THE EVERYTHING IS
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EVOL U T I O N
VOLUME 8, ISSUE 1, #18
DISPLAY UNTIL: / SEPT 31ST, 2022
IT’s a KIND OF Bird.. A BIG DEAL NAH, THATS A KITE
KITES + FOILS & NEW RELEASES
A HOW TO...?
SO V LOGGED Steven gets HIGH
AN EXTRA DOSE OF ADRENALINE
SIZES: 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 14 The Pivot is the perfect all-around kite for performance freeride and big air. This kite is famous for its incredible jumping ability, wave riding action, responsiveness, and tight, pivoting turns. Its versatility allows you to feel comfortable on your twin tip, surfboard, or foilboard in all weather conditions. Whether you’re casually cruising or boosting for adrenaline — the Pivot is the right choice. Pacific Boardsports LLC . firstname.lastname@example.org . (509) 493-0043 Frankiebees • Ewan Jaspan: Pivot Kite, Motion Twin Tip
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UNLEASH THE ENERGY
O U R W AY T O M A K E T H E WORLD A BE TTER P L ACE.
DU OTONESPO RTS .C O M
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D U O T O N E
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Riders Alina Kornelli & Linus Erdmann / Photo Johannes Hohls
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ACCELERATE YOUR PROGRESSION Imagine effortless and precise riding in even the lightest of winds with our fully optimized foiling kite. New CoreTex 2.0 canopy material, ExoTex Light, and numerous enhancements cut an honest 30% off the weight over our fantastic Nexus. Let its linear power and superlative drifting bring out the best in you. XLITE 2. FOIL BETTER.
LIGHT YEARS AHEAD We introduce the new Ultra Team, featuring Ho’okipa. Developed in partnership with Challenge Sailcloth, this unique Ultra PE leading edge and strut composite material is 25% lighter and 10x stronger than traditional fabrics. This allows for 50% higher pressure, creating increased stiffness combined with a thinner leading edge. The result is supercharged responsiveness coupled with sublime handling, and of course the long-term performance you expect from Airush. The new Ultra Team, light years ahead.
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R ID E R: E LI AS OU A HM ID
-9 PH OTO: MI TC H E LL DOYLE MAR KGR AAFF
“What an insane shoot we’ve had. In three days we rode five different spots for this epic film project. South Africa is simply incredible. Even when you soar high through the sky you feel tiny compared to all the mountains and surroundings. And this particular moment, just before taking the board off and starting the rotation gave me an incredible rush. So this picture perfectly describes when epic surroundings and adrenaline come together. Together with camera and off-road guru Kyle Cabano we shot some insane footage. Be sure to check out the epic video from the project Three Days Well Sent.”—Giel Vlugt PHOTOGRAPHER: KYLE CABANO RIDER: GIEL VLUGT LOCATION: FALSE BAY, SOUTH AFRICA
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“This photo of Nick Jacobsen was taken during the North Kiteboarding shoot. We were shooting over ten days and obviously you're always looking for that one special shot. We actually managed to get the shot on the last day of shooting at the Crayfish Factory. There is an old jetty and a pier and the wind was really sketchy and gusty. In the pure style of Nick Jacobsen nothing’s ever too much of a challenge for him and he hit this out of the park. The shoot took place in the middle of March, way after the kite season when there's never really any wind in Cape Town. It was a massive gamble. We scored some really special conditions at new spots that kiters usually wouldn’t go to because of different wind directions. It all worked out, so we’re all pretty happy.” —Craig Kolesky PHOTOGRAPHER: CRAIG KOLESKY RIDER: NICK JACOBSEN LOCATION: CRAYFISH FACTORY, CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA
Bruna Kajiya grabs tail in Brazil. Caio Coutinho photo
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VOLUME 8 // ISSUE 1 // NO.18
FEAT U R E S 44 THE BIG CHANGE: STRAPLESS BIG AIR
The level of riding on the GKA Strapless Kitesurf World Cup Tour is developing faster than any other discipline in kitesurfing. Matchu Lopes explains what the big changes in riding mean for the upcoming would tour.
52 BIG AIR RIDERS YOU SHOULD KNOW
Kitesurfing Magazine checks in with some of the top up-and-comers of 2022.
68 THE BEST BIG AIR KITES GO HEAD-TO- HEAD
Jumping has always been one of the most exciting aspects of kiteboarding for both the rider and the spectator. Kite brands continue to improve the handling and jumping capability of their designated big air kites and for this year’s test, the Kitesurfing Magazine team assembled an assortment of the industry’s top models.
82 8 OF THE BEST FOILS GO HEAD-TO-HEAD
It’s hard to believe it’s been six years since Kitesurfing Magazine had its first major foil test. For those that might feel their foiling skills have plateaued, it’s definitely a great time to consider upgrading to a set up tested here.
88 STUFF WE LIKE
Tested! A look at the best new gear for 2022.
Kaimar Halliste launches on the well named Eleveight XS. Check out the big air freeride kite tests on page 68. Kerli Halliste photo
UPFRO N T 10 OFF THE TOP 18 EDITOR’S INTRO 22 ON THE COVER 24 REP 411: NICK BAINES 26 WHO’S THAT: NADJA BLANCHET
DEPART M E N T S 28 32 36 40 96
PEER PRESSURE: MARC JACOBS VLOGGING: STEVEN AKKERSDIJK ESCAPING SOUTH AFRICA: JACK RIEDER JAWS: JESSE RICHMAN NEXT ISSUE
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I N C O O P E RAT I O N WI T H
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In my mind: John Bryja boosts to the moon during a Northerly in Cape Hatteras. Really. (Bryja sure looks a lot like Bruce Wotherspoon.) Arthur Guillebert photo
FIELD NOTES Every issue of Kitesurfing Magazine takes on a life of its own, as it reflects what’s happening in the sport of kitesurfing today. Big air is making a massive resurgence and it’s no surprise it makes up a large part of this issue. Hucking ourselves into big jumps (in my case much bigger in my mind than reality) is a time-honoured tradition in kitesurfing. Soaring through the air is one of the greatest feelings in kiting. I can still vividly remember my first jumps from two decades ago like it was yesterday. I even remember the first time my fins cleared the water, the six-inches felt like six-feet. During our most recent gear tests in Cape Hatteras, NC, my jumps were only a fraction of the height of Kitesurfing Magazine’s test team. Modern kite gear goes higher and soars for longer than ever before. Be sure to check out the team’s feedback about the
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latest and greatest big air freeride kites on page 68 of this issue. Speaking of big, our largest ever rider feature takes a look at some of the top names from the Big Air Kite League, and King of the Air events from the past year. The next generation of riders is gravitating to big air like never before. You can find out more about the up-and-coming big air names on page 52. It’s also great see the veterans of big air holding their own against the onslaught of new riders. Marc Jacobs won the most recent Red Bull King of the Air and we feature him in this issue’s Peer Pressure interview on page 28. Not to be outdone in the world of big, former King of the Air Champion Jesse Richman decided to dedicate this past season to dominating one of the world’s biggest waves
on Maui; Jaws. His next level riding resulted in some of the best photos and video ever captured at Jaws. His interview on page 40 gives us a behind the scenes glimps of what it’s like to ride the massive wave. As I wrap up this editorial, I’m already packing my bags for my next big trip to the Outer Banks. During the next wave session on the south side in Frisco, I’ll imagine the little wind swell nuggets I’m attempting to crack as the lip on Jaws. And on the epic northerly days, I’m packing a twintip for a monster boosting session that in my mind will look just like Cape Town. See you on the Water John Bryja
VOLUME 8 / ISSUE 1 / NUMBER 18 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
STEVEN AKKERSDIJK, NICK BAINES, ANDREW CAIN, LORENZO CASATI, JANEK GRZEGORZEWSKI, STIG HOEFNAGEL, MARC JACOBS, NORA KLEMENT, MATCHU LOPES, JESSE RICHMAN, JACK RIEDER, COHEN VAN DIJK, GIEL VLUGT, LIAM WHALEY, HANNAH WHITELEY
ERIC AEDER, TYRONE BRADLEY, THOMAS BURBLIES, KYLE CABANO, AMANDA CANTOR, SAMUEL CARDENAS, RENATO CASATI, JOSÉ DENIS-ROBICHAUD, STORM FERREIRA, MICHAL JAGNIATKOWSKI, CRAIG KOLESKY, AXEL REESE, ADRIAN SIKORA, TOM SEAGER, DANIEL SULLIVAN, ANDY TROY, BRANDT WIEBERG (NO NOISE MEDIA), ANDRIUS ZUKAUSKAS
GIRL WE COULDN’T GET MUCH
GETTING TO THE CORE OF:
THE GIRLS ARE ALRIGHT
WO MEN OF THE KPL
GEAR PREVIEW ALL NEW KITES AND STUFF THAT YOU HAVE TO TRY OUT
Volume 5, Issue2, #12 Display Until: Sept, 31, 2019
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FINDING NIRVANA : THE MARSHALL ISLANDS 90 MILES : CUBA UNCOVERED TESTED : THE OLYMPIC DREAM MEETING : NORTH RELAUNCHED
DANGER ZO N E
Olivia Jenkins: Catching That Big Fish
B RA ZI L R E D I S C O V E R E D : APPRECIATING THE OVER APPRECIATED
SIZE MATTERS: THE 2017 TRIPLE-S
THE SELF-ISOLATING INSANITY
Kitesurfing Magazine is an independent publication published two times per year. —Spring, Summer, and Fall— by Kitesurfing Magazine Inc. 101 Rossmoyne, Leith, ON, N0H 1V0 Phone: (519)370-2334 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: kitesurfingmag.com Youtube.com/kitesurfing SUBSCRIPTIONS 1 Year - 2 Issues $19.98 Phone: (519) 370-2334 Email: email@example.com kitesurfingmag.com Change of Address firstname.lastname@example.org ISSN 2369-3568
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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
REAL WAT E R S P ORTS .COM | ( 2 52 ) 98 7. 6000 | CAP E HAT T E RAS, NC kitesurfingmag.com - 21
ON THE COVER
MEET ME AT THE SAND BAR ON THE COVER As a kid I grew up close to one of the bigger surf/ kite shops in Holland. But being a young 12 year old that just started kiting I couldn’t afford a subscription to a magazine… so I would always go down to the local shop and sit there and read the magazines. Something that stood out for me were the cool photo’s on the covers. I would usually start reading the magazine that had the best-looking cover photo and then go down to the second-best looking cover photo and so on. My dream as a kid was to be in one of those magazines one day, to be good enough to make pictures like that let alone be on a cover of one of the magazines. Now many years later I’m living that little kids dream of being a pro kiter. So now that I have the change to work with magazines, I always try to keep the best looking photos for something that goes on a paper magazine and not just on the internet. For this photo I had just finished the second stop of the Big Air Kite League world tour, and I had another month to spend in Brazil. Besides the competition area, I had not seen much of brazil, so I really wanted to go and travel a bit within Brazil. We went down to Barra Grande, a place down north from Fortaleza. Where a big river enters the ocean surrounded by countless mangroves and in my eye’s countless opportunities for photo’s. One of my friends Michal Jagniatkowski, a very talented photographer, was super keen on a photoshoot mission in the mangroves. This photo in particular was the first photo we took that day, and I knew straight away that it was a gem. Sometimes it takes days and countless sessions to get what you want, but on this one everything just fell in to place and we got lucky on the first photo of the day!
LOCATION: BARRA GRANDE, BRAZIL PHOTOGRAPHER: MICHAL JAGNIATKOWSKI RIDER: STIG HOEFNAGEL
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Rider: Giel Vlugt - Photo: Kyle Cabano
RISE A-SERIES Sizes: 7m, 8m, 9m, 10m, 12m
POWER FROM ABOVE. Powerful riders require powerful gear. The Rise’s power to weight ratio is unrivalled, coming in at over twice the strength of traditional Dacron airframes, yet at half the weight. It’s an airframe that can also withstand a higher pressure than the industry standard, providing exceptionally tuned-in and optimized performance, even in the most extreme conditions…
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With Nick Baines Nick Baines is one of the USA's biggest Mega Looping riders. If you're in Cape Hatteras, NC and see someone jumping over the Real Slick on a Reedin kite, chances are it's Nick!
Nick Baines one footer over Kevin Langeree. Craig Kolesky photo
KM: What’s the best kitesurfing trip you have been on? NB: My best kitesurfing trip would have to be my trip to Cape Town in February 2021. South Africa had just reopened their beaches and the crowds were nonexistent. That winter carried a lot of travel anxiety and it was cool to have everything come together for my best trip to the mother city. KM: What piece of kitesurfing gear impressed you most for 2022? What did you like? NB: Reedin’s SuperModel V3 has impressed me the most in 2022. A few small adjustments to bridle design, strut sizing and stitching made for huge improvements to an already stellar design. Having a kite that can handle big air, wave riding, foiling and the park is necessary for me. The SuperWingX is another exciting piece of equipment that has impressed me. Utilizing X-Ply technology, it’s designed to push the limits of freestyle within winging. KM: What is in your personal quiver? Reedin SuperModel 5, 7, 8, 9, 11, 14 Reedin DreamStickX control bar Reedin 136 Kev Pro Reedin SuperWing 3.6, 4.2 Reedin FeatherBoard 35L Reedin FlightAttendant 1280
Kitesurfing Magazine: Tells us a little about your kiting background and how you got involved with Reedin? Nick Baines: My kiteboarding career started in 2003 when my uncle, Warren Stansbury, sent me a trainer kite from his home in St. Croix. It was an extremely tough year as I was dealing with the death of my father and I have to say that kiteboarding saved my life. I joined the crew at REAL Watersports after graduating high school and I have been involved in the industry ever since. Reedin first contacted me to be a team rider in the fall of 2020 after viewing a few videos of me riding the SuperModel. That winter I spent a few weeks with Damien Girardin in Maui and a month with Kevin Langeree in Cape Town. It was really a dream to just to hang out with these legends, let alone help their growing brand.
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KM: What impressed you most about Reedin when you started working/riding for them? NB: I was most impressed to see that Reedin had an amazing product during first year of production. The kiteboarding market is flooded with so many different designs for all the disciplines and here was a kite that could do it all extremely well. The owners, Damien and Kevin, are also just genuinely good humans and that can be hard to find in the watersports industry. KM: What trends in the sport excite you most? NB: The massive advancement within big air kiting the past year has been exciting to watch. There are now kids doing tricks that we have only dreamt of and it’s exciting to see what the future holds. COVID really halted the progression in kite park riding, but a solid crew of park shredders are coming to the Outer Banks this spring. It will be exciting to see a resurgence in this discipline throughout 2022.
HOME TOWN: VIRGINIA BEACH, VA CURRENT HOME: WAVES, NC FAVOURITE BOARD AND KITE: 136 REEDIN KEV PRO, 8 M SUPERMODEL FAVOURITE CONDITIONS: 20 KNOTS FOR WAVE/RAIL RIDING AND 35 KNOTS FOR BIG AIR. OTHER PROS YOU RIDE WITH: KEVIN LANGEREE, CLEMENT HUOT, BRANDON SCHEID AND THE REST OF THE KITE PARK LEAGUE CREW. LAST TRICK LANDED: FOR BIG AIR, DOUBLE BACKROLL KITE LOOP WITH A LATE ROTATION. FOR RAIL RIDING, FRONT BOARDSLIDE WITH A FS450 OFF THE RAIL.
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WORDS BY ANDREW CAIN / PHOTOS BY ANDRIUS ZUKAUSKAS
NAME: NADJA BIANCHET NICK NAME: NEVER HAD ONE. SPONSORS: NAISH KITEBOARDING & MYSTIC BOARDING Hometown: Villach, Austria Current home: Los Angeles, California Naish photo shoot in Brazil for the Traverse twintip
“This is Nadja. She ‘s from the mountains of Austria. She currently calls the USA her home base although she spends most of her time travelling, chasing wind. She’s a passionate freestyle and park rider, but talented across all disciplines. I introduced her to park riding a few years ago when my friends and I started building a kite park here in the Baja desert. It really clicked with her and since then she has put a lot of effort into progressing at Choco Lake in Baja Mexico as well as in Hood River during the summer. Recently, she took up winging and enjoys doing downwinders and chasing waves with friends. When she is not on the water she’s probably stretching somewhere. Nadja is a proficient aerialist. She trains, performs and teaches aerial silks and lyra.
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Off-water activities: Aerial silks, yoga, gym
Basically bending and swinging around on hoops and ropes, upside down and high off the ground. It’s impressive and if you’ve ever been to one of her classes you learn quickly how much strength and training gets put into it. Nadja is a great instructor and teacher and loves sharing her passions with others. She has a talent for making people try things out of their comfort zone On a side note, she is also a dog lover, although she does not have her own yet. You will see her frequently around town talking and petting strangers’ dogs for an unusually long time. Overall she’s a badass kiter, a kind spirit and an absolute pleasure to ride and adventure with.”— Andrew Cain
Favourite board and kite: Naish Torch and EJ Pro Traverse Last Trick Landed: 313 and S-to-Blind Favourite Trick: Heart Attack (still working on it) First Setup: 12 meter North Fuse and a CrazyFly board Favourite Conditions: Flatwater lagoons, steady winds around 18-to-20 mph. Other pros you ride with: I mostly ride with my best friends Andrew Cain and Nemo Taylor since we often end up in the same places. When I get the chance I love riding with Juan Rodriguez, Katie Potter, Sam Chilvers, Sensi Graves and Colleen Carroll. Favourite Place to Ride: Taiba Lagoon in Brazil, Grand Cayman, Caribbean
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With Marc Jacobs COMPILED BY JOHN BRYJA
Kiwi Marc Jacobs is the reigning Red Bull King of the Air. He celebrated his 32nd birthday in style when he beat three-time champion Kevin Langeree and rookie Stig Hoefnagel in an action-packed final in Cape Town, South Africa.
AGE (DATE OF BIRTH): 21/11/1989 COUNTRY: NEW ZEALAND LOCAL KITE SPOT: AUCKLAND, NZ SPONSORS: NORTH, MYSTIC, ANDOO, LAB7 TOP RESULT: FIRST PLACE AT KING OF THE AIR
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King Of The Air in Cape Town. Tyrone Bradley photo
The twelve-time national New Zealand champion is no stranger to the podium having won PKRA world tour events in 2013 and 2014. Surgery for a ruptured knee meniscus and a blown eardrum in 2014 didn’t keep Jocobs on the sideline for long. We asked a few of Marc’s friends to help us interview him in this issue’s Peer Pressure. Hayden Jonas: How many supplements and vitamins do you consume before breakfast? Marc Jacobs: Hahaha quite a few. I’m a bit of a health freak. Hayden Jonas: Do you wax or shave your legs? Marc Jacobs: 100 per cent shave. Wax is intense. For KOTA I already have my legs well trimmed. Hayden Jonas: How good does it feel to know you have the golden caddy for next KOTA? Marc Jacobs: It’s amazing. I trust you 100 per cent and that is a massive stress reliever for myself. Let’s get your third title! Luca Ceruti: Where does ye na ye na come from? Marc Jacobs: Haha, it all started with the number one caddy for KOTA. Hayden my caddy always says this. Luca Ceruti: What’s your biggest stress reliever before a competition? Marc Jacobs: Just living in the moment, controlling my breathing and listening to the right music to keep me calm before my heat. Luca Ceruti: Did you ever get Jetto a Red Bull KOTA chick at the after party? Marc Jacobs: Haha poor Jetto didn’t have much luck I’m afraid. Jetto didn’t find a girlfriend in Africa I’m afraid. Jetto Kawano: When is your baby? Marc Jacobs: Haha maybe in a few years little big Marcy J will come.
Jetto Kawano: How’s it going after winning King of the Air? Marc Jacobs: Feels good to achieve my dream, but I have new goals in place now I want to achieve. Jetto Kawano: Are you still sending it? Marc Jacobs: 100 per cent mate. Always a full time sender! Mark Harrison: What’s the longest period you think you’ve gone without being in the sea? Marc Jacobs: Three months was my longest time because I had to get knee surgery on my meniscus. Mark Harrison: I know chicken’s your favourite food, how many chickens do you think you eat a week? Marc Jacobs: Haha, I’d say a few chickens for sure. Mark Harrison: How big a part do you think keeping on top of working out, supplements and cutting weight for KOTA played on your rise to the top? Marc Jacobs: A massive part. If I didn’t diet I wouldnt have won and couldn’t have ridden like I did in KOTA. The gym is incredibly important too. Keeping strong on and off the water is a must to prevent any injury. Jason Montreal: With the progression of big air in the last 18 months how do you keep up with the current standard while being so remote in NZ? Marc Jacobs: Being very self motivated is my strength. I always compete against myself. Of course I see what everyone is doing online. And if I can’t do it I’ll learn it in my next session. I am willing to learn it all and have no weakness.
Jason Montreal: Short lines look great on Instagram, but do you think they help prepare a big air rider for competition? Should we have a dedicated short lines comp? Marc Jacobs: You could possibly make it to the semis. But I can’t see anyone winning an event on short lines unless they change the judging height percentage. Or make a specific event for short line riders. Kitesurfing Magazine: What motivates you on the water? Marc Jacobs: The water is my happy place. So it only makes sense to spend an endless amount of time doing what I love. KM: What is your off-the-water training like? Marc Jacobs: Intense. I would say I train harder off the water than on. That’s because I don’t get to kite everyday relying on the wind. I normally spend two hours in the gym six days a week. KM: Any recommendations for learning new tricks? Marc Jacobs: Once you feel comfortable doing your current tricks, the new tricks will eventually come. You always have to push past the fear stage on the first time trying. If you don’t struggle with this you’ll progress quite fast. I find when learning tricks it’s best to figure out why I crashed. What did I do wrong? Study other riders’ videos and learn the movements. And feel it out by visualization first before trying on the water. KM: What would you say to anyone wanting to learn to kite? Marc Jacobs: 100 per cent go for it. Kitesurfing is such an amazing sport. After 17 years of doing it I still get excited like a kid on Christmas. Kitesurfing Magazine: What inspires you? I’ve always been very self-motivated. And from a young age I tried many sports. Kitesurfing stood out by far for me and I knew it was my sport from a young age. As soon as I got my first kiteboarding equipment it’s all I did. And it has all paid off doing it as a professional now. It’s my dream job.
The King. Tyrone Bradley photo
How did you get to where you are today? MJ: Being highly motivated and consistent. I never gave up on my goals or dreams. If you want something bad enough go for it. Don’t listen to anyone else has to say, chase your dreams. If you want it bad enough eventually it will happen. Be patient and enjoy the process.
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KM: What do you like about big air competition? Big air in my eyes is true kiteboarding. There is no other sport which comes close to big air kitesurfing. The feeling I get from doing big air tricks is a full rush of adrenaline and it gets very addictive! KM: How did you get to where you are today? MJ: Being highly motivated and consistent. I never gave up on my goals or dreams. If you want something bad enough go for it. Don’t listen to what anyone else has to say. Chase your dreams. If you want it bad enough eventually it will happen. Be patient and enjoy the process.
Steven Akkersdijk Steven Akkersdijk is one of kiteboarding’s top big air riders. He was on the podium at the 2014 Red Bull King of the Air and finished fourth in 2017, 2018 and 2020. The past few years he has turned his attention to generating some of the best kitesurfing instructional videos and travel pieces. Be sure to check out his travels through the Canadian Rockies and his Squamish riding videos.
“Finding a spot in the Rocky Mountains on my latest trip. Wind was ranging between 2 and 20 knots, but we got a shot!” José Denis-Robichaud photo
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Kite action in South Africa. Thomas Burblies photo
Kitesurfing Magazine: You’re one of kiting’s most popular vloggers, how did you get into kite vlogging? Steven Akkersdijk: I started a long time ago creating my own video and photo content as my dad got me in to it from a very young age. He was often walking around with a video camera and making a DVD every year with ‘Steven in action.’ Even though I love looking back at this video content at a certain point I wanted to do my own edits and publish them online. So I guess I did my first edit around the age of 15. KM: What have been your most popular videos or topics that you covered? SA: My most popular videos are for sure the SA Masterclass series that I started about two years ago. In these videos/ tutorials I talk about certain kiteboarding tricks and topics. The most watched videos are the ones about line length, kite trimming and how to pull Kiteloops. Next to that I also have some travel videos that do really well and are getting more traction in the recent years. KM: Are you ever surprised by what goes viral? SA: On YouTube I usually have a pretty good prediction on the performance of the videos, but I’m often still surprised about the performance (good or bad). This is especially true for Instagram. KM: Who have been your biggest vlogging influences? SA: To be fair I’m not really a big fan of vlogging where people talk a lot about what’s happening in their life. I do really enjoy videos that offer value in the form of information. A great example for this is Peter McKinnon. I loved watching his videos because I learned something from them. Next to these type of videos I love beautiful images and F-One for sure made some epic kite movies that inspired me. KM: Tell us about your filming set up? How often does it change? SA: For the past eight years I’ve actually been filming with Sony and really enjoyed their kit, especially the a6300 was a super good buy. At the moment I usually travel with two camera bodies and filming for Core has definitely helped me invest in better equipment. At the moment I own the Sony a7S III which is an absolute 4k, 120fps powerhouse that upped my videos by a lot. Next to that I own a Sony A1 because it’s a master in photo and video crossover. Even though these are very expensive bodies I can really recommend investing in some good glass as that keeps the value for way longer and it gives your videos and pictures a high quality look. On average I think I change my camera bodies every four years.
MY SETUP CAMERAS: SONY A1 AND A7SIII MIC: RODE WIRELESS GO AND SENHEISER MKE 200 LENS: SONY 200-600, SONY GM 70-200 F2.8, SONY 24-105 F4, ZEISS 16-35 F4 HARD DRIVES: LACIE RUGGED SERIES FOR STORAGE AND SAMSUNG T5 FOR ACTIVE EDITING. EDITING SOFTWARE: FINAL CUT PRO COMPUTER HARDWARE: 16” MACBOOK PRO WITH 1TB SSD, 32GB RAM AND INTEL I9
KM: Who films you when you’re on the water? SA: I often travel together with José-Denis Robichaud (my girlfriend). We’re both in love with kitesurfing and that makes the choice of where to travel quite easy. On these trips she often films me and takes pictures. As we’ve been working together for a while now it’s very easy to communicate and get amazing shots in a short time. kitesurfingmag.com
VLOGGING: STEVEN AKKERSDIJK
The ultimate selfie.
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“José and myself walking back from a shoot in South Africa.” Thomas Burblies photo
KM: What is your ratio of minutes filmed to minutes in the final project? SA: For my SA Masterclass series I always make a storyboard so I know exactly what to film. Usually these shots take 3-to-4 tries to get the camera and the move in sync. So I would say that 25 per cent of the total footage shot is used in the final video. For my travel videos I think this drops to about 15 per cent as there is a lot of shots that don’t make the cut. KM: Do you have things planned out with a storyboard in advance, or is it more organic, chaos, or a bit of both? SA: This always depends on the project. For my SA Masterclass I always create an exercise list that I want my viewers to go through. Generally I’ll look at the final goal and break this trick down in multiple smaller exercises. Let’s take the Kiteloop as an example for this. I won’t just tell the viewer to go out there in 30 knots, make a jump and pull one side of the bar so the kite goes into a loop. I prefer to start the Kiteloop journey with a Down-loop Jibe so the viewer gets used to looping a kite and the power involved. From there we’ll look at the right jump and then start with small Kiteloop transition jumps. After writing down the trick list I’ll put it in to Final Cut Pro and write down what I want to talk about and highlight. This is then something I do in front of the camera. For my travel style videos it’s usually a bit more of run and gun. Shoot whatever you think might be interesting and towards the end I usually have a bit more of a feeling what direction and buildup I want to use. This usually gives me time to get some of the missing shots. KM: What was the best advice you heard that helped make your videos better? SA: I can’t remember one specific thing that really helped my videos get better, but through the content production of Core we’re always searching for the angles and shots that are unique. Before I go on the water I already envision what the image or specific video clip should look like and then I work closely with the person behind the camera to realize this image. When working like that you can be really time efficient and get more done in a shorter time without filling up your hard drive with unusable shots.
KM: What program do you use for editing? Editing tips? SA: When I first started editing I had a Windows computer and used Adobe Premiere. This is for sure the industry standard and there are loads of tutorials out there that teach you how to use the program. About six years ago I switched over to Mac and when I started working more with 4K video and longer projects I got a bit annoyed by the speed of Premiere. This is when I decided to switch over to Final Cut Pro and this was a game changer for me. Of course there is still render time and it still lags once in a while, but because Final Cut is a native program to Apple the workflow is way smoother and pleasant to work with. KM: Where is your favourite local beach for riding and filming? SA: As I travel all over the world there isn’t really a local beach that I usually film other than Cape Town. Even though the riding there is next level exciting, the filming just sucks. Most of the time your getting sand blasted because of the stronger winds and you’re constantly cleaning you lens due to the salty air. One of my favourite places to film is probably the spit in Squamish, Canada. The wind is offshore on the spit and that means that you can get really close to the person filming without worrying you’ll hit the beach. Next to that, the water is butter flat which means you can take off on the spot!
KM: What have been your favourite destinations to film? SA: Last autumn I did a road trip in Canada with my girlfriend. That was one of my favourite trips up to this point as it was so different to the other ones. Usually I go to the sea where the sun shines and the wind blows. This time we moved in to the Rocky Mountains and tried to find some kiteboarding spots making it a very unique trip for me. You can find the video on my YouTube channel. KM: Any big projects in the works for 2022? SA: I’m about to get on a plane to Mexico. We’ll spend a month over there, then we’re planning to drive up the West Coast from the US with José in and cross from West to East Canada. In total we have about four months for this trip so I’m super excited to see where the road will take us.
Thomas Burblies photo
Escaping South Africa
This spot was heaven; endless white sand beaches and flat turquoise water all to ourselves.
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WORDS BY JACK RIEDER / PHOTOS BY RAMIRO GALLART
After spending over a month-and-a-half in Brazil shooting freestyle and training it was time to travel onwards to South Africa. There I would link up with the team and get going on some projects we had in the works. I was initially planning on being in South Africa for ten days however after my very first night in South Africa I woke up to endless media regarding the new variant–Omicron. Flights were being canceled and South Africa was basically locked out from the rest of the world. Thankfully, we were in an Airush team house so we embraced our future and prepared for the unknown amount of time we would spend together in Muizenberg.
days elsewhere; as did I to avoid an expensive hotel quarantine. Although finding other locations that would accept us was a whole new challenge. We narrowed it down to three locations. Kenya, Zanzibar and Mexico. The first two seemed far more exotic but the responsible side of us decided on Mexico seeing as it was closest to all of our final destinations. So oﬀ we went after our extended stay in South Africa.
As the dust settled it became clear that the European team members could return home. However, that was not the case for myself, Rami and his friend Iñaki who came along for the trip.
We landed in Cancun and set route for Isla Blanca as the forecast looked epic! We stayed at Anthar Racca’s Family Resort & Kite School and rode with our Airush teammates Anthar and Einar. We shot freestyle content in arguably the most amazing flatwater locations I have ever experienced. On one of our final days, Anthar and his father organized a boat trip out to a more remote kite spot. It was hands down the brightest blue and turquoise water I had ever seen in my life.
Now it was only Rami, Iñaki and I in this big house. We made the most of our trip filming non-stop content and riding every day for a few weeks. The evenings were spent coming up with creative escape plans. For Rami and Iñaki to return home to Argentina they needed to spend 14 The night sky in Isla Blanca was incredible.
TRAVEL: ESCAPING SOUTH AFRICA The endless different shades of blue water were so inviting that a few sprays were in order.
Once the week of wind came to an end we said goodbye to the team in Isla Blanca and cruised northwest to meet up with the crew from Airush Yucatan. We rode a super cool flatwater spot they guided us to and got to meet the whole group. After all this hectic travel, it was time to slow down for a minute and we settled in Tulum for a couple days; exploring the cenotes and enjoying the white sand beaches. Finally, it was time for me to continue onward to my final destination of La Ventana to spend Christmas with my brother and Dad. Rami and Iñaki stayed on the east coast of Mexico till after Christmas as that is when our two weeks outside South Africa was complete.
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In the end I had a successful return home to Canada with my family and Rami and Iñaki made it back to Argentina to enjoy New Years with family and friends. The trip was nothing short of a disaster, however I learned that if you go through it with a good group of friends the most hectic trip can also be the most fun and exciting. If there’s anyone that can solve a travel crisis and make it into an amazing trip it’s Ramiro Gallart; so Iñaki and I left the majority of the problem solving to him and simply followed along!
Enjoying a fire with the Airush crew at the Ikarus Kiteboarding Centre.
Side-on wind direction at Glencairn.
A spot southwest of Muizenberg named Glencairn.
THE JAWS SESSIONS
With Jesse Richman COMPILED BY JOHN BRYJA
Jesse Richman at Jaws 2022. Daniel Sullivan photo
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Jet ski view. Amanda Cantor photo
KITESURFING MAGAZINE: WHEN WAS AND HOW DID YOU FEEL DURING YOUR FIRST JAWS SESSION? Jesse Richman: I started kiting Jaws in 2011. It was pretty wild back then. A few people had kited Jaws before me, but none did what I wanted to do. My dream was to be the best at the most radical wave around. My first session was fun but almost uneventful as it’s so hard to get into a critical position on the wave. That session I had launched by myself and rode a few miles upwind to get to the wave, which I would absolutely never do now as it was pretty dangerous not to have a safety team. My second session Patri Mclaughlin and I went out without a safety team, but at least we had each other. That time we launched at what will probably always be the sketchiest launch of all time. It was just the two of us, so he launched my kite and then I launched his with my kite in the air. We were on a lava rock point with huge waves crashing into the cliff. With our kites in the air we both jumped off the rocks and somehow didn’t get smashed back into the wall of death. I wish we had photos of that. In that session I felt like I was starting to understand the wave more and realized it would be a long-term relationship.
KM: Do you still get the same adrenaline rush riding Jaws? How is it different? JR: Every Jaws session is different. The adrenaline rush I get from the wave depends on the conditions and my state of being. As I continue to learn more about my mind and body, I get better at fine-tuning things to feel as good as possible. Leading up to a Jaws session, I spend tons of time preparing. My gear gets dialled in before winter starts; we maintain our jet ski throughout the winter and always make sure that it’s ready to go. About a week before a big swell, I double check my gear and organize all the little details of the day, knowing it still may or may not happen. I make sure my diet is impeccable leading up to the potential session, I try to get as much sleep as possible and I do activation workouts so that when the day comes I feel 110 per cent. If I head out to Jaws feeling ready, I know I will have the confidence to try something new and if I try something new, I will probably eat shit and get quite a rush.
KM: How has your riding at Jaws evolved over the years? JR: Jaws and all big waves are unique, with so many little details that one needs to interpret on autopilot in order to be in the right place at the right time consistently. I want to think that my riding at Jaws has continued to evolve to become more critical with more power, but we also have to remember that it depends on the season. Some years we don’t get a single good day of kiting out there; other years, we get ten-plus days. Being refreshed and comfortable out there makes a massive difference.
THE JAWS SESSIONS
Deep. Eric Aeder photo
KM: WHAT WERE YOUR GOALS FOR THIS YEAR? JR: This year, I decided not to go to King of the Air and focus on wave riding. I wanted to push my riding with foot straps and add elements to kitesurfing that we haven’t seen before. I feel like I am starting to get a few things pretty dialled in small-to-mid-sized waves by combining freestyle tricks and waves. I took as much of that as I could to Jaws. My goal is always to make the most out of any wave I’m on.
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KM: How do you prepare for a session? JR: I want to be relaxed and on autopilot leading up to my session; I want to feel super chill and have the experience feel routine. My goal is to be awake, aware, activated, full of energy and hyperfocused when I get on a wave. So much energy is exerted in the process leading up to that moment that you can be completely taxed before it really matters. The more preparation, the easier the experience is. If I feel focused on the wave, I can simply trust in myself and my training to have the confidence to send it.
Mortals don't hit the lip at Jaws. Eric Aeder photo
KM: What gear do you use to ride Jaws? JR: I have the best kite gear in the world with the most amazing sponsors! Wave kites have evolved dramatically over the years; my favourite all-time wave kite is the North Kiteboarding Carve; this kite is intuitive and absorbs crazy winds so well that I can trust it to work with me every step of the way. You can get rogue gusts at Jaws that can take you out; the Carve helps me mitigate variables like this. For boards, I’m always experimenting. I ride weighted boards that are closely related to the North Charge. I ride the Charge in almost all surf conditions as it has such an excellent high-performance feel and is reliable. I know when I lean into a turn, it will hold. When the waves get to be 30 feet plus (faces), I use my weighted boards as the increased weight helps stabilize the extreme speed found in big waves. Other parts of my setup include a padded wetsuit, inflatable vest, Mystic Majestic harness, Yamaha FXHO Cruiser outfitted for Jaws, and the best support/ safety team on the planet.
Deeper. Eric Aeder photo
WORDS AND PHOTOS BY AXEL REESE / INTERVIEW WITH MATCHU LOPES
The level of riding on the GKA Strapless Kitesurf World Cup Tour is developing faster than any other discipline in kitesurfing. Seven years ago at the first strapless freestyle events we saw Frontrolls, jumps with Shove-its and Backrolls, but the discipline has changed since then. Frontrolls, Double-Frontrolls, Triple-Frontrolls? Meanwhile, an easy, high and not-grabbed Backroll gets six points in the GKA Kitesurf World Cup. Probably not enough to make it
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into a second round of the strapless events. All Frontrolls and Backrolls now come with Shove-it's, Tic-tacs and flips. But now comes the game changer; the big change, in strapless freestyle; the pioneers of the scene, Airton Cozzolino and James Carew, are pushing strapless big air. Matchu Lopes, the 2016 world champion, is preparing for these developments. In our talk, he explains what the current challenges and dangers are.
Kitesurfing Magazine: Matchu, the level on the GKA Strapless Kitesurf World Cup Tour has developed rapidly. MATCHU LOPES: Yes! Again and again a new chapter opens. Four years ago it was a chapter with Frontroll-Shove-its, Double-Frontrolls and Double Backrolls to make it to the next round. Two years ago it was about making everything even higher. The normal Double-Frontroll was supplemented by the Double-Frontroll-Shove-it. Gladly garnished with Tic-tacs, flips, Shove-its and Board-offs. In addition the landings have to have good speed.
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KM: This year a new chapter has begun? ML: At the moment it is clearly going higher and higher and Kiteloops are now a part of it. The tricks have to be high, done with a lot of power and a high level of difficulty. Kiteloops and rotations are part of it and they’re always complimented with the Tic-tacs, Board Flips. That’s hard. The whole thing goes in the direction of the King of the Air event, just strapless but not yet as high.
KM: Is strapless big air why you now live in Gran Canaria for the summer? ML: Yes! I lived there last summer and I will be in Gran Canaria this summer because of the nuclear winds. It's so windy there in summer, it's hard to imagine. In addition, there are only stones on the beaches, so there are only a few people there. It’s warm and in those conditions I can optimally train the strapless big air. I also have a lot of fun!
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KM: That means you have to adjust to Airton and James over and over again, right? Key word: Flat-3. ML: It is pushed more and more and the level rises so incredibly quick. Now I’m practicing airpasses like the Flat-3. I don't like the airpasses at all; it's risky, but I have to learn them and pull them in the World Cup to get higher scores. Nothing else is the goal! I sustained a serious knee injury during airpass training. But I’m investing a lot of hours in training and yes, the other guys motivate me.
KM: Okay, where will strapless freest yle be in three years? ML: More or less like this: even more altitude, Kiteloops, Tic-tacs, Flips, double rotations and fast hard landings. Or when there is less wind, the very technical side: toeside-based tricks, such as the 720. Plus Double-Frontroll-Shoveits, Triple-Frontrolls, Triple-Frontroll-Shove-its. Ah, almost forgot: airpasses. There, too, it will continue to develop.
KM: Is that a big change? ML: Yes, huge!
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These days big air is one of the most popular disciplines of kiteboarding and why wouldn’t it be? Hucking yourself, going as big as humanly possible is one of the greatest feelings a kite can bring us. The Red Bull King of the Air series embraced that feeling in 2000 but only ran for three years. But in 2013 the event was revived in Bloomberg, South Africa and the discipline has grown in popularity ever since. Now big air has gone beyond the Red Bull event and the Big Air Kite League is entering its second world tour. Here are some of the riders to watch as they compete for the big air title around the globe.
Tyrone Bradley photo
Kitesurfing Magazine: What motivates you on the water? Janek Grzegorzewski: I started kitesurfing because I always wanted to fly. Freedom to fly is what I always loved about kitesurfing and I never have to find motivations to push myself on the water. KM: What is your off-the-water training like? JG: Not that long ago I started frequently going to the gym, but before that I didn’t really have any consistent training. My sister is an ice skater and I remember her coach gave me a few tips on how to spin more efficiently. This helped me a lot as I have discovered the right way of starting and stopping the rotation which made me progress on the water really fast. KM: Recommendations for learning new tricks? JG: Start with not a lot of power, feel safe and good on the water. With any trick you try, first jump low and later on, once you feel comfortable with the new rotation or the manoeuvre you are practising, add some more power. Take a bigger kite or practice it in stronger winds. But to be safe, start with a small
kite, be underpowered, and don’t jump high. If you make a mistake, it won’t hurt that bad. KM: What would you say to anyone wanting to learn how to kite? JG: Beginnings aren’t easy. When I started I didn’t like kitesurfing. I was struggling. There are a lot of things to synchronize at the same time and it isn’t easy or comfortable at the start. But I promise you that once you start riding left and right and do your first jump, you will fall in love with the sport. KM: What inspires you? JG: My parents were always my role models. I always admired them for their work and how organized they are in life. They are the ones who have been motivating me to push myself in every discipline I try. They are my inspiration. KM: What do you like about big air? JG: Simple; going big and flying high. I always wanted to fly and big air allows me to do that. KM: What do you like about big air competition? JG: I always struggled with competitions. On the day of the comp I’m
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always stressed and don’t feel good. It has always been a challenge for me to compete but this is what I like about it. I like challenges as I know they make me a better person. Competing doesn’t only make me a better kitesurfer, it also makes me be a better person in life. KM: How did you get to where you are today? JG: I have been very lucky with my kitesurfing journey. My family has always supported my passion and allowed me to explore the world and travel to the best kite locations. I have also attended a high school for kiteboarders which is called World Class Kiteboard Academy. It’s a school that has around 20 students and each one of them kites. We have normal classes in the morning but pretty much kite every single afternoon if the wind allows. I have been in this school for two years and this is where I have made my biggest progression. Other than that, I always loved kiting and I always wanted to be on the water to practice new tricks and moves. If you love something enough and have the opportunity to train everyday you will become good at it.
DATE OF BIRTH: 09/21/2000 COUNTRY: POLAND SPONSORS: CORE
Janek Grzegorzewski is the 2021 BAKL overall champion. Adrian Sikora photo
DATE OF BIRTH: 01/03/1992 COUNTRY: UNITED KINGDOM LOCAL KITE SPOT: LYTHAM ST ANNES, UK LEFT: Tyrone Bradley/Red Bull Content Pool photo RIGHT: Craig Kolesky/Red Bull Content Pool photo
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Hanna Whiteley third at 2022 BAKL Cape Town. Andy Troy photo
KM: What motivates you on the water? Hannah Whiteley: A lot of things motivate me but the main thing is competing. Competing gives you a whole new level of drive to push your riding to the next level. KM: What is your off-the-water training like? HW: I love moving and training my body in different ways. Calisthenics, body weight workout. Rock climbing, skating, running, hiking. I think the key is to keep your training fun. I feel learning different skills sets often compliments your kitesurfing.
KM: Any recommendations for learning new tricks? HW: Visualization! See the trick perfectly in your mind and feel it. The take off, what happens next, the landing, the whole sequence. This will help you so much to progress.
KM: What do you like about big air competition? HW: Riding with a bunch of bad-ass girls, who are absolutely sending it is amazing! This is motivating and I love the feeling of going to battle in super strong wind.
KM: What would you say to anyone wanting to learn to kite? HW: Don’t give up. The best things in life don’t come easy. There is a lot of changing factors with kitesurfing, mother nature cannot be tamed. It takes a little bit of time to get used to all the different weather conditions.
KM: How did you get to where you are today? HW: By not being afraid of failure. Take every opportunity you have. Success does not come overnight. It takes talent plus the determination to keep going, to keep pushing and never staying too comfortable.
KM: What inspires you? HW: Girls and guys that are pushing the sport hard to progress and do what hasn’t been done before. Seeing new creativity not only in riding but also in content creation inspires me.
AGE: 26 COUNTRY: THE NETHERLANDS LOCAL KITE SPOT: TARIFA, SPAIN SPONSORS: OCEAN RODEO LEFT: Craig Kolesky/Red Bull Content Pool photo RIGHT: Kyle Cabano photo
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South African road trip. Kyle Cabano photo
KM: What motivates you on the water? Giel Vlugt: Seeing anyone else who’s better than me or anyone who is progressing faster. I’m pretty competitive so I’m always getting motivation out of other people’s accomplishments. KM: What is your off-the-water training like? GV: I try to go to the gym every day but I would say about five times a week. Not only strength but also endurance training. Also I love sports like tennis and basketball. Any activity can keep me occupied for hours. KM: Any recommendations for learning new tricks? GV: Prepare as much visually as you can. Don’t just dive into it. Make a plan in your head and repeat it over and over again. If you feel like you can basically dream it just go for it!
GIEL VLUGT KM: What would you say to anyone wanting to learn to kite? GV: Do it, there’s absolutely nothing holding you back from learning the best sport there is. KM: What inspires you? GV: Actually something that nobody would guess; the mindset of athletes and in particular basketball athletes. We’ve all seen the Michael Jordan documentary right? An absolute winner and competitor in everything he does. Kobe Bryant and even LeBron James are probably my biggest inspiration when it comes to workload, perseverance, mindset etc. KM: What do you like about big air competition? GV: I love the thrill. The buzz you get just seconds before the buzzer sounds and you have to go out. I feel my hands tingling and my heartbeat rising. It’s not
stress, it’s excitement. Performing on the biggest stage is something all athletes dream of. In a big air competition you find out how well you actually kite. KM: How did you get to where you are today? GV: By working hard, staying disciplined and always getting out of the comfort zone. The danger in big air is that you get very comfortable doing certain tricks and you can be out flying and doing rotations at 15 meters high for an hour and your hair could still be dry. It feels incredible to land everything but actually it should be a warning sign; it’s clearly time to move on and step it up!
KM: What motivates you on the water? Cohan van Dijk: My motivation comes out of all the corners of kiting. The biggest motivation is my love for the sport. I love to challenge my adrenaline levels with the most extreme tricks. Pushing myself to test my limits with new moves and tricks is the ultimate stoke. It never gets old walking over the dunes with my kite gear and feeling the excitement rushing through my body. The moment I feel the wind, I immediately get butterflies in my stomach. Other kiters motivate me as well, because we all want to redefine our limits and share the same passion for this world. That is what keeps me going. KM: What is your off-the-water training like? CD: Looking after your body is the most important thing. I go to the gym six times a week with a big variation of exercises; full body based. I run five kilometres before I start my gym session to keep up my physical condition and to get my blood flowing. Then I do legs, back, or chest. Similar to the running, I end off with my daily ab routine. I combine balance in all of my exercises for improved stability on the water. Besides that, food plays a big roll; you’re going to need a lot of protein and muscle filling food. Just always be conscious about what you put into your mouth, body and soul. KM: Any recommendations for learning new tricks? CD: What helps me the most is to sit down, close my eyes, and visualize every single detail of the trick you want to execute. Go through every movement very slowly. Kite with control and positioning yourself is the most important key with building this skill. This wil make the biggest diference between you being able to perform your trick and losing control over your kite. KM: What would you say to anyone wanting to learn to kite? CD: Don’t start, it’s addictive. The truth is, I will tell them it is the most amazing sport. It is a sport that manifests so much joy and happiness in my every day life. Kite surfers in general are the most amazing people. You will build amazing and special friendships all around the world. Traveling for kiteboarding brings you to the most beautiful places on earth. Your kite gear will become your favourite travel buddy. KM: What inspires you? CD: My inspiration is the people behind me, all the people that believe in me and those who support me. I love to be able to share the stoke of kiting with those around me on the beach. Hearing them cheering me on inspires me the most and I love that I’m able to inspire them as well. My dad has always been my biggest inspiration; his words were, “If you believe, you will achieve.” KM: What do you like about big air competition? CD: I have a love/hate relationship with competitions. Competitions are what you work the hardest for. It all comes down to that one day of extreme focus and concentration. Of course it is the best feeling to have so many people
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Cape Town action. Andy Troy photo
on the beach watching and supporting your journey up the ladder. That is when I start to enjoy entertaining the crowd and hearing them cheer for the tricks I pull off. It is the most heartfelt and encouraging feeling. That is what I ultimately work for. Watching competitions is also important because in that moment, all the kiters are performing at their highest level. You will then see that you need to step up your game and know which direction the other riders going. KM: How did you get to where you are today? CD: It is a combination of different life lessons, practice and a lot of help from Naish and my dad. Without them I would not have matured to my current age and progressed as an athlete. Kiteboarding depends on the wind, so the moment you have wind you need to put everything aside and mission to the beach. You never know when the wind is leaving or coming back. Back in the days my dad would pick my up in the middle of my school classes and then take me straight to the beach. Reminding me that kiting goes before everything! From a young age, I wanted to kite with Naish. I feel the most comfortable kiting with the gear I love. For me, that is the most important element for my progression as an athlete.
Samuel Cardenas photo
DATE OF BIRTH: 04/26/2002 COUNTRY: NETHERLANDS LOCAL KITE SPOT: TEXEL, NETHERLANDS
COHAN VAN DIJK
First place at the BAKL 2022 Cape Town event. Andy Troy photo
DATE OF BIRTH: 11/25/2005 COUNTRY: ITALY LOCAL KITE SPOT: EL MEDANO, TENERIFE, SPAIN
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Big air Tarifa style. Renato Casati photo
LORENZO CASATI KM: What motivates you on the water? Lorenzo Casati: Every time I land new tricks I get even more motivation to keep training harder and harder.
important to progress by steps; If for example you can’t do a Boardoff there’s no sense to try a Kiteloop Boardoff, you’ll only get hurt.
KM: What is your off-the-water training like? LC: I always try to be active. I will do a workout, go for a run or a swim in the sea or if there are some waves I will go for a surf session.
KM: What would you say to anyone wanting to learn to kite? LC: That you must try kitesurfing because it’s a special sport that keeps you connected to the ocean and nature. It can let you fly in the sky or surf big waves.
KM: Any recommendations for learning new tricks? LC: I think that the best way to learn new tricks is to watch a lot of videos of the trick you want to learn and then try it in the water. Also I think that it’s really
KM: What inspires you? LC: Flying high in the sky, surfing big waves, discovering new places and meeting new people.
KM: What do you like about big air competition? LC: I like competitions because you can learn so much from them; you can compare yourself with other riders, meet many people and discover new places. KM: How did you get to where you are today? LC: Training a lot of hours in and out of the water, making a lot of sacrifices and the desire to always improve. Also thanks to my dad for getting me into the sport and always believing in me. And thanks to my sponsors Duotone and Ion for supporting me with the best gear.
DATE OF BIRTH: 07/10/1999 COUNTRY: NETHERLANDS LOCAL KITE SPOT: STRAND HORST, NETHERLANDS SPONSORS: NAISH
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KM: Any recommendations for learning new tricks? SH: Learning new tricks is always scary, it takes time, skill and courage to do so. You don’t want to get injured but at the same time you also don’t want to be stuck at the same level. I struggle a lot with this because I want to train for competitions but at the same time not get injured. It’s a fine line between both. I usually visualize my tricks over and over again. It takes some time and skill to understand but as soon as you can visualize your tricks well enough you can make almost everything happen–as long as your foundation is good.
Tweaked. Michal jagniatkowski photo
KM: What would you say to anyone wanting to learn to kite? SH: Just do it. Take an introduction lesson to see if you like it. I have been a teacher myself for quite a few years and a lot of people start the lesson very skeptical thinking they won’t be able to do much. But almost everyone is super stoked and happy after their lesson and can’t wait for their second. KM: What inspires you? SH: I get inspired and find inspiration in a lot of things. I watch a lot of other board sports. I find creative people very inspiring and they usually push me to make a new movie and motivate me to make something that nobody has done in a particular way.
STIG HOEFNAGEL KM: What motivates you on the water? Stig Hoefnagel: Kiting new locations always motivates me a lot. Because I spend so many hours on the water it’s hard to keep motivation sometimes, but exploring new spots with my kite is still something that fascinates me about kiting. Whenever I have the opportunity to kite a spot I’ve never kited the motivation usually follows shortly after. Or getting super close to landing a new trick helps as well. Whenever I get close to landing something new I try to do absolutely everything to land it no matter the conditions.
KM: What is your off-the-water training like? SH: I spend a lot of time in the gym when I don’t have much time to get a workout in. But I like to do other sports that help me stay fit. My favourite sport to do next to kiting is mountain biking. It’s a good mix of training endurance, focus and conditioning. When I go to the gym I usually train balancing exercises in combination with strength and endurance; the goal is to get strong and fit and not too big and heavy.
KM: What do you like about big air competition? SH: I usually get super competitive; there is something about competing that motivates me a lot. The feeling of being on the podium is something magical and that’s usually the reason I want to do well. I enjoy competing in big air so much because you know the conditions are going to be sick while giving all the people watching on the beach a show. KM: How did you get to where you are today? SH: You need a lot of passion and love for the sport. Without this I think it’s almost impossible to keep on pushing and enjoying yourself. I sometimes lose a bit of motivation doing big air. Personally switching to a different discipline within the sport works for me. Getting my mind off big air by doing something else really motivates me to go back to big air.
DATE OF BIRTH: 09/21/1999 COUNTRY: GERMANY LOCAL KITE SPOT: FEHMARN, GERMANY
Nora Klement finished second at the BAKL 2022 Cape Town event. Storm Ferreira photo
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NORA KLEMENT KM: What inspires you? NK: I think I need to convert the question to who inspired you? In the beginning it was definitely Angely Boulliot. I can still remember when I saw a video from her on Instagram. She did a high and powerful Kiteoop and a Kiteloop with a late Backroll. At that point I just thought I really want to learn this and I’m sure I can also do it. KM: What do you like about big air competition? NK: I really like the fact, especially in women’s only competitions, that there are so many people with the same passion and mindset. On the one hand, competing is a thing you do on your own because you want to show what you can do best and push your own limits. But on the other side it’s also a lot about having fun! Having nice people around you. Having nice sessions in pumping wind. We’re all on a similar level so you can push each other or get pushed by seeing what the others are doing. Before and after the heat it’s not about competition at all. It’s about having a chilled day or some days together, meeting a lot of new people that share the same passion. In the Big Air Kite League Cape Town this year I met a lot of girls I saw on social media or texted with and we just had the best time together!
Andy Troy photo
KM: What motivates you on the water? Nora Klement: I get really motivated when I have people around me training on the same tricks or already doing the tricks I want to learn. Another thing is when I have friends around me who know what I’m practising, pushing me to try it again and again after crashing. KM: What is your off-the-water training like? So what I really try to do just before I hit the water is a little warm up or stretching to get my body prepared for the session; especially when the conditions are tough. But to be honest I’m unfortunately not doing it every time; most of the time I’m just too stoked to get on the water as fast as possible! Besides this I’m trying to do every bit of cardio or home workouts to just keep my body active and build up some muscles. After this or after a session I do some stretching or yoga.
KM: Any recommendations for learning new tricks? NK: It’s really hard to give recommendations that everyone can or will use successfully; it’s just so different for everyone. For me the best way is watching the trick in slow motion to see what part of the body is doing which movement at what time. Then I try visualizing it and repeating it again and again in my head. When I’m on the water I just try it and see how it works. It’s also pretty helpful when somebody is watching or filming so I can analyze what’s missing or wrong in my movements. When I am stuck learning a trick, I try to find someone that is capable of landing it and ask how they have learned it. KM: What would you say to anyone wanting to learn to kite? NK: Just do it! I know it’s easy to say, but yes it’s really like this. But please don’t do it by yourself: look for a kite school and learn it properly and safely. Since I am an instructor myself you should just visit me on the island of Fehmarn and I can teach you.
KM: How did you get to where you are today? NK: As I already said, a video on Instagram was more or less the point where I started. I had just learned kiting half a year ago and I was at the point where I did my first tiny jumps and some tricks like a Backroll. I went on the water with some friends and I asked them how a Kiteloop works. Then after a few fails because I was afraid of it, I pulled the loop. Of course I didn’t land it but I lost a bit of my fear. After this I went to Brazil for three months. It was the first time that I had stronger winds and a lot of time to kite. We went to several places and everywhere I saw people doing Kiteloops. So again I really wanted to learn it properly. So I asked everyone how to do it and I just tried. I went out everyday for several hours, did loops and crashed. I never jumped very high because I wasn’t able to at that point but I just wanted to pull loops, so I continued. At the end of my time in Brazil I was finally able to land my first loops and to become confident with it. Then I forced myself to put the focus on jumping higher to loop more safely. Because it’s still in my head what a friend told me: the higher you are the safer it is, because you just have more time. Now a few years and a lot of loops later I agree. At the beginning of something new I’m always a bit fearful. But when I’ve overcome this I’m even more motivated to keep going and pushing myself more.
the new era
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Jumping has always been one of the most exciting aspects of kiteboarding for both the rider and the spectator. Pro level riders continue to break new boundaries with bigger and more technical, high altitude manoeuvres. As the passion for huge height and hang time has increased, so has the explosion of new big air freeride kite models. The kites in this category all provide the power range and extra aggressive lift for jumping big and also the handling characteristics that keep the rider in control for safe landings. Kite brands continue to improve the handling
and jumping capability of their designated big air kites and for this year’s test, the Kitesurfing Magazine team assembled an assortment of the industry’s top models. There are lots of options. Some brands have exciting new models while others continue to improve and evolve their long standing kite designs. New material configurations and newly developed materials not only provide weight savings, but also added durability and overall handling in the upper end wind range.
For any rider looking to advance into big jumps and Kiteloops, there are great options in the three strut hybrid shapes. Although the Naish Pivot and F-One Bandit XV and the Reedin SuperModel 3 aren’t specifically for big air, they are designs that can compete against this class of kite. In fact, the Pivot has the most top three podium finishes in the professional big air competitions. It has legendary ability, not only to jump and soar, but also provides smooth consistent power through turns and offers versatile high performance. The Bandit XV is also one of the industry’s most highly evolved kite designs and this year in its fifteenth iteration has some of the most refined handling and big jumping capability. It’s also the best kite for unhooking and doing some classic wake style trickery, which is something the Pivot is not as adept at. The Reedin SuperModel 3 follows in the Pivot and Bandit XV’s legendary footsteps, with top notch performance for boosting huge but is an accessible kite for any skill level. It might be the most user friendly of the three models with simple and easy to find power and quick lift with ultra- smooth, consistent pull through the turns. Reedin believes one kite model can perform at top levels of every discipline and they have done well to prove this with the SuperModel 3. As three-strut kites these models have the advantage of lighter frames which help increase their lift efficiency and power. Their light frames and mid aspect canopies also provide very direct handling and good range and versatility. Where they might come into question is in the upper end of their wind range, where having five struts, can help keep the kite’s handling in check. If you want a big air kite that can handle wave riding
example of a kite that adopts this philosophy in design. The Machine V1 is a standout for its light touch and direct steering. It’s an easy, forward flying kite that provides efficient glide and lift. With this flat and efficient canopy, Slingshot was able to find substantial weight savings by reducing the number of panels. Also notable on the Machine is the pulley-free bridle system, giving the kite a very direct feel while still maintaining nearly instant depower. North, as well as some other brands like Ozone were the real driver and promoter of the pulley-free bridle systems. The third edition North Orbit remains a top contender for one of the world’s top big air kite designs. The Orbit has evolved to be more user friendly and it has benefitted from some weight reduction and tweaks to its tuning. The Orbit likes lots of wind power and is a true performance kite; it keeps its tight handling and Kiteloop ability even in the upper echelons of its wind range. It’s a great choice for the intermediate rider to build confidence and boost big in those overpowered and gusty conditions. The five strut kite designs continue to evolve and are much enhanced by both shape and their material makeup. Two models in this group are employing cutting edge, new materials to substantially reduce weight and improve performance; Duotone and Ocean Rodeo. New leading edge and strut materials are ushering in a new era of kite performance. The SLS Series of kites from Duotone use their new Penta TX leading edge and center strut material and Ocean Rodeo uses the Aluula fabric. The new Rebel SLS is more user friendly, versatile and easier to jump than it has ever been. Both these brands deserve credit for driving innovation and investing in
or foiling, the Bandit XV, Pivot and the SuperModel 3 are the best choice of this group but they might not be the easiest kite to learn to jump. Big jumps require full power and lots of it, which is why most big air kites are designed around a five strut platform. Unfortunately most five strut kites are not as user friendly for entry level skills as they are heavier and higher aspect shapes tend to require more constant flying skills. One kite that bucks this trend as a five strut, do-it-all model is the Core XR7. Core has three strut models also, but the XR7 is one five strut model that is easy to learn to jump huge with. Core’s bridle systems enable the kite to widen the arc when you power up and sheet in and tighten when you sheet the bar out for more depower. This is a kite that makes learning to jump higher and bigger easier as it simply pulls you up and lifts you higher as you sheet in. It then lets you down gently when you sheet out. The XR7 ease of use and easy jumping character have made it one of the most popular kites in this category and the newest version is no exception. The newbie big air enthusiasts will continue to love this kite. Another easy five strut kite to use, that also has soaring capability and even better upper wind range is the new Eleveight XS V2. With some revisions to the well reviewed design from last season, the XS V2 stands up well against the top performing, big air models. With improvements in direct feel and handling, as well as, low end power it gained some ground this year. Many of the brands are also using weight reducing materials, reducing seams and replacing heavier panels to give their kites more efficient lift and power. The new Slingshot Machine is a great
new material technology to open up new levels of performance. The Ocean Rodeo Drive is a pure, high performance, five strut kite and looping machine and with the Aluula fabric it was the lightest kite of the group. Reducing weight on a kite naturally improves the lift and efficiency. The lighter the kite, the higher it can lift itself with less power. But these new age materials like Aluula and Penta TX, not only reduce the kite’s weight, they also provide more rigidity to the frame which helps improve reaction time and handling. The Rebel SLS and the Drive, with their high tech materials, offer some breakthrough performance in jumping and upper end wind range. There has never been a better time to improve your jumping experience with one of these big air kite models. If you’re looking for more versatile performance for waves, foil or general freeride, but still want a great kite for massive air and tight and controlled loops, the Naish Pivot, F-One Bandit XV and Reedin SuperModel 3 are top options. If your skills are more rudimentary and you want to hone your big air approach, the five strut kite like the XR7 remains a top contender. Many of the other five strut kites are getting more user friendly as well, with break out performance in the new Slingshot Machine and the Eleveight XS V2. For serious Kitelooping and the most consistent handling performance in the upper end of the wind range, the North Orbit will not let you down. For the most technically advanced and lightest masters of big air, the new Rebel SSL and Ocean Rodeo Drive are standouts.
CORE XR7 SKYSCRAPER SIZES TESTED (M): 9, 12 / SIZES AVAILABLE (M): 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13.5 / CONTROL SYSTEM: SENSOR 3 SYNOPSIS: A LEGEND THAT MAKES EVERY LEVEL OF RIDER BETTER AT BOOSTING BIG AIRS WITH A HUGE SWEET SPOT, SMOOTH DRIVING PULL AND TONS OF STABILITY AND OVERALL WIND RANGE. Likes: The legendary XR7 is the latest version of Core’s high performance, big air freeride kite. As one of three models in Core’s Universal Series of kites, the XR7 has performance that lets it cater to the full gamut of kite disciplines, conditions and skill levels. This kite has more emphasis on massive jumping and hang time ability over freestyle or waver riding disciplines. The XR7 features a hybrid design that marries a five strut bow canopy shape with Delta swept wingtips. The design provides amazing wind range with lots of low end and quick depower, as well as, easy, sheet-in-and-go performance that the progressing riders will appreciate. The three pulley bridle system is also a key to the XR7 magic as it flattens out the kite’s central canopy when sheeted in, giving exceptional low end power as well as formidable lift and extra hang time and float. Conversely, when the bar is sheeted out the kite’s arc is tightened,
eliminating some power and enhancing steering input. The XR7 is always a test favourite, especially for the riders with less experience at boosting big air. The ease with which the XR7 can lift and hang the rider in the air is unmatched. This XR7 is one model of kite that you could learn to kite with and never really outgrow. It’s a very stable kite with less tendency to back stall or the need to be constantly directed by the rider, like some big air, higher aspect models. In addition to having a massive wind range with good low-end power, the five strut structure helps give it that additional control in the upper end. The timing for sending the XR7 for lift off to get some big floaty airs is not as crucial as some kites in this category. All Core kites are built with the company’s proprietary line of high-tech canopy and framing materials that ensure long life and high levels of performance. The XR7 features their newest
canopy material Coretex 2.0 and tweaks to the bridles. Another feature that really set the XR7 apart is the added bridle setting which can change the kite’s steering and depower performance to better suit for waves or freestyle. Overall a very versatile and easy to use kite that has unmatched wind range and is one of the easiest big air kites to handle. Minus: With three pulleys in the bridles the Core XR7 doesn’t feel as instantly connected to rider input. Best For: Any level of rider that wants a big air freeride kite that’s easy to use, can adapt to huge jumps and has a massive wind range.
CONTROL SYSTEM: SENSOR 3 New from last season the Core Sensor 3 bar is packed with technical features and quality components. The quick release cup features a push away engagement and easy, single-handed reassembly. The rubberized bar ends are nice and grippy when the kite needs to be aggressively turned by grabbing one side of the bar. With the foldaway bar winders at the bar ends, the Sensor 3 is very streamlined, with a low profile and is light in the hands. The main trim line features two lines coated with a
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soft PVC that protects the lines and also ensures that the front lines auto untwist as the bar is sheeted out towards the kite. The Sensor 3 works perfectly with the Section kite in the waves, giving great feedback and response from the kite while at the same time it feels light and less clunky when there is less line tension riding down the line.
DUOTONE REBEL SLS SIZES TESTED (M): 9 / SIZES AVAILABLE (M): 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15 / CONTROL SYSTEM: CLICK BAR SYNOPSIS: THE FIVE STRUT, BIG AIR FREERIDE LEGEND IS REDESIGNED WITH A LIGHTER, MORE REACTIVE FRAME THAT DELIVERS MORE DEPOWER, FASTER RESPONSIVE STEERING AND THE ULTIMATE IN SMOOTH PULL AND CONTROL IN THE UPPER WIND RANGE. Likes: The Rebel is a legendary five strut, bow shaped design that is one of the industry’s original high performance, big air freeride kites. The rigid frame maintains superior amounts of control in the upper wind range. For 2022 the Rebel SLS is designed around the Penta TX leading edge and center struts. This material is lighter, stronger and stiffer and replaces the traditional Dacron. With the Penta TX construction the overall kites are up to 17 per cent lighter which has improved the low end efficiency of the Rebel SLS, especially in the larger sizes. This new construction technology combined with a revised canopy shape has improved the Rebel’s low end power delivery. It also gives the Rebel SLS lighter touch steering, better light wind handling with more reactive steering and more instant depower. In the air the Rebel keeps its legendary feel with ultra smooth power delivery and a rock-solid frame that can
eat up the gusts. The Rebel SLS likes to be kept moving forward and driven with speed and conviction. But the Rebel SLS is more adaptable and accessible to a wider range of skill levels in 2022, with more instant depower and shutoff with its single pulley on each front bridle and the flex tips that allow the kite canopy to breathe. The smooth pull and extra depower also give the Rebel SLS more versatility for riding foils and suits a broader range of skill levels. The bar pressure is still direct but lighter touch and the turning is faster and more reactive. The Rebel’s higher aspect ratio and sweeping turns can generate nice power and offer some of the biggest glide and hang time of any of the big air kites in the group. With more sheet and go handling the Rebel SLS is easier to jump and requires slightly less than perfect timing to catch some nice lofty airs.
Minus: Still slightly less versatile than the three strut designs but more accessible than ever for the average rider that wants a fast driving and big boosting freeride kite. Best For: Intermediate to advanced level riders that want a fast pulling, high jumping big air kite with the best glide and hang time available and the legendary Rebel feel and character.
CONTROL SYSTEM: DUOTONE CLICK BAR MEDIUM The Click Bar is arguably the most technically advanced control system available today. It has all the advanced features of the top bars plus it includes an internal trim system that lengthens the back lines with a click of a button. To reshorten the back lines, a half twist of the bar end winder gets your kite powered up. The visible window on the bar shows exactly the trim level of depower the kite is at. The Click Bar also features the auto untwisting front lines during rotations and it untwists the flagging
line for additional safety. It’s available with four different interchangeable kite loops for everything from the larger freestyle loop to the small rope spreader for waves. New for this year is the FLITE99 lines which are stiffer, more reactive and more stretch resistant, giving the ultimate in kite feedback and low drag flying. With the adjustable V splitter on the front lines, the Click Bar is compatible for any kite from low V style or with the high V style kites that need to be adjusted for different sizes. kitesurfingmag.com
ELEVEIGHT XS V2 SIZES TESTED (M): 9, 12 / SIZES AVAILABLE (M): 7, 9, 10, 12, 14 / CONTROL SYSTEM: CS VARY PLUS SYNOPSIS: THE ELEVEIGHT XS V2 CAN BOOST AND GLIDE WITH THE BEST OF THEM AND YOU DON’T NEED TO BE A KITELOOPING SUPERSTAR TO USE IT. NICE IMPROVEMENTS IN LOW END POWER, HANG TIME AND DIRECT FEEL FOR 2022. Likes: In its second year of evolution, Eleveight’s XS V2 features a five strut, Delta C hybrid shape that promotes full powered riding with lots of big boost capability and extra hang time. Last season the XS was an impressive addition to the Eleveight kite line and this year shows even more promise for anyone that wants to ride with extra power, speed and boosting ability. The revisions of the V2 includes a slightly flatter arc which translates to more lift and glide, as well as better lowend power. Some wingtip modifications also give the XS V2 some better power delivery through the turn and provide the rider a more direct feel and positional feedback. Also this refined version feels more connected to the
rider and while it’s easy to send the kite and boost a good distance, the XS V2 also feels more connected above head and reacts easily to rider input with quick turn initiation and fast looping ability. This kite has great upwind drive and smooths out the gusts with its rigid frame. There is plenty of instant depower when you sheet out the bar and the compact, single pulley bridles are well positioned. The high demands of stress put on a big air kite that’s driven into higher wind pressures, translates to more pressure on materials and construction. Eleveight gets top marks for their high quality materials and build that give the rider confidence to push the limits of big air.
Minus: Less low-end power than the RS and not as versatile for foil, waves or park riding but has the heavier build and reinforcements for those extreme, loaded up conditions. Best For: Intermediate to advanced level riders that want a high performance, big jumping and gliding kite that’s also easy handling and still has decent power and performance through its entire wind range.
CONTROL SYSTEM: CS VARY PLUS The CS Vary Plus bar checks all the boxes to keep in good pace with the industry’s top control systems. Their CS Vary Plus bar is equipped with a single click-in style, quick release trim loop and features a smooth working, easy to adjust trim line. With streamlined EVA bar floats and a new PU covered center line the CS Vary Plus is a solid bar that works well
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with all of Eleveight’s quality kite models. Unlike other bars that use very thick and hollowed out center line depower, the coated PU line spectra provides smooth sheeting action with less weight and chunkiness, for easy wrap-up after a quality session.
F-ONE BANDIT XV SIZES TESTED (M): 9, 12 / SIZES AVAILABLE (M): 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 17 / CONTROL BAR: LINX BAR SYNOPSIS: THE BANDIT XV CONTINUES TO DELIVER–AS IT HAS FOR A DECADE AND A HALF–BREAKING THE BARRIERS OF PERFORMANCE WITH MORE BOOST AND GLIDE AND SWEET, GUST EATING PULL WITH TIGHT RADIUS TURNS AND MORE HIGHLY REFINED HANDLING THAN EVER. Likes: With 15 years of refinement and evolution, the F-One Bandit XV continues to dominate in the cross discipline kite category with its outstanding flying characteristics and feel. A standout in the test for overall performance, the Bandit XV has some of the tightest, smooth pulling loops ever produced from a kite. With more hang time and better boost, it offers solid big air performance but with the versatility that refined, light, three strut frames provide. Solid low- end power with easy jumping performance from a kite that provides great boost and ideal control overhead. New tweaks for the 2022 Bandit include a new revised and lower diameter leading edge shape, revised profile and new trailing edge material. More stable and reactive than ever, the Bandit’s three strut, Delta C canopy is crisp and light in the air and its narrow leading edge and low profile struts let it
drive nicely upwind. This is a kite that you can also take to the slick and work on unhooked freestyle moves with. Unlike some three strut kites, do-it-all models, or even 5 strut big air kites, the Bandit XV has the right pull and unhooked slack line drift to work well in the park or the slick for the advanced freestyle crowd. With plenty of depower, shut off and great stability, drift and balance overhead, the Bandit is great for foiling or wave riding with surface riding boards. For riders that are looking to do more foiling and surf riding versus big boosting Kiteloops or unhooked freestyle, the Bandit XV follows the same platform but has bridles tuned for more depower and better wave and foil riding capability.
Minus: With more low end and even better boost and glide, the Bandit XV moves forward in performance in 2022. Some riders still prefer a low V control bar set up which the Bandit is not designed around. Best For: Any level of kiter can use the Bandit, but it is most suited to the kiter that wants one kite model for any situation; from twintip or freestyle, to waves or foil riding.
CONTROL SYSTEM: LINXBAR 2022 The Linxbar 2022 is streamlined, refined and well matched for the Bandit XV’s smooth driving control. New for this year the main center line employs a rectangular PU sheath which provides low friction sheeting and won’t pinch fingers that are close to the stainless insert. The Quick Release cup is also easy to assemble and engage. A simple and effective system, with nice streamlined bar floats that house the adjustable bar
length ends and leader lines. With smooth sheeting depower ability and easy clam cleat trim above the bar, the Linxbar 2022 control system checks all the boxes for high standards of safety and functionality. It’s also nice and light in the hands which is nice when riding waves or foiling with lower flying line tension.
NAISH PIVOT SIZES TESTED (M): 9, 12 / SIZES AVAILABLE (M): 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14 / CONTROL BAR: NAISH TORQUE ATB SYNOPSIS: THE DO-IT-ALL MASTER THAT SETS THE BAR IN VERSATILITY WITH AMAZING BOOSTING ABILITY AND THE POWER BAND CONTROL AND MANOEUVRABILITY THAT CAN CATER TO ALMOST EVERY DISCIPLINE AND SKILL LEVEL. Likes: The Naish Pivot continues to set the bar for versatile performance across disciplines with refined power delivery and handling that can suit big air freeride to waves and foiling. Another top three podium finish at the Red Bull King of the Air Competition makes the Pivot a top model for big air with more podium finishes than any other kite model. It is one of the true legendary, high performance, Swiss-Armyknives of kites. It allows any rider to adapt its magical pull, lift and handling to almost any situation. Truly refined over the years, the Pivot has great low-end power that’s easy to find and combines very linear, easy on-and-off sheeting power that makes it easy for anyone to figure out and advance their skills. The fast and efficient pull with the narrow leading edge and stiff reactive frame, the Pivot provides great upwind drive which is important as the jump and hang time can be incredible with this kite. This year the 12 meter tested seemed lighter and more
responsive than previous versions with better low-end power and more control. With the addition of a high wind bridle setting incorporated a couple of years ago, the Pivot has more upper end wind range and even better big air capability than ever. The light and responsive three strut canopy, packed with Naish quality build and materials, is great for waves and foil riding as well. With easy sheet-in-and-go riding and lots of useable depower, the Pivot is well balanced and responsive to steering input from the rider. The highly evolved and refined shape also means smooth, medium-pull pivotal turns and fast reactivity to steering input at all angles of attack. The Pivot is a kite that is stable, with smooth and predictable handling and the ability to recover from odd angles like no other. This is what makes it a great kite for any level or rider; it has well balanced and intuitive controls, great power and a drives smooth. It’s a kite that any rider can rely on with very little compromise in
every condition from waves to boosting to foil riding. The Pivot is the one kite model that any level of rider can rely on not only to learn the basics but to progress into higher levels of riding in any discipline of kiteboarding. Minus: Control system needs upgrading to keep pace with the high-end performance of this award-winning kite design. The only thing the Pivot doesn’t do exceptionally well is unhooked freestyle. Best For: The kiter that enjoys crossing all disciplines and having three or more types of board and foils in their quiver. The Pivot performance can be adapted for every session that presents itself.
CONTROL SYSTEM: NAISH TORQUE ATB 50 CM The Naish Torque ATB control bar has a comfortable grip, streamlined bar ends and easily adjustable length tuning on the above-the-bar trim cleat. It employs very high quality, low stretch flying lines with stiffer front lines that flow off a low center V system. This Torque bar also features 20 meter, colour coded lines with four meter extensions, giving the rider a nice option to ride with a shortened line set up by simply removing the four meter extensions. The trim line on the Torque bar is Dyneema line with
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a poly core that ensures smooth sheeting through the replaceable nylon center insert. Although many control systems have gone to PVC coated trim lines which can reduce the visible wear on the line, the Torque still uses the rope style which is very simple to replace. It has an internal PVC core to reduce stretch and increase strength. The rope system may offer better feel and feedback from the pull of the kite and ensures the visual cues of fraying, which indicates when replacement is required.
NORTH ORBIT SIZES TESTED (M): 8, 9, 10 / SIZES AVAILABLE (M): 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14 / CONTROL SYSTEM: NAVIGATOR CONTROL SYSTEM 3 SYNOPSIS: THE EMERGING ICON OF BIG AIR, THE THIRD EDITION OF THE ORBIT IS A HIGH WIND, HIGH PERFORMANCE KITELOOPING MACHINE THAT OFFERS THE ULTIMATE CONTROL WHEN THE WIND IS PUMPING. Likes: The North Orbit is the high performance big air freeride kite of the North lineup and it’s one kite that has helped to reinvigorate the big air category over the past several seasons. The third edition Orbit solidified its competitive big air performance with its second consecutive top place finish in the Red Bull King of the Air. With refinements in the overall performance the Orbit continues to entice riders to the thrills of big boosting and high altitude Kiteloops and manoeuvres. It’s not just a kite for the advanced Kiteloop crowd; the direct steering and easy to find power, as well as the great control in over powered conditions, make it a great kite for intermediate riders to progress. The smooth forward pull and fast driving pace and easy, gust eating controls, as well as the direct and reactive steering, with no pulleys in the bridles, sets the Orbit apart. It is by no means the perfect kite to learn the basics on. But as a
higher aspect kite with easy boost and lots of hang time, the Orbit retains its control and light touch steering in the upper wind range. The flat canopy area also has decent low end power with lots of lift that give it the extra hang time for those old school, board-off manoeuvres. For the advanced riders looking for Kiteloop performance in the upper wind range, the Orbit gets top marks for its ability to move forward in the window and reach the top of the window with great consistency. Any rider that wants a kite to push the limits of jumping and big air, especially in the upper wind range, should consider putting an Orbit in their quiver.
Minus: Less versatile than the Reach and less performance oriented when riding in underpowered conditions. Best For: The King of the Air champion! Also great for intermediate riders that want to learn to jump bigger and try some Kiteloops. Or for riders that want higher levels of comfort and control in the upper wind ranges should consider the North Orbit.
CONTROL BAR: NORTH NAVIGATOR CONTROL SYSTEM The Navigator Control System 3 has some upgrades to its trend-setting functionality. A simple and streamlined design, the Navigator is stocked with high quality components. The Navigator Connect Quick Release trim loop remains one of the quickest and easiest to reset. With patented, single-motion re-assembly it has a seat belt style push in to reset with, no need to pull up the cup like some similar click-in style models. The Navigator also offers one of the only completely ‘tool-free’ changing of the trim loop to quickly change the loop to a larger freestyle loop or the
surf loop. The surf loop features a metal insert on the inside to avoid friction wear from using a rope slider bar on your harness. Other features include the highest quality low stretch flying and leader lines and a beefy plastic molded and hollowed tubing that covers the main and safety flagging line. The system offers great durability and keeps things clean and streamlined. The new embossed grip on the control bar has also been upgraded and features an oval shaping so the rider can feel if the bar is right side up after crashes or spins. kitesurfingmag.com
OCEAN RODEO RISE A-SERIES SIZES TESTED (M): 10 / SIZES AVAILABLE (M): 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 / CONTROL BAR: STICK SHIFT 3.0 SYNOPSIS: CONSTRUCTED WITH THE NEW REVOLUTIONARY ALUULA FABRIC, THE RISE IS A FIVE STRUT, HIGH ASPECT RATIO SHAPE THAT OFFERS THE ULTIMATE IN STRATOSPHERIC HANDLING FOR THE NEXT LEVEL IN BIG AIR KITE PERFORMANCE. Likes: The new Ocean Rodeo Rise is an exciting new big air kite for 2022 that features a high aspect open C canopy shape, framed with a narrow leading edge and five struts that are constructed using the ultra light and reactive Aluula fabric. This high performance big air kite model is surprisingly easy to fly but it really gets interesting in the hands of more advanced riders that can push the limits of aggressive riding and flying. The technology advancement with the Aluula fabric and the advanced seam technology, allows for a narrower leading edge and shaped struts which give the Rise amazing aerodynamics and the ability to fly the kite with higher bladder pressure. The stiff, light frame provides lower drag and translates instantly to the feel of the kite in the bar. The Rise is fast pulling and smooth driving and like most higher aspect kites it likes to be driving forward. The turning speed is fast and reactive and the kite
has quick loops that feel very slippery through the turn with no flutter or delay. The Rise is also a fast driving kite across the window and with light bar pressure it reacts instantly to bar input. Turning speed can be adjusted at the wingtips for preferred feel and this kite is almost too fast at the outside settings. At almost half the weight of traditional Dacron-framed, 5-strut kites, the Rise has amazing lift and glide and can loop and recover with less air pressure than its heavier weight comparable designs. The compact and simple single pulley bridles give the Rise great range, and despite the narrow shape, the Rise has quick and reliable water relaunch ability. Filled with great technical construction and features, the Rise is an exciting new model that is driving the big air performance to new levels. Any rider that wants a quick handling, fast driving and
aggressive boosting and looping kite, should consider the Ocean Rodeo Drive. Minus: With its super light weight, we thought this kite would have more low end power, but it’s really designed like a true 5-strut kite; to be ridden into lots of wind as there seems no end to the upper wind range of this kite. Best For: Intermediate to advanced level riders that want to push the limits of big air and kite loops should put this kite in their quiver.
CONTROL SYSTEM: OCEAN RODEO PILOT 2.0 OR’s new Pilot 2.0 is amazingly comfortable in the hands and hits all the marks for high end safety and functionality. This is one of the most comfortable bars in the hands with a soft narrow grip. As with many things, once you try the narrow bar grip, you likely won’t want to go back. The Pilot bar feels not only more comfortable but also more connected to the feedback from the kite. The Gen 9 Punch out quick release is quite short and compact giving the rider more access to instant depower which is
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particularly important for the riders with shorter reach. The trim loop itself is offered in three modes that can be changed out quickly with a single fin hex key to remove the bolt and affix the compact freeride, freestyle, or rope slider trim loop.
REEDIN SUPERMODEL 3 SIZES TESTED (M): 9 / SIZES AVAILABLE (M): 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14 / CONTROL SYSTEM: DREAMSTICK X SYNOPSIS: HIGHLY EVOLVED PERFORMANCE FROM THE INDUSTRY’S NEWEST BRAND, THE SUPERMODEL 3 IS EXCITING TO JUMP AND PLAY WITH OFFERING HANDLING AND CONTROL FOR ANY SITUATION. Likes: The Reedin brand emerged two seasons ago from the minds and passion of legendary kite pro and Red Bull King of the Air winner, Kevin Langeree with kite design engineer Damien Girardin. They fused their names and have built the Reedin brand with the aim of producing the perfect kite equipment that can make every session more fun, regardless of condition, riding style or skill level. As the single kite model in their line, the SuperModel 3 is the centerpiece of this philosophy and hits all the marks as a top performing, do-it-all design. Direct steering, easy to find power and smooth, consistent pull through the turns, the SuperModel 3 feels instantly familiar and is easy to figure out. The SuperModel 3 features a lightweight and familiar threen strut frame, but their build quality allows for a narrow leading edge and strut design that works with a higher PSI than many brands. With this stiff and
reactive frame the SuperModel 3 is fast and efficient and reacts quickly to rider input. It drives nicely upwind and this kite can boost as big as the major big air players. It has smooth and quick lift on take off with lots of float and good control for smooth landings. Equipped with a short and compact bridle system the SuperModel 3 provides instant control through gusts with good amounts of instant depower through the center line sheeting. It sits comfortably forward in the window for foil sessions and its tight and smooth pull through the turns helps to give that extra mojo for light wind riding. It’s also well balanced when the lines go slack. With smooth and consistent pull through the turns it is well suited for carving the surf. An all around gem the SuperModel 3 is one kite that can handle any condition or discipline with highly refined levels of performance.
Minus: Not as quick to relaunch in ultra light wind foil sessions as some of the single strut or superlight material designs. This is one area where the do-it-all designs lose out to specialty foil or light wind kites. Best For: The multi-disciplined kiteboarder that wants one kite model for every session and works well with any board that’s in their quiver.
CONTROL SYSTEM: DREAMSTICK X The DreamStick X has all the key features to make it an industry leader and one of the top control systems available. From the seatbelt style, single click trim release cup, the streamlined, well cushioned, adjustable bar length, bar ends, to the top quality pre-stretched flying lines, the DreamStick is loaded with well designed, performance-enhancing features. The grip itself is ergonomic and comfortable and should come with a warning if you haven’t used a smaller diameter kite bar yet; it’s instantly addictive.
The rectangular shaped, Monobloc depower trim system features a PU rubber trim system which houses the depower safety and trim rope. It provides ultra smooth safety line flagging and also works in conjunction with below the bar swivel to automatically untwist the front lines with less pressure or binding than some two line systems. The Dreamstick X is very light in the hands with low swing weight. Overall a great control system to match the high level performance of the SuperModel 3.
SLINGSHOT MACHINE V1 SIZES TESTED (M): 10, 15 / SIZES AVAILABLE (M): 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 , 15 LW, 17 LW / CONTROL BAR: SENTRY V1 BAR SYNOPSIS: THE MACHINE V1 IS A SMOOTH PULLING AND EXPLOSIVE-LIFTING BIG AIR KITE WITH ITS FLAT OPEN C CANOPY THAT OFFERS EXTRA HANG TIME BUT ALSO HAS EASY TO FIND POWER AND NIMBLE HANDLING FOR ANY LEVEL RIDER. Likes: The Slingshot design team has been busy with some all new specialty kite models that offer a refreshing upgrade to the formidable Slingshot lineup. The Machine V1 is their new big air, freeride and light wind specialty kite. Designed with all new frame geometry, the Machine V1 features a rigid, five strut frame for the standard sizes through to the 12 meter and a three strut format in the jumbo sizes of 15 and 17 meter. The Machine V1 takes over for two models of the Slingshot lineup including the famous, light wind kite known as the Turbine and the big air freeride design called the Raptor. The Machine V1 incorporates a high lift and highly efficient aspect ratio and it has a flat canopy shape and swept tips along with the open C design for easy and long gliding lift. Despite being a full-strutted, rigid-framed, higher aspect kite, the Machine V1 is also quite easy to fly and accessible to most skill levels. It doesn’t back stall easily and sits forward in
the window providing very straight forward sheet-in-and-go handling. The bridle system is compact and pulley free and the Machine is well designed with smooth aerodynamic flow and is surprisingly light weight. It feels much lighter in the hands and the large sizes have much easier turn initiation and light touch steering than the old Turbine jumbos that were the session savers of years past. The Slingshot Machine in the standard sizes with their five strut supported frame provides upper end wind range with lots of depower when you sheet the kite bar out. In the smaller sizes the Machine V1 also keeps its performance through the entire wind range allowing the big air junkies to push the limits while the kite is at maximum power. Pivot style turns with the swept wingtips, the Machine pivots and drives forward nicely in the wind window, giving it amazing upwind drive which is key when boosting huge as you tend to travel downwind quickly. The low-end
power is easy to find with a big sweet spot and the Machine is also reactive to bar input with some nice light touch steering. The test riders were impressed with the Machine’s handling as it provided plenty of nimble manoeuvrability to handle with a foil for light wind cruising. Overall, the Machine V1 is a great addition to the Slingshot family and should appeal to those intermediate to advanced level riders that want to take their high altitude manoeuvres to the next level. Minus: Lighter touch steering is nice for the larger sizes but is slightly less direct feeling than the Slingshot RPX. Best For: Riders that want a high performance kite for pushing the limits of big air that’s easy to use and has great wind range.
CONTROL SYSTEM: SLINGSHOT SENTRY V1 The Slingshot control system that was upgraded last season is well designed and equipped with the newest style quick release trim loop that features Click-In technology. The trim loop can be re-engaged with one hand and without having to pull the release cup. The PU covered central trim lines are quite thin and provide smooth travel through the center line with no binding or friction. They also have the auto swivel feature as the double PU trim line runs through a divider in the bar’s center hole that
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automatically untwists your front lines when you sheet in. The grip is soft with a rubberized grip, a comfortable texture and the new bar ends and floats are nicely low profile. Overall, an amazing bar that is well designed and a great match to some of the innovative new kite designs like the Machine V1.
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of the Best Foils Go Head-to-Head
LIGHT WIND MASTERY THAT’S EASIER THAN EVER. It’s hard to believe it’s been six years since Kitesurfing Magazine had its first major foil test. Looking back it’s even harder to contemplate the sport of kiteboarding without foiling. Things have come a long way as improvements to both foil and kite designs have driven performance to amazing levels. Kiting with a foil is just one of many disciplines that span from prone and stand-up paddle surfing, to windsurfing, wake surfing and the newest rage, wing surfing. The multi-sport dimension of the foil has helped drive foil technology and performance faster than if it was just a single discipline. Brands like Naish, Slingshot, Airush, F-One and North have extensive ranges of foil wings and many different shapes and sizes of boards that cover the multiple sports. Although the overall performance advances in the latest foils have slowed slightly from the breakout years, the improvements still continue. This group of foils have more stable lift and drive with improved control and handling over a wider range of speed. With better materials, refinements and improvements to the connection points between components today’s foil wings continue to drive performance to new levels. High end materials drive performance and there are more full carbon set ups available for 2022. Most brands are also fully or partially modular so you can swap out carbon masts and fuselage with the same wings used on the aluminum versions. For proficient kiteboarders that haven’t learned to foil yet, they can avoid a lot of the struggles of the earlier years with the right foil and kite set up. For those that might feel that their foiling skills have plateaued, it’s definitely a great time to consider upgrading to a set up tested here. In general kiters are using front foil wings that range in size between 850 to 1500 cm². The wings below 1000 cm² tend to be more comfortable pulling at faster speeds but will require more power from the kite to get up and on foil. The smaller wings come off a foil earlier and don’t carry as much glide and lift through the turns without engagement from the kite. If you like cruising fast and jumping, smaller foils, below 1000 cm² are the way to go, as they are easier to drive out of the water and they can land with more speed and less precision for water re-entry. Generally 1000 to 1500 cm² sized front wings
are the best choice for learning the basics to cruise and transition on foil and also cruising in ultra-light winds where surface riding becomes impossible or mundane. There are lots of options to customize the amount of lift you want for your size, skill level and type of conditions. For anyone that really loves to kite and wants be on the water as much as possible, having a foil in your quiver should be a top priority. Today’s high efficiency and stable cruising foils open up a whole new wind range for kiteboarding and turns mediocre wind and wave days into epic ones.
FOIL: AK DURABLE SUPPLY TREK 1000 FRONT WING Airush Kiteboarding has three foil ranges that are all cross foil discipline suitable for whatever foil mode you want. The Trek series is the lower aspect freeride series that’s geared toward the progressing foil rider and more moderate speeds. The Trek series features a durable and light fiberglass construction with a flatter anhedral shape and moderate leading edge sweep. We tested this set up with the shorter, 65 Stealth fuselage, and the 70 cm aluminum mast. The Trek 1000 set up is perfect for the progressing rider and has stable and smooth lift that’s predictable and easy to initiate turns and carves with. The Trek 1000 jumps up on plane quickly and with the shorter fuselage gives the set up an easy carving feel from edge to edge. It’s a nice foil to learn with and has a very balanced pressure between front and back feet. Having the short fuselage makes for tighter turning capability and gives the Trek some added liveliness. The longer fuselage could be used for smoother and more efficient lift and more stable drawn out carves. The rear wing of the Trek is also adjustable and allows for even more customization with the ability to tune the tail for extra lift in light winds or for less lift and more top end speed. DECK: AIRUSH TEAM FOIL 135 V2 SIZE: 121 X 46 X 4.9 CM/14.5 L This was last year’s version of the Team Foil board but remains in the line with version three available for this season. The outline and concept and shape of this nice performing deck make it a great foil set up to learn with and never outgrow. Premium construction with a bamboo layer and Airush’s Carbon Innegra construction, this deck is built to last and be ultra- responsive and comfortable underfoot. It’s a compact shape that has the smart outline, bottom and top shaping that elevates the foil response and makes it comfortable for any level of rider. A nice wide nose for easy touch downs and thinned out bevelled rails make it easy to tip over for water starts. The deck is nice and comfortable with some good concave for added response and grip. The tail narrows out for pushing angles and faster driving foil speeds. This is the right shape for the quick progression curve that riders can experience on the new foils, like the Trek.
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FOIL: CORE SLC FOIL 1250 CARBON WING, 72 CM ALUMINUM MAST Core introduces their first foil line the SLC which includes two sizes of front wings and three different boards sizes. The carbon constructed 1250 cm² front wing is the largest of these kite specific set ups featuring an aluminum mast and fuselage construction. The SLC set up assembles nicely and the quality aluminum materials are as light and stiff as some of the full carbon set ups out there. The front and rear wings are made of pre-preg carbon and incorporate some anhedral shaping of the front wing with some down turned shaping in the front wing’s tips. The 1250 has some easy lift and is very stable with smooth take off and remains very controlled and stable at lower speeds. It was a test favourite for some of the less experienced foil riders and one of the easiest to learn new transitions on. This is a foil you can learn with and progress quickly on with its smooth carving ability and the easy and stable lift that carries through turns. DECK: CORE SLC SIZE: 135 X 49 CM/21 L The larger of the two deck shapes tested, the SLC 135 foil board is the perfect size for learning and advancing foil skills. The premium carbon built construction is light, stiff and durable featuring some nice shaping on the bottom and rails. Learning to foil can be challenging and having a little more length and volume under your feet can go a long way. The SLC design with the thicker core, tail and bevelled rails is the optimum shape for more stability while maintaining the sporty feel for quickly advancing foil riding skills.
FOIL: CORE SLC FOIL 1000 CARBON WING, 95 CM ALUMINUM MAST
FOIL: DELTA REFLEX 1500 FOIL, 85 CM ALUMINUM MAST & 60 CM FUSELAGE
The smaller of the two front wings has the same smooth driving and carving feel of the 1250 but with better speed and control in the upper end. Core has done a great job at coming up with a pair of wings that meet the high levels of refinement surf and kite wings have today. This SLC 1000 wing set up with the longer mast was one of the test favourites for its smooth and intuitive glide and nice combination of carving and control at higher speeds. Premium set up also includes a full padded carry bag with separate padded compartments for all the components.
The Delta Reflex 1500 foil is an amazing crossover wing that can be used in every foiling application. This set up includes an aluminum construction on the mast and fuselage and full pre-preg carbon front and tail wing. The 1500 foil was a standout for early and stable lift, with smooth carving and surprisingly fast upper end speed. The 1500 front wing features some noticeable concave on the bottom of the trailing edge. Apparently this is what helps make the foil ultra stable on take offs and gives it an extra slippery feel at faster speeds. Looking at the size of this foil which was the largest surface area in the test, one might think the Reflex 1500 is a slow cruising surf foil. Think again. As it picks up speed the top end is as fast as some smaller freeride foils. An ideal set up for riders that want to foil in super light winds or with a smaller kite to pull into some waves and carve around with. This is an ultra stable foil for the less skilled riders to figure out foot work for tacks and gybes. Any rider that wants a multi-sport foil should consider the Reflex 1500 as a top choice.
DECK: SLC SIZE: 125 X 15 CM/15 L The Core SLC decks are premium constructed with the nice shape to satisfy both progressing to advanced riders alike. The carbon construction keeps them light and stiff and there’s some nice bottom shaping to disperse water on touch downs. The bevelled rails allow for a thicker middle deck. The 135 is a great size for the rider that wants a larger deck to learn on but is not so cumbersome to ride strapless or when foil skills improve. The corduroy textured deck is also nice and comfortable and provides nice grip. Available in three sizes, the SLC decks nicely complement the sporty and smooth riding SLC foil set up.
DECK: ELEVEIGHT CARVAIR PRO SIZE: 114 X 45 X 1 CM The Eleveight Carvair Pro is a hand-shaped design from Portugal that features some high tech, glass sandwich construction with carbon stringers and Innegra Carbon reinforcements. The Carvair is a compact shape well designed for the intermediate to advanced rider. There is definitely a more custom feel to this deck with its smooth and rounded glass rails. Light but stiff and responsive, the Carvair Pro features an EVA foam deck along with some concave shaping that give the deck a nice grip and balance under foot. The shape is visually appealing to the traditionalist with a more subtle and directional surf form than some of the more aggressive wide nosed foil boards. Paired with a Delta Reflex 1500 wing the Carvair Pro is a great set up to update your quiver with. This is a deck and wing that can take your riding to the next level in less time than was once thought possible.
FOIL: F-ONE GRAVITY CARBON 1200
FOIL: NAISH S26 MA 1000 AND KITE 810
The F-One Gravity 1200 matched with the 85 cm High Modulus Carbon mast is a premium set up that can take any rider to the next level. F-One has a full range of foils for every discipline from surf to wing to SUP. Their full carbon lowers like the Gravity 1200 and Mirage 1000 wing can be used with F-One’s aluminum or carbon mast set ups making it modular and convenient. The light but stiff and reactive construction provides a very smooth and controllable ride that is reactive to rider input but also intuitive to figure out. The rail-to-rail carves of the Gravity 1200 front wing is very smooth and controlled over the full range of speeds. This was a test favourite for some of our testers who were impressed with the Gravity’s reactive feel and smooth drive through turns. This set up has found the perfect combination of nice comfortable and even foot pressure at higher speeds. It remains loose and carveable over the entire range of speed which was arguably the widest of any foil on the test. The Gravity 1200 is a great all-around foil that has nice early lift and combines with precise control and carving prowess. This is a foil set up you could learn with and advance into any level with virtually no performance ceiling other than overall top end speed.
The S26 foil lineup is constructed from high quality 100 per cent, 3K prepreg carbon on both the front and back wings. The S26 fuselage is 64 cm in length and features an aluminum construction which is compatible across all the wings. Naish has both full carbon masts or a hybrid 30 per cent carbon, in addition to aluminum masts available for this season in 95 or 70 cm lengths. The 810 wing, as the middle size of the range provides the best combo of early lift, smooth carving turns and amazing control at higher speeds. The test team were impressed with how quick and nimble this set up was but also the early lift and ease of use makes it a standout. The 810 was the quickest and most comfortable set up at faster pulling speeds with less tendency to feel out of control or overly draggy at higher speeds and wind pressure. The S26 foil range is also launching an MA Series of wings for 2022 and the test team had the opportunity to ride one of these in the 1000 cm² size. The MA series front wings evolved from the high aspect wing being used in the surfing and wing disciplines. The result is this very efficient and nimble foil performance from the MA 1000. Although there is less pumping efficiency (which isn’t needed when there is power generation from a kite, sail or wing) the MA 1000 has plenty of early lift for it size and is stable but offers more nimble and loose handling over a huge speed range.
DECK: POCKET CARBON 110 SIZE: 110 X 46 CM The Pocket Carbon series from F-One features three model sizes all with similar outlines, bottom deck shaping and comfortable EVA grip. The 110 is the smallest of the series and is built without foot strap inserts, making it extra light and nimble for the strapless rider. With nice concave on the top deck and the soft, grippy, corduroy EVA foam padding, the Pocket Carbon provides an excellent connection to the foil. The widest point on the Pocket Carbon deck is moved forward from center to help disperse water as the front of the board touches down. There is also some V shaped, double concave in the bottom shape to assist with this. Combined with the Mirage full carbon set up this was one of the lightest and liveliest combinations in this year’s test. The full carbon foil set up with 1000 Mirage front wing actually floats the board on its side making it easy to position for water relaunch without straps. This is a premium set up for riders that want to take their foiling to the next level.
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DECK: NAISH HOVER KITE SIZE: 112 X 43.2 X 4.1 CM/12 L The Hover Kite 112 from Naish is a compact shape that keeps things nimble and reactive but with enough surface area to avoid burying the nose when coming off a foil. The Hover kite series of decks includes four sizes of board for different rider sizes and skill levels. The nice thin deck is stiff, reactive and gives the rider more of a direct feel. Revised and finely tuned over the past few seasons, this year the rails have been made thinner and the nose has slightly more scoop. All of the Hover series have the nice diamond grip textured EVA foam with raised tail pad and lots of options for foot strap placement. The 112 was the shortest and most nimble deck we had in this test and it’s best suited to intermediate to advanced riders that don’t need as much float for take offs or touch downs. Overall great quality in construction and the adjustable track system makes this deck compatible with any four-bolt plated foil.
FOIL: NORTH SONAR 1150, 72 CM CARBON MAST The North Sonar Foil range has expanded for 2022 with both pre-preg carbon or aluminum options available. The range is comprehensive but also logical and streamlined, making it easy to build a quiver for multiple foiling disciplines. It’s one of the few completely modular systems where the wings, masts and fuselage components are interchangeable across aluminum or carbon systems. The 1150 wing riding characteristics make it the perfect choice for the kite foiling newbie or aspiring intermediate, with easy lift, smooth drive and predictable turns. The 1150 has slightly more back foot riding when riding with speed, which is ideal for that transition from surface riding boards where kiteboarding is all about loading the back foot. Even pressure through the carves and turning give the 1150 a more familiar feel than many of the larger surf foils that kiters have been learning with. This Sonar range also includes the 850 front wing which shares a similar outline but offers even more control at higher speeds. DECK: NORTH SCOOP SIZE: 120 X 46 CM The Scoop is a compact foil deck shape that is a great board to help advance kite foiling skills. The EPS core and carbon sandwich construction makes the Scoop light and stiff. Its widened, squared off and upturned nose combines with some V and double concave on the bottom to ensure the Scoop doesn’t dig in too much on touch downs. The thinned out and bevelled rails also allow the Scoop to easily tip on its side for strapless water starts. The Scoop has lots foot strap options as well as a nice comfortable EVA foam deck pad. Concave shaping provides nice grip and foil response. Overall the Scoop is a great intermediate to advanced foil deck that has the right combination of ease of use and performance. A great choice for riders that have learned the basics of foiling but want to increase manoeuvrability of their foil with a shorter and smaller deck.
FOIL: NORTH SONAR CF 1500R CF 72 CM CARBON MAST & C600 CARBON FUSELAGE The Sonar 1500R was one of the standouts in the test for its early lift combined with amazing top end speed and controlled carving. This was tested on North’s new Sonar Carbon 72 cm mast and Carbon C600 fuselage. North has managed to standardize all of the extremely solid connection points for the front and back wings, masts and fuselages. This makes the Sonar system compatible across carbon or aluminum constructions which is ideal for anyone that wants to customize and upgrade to carbon or add different mast lengths and wing sizes. The 1500R is the ideal front wing to have for kite foilers that want to dabble in the surf, wake or wing foil modes. It has amazing top end speed, while at the same time provides early lift and super stable cruising. The concave trailing edge of the front wing stabilizes the added lift that occurs when the foil speeds up. This wing was a standout in the test especially for the heavier weight riders. The 1500R carries its speed through some smooth carving turns. Most wings this size are too slow and feel locked and hard to turn at higher kite pulling speeds. The 1500R might be the perfect do-it-all, crossover wing that anyone can learn on and then advance into any foiling discipline. FOIL DECK: NORTH SCOOP MINI SIZE: 110 X 45 CM The North Scoop Mini deck is a new addition for 2022 and features a similar outline and nose scoop to the standard model but with a shortened and thinned out profile. The new Scoop Mini has the same stiff carbon and bamboo sandwich construction as the the larger Scoop, but with less shaping on the bottom, a thinner profile and a shorter, more compact outline. The corduroy EVA is very comfortable on this deck which also keeps its subtle concave to provide the ideal grip underfoot. With enough scoop in the nose the Scoop Mini won’t pearl on touch downs but is slightly shorter with less bottom contouring than the larger version. Having a deck that is thinner like this Scoop Mini increases the reactivity of rider input. More advanced riders will appreciate having a lighter and more compact shape that is still stiff and responsive with the full carbon sandwich construction. It packs up nice and small too, making it a great travel companion to your next kite foiling destination.
During our annual Fall tests in Cape Hatteras, the Kitesurfing Magazine’s test team checked out a bunch of new gear outside of the head-to-head Big Air Kite, and Foil Board categories. New lighter materials in both kites and surfboards are pushing the performance and strength to levels unheard of just a couple of years ago. With staggered product releases throughout the year, from almost all of the brands, the Kitesurfing Magazine test team will be conducting ongoing reviews. Be sure to follow Kitesurfing Magazine on our socials for all the latest from the test team, and check out more reviews at kitesurfingmag.com.
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Duotone Juice D/LAB SIZES TESTED (M): 13 / SIZES AVAILABLE (M): 13, 15 / CONTROL BAR: CLICK BAR
Synopsis: The newest king of light air sessions, the Juice D/LAB features new and unrivalled levels of low-end power, with quick and reactive steering for this size of kite. Likes: The new Juice D/LAB is incredibly light with a rigid and reactive frame that is built using all the highest technology materials and constructions developed in the Duotone lab. With the revolutionary Aluula fabric, the Juice D/LAB’S three strut frame makes it 30 per cent lighter, increasing power and efficiency and allows this kite to stay airborne in almost no wind. The test team was amazed at several performance aspects of this kite including how easily it could fly in sub-8-mile-per-hour wind but also the enhanced ability to water relaunch at the very bottom of this light wind threshold. The Juice D/LAB handling is also enhanced with the rigidity and responsiveness of the frame that is manipulated with a pulley free and ultra thin bridle system. The jumbo kites of the past were good at getting riders out on water in lighter winds, but their overall range and handling were compromised with lots of bar pressure and sluggish turning with heavy amounts of bar pressure. The Juice D/LAB takes it to the next level with quicker and responsive handling and smooth pivot turning that
feels more like a standard 11 or 12 meter kite. The 13 meter Juice D/LAB was the favourite for light wind foil sessions, especially for some of the heavier weight test team members that couldn’t believe they were foiling in less than 8 miles-per-hour of wind. With its powerful pull but smooth and controllable drive the Juice D/LAB is also a fun kite to boost long floaty jumps with when the wind notches to a bristling 10 miles-perhour or above. The Juice D/LAB also maintains its control and handling in the upper wind range. The Juice D/LAB is a light wind kite that can be used across the full range of kiteboarding disciplines from twintip freeride, to unhooked freestyle or ultra light wind foil sessions. This is the session saver of all session savers. The Juice D/LAB also drives up wind with nice efficiency which sets it apart from the jumbo light wind kites of yesterday. Overall, a new light wind master has emerged that should excite anyone that wants to increase their session count this season and hone some new skills on your favourite light wind board.
Control System: Duotone Click Bar Medium The Click Bar is arguably the most technically advanced control system available today. It has all the advanced features of the top bars plus it includes an internal trim system that lengthens the back lines with a click of a button. To reshorten the back lines, a half twist of the bar end winder gets your kite powered up. The visible window on bar shows exactly the trim level of depower the kite is at. The Click Bar also features the auto untwisting front lines during rotations and it untwists the flagging line for additional safety. It’s available with four different interchangeable kite loops for everything from the larger freestyle loop to the small rope spreader for waves. New for this year is the FLITE99 lines which are stiffer, more reactive and more stretch resistant, giving the ultimate in kite feedback and low drag flying. With the adjustable V splitter on the front lines, the Click bar is compatible for any kite from low V style or with the high V style kites that need to be adjusted for different sizes.
Best For: The ultimate light wind set up for kiters of any skill level or board discipline in the lower winds with an emphasis on freeride twintip or ultra light wind foiling and heavier riders that are foiling. Minus: The 13 and 15 meter are great for very light winds on any board, but it would be nice to have this model in an 11 for lighter and mid-sized weight foil riders. kitesurfingmag.com
Airush One V2
Airush Lithium V13
SIZES TESTED (M): 12, 14 / SIZES AVAILABLE (M): 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, 17 CONTROL BAR: UNIT BAR
SIZES TESTED (M): 9 / SIZES AVAILABLE (M): 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, 17
Synopsis: The One is a do-it-all kite, with single strut benefits and performance that can help any rider progress to the next level and can handle a wide variety of conditions and kite disciplines.
Synopsis: A true all-terrain power source, the Lithium can slice and dice in the surf, boost big airs in the flats and power up for some easy handling foil sessions.
Likes: The One V2 is Airush’s easy handling, plug and play, freeride kite with a focus on skills progression and ease of use. The One canopy is deep drafted, efficient, light and produces great low end power and range. It’s also nice and stable overhead with balanced float and the sweep of the leading edge and wide tips make it easy to water relaunch. Airush is a leader in the single strut kite and the One capitalizes on their ten years of knowledge to produce a kite for any level of rider to progress their skills. The One V2 has a slightly lower aspect ratio in its canopy shape and a bigger leading edge that sits the kite back in the wind window to give it more instant, plug and play power, perfect for the progressing rider. The trailing edge is also framed in Dacron, which gives the kite added durability for the progressing rider and school use. This is an ideal kite for a rider that wants a great performing, light and agile freeride kite that their partner or friends can learn the basics with. The One V2 also suits more advanced riders with nice jumping ability and good hang time. With lots of range and easy handling, the One V2 feels comfortable for directional riding or waves and is a great light wind foil kite. The shape, with wide wingtips and medium aspect ratio responds to input well with less line tension. The One V2 also responds nicely to turn initiation even while completely depowered. Great drift and balanced float makes it a nice kite for wave riding and this kite has lots of instant depower to keep you on the wave or on foil. Minus: Longer bridles with three pulleys has advantages for depower and handling but tends to lose some of the more direct feel from the kite. Best For: Any level of rider that wants a versatile kite with a focus on ease of use.
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Likes: The Lithium V13 is a three-strut Delta hybrid kite that can adapt and handle any discipline or skill set. In 2022 Airush revamped the canopy and wingtip shape, as well as the bridle set up and material build. The result is a Lithium kite that’s even more adaptable to any discipline from waves and foiling to boosting some big airs. The longest standing kite in the Airush lineup, the legendary Lithium has a higher aspect ratio and canopy shape with longer and more swept wingtips this year. The load frame construction is replaced with lighter and more responsive Techno Force D2 canopy cloth. The results of all the changes are quite impressive for boosting big air and it feels more responsive over previous versions with more light touch steering and quicker, pivotal turns. Boosting is definitely enhanced with the flatter canopy shape giving it easy lift and better hang time. There’s also some nice smooth pull and plenty of low end power with lots of depower available. The three-pulleyed bridle system manages high levels of trim and angles of attack. The ability to kill lots of pull and initiate turns while at high levels of depower also make the Lithium V13 very capable for riding foils. It is nicely balanced in the air and can be used for riding waves with your favourite surf set up. Overall the Lithium V13 makes a great travel kite, with the versatility and performance that spans all skill levels and lets it adapt to any water condition or discipline that presents itself. Minus: Higher levels of depower and increasing the aspect ratio means some back stalling if over sheeted in certain scenarios. Best For: Any level of rider that wants a versatile kite that can satisfy the full range of disciplines and skill levels.
Core XLITE 2
SIZES TESTED (M): 9, 12 / SIZES AVAILABLE (M): 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13.5 CONTROL BAR: SENSOR 3 PRO FOIL
SIZES TESTED (M): 10 / SIZES AVAILABLE (M): 6, 8, 10, 12, 14 CONTROL BAR: PROGRESSIVE CONTROL BAR
Synopsis: Phenomenally light in the air with unmatched drift, float and ultra quick pivotal turns, the XLITE is the foil rider’s dream kite.
Synopsis: A three-strut kite with lots of quick depower. Easy handling that’s suitable for any level rider with versatile performance, adaptable to all the latest kite disciplines.
Likes: The XLITE 2 is Core’s foil specific kite that features a single-strut canopy with the frame built using Core’s exclusive materials to further reduce weight and improve handling. Core pulls out all the stops to make the XLITE 2 one the lightest and most reactive kites ever made. The narrower diameter leading edge is built using ExoTex Light Dacron, which is 10 per cent lighter than their standard ExoTex. The results are impressive as this kite contains all the elements that riders look for in a foil kite. When riding on a foil behind the kite there’s much less drag against the kite, so having an extra light frame that can be directed with very low line tension is the key to unlocking new levels of foil riding bliss. The XLITE 2 has perfect handling to match a foil. 6Light touch steering at its best, the XLITE 2 can be manoeuvred very easily with a single hand. The XLITE 2 also has great water relaunch with the ability to pull on the back lines and reverse it off the water. Minus: With less structure, single strut kites can lose performance if held into overpowered conditions, so it’s important to stay within the wind range. Best For: The hardcore foil rider that wants a kite to take the foil riding experience to the next level. Control Bar: Core Sensor 3 PRO Foil For the riders that want a kite that’s designed specific to foiling, it makes sense to also match it with a control system. Core’s Sensor 3 Pro Foil bar does just that. It’s equipped with lighter gauge lines which reduce the drag through the air and on the super light kite. Using this bar makes the whole system work together more efficiently. When foiling there’s also a lot of kite looping going on transitions so having the Core bar that untwists the lines automatically is very helpful.
Likes: The Progressive Flow is a four-line design that features a three-strut canopy which inflates with a single point inflation system. It has a Delta hybrid canopy shape with a unique scalloped shaping on the trailing edge. The Flow is a stable and light kite in the air and steering is predictable and direct. The steering is light to the touch and the turns are predictable with low but consistent pull through the entire pivot. The bridle system provides some good depower and the wide wingtips keep the steering direct and reactive at high angles of attack. Nice low end power and handling while fully sheeted, the Flow is good for foil sessions or light wind cruising with a big cruising twin or directional board. Test team riders found the Flow had no issues with water relaunch with the swept leading edge and mid aspect ratio. Decent low end power is easy to find and a large sweet spot makes the Flow an easy kite to set and forget and just enjoy some easy cruising. The Progressive Flow is a kite that you could learn with and take well into the intermediate levels of riding. Minus: Some of the heavier weight riders felt the Flow had less stiffness and structure when pushed into the upper wind range than some of the other three strut designs. Best For: Any skill level that wants a good performing, do-it-all design with a great value to performance ratio. Control Bar: Progressive Control Bar The Progressive Bar is a basic but functional bar with all the standard safety features, including bar floats, quick release trim loop and clam cleat adjustment on the above the bar trim. kitesurfingmag.com
Airush AMP V4
LENGTH: 5’9” WIDTH: 18”11/16 THICKNESS: 2”5/16 FIN SET UP: THRUSTER
LENGTH: 5’6” WIDTH: 18”1/4 THICKNESS: 2’1/3 FIN SET UP: THRUSTER
The Charge is the performance short board series in the North surf board collection that also includes the Cross and Comp Dynalite. The Charge is North’s full on, down-the-line, performance surf board shape and features a classic look and real surf board feel. It’s not only great on a wave with nice control and smooth carving but it’s also easy to ride and drive up wind. A great choice for the first time performance short board buyer or for any dedicated wave kiter that needs an upgrade for their more serious wave sessions. The low entry rocker and ample width upfront give the Charge good early planing ability and make it smooth and easy to drive up wind. The narrow squash tail with the thinned out and rounded rails, keep the Charge loose and lively on the wave and give it nice biting control in the bottom turns. The corduroy EVA deck and tail pad are thick and comfortable with nice grip for riding strapless. There are inline inserts for foot straps. The Charge balances nicely between front and back foot pressure. A great board that will excel in medium-to-larger sized surf. This is a great shape for any rider that wants to get serious about their surfing skills. Available in four different sizes for your size and wave condition preferences.
The AMP V4 Carbon Innegra is the all-round shape of the Airush surf lineup and it’s really designed to handle a wide range of conditions and wave sizes. The board’s light weight construction and curvy shape promote the AMP’s ability to do everything from slashing small-to-medium sized surf to punting strapless airs and freestyle manoeuvres. The first thing the rider notices when jumping on the AMP is how light and reactive this board feels. The Airush Reflex Carbon Innegra construction gives it an incredible low swing weight, keeping it light and reactive and enhances the AMP V4’s refined performance. The AMP V4 is also smooth and controlled, pushes up wind nicely and planes up early with it wider nose and thicker volume through the front rails. The curved outline and centered wide point combined with the narrowed out tail, makes the AMP loose and easy to carve from edge to edge. The shape and volume is also very well balanced between the front and back foot giving the rider nice control for strapless airs. The AMP V4 is a great choice for an all-round shape that might be the perfect one-board surf quiver.
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Core Ripper 4
LENGTH: 5’8” WIDTH: 19” THICKNESS: 2”1/8 FIN SET UP: THRUSTER
LENGTH: 4’10” WIDTH: 17” THICKNESS: 1” 3/4 FIN SET UP: THRUSTER
The Ripper 4 is the all-round shape in the Core lineup and this new model is an all new shape with the same classic, glass and polyurethane, surf board construction. The glass layup construction, that is reinforced with carbon in the key areas, gives the Ripper the flex characteristics of a performance surf board shape. With a new fish inspired outline, the Ripper is quick to plane, easy to ride and ultra smooth in the turns. The width and extra volume upfront really pop this board on a plane quickly. The Ripper 4 is also super comfortable to ride and very smooth over chop with some nice concave in the bottom at the front. The narrow swallow tail makes the Ripper snappy and reactive. It has a really nice combination of smooth up wind drive and snappy and reactive turning. The Ripper 4 also has some well designed construction features that reinforce the deck in critical areas with wood and carbon. There are stainless steel threaded inserts down the center line for foot straps, which is nice for riders that like to take straps on or off for certain sessions. With a beautiful finish and classic surfboard look and feel, the Ripper 4 was a test favourite for slashing up some medium-to-small sized surf.
The NoBrainer is the more strapless freestyle oriented board of the Reedin line that also features the SuperWave. Reedin’s surf line are made in Portugal using some unique construction that makes them very light and reactive but also super strong. While tracking across or up wind, the NoBrainer is rocket-ship fast and cuts through chop better than any board in the test. The flatter rocker line is outlined with parallel rails and squared nose and tail, giving the No Brainer quick acceleration, great top end speed and lots of easy pop for strapless punting. It’s very well balanced in the air and EVA foam is comfortable and the board feels solid in landings. The NoBrainer is also exceptionally snappy turning board off the tail as well. Aided by the drop down tail shape, the NoBrainer has an added element of tight carving ability for pasting wave faces or just carving and spraying big turns. Most strapless freestyle boards give up some edge to edge feel and don’t have the quick snap off the tail that are reserved for boards designed for riding waves. Reedin has found a nice balance with the NoBrainer. It’s a standout for its ability to be a short and compact strapless freestyle shape, that can still rip it up in some small to medium sized surf.
BE SURE TO CHECK OUT KITESURFINGMAG.COM FOR MORE REVIEWS FROM THE KITESURFING MAGAZINE TEST TEAM. kitesurfingmag.com
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Ocean Rodeo international team rider, board shaper, and BC local Reece Myerscough scores an epic session.
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GLOBAL KITESURFING GUIDE
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YOUR DESERT ISLAND KITE JUST GOT LIGHTER Lively and playful performance in all conditions. For 2022, we’ve made your go-to kite even easier to fly.
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