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FOLLOW US ON:
ONE BAR FOR ALL KITES
EMOTION MK1 STRUTLESS LIGHT WIND
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VISION MK4 ALL TERRAIN KITE
PASSION MK8 FREERIDE/BIG AIR
OBSESSION MK8 FREESTYLE / WAVE / BIG AIR
OBSESSION PRO MK2 FREESTYLE PRO
ADDICTION MK5 RACE / BIG AIR
RELIGION MK6 WAVE
PHOTO: martin rendo rider: alex neto
RRD ‘RIGID THREAD LINES’ EXCLUSIVELY MADE IN ITALY; NO STRETCH AND A FASTER, MORE DIRECT RESPONSE.
Velcro loop on de-power cord will prevent the cord from 'flapping' around.
New de-power stopper EVA float.
the indestructable double chamber de-power rope with safety line has been extended for 10 cms, to increase de-power ability, stability and maneuverability.
1 mm reduced diameter bar tube to increase grip. Moulded chicken loop finger with multiple pre set positions rotor head.
Simple / Functional / Safe / Durable
RRD GLOBAL BAR V7 The version 7 of our bar with a great history of performance and reliability. We have taken out any unecessary items instead of adding them, to make every component more functional. Simply said:
”you cannot break, what does not exist”.
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The Features 066
T H E P O N TA P R E TA D R E A M S E S S I O N If there was one time in your life when it would have been worth booking a 6 month sojourn to Cape Verde then it would have been roundabout November last year. The place has been on fire, and here we have some shots and words from the day-of-days…
DIAMONDS IN THE DESERT If you want a travel destination that has it all – from freestyle perfection through to impossibly pristine point breaks – then you want to get yourself to Peru. Marit Nore and Manuela Jungo did just that and scored. Then they even had the time to enjoy a bit of Peruvian cuisine along the way.
080 INSIDE OUT 2016 has been a year of pretty epic occurrences already. We have had the King of the Air which was off-the-scale in a number of different ways, and we also had the Blue Palawan Open which showed what can be achieved when you put a hardy group of wakestylers in a tropical paradise and tell them to put an event on… We get some behind the scenes insights from both events.
106 LEARNING FROM MASTERS You can spend years riding around ticking off the same tricks that you do every session, or wondering why you can never seem to land a frontside air in the waves… If that’s you then maybe it’s time to sign up for a kite camp and learn from the pros. Andreas Lagopoulos usually puts camps on, but when the call came to join the BWS crew in Dominican Republic, well, what can you do?!
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// I’m On It… Jerrie Van de Kop
Technique with Keahi de Aboitiz
// Pro Tips with James Boulding
Kite Sista on Grabs
0 5 0 //
Tangled Lines with Nick Jacobsen
Tell me about it… Slingshot Foil School
0 5 8 //
On the List… Nova Scotia
Meteorology with Tony Butt
The Dark Room with Stephan Kleinlein
Behind the Clip… Craig Cunningham
Profile with Ruben Lenten
Under the Hood with Ocean Rodeo
In the Pipeline with Naish
COVER It’s been an all-time season in Cape Verde. This is Mitu on one of the biggest waves of the biggest day of them all… Photo: Andrea D’Antoni HERE Here: Above and below… Photo: Kjell van Sice 14 | TheKiteMag
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HERE’S MR GREEN PULLING NICCO INTO AN ABSOLUTE BOMB – HOW MUCH OF HIS BOARD IS CONNECTED WITH THE WAVE HERE? NOT A LOT… PHOTO: ERIK AEDER
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Supersize Me So far 2016 has been about one thing: going BIG. In the wave department (in an epic El Niño year) there seems to have been constant pulses of maching swell ploughing into the Hawaiian islands. As we have documented in these pages over the last few issues, Jaws has been huge and kiteable on an almost weekly basis. The guys have been pushing the limits of what is possible in the surf with a kite and have scored some insane waves (like this one here, with Wainman’s Niccolo Porcella navigating his way down a monstrous Peahi face). But it hasn’t just been Hawaii, the Atlantic has been doing its thing as well, with Portugal, Spain and the Canaries seeing some serious action, and with Cape Verde also finding itself well placed for the endless swell from the run of low pressures that have trundled across the North Atlantic. We were stoked to get our hands on some shots from the biggest day over there and you’ll find a few of them and some words from the local crew in our Ponta Preta feature. Not to be outdone, the Big Air boys also decided to put on a show of epic proportions and push the limits of what is possible in that part of our sport. Big Bay truly turned on for the occasion and the riders did too… It was insane, but not without incident, and a true reminder of the risks that these guys take. And also a reminder that: yes, you are 60 feet up in the air with only your skills, your kit and the wind keeping you there… Here at TheKiteMag we aren’t ones for letting the grass grow under our feet either, so we have been going bigger with the magazine (this issue has over 160 pages!) and we have also just launched our new and (you’ve guessed it) BIGGER website… So go check that out when you’ve finished the mag. You probably haven’t been going quite as BIG as some of the riders you will find within these pages, but I hope you have been pushing your own limits and enjoying the seemingly limitless potential of what the sport of kiteboarding has to offer. Enjoy the issue. Alex TheKiteMag | 19
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The Team: Editor: Alex Hapgood (email@example.com) Sub editor: Cai Waggett Art Director: Jody Ward Assistant Art Director: Louise Kelly Contributors: Andrea D’Antoni, Erik Aeder, Bianca Asher, Ydwer van der Heide, Andre Magarao, João Pedro Rocha, Nico Kersberg, Mario Entero, James Boulding, Nick Jacobsen, Ruben Lenten, Mark Moore, Alex Vilege, Max Blom, Tom Court, Toby Bromwich, Marit Nore, Manuela Jungo, Jerrie van de Kop, Andreas Lagopoulos, Keahi de Aboitiz, Marcus Graichen, John Zimmerman, Alex Fox, Craig Cunningham. TheKiteMag is… BORN Published by WATER M E D I A in Hayle, Cornwall, United Kingdom.
Advertising enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org. All material in TheKiteMag is subject to copyright. Reproduction without the express permission of the publishers will result in prosecution. Submissions: Online: If you have a clip or would like to get something on the website please send it over to us: email@example.com. In the mag: TheKiteMag welcomes both written and photographic submissions. Photography should be submitted in both RAW and edited format. Please note that the publication of written content is generally dependent on the provision of high quality photography, so in the first instance please send photographic samples and a 150 word synopsis of your writing to: firstname.lastname@example.org You can find TheKiteMag on:
This magazine is printed on paper sourced from responsibly managed sources using vegetable based inks. Both the paper used in the production of this brochure and the manufacturing process are FSC® certified. The printers are also accredited to ISO14001, the internationally recognised environmental standard.
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RIDER AND WORDS : MATCHU LOPES | PHOTO : MARIO ENTERO | SPOT : PUNTILLA, FUERTEVENTURA This day Airton and I were standing on the beach staring skeptically at the sea. We wouldn’t have gone, but a good local friend was insisting, “The conditions will be amazing soon!” And we followed his advice, without knowing how precious it was... I got in the water drowsy and unmotivated, then the very rst wave was a barrel, and after each wave I felt more awake and in perfect harmony with this powerful slab, which was breaking on an extremely shallow rock. It was just: airdrop, hollow barrel, nito! A very short and unique intensity. There were just the two of us in the water and after 90 minutes we had had our ll of barrels, and I probably haven’t had that much fun since I rode my rst waves on a bodyboard in the shore break!
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RIDER AND WORDS : BAS KOOLE | PHOTO : YDWER VAN DER HEIDE | SPOT : CAPE TOWN Cape Town is famous for the diversity of spots, mainly wave spots, but most people end up in Blouberg riding every day. Which is a pity. Because on the other side of Cape Point are more amazing spots. One of these spots is this swimming pool which gets filled up with sea water but is protected by a massive wall, so the ‘big boys’ stay out. We’ve had an annual Airush shoot in South Africa for some time and it’s always challenging to find interesting spots to shoot freestyle-related products, so it was great that Ydwer created this unique moody shot with rocks, flat water, waves and mountains…
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RIDER : STEFAN LECHTHALER | PHOTO AND WORDS : NICO KERSBERG | SPOT : WASSERKUPPE, GERMANY The winter this year was quite poor in Germany, so we had to wait a long time for that perfect day when conditions were ideal. The ingredients for that day were strong wind, sun, and some of that beautiful deep powder… I hooked up with my friend and talented rider Nico Kersberg to get some crystal sharp snowkite shots and carried my 1200 watt portable flashlights all the way through the deep snow in order to get some short exposure action shots from Nico surfing the white powder. Nico was flying his brand new XR4 when this idea came in my mind to have the shot in a black and white, and only leave the rider in color. It was shot at 18mm; 1/4000, at F5.6, at one of Germany’s finest snowkite spots at the Wasserkuppe.
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RIDER AND WORDS : LACI KOBULSKY | PHOTO : ANDRE MAGARAO | SPOT : URUAÙ, BRAZIL Last year I was working in ProKite Brasil during the Brazilian kite season. It was an amazing experience – we had this really tiny lagoon there with steady wind and super flat water all day long. The lagoon was not big enough for the average freerider, but was perfect for pro freestyle riders so they had it to themselves. We had a system where you jump and then wait on the beach for the others – there was no space for tacks! So most of the time it was packed with top riders which really pushed my level. And where you have pro riders you have pro photographers, and I was lucky to know one of the best guys in the business in Andre. I always admired his work and when I saw him on the spot I was keen for a shot from him. One evening he went with Gisela Pulido so I asked him if I could tag along and – friendly as he is – he said I could. So I pulled out my 313 with a Mute grab, and this shot was made!
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RIDER AND WORDS : JEREMIE TRONET | PHOTO : JT PRO CENTER | SPOT : UNION ISLAND After traveling around the world for many years looking for the perfect spot to settle I finally chose Union Island in the Grenadines to set up my kiteboarding center. The beauty of the spot makes it extremely easy for us to shoot incredible pictures right out the door, and the wind consistency makes it a kiteboarderâ€™s paradise. The little town set up is also perfect, you will find a lot of very cool bars and restaurants, and everything is within a 500 meter radius. We got this shot one morning after I received my new North gear. I set up the camera, gave it to one of my staff, and told them to point it at me and pull the trigger whenever they saw me jumping!
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RIDER AND WORDS : NUNO “STRU” FIGUEIREDO | PHOTO : JOÃO PEDRO ROCHA | SPOT : SUPERTUBOS This was the first time that I had seen barrels in 40+ knots of wind. Usually when you pump a 7m you can’t expect too much from Supertubos. So to ride a 5m and be overpowered and still to have some quality waves was mind blowing. This sunset session was by far the most unpredictable session I have ever had there and I was lucky to have my partner in crime João Rocha shooting from the beach. Also, with the heavy waves and ‘code red’ wind forecast running on Portuguese national television, there wasn’t a single surfer out at Supertubos so it was all for me and João.
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RIDER AND WORDS : JAN SZLAGOWSKI | PHOTO : SVETLANA ROMANTSOVA | SPOT : FUERTEVENTURA My latest season began with a trip with the Nobile Pro Team to Fuerteventura. On the first day we went to check one of the ‘secret spots’ that we had heard about from one of the local riders. It turned out that the place was perfect for our photo session. This amazing spot has flat water, stable wind, and a beautiful view of the mountains. It was quite a small lagoon connected to the ocean and surrounded by rocks, but it was big enough for a few riders and was one of the best spots I’ve ever been to for kiting. We had a few goes at this shot just to have a perfect frame with the kite in the background and a huge water splash coming from the Backmobe.
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RIDER : JONAS LENGWILER | PHOTO AND WORDS : BERTRAND BOONE | SPOT : SERRE CHEVALIER, FRANCE This shot is from the 12th Snowkite Masters which happened in January at the Col du Lautaret which is a famous snowkiting spot. It is a great event and conditions were just perfect as you can see from the shot. Jonas Lengwiler specializes in racing and in high mountain hiking. He is only 21 years old but is very accomplished and is one of the very top riders in the snow.
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BOARD: RRD JUICE V3
DIMENSIONS: 143 X 43.5CM
Dutch man-mountain Jerrie van de Kop is big, and goes big, so it was quite a challenge to develop a board to meet his uncompromising requirements. Jerrie and RRD board design maestro Werther Castelletti were up for the challenge though, and the outcome is the Juice V3… The Juice V3 sits on the top-end freestyle/ wakestyle side of the range, but the cool thing about the Juice is that this board is performing well in all kinds of conditions… I’m riding my Juice everywhere. The outline of the Juice V3 is pretty straight through the center of the board. With this straight section you fly upwind easily and landings are smooth and good to control. As you move down to the tips the board gets slightly narrower to make the Juice V3 a relaxed board to ride in flat water, chop and in waves. This year we have put in some more rocker to make hard landings softer and more controlled. The board is still performing well in low wind conditions, but with enough rocker to land softly after your trick – that’s the combination we have been trying to perfect. The Juice works perfectly on small fins due to the channel construction, and the fin/ channel combination provides enough grip for your pop and for stability in landings. The challenge was to make a board which is performing well in all conditions, you never know where competitions are going to happen, so the board should feel comfortable in all conditions to help you stomp your freestyle/ wakestyle tricks. People tell me that my style’s a bit different than ‘normal’ because of my body length! How different, I don’t really know... I try to make my riding as smooth as possible; smooth with a lot of power, that’s how I want my style to look! 40 | TheKiteMag
For 2016 the graphics changed a lot compared to other years. I like the way RRD is going now with their designs: clean and cool! Design is always a matter of taste, but the Juice in my opinion looks sick, and I like the Bliss and the new surfboard range… RRD gave me the chance to develop a product with the designer straight away and we worked on all of the feedback that I gave, and the Juice V3 turned out to be a freestyle/wakestyle monster. The Juice V3 was already a good board but RRD board designer Werther and I worked hard on this year’s board and it has changed a lot. The Juice V3 does simply anything I want. It gets me upwind very easily, it is controllable in everything from flat water through to rough conditions (like during this year’s KOTA) and the pop is incomparable. I would like to help work on the graphics in the future, but I have to say that I don’t think I could do a better job on the 2016 kites! I’m stoked on the designs. I think all of the kites got their own style and the design of the Obsession Pro and the Juice together looks pretty sick to me.
W E I G H T: 9 0 K G
H E I G H T: 2 0 2 C M
THE JUICE V3 TURNED OUT TO BE A FREESTYLE/ WAKESTYLE MONSTER.
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l e v a r T Essentials 42 | TheKiteMag
THE KEY TO ANY SUCCESSFUL TRIP IS TO BE WELL PREPARED. OF COURSE HAVING GREAT WIND CAN MAKE OR BREAK IT. GOOD BEER AND SUNSHINE; THE ICING ON THE CAKE. BUT HERE ARE A FEW KEY ITEMS I NEVER LEAVE HOME WITHOUT.
1. NOISE CANCELLING HEADPHONES. There’s nothing worse than being confined to a seat next to a screaming baby for 10 hours. Although not the cheapest, these will make sure you enter your own quiet paradise as soon as you board.
2 LACIE RUGGED HARD DRIVE. HD designed to take punishment, losing all your media from a trip is the stuff of nightmares so don’t take the risk!
3. SWOX ZINC SUN CREAM. Nobody likes getting sunburnt on the first day. This is the best stuff I’ve found for the face to keep you protected all day long. 4.
4. GOPRO. Small and compact, this puppy is a media workhorse and enables you to keep your Instagram channels stocked up with selfies as well as providing you with all sorts of kite and board mounted media options. 5. CABRINHA SCREWDRIVER/BEER OPENER. An item that doesn’t need much introduction, this multi tool keeps the beers flowing whilst never having a problem when it comes to setting up your board. 6. WATERFI + SNUGS HEADPHONES. A waterproof mp3 player can help keep sessions fresh and keep your tricks steezy, just make sure your playlist is up to the job! Custom molded headphones stay in through any crash and the sound quality makes it sound like Biggie Smalls is right there with you, pumping you up for that next trick.
7. SONY A7S. This camera goes everywhere with me; stunning quality HD video and a lowlight beast, you get big bang for your buck in a compact package. 8. PASSPORT AND GOLD CARD. Being a gold member gives you one extra bag on every flight, lounge access, business boarding/check-in and turns flying into a dream… The fastest way to get to gold (with Star Alliance) is with Aegean – you don’t even need to fly with them. Once you’re gold you get access to every airline in the alliance as a gold member.
9. TRASER AUTOMATIC MASTER. Never be late, keep track of what time it is in other countries, and make sure you’re always on time for calling the missus and relatives back home.
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The Shoot Skulpies, Cape Town
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ne of the things I love most about shooting in Cape Town is that I always have to push myself to find new angles, locations and other creative ways to make sure my images don’t start looking the same. I never take for granted the fact that I get to shoot with some of the best riders in the world. And they are always game for new ideas and have some great ideas of their own. A spot can take on a completely different atmosphere depending on the time of day. For this session, I met up with Kevin and Jalou Langeree and Carl Ferriera. We shot at around midday and then again at sunset. Any photographer will tell you that the ‘golden hour’ of sunset is the best time to shoot. But shooting at any time of day can be great as long you expose correctly and look to nature for some bounce light to get rid of hard shadows. I wanted to create an interesting foreground to lead the eye to the rider, so I lay down on my front in the sand, with my camera propped up on my bag. This allowed me to keep the sand at the bottom of my image. During the afternoon session, the sunset changed the sand into a golden color, which I loved. Shooting at sunset, you have to keep changing your exposure settings as the light changes quite quickly. My go to camera is my Canon 5D paired with my Canon 100-400mm. I prefer my 5D as I love the full frame. I kept my ISO at 500 with my shutter speed at 1/400s during the evening session and 1/640s during the day session. These are by no means expert settings and I always play around with my aperture depending on the depth of field I want in the images.
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TA N G L E D THIS ISSUE
L I N E S
THE MAN WITH THE
BIGGEST BALLS IN THE WORLD OF KITEBOARDING, SHARES A F E W I N S I G H T S A B O U T H I S WO R L D. R E A D O N AT YO U R P E R I L .
YOURI ZOON Nicky boy we have been on trips together and had a couple of beers as well, and we had fun and we had more beers... Ok you got it. Let’s get to the question: every time you come up with something it just keeps looking natural and it doesn’t look forced at all. Does it feel as natural as it looks?
KEVIN LANGEREE If there would be a contest for ‘who can keep their wetsuit on for longest’ do you think you would win?
It all depends on the prize, and who I was up against. I do like to format though. I would probably do around a week. And I would probably need a one week bath after as well.
Thanks for the compliment Zoon. I do try my best to make it look smooth and natural, to make people outside the sport realize how fun and cool kiteboarding is. And, like everything else, the more you do something you like, the better you get at it. It’s all up to the individual which direction you want to go. You, Youri, would be even more smooth, since you aren’t as tall and goofy as me!
RUBEN LENTEN Would you rather snap a line mid-loop again, or take another one of those paintball guns to the balls?
KEAHI DE ABOITIZ I remember seeing that first clip of you jumping off the crane and being stunned. That thing looked so sketchy. How much further can you go and do you have anything crazy planned for the future?
I do have many different projects in my mind, and some on paper. I don’t want to brag about it here, in case it won’t happen. But for sure something big is coming…
JESSE RICHMAN Hi Nick, If you were stranded on a tropical deserted island and you could have any three things in the world what would you choose and why?
At what point in your life did you decide: I just want to jump off the craziest shit possible?
Keahi, when/why did you decide to master the waves on a directional as you do? I think it is something that comes quite naturally. You do something for the first time, and it feels good and exciting – you surf a small shore break, then you want to paddle further and further out. I think we all want to reach greater heights, and push our own limits.
TOM HEBERT After seeing a couple of your videos, I came to the conclusion that: because you seem to like wearing ladies clothes you are sad not to be a little girl. Is this all just for the show or do you really enjoy it?
Tom, this is why we are great friends. We are actually very much alike. You know that I´m all about the show. Dressing up as a girl for real I would only do when the camera isn’t running (do you not remember?!).
Since I’ve done both, I would be fine not doing any of them again. But if I really had to choose, I would probably go for the ‘snap a line’ option. Thanks for asking Ruubs!
Easy Jess! Wait, are you a thing? Or are you a real human? Either way, I would also bring a huge solar panel and a power adapter with three outlets so I could charge my shaver, toothbrush and my phone to call for help.
ANDERS KRÜGER If you had to turn a big famous building upside down, which one would it be and why?
I would definitely choose the Trump Hotel in Vegas, only because it says TRUMP at the top.
REO STEVENS You’re doing some crazy shit these days, going bigger and bigger with the margin of error getting smaller and smaller and consequences getting greater with each ‘jump’. Are you going to eventually have some sort of safety measures on some of your larger stunts?
I am not a believer of always going bigger each time. I do whatever feels natural, but for sure, the safety aspect is a very essential element in what I’m doing. I do have a set of stronger lines, and a few reinforced kites when pulling off some of the stuff that I do. And research and knowledge is key…
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S T U F F W E L I K E T H E L O O K O F
AXIS Tranq The Tranq is Alex LewisHughes’ badass looking signature model… It’s a true allrounder for guys who want to ‘do it all’ and do it well. For 2016 AXIS have kept the versatile outline and rocker, tweaked the channel shapes and rails to give it a smoother and faster vibe with massive acceleration. Then the torsional flex has also been reduced for softer landings. And if it’s good enough for ALH then it is probably good enough for you…
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North Evo For truly impressive five strut performance, the Evo continues to be at the very top of its game. It is one of the most solid kites on the market, with incredible range, depower and insanely smooth and intuitive power delivery. The Evo can boost big, drive you into freestyle moves and has the kind of on/off that really does deliver the goods in the surf.
CORE Choice If you want a truly versatile freestyle machine then you want CORE’s Choice… Their proprietary 30° biaxial carbon fiber weave optimizes board torsion and dynamic longitudinal flex for plenty of pop. Then the Choice’s channels give you the grip you need with or without fins, and its rocker will get you out of sticky situations, regardless of how shady your landing is.
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Wainman Machete An all new board into Wainman’s 2016 lineup, the Machete is Wainman’s take on the ever expanding ‘summer sessions’ lightwind twin tip. It is super-light with a wide outline and with the minimal flex you need for efficient lightwind performance and it also provides the stability you need without compromising efficiency. But don’t be fooled, this is a Wainman board: so although it works well for light days and for beginner riders, it can also cut it when you want to bust out some freestyle moves…
ION Icon Set Zeiss Summer is on its way so time to get yourself prepped with some quality eyewear. ION have it covered with their Icon Set Zeiss sunnies with interchangeable lenses. They come with sunny and bad light lenses to ensure you have your eyes protected whatever the weather has planned and – most importantly – they look the business… CrazyFly Addict The Addict is a completely new board in CF’s 2016 range. It is a top end board with its eyes set on the top of the podium. Designed and constructed to push the limits, the new Right Angle Channels on the tips and Edge Control Track provide plenty of grip ensuring that you can go sans fins if that’s how you roll, or you can ride it with the new 3cm Razor fins. Then construction is rock solid with X carbon, kevlar, and optimized flex providing explosive pop, while the generous rocker keeps landings smooth.
Mystic Ponchos Taking the world of ponchos to the next level, Mystic ensure that no one in the family has to face the indignity of dropping your towel midway through a car-park-change, and that you can keep everything out of the wind that you need to. 56 | TheKiteMag
F-ONE ACID HRD Girly One for the ladies, the Acid HRD Girly brings all of the top-end tech that you expect from the Acid and tailors it to meet the needs of female riders. Designed with powered riding in mind, the rocker and concave shape is dedicated to new school freestyle to help you master your wakestyle moves. And if it’s the aesthetic you’re into then there are surely few finer looking boards than F-ONE’s 2016 line up with the Lite Tech bling…
S E R I E S
A I R T O N C O Z Z O L I N O Â´ S D A I LY W O R K W E A R
S URFI N G ELEME N T S ION-PRODUCTS.COM
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Liquid Force Drive The fact is that most of Liquid Force’s boards are pretty accessible… But the Drive is their more entry-level focused board. That’s not to say that there are many compromises along the way. There aren’t. There’s the same profiled wood core, liquid rail, and bi and tri-axial glass that you find on most of the range; so this truly is a quality Liquid Force product perfect for kicking off your kiteboarding career.
Airush Compact The Compact is a true all-round option in the surf. With its fuller outline and wider entry point it provides the float and liveliness that you need in onshore or marginal conditions, while the V out of the tail and the double concave provide plenty of drive and performance for rail to rail surfing when conditions turn on… It’s a one board quiver.
Naish Ride Just released as part of phase two of Naish’s 2016 launch, the Ride continues to have simplicity at the core of its philosophy. With two struts it keeps the weight right down and delivers super-smooth power delivery through turns. Relaunch is immediate while a slightly flattened arc generates more lift for easy jumping and sheet and go response. Accessible freeride fun at its finest.
Best TS At the heart of Best’s kite range lies the TS. It is a beautifully refined high-performance all-round kite which does everything and does it well… For 2016 you can find LE segmentation for a cleaner overall profile, the 3D Foam Bridle Deflectors and there are additional sizes as well to ensure that you have a TS for every conceivable day.
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ON THE LIST P HOTO M AR K MOORE
L I ST
NOVA SCOTIA, CANADA WITH MARK MOORE
There is a good chance that you’ve never heard of this place. Nova Scotia is a dynamic peninsula that juts into the Atlantic Ocean on the Eastern Seaboard of Canada. Nova Scotia is Latin for New Scotland. It is a small province, but our coastline measures a staggering 7500 kilometers. I’ve never seen a coastline as convoluted as Nova Scotia’s with points, bays, inlets and islands. Our coast is like teeth on the blade of the saw. Without exaggeration, there are hundreds and hundreds of kiteable/surfable waves here. Not into waves? There are even more flatwater slicks. My passport is packed with over 40 stamps and I can surely say that this place is a treasure of the world. Wondering why I’d tell people? There’s more than enough to go around and truth be told, you’re not actually going to come here, are you? And even if you do make the trek, you’re going to have to dig to find gold.
Canada, eh? Massive country. Make sure you fly into the Halifax YHZ airport or you’re looking at a 75-hour drive. It’s pretty boring and flat in the middle of the country. They say you can watch your dog run away for three days before it disappears over the horizon. For me, it was watching girlfriends run away. How cold is it up there, bud? Well, let’s break it down: Winter is occasionally hideous with random warm snaps. We’re talking 1°C water temps. The air temp ranges from -15°C at times to a more common range of between 2°C and 5°C. Some days I put my gear on before I leave the house and wear it home. Other days, the cold is hardly an issue. I have a hooded 6/5 and 5/4 and 5mm mittens and 7mm boots. Winter is chilly, but the most consistent season for solid swells. The points get insane! 60 | TheKiteMag
Nova Scotia is arguably one of the coldest places to kite/surf on the planet. On the nasty days, there is slush and ice on my bar and lines, but to score quality and empty peeling point breaks, it’s worth it. We’re not a great snowkiting destination but we get approximately 10-20 good days per season. In spring the water is still cold and the winter swells mellow a bit. Pass. Summer brings water temperatures of up to 15°C in July. Air temp fluctuates between 15°C and 25°C. There are a few foggy days a week, and the swells are smaller and less consistent but it’s a great time to be here! Fall is probably the most common time for visiting surfers. The water temp is still 12°C-15°C and the leaves are starting to show their fall colors. Tropical swells and fall storm fronts bring surf and tons of wind. It’s the chance to score the session of your life.
NOVA SCOTIA, CANADA A DA M COR NIC K
Nice – variety is the spice of life and all that. Where can I crash? Camping is a great option. Most of the coastline is unpopulated and rural. There are campgrounds. Or bed and breakfasts are a popular option. Hotels if you’re fancy. A rental car is an absolute must. Living in a van is greasy, but a solid option. Gotcha. And kit? We get most of our wind from storm fronts so you’re getting the answer that everyone hates – bring all of your gear. I use my 5m often, but there is just as much of a need for a 17m blimp. Post session options?
P H OTO MA R K MOOR E
Most of the province is rural, so the best bars/pubs are obviously in the capital city of Halifax. There are five universities in the city, so the supply of hotties is legit. Halifax itself is a rad port city with tons of character. My favorite bar? The Lower Deck on a Sunday night. A beer here will run you $5.50. Or a great place for cheaper $3.50 beers is Niche… What if there is no wind or, err, you’ve got frostbite? On the Island of Cape Breton, there is a 300 km scenic drive called the Cabot Trail. World class. Guaranteed moose sightings if you walk the Skyline Trail at dusk. Tons of kite spots all along this drive. If you’re here between September and April, check out a Halifax Mooseheads hockey game in Halifax or the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles in Sydney. And any ‘don’t miss’ spots? I don’t kiss and tell. Around here, you gotta show to know. The generic kite spot is Stoney Beach in East Lawrencetown. The best known surf beach is Lawrencetown. Get a map and some Red Bull and cruise. The journey is the destination.
V I T ALS GETTING THERE:
Get to Canada. Head East. Keep going.
IN THE BAG:
Yup, you’re gonna need the lot. Sorry.
NOT IN THE BAG:
Is your bff
€3.5 / $2.60 / £2.75
M O S T L I K E LY T O H E A R : “The cold is my friend. The cold is my friend. The cold is my friend.” L E A S T L I K E LY T O H E A R : Can you rub some lotion on my back?
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RUBEN’S RETURN RIDE As far as these things go it has been a relatively good few weeks for one of the giants of the kiteboarding world. Ruben’s latest scans came back all-clear of cancer bringing to an end a tumultuous few months. The amount of good vibes being directed his way throughout the experience was simply staggering though, and if there are any positives to come from this (aside, obviously, from Ruben’s return to health) it has been to show once again what a close and altruistic community we have in our sport… A few weeks before the scan though, Ruben was in Cape Town with friends and – proving that you can’t keep a kite-hound down – the temptation for a mellow session was too much to resist. Ruben’s close friend and RRD marketing head honcho, Alex Vliege, was there to help make it happen, and so Ruben’s first session in many months took place. Alex explains how it went down…
PHOTO: CRAIG KOLESKY
I was chatting to Ruben on his braai and asked him how is health is. He told me he feels strong and ready to start kiting again. No megaloops on a twin tip yet, but he was keen to just have some fun, get wet and try his first ever downwinder on a surfboard – and hopefully score some big waves and barrels (he is always looking for the most extreme of course!). So obviously the next question was what his plans were brand wise. He explained that he just wants to ride the gear that he likes and that feels good and that is available without any strings attached. So there we had it: on the next windy day we hooked up with him and his good friend Job Guijt and sorted both of them out with RRD gear for a downwinder. The wind was too light to go from Big Bay to Haakgat, but we got a call that the wind was good at Dolphin beach and Werther Castelletti (RRD’s kite designer), the RRD test team and some of the riders including Alex Neto, Jerrie van de Kop and Julien Leleu were riding and testing there, so we headed over. It was perfect to spend some time with Ruben to let him test the upcoming RRD Obsession Pro MK3; he was very positive about the kite and tested it with different set-ups. He was jumping around with it on the beach and launching off the dunes – obviously stoked to fly a kite again! And he was almost tempted to go and pull some loops with it in combination with the Juice when he saw that Julien had the same boot size as him… Then we all set off on a downwinder with 7m Religions and we swapped several boards along the way; Maquina, C.O.T.A.N. and the Barracuda. Fun conditions, good vibes and smiles all around. So good to see the oneand-only Ruben back on the water again, that was the most important thing of it all... And guess what? He was doing great on a surfboard with radical maneuvers in the critical section of the wave with style, commitment and flow...
PHOTO: ALEX VLIEGE
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PHOTO: BETTINA MENZEL
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In a winter which seems to have lit up pretty much all of the main wave spots on the planet, it is nice to see that Cape Verde hasn’t missed out… Ponta Preta is a break that is capable of providing truly astounding conditions but often struggles to provide the goods as we know it can. Not so this season: there have been a heap of truly stellar swells and some insane shots seeping out over the last few months. Of course the locals have been all over it, and we’re stoked to bring you these exclusive shots from the biggest day of the season…
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a t n o P
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T H E P O N TA P R E TA D R E A M S E S S I O N
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Photographer: Andrea D’Antoni With a massive swell forecast from the north-west it doesn’t take long for the news to spread in the small town of Santa Maria, and as the swell arrived a lot of kiters were already there…The conditions were prohibitive for amateurs, with only a handful of riders having the skills to face this gigantic spectacle of nature.
The best-of-the-best kitesurfers of the island couldn’t miss this call though, and top riders Airton Cozzolino and Mitu Monteiro were straight on the water. Then, with a lot of courage and determination, I saw the young but already well-established rider Inês Correia entering the water. After a few moments the wonderful spectacle began: the elegance of Mitu versus the raw power of Airton, all tied in with the courage of Inês. Photographically for me it was incredible to shoot these riders in such epic conditions. We owe this to nature – which never stops giving us these incredible landscapes – and these riders, who together gave us such a unique show.
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T H E P O N TA P R E TA D R E A M S E S S I O N
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Airton Cozzolino This day was well forecast and it felt like it had been a long time that we were waiting for this unreal and sweet swell to arrive! On the night before, I opened Windguru and I saw that the forecast was now four meters with a 20 second period! I ran to my school straight away and prepared all my kit that can work for the day – kite, standup, and surf – so I was ready for it. I will never forget this swell because it was the biggest I have seen here since I began surfing. We have called the day ‘small Jaws’ so you can imagine how big it was! I was stoked on my equipment during that big swell, I was riding the Neo 9m and 5’10 Kontact. This session I also crashed on a bomb and was saved by Mitu – I can’t begin to explain how relieved I felt after that! Life in Cape Verde is really simple: no stress, nice weather, wind, waves and a lot more. It is a dream place for my kind of life and I am super-stoked to live here. And days like this make it even more special…
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T H E P O N TA P R E TA D R E A M S E S S I O N
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T H E P O N TA P R E TA D R E A M S E S S I O N
Inês Correia This season has been very good to me and I think for all of us. Towards the end of 2015 we had waves almost every day. And throughout 2016 we had wind every day and a few weeks with very strong wind – so we have been in the water almost every day! When the swell is pumping I like to get up early and then go straight to the beach and try to be in the water before all the other kiters come. All the spots here in Ilha do Sal have a lot of people so it’s important to choose the best time to be on the water
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with as little crowds as possible. After enjoying the whole day on the beach kiting with friends, I like to finish the day at the gym with a light workout. This session was super heavy with big waves and the wind was light, but I had all the best guys with me in the water which was such a great incentive and motivation. I had so much fun and I was a little scared too. But the feeling on the water was very good! It is always good to overcome our limits.
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T H E P O N TA P R E TA D R E A M S E S S I O N
Mitu Monteiro This has been one of the best seasons ever in terms of waves – almost every week a good swell hit the West Coast. We will remember it for sure! This day reminded me of when we shot the Manera video here. That was 2010, and since then no other big swells like this have come. On that Sunday I waited a bit before going in – I was waiting for the peak of the swell, and at around 11am it came. It was really massive and ‘natural selection’ in the water with just a few riders: some pros and some fools!
I went straight to the so called Cape Verdian pipeline on my 8m Bandit and 5’8” Mitu Pro. The wind wasn’t stable and very gusty, but the waves were so good that the wind didn’t matter at all! I spent something like four hours riding wave after wave sharing unforgettable moments with friends on the water. When the swell is pumping it is like a film being made with rows of people looking at us riding those giants of the sea. On those days I just pray not to have a kite clinic scheduled so I can spend the whole day in the water. Usually, if it’s expected to be massive I like to be there as early as possible, then I wait for the right tide and once I’m in I disconnect from the rest of the world and just surf. I get out just when my belly starts complaining, then after a good blowout I am able to go in again ‘til dark! 78 | TheKiteMag
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T H E P O N TA P R E TA D R E A M S E S S I O N
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E V E R Y T H I N G S E E M E D T O B E G O I N G P E R F E C T LY. . .
BUT SOMETIMES YOUâ€™VE JUST GOT TO PRESS THE EJECT BUTTON...
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OUT Behind the Scenes of the King of the Air and the Blue Palawan Open
Two of the slickest and most high profile events in kiteboarding’s history have occurred already in 2016. The King of the Air was – by some distance – the craziest yet. With some truly epoch defining kiteboarding on display, coupled with some of the most horrific crashes the sport has ever seen. It really was something else. Then we had the Blue Palawan Open which showcased the wakestyle side of the sport at its very finest, with the top riders given carte blanche to put on a ‘no expense spared’ event at the exclusive Blue Palawan resort in the Philippines. A slick event, and a lot of slick media content to boot.
In this digital age, you obviously know what went down at both of these events but KEEP READING! Here we take a look at things from a different perspective, and we give you some exclusive insights on these events looking from the Inside Out… So first we have Max Blom taking us through the King of the Air, then we have Tom Court on how the Blue Palawan Open played out from his perspective…
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THE KING OF THE AIR WITH MAX BLOM
Before the King of the Air last year, Ruben Lenten and I approached Red Bull to suggest that Mystic could partner with them in sponsoring the event. A brand like Red Bull has been such a gift to the sport by supporting riders and events. It’s power and influence throughout the sporting world has seen it open many doors for athletes and has helped to showcase emerging sports. Their distribution network, media house and the accessible budgets all play a crucial part in the success of their associations. For Mystic – as an industry specific brand – it would be almost impossible on a financial level to independently host such an enormous event and to give it all the trimmings it deserves. However, a partnership is a fantastic way to bring concepts to life, and Red Bull believed Mystic could make a great contribution to the event and it turned out to be a great collaboration. This year TOMTOM Bandit joined the partnership, which was a huge testament to the success and growth of the event over the last four years. Aside from organization, sponsorship and the underlying apprehensiveness about the success in the lead up, the most important asset (and the reason for all of the effort and interest) is of course because of the riders. Every competitor who makes the cut to the invitation-only event brings more than just outstanding riding. They are a tight-knit group of gifted and unique riders whose mission of smashing the boundaries of the sport is certain to be a crowd pleaser and keep the worldwide kiteboarding community glued to the livestream. The line-up consists of 24 riders from different disciplines within the sport, but the theme for the event is to go big, or go home! For the first time this year, there was a real mix of debuting newbies going head-to-head with the more experienced usual suspects. Predicting the results is near impossible as even the riders themselves will admit that the crown could go to anyone. However, when you’ve got the likes of Aaron Hadlow (defending Champion), Flying Dutchman Kevin Langeree (Winner, 2014) and the world’s most stoked pint-sized Hawaiian, Jesse Richman (Winner, 2013), all with an incredible hunger to win a second time round, you might think that they’d be a safe bet to back as a winner. But then you’ve got the wildcard outsiders like Lewis Crathern, who famously jumped Brighton Pier in the UK, Marc Jacobs (Vice World Champion Big Air) and local favorite Andries Fourie in the mix – so all the riders would admit that every heat can feel like a roll of the dice. 84 | TheKiteMag
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THE WINNING TEAM
In my opinion – and something that is often underestimated – it’s the team of passionate and dedicated people who play such a crucial role in making an event what it is. A good organization can make a true difference and I believe that the KOTA really stands apart from any other event in kiteboarding for this reason.
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Everyone involved is a true expert. They have a deep knowledge of the sport, combined with professionalism and life-long friendships which means that there is an air of respect and trust throughout the committee. This year Red Bull put in a massive amount of effort to set up a good live stream. Jim Gaunt did a great job commentating the heats throughout the day, occasionally being joined by Ruben Lenten. It was good to see Ruben back in the world of kiteboarding as he’s the face of the event and responsible for getting the King of the Air back on the calendar after it was put on hold back in 2004 in Hawaii (which, incidentally, he won).
Sergio Cantagalli is the Event Director and has years of experience in kiteboarding and other big Red Bull events under his belt. The always-smiling Italian has exceptional attention to detail, as well as the dedication to put in the time and effort necessary. Having had the privilege to spend time with Sergio in Cape Town, Iâ€™ve witnessed first hand his true passion for the event. His ability to consider both rider and sponsorâ€™s requests make him an incredibly fair person, and he is highly respected by all those involved on both sides of the coin: what Sergio says goes! Good friend Alex Vliege is the Head Judge, and has been since year one. Alex is highly experienced and has handpicked the professionals to create a well-rounded jury to judge the event in the best way possible. There is a lot of pressure on the shoulders of these boys as the riding level is so high and the competition hot, and of course you then have the thousands of armchair judges sat in front of their screens at home! This year the judging criteria was 30% for height, 60% for innovation/risk, with the
final 10% being allocated to variation. To round it all off, it was the three highest scoring tricks of each heat that determined who advanced. The criteria was mostly undisputed and rarely discussed once competition got underway, as it was the riders who set the rules, not Red Bull or the judges.
Completing the panel is Olaf van Tol from the Netherlands. Olaf has been the Race Director on the World Tour for many years and is probably the most experienced Race Director in our industry. Living in Cape Town, his local knowledge of the conditions necessary to run the event make him a valuable asset to everyone. The weather is the most important factor for giving the green light, and Cape Town is famous for the relentless winds that the Cape Doctor delivers. The holding period of two weeks allows us to choose the day where optimum conditions all come together, and we have a rule that a final call must be made two days in advance, which can be tricky if there is a big change in the forecast as the wind and waves might just not show up.
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STRAIGHT OUT THE BLOCKS
On January 30 the official event opening was held at Red Bull HQ in the stunning V&A Waterfront. Accompanied by the media, sponsors and industry people, the official heat draw was made along with the final briefings. It’s evenings like these where you realise how great the kiteboarding industry is… The next morning the wind window was officially opened and the waiting began. The plan was to make it a two day event in order to run all the heats in high wind conditions and, as it happened, February 3 was shaping up to be a cracker… The forecast delivered as expected and the official call was made. The wind always kicks in throughout the afternoon, so the Skipper’s Meeting started at 1pm and from that moment the event was officially on standby. Big Bay started to fill up with spectators, but we still had to wait a few more hours for the wind to settle at a constant 30 knots. At 4pm the flag went up and rounds 1 & 2 got underway. In Round 1 there are no losers. Those placed 1st and 2nd automatically advanced to Round 3, and those in 3rd and 4th place got a second chance in Round 2.
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Lewis Crathern was the MC for the event as well as a competitor. Lewis is amazing on the mic and knows exactly how to razz up the crowd whilst delivering informative explanations of whatâ€™s going down on the water for those unfamiliar with the sport. Clearly he loves the commentating aspect and wasnâ€™t going to let being a participant in the event get in the way! As the competition advanced through to Round 2, unfortunately the process of riders getting knocked out had started. One of those was local boy Graham Howes, the face of and man behind Dirty Habits; a crew of local extreme sport junkies who are always entertaining the industry with funny and innovative content. Graham exited the event on a high as his performance was impressive with heart-stopping Megaloops, and with one mission: to please the crowd. The event favorites professionally did what they do, and there were no major shocks at the end of the day.
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The weather maps showed strong winds for Sunday February 7. The Cape Doctor was on her way as well as a major swell. The forecast was looking promising for maybe one of the best days in the event’s history. Sergio and his team made the call and everyone prepped for what was dubbed ‘Super Sunday.’ That morning I woke up at the Mystic House in Big Bay. Looking out over the ocean with a cup of coffee in hand it was an exciting sight to see the tell-tale signs of Table Mountain with its tablecloth already in place, a sure sign that wind was on its way. The swell was also on-point with two to three meter waves rolling in. To shake off my nerves and to take
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advantage of epic conditions, I had an early morning wave session with Mystic team rider Jalou Langeree. We both had a feeling this was going to be the best King of the Air in history… At 1.30pm, finals day kicked off and from the get-go the riders went nuts! Local boy Oswald Smith took huge risks in order to give the top guys a run for their money, but whilst pulling a massive Kiteloop Handlepass he crashed hard. Luckily he was ok, but for a moment the crowd was holding their breath. Marc Jacobs, who made it through Round 2, was staring down the barrel of an intense heat with fellow World Tour and two time World Champion
Youri Zoon. The third rider in that heat was UK’s Sam Light, whose track record in the event was not enough to see him through and he lost out to Marc who pulled a massive Kung Fu. A real standout in Round 3 was youngster Lasse Walker from the Netherlands. At just 22 years of age, Lasse won the Red Bull Megaloop challenge in Holland in 2015, and showed everybody his confidence and skill in high winds. It’s so cool to see young guns like Lasse riding so energetically and without any fear. I have no doubt that he has the potential to be a future champion. As wind speeds climbed to 40 knots, combined with three meter waves, the crowd was amped for the semi-
finals. The first round was a thriller of a heat with Lasse Walker, Kevin Langeree, Aaron Hadlow and Marc Jacobs competing for a slot in the final. Marc could not maintain his performance from previous heats and got flagged out first. Kevin was absolutely flying and building a lot of confidence, and Aaron was riding strongly and blending big Kiteloops with his signature technical riding. Last year all the talk was about Aaron’s Kiteloop KGB, which he pulled off in Round 1 of this year’s event. Admitting that he hadn’t done this move all year, he knew that he had to open with it this year so he could progress through the event knowing that he had it in the bank. Lasse had big plans to reach the final, yet those dreams were crushed in the final two minutes of the heat. Approaching a massive wave on the way out, he took off perfectly but pulled the trigger on looping the kite very late which left him with slack lines. It looked stunning but terrifying at the same time and, as he was unable to get the kite back above him in time, he plummeted to the sea. You could feel a massive shock hit the crowd and everything went silent for a moment. There were quick reactions from Kevin Langeree who saw what had happened and immediately went to help Lasse. He held his head carefully above the water as Lasse was unconscious, and the lifesaving team got Lasse onto
dry land and transported him to Blouberg Hospital straight away. Eventually the heat was completed, and saw Kevin and Aaron advance. Andries Fourie, Jesse Richman, Lewis Crathern and Reno Romeu were in the next semi. The Brazilian rider was a showstopper throughout the event – being a freestyle World Tour rider this kind of discipline isn’t his forté – but his performance really showcased why these guys are the best in the world. Then of course the South African crowd was fully behind local boy Andries as, never in the history of the KOTA, has a South African made it onto the podium. The heat started off with Jesse Richman going in hot, making the first move with a massive Kiteloop and incorporating several rotations. Then that was it: the bar was set and the other boys had seen it. Lewis Crathern searched for the perfect wave and he’d spotted the biggest set of the day approaching. Hitting a steep ramp at full speed he soared at least 15 meters up in the air. Pulling the trigger on a massive Kiteloop Backroll, Lewis seemed to get stuck with his back to the water halfway through his rotation. Like Lasse, the Brighton Pier jumper tanked into the water and for the second time silence spread through the crowd. Thankfully Lewis had flown out of his bindings upon impact but there was no sign of movement. That
moment is still so clear in my mind: I had launched his kite, given him a final high five, and then two minutes later he crashed just a few meters from the launch area. Reno Romeu was straight to Lewis’ side to keep his head out of the water. Lewis was unconscious and as Romeu dragged him towards the beach, a big wave pulled Lewis from his hands. Andries Fourie arrived to help take Lewis those final few yards to the beach. The Big Bay lifesaving team took over and tried to resuscitate Lewis on the beach. As time was of the essence, he was carried straight to the ambulance and off to hospital, leaving everybody on the beach shocked, and the other competitors in disbelief. After an hour’s break, competition got underway once again with a rerun of that heat, this time without Lewis. It’s hard to imagine how the guys regained their composure after witnessing such an event. The relentless rush of adrenaline shut down by a life threatening incident involving a friend, and then to have to get back out there and keep going is something that is hard to comprehend. But these guys are professionals, they know the risks, they are at peace with that, and have complete control to refocus on the task in hand. Once the heat was completed, Jesse Richman and Reno Romeu came out on top and were set to join Kevin and Aaron in the Final.
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Aaron started off with a winning attitude combining massive airs with his signature Kiteloop KGB. Meanwhile, the other riders were still upwind of the competition area searching for the right wave to kick start their showdown. Both Kevin and Jesse started the process of dialling into the heat and banging out move-after-move. Jesse’s game plan was to combine height and innovation. This resulted in massive airs and a Kiteloop Front Mobe. Yes... imagine that. Then it was truly amazing to see Kevin master and have total control over his riding. Every trick looked smooth and stylish, and the crowd really went crazy when he pulled the biggest board off ever performed in competition, followed by a massive one footed Kiteloop Front Roll. It was this trick that saw him win the Mystic Move prize of $1000 for the most extreme move of the event, as selected by the judging panel. Brazilian rider Reno was flagged first which left him in 4th place, so the remaining three past KOTA Champions battled it out for glory. After 12 minutes of insane and world class riding it was straight to the podium. Sergio made his way to the stage and announced the final result. Aaron Hadlow was crowned the new Red Bull King of the Air 2016, the first competitor to win the event for consecutive years. 2nd place went to Jesse, leaving Kevin disappointed in 3rd. But at least he could lick his wounds with the Mystic Move prize and the highest WOO jump of the event! It’s hard to sum up in words this year’s King of the Air but it’s definitely been one to remember. To make it to the podium is undoubtedly a huge accomplishment, but the journey to get there is not without its challenges. Each rider has to embrace their strengths and weaknesses, whilst the guys behind the scenes have to work hard to make things happen, to plan the event meticulously, and to stick to the plans no matter the incident or emotional connection. For us at Mystic, it has further fuelled our passion to continue to innovate and create products that can support this extreme way of riding, and we can’t wait to see what happens next year. 92 | TheKiteMag
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THE BLUE PALAWAN OPEN WITH TOM COURT PHOTOS: TOBY BROMWICH
Time and effort are the two factors that often dictate the outcome or success of any endeavour, whether that is time invested into your school work or effort applied to making a video: the result is usually the sum of the input to the task. I always think about that with everything that I do, and to some extent I think that it is this knowledge that unites a lot of kiteboarders. Especially in the wakestyle community. I am often asked ‘why is wakestyle so popular?’ and the question has a simple answer: it is arguably less popular than most other areas of the sport, but the people who choose to engage in it are willing to sacrifice the time to build rails, set up complicated shots, inconvenience themselves and to go the extra mile to make sure that it all works out. It is this willingness to deal with the adverse that I think is why wakestyle kiteboarding has the impressive profile in the market that it does today. This fact is something that I was reminded of at the start of 2016 as I sat, drinking a beer with my girlfriend Sophie on board an Airbus A330 winging our way out to Palawan 94 | TheKiteMag
Island in the Philippines to help set up the first kite rail park in Asia. A few months before that beer on that plane, I had been sitting in my home town on the serene island of the Isle of Wight in the UK during the famous ‘Cowes Week’ regatta drinking another beer with Paula Rosales, the passionate and glamorous Philippine wakestyle shredder who has made a name for herself over the last few years by having endless stoke for the sport, motivation to travel, and, importantly, always being in the right place at the right time. As we shared a warm beer on the opposite side of the world from her home town, the idea of developing a kiteboarding competition in the Philippines came up. A long-standing attendee of the Triple-S in Cape Hatteras, Paula was committed to making the event a wakestyle contest, with a full set of features to match the best rail parks in the world. No easy feat. But as those warm beers slipped down and we immersed ourselves in a typical English summer afternoon, the practical reality seemed a world away…
A few months and many hangovers later, my phone buzzed and Colleen Carroll sent me a WhatsApp message. ‘Are you up for shooting the video of the event in the Philippines in January?’ to which I responded, ‘Yes! Let’s get this pinned down. Make sure it doesn’t clash with King of the Air and I am there for sure’. So we had our focus, we had our time window, and we had the commitment of a team of riders who would undoubtedly make the event a success. Paula had now set the wheels in motion that would eventually lead us to seats 32C and D on the Airbus A330 that was now transporting us to Manila at the same time that shipping containers were docking with the newly constructed ‘Jibstruction’ features from Joby Cook’s workshop in Hood River, Oregon.
Meeting up with Craig and Colleen in Manila airport, we boarded our flight to Palawan. It is one of the largest islands in the Philippines, but from the air it seems largely unpopulated and shrouded in dense jungle, with low rise cities consisting of wooden huts and small shops thick with the hustle and bustle of Filipino life. Tuk Tuk’s crowded the small streets and small winding roads that reverted into tracks in parts. As we emerged from the small airstrip into the parking area, we were greeted by the Blue Palawan Beach Club shuttle bus. Loading our board bags into the back we were immediately supplied with cold towels to mop our brow: the Palawan Kite Park experience had begun.
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A SPOT LIKE NO OTHER
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So, Blue Palawan, remember that name as it is somewhere that you will hear more of over the next few years. Whispers of a kitesurfing Mecca, a paradise in Asia, a spot like no other… And although those stories might wash over you, in this case the clichés don’t come close. Blue Palawan is a beach club and is exclusive to say the least. It is removed from the hustle and bustle through access to an untouched sea frontage that, over the weeks we were there, delivered more than any of the riders expected on almost every level. On arrival we met the owner and Paula’s benefactor in this project who was the driving force behind the project, Jojo. Sports enthusiast, visionary and property tycoon who was invested in developing Blue Palawan into a world class sporting destination. And step one? The Kite Park. It’s easy to see an event from the outside and to underestimate the sum of the parts required to pull together the whole. Once everyone had arrived – from 12 countries – for the opening of the first Kite Park in Asia, the smallest details needed to be organized before we were ready to begin competing for the $20,000 prize fund. Everything from the events format; how the competition needed to be judged; the physical practicalities of the tides, rails, wind; the supplies, parties and a plethora of other things needed to be worked out. With each step that we sorted out, another three challenges presented themselves. Such is the nature of events! Paula worked with Roudy (otherwise known as Tweak, or even as Alexander James Lewis-Huges) and Eric Rienstra to confirm the competition format, I was organizing the filming and co-ordinating the event video alongside Konstantine Bobovnik (Russia Rail Jam) and Benoit Pillard (Stance) to make sure we had everything that we needed to present this discipline of the sport how it was meant to be seen, and Colleen Carroll was raising awareness and making sure that the global media knew what was happening and that this event was not only a bench mark in kiteboarding achievement, but also a progression of the sport and a rider production that would help to compensate for the confusion around any kind of tour in 2016.
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So with everything finally set up and planned out, and with the features delivered, bolted together and set up at the spot, all we needed to make this event a success was the wind: something that not even a group of highly motivated individuals could control. But the days with light wind were not put to waste… As well as being an incredible spot to ride there is a wealth of other things to do: beaches to visit, ziplines, islands to chill on and bars to frequent. Once we had exhausted these skills, the wind finally came in once the features were all setup, the wind was light – so mostly 14-18m kites but it was the steadiest wind I have ever experienced. There was barely one knot of variation: if it was ‘around 15 knots’ then it was always between 14-16 knots. Then the water was so flat that you could literally see
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your face in it whilst riding, helped by the natural mangrove and sea grass bottom, it was like riding a sheltered cable park on a kite. The kicker had a dedicated landing pool that had been dug out to allow the correct depth for heavy landings and the rails were easy to adjust and always at the right angle. The set up was perfect and the inaugural Blue Palawan International Kite Open was on! The competition stretched out for three days, with the format being developed over the past years at different events such as the Triple-S, Hood River Rail Jam and the Russian Rail Masters. This entailed a format that was easy to judge and film, with rail hits on each tack and three judges for each rider, and for each individual hit on every feature.
Every rider got three passes on each feature, with their best hits counting towards the overall score for the individual feature, and the sum amounting to their overall result. Men’s and Women’s heats were run back-to-back, then we held a quarter, semi and final for each discipline. This format ensured that everyone had the best chance to showcase their riding and confidence on the features and also took into account switch and regular styles. Riders were given an order, and the cycle of riders hitting the features was organized by the riders in each heat to eliminate confusion and ensure that there was no wasted time. The set up was not without its issues – and communication on the water was definitely something that could be improved
in the future – but the event was a true exercise in practical organization when it comes to wakestyle formats. In terms of the media I think we definitely managed to capture the essence of the event and also the level and quality of the riding, and I would hold the event up as one of the most progressive and innovative wakestyle events I have been involved in. Especially as it was 100% created, organized, produced and run by the riders. The contest was a genuine development, and a real eye opener when it comes to the expansion of the wakestyle discipline on the world stage. So – despite the hard work – it was great to be involved in developing the first Kite Park in Asia, and in developing the growing wakestyle movement within kiteboarding.
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Diamonds in the desert
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With some of the longest kiteable waves in the world, hidden flat-water lagoons, and dependable wind, Peru is a choice destination for the intrepid kite traveler. And you will need to be intrepid, because it’s not handed to you on a plate in Peru… Proper traveling and proper ‘road time’ come with the territory. This didn’t put off Marit Nore and Manuela Jungo though, and they covered pretty much the entire country in their recent sojourn… Words and photos (unless stated): Marit and Manuela
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I didnÂ´t want to get my hopes up too much when Manuela Jungo and I decided to change our yearly Brazil trip for a month in Peru. The photos of famous endless waves were stuck in my mind, but we did not know much about the country, the kite spots or the wind conditions. Looking back on our Peruvian adventure, it surpassed all our expectations. We hiked the Andes, visited Machu Picchu, kited perfect flat water in the middle of the desert and we surfed and kited some of the longest waves in the world. Here are some of the highlights from our tripâ€Ś
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In the South Paracas: Kiting in the wilderness Paracas beach, a three hour drive from Lima, is a small seaside town on the edge of a desert National Park. This is a large lagoon that is protected by a headland, leaving the water flat and perfect for kiting. Paracas gets a thermal wind, which allows for over 250 kiteable days each year with wind speeds between 15 and 25 knots.
Desert wave kiting
We stayed at Bamboo Paracas Eco Bungalows, the only hotel that sits right on the main kite spot – a huge lagoon also known as Santo Domingo Bay. The conditions were perfect with shallow flat water. We also kited over to the other side of the lagoon, where we had a massive flatwater spot to ourselves, surrounded by pelicans and the desert…
There are a few waves that are good for kiting in the National Reserve. 30 minutes from Paracas, Sunpay and Playon have the biggest waves, while Zarate has clean, long and forgiving waves. The wind is mostly side-shore and the area is free from hazards. The waves are biggest between October and December. We also had a freestyle session at Playon, when the waves were small and perfect as kickers.
Surfing with sea lions
When there’s no wind in the bay you can almost always find wind in the National Reserve, a 40-minute drive away. Laguna Grande is, as the name suggests, a large lagoon in the middle of the desert. Our Peruvian friends took us out to explore the spot, they all had 4x4s otherwise you wouldn’t get there. The spot was beautiful and perfect for pictures – we kited between huge sand mountains while herds of pelicans flew over us! Then we drove home as the sun was going down. There were no roads or signs, and we struggled to find the same track that we came on – I was worried we were going to be stuck in the desert for the night, but our friend Rodrigo made sure we got back safe.
Surfers can take a 60-minute boat ride out to San Gallan. This wave, situated on one of the less visited islands, is one of the finest right-breaking waves to be found in Peru. The wave is long and divides up into three sections, a hollow take-off followed by a wall and a final barreling section. The island is a part of the Paracas National Reserve, and you can see sea lions, sea wolves, seagulls and penguins while you surf.
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THE QUICKEST WAY TO T H E P O I N T.
In the North Pacasmayo: Endless rides After a week with flat water in Paracas we took the night bus from Lima to Pacasmayo, ready to surf and kite one of the longest waves in the world at one of the best kitesurfing spots in the world. The spot is called El Faro and offers insanely long lefts that often reach two to three meters. People told us stories about swells with waves that take surfers on a twoand-a-half kilometer marathon from the tip of the point at the lighthouse until the pier in town, and rides have been timed at four minutes! We stayed at El Faro Adventure Resort which sits on top of a cliff and we could see the waves and the surf while lying in bed. Our days started with a surf session – the waves were slow and forgiving of mistakes, but to catch them you had to work for it. Most sessions consisted mainly of paddling against the current – the northward sweeping current is super-strong and you have to paddle constantly to stay in the line-up. Resting on the board was going backwards… One day we hired a Zodiac that shuttles surfers from the end of their wave and back to the line-up or, quite often, just when you had drifted away from the take-off zone! But the rides we scored were some of the longest waves we had ever surfed. 104 | TheKiteMag
The afternoon cross-shore winds provide excellent conditions for wave kiting. This is the best place to learn kiting in waves. Jaime Rojas Melgarejo, the owner of El Faro Adventure Resort, said that people who come here progress from day one. His goal is to create professionals in Pacasmayo and he is hopeful of achieving this – in fact a 16-year old boy among his staff just won his own windsurfing gear in a competition after practicing for only six months. Manuela improved her kite skills in the waves every evening. She even played with the thought of doing more kitesurf trips and leaving her twin tip at home. I was practicing turns on the board Jaime picked out for me, fighting with the leash that was constantly wrapping around my foot! I was probably the only one appreciating the small waves due to lack of swell. The waves were clean and forgiving of mistakes. And there were almost no other riders around. In the evenings we ate ceviche, grilled fish or other seafood as we watched the sun set into the horizon, leaving the sky with pink, yellow and purple colors.
Only the beginningâ€Ś A trip to Peru was a dream I had always had. And after a month in the country I can still not get it out of my mind. The rich culture, the amazing food, the nature, the friendly people and the perfect conditions for multiple action sports amazed us from day one, and there are still so many places to see and things to do.
THE SLOW WAY. . .
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Food Peru’s eclectic cuisine is acknowledged as one of the world’s finest. But while quinoa and Pisco Sour cocktails have migrated to become favorites around the world, there are plenty of Peruvian specialties which you will have to visit Peru to experience… Ceviche If Peru had an official national dish, it would probably be this preparation of raw fish marinated in citrus juice. The acid in the fruit ‘cooks’ the fish, giving it a delicate flavor and slightly chewy consistency. The dish is usually spiced with red onion and aji pepper, and served (typically at lunch) with sweet potato or choclo, a white Andean corn with dime-size kernels. Cuy There’s no way to sugarcoat it: this staple meat raised in many households of the Andes goes by a different name in the US and Europe: guinea pig. The meat, which is quite bony, is usually baked or barbecued on a spit and served whole and often with the head on. We didn’t try it but it is supposed to have a pleasant, gamey taste like that of rabbit or wild fowl. Alpaca In the Northern Hemisphere, the name alpaca refers to expensive wool used to make sweaters and socks. In the Andean highlands, this camelid has also been a source of meat for centuries. The taste is similar to buffalo or other grass-fed meats.
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Superfood Peru is a culinary treasure trove of healthy foods with a wealth of amazing superfoods. The dry coastal climate and the cool Andean weather are ideal for keeping food fresh, and a mineral rich water supply pours off the Andes enriching the nutrient value of crops and creating intense flavors. Quinoa Quinoa, ‘the sacred seed of the Incas’ is an Andean supergrain that is not really a grain at all… rather, it’s a seed. This is a staple food grown from the coast to high in the Andes (up to 4,000 meters above sea level), and is second in importance after the potato and before maize, due to its high protein content of 18%. Quinoa stacks up to be a perfect food: high in protein, low in carbs, with an 8-pack of essential amino acids.
This edible fruit grows in a small, bush-like tree in the Peruvian flooded rainforest and is harvested by canoe. The fruit is a bright reddish-purple color, which imparts an attractive pink tint when juiced. Locals love Camu Camu for its mood elevating properties and remarkably high concentration of Vitamin C and bioflavonoids. The fruit itself is quite acidic, so it is often juiced, diluted and sweetened when used raw. Other ways of preparing and eating Camu Camu consist of drying and sweetening it, candying it, or using it to make tea.
Many people consider eating chocolate a ‘guilty’ pleasure. The reputation of chocolate as a bad food should more accurately be attributed to the harmful effects of commercial processing and refining techniques, and the other ingredients commonly added – most notably white sugar. All chocolate is made from the cacao bean. Cacao beans in their natural, unprocessed, unadulterated state are rich in nutrients and extremely beneficial to health. Peru is considered by many to be the birthplace of cacao, along with the region of Ecuador.
This root of the Lepidiummeyenii grows high in the Central Andean Region of Peru between 4,000 and 4,500 meters of altitude in the state of Junín. Maca has been traditionally used by natives to improve fertility. During the Incan empire, maca was appreciated not only as a nutritious food, but also as a gift from the Gods, along with corn and potatoes.
Coca leaves grown high in the Andes may be the raw ingredient for cocaine (after a crazy amount of chemical processing) but they are also extremely beneficial to health, particularly for energy and coping with high altitude.
Coca Tea or Mate de Coca
Lemonade is known around the world. The Peruvian version is made of water, characteristically small Peruvian limes and a little bit of sugar (preferably brown). Chilled and served with ice cubes, it’s a refreshing drink in summer.
A tea made from the leaves of the coca plant. It is legal to drink this tea in Peru and it is great for adjusting to the altitude or after a heavy meal. It can be drunk cold but normally is served hot.
Drink Pisco Sour One of the most popular cocktails in Peru is the Pisco Sour. It is based on the Pisco (kind of brandy) and the first creation originated in Lima in the early 1920s. There are many stories about who created it first and even international disputes (between Peru and Chile), but nevertheless it is a must for every Peru visitor.
Chicha Morado Chicha Morado is a typical Peruvian non-alcoholic drink. It’s prepared from a base of purple maize, known as maiz morado. While today it can be bought as a bottled beverage in every supermarket, traditionally the purple maize is boiled with chunks of pineapple, quinces, cinnamon and cloves in water until the maize is soft and the liquid has taken on the deep purple color.
You can find many places that serve fresh fruit drinks. Peru has a wide variety of fruits, so if you buy a good “jugueria” you will get plenty of use from it!
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LEARNING FROM MASTERS
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- FROM THE -
MASTERS Andreas Lagopoulos generally spends his time organizing and then being the-man-on-the-ground for his ‘surf exploration’ trips. So when the opportunity arose to participate as ‘a client’ in BWS’s DR trip he was stoked on the opportunity to see things from the other perspective. PHOTOS: COURTESY BWS
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The email from my friend Walter was welcome news. “Dude, I have a last minute scheduling conflict and I have to cancel my trip to join Alldredge. The seat’s paid, I’d rather give it to you than throw it in the garbage. Do you want to join the kite camp?”. Two days later I was ripping the north coast of the Dominican Republic with Ian Alldredge and the BWS crew. Wow, what an adventure! Usually I’m on the other side of this coin. I’d be the dude standing beside Ian, and this would be my kite camp on my home spot, but not today. I’m stoked to have the last seat for an epic adventure on this fantastic Caribbean island. We are thirteen grown men (and I use the word “grown men” loosely) off to find a bounty of waves and wind. Gringos lost in paradise. Every morning I wake to the same sound, waves crashing over the sharp reef that protects our surf hut on the point. We’re deep in the DR jungle and we’re on a mission to find the best kitesurf spots on the Dominican north coast. BWS has engaged the services of local surf guru Brandon Sanford as their guide to show us all the special nuggets Hispañiola has to offer, and surf legend Benny
Bourgeois to teach us about style and flow. Our hacienda for this adventure is the DR Surf Hut located near the town of Cabrera. Accessible only by 4x4, Oliver’s trusty Mitsubishi truck barely holds the road as it drops off into the ocean and we make our way along the root and rock filled path. Located on a secluded point and surrounded on three sides by the ocean, our rustic paradise in the Dominican jungle comes into view. An open concept two-storey surf hut made for a dozen men which has everything we’ll need for the next five days. Built entirely of wood, the thatched roof palace has a stunning view of the deep blue head high waves breaking off the reef that surrounds and protects the house. Simple in design, we have only what we need and nothing more. There are no glass windows; just wooden doors that open and expose the beautiful ocean view. There is no flat screen television. No high speed internet. No memory foam mattresses. In fact, there is no power at all, and that’s the point. We’re here to leave civilization behind, live off fresh fruit, fish and coconuts, and to learn from one of the best strapless kitesurfers in the world today, Ian Alldredge, Mr TDZ.
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A QUICK LEARNER...
WAT E R D I S P E R S I O N
ANDREAS IN ACTION
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So it begins…
Trucks unloaded, the lawn is covered with gear. Boards and kites of every size and shape are strewn all over the grass like we’re school kids at recess eager to show our mates all the new toys Santa has brought for Christmas. Tech talk rules the day. Quad or thruster? Pintail or swallow? Chop nose or standard? Goofy or regular? What volume do you like to ride? And on, and on, and on... I’m sure the majority of humans would bore quickly listening to this type talk, but we’re happy as pigs in shit as we get to pick Ian’s brain on all the questions we’ve been thinking about constantly since we started our kiteboarding way of life.
The Dominican Republic is a waterman’s paradise, and this week we’ll be taking advantage of it all. Kiting, SUP, surfing, we’ve got all the gear and we’ll take whatever nature gives us. If it involves sliding sideways on a wave, yeah, we got it covered. And every day we take advantage of the conditions. As soon as the truck is first unloaded we jump on the water to SUP the killer swell that’s breaking across the reef. Straight away it’s obvious that we are all passionate about the ocean, and all have some skill with a board floating on waves. Benny, Ian, Chris, Juan and the Mexican El Ray take turns as wave slayers carving beautiful lines into the mirror blue faces. If this is our first date with the DR then I can’t wait to see what she brings for the rest of the week… Rolling into La Entrada we glance into the paradise that awaits our daily ritual. A perfect white sand beach lays out split by a fresh water stream snaking its way out of the jungle. Small shacks face the open blue of the Atlantic and the DR’s versions of Michelin Star restaurants. Cast iron pots sit boiling over open flames preparing for what promises to be a busy day in paradise. Not only is it the weekend, but there are a dozen hungry gringos here to feed… 112 | TheKiteMag
Suitably fed, we load up and set off onto National Highway 5 that runs the length of the north coast. Highway 5 is one of the most beautiful highways in the Caribbean as the road hugs the coastline, separated only from the bottomless blue Atlantic by a line of picture perfect palm trees. The highway weaves its way through all the towns and campos on the north coast. We roll through the small towns and get to see real Dominican life. Corner barbershops where the slick kids hang showing off their freshest trim. Sharks circle around pool tables looking to get a game at tiny openair two table pool halls. Souped up Korean knock off Cgs 150 motorbikes race past us with exhausts louder than jet engines. Exhausts that would be outlawed in almost every country are a symbol of prestige here. Small colmado corner shops work their best 7-11 impersonations selling the small sweet sugary treats that Dominican’s love. At the local comidas, oil drums sliced in half and hinged on one side are the standard home rigged George Foreman grills. Charred meats, especially chicken, pork and churasco with a side of avichuela are staple Dominican meals.
When searching for treasures on the ocean, the Dominican Republic doesn’t disappoint. Our search for bounty rarely comes up empty-handed. The kite spots are deserted stretches of beach that extend as far as the eye can see. Some are in secluded bays, leaving only a sliver of beach barely wide enough to rig and launch, others are forty meters wide and extend as far as the eye can see. Most are completely empty. Judging from the attention we attracted at many stops, I think we were the first people to ever kitesurf most of
these spots… Daily we attract crowds of people from every walk of Dominican life. On otherwise empty beaches kids who really should have been in school are too fascinated with our magic flying carpets and wingless birds in the sky to go back to school, and one day our audience was slightly more menacing as a group of Dominican military soldiers decided they liked the look of our shiny kites. We all prayed that they would not be confiscated for military inspection, but a quick handshake and a “Como esta El Heje?” quickly quelled any fears, and brought out the famous Dominican smiles. Like the school kids the previous day, they saw us as sorcerers flying multi-colored dragons into the heavens. Who am I to tell them they’re wrong. Some days I do feel a little Gandalf-ish... Since Hispañiola is a wave runner’s paradise, and we brought Benny Boosh for a reason, time to put this surfing donkey to work. Climbing down steep steps, we’re shown the stunning flower of Orchid Bay. On the water we are alone except for the breaching Humpback whales on their annual migration that waltz and frolic in the open ocean behind us. The water is the clearest I’ve ever seen, and only in the Maldives have I seen such beauty in the ocean. Duck diving under the waves, the reef is perfectly clear. Every sharp angle perfectly visible as I jam my knuckles straight into the reef… Benny and Brandon are like Magic and Bird facing off at Boston Gardens, and we’ve got courtside seats. Wave for wave they raise the bar calling three point shots from past center court. All I can do is look on aghast. The best display of surfing I’ve seen in real life, not on the WSL channel. I still have dreams of that day.
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A typical day?
We begin our days with school time. Herding twelve men after a night of Cuba Libre’s so that they get focused enough for learning is a challenge, but achievable. Get them while they still have some focus is Ian’s plan. Whether it’s a lesson on stance and board position, a light wind kite flying lesson, video analysis, or oneon-one coaching, Ian knows his trade like a Red Seal chef, and loves to share that passion with us. Every day we learn, every day we progress, every day we smile. We ride every afternoon. Every session is fun. On this day we rode at a spot where the coastline runs steeply into the mountainside jungle. Half the palm trees are snapped from their limbs, laying semi fallen in the ocean. Under the golden brown of the topsand is charcoaled black sand. There was a great fire here not long ago. The light, the air, the spot, it’s a special place, and this is a special session. Nowhere else on the island is it windy today, but it’s windy right here. Pumped and launched in record time, we are all destroying the line up and smiling like we’ve just tasted freedom after years in solitary confinement. I’m certain no one has ever kitesurfed this location before, and we’re happy to christen the place…. The four days of coaching from Ian is showing in the style and technique of all as we have one of the best kitesurfing sessions I’ve ever had on my home island. We rode ‘til sunset and everyone to the man was fulfilled beyond content. Chased back by one of the most satisfying beers ever recorded at the small compo near the kite spot, fantastically entertained by the local dancing drunks. An extraordinary end to a highly entertaining day, and I didn’t even tell you about the car crash...
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P L AY T I M E
Did we learn from the masters?
The one thing that remains constant every time we hit the water is that we have some of the best watermen-eyes watching over us, seeing our flaws, and then coaching us to better technique. Whether Ian on the kite, Benny and Brandon on the surfboard, or Oliver behind the lens, each plays their part in helping us reach our kiteboarding goals. And sometimes all you have to do is watch. One session I spent thirty minutes just following and watching Benny do bottom turns at insane speeds with unbelievable control. He didn’t say anything to me; all I needed to do was watch. Watching the body position and drive of one of the world’s best surfers showed me exactly what I was missing in my bottom turn. In thirty minutes of watching Benny, my bottom turn has improved more than in a year of riding. Watching Ian has the same effect. Massive back rolls now. Pffftt!! Nail them every time.
For someone like myself who runs kite camps, spending a week as a client and being able to concentrate just on my own skill level for a change I learned so much about my riding, far more than I would riding casually alone. And I was exposed to a part of the island I never knew existed! Places I’ve been looking to find for years are no longer a mystery. If I can enjoy and learn, I have no doubt that anyone who enrolls in a quality kite camp, regardless of the camp, will gain a tremendous amount from the experience. Not only kiting, but culturally by seeing another way of life. Not to mention the friends and bonds you make with your fellow expedition members. Friendships that will last long after the flights home. That’s why I do what I do, to share life’s amazing experiences. No one here gets out alive, so let’s live life in overhead waves.
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P EO P L E
M A K E
H A PPE N . . .
UNDER THE HOOD W I T H
O C E A N
R O D EO
This issue we get the full rundown on a brand with some of the deepest roots in the sport. John Zimmerman takes us through the action packed Ocean Rodeo backstory… So, let’s go right back to the beginning. 2001 I believe? Where and how did Ocean Rodeo start? Our President, Richard Myerscough and our Head of Design, Ross Harrington founded the company in 2001 but its roots run much deeper. Richard and Ross grew up surfing and competing in windsurfing together, with Richard eventually representing Canada at the 1988 Seoul Olympics and Ross making the transition from racing to sail designer. Ross’s design career started in the mid-1980s as Windsure Windsurfing’s Head of Design where many of his designs went on to become cult classics across Canada and the US. By the 90s Ross had ventured out on his own to start Venturi, where he made 100% custom windsurf sails. It was also around this time that he was designing harnesses and other components for hang gliding. Richard’s racing career resulted in him attending tradeshows for sponsors and contributing to the design and development of new windsurf and wetsuit designs for many of the leading brands. 118 | TheKiteMag
By the late 80s Richard had transitioned to working full time for a Canadian wetsuit and drysuit manufacturer, Whites Mfg, and by the early 90s he’d transitioned to ownership at Whites and begun the transformation of the company into a leading drysuit manufacturer for sport, commercial and military dive applications. By the summer of 1998 Ross and Richard were cobbling together kiteboarding gear using salvaged surfboards and old windsurfing gear, and by early 1999, they were testing kites made by hand in Ross’s loft and using a specialized drysuit design made by Whites. Whites offered Richard and Ross the platform from which to launch Ocean Rodeo and in January 2001 Ross’s kites and Richard’s drysuits were rebranded as Ocean Rodeo. The first official product was the specialized Pyro drysuit and by 2002 the company had released the Bronco and Stinger kites as well as the world’s first flexible twin tip kiteboards, the Dorrado and Outlaw.
And why the focus on drysuits? Were you addressing the needs of your everyday riding conditions? The early days of kiteboarding were defined by experimentation and failure. With no previous designs to fall back on or accomplished riders to learn from, Ross and Richard spent most of the late 1990’s in the water or walking back up the beach with their latest creations. Almost every session resulted in some sort of equipment mishap and a lot of frayed nerves, and yet the two were hooked and refused to stop during the cold Canadian winter. With Richard’s background in diving drysuits, it didn’t take him long to key into the idea of making a specialized drysuit with a focus on mobility and comfort for use in kiteboarding and other surface water sports. The result was Ocean Rodeo’s first product, the Pyro drysuit. In developing the first Pyro, how did the requirements of a kiteboarding suit differ to those of other sports and how did you address these? The Pyro evolved out of what we needed at the time. We recut panels to offer a greater range of motion than a traditional diving drysuit, then we changed fabric weights to reduce overall weight but reinforced key areas that would be exposed to abrasion when kiting. Our efforts to reduce the suit’s bulk led to a patented dual layer flex panel system we called Captive Suspension which trapped gussets of drysuit material behind a panel of 1mm high stretch neoprene, allowing the suit to flex and bend while remaining slim fitting and trim. Flex panels were
IN THE FACTORY, E A R LY 2 0 0 0 S
introduced first on the knees but were soon added to the waist and armpit / shoulder areas of the subsequent models of the Pyro. The trimmer, more technical look of the suit was a total breakthrough for drysuits at that time and was quickly incorporated into Whites’ diving suits; a story that would play out continually over the next 10 years as Ocean Rodeo’s innovations helped drive not only its own product developments but also those of Whites. And how have Ocean Rodeo drysuits and the drysuit market in general evolved since those early days? Today’s suits are light years ahead of the earlier suits. Over the last 15 years of innovation, iteration and material and component development we have completely redefined the whole concept of a drysuit. The original Pyro was made from spare diving drysuit materials and components. Old non-breathable bi-laminate materials and heavy-duty brass toothed zippers. Our suits today are made from highly refined and thoroughly tested breathable materials. They make use of much lighter and more flexible zippers and represent the culmination of a decade and a half of pattern evolution aimed at simultaneously reducing the weight and overall cloth usage of our suits, while maximizing range of motion and comfort across the whole line. In fact, our athletic suit design has even caught the eye of outside commercial operators looking to equip their workforce with suits which allow their employees to comfortably work in a marine environment
WINNING AWARDS, 2003
for a full work day free from encumbrances normally associated with other antiexposure style suits. Why should the modern kiter want to spend their hard earned cash on a Soul? Unlike our suits from the early 2000s and, indeed, surprisingly unlike some current suits offered by other brands, our drysuits are made with highly breathable, lightweight – yet rugged – materials specifically designed and thoroughly tested to excel in a saltwater environment. This means your investment in an Ocean Rodeo drysuit extends past just the miserable winter months well into the early fall and late spring days when you might want the wind block of a light and breathable suit while only wearing a thin underwear on a warmer day. All of our suits also have the unique ability to be worn in what we call ‘standby’ mode whereby you doff the neck seal and rezip the jacket so as to essentially be in a wind shell jacket and dry pants when you are rigging up on the beach or hanging out post session. This patented feature separates our suits from the competition. Regarding a rider’s hard earned cash, the budget conscious – or just those looking for a performance edge – should consider the Heat drysuit. Our least expensive suit, the Heat is made with all the same high quality materials but offers a paired down features list and comes in as the lightest suit we’ve ever made, weighing just 1.6kg (3.5lb) when wet. For comparisons, our current Control Bar is 1.5kg!
THE ORIGINAL WHITES SUIT, 1999
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OCEAN RODEO 2016...
What would you say to someone who has never worn a drysuit and thinks that their 5/3 does them just fine through the winter months? Wetsuits have their place. Surfing or kiteboarding in large, overhead waves demands a streamlined suit that is easy to swim in and offers little buoyancy when duck diving a wave. But for conventional coastal kiteboarding, SUPing, sailing, etc. the user is spending the majority of their time above the water and the drysuit offers a far superior experience. You’d never consider wearing a neoprene wetsuit snowboarding whereas our drysuits offer kiteboarders a similar on-water experience to a traditional ski pant and jacket. They eliminate wind chill and offer far greater range of motion and comfort than a 5mm rubber wetsuit. Even with the best wetsuits, a really cold day can be a mental hurdle to convince yourself to get out on the water. With a drysuit it is a simple matter of layering up or down under the suit according to the day’s weather. So, moving away from drysuits, can you tell us when and why you began producing kites and boards? The first kites and boards officially came off the production lines in 2002. The Bronco was our high aspect ratio, freestyle and big air kite and the Stinger was a much lower aspect kite designed for easier re-launch and wave use. Both the Bronco and Stinger were the first kites to make use of Dacron, a material Ross had known of from his sail making days. We were the first company ever to use the material, not only for our leading edge but as a
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frame for the whole kite, including wing tip panels, the trailing edge, struts and a ‘shock strip’ which we placed at the apex of the kite’s profile, designed to take the shock of a nose down crash on the water and move that force to the wingtips. That year we also released flexible twin tip kiteboards. Up to that point boards were made with surfboard construction. They were fragile and damaged easily. The stiff ride also made kiteboarding a “jarring” experience in chop. We decided to look at kiteboards differently, recognizing early that twin tips would eventually become the norm as they were easier to learn on and master, without all the footwork required of riding a directional. Twin tips are essentially just something to edge off of, so why all the thick foam? We contacted a local snowboard manufacturer and had a fully flexible twin tip board made up and went out to test it. From the first ride we knew we were onto something with a board that was easier to use, softer in the chop and twisted to allow for more comfortable toe-side riding. We first showed these new flexible boards at the 2002 Surf Expo and laughed at other brands who took turns trying to break our new, flexible board designs! The next year most of them would offer similar boards. It was also around this time that we first started selling our push away release system which we marketed as the Punch Out bar. It featured a bar activated punch out system with a manual push away release on the chicken loop – we actually won the Global Sports Award for Best Safety Product in the 2003 Dupont / ISPO awards with it – and the push away system is now the standard
safety release on virtually all kiteboarding control bars sold today. Which were your first kites and how has the range expanded and evolved since then? The Bronco was our best seller. It was a high aspect, 5 strut “C” kite that was designed for freestyle and big air. It was all about jumping in the early days. The Stinger was designed for schools, novice riders and early adopters of wave riding. It was a low aspect, one strut design that easily rolled onto its wingtip for re-launch and was designed to pivot around itself for easier handling in the waves and by beginners. Both these kites were four line kites that relied on back line re-ride for safety, front line safety systems at the time were far less reliable and many brands continued to sell two line kites when our Bronco and Stingers were first released. This was a period of extreme experimentation, which many kiteboarders today probably don’t even recall. Designers were – in a sense – just fiddling with knobs to see what they would do! Aspect ratios, drafts, foil shapes, wing tip length, wing tip battens, many experiments with bridled inflatable
kites which would foreshadow the jump forward in kite design that came in 2006 with the SLE kite revolution. The battle was also raging over inflatable vs ram air… Nothing was off limits in the early 2000s. The Bronco for us evolved into the Diablo which remains the only kite we ever sold which was specifically designed to fly with a fifth line set-up, and the Stinger remained in the line up until 2006 when it was replaced by our One kite which was our take on the SLE movement. From our perspective, windsurfing undid itself with the quest towards more and more refined and highly specialized gear for high wind conditions that just don’t happen often enough in most places. For years Ross had been testing various bridled kite designs for the added depower and wind range they offered but faced challenges associated with the bar and the safety release and flagging system of a bridled kite. Luckily, by 2006 he’d solved many of these challenges as SLE kites swept the market and we were able to release the One that year. The One Kite was designed to be the ‘one’ kite you needed for almost all wind conditions thanks to its incredibly flat design and massive sheeting range. This
led us to then offer the more rounded shape of the Rise that offered easier relaunch and control at the edge of the window. The Rise’s ease of use made it the most popular kite in our line up until we phased it out in order to transition those riders to the more aggressive Razor and introduce the newly envisioned, easier to ride Prodigy in 2011. The Prodigy is at the core of the range and has proven to be a very versatile kite. Is this your most popular kite now? By 2011 we could see that the sport needed to be refocused on easier to use products as more mainstream customers entered the sport. We had customers with no sailing, no windsurfing, and in many cases no boardsport backgrounds. The kites needed to basically fly themselves to help these customers into the fold. The result was the development of the Prodigy and to our delight we found that even the most experienced riders loved the ease of handling and reliability it offered, allowing them to focus on developing their board skills. The Prodigy has become the most successful kite we’ve ever sold and is a perfect companion to the more aggressive, edgy Razor.
DRYSUIT TESTING, 2011
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While the Razor continues to wow the flamboyant, aggressive or adrenalin fueled rider, the Prodigy offers kiteboarders a snappy, easily controlled kite that has been specifically designed to drift off the wind when unloaded and seek the wind window’s edge when the bridle is loaded up. The result is a kite that performs beautifully in the waves but also invites beginners to the sport with a confident early pull and power delivery coupled with a kite that, once moving, seeks the window’s edge and pulls you upwind.
before he started kiteboarding. He would walk around the office with his hand cupped in a C shape, saying ‘we need a board like a slalom waterski with massive concave’.
It is fair to say that Ocean Rodeo are always innovating – can you give us an idea of what you guys are working on at the moment. Rumors of a big release a little bit later in the year?!
His comments inspired Ross to draw up a board in CAD and we had the first prototype made with the same flex board construction technique. This first prototype was almost perfect, delivering a very balanced, smooth ride in the chop and controlled, high-speed carving.
The Flite – initially your bigger lightwind kite – is also available in a 12, 10 and 8m this year – why have you scaled the Flite down to these smaller sizes?
However, the Mako really took off for us in 2006 with the introduction of the wider, 40cm option. The original ‘skinny’ Mako was an incredible board but required constant rider input. The newer, wider 150 and 140 Makos offered a far more forgiving ride and really took off with riders in sloppy, coastal conditions and waves.
We are always innovating. It’s safe to say that every kiteboarder now uses innovations brought to the sport by Ocean Rodeo, and our drysuit designs have revolutionized the sport’s approach to cold-water kiteboarding, and created drysuits that are in use by US and Canadian Special Forces, and are making inroads in commercial applications here and in Europe.
The 17 and 14.5 Flite were initially designed to ‘cap’ our kite lines with light wind specific sizes and have done incredibly well for us. The smaller sizes started as a concept piece, how small could we take our “light wind” designs, especially with the rise in popularity of foil boarding. The 17 had been designed to be the ‘world’s first high performance light wind kite’ which meant startlingly fast turning speeds for its size and an ultra light build to keep the kite aloft in light winds. We figured this could mean a very fun 10m that could also be a blast to use on a foil board… turned out we were right! And we found that the smaller sizes also turned out to be incredibly fun to jump and use in light wind freeride conditions. Once we tried the protos, it was decided we had to put them into production. Moving on to your boards, the Mako will be familiar to most riders – both due to its unique plan shape and its longevity in the market! Can you take us through what the initial plan was with the Mako, how it has evolved, and why do you think it’s proven to be such a ‘classic’? The Mako concept really owes a debt of gratitude to our original Sales Manager, Mark Vincent who was a waterski fanatic
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And what can you tell us about the other boards in the range? The runaway success story for us last year was the addition of the Duke. Based on the Mako 165’s concave and outline, the original concept of the Duke was to add volume to the Mako 165. Eventually, with over four years of shape tweaks and tinkering, the board turned into the flatter tail rocker, thruster set-up you see now. The Duke’s unique shape and full deck EVA foam padding really made it stand out when we launched it but the shape made the board easier to ride and more stable while the full deck EVA pad helped with missed footing when transitioning your footwork and has inspired younger riders to incorporate a whole host of skateboard inspired tricks that make use of the full length deck pad. Like the rest of the Mako line up, the Duke rips upwind, is super smooth in the chop and helps make the most of sloppy, onshore conditions.
2016 and 2017 will see more new innovations rolling out from Ocean Rodeo, some of which have taken years to get market-ready and which promise to be huge advances for us and for the sport. They aren’t just new colors or logos on yesterday’s products. They are game changers and we are excited to introduce them to the world! You have remained a steady player within the sport for 15 years now which is no small achievement. How has your attitude and approach to running a kite brand facilitated this? I’m not sure any company exists for 15 years without having their approach to business evolve over time but I will say this: from the company’s inception and up to today, Ocean Rodeo is always focused on where we feel the sport needs to be headed, not where it is today. Just because the market demands one thing, we have not been afraid to introduce what we feel is a better option. There is absolutely a spirit of innovation that is instilled in the work place and is what has driven – and continues to drive - Ocean Rodeo forward over these last 15 years.
OCEAN RODEO 2016 AND T H E L AT E S T V E R S I O N O F THE PRODIGY
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Naish have just had their ‘mid-season’ launch and are well under way with their plans for 2017. So a great time to find out what they have in the pipeline…
Before we get on to your latest releases, can you run us through what have been the main developments in your lineup for the 2016 season so far? For us 2016 was a year of refinements. Looking at the product range, Naish has reinvented itself over the last few years with many new additions and innovations that were polished to perfection for 2016. On the kite side, the big new development is the Park HD. We took what we learned on developing the Pivot last year by playing with higher aspect ratios and applied that to the Park. The result was beyond expectations with a kite better in performance at every level: better low end, better jumping, better high end control, better upwind ability and improved direct bar feel. This last feature explains why it now became the Park “HD” for high definition, because this is how the steering feels now, super precise and direct. 124 | TheKiteMag
For the boards, a lot of time has been dedicated to the new Skater, Monarch and Motion. The Skater has been improved by refining the features, such as the angled channels, pulled-in tail section and the wide point moved back, which provides a much more nimble and maneuverable board for both waves and throwing down on flatwater sessions.
The Motion was reshaped, keeping all the key features that make this board so great for almost any style of riding. We added more grip due to new channels on the center edges. We were also able to gain more responsiveness by adding fin beams on the deck giving stiffness in the tips. Then the Monarch was worked on extensively and developed in close collaboration with Paul Serin, Kevin Langeree and Ariel Corniel. They needed a board that could take the abuse of pro-tour
riding, but also have the balance of explosive
pop and flex to absorb hard landings. This was done by working with the composite layup, strategically placing materials where they are needed, and removing them in other key areas. The result is a durable and solid board that still feels comfortable when cruising along in chop. Have there been any developments with factories, materials or with how you have been testing and developing products for 2016? We have longstanding personal and professional relationships with all factories that we work with. This contributes to both the renowned Naish quality and a solid platform for development. We are always testing new materials, in order find new ways to innovate.
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We have been working for three years now on a new material for our kites and we’re getting close to perfection. We hope to give you good news soon to announce the new baby! You’re not short of a few top-end riders at Naish – how do your main team riders feed into the testing process? Usually we do 90% of the product testing ourselves in order to trim the kite and make sure it’s worth being tested by a top rider. Once we reach that level, we either send kites to the team or have them come test with us. Team riders are used extensively in testing all aspects of the product range. They are extremely important in testing the durability, product performance and they provide valuable feedback all throughout the development cycle. (For example:
Damien is on skype with Kevin as this is being written. One need only to be in earshot to know that they put an incredible amount of energy into assuring we create the best equipment possible.) All involved in the development process are very meticulous and not easy to please, which translates well for the end consumer. The team is out riding all over the world every day in all kinds of conditions and the feedback they give us is invaluable. So your set up works well for getting prototypes tested and for evolving products? Yes, we are is based on the North Shore of Maui, Hawaii and the vast majority of R&D takes place on Maui itself. We also test around the globe and on Oahu where we can find the varied conditions that are critical to perfecting each season’s line of products. Being based on Maui gives us a
twelve-month season and a pretty broad base of wind and water conditions to work with. Most of the Naish international team riders head to Maui a couple of times a year and participate as a key element to ongoing development testing. Naish also sends
equipment to team riders in different parts of the world for further testing in varied conditions. On top of all this, Naish has a host of local riders and kite schools that are the ultimate testing resource, as they spend just about every day on the water putting their gear through more abuse than most, which allows for good durability feedback. Naish believes that living on and developing gear on Maui gives the R&D team a competitive edge, boosting both their riding abilities and their design with more hands-on time with prototypes.
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IN THE PIPELINE
Moving on to your mid-season release, can you take us through which kites are being released and the main developments here. For our 2016/17 season release, we have launched a new Ride, Trip and Fly. These three kites have been very well received on the market for the past few years, so we steered away from the macro approach, opting to move forward with a similar overall design, while improving on the details for specific sizes, such as modifying bridles. We noticed with the Trip that you are also promoting this as a good kite for foiling – can you explain why this is the case? Foiling has really opened the door to making kiting in super light wind exciting. The Trip is the perfect kite for light days because it stays in the air when other kites are falling. Once you are up and riding it has great bar feel and depowers really quickly – another benefit when foiling. The Fly has proven itself as a great light wind kite. Have you had any requests for it in more than one size or have you found that 15m ticks most of the boxes? The Fly is specifically designed to make lightwind riding fun without diminishing the quality of your riding in those conditions. You can still jump, kite loop and freestyle at a higher level. The wind range of the kite is amazing so we really don’t get requests for more sizes. What are the main developments on the Ride this year and who is it going to appeal to? The Ride appeals to pretty much everyone, even though people have the perception that is a beginner kite. It’s great for beginners but it can actually be ridden at a very high level. Damien personally uses it for strapless riding (a lot!), kitelooping and jumping. It’s a true all-around kite! So we should all have a blast on the Ride?! Yes! What surprises people at first is the fact that it has two struts – people aren’t used to seeing a kite without a center strut. However, this is a very big reason for the Ride’s amazing riding characteristics. The Ride’s design is so well balanced that it does not require a center strut, making the kite lighter and, consequently, fly better with superior low-end power. It also allows the kite to twist better, giving effortless and super smooth turning.
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Your harnesses are part of the midseason release. What are the headlines here? Well, the whole range is new. For this year, we focused on comfort. All the molded parts have been designed to conform to your body as well as possible. We also use memory foam and neoprene for the inside layers instead of thermoformed EVA, which practically eliminates rash and provides a custom fit.
Which of your harnesses would you recommend for riding in the waves? Any one of them would work well in waves.
The different models are designed for different body types and feels, so it really comes down to whatever you are most comfortable with. Jesse was riding the Arsenal at Jaws. It has unmatched comfort and support for those all-day kite missions. How do you differentiate yourselves and what are your main focuses in producing the ‘perfect harness’? We’re always looking to find the perfect balance between comfort and performance. The molded shells spread the load throughout the structure and provide maximum strength, while contoured shaping and padding in key areas allow the harness to conform to each individual’s body. Features like double spreader bar straps ensure the harness stays put and the memory foam padded bar pad keep riders comfortable. Hope LeVin’s recent 101 mile crossing from Little Cayman to Grand Cayman is a true testament to how well our harnesses stand up under more extreme circumstances. Hope rode for eight-and-a-half hours straight, weathering the varied and challenging conditions of the open ocean with her new Alana Harness. At the end of the trip, she mentioned that the “shining gem” in her gear setup was her harness and that she was “honestly shocked to have experienced no back pain”.
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And as a lot of the kiteboarding world is starting to look forward to the main season in the northern hemisphere we’re sure you guys are looking forward to a bit later in the year and your 2017 launch. Can you give us any teasers about what we can expect..? We have many new additions for 2017 and a few surprises. We can’t say too much just yet, but let’s just say it’s going to be an exciting season for us! Some projects have been in the works for quite a while. One has undergone over three
years of testing and refinement and will very likely become the industry standard in the near future. The other has been in the making for the past two years and we have dedicated countless design hours, prototypes and molds to create a piece we’re incredibly proud of. That’s all we are saying for now!
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A B O I T I Z
PHOTOS: JASON WOLCOTT
FRONTSIDE AIR REVERSE T H E M OV E
The Air Reverse has become a very popular and functional maneuver in surfing these days and you don’t have to look far to see a pro surfer throwing out these moves consistently. For me, coming from a surfing background, I’ve always loved the feeling of this rotation and although it takes a little time to perfect your timing and rotation, once you can land one it’s a pretty amazing feeling. If you ride a lot in onshore conditions, these sort of moves are the perfect way to take your riding to the next level. Through moves like this I’ve grown to enjoy onshore conditions a lot over the years.
T H E ‘ H OW T O ’ The Air Reverse is something you’ll want to perform in slightly cross onshore winds blowing into the wave, especially when learning. Although they are possible to do with the wind blowing down the line, it is much harder this way. If it is onshore it will be harder to hit the lip but the wind will stick your board to your feet much better and blow you back into the wave rather than out the back. Set yourself up with a slow progressive wave and look for a nice steep section to launch off. This will help project you back towards the wave rather than out the back. Initiate the rotation by looking over your lead shoulder while bringing your board around. Make sure to keep the bottom of the board constantly facing the wind especially when you’re not grabbing it. You can perform this move with or without the grab. For landing, keep your knees bent with a wide stance and your weight centered as it will want to spin you off as you rotate around. Try to point as downwind as possible after landing to make passing the bar over your head as easy as possible.
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Grab it, tweak it, own it A HANDS ON GUIDE TO GRABBING
The grab. A fundamental part of all board sports but an action that, given the time we are able to spend in the air, is a fundamental step in the display of style and control in kiteboarding. Letâ€™s not make any mistake here, a grab is not simply placing your hands on a certain part of the board, it is more than that, it is a demonstration that you the rider have attained a certain a level of stability and control over your chosen maneuver that you are capable of removing one (or both) hands from the bar and making sustained contact with an 132 | TheKiteMag
object attached to your feet. That was quite a wordy introduction so we hope we didnâ€™t lose you there, but as we have so often spoken of the importance of individual expression in the sport, the grab is one of the vital ways in which to impose your style on the water. That said whilst there is a large portion of personal expression which we have inherited from our snowboarding and wakeboarding ancestors, there is also an unwritten set of rules as to what makes a grab legit, along with the disputed and often ignored concept of illegal grabs.
“I LOVE TO WATCH RIDERS THROW DOWN GOOD METHODS OR NUCLEARS! I TEND TO DO A LOT OF TAIL, INDY OR STALEFISH GRABS BECAUSE THEY ARE EASIER - BUT WANT TO UP MY GRABBING GAME!” - MALIN AMLE Rider: Malin Amle, Photographer: Iris Straume
JUST BECAUSE IT FEELS GOOD, DOESN’T MAKE IT RIGHT Does this all sound just a bit too serious for you? In which case let’s take it back to the basics. Grabbing the board feels good. Real good. So good that such favorites as Roast Beef, Chicken Salad, Melon, Crail and Canadian Bacon make up some of the often bizarre and food orientated names given to grabs, although ladies (and gents) there is no chocolate grabs that we know of, so clearly these names where likely thought up by men.
There is a definite sense of satisfaction when placing ones fingers on the underside pressed against the opposing thumb on the topside of the board and keeping it there allowing the pride to fill your body with each second longer you hold on. Which brings us right onto our next very important point. Holding on. Let us be quite frank and clear about this, stabbing at your board with your hand and making momentary fingertip contact with you rbinding, topside or fin does not count as a grab, and in the case of the fin might even cause you some TheKiteMag | 133
unexpected pain. We are sorry to say this because we know there are many riders that savour the clank of nail against board but if we told you it was acceptable then you would not push on to bigger ad better things.
GETTING A BIT SHIFTY So where to start on the road to grab perfection. Funnily enough, without grabbing the board at all. You see one all too common mistake is to try and add a grab to a move before you have complete control over your body during the trick. Balance and control are everything, it is the difference between grabbing whatever part of the board happens to be available and actually deciding that you are going to go for something specific. In fact we would go as far as to say this goes way beyond grabs, get balance and control of your tricks and progression will be your friend.Sowiththatinmind,beforeyoutrytograb,goshifty. What is shifty we hear you asking... A shifty is simply a counter-rotation with your body while you are in the air. You turn your upper body one way and your lower body turns the other way. In order to do this however you must first be in the air and in control of your body. You can’t do it as you take off, it comes after this as a second stage to your jump. This is very important to getting it right and it can be practiced on anything from little kickers without sending your kite to big boosted airs.
“START WITH THE EASY ONES, AND WORK YOUR WAY UP” - THERESE TAABBEL
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Rider: Therese Taabbel Photographer: Simon Wittrup
The shifty is also very similar to the all important tweak that we will talk about later, so getting comfortable with it from the beginning will help you later on down the line.
BRING YOUR BOARD TO YOUR HANDS In order to grab you need to reach down and get your hands on your board. Wrong. That is the biggest initial mistake you can make. We realise that a fair proportion of the readers of this article might even have trouble touching their toes, so what makes you think it is going to be any easier when flying through the air. It isn’t. The solution is really rather simple, focus on your legs first, then your hands. This makes it easier to grab because it means your board is already within reach of your hands when you go to grab. Once you are in the air, make your body smaller by lifting your legs in towards your body, then engage the grab.
Of course depending on where you want to grab the board will depend which leg you bend more or at all, for instance for a tail grab you will lift up your back leg and straighten your front leg, but this is something to be played with once you realise and embrace the limitless potential.
TWEAKING NOT TWERKING Tweaking has been around a hell of a lot longer than the booty shaking dance fad popularised by Miley Cyrus and we assure you is infinitely cooler on all levels. Break dancers, skaters, snowboarders and wakeboarders have been tweaking since before Miss Cyrus was even born. The tweak is the cherry on top of the icing on the cake of any grab, the finishing touch so to speak. It is the moment when you have complete control of your body, you have your hand firmly on your board in the desired position and you simply accentuate your body positioning by either rotating your hips (as we did in the shifty) or poking your straight leg out as far as it will go. People on the beach and your friends on the water will instantly recognise the moment your everyday grab becomes a perfected, tweaked grab and provided you stick the landing, you will have the right to ride away with a very big smile on your face knowing you just owned that trick.
THE WHERE AND THE WHAT OF IT ALL We thought long and hard about this and have decided that it is better not to publish an image of grab names and where on the board they are. This is because we ‘borrowed’ most of them from wakeboarding and snowboarding and then added and changed some names and there is no way we are going to get away without some grab geek hitting up our inbox to inform us that our ‘Tai Pan’ is in fact a ‘Canadian Bacon’ or that we missed out a ‘Seatbelt Rocket’ ...so we will leave you to either do your own research on the internet, or better still, experiment and see what feels good and then once you’re comfortable with a grab, get it on camera and find out if it looks as good in reality as it does in your head.
“THE GOOD THING ABOUT GRABS IS THAT YOU CAN GRAB ANYWHERE YOU WANT, YOU CAN DO SO MANY DIFFERENT GRABS AND VARIATIONS... IT’S JUST ENDLESS FUN AND ALWAYS A NEW CHALLENGE.” - JULIA CASTRO
Rider: Malin Amle, Photographer: Vincent Bergeron
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“I GRAB TINDY QUITE OFTEN... BUT IT’S PART OF LEARNING!” - JULIA CASTRO Rider: Julia Castro
DID SOMEONE SAY CAMERA? Yes we did. Nothing makes for a stylish photo like a grab. As the images that adorn the pages of this article go to prove, add in a grab for instant style and *Instagram (*other social networks are also available) gold. Of course don’t forget that not every grab looks good from every angle. We say this from experience after having been through many photos from a recent shoot where the riders where throwing down some very stylish grabs for the camera only to realise that the captured reality was just a collection of buttock and the even less flattering buttock plus ‘open legged bikini’ shots which of course to preserve the dignity of the riders were quickly deleted and will not be making it onto these pages.
The word and stigma associated with this grab have its roots firmly imprinted in snowboarding and although it has a clever name the tindy grab is often frowned upon by the establishment (we didn’t make the rules, we are just keeping you informed). The tindy grab naturally occurs during the learning and developmental stages of grabbing. It originates from being the easiest place to reach on your board, which is also it’s downfall. The ‘no grab zones’ on a board are anywhere from the outside of your foot to the nose or tail of the board. This of course excludes legitimate nose grabs and tail grabs.
WHAT ABOUT THE POLITICS? No article on grabs would be complete without mentioning the ‘no grab zones’ or ‘illegal grabs’. What on earth are we talking about? It is neatly summed up in one dreaded word, ‘tindy’.
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Ride r: Co llee nC arro ll
“MY FAVORITE IS AN INDY BACK-ROLL. IT’S NOT A HARD GRAB, BUT IT SURE LOOKS REALLY STYLISH ON PHOTOS. AND I ASSURE YOU, THAT YOU WILL GET A KILLER PICTURE. IT’S EASY TO DO AND LEARN, AND IT FEELS GREAT IN THE AIR. THEREFORE IT’S A SMOOTH GRAB TO LEARN FOR EVERYONE!” - THERESE TAABBEL
“I RECENTLY GOT INTO ALL DIFFERENT GRABS AND LEARNED THEIR NAMES, BEFORE I WAS JUST GRABBING WHEREVER I COULD AND A LOT OF THE TIME THAT TURNED OUT TO BE A TINDY. SHAME ON ME, BUT I HAVE LEARNED A LOT ABOUT THE VARIETY OF GRABS OUT THERE NOW!” - MALIN AMLE Rider: Malin Amle, Photographer: David Grahn
The indy grab on the other hand is a real grab and a very stylish and accessible grab too. Indy grabs or frontside grabs, are reaching with your back hand between your feet on your toe edge. Of course we have all grabbed indy from time to time, sometimes by accident and sometimes on purpose but as Therese Taabbel told us “When you are learning to grab your tricks, it does not matter where you grab the board. What matters is that you are trying, and you deserve credit for that”.
INDIVIDUAL EXPRESSION AND FUN It so often comes down to this but grabs are another example. Kiteboarding is supposed to be fun and you are supposed to add your own style to your riding, so play, experiment and push yourself to include an authentic piece of you in all that you do whilst at the same time watching, learning and being inspired by those around you.
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Tell Me About It:
SLINGSHOT FOIL FLIGHT SCHOOL Unless you have been living under a rock for the last couple of years, you will know that: foiling is where it is at! It’s fun, it’s cool and everyone is at it… But if you’re a bit wary, think it looks scary,
or have heard a few horror stories, then Slingshot are here to say, “We’ve got your back. Let’s take it slow with the Foil Flight School.” Brand Manager Alex Fox takes us through it… So, let’s start at the top. Can you briefly outline what the ‘Foil Flight School’ is? Foiling Flight School is a program we created with the intent of making foiling more accessible to more people in the kiteboarding community. It is based around a graduated length mast system that makes learning how to foil safer, easier and faster than ever before. We are aiming to change the perception that kite foiling is difficult, and therefore not for everyone. Rather than accepting that perception, we set out to prove it wasn’t true. When and how did you first come up with the concept? We constantly listen to consumers and have our eyes and ears open for the next great idea. We’ve heard a lot about how difficult and intimidating many people think learning to foil is, and when we saw that people were cutting masts to make them shorter, the light just went on for us. We tested the concept ourselves, realized it really did make learning a lot easier, and then took the idea a step farther with the three-mast Flight School program. From there the progression was organic. Once we tested it with a few foiling newbies, we saw the significance and decided to bring it to market as quickly as possible.
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It seems incredibly logical – were you surprised that no one else had gone down a similar path? Again, we had seen different iterations of the shortened-mast concept in use, so we’re not claiming that we thought of it first. However, for a company to test, design, produce, market and be able to distribute an entire program like this is a much larger task. It was a big commitment – and a risk – to go fullspeed-ahead with a brand new product, so it made sense that other brands hadn’t rolled it out. Slingshot has a long history of leading innovation in kiteboarding; this is just one of many examples of that! Can you run through the options and how these are applied as you progress? You start out with the shortest of the three masts (15 inch), which we call the Taxi stage of Foiling Flight School. This mast is intended to get newcomers accustomed to the initial shock of having a foil extending far beyond the bottom of their board. People who have been kiteboarding with a twin tip or a surfboard are obviously a little stunned when they add a full-size mast between 35 and 45 inches long to the bottom of their board. The board becomes heavy and much harder to maneuver, it’s difficult to walk with and even more difficult to get into starting position. Out on the water, people struggle with the foil, kick it below the
surface of the water and often have a very difficult time adjusting to how it behaves when they attempt to get up and riding. For many, the experience of learning on a full-size mast is intimidating, sometimes painful and often frustrating enough that they simply give up before experiencing success. The 15 inch mast eliminates essentially all of these problems by making the board easier and safer to handle in every respect. It also teaches better foiling habits right out of the gate. With such a short mast, once you are up and riding, the distance you can rise out of the water is very small. This teaches proper balance and body control to keep the board just the right amount out of the water. Another huge advantage of a shorter mast is the increased amount of time spent with the foil under your feet. Rather than crashing
out, having to drag back to your foil and reset completely, with the short foil you can touch down much easier, reset and keep riding. This means significantly more repetition, which is the best and fastest way to learn to foil.
SLINGSHOT FOIL FLIGHT SCHOOL
The Full Foil School Set...
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After you are proficient at the Taxi stage and are achieving controlled rides on the 15 inch foil, you’ll be ready for the next two steps: the 24 inch and 30 inch masts, which we call the Touch-and-Go and Solo stages. The progression is intuitive, and you’ll truly appreciate the easy progression the 15 inch mast provided as you gain skills and confidence on the longer masts. For people who live in places with shallower water, the 24 and 30 inch masts are also excellent long-term options that will open up a huge number of spots for foiling that are just barely too shallow with a full-length mast. And these run with the Hover Glide foil right – can you tell us about that? The Hover Glide is one of two new foils we’ve introduced for 2016 (the second is the high-end all-carbon Silencer). It is designed as a solid all-round freeride foil that just about anyone will have fun on. It’s super stable and has a ton of lift, so it’s great for beginners, but it’s also very agile, responsive and has a decent top-end speed, so experienced foilers will appreciate it as well. Due to its aluminum and fiberglass construction, the Hover Glide is incredibly durable, as well as affordable. It’s a heavy foil, but don’t let that deter you. In the water, the Hover Glide’s weight brings added stability and control. It really is the best of both worlds. This is a marquee product that will stand alone in its class as a top performing, long lasting foil in this price range. The price point on these is pretty competitive – would you consider this a ‘learner’ option or would your average kiter be happy having this as their standard foil? This foil can span the spectrum of users. It is obviously a great tool for learning when combined with the Flight School program, but it should definitely not be cornered as just a beginner foil. The Hover Glide has a decent top end speed, great stability, playful handling and excellent durability.
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Lots of our team riders and employees have chosen the Hover Glide as their foil of choice. Personally, it’s a foil I have been using since I got my hands on one, and for my style of foiling it’s perfect. What are the options in terms of boards? The Hover Glide will work with any of the three Slingshot foil boards. What board to choose is simply a matter of personal preference and riding style. For 2016, we have the Alien Air and two size options of the new Dwarf Craft. The Alien Air is our largest and most buoyant foil board, making this an excellent option for riders who want the most volume, the easiest starts and the most stable handling. The Alien Air has been a popular choice for foilers of all skill levels and we’re stoked to have it back on our lineup for 2016. We’ve also introduced two new foil boards this year that we’re very excited about. It’s actually one board, called the Dwarf Craft, in two very different sizes (42 and 54 inch). The Dwarf Craft is a lightweight, agile and user-friendly board designed for all-round foiling in a wide range of conditions. It is constructed from a rugged EPS core, with inlaid stringers and a fiberglass wrap. We see a trend of smaller boards for foiling, due to the playful, skate-style feel that they have, and the Dwarf Craft, particularly the 42 inch version, satisfies this niche exceptionally well. And you also have two other foils, the Silencer NF2 and the Lift NF2, can you talk us through these? The Silencer is a super light, all-carbon evolution of the Hover Glide. This foil was designed for high-end freeride performance, while still maintaining its all-round, user friendly appeal. When compared to the Hover Glide, the Silencer will be much lighter, just as stable and slightly faster and more agile in how it handles. It’s a premium carbon foil made in the USA, right here in the Gorge. Due to its popularity last year, we’re also bringing back the Lift NF2 to our lineup.
This is an exceptional carbon foil, at the price point between the Hover Glide and the Silencer. The Lift is an extremely versatile shape ideal for all-round foiling. It remains one of the most respected foils on the market. Most of your team riders seem to have the foiling bug – what are they generally riding? The team has been using whatever they can get their hands on! With the full range of foils now, you are seeing riding styles develop and different styles lend themselves to different products. For
example, Patrick Rebstock has stuck with the Lift NF2 due to its speed and versatility. This allows him to bring it into the waves as well as flat water and still get all the performance he is looking for. Reed Brady has been using the Silencer. He is a bit more of a race, high speed, high jumping style of rider and the Silencer is really tailored towards that style. I have been using the Hover Glide. I’m into strapless cruising and essentially dorking around, sitting on the board, with some dancing and strapless maneuvers. The stability and weight of the Hover Glide really makes that riding style very fun and enjoyable. And what would you say to someone who is a little apprehensive about learning to foil? If you are apprehensive about learning to foil, it’s time to completely re-evaluate your concerns. With the user-friendly progression Slingshot’s Foiling Flight School program provides, there’s really no excuse to not at least give it a try. We’ve had members of our team who were incredibly resistant to foiling. But after trying it and “getting the bug,” they’re now some of the most enthusiastic foilers we know. As a company, we fully endorse the momentum we’re seeing with foiling. It is here to stay and we think it’s one of the most exciting developments in kiteboarding we’ve seen in a long time.
SLINGSHOT FOIL FLIGHT SCHOOL
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H E R E ’ S A L I T T L E TA S T E R O F W H AT T H E K I T E M A G ’ S TEST TEAMS HAVE BEEN UP TO. Remember, these are summaries of the tests, and you can find the full results at TheKiteMag.com/tested FR
The AXIS Division sits at the ‘accessible’ end of AXIS’s comprehensive range of twin tips. It is designed to suit the requirements of riders of all levels and of dedicated freeriders looking for a quality board that is going to help them take their riding to the next level. Having tested the Vanguard recently, there was much anticipation surrounding the new Division, and it did not disappoint. The Division is lightweight and thin which gives the impression that it’s fast, and it is, this board has a refined outline and flex pattern which coupled with the bottom shape and rocker - gives it superb control at speed. Board designer Adrian Roper has managed to achieve a good amount of stiffness between the feet with a nice progression to the tips enabling maximum pop for a relatively flexible board. It is also a board that it is easy to find the sweet spot on, ensuring that the Division gives riders the ability to really maximize their potential. The bottom shape and modest rocker also give excellent upwind performance and really help the board slice through the chop without your knees taking a hammering. The footpads have PORON XRD for excellent impact resistance, and they give a firm and snug fit around the foot with plenty of adjustment for winter boot riding. So if you want a ‘quality’ freeride board that really will help BOARD LE you to improve your riding then the Division should definitely be on your list. TY HT P W
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The 2016 CrazyFly Raptor is looking great, the new graphics are superb and are moving the brand in a good direction. Moving on to below the topsheet and construction wise CrazyFly have a new multi-channel base with V tips, a Step Cap deck (which allows for a narrower rail profile), and a new layup which is a mix of multi-axial fiberglass and X Carbon. There are also the ‘Light Up’ sidewalls which are a nice touch and a talking point on the beach! The new Hexa bindings are a great piece of engineering – CrazyFly have been making a fuss about them and rightly so. They have a heap of adjustment options and are really comfortable with their scooped out heel cup and large grippy toe bar. Good work. On the water and the Raptor immediately comes to life and rockets upwind with the new outline and well-conceived channel set up. Then the real surprise comes in the pop the Raptor gives you. CrazyFly have obviously put some time into getting this board right and it really flies off the water if you load it up. Then landings are nice and smooth and relatively forgiving. For cruising around it is a smooth operator and flows really nicely from rail to rail through the turns. The Raptor is a board that is at home in most conditions, and that can perform top-end freestyle and wakestyle moves all day long. C
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First impressions are that the new Cruzer really looks the part with its skate-deck griptape look and base that has a set of wheels – just great graphics. When Wainman first released the Cruzer the first thing we noticed was the shape, because it looked like a board from back in the early days of kiteboarding. But don’t let this fool you: the Cruzer is a wolf in sheep’s clothing and it has incredible amounts of performance under its trucks. We tested this board in the choppier waters of the UK, and it just destroyed our sea states and was an absolute joy to ride. The flex pattern is perfectly tuned and gives you a smooth, fast and controlled ride. The Cruzer also gives fantastic pop when required and would be perfectly happy under the feet of anyone from a decent boosting freestyle rider through to a relative newbie. It is a very well-engineered board, and the perfectly balanced flex can take some pretty hard landings: the Cruzer just soaks it up. Upwind performance is also good and it will truck upwind quite happily. So we were genuinely impressed – but the biggest surprise for us was the price tag. This is priced as an ‘entry level’ board, but for us the Cruzer feels and rides like some far more expensive boards on the market. FR
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North’s first foray into the no/few strut kite market has arrived with the Mono. It is the result of a lot of R&D and experimentation with this type of kite, and North are genuinely stoked with how it has turned out. Profile wise and you might initially do a double take as the LE profile is very similar to the Neo, but then you will spot that there is only the one strut in the center of the canopy… Construction is Technoforce D2 and North’s new 2016 features are in evidence, such as the Air Port Valve 2 which is always a pleasure to use. But the first thing that you notice with the Mono is the weight: there is nothing to it! It is such a light kite and it pumps up in seconds. On the water and power delivery is very direct and switched on – it doesn’t feel ‘baggy’ as some no/one/two strut kites can. It also really shifts upwind which is, again, a bit surprising. For general riding it feels most like the Neo: forgiving and mellow, but no slouch. It’s not going to pull you off an edge and is easy to place where you want it. The range is good but there is a definite top end and this is where having less struts shows – there is flutter at the top end, and also if you fly the kite too quickly/aggressively through the window (in onshore surf for example). For boosting there is a nice lofty vibe and a surprising amount of lift. So who would want to ride a Mono? For us it would be beginner/intermediate riders looking for an easy and forgiving kite, but it would also appeal to waveriders and general freeriders, and for riders who like to get out on a kite a size or two smaller on lighter days.
CORE XR4 LW
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CORE’s XR4 LW is dubbed the ‘session saver’ and is available in 15, 17 and 19M. We had the 17m on test and when the wind finally dropped below 40 knots this winter we were straight on the case! It’s not just suited to those summer sea breeze days, we were keen to get out in some nice super-clean sub zero easterly wind action. The first thing to note about this kite is that it is a scaled up XR4, but that a lot of tweaks have been made to ensure that it ticks all of the right lightwind boxes. It does have five struts, but it loses weight elsewhere, particularly through the intelligent use of ExoTex Dacron. So the LE and struts are all skinnier and the wingtips use BIG K this too which keeps the weight down here. Canopy cloth is the CoreTex Light which is a lighter IT E EED LO SP W version of CORE’s exclusive cloth. So this is a well-conceived kite with no build or performance E N D compromises. In the air and the XR4 LW feels nimble. It sits forward in the window and really trucks upwind – so even on very light days you should still be able to make your way back to where you want to be. Then the performance is very ‘top end’, so with small inputs at the bar getting an immediate response, and you really have the sense that you are flying a much smaller kite on a much windier day. Turning is also surprisingly snappy – it doesn’t ‘whip’ round, but it flies very smoothly and there is none of the flutter or slight sketchiness that you can get on more lightweight light wind kites… For boosting you can really send it and – especially if it is a bit windier – you will find yourself pretty high, pretty quickly! So, overall, a nice fun kite for lightwind days with no compromises in the performance department. END
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RRD were one of the first out of the blocks with the snub nose revolution and the C.O.T.A.N is pretty much a classic already. Available in four sizes, we had the middle-of-the-road 5’4 on test which equates to about 6’0 in old money. RRD were one of the first brands to embrace a reinforced PU build for their surfboards and over the last couple of years some of the weight has come off as well, so the C.O.T.A.N feels just about right under your arm . There are five fin boxes, we generally rode it as a quad for a skatier feel. On the water and the C.O.T.A.N gets up on the plane quickly and is a very nice board for getting around on – the low rocker and straight rail line ensures that you can really keep it going through lulls, and the PU construction ensures that there is no real ‘ping’ through the slop. Coming onto a wave and the C.O.T.A.N comes alive. The fishy tail has plenty of volume and width and we found that with the quad set up you could really spin it around to come off the top of a wave. There was plenty of grip and drive and the volume in the tail ensured that it didn’t bog down even in more gutless waves. In more powerful surf the C.O.T.A.N also rides surprisingly well – it can hold a rail and handle speed and you can drive it off the bottom – it is initially a bit disconcerting not having a ‘nose’ but you get used to it and we never sunk the front of the board in. Overall a fantastic ‘kite focused’ take on the noseless revolution.
RE SU ES
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OCEAN RODEO PRODIGY
The Prodigy has quickly placed itself at the core of the Ocean Rodeo range of kites. It is a kite that has learnt from 15 years of kite design and has applied the main evolutions of the sport very effectively to endeavor to be the ‘perfect all-rounder’. Out of the bag and build quality is excellent, with solid reinforcements and a quality feel to the construction. There is a high volume inflation valve which, coupled with the Ocean Rodeo Big Pump, sees the kite inflated in a remarkably short amount of time. In the air and – as with previous Prodigys we have tested – the first word that comes to mind is: stability. It is such a well-balanced kite and you have an immediate sense that it is not going to do anything unpredictable. On the water and the ‘power L- R O U N AL on’ is silky smooth. The bridle is pretty extensive on the Prodigy but it is well engineered and there is none DE BO O R ST IN of the ‘softness’ that a bridle can sometimes bring. Cruising around and the upwind performance is good and you can make subtle adjustments which make an immediate impact on how the kite flies. For boosting the Prodigy offers plenty of lift – you can really pull on the bar and hit the turbo if you want – and it will float you down nice and gently. In the waves and it turns nicely – although it is not a massively ‘snappy’ kite – and the comprehensive on/off are a real asset when you want to get rid of the kite power and ride the wave. The range of the kite is fantastic and you can comfortably ride the kite stacked without feeling like it’s going to take you anywhere you don’t want to go. Yes, this is a great freeride kite, and for pure cruising-around-fun it is at the top of its class.
LIQUID FORCE FOCUS
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The board that powered Kevin Langeree to the ‘Mystic Move of the Day’ at this year’s King of the Air, the Monarch, is a no-compromise and no expense spared top-end freestyle board. For 2016 there is a new Double Basalt Fiber and the flex has been reduced yet further to increase the amount of speed and pop you can generate. The Monarch can be ridden with binding or straps, and for us the Naish Apex pads are one of the best sets of pads on the market with plenty of adjustment options and the ability to add stiffer or softer heel pads as required. On the water and you can immediately tell that you have a ‘Ferrari’ under your feet! This is a serious board and it feels it – it is super-stiff and you can tell that it just wants to be ridden hard, but EESTYLE FR B it also feels surprisingly soft through chop and doesn’t cane your knees too much (the Apex pads PO HT O IG P E also help with this). It powers upwind, and for general cruising around is fun. Of course the W real fun starts when you begin to push the Monarch – and then it shows its true colors. You really can load it up – you don’t quite appreciate how much power it is holding as it is so stiff, but as soon as you release an edge you realize! It is the pure definition of ‘explosive pop’ and lets you turn your freestyle moves up to 11… It may be a top-end board that you would think would only be suited to the top 5% of riders, but we were really surprised by how accessible the power was – so if you would class yourself as a ‘competent freestyle/wakestyle rider’ then this is the kind of board that really could give your moves an edge.
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B The Focus is Liquid Force’s ‘progressive all-rounder’ board and is designed to be accessible, PO HT O IG P E W but not limiting. The rocker line is shallow and the Focus has a medium flex pattern. The board also benefits from small channels in the tips to increase speed and grip, and to aid with getting up on the plane early. Liquid Force’s urethane Liquid Rails are in evidence (so no compromises here) and the Focus has additional strips of biax glass for extra strength. For us the straps and pads aren’t the comfiest on the market but they do the job. As with the whole LF range, the Focus looks great – we have loved their work in the art department this year. On the water and first impressions are that the Focus provides an incredibly smooth and controlled ride with plenty of grip, it’s a really easy and enjoyable board to get going and to cruise around on. In the chop the Focus absorbs bumps beautifully and doesn’t miss a beat and you can see that this would be a great option for someone moving on from a ‘beginner’ board; it’s easy to ride but doesn’t feel slow at all. Then for us the biggest surprise with the Focus was the amount of pop you can get from it. This isn’t one of LF’s ‘top-end’ boards but it really does pop like one. You can certainly launch into some big freestyle boosts and power it up for some wakestyle moves with confidence. The other surprise is the price which is very reasonable, and even more surprising when you get it on the water…
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METEOROLOGY WITH TONY BUTT
PHOTO: CARLOS TORO W W W.W H I T E WAV E S . E U
TROPICAL CYCLONES A series of articles about wind wouldn’t be complete without something on tropical cyclones. Experiencing one of these systems directly is a good way to appreciate the power of Nature. And, of course, to better understand how it can so easily cause havoc to our manmade world. Here I’m going to give a very brief outline of what a tropical cyclone is, how it forms, and whereabouts in the world you can expect to find them. The tropical cyclone is one of a number of different mechanisms which help to maintain the heat balance of the planet. It does this by re-distributing energy in the ocean-atmosphere system. It is quite different from the mid-latitude depression, although it has a similar function and looks similar. For example, the tropical cyclone is much smaller in area, contains no fronts and forms much nearer to the Equator. It depends much more on heat energy from the sea surface and won’t form unless the sea surface temperature is above about 26°C. So, how does a tropical cyclone work? Over the tropics, the atmospheric pressure tends to be naturally low, with the warm surface air continually rising. But instead of rising uniformly, it does so in small chunks or ‘air parcels’ which tend to give rise to local thunderstorms. If there happens to be some atmospheric anomaly over the surrounding area, for example, the pressure is abnormally low or there is a strong temperature gradient, then several of these little storms might start to cluster together. This will cause a local increase in the strength of the updraft. If there is enough Coriolis force to allow the air to spiral as it rises, a tropical cyclone will begin to form. (The Coriolis force is the effect of the Earth’s rotation that makes fluids turn as they travel over the Earth’s surface; it is zero at the Equator and increases towards the poles – see my article in Issue 4). The system will only continue to grow if the right combination of conditions exists 150 | TheKiteMag
to feed it. For example: 1. The sea surface temperature remains above about 26° C; 2. The atmosphere has a high humidity; 3. The wind speed and direction is fairly constant with altitude; 4. The disturbance remains far enough from the Equator (about 5° at least) for the Coriolis force to continue to have enough effect to turn the rising air into a vortex. If the system develops fully, it will become self-perpetuating. Once started, it will keep going, feeding itself with the heat energy of the underlying water, as long as those conditions listed above continue to be met. As the air spirals upwards, it is forced to cool, which in turn forces the water vapor contained within the air to condense. The process of condensation liberates energy from the air to its surroundings, and the energy released helps to keep the system rotating and sucking up more moist air from below. Once fully developed, the tropical cyclone is a large cylindrical mass of cloud with a hole in the middle, called the eye. Air is spiraling upwards around the eye-wall and there are strong cyclonic winds at the surface (cyclonic means anticlockwise in the northern hemisphere and clockwise in the southern hemisphere). Right in the center of the eye itself, the air is actually descending, not rising. This keeps the pressure in the center slightly higher than its surroundings, which is what creates the cloud-free, dry and windless conditions found in the eye.
As soon as something changes – typically the system drifts away from the equator to an area of cooler water – it will start to weaken. If the system retains enough vorticity (spinning motion) it can become entrained into the mid-latitude westerly airstream and re-animate into a mid-latitude depression. This is common in the North Atlantic around late summer and early autumn. Tropical cyclones tend to form between about 5° and 30° latitude. In the diagram you can see the principle areas around the world where they occur. In general, the season for tropical cyclones runs from about June to November in the northern hemisphere and about November to April in the southern hemisphere. This is when the water temperature and those other conditions are most favorable. In an established storm, once the sustained wind speed
NW Pacific (typhoon)
NE Pacific (hurricane)
SW Pacific (severe tropical cyclone)
on the surface reaches 64 knots, the system is officially called a hurricane, typhoon, severe cyclonic storm, severe tropical cyclone or just a tropical cyclone, depending on the local protocol (see map). In the case of a typhoon, once the wind speed exceeds 130 knots, it is then called a super-typhoon. Tony Butt holds a PhD in physical oceanography and is the author of Surf Science, an Introduction to Waves for Surfing (2014) and The Surfer’s Guide to Waves, Coasts and Climates (2009). Tony is also a big-wave surfer who spends the northern winter in a forgotten corner of Northwest Spain, and migrates to Southwest Africa during the southern winter…
North Indian (severe cyclonic storm)
North Atlantic (hurricane)
SW Indian (tropical cyclone)
SE Indian (severe tropical cyclone)
The principle areas where tropical-cyclones are found, including the synonym used in each area
Nothing new… Here’s the Florida coastline getting pounded by hurricane #9 of the 1945 hurricane season. This was the second category four storm of the season and between September 12-18 it traveled from the Bahamas into Florida and then onto the East Coast. TheKiteMag | 151
T H E D A R K R O O M PHOTOGRAPHIC WIZARDRY WITH STEPHAN KLEINLEIN
T H I S I S S U E : N E E D F O R S P E E D
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For action sport shots, especially for surf and kite surf moves, a fast shutter speed (often between 1/1250 and 1/2500) is essential to get a sharp clear image with lots of details and to see each single water drop flying around, frozen on the image. TheKiteMag | 153
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During the day, with lots of light, fast shooting is not a problem. I generally have the ISO between 100 and 200 for nice clear images. In lower light situations (in the evening, late afternoon or early morning) when I usually shoot in the water and am trying to capture spectacular ocean action coupled with beautiful light, I often still go for a fast shutter speed of between 1/1250 and 1/1600 because this is my priority for clean action shots. So I then set the ISO to automatic. Then, while I am swimming and moving with housing, the high speed shutter speed will help me to keep it clear and the automatic ISO will deal with the light conditions. This way I can still capture a sharp high speed move of a rider or breaking wave and the camera will adjust the light sensitivity automatically, which means the darker the light becomes on a sunset, for example, the higher the ISO will go. I find that a high ISO of up to 800 is still okay to work with later in Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop, but anything over 800 can make the image grainy, and for bigger prints this can become a problem (although most images with an ISO over 800 will still look fine on the computer or for the internet).
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Shooting from land, the shutter speed can be a bit lower than being in the water. Especially if you have a good, steady and solid tripod (and a tele lens with an in Inbuilt Stabiliser IS like my Canon 600mm). But if you add stronger wind when you are shooting, especially for kitesurfing photography, the huge lens is very sensitive in windy conditions so you need to go up to a faster shutter speed again.
With fast moving objects and using a freehand camera (like my favorite set up of my Canon 5DMK3 with a 70-200mm F2.8 MK2 lens) I find that changing positions all the time favors a faster shutter speed of between 1250 and 2000 to eliminate any blurry shots or blurry sections in the image. TheKiteMag | 155
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He re is t he same o b ject (a ho t air b allo o n b as ket on a trailer) wh ile we are mo vin g ...
...an d then staying still .
Although sometimes blurry shots can look cool as well â€“ a person or object staying still with no movement and with everything around them moving fast for instance. A slower shutter speed (depends on the light conditions) of maybe less than 1/30 will give you that effect. It is important that the camera is absolutely still with no shake!
O r st aying st il l wit h t he camera and a mov ing boat in t he Sydney h arb o r,
o r a fast mo ving stretched limo us ine in Ho no lulu â€Ś
Long exposures at night with a second or longer will give you those car trails, or torch trails at the lighthouse in Byron Bay, Australia (with a 10 second exposure), and will bring amazing effects to your images. Even the Southern Cross is visible in the lighthouse image. The camera is on a tripod and super still and steady while I am moving my torch in a spiral movement towards the camera in a time frame of 10 seconds.
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You can see another example of long exposure vs fast shutter speed here at a waterfall in New Zealand. The first picture has a long exposure of 1/3 and the waterfall looks like a beautiful white vail. Dream Time. Whereas the second picture has a much higher shutter speed of 1250 which makes all the drops of the waterfall visible. It really depends what you like to achieve with your image. Being creative and playing around with your settings on the same image will give you a steep learning curve. But remember that high speed action sport will not always need a fast shutter speed. It depends how fast you are moving in relation with the moving object... For example, in skydiving the skydivers are falling at a speed of 200-300km/h depending on style and body position. But the photographer is moving/falling with pretty much the same speed. So the speed between both of them is almost zero, which means we can shoot easily between 1/600â€“1/800 or even less.
Or just s o me s eagu lls fi g ht i ng fo r f rench f ries : yo ur s hu tter s p eed w i ll make all the dif ference â€Ś
Then yo u ca n of cou rse go su p e r fast , to 1 /2 0 0 0 or e ve n highe r, to fre e ze ea ch drop of a bre ak ing wave .
O r to f re e ze t he sp ray of a hu ge wa ter wal l at Su nse t Be ach and a su r fe r on a ste e p drop in .
O r to capture the en try o f a diver into t he deep b lue .
O r some river o verf lo w boogie b o ard actio n at Waimea Bay rivermo uth .
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B E HIND
C L I P
Brazil is no secret spot these days, so to put together a clip that sets itself apart from the crowd and manages to capture the real spirit of things out there is an accomplishment. One that Craig Cunningham achieved with Habitual. How many years have you done in Ceará now?
to head to the lagoon for the perpetual Groundhog Day.
and editing, but on longer trips like in Brazil I kind of like the setup like this.
I think this was year seven but I missed a season a few years back, so six. It’s kind of like a second home for me now and a place where I can work on my freestyle kiteboarding. I’m generally pretty focused in the park side of things at the moment so I’m not often spending so much time doing load and pop tricks. It’s always nice to get back to Taiba and put a few new tricks in the bag and get the old ones back!
Can you talk us through how the sessions work out there – do you all have a go behind the camera. The roll call of photographers is pretty impressive?
Did you build the rail in the clip or was it already there?
Is it still as fun now as when you first started going – how has it changed? It’s a lot busier that’s for sure but for some reason every year seems better than the last! We had such a massive crew this year in Taiba, it’s quite a different scene from Cumbuco and you see it in the riding going down. Talk us through a typical day. Depends if Vince (Bergeron) or Toby (Bromwich) is around or not. If they are around, we’re up before the sun and off to the lagoon to session the ‘golden bear light’ as they call it. After that it’s an XL bowl of acai and back to sort footage. Then we do the same at sunset and repeat the scenario for days or weeks on end! If those boys aren’t around, I like to get up when my body wakes me up and have a big breakfast and cup of coffee. Usually bash out some computer work and wait for the wind to calm down a bit to around 11m conditions. Then it’s time 158 | TheKiteMag
It’s different for everyone and all crews I’m sure, but I’m pretty lucky to have a lot of friends who like to get behind the camera and are really good at it. We all take turns, some more than others, you can’t spend all your time on the water in Brazil. I also usually like to hire someone to shoot for at least a week or so to make sure we get all the angles and a different mixture of shots that we need. How has your knowledge of videography come on over the last few years? There are some perspectives in the clip. Just like my friends who helped me shoot this I’ve learned a lot over the years being around so many talented video and photographers. I think being able to produce your own clips is an important part of coming up and helping to stay relevant in the action sports industry. How do you find the process of putting the final edit together? I enjoy it a lot. I become pretty tedious though and critical of my riding but I know I’m going to be happy after that final export! On shorter trips it is nice to have the full on camera crew to make sure everything is captured and someone is taking care of logistics, sorting, cutting
It was already there. The guys from Indiana Kite put it together. It is nice to see the amount of people getting into hitting features over the past few years, and it doesn’t take long for me to want to start hitting some so it was nice to have it in there for a few sessions to mix it up. There is some nice shirt-wear on show… Who would you credit with kicking off the ‘shirt while kiting’ look? Haha thanks! I think I’ve gotta give that one to Alex Fox but I think I remember some shots of Andre a while back wearing some Hawaiian shirts, no? Why did you choose Spirit in the Sky as the soundtrack? I was at home watching some old snowboard videos from when I was a kid and heard it. I have a folder in iTunes called Edits and I chucked it in there thinking maybe one day I’d use it. Weird thing was the day this video came out my Grandfather passed away and with a title like Habitual and Spirit in the Sky it was a weird coincidence. How often do you check how many hits it has had?! In the first day, probably two or three times and then I’d say once a day for a week or so after that….
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