more advanced kite fliers are going to enjoy their high end performance and familiar feel. The Ghost is a niche design that’s in a category of its own. Easy and playful for the beginner with effortless water relaunch, the Ghost’s best applications are for riding strapless and using the smallest possible kite behind one of Slingshot’s smooth riding foils. Finally, Ocean Rodeo proves that it’s possible to have enough weight reduction to single strut designs within a three strut frame. Freeride kite foiling is still in its infancy and it sure is exciting to experience the evolution in both kite and foil designs. If you haven’t learned to foil yet, make 2020 your time to rise.


SLINGSHOT GHOST V.1

CORE XLITE

SIZES TESTED (M): 10 / SIZES AVAILABLE (M): 2.5, 4, 6, 8,10, 12, 15, 17 CONTROL SYSTEM: COMPSTICK GUARDIAN

SIZES TESTED (M): 12, 8 M / SIZES AVAILABLE (M): 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10,11,12 CONTROL BAR: SENSOR 2S PRO FOIL BAR

SYNOPSIS A round, playful and nimble performance, perfect for carving turns and transitions on the latest freeride foil designs.

SYNOPSIS A high performance foil kite, with lightning fast turns, light touch steering and amazing low end power.

THE GOOD STUFF The Ghost V1 is Slingshot’s answer to the single strut kite phenomenon that offers some unique design and handling characteristics to compliment today’s highly efficient and manoeuvrable surf style foils. Packed with exclusive Slingshot design features, the lightweight, single strut canopy has a compact swept C shape that gives the Ghost some very reactive handling, nice depower and easy water relaunch with its swept wingtip design. The Ghost is very wide through the centre and combined with the light weight and leading edge shape, it almost bounces off the water, rolls and re-launches. Power delivery is smooth and for a single strut frame there is less flutter when sheeted out fully than some of the other designs. Slingshot uses their stiffest proprietary canopy cloth. Combined with its round and wide shape the Ghost was one of the least fluttery, one strut kite in the group. It also sits back in the wind window and pulls with smooth power that doesn’t tug hard on your harness and pulls nicely. Turning speed is quick with a very central pivot that lets you change kite direction with a quick loop that has very little pull through the turn. It has more of a pivot and then drive type turn, which has it applications for riding smaller kites on the slower cruising and smooth carving foils. Slingshot also employs their IBS bridle system which uses a bungee on the bridles that help the kite engage while fully sheeted out. The smaller sizes also offer really nice balanced drift and float through the air. The power is easy to find with its low aspect shape and centrally pivoting turn style. The test team riders preferred the performance of the 8 and 6 meter kites over the larger 10 and 12 meter sizes. Also the lower aspect shape that sits back in the window allows the rider to etch out extra power even with a smaller kite size. The ability to change the kite’s direction instantly, with a low pull central pivot, makes it ideal for cruising on today’s smooth carving foils, especially with the lower speed, surf style foils that are becoming the most popular to learn and progress with.

THE GOOD STUFF The XLITE is the new foil specific kite from Core and has been designed with high performance and advanced foil riding in mind. Built on a single strut platform and packed with some of Core’s exclusive material and design technology, the XLITE comes in 20 per cent lighter than the similar three strut platforms from Core’s wave and freeride models. Amazing low end power and efficiency, the XLITE feels light and nimble to the touch with great low end power that comes close to rivalling the best of the test. Water relaunch was very impressive, aided by the light weight design and canopy shape that enables rear relaunch capability by pulling in the steering lines. The XLITE was the quickest turning, fastest looping, single strut kite in this year’s test and also had the lightest touch steering and most precision oriented handling. Everything about Core’s XLITE compliments an aggressive flying style and performs nicely with today’s efficient, smooth riding foils. It suits the more advanced kite riders that want more precision and fast reactivity out of their kite. Nice balanced drift, lots of instant depower that kills the kite’s pull but still grants reactive turn initiation at low levels of line tension when riding underpowered or foiling under your kite during transitions. Also available is a foil specific bar set up which features a compact, reduced weight design that’s equipped with lower drag lines for riding with less line tension. Very nice in the hand and so light weight, the Sensor 2S Pro Foil bar nicely compliments the light touch performance handling of the XLITE. While riding toeside on a foil, it’s ideal to be able to flick and turn the kite with one hand, as you carve into your turns or transitions. Having a light weight bar like this combined with fast and reactive kite can help bring your foiling skills and manoeuvres to the next level.

TRADE OFF Not as much performance benefit in the larger sizes but has advantages for nimble control and easy handling in the smaller sizes. GOOD FOR Foil riders that want a foil specific kite to pair with their new freeride foil to learn more advanced transitions and carving skills.

TRADE OFF Lots of depower built into a single strut with light weight canopy material means the kite canopy will flutter when sheeted out at the edge of the window. The XLITE flutters quite a bit but the performance advantages on a foil far outweigh any flutter, and the feedback is not as turbulent or uncontrollable as many. GOOD FOR Intermediate to advanced level foil riders that want the performance they are used to from their fully strutted frames but with the light wind and low line tension performance that single strut designs offer. The XLITE will help take your foil riding to the next level. kitesurfingmag.com

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NAISH BOXER SLK

DUOTONE MONO

SIZES TESTED (M): 12, 9 M / SIZES AVAILABLE (M): 3.5, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 16 CONTROL SYSTEM: FUSION CONTROL BAR BTB

SIZES TESTED (M): 9, 11 / SIZES AVAILABLE (M): 3.5, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15 CONTROL SYSTEM: TRUST BAR

SYNOPSIS The Boxer SLK is the benchmark for low end power and ultimate light win performance. Easy sheet in and go handling that has foil specific benefits but is versatile for learning the basics of any freeride discipline.

SYNOPSIS Solid, low end power, dynamic handling with a direct bar feel and less flutter in the canopy through its tight pivotal turns.

THE GOOD STUFF Naish’s second generation single strut kite, the Boxer SLK (Super Light Kite) has shaped and defined the performance of this category for the past couple of seasons. With ideal performance for light wind foiling or general freeriding, the Boxer SLK 12 meter proved again to be the single strut design with the most efficient and easy power generation. With stable and balanced drift, the Boxer SLK lifts to the zenith with minimal wind power. It has a deep canopy and light weight frame that enables it to water relaunch in ultra light winds. The Boxer SLK has smooth forward drive with power that’s easy to find. Depower also comes on quickly as you sheet out the bar and it kills the kite’s power, so you can stay on the foil and manoeuvre the kite to the right position. This makes adjusting power while on a foil easy without being pulled off balance. The unique floating, single luff strut is more loosely attached to the canopy of the kite, which allows the kite to breathe and gives extra floatability and efficiency while underpowered. Through the turns the Boxer SLK’s feedback is direct but it still has nice light touch steering and pulls smoothly off the front lines, freeing up any negative feedback or unwanted bar pressure from the steering lines. Sheet in and go, the Boxer SLK has a big sweet spot and is a great kite for any level of rider to advance skills in almost every discipline of kiteboarding. Nice smooth, low pull power is generated through the turns and the Boxer SLK can loop tight and pivot more off centred with some nice smooth pull as well. The larger sized Boxer is one of the best performing, larger sized kites in the Naish freeride lineup and they have applications beyond just foiling. With nice boost and glide for jumping, quick depower and nice balance drift, the Boxer SLK can handle waves and twintip freeriding with only some minor performance compromises in its upper wind range. TRADE OFF There is a slight lag in turn initiation when the Boxer is above your head and the kite initially pivots for a dive into the window, but the smooth power, amazing range and smooth pulling pivot provide consistent handling that’s hard to beat. GOOD FOR Almost the perfect kite for the modern, multi displined kiteboarder that wants to foil in light winds and also have an easy kite to use for any level of freeride discipline.

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THE GOOD STUFF The Duotone Mono has been around for several generations and its current iteration has been completed redesigned. It’s dialled this year with better low end power, a more direct and crisp feel and more range with less disruptive flutter through the canopy. The Mono has a lower aspect ratio this year and wide wingtips so it sits back in the window slightly and pulls more evenly off all four lines. It has instant and easy to find power and amazing stability in the air with almost zero tendency to back stall. If you are learning to foil, chances are you are going to be in very light winds or at least flying with a kite that is underpowered. Having a kite that doesn’t back stall when the wind is extremely underpowered is a huge benefit. The wide tips and fatter body of the Mono also make this kite superb at water relaunch, even in light wind as it responds intuitively to pilot input. The Mono has the most direct bar feel of any of the single strut kites in the test and makes it easy to track where the kite is in sky. This is especially helpful as you rip into transitions on your foil and the kite is above your head and impossible to spot. Fast pivotal turns initiate instantly and provide smooth and even power through the loop. The more centrally pivot turn lets the Mono quickly U-turn and change direction, which is also a key element when riding on a foil board. The Mono also offers great boost and hang time as well, and is well suited to blasting around on a surfboard for some wave action or ripping up the slick on your twintip. TRADE OFF Sits back in the window so pulls harder with more feedback coming across the window at times. GOOD FOR Any level of rider that wants the efficiency of a single strut kite that has great low end power, easy handling and solid pull with direct feel and quick pivotal turns.


OZONE ALPHA

ELEVEIGHT OS FOIL & LIGHTWIND

SIZES TESTED (M): 12 / SIZES AVAILABLE (M): 4, 6, 8,10, 12, 14, 16 CONTROL SYSTEM: CONTACT WATER V4

SIZES TESTED (M): 8, 12 / SIZES AVAILABLE (M): 6, 8, 10, 12, 14 CONTROL SYSTEM: CS VARY CONTROL BAR

SYNOPSIS Fast turning and reactive with quickly initiated turning and performance handling ideal for foil, freeride or waves.

SYNOPSIS An ultra light weight, single strut design with reactive handling, quick pivotal turns and exceptional light wind performance.

THE GOOD STUFF The Alpha V1 is Ozone’s single strut design that delivers performance for foiling and beyond. It features a compact C shape frame, with wide wingtips and a swept leading edge that’s merged with a flat arc canopy shape. The result is a high performance, quick turning and tight looping kite that has great range and handling for riding a modern foil or for any freeride discipline from flatwater twintip to riding waves. Decent low end power combines with lively and quick pivoting performance that suits intermediate to advanced levels of rider that want the performance benefits of a light weight kite without compromising too much in the precision steering or stability through loops. The Alpha feels like a performance oriented three strut kite with fast and reactive turns and nice, light touch steering. But it also has the ability to relaunch in ultra light winds and provide better float and drift for foil riding or carving up waves. Our test riders were impressed with the slick upwind performance, direct feedback and fast turn speed of the Alpha. The Alpha is a kite that responds directly and quickly from rider input, ensures soft landing with some tight kiteloops or downturns. It has excellent efficiency and all around performance that make it an excellent travel kite that can fit into any quiver.

THE GOOD STUFF The OS is the newest model of Eleveight’s impressive 2020 lineup and stands as their new light wind series kite with the focus on light wind handling and low end power. The OS features a mid swept hybrid canopy that’s made light and reactive with a single central strut and Eleveight’s use of Techno Force’s X4 canopy cloth and XT leading edge and strut material. Eleveight has had an impressive rise in the kite industry over the past few season with a full range of great performing kites and boards. Now with a new foil set up and light wind series of kites, Eleveight has all the bases covered for every discipline, wind condition and riding style. The test team was impressed with the OS handling and low end power as it rivalled some of the best single strut kites in the test. All of Eleveight’s kites come with an adjustable bridle setting which alters the turning axis point and handling. We found the OS works best on the high depower, pivotal turns setting, which gives the OS the quickest depower with lighter touch steering and quick pivotal turning. The OS has easy to find power with its swept leading edge and mid aspect ratio canopy providing a big sweet spot and smooth delivery. Easy sheet in and go performance and quick reactivity to turn initiation, the OS generates some smooth consistent pull in the turns and has reactive and intuitive handling that is perfect for foil board cruising and carving turns. Anyone looking to capitalize on light winds and expand their foil riding skills should consider the OS a top choice.

TRADE OFF You can drive more power into the Alpha with some powered dives, but some found it harder to push out the extra low wind drive. GOOD FOR Intermediate to advanced riders that want a single strut kite that can drive their foil skills to new levels but also want high performance handling for some freeride twintip cruising, boosting or directional riding in waves.

TRADE OFF Like any single strut design, with high amounts of depower the OS will produce some flutter and lose some handling ability in the upper wind range or when its sheeted out fully on the edge of the wind. GOOD FOR Any level of rider that wants to advance foil skills or freeride in less wind with a stable, nicely powered and quick turning kite.

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OCEAN RODEO FLITE GEN 7

SIZES TESTED (M): 14.5 / SIZES AVAILABLE (M): 12, 14.5, 17 CONTROL SYSTEM: PILOT BAR SYNOPSIS

Amazingly light and responsive, with exceptional low end power and dynamic handling with the added stability and range of a three strut canopy. THE GOOD STUFF

The Flite has been in the Ocean Rodeo lineup for many years and this seventh edition is tweaked and refined for the uncompromised performance over a large wind range. The kite 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. This combo proves to be a winning formula as the Flite is a high performance kite with nice low end grunt without the canopy flutter and turbulence that accompanies every single strut kite. Water relaunch is also impressive, even with its narrow central body, the Flite can reverse relaunch with a pull of the steering lines and its fast pivotal turns ensure its get airborne quickly. Light touch steering, quick turn initiation and smooth consistent pull through the loops make the Flite ideal for performance behind a foil or with any light wind freeride set up. Jumping with the Flite is also impressive with lots of easy lift and hangtime. The test team was impressed with the tight pivotal turns and quick depower of the Flite which was a blast for carving transitions and turns on a big winged foil in sub-10 mile per hour winds. This Flite is a light wind design that works for any rider regardless of skill level or riding style. Any rider looking for the benefit of a light wind kite without the performance drawbacks of a single strut canopy should consider the Flite a top choice. TRADE OFF

With all the large winged foils cruising on smaller kites in moderate winds, it would be nice to see a few more kite sizes in the Flite range. GOOD FOR

Beginner to advanced level riders that want great low end power and handling in a stable and light weight design that has the stability and range provided by a three strut canopy.

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GEAR REVIEWS TRAVEL SPOTS PRO TIPS IN-DEPTH INTERVIEWS AND MUCH MORE


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•NAISH •DUOTONE •LIQUID FORCE •DAKINE •FIREWIRE

SURF SHOP sauble beach, canada est 1996

www.jacknjillssurfshop.com

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Eric Reinstra is pushing the limits. Where does he see the natural evolution of parkstyle riding taking us? Bergeron photo

The INTERVIEW ISSUE With the world on lockdown, Kitesurfing Magazine takes the time for some massively in-depth features. Designers Corner Revolutionary Materials are just around the corner, what does that mean for the next generation of gear?

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I DE R: NI CK J A COBS E N HOT OGRA PHE R: Y DWE R VA N DE R HE I DE

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PERFORMANCE FREERIDE

Yo u r U l t i m a t e Desert Island Kite A l l con d i t i on s. A l l p u r p o se . A l l w a ys r e a d y.

NORTHKB.COM

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20

YEARS OF INNOVATION,

AND WE’RE JUST GETTING STARTED. Keahi de Aboitiz J. Boulding

VISIT CABRINHAKITES.COM TO SEE THE 2020 RANGE

Profile for Kitesurfing Magazine

Kitesurfing Magazine - Spring 2020