Â£4.85 | issue #12
9 772057 014026
FREERIDE / BIG AIR
P A SS IO N
Excellence through Passion; the definition of the new Passion MK8. The MK8 delivers pure, predictable power, paired with amazing stability. The ‘new best thing’ is a fantastic kite for all-round freeride, big air, and freestyle progression that provides a perfect blend of turning speed, handling, and jumping ability. Expect incredible performance from this kite due to the changes made to the profile shape and aspect ratio. The MK8 is re-designed, refined, and has redefined the durability of its predecessor, the Passion MK7. One of the largest differences is that the new Passion MK8 now has 3 struts instead of 5. The reduction of two struts translates into a lighter kite with increased low-end. The MK8 is especially easy to relaunch, even in low wind conditions. Furthermore, the gradually changing power while sheeting is coupled with consistent bar pressure. Thus aiding in the MK8’s predictability. Boosting huge airs is a blast on this kite because the kite is smoother and more stable in gusty conditions with increased turning speed. 2 | TheKiteMag
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rider: Jerrie van de kop - Alex neto
Photo: svetlana romantsova
3 - 5 - 7 - 9 - 11 - 13 - 15 - 17
SPECIAL FEATURES: • New 3-strut construction with additional reinforcements • Leading edge seam protection • Quick air flow valve with protection cap • 45degrees Leading edge reinforcements panels • Bridle anti-tangle device • Radial reinforcements • 3m version for schools
CYAN - RED
| 3 PURPLE - TheKiteMag PINK
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Hang loose and ride knee highs like theyâ€˜re overheads. Test your limits on those really big days. Or, just chill and cruise on your trusty surfboard, twintip or skimboard. Without fussing about your kite or the wind. Because you know the new CORE Free is there for you. With its mad surf skills, smooth air-style, and signature CORE ride-ability, you may suspect your new kite has super powers. And we think so too.
FOLLOW CORE KITEBOARDING: corekites.com 10 | TheKiteMag
Photo: Harry Winnington
SURF. PLAY. SHRED.
CORE Kiteboarding â€“ a Hiss-Tec brand // Fehmarn, Germany T. +49 (0)4371-88934-0 // email@example.com // 54.445874 N : 11.191058 O
3 STRUT LIGHT FRAME
ULTRA SHORT BRIDLE SYSTEM
SPEED PUMP SYSTEM
SIZES 4.0 5.0 6.0 7.0 8.0 9.0 10.0 11.0 12.0 13.5 15.0 LW 17.0 LW
Check out the new ExoTex equipped Free and Free LW at you local CORE retailer now. corekites.com/retailer TheKiteMag | 11
The Features 052
F O C U S : L I G H T B R O S C R E AT I V E We catch up with the Light Bros crew to find out how their journey from kite clip creators through to mega-media outlet is coming along, how it is to now both be signed on to the RRD team, and how they’ve started thinking ‘preproduction’ before they head to the beach.
A P O S T C A R D F R O M PATA G O N I A Hit and run kiting this is not – if you’re going to hit up Argentina then you’ve got to be willing to put in a few miles. Hardy kite trippers Brandon Scheid and Sensi Graves were up for the challenge and trusty photog Vincent Bergeron was there to get it all down on film.
UNFAZEABLE: KEAHI DE ABOITIZ Despite some tough luck with injuries the last few months, Keahi de Aboitiz still reigns supreme in the world of waveriding. Photographer Jason Wolcott knows him pretty much as well as anyone so who better to chuck him a few questions and see if he can find a chink in the Keahi armor?
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE EPIC KIND Philip Shearer runs a kite and ecotour travel business in Turks and Caicos. Many moons ago he remembers a Greek whirlwind in the form of Dimitri Maramenides coming through and foretelling the explosion in the growth of kiteboarding. In 2016 he returned…
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The Regulars 040
// I’m On It… Alexander Lewis-Hughes
Technique with Patri McLaughlin
// Pro Tips with Sam Light and Pals
Tell me about it… Mystic Legend; F-ONE Foils; Core Free; Flysurfer SPEED5
// Tangled Lines with Colleen Carroll
// On the List… Fuerteventura
Meteorology with Tony Butt
Kite Sista on Competing
Behind the Clip… Welcome to the Other Side
0 5 2 // Profile with Light Bros Creative 0 6 6 // Buyer’s Guide… Harnesses 108
// Under the Hood with Blade
It might be a generally cold, sometimes bleak and an always wetsuited environment, but Brandon still managed to inject a bit of color and bring his own inimitable yoga steez to Argentina.
Here: Photographer Maria Enfondo making the most of the golden hour…
Photo: Vincent Bergeron TheKiteMag | 13
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Good Times Sometimes when you spend your life at the sharp(ish) end of the kiteboarding scene it is easy to get sucked into the issues of the day. [Examples of these include, 1) What the hell is going to happen next with the World Tour? 2) Really, ANOTHER mega day at Jaws! 3) Pro Rider X has moved over to Brand Y? No way!].
So occasionally it’s healthy to take a step back and to remember that at the heart of everything that we do as a magazine (and as kiters) is the incredible pleasure we derive from propelling ourselves around the sea utilizing the power of moving air. In the run up to this issue I was quite lucky and found myself spending nearly as much time at the beach as I did at the office. Nowadays I only really ride in the waves (too many dislocated shoulders, twingey tendons and achy joints for much of that freestyle game) so I mainly opt to test a few of the wave and the freeridier kites that come our way. This issue I took on a few more than usual, so I had four solid guilt free days at the beach just testing kites which, trust me, doesn’t happen as often as I would like. Granted, it was the UK and, granted, it was exceptionally cold for May, but – man – I had a whole lot of fun… For the first time in a while I wasn’t only going in when conditions were in the ‘going off ’ range, and I wasn’t snatching an hour or so between working on the mag and getting on with the other humdrum activities that make up ‘life’… It was great, and it took me back to when I first began kiting and just getting on the water and cruising up and down was roundabout as good as life got. Another reason it was fun was the kites. I rode six kites over four days – all different brands, and all different shapes and sizes, and you know what? They were all good… Some had their strong and their weak points, and there were a couple of tweaks that I would have made if I was heading up the design (or graphics!) departments, but overall I think it is the first time I’ve tested that many kites and not had one that I thought was a duffer. These are exciting times and kiteboarding has never been easier, safer, or more accessible… So what have I learnt from the experience. It’s pretty simple: kite more. But if you’re reading this, you probably didn’t need telling that… Well, that’s nearly my word limit gone, and I haven’t even got on to telling you what you can expect to find within the pages of Issue #12. You’d better go find out yourself… Enjoy. Alex
HERE’S LILOO FOURRÉ: 100% FUN FOCUSED… PHOTO: FUKA JAZ
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SCULP 5m / 7m / 8m / 9m / 10m / 11m / 12m / 13m / 14m FREERIDE/FREESTYLE.
One world. One kite.
CRAZYFLYKITES.COM | CRAZYFLYSHOP.COM
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The Team: Editor: Alex Hapgood (firstname.lastname@example.org) Sub editor: Cai Waggett Art Director: Jody Ward Assistant Art Director: Louise Kelly Contributors: Vincent Bergeron, Ydwer van der Heide, Fuka Jaz, Philipp Scholler, Hugo Valente, Richard Myerscough, Patrick Nagler, Toby Bromwich, LightBros, Gilles Calvet, Jason Wolcott, Sensi Graves, Philip Shearer, Marcus Graichen, Bettina Menzel, Erik Aeder, Maria Enfondo, Sam Light, Eric Rienstra, Mads Wollesen, Brian Wheeler TheKiteMag isâ€Ś BORN Published by WATER M E D I A in Hayle, Cornwall, United Kingdom.
Advertising enquiries: email@example.com. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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: email@example.com 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 FSCÂŽ certified. The printers are also accredited to ISO14001, the internationally recognised environmental standard.
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RIDERS: BRAM BAST + BAS KOOLE | LOCATION: CAPE TOWN | PHOTO: YDWER VAN DER HEIDE BK: As a freestyle minded rider, I’m not always stoked to go on the water when the wind is really strong. It sounds a bit spoilt maybe, but I often get frustrated when it’s too strong to unhook and I leave the water after a few big airs and a kite loop to save myself from crashing hard while trying impossible freestyle tricks! This session was different. I knew in the morning already that I wasn’t going to be able to try any new kicker wave tricks, because the Cape Doctor was in from the moment I woke up. So together with good friend Bram Bast we took the conditions as they were and made the best of it. We waited until 6pm so the wind would be at its strongest and we got Ydwer to come and capture the session. From the moment we both launched our kites, the fun started. We were both overpowered on our 9s, just boosting as high as we could over each other and struggling hard during the landings to hold your edge… That’s kiteboarding in Cape Town.
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RIDER: MALLORY DE LA VILLEMARQUÉ | LOCATION: TARIFA | PHOTO: SVETLANA ROMANTSOVA SR: Autumn and spring are the best times of year in Tarifa. No tourists, no traffic, so quiet in the town and you have a lot of space in the lagoon of Los Lances beach for riding. During one evening after about two weeks of crazy Levante wind, suddenly the mellower Poniente came back and I couldn’t miss that moment to try to shoot a bit with my friend Mallory in an almost empty lagoon in the magic golden hour.
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CW: This was an extremely fun photo-shoot to do with Sam. Tonnes of brainstorming got us some epic shots – including this flash-driven beauty. To capture this picture we started setting up long before the sun set. Once the sun had just disappeared over the horizon was the time we hoped to capture some epic photos - that part of the evening has such incredible color. To prep this shot Sam and I got creative, we placed one of the flashes in a borrowed scuba mask case and sealed it with tape. Then we ducktaped it to a GoPro mount on the kite lines. It took a bit of adjusting to get this flash to illuminate Sam just right. But, once the light was positioned correctly, we realized our ‘low tech’ scuba case came equipped with a blue lid and created quite the surreal purple glow! The second flash was off to the right and behind me on a tripod about five feet high. This flash was used to fill the shadows around Sam and also lit the foreground and the board. I placed a third camping light on my head to add even more light. This also helped Sam to see where I was so he could throw his tricks in the right spot. Sam’s smooth riding style and jumping precision afforded me the opportunity to use these three light sources creatively and the synergies between Sam and I allowed this photo to be captured in a single exposure. Racking our brains, prep time, some creative lighting and an exceptional rider left me with only a couple of minor tweaks in Lightroom after the fact – no Photoshop or filters required. 26 | TheKiteMag
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RIDER: MARK TOTH | LOCATION: SAFETY BAY, PERTH | PHOTOGRAPHER: PHILIPP SCHOLLER MT: This was the second session with my new gear and also my second session in Perth. On this day everything felt right. We had perfect 11m wind, we were more or less alone at the spot and I felt really comfortable with my new gear from Core. I went to Perth because I had heard a lot of good things from other professional kiteboarders so I wanted to find out on my own and went there for a month. After this trip I can just say that one month wasnâ€™t enough time! There are so many spots and sick places to visit and also so many possibilities when there is no wind. For me Perth was a mix of Cape Town and Brazil. It offers the perfect flat water conditions and steady winds of Brazil but comes with a lifestyle like Cape Town.
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RIDER: MAURÍCIO PEDREIRA | LOCATION: IMBITUBA, BRAZIL | PHOTOGRAPHER: HUGO VALENTE MP: This shot was taken at the end of January. That is high summer in our region, Imbituba, which is 90 kilometers south from Florianópolis and is a special place for waves and wind. It was a sunset session where I met Hugo Valente at the beach and we jumped in the water together to take advantage of the beautiful light and nice conditions – five foot set waves, clean offshore wind and with few people out. We stayed until it was dark in the water with so many good waves, and the sunset was so beautiful that both of us were stoned by the end of the session!
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RIDER: GRAHAM HARNEY | LOCATION: TOFINO, VANCOUVER ISLAND | PHOTO: RICHARD MYERSCOUGH GH: The trip served as one last weekend of fun before gearing down to start studying for final exams. It was the last Tofino trip of the semester with the Uvic Surf Club: sixty students, a hundred Red Bulls and a hostel with a sauna and pool table for three days to jam! This session was on the last day of the trip, the only day with any wind. I met up with father and son partners-in-crime, Reece and Richard Myerscough on the Chestermans Beach tombolo late morning. Itâ€™s the perfect setup for kiting on a northwesterly: lots of room to launch and land on the sand, and two beaches adjacent to each other providing onshore and steady offshore wave kiting. The waves were so frothy and fun, stretching 300 meters down the sand, then there was 30 knots of wind and the heat of the sun made the 8Â°C water chill almost refreshing!
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RIDER: MADS WOLLESEN | LOCATION: DAMP, GERMANY | PHOTO: PATRICK NAGLER MW: I was just coming back from a trip to Cape Town and Egypt, and spoilt by those warm temperatures I had to think twice if I wanted to go for a session in cold Germany. But when my mate told me that he found a really good new spot my curiosity was stronger than my concerns and we went for it. What started as a cloudy and chilly morning turned into an amazing day with sunshine and a crystal clear blue sky. Being really motivated to ring in the new season in Germany we arrived at the spot and I couldnâ€™t believe my eyes. An empty beach with the wind perfect for my 12M RPM and the water was flat as a mirror behind this breakwater. Then, after three hours of shredding, we finished the day with some fresh made local fish sandwiches. It really doesnâ€™t get better than that!
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IA: This shot is from one of many spots on the northern coast of California. The photo was from this past winter in December which is not the most ideal time for wind. You never really know when conditions are going to line up, but when they do it can be pretty rewarding. Even if it’s for just an hour it’s worth grabbing a few waves. It’s always a pleasure shooting with someone like Jason who really knows your style and how you ride. Jason lives in Indo now so I don’t see him every day like I used to but when he comes to visit we always meet up and hang at the beach. This was just one of those afternoons where all the elements lined up...
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bb SURF / CARVING SURF / CARVINGaa — —
WHEN F-ONE WHEN F-ONE GATHERS YEARS GATHERS 2020YEARS EXPERIENCE! ! OFOF EXPERIENCE
SIGNATURE SIGNATURE —
HD FOAM FLEX COMPOSITE— —HD FOAM FLEX COMPOSITE— 5’8’’ 5’10’’
172 5’8’’x 46 cm 172 x 46 cm
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177 x 46 cm 5’10’’ 177 x 46 cm
FREESTYLE STRAPLESS / SURF bbFREESTYLE STRAPLESS / SURF aa — —
WHEN EXPERIENCE WHENTHE THEF-ONE F-ONE EXPERIENCE MEETS RIDER’S MEETSA A RIDER’S INCREDIBLE TALENT! INCREDIBLE TALENT!
MITU MITUMONTEIRO MONTEIRO
HD FOAM FLEX COMPOSITE— — HD FOAM FLEX COMPOSITE 5’4’’ —5’6’’ 5’8’’ 5’10’’ —
162 x 46 cm 167 x 46.5 cm 177 x 48.5 cm 5’4’’ 5’6’’cm 172 x 47 5’8’’ 5’10’’ 162 x 46 cm 167 x 46.5 cm 172 x 47 cm 177 x 48.5 cm
TKC Sales Ltd firstname.lastname@example.org TKC Sales Ltd
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This issue, a man who knows what he likes and likes what he knows… Alexander Lewis-Hughes isn’t the kind of guy to compromise, so you can be sure this really is the board he wants to ride, and not just a board with his name on it… I’ve been riding and shaping different boards whilst kiting for the last 14 years, so all those boards combined have lead me to the measurements I now use in the TranQ. This is the third production year of this board but so far I’d say we’ve been through over 20 prototypes. The TranQ has a full wood core and a regular glass layup which gives you the most lively fun feeling board with a good swing weight. Often exotic materials like carbon only add cost and stiffness to a board, something that I don’t feel is needed in a park-style kiteboard like the TranQ. The board takes the best of a wakeboard outline and combines that with the best of a freestyle kiteboard outline. It’s a real inbetween shape; something that flows but still has good pop in marginal winds. It has a hybrid rocker. You could say it’s “continuous”, but the truth is continuous rocker doesn’t really exist. It’s around 5.5-6cm and is something I’m pretty anal about, which drives Adrian (AXIS’s shaper) mad! I know quite a few of my friends 40 | TheKiteMag
who ride other brands are jealous of these fins! They are G10 with a slightly longer base than most fins so you have the hold there if you need it, but also enough release to flow into and out of tricks so it doesn’t look like you’re riding on railroad tracks. The flex is stiff in the middle with a medium flex into the tips – torsional flex is bad for a board used with bindings, don’t listen to anyone who tells you otherwise. This year we made every effort possible to minimize torsional flex which we did by increasing the core thickness through the body and then tapering it into the tips. The base is TBE 6000 which is a sintered P-tex base, superdurable and the same as all the top wakeboard brands use. As far as I know (and I could be wrong) AXIS are the only kite brand to offer this base. The rails are fat in the middle, thin in the tips and round. This makes going through chop ultra-smooth, lets you land more cleanly and also gives you better grip on the edge and through chop. Yes: better grip. Contrary to what most people believe, sharp square rails don’t give you better grip.
I’m not really locked into any style of riding in particular. I could ride with almost anyone and have a good time. The only thing I’m not really stoked on is sending my kite to do as many handle-passes as possible. My local spot is only waves and chop so naturally I look for a board that’s capable of flying and landing smooth off kickers and going through chop without bouncing around too much. I have lots of experience with wakeskates but the two things don’t really crossover in terms of design. They are on total different ends of the spectrum. I ride my twin-tips almost as big as I can, whilst I ride wakeskates as small as I can. What has crossed over is my understanding of rail shapes and bottom contours, but that’s crossing over between everything I do, including surfing. The board has been screen-printed with the ‘purest blackness’ which is actually the blood from 1980s AC/ DC leader singer Bon Scott. The common rumor is that he died in his sleep after drinking, the truth is we’ve been keeping him captive for the last 36 years and slowly taking blood from him to create the 2016 TranQ graphics.
W E I G H T: 8 5 - 8 7 K G S
H E I G H T: 6 ’ 2
PHOTO: TOBY BROMWICH
AXIS are great to work with – if you find a brand that can listen to the random things you tell them and translate that into equipment then you’re onto a winner! This board is meant to be fun and versatile and, as such, easy to ride. It’s designed for bindings but you could ride it with straps and it would still be good because those same principles cross over no matter how you’re attached to the board. I’ve been preaching about thick rails for years. It’s obviously not my original idea, they’ve had them on wakeboards/surfboards for years! It’s just a matter of getting the kite market away from terrible gimmicks
(like thin rails) and onto using things that actually work. I hate boards with razor thin rails. It has been good see how boards have evolved since I’ve been riding. From foam cores to wood cores and from 150-160cm (2000) down to 110120 (2004-5) and now back to 142-146. I like this, because it makes riding feel nicer and landings smoother, once again it’s just been a matter of trying to educate the kite market about this so I can actually produce and sell the size board that feels best! Every board I’ve ridden has helped shape my views of board design. From a twin tip perspective my
main influence for the TranQ was drawn from the 2010 Watson Hybrid Wakeboard. This was really the first popular selling board to incorporate a wood core, rounded channels and PU rails. It wasn’t a perfect kiteboard or wakeboard but it had features like the rails and the shape of the channels that can clearly be seen in the design of the TranQ. I’m certainly not getting rich from selling boards, but I’ve got a board I’m 99% happy with – which for me is the most important thing. I mean what’s the point in having money if you had to ride gear you didn’t actually like?
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g n i k Ma t s o the m r u o y f o t u o . . . p i r t next
SA N D S LY THOU L A R E IT EIR ED L D) IN TH E CLOCK H E R OA ALS HAV T P N EY D O H N T A HT (AND HEN SAM LIG WATER HEED W E E H K T A U T N F YO R RS O G. SO OF HOU T OUT O OARDIN S B O E M IT K E TH N TO MAKING RINGSâ€¦ DEVOTIO HAT IT B IPS FOR T T S IE IR E IT H TUN OFFER T E OPPOR AND TH IP R T T NEX
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SAM LIGHT + PALS
it your brain is already mentally prepared, which will help you believe in yourself and commit to landing it: hesitation always leads to failure.
SAM LIGHT Building blocks - Breaking tricks down into different sections and improving the muscle memory of each section is the key to progression and learning your new trick. For example, if you want to learn an S-bend to Blind then practice Raileys, then S-Bends then Raileys to Blind, then, once you have perfected all of these, the S-bend to Blind will fall into place. Visualize yourself doing the trick over and over in your head so when you do come to throw
ERIC RIENSTRA Travel - Traveling not only adds a sense of adventure and exploration, riding in different spots and conditions also helps to round out your technique. Being away and comparing the strengths and weaknesses of other spots can also give you a new appreciation for your home spot as well. Straps - You may have noticed most of the “cool” guys riding their twin tips with boots. Although you want to fit in and do the same, it isn’t always the best choice. The guys at the top level ride that
Flow - Try different techniques to help you get in the mood to perform at your best is important, you don’t want to show up to the beach unmotivated. Everybody is different, and it can be small things that make a difference, for example I like to drink a tea and listen to music before a session, I take my time getting ready as I like to have everything organized. This transcends into your session, but some days some things click and other days they don’t work at all… Gold Status - Travel so much you become a gold member of your airline alliance. I am a member of Star Alliance and I can take three bags up to 32KG on most flights within the family of airlines. It makes a huge difference to traveling, having access to lounges to chill out in long layovers,
way because they have already mastered riding with straps to a point where it is getting boring and they are looking for a way to add additional challenge to their sessions. Boots are only good for heavy landings with a high rocker board or when riding finless. If you are trying to do Airstyle or riding a flatter board, then straps will be more efficient and you can still do unhooked wakestyle just with a little less amplitude. So don’t worry about what everyone else is doing, just go with whatever lets you get the most out of your sessions. Friends - Riding with friends is the best way to stay motivated and get confidence to go for new tricks. The “if you land a trick and no one is around to see it, does it count?” mentality can mean you spend your whole session without trying a new trick. Wakeboards - For big guys who like to go huge and land heavy, a wakeboard will be stronger and the little extra rocker will help soften landings. But keep in mind that what you gain on one end of the scale
have a shower, or even lie in a bed! Free food, internet and getting away from the masses. Traveling suddenly becomes fun again. There are a few tips to qualifying and you will be surprised how little you need to fly. Style - Wakeboard at the cable park has improved my core board skills massively and helped me develop my individual style when there’s no wind. You shouldn’t try to be stylish, it should come naturally. I have always followed the ethos: ‘do it because it feels good’. Often if a trick or grab feels good then it looks good! Adapt - Kiteboarding is one of the most diverse sports in the world so don’t stick to one discipline, if it’s mega windy don’t try and throw your most powered wakestyle tricks, go and do some big jumps! If you’re on a 15m in light wind then practice grabs, it’s all about making the most of your sessions.
will tip the other side. The added drag from the increased rocker and weight will require more power and make you heavier to the bar. So it will be harder to go upwind and you have to go faster to get the same amount of pop. Know Where You Are - Most surfers will watch the waves and crowd at a spot for a bit to get a feel for the flow. Kiters, although told to do so as beginners and even ask locals how things work at a spot, often just jump out of the car and hit the water without a second thought. This is okay for the most part, as there is usually tons of room and standard right of way rules apply at most spots, but there are some specialized spots that adopt their own right of way rules to organize everyone so that a higher level of riding can be practiced safely. Examples include spots with big waves or small freestyle lagoons. So before you hit the water watch the other riders for a bit and identify any areas where people are constantly performing risky tricks and while you are on the water be aware of the people around you – especially what is happening upwind of you. TheKiteMag | 43
MADS WOLLESEN Don’t be a Diva - Being the rookie on a trip is an interesting experience. You only have one chance to make a good first impression, so better take it. Cross sentences like “I am not gonna go out in this shitty wind!” and “I can’t carry any more!” out of your vocabulary. Just go for it. Leave your ego at home and take one for the team. Of course you shouldn’t sell yourself like a hooker,
but doing some of the shitty work will definitely help to earn some good karma points.
with others is the key for progression and innovation. Try to learn from the others, but try to stay real at the same time.
Get Smashed Together - Drinking is the best team building activity ever. Being drunk will bring your real character to the daylight which is fundamental for an honest and solid relationship. Even the old Romans knew about alcohol’s magical powers by saying “In Vino Veritas”: the truth lies in wine. Sharing some drinks is the ultimate ice breaker and nothing turns strangers into friends quicker.
Use your Strengths - Everyone has his or her strengths, so use them to earn respect, or become an important part of the group. Whether you can shine through your knowledge of the local language or show everyone who is in charge when it comes to arm wrestling. Everyone is unique and can contribute something to the team.
Stay Humble - You are the rookie, of course things are not going the way you think are the best. Try to bring in your ideas, but don’t be disappointed when they aren’t being realized. Just keep on contributing input. If it’s not being done doesn’t mean it’s not being heard. Everyone has a different view on everything and exchanging them
a Backside 313 so learn to grab your board and try to separate your riding from the rest of the world.
ALEX FOX Creativity - We are at a point in kiteboarding where everyone is good. Being such an international sport, there are unknown riders all over the world that are absolutely killing it. To carve out a path for yourself in this day and age with social media being what it is, you can no longer just be “good” at kiteboarding, you need to set yourself apart. Thinking outside of the box and drawing interest to you and your riding is critical. Everyone can do
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Learn - Be a sponge, take in everything you can. In kiteboarding and life, being multifaceted is key. “I don’t know” should be music to your ears. If you do not know how to do something, learn it. Look it up. Better your ability and what you can offer. In this amazing sport you have access to so many outlooks on and walks of life. It is your moral responsibility to expand your horizons and realize that in the grand scheme of things you really don’t know shit! Buy Drinks - Always buy the first round of shots. Always. Bite the bullet of buying the entire group a round of shots first. This ensures that you will drink for free the rest of the night. As the night goes on and your friends are starting to get a little hazy, they won’t remember who bought the 5th or 6th round but they sure as shit won’t
Don’t take things too Seriously - The most important thing to do on a team trip is to have fun. Don’t stress out when something is not working. Everyone has a bad form sometimes, but don’t let this ruin the whole day. Try something else instead to clear your mind. Nobody is perfect and everybody knows that, so just stay chilled and have a great time.
forget who bought the first. Not only that but remember the most important things in life aren’t things, a big truck doesn’t mean anything if you don’t have any friends to ride around with you. Foil - There was a time when I too thought I was too cool to foil. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Foiling opens up the lower end of the wind spectrum and really enables you to have fun when the boots just can’t cut it. It’s the best of both worlds. I can get pretty angsty if I miss out on water time, foiling has really enabled me to get out on the water and just enjoy kiteboarding even more. Not only does it allow me to kite more but it also makes me appreciate wakestyle sessions that much more. It’s opened my eyes to a lot of different things and for that I will always have a foil in my quiver. Hinterbergers - Just don’t do them, they’re ugly. Simple as that.
SAM LIGHT + PALS
arrive at a remote destination is to forget the power cable for your computer. Dealing With Riders - When you’re trying to shoot photos or video of pro kiteboarders remember that most of them move very slowly. If you have ideas explain your ideas and stress the importance of different locations or lighting conditions. Don’t buy your rider a 12 pack of beer the night before you film.
PATRICK WIELAND (TOKEN PHOTOGRAPHER) Travel Advice - Pack light but don’t forget anything. Double check your hard drives, cables, memory cards, lenses and power cables. The last thing you want when you
Different Angles - I see this time and time again. Don’t film every trip from the same angle. Move around! Try to get creative with foreground shots and backgrounds. If the background is really busy and ugly looking, change your angle.
More is Less - Just because you can make a video five minutes long doesn’t mean you have to. If there is any doubt that a clip isn’t good or isn’t needed don’t use it because it probably isn’t. Find a song that is upbeat but also has some good dramatic sections to really draw the viewer in. Remember It’s kiteboarding and everything that can go wrong will go wrong. You’re dealing with so many different variables so if it’s sunny and windy make sure you’re on it! When all the variables do come together magic can happen. Set goals for the trip, but also remember to just go with the flow and see what happens.
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TA N G L E D
L I N E S
TA K E S O N A L L- CO M E R S A N D M A N A G E S TO
COVER SOME OF THE MORE SERIOUS ISSUES FACING THE PLANET, A S W E L L A S T R U M P , ‘ T R U M P I N G ’ , A N D W E D G I E S . G O O D E F F O RT.
JAMES BOULDING We’ve noticed your boyfriend Craig Cunningham rocking the most interesting of moustaches, is that a turn on or have you not quite mustered up the courage to tell him to get rid yet?
Oh I’ve told him that it’s got to go, he just likes it too much to care at the moment…
What attracts you to riding on the big chunks of plastic that we like to refer to as sliders?
Growing up snowboarding I always enjoyed riding in the terrain parks so when I started getting more into kiting and saw the Hood River Slider Park, it was love at first sight. In addition to it being a natural progression from my other boardsports, for me kiting in the park is more social than other disciplines in kiteboarding. You’re all concentrated in one area taking turns hitting the features, watching each other, getting stoked and feeding off those vibes.
How do you keep your bikini on when doing freestyle tricks?
Sensi Graves Bikinis! Of course there is the occasional unwanted wedgie or strap slip but for the most part I chose the most secure SG Bikinis from the range to ride in, and for the most part they really do stay where I want them.
What song best describes you?
I am the Walrus, by the Beatles. SAM MEDYSKY
So Colleen you’re now with my Canadian boy the one and only Craig “Dover” Cunningham. Are you guys gonna settle in Canada or USA?
USA all the way! Hood River is where we’d both like to call home some day.
(North marketing aficionado) How would you like to see women’s kitesurfing evolve, both the contest scene and as a sport in general?
On a broader scale, I’d love to see women’s participation in kiteboarding match that of men’s. The numbers are increasing every year but for me there is no reason why there shouldn’t be just as many women on the water in every discipline and age demographic. In the contest scene and the ‘pro world’, again I’d like to see greater equality in participation, and I’d also like to see more female driven projects. Whether that’s for videos, articles, trips, events etc. I really like seeing and feeling that ‘crew’ vibe amongst female riders.
Do you think there should be more female specific kite gear?
When it comes to gear that has to fit specific body types, the ladies definitely need something that is designed with more than just the ‘shrink it and pink it’ mantra. I’ve been stoked to work more closely with ION recently to develop a sophisticated and performance-based range of women’s products to suit every female kiter’s needs. As for kite gear, I don’t personally feel the need to have a women’s specific kite or bar for example. To me it is more important that my gear is versatile and tuneable, two characteristics that the North range hits right on the head. I can adjust everything I want to with my kit – something that I think is important for women, men and groms alike.
If you weren’t a kiteboarding phenomenon then what would you be doing with your life?
I’d like to think I’d be working in the renewable energy industry. This is what I went to school to do and not only do I find it interesting, I also feel that increasing our use of renewable energies and advancing technologies is incredibly important.
Colleen we share a lot of similar views on food, environment, and health. In all of your travels what is the most prevalent environmental problem you see?
Plastic! Single use plastic is overused and irresponsibly managed everywhere I go. It kills me every time I go to a market and they want to pack everything in individual plastic bags even though I’ve brought my own. It can be difficult while traveling to minimize the use of plastic – especially in countries where you can’t drink the water – but in my view we all need to make every effort possible.
What is one big difference between going on a trip with the whole crew compared to an all girls trip?
Just one? Probably the farting. NOE FONT
When was the last time you were too lazy to go to work?
Haha, I guess the term ‘work’ is used loosely here… There have been plenty of days where I’ve woken up so sore and beaten from the previous day’s session that it has been difficult to get up and do it all over again. But for the most part I can’t wait for ‘work’.
If Trump gets into power will you move to Canada?
Absolutely. I’ve already decided that Squamish would be a pretty sweet spot to live.
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ON THE LIST P HOTO M AR K MOORE
L I ST
If you grab a map and take a look at that large expanse of water known as the Atlantic Ocean then – if you squint – you will also spot a small cluster of islands around 100km west of Morocco. This is the volcanic archipelago of the Canary Islands, and the most favored of these for those engaged in the activity we like to call ‘kiteboarding’, is Fuerteventura. The name Fuerteventura apparently has its origins in the Spanish translation of ‘big adventure’. What more do you need to know?
Err, is it windy? A perfect starting point. Yes, it is windy. The windiest time is between April and September when the wind’s a dead cert. The strength of the wind depends on where you are on the island – the south is windier, particularly in winter, while the north has lighter days in the summer. Nice. And the weather? Yup: no complaints there. We’re talking 300+ days of sunshine. Winter averages are around the 19 degree mark and summer around 24, so not ‘fry an egg on your hire car’ hot, but generally pretty pleasant. I like to ride in the waves and my mate’s a freestyler – will we both be happy? Tricky one. There are truly world class wave spots and there are some excellent flat-water freestyle spots and lagoons, but 48 | TheKiteMag
they are on different parts of the island… The north and east coasts get most of the waves and the legendary road along the north of the island will turn up an insane number of options for the experienced waverider. Then in the south you have Sotavento which is freestyle central and has a nice lagoon at high tide to keep things smooth. But, there are also some versatile spots – such as Flag Beach – where you can do both. Plus, it’s an island, so there is plenty to explore and hundreds of rideable spots to discover… Sounds perfect? It is pretty perfect, although we haven’t mentioned the lava rock launches and ‘no error’ landings for the wave spots, or the ‘gusty as hell’ and ‘pretty crowded’ freestyle scene. But we’ll leave that nitpicking for now. So, I’m picturing idyllic beaches, sleepy little villages and that sense of a bygone era – I’m guessing everywhere is pretty
FUERTEVENTURA, CANARY ISLANDS
chilled right? Hmmm. Kind of. If you’ve got a hire car and even a very slight sense of adventure then you can easily find yourself somewhere with that kind of a vibe. Alternatively there are a whole load of very well equipped and very experienced kite centers with plenty of accommodation options either as part of the center or they can arrange accommodation for you. In the south you have one of Europe’s most popular centers in René Egli and to the north there are centers such as Flag Beach which can ensure that you are able to capitalize on all that Fuerte has to offer. BUT stray further afield and you could be in for a shock…
TH E S E G U YS DIG IT. P H OTO V K WC
P H OTO: V K WC
Really? Why’s that? Well, aside from their fantastic sun and wind stats, the Canary Islands also have a rep for a slightly less savory reason: package holiday hell. While not as bad as Tenerife or Lanzarote, you probably want to stay clear of anywhere with a high density of high rise hotels and apartment blocks, as here you will probably also find plenty of ‘All Day English Breakfasts’, packed pubs and sunburnt skin. Maybe worth dipping in to for a night out – but don’t make a habit of it. And am I likely to find a few wind-loving kindred spirits out there? Yes, for sure. The main freestyle beaches can get busy but places like Sotavento can handle it. For waveriding there are the popular spots which can get a little bit stressed – but you will probably be more freaked out by the double overhead bombs breaking over the reef than the proximity of your fellow kiters. Although watch out for the windsurfers – they can get pretty angry…
Anything else? Not really – it should definitely be on your ‘prime destinations within five hours of most European capitals list’. Possibly at the top of it…
V I T A L S
So you have one main airport, El Matorral, which serves over 5 million sun seeking travelers each year and to which you will find plenty of flights from across Europe. You can seek out a cheap package (although you might struggle with kit – time for a split board maybe!) or there are budget airlines who fly there. Alternatively, you can get the ferry there from North Africa – now that’s part of a proper road trip… Check the wind stats and you should be able to work it out. North coast in winter pack a 12m, south coast in summer and you might want to put a 3m trainer kite in.
IN THE BAG:
NOT IN THE BAG:
A hard drive full of Box Sets for long journeys.
Yes, if you are from Northern Europe a shorty or a 3mm rashie, if you are from anywhere else then something sensible like a 3/2 fullsuit.
€2.50 / $2.65 / £1.90
M O S T L I K E LY T O H E A R : “Why have we never been here before?!” L E A S T L I K E LY T O H E A R : “No sir, that’s fine, you can take two 32kg bags at no extra cost.”
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PREVIEW: TRIPLE S
Preview: Triple S The Pinnacle of Park Riding By Brian Wheeler What do you get when you combine a state-of-the-art slider park, butter-smooth flatwater, and the top 32 park riders on the planet with $50,000 in prize money and a weeklong lineup of bands and raging parties? None other than the 11th annual Wind Voyager Triple-S Invitational. Set to run June 4 to 10th at the world-class locale of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. And this year’s event features a number of exciting changes… Given its invite-only nature, the Triple-S has long been the most exclusive kiting event in the sport. And this year it got even more elite, as the cap on riders dropped a whopping 10 spots, making competition for the coveted invitees fierce like never before. Traditionally, in years past, riders that competed in the event would usually return in subsequent years. For 2016, however, organizers updated the entry process, where only the top 16 men and top four women from last year’s event prequalified. “Staying true to their track record, REAL Watersports has once again thrown everyone a curve ball by mixing up the invite list for this year,” commented Colleen Carroll, the #1 seeded women’s rider, “which in effect will raise the bar for everyone. Although I am a bit disappointed to see a few of my friends not make the list this year, in my opinion this was a good move and should allow for more fresh blood to come into the event and put pressure on all the riders.” The top 20 lineup includes: 3x reigning champion Sam Light alongside Billy Parker, Brandon Scheid, James Boulding, Christophe Tack, Eric Rienstra, Aaron Hadlow, Rich Sabo, Ewan Jaspan, Sam Medysky, Craig Cunningham, Andre Phillip, Artem Garashchenko, Tom Court, Jake Kelsick, and Alex Fox. And on the women’s side, 4x reigning champion Colleen Carroll, along with Sensi Graves, Victoria Soloveykina, and Lindsay McClure. An additional six invites
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went out to Axel Tack, Finn Behrens, Maciek Lewandowski, Noè Font, Karolina Winkowska and Bruna Kajiya. As in years past, anyone else looking to compete had two chances to bag an invite: 1) by winning one of three invites in the Wildcard Video Contest, which took place in April on TripleSinvitational.com; or 2) by winning one of three invites in the Wind Voyager Triple-S Open, where up to 32 riders from around the world will throw down June 3-4. This year’s video contest saw 19 submissions, with wildcards going to one woman, Annelous Lammerts from the Netherlands, and two men, Chris Bobryk and Tobias Hölter. Another change for 2016 is an extra $10,000 in prize money, thanks to the new title sponsor, Wind Voyager – a luxury catamaran with its sails set for virgin kiting locations around the world. Additionally, like last year, the event features an all-slider format, where riders will be judged upon their topscoring trick on each of the five features in the REAL Slider Park. Athletes will get 2-3 attempts per feature, and the event will include a qualifying round, followed by semifinals and a final. Reflecting on the event ahead, top seed Sam Light remarked, “I’m really excited about this year’s event, the level of competition has gone through the roof the last few years. I’m pleased that the event is all about the sliders now, it makes sense as it’s the best park in the world! I think as the prize money has gone up people have taken it more seriously, and this year there is a lot of hungry riders. There’s also a few riders from the tour who are getting more involved in the park events so it will be a really good event this year!” Next issue you can expect an in-depth look at what went down, along with the best shots from the event courtesy of two of the industry’s finest photographers, Toby Bromwich and Lance Koudele.
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As the main men behind Light Bros Creative, Forest Bakker and Julien Leleu have turned their passion for kiting and for shooting clips into a career. They now produce commercials, documentaries and branded content, as well as the more familiar lifestyle and adventure material on which Light Bros Creative built its rep. Forest reflects on the journey from putting together three minute kite clips through to shooting video for Real Madridâ€Ś Photos: Courtesy RRD
r e k k a B t Fores
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How did you guys begin working together on Light Bros? It was back in 2013, the exact moment I can’t remember well – I’m pretty sure Julien and I met on a night out trying to flirt with the same girl! From that moment on we just kept in touch and next thing I know he moved down to Tarifa to pursue his dream. He was young to the sport and his motivation was on fire, this really helped me to keep pushing my kiting career. I was just coming back from a knee injury, and a bit of motivation from him was what I needed. That same year we decided to do a little video project in Brazil. And that would mark the start of our collaboration as filmmakers, our deal was simple: he would keep me motivated to push my kiting career and in exchange I would teach him the art of filmmaking!
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P R O F I L E : L I G H T B R O S C R E AT I V E
So you have travelled together and produced content and developed the brand through that? Yes, traveling has always been our greatest teacher, and experiences we have learned along the way have led us to find a passion to document our adventures. Those stories inspired others and now we find ourselves with more than 40 clients that want their stories to be told by us. The future is still young and I can’t wait to see where it will take us! Are you mainly based in Tarifa? Well the company office is in Madrid because that’s where we get most of our projects from. But Tarifa is our creative hub… The atmosphere, the beach, and the wind is what keeps us going. We go down every weekend to recharge and get inspired for our next projects!
Can you tell us about the kind of ‘non-kite’ projects you work on? At the moment we’ve been lucky enough to work in several TV commercials, branded content and documentaries. Recently we shot a video for Real Madrid. This has been a massive step in our professional career. TheKiteMag | 55
How does working on commercial projects differ from working on kite projects? The biggest difference is the budget! We come from a world where we would do the most out of the smallest possible budgets. However kite videos will always be the roots that fueled Light Bros so we never say no when we get the opportunity to work on one. Another big difference is commercial projects have an extended pre-production phase where we do all the preparations, story boards, scripts, etc. This is something we wouldnâ€™t do before. Kite videos were very spontaneous. Now thanks to our experiences we approach kiting projects from a different angle and we try to get as much done in pre-production as possible.
What set ups do you have for filming? We just recently added a Red Dragon and a Phantom 4 to our arsenal. We also have an FS700 for super slow motion shots (great for kiting) and other toys to make the shots stand out.
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P R O F I L E : L I G H T B R O S C R E AT I V E
Is it a difficult business to work in? It’s definitely not an easy business. Being on set is stressful at times and there is a lot of troubleshooting involved. Also creativity can be a pain in the ass! It comes and goes just like the wind… But when everything finally comes together there is nothing more rewarding.
A lot of kiters travel with a DSLR that can shoot video nowadays – what would be your top tips for making the most of this and getting come content together for a clip? Making top notch videos has never been so accessible. Nowadays it’s easy to shoot HD videos, almost anyone can do them. The real difficult part is getting those special shots. I think that the most important thing is to be creative and think a bit outside the box. Steady and simple shots are boring. Framing a dynamic shot is key: think about what can be in the foreground and background (I usually like shooting low to get a bit of that beach in my shot). Also, a very important factor to take into considerations, is the light. The typical thing to do is shoot early mornings or late afternoons. But sometimes hard shaded people look more tanned and the water usually looks much more blue around noon. So keep those little things in mind next time you take your DSLR for a ride. There are no exact rules!
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You’ve both had different sponsors but are now with RRD – how’s that working out? Yes, since the beginning Julien and I have had different sponsors and it was difficult for us to work together on some projects because we would never get a brand to agree on a co-production. Finally, after three years, RRD has given us a massive opportunity. We are stronger together and this can be seen in our productions.
Which RRD kit are you riding and what are the features that you like about it? We fell in love with the new Obsession Pro MK3 and the Juice V3 board. In our opinion both of these have had massive improvements and make up the best freestyle quiver out there.
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P R O F I L E : L I G H T B R O S C R E AT I V E
You were both out in Cape Town – how was it hanging out with the RRD team? It’s been amazing to spend quality time with the RRD family. You can definitely see how CT has influenced the development of the gear. Roberto is a great person to work with and his passion can be seen every time he comes up with a new product. Hanging out with them made us feel closer to the brand. They’ve welcomed us in the best possible way. Plus RRD have always had a delicate eye for art. (Maybe it’s because they are Italian!) We are working on some creative projects together with them and we’re excited to see the outcome! It’s always nice to collaborate with a talented team that share the same vision, and above all we feel lucky to be riding the best kites out there.
What are your plans for the summer? This summer we have several trips planned to Sri Lanka, Tanzania, the Caribbean and Dakhla. We are looking forward to bringing all of those projects to life!
Where do you see yourselves in five years and what would be your ultimate goal? Currently we are working on a documentary that personally means a lot. I can’t tell what it is now but my next goal is getting it featured on the big screen. Other than that, in five years’ time we would definitely like the community of Light Bros Creative to grow into something bigger that’s making a whole lot of noise and inspiring the world with its videos!
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S T U F F W E L I K E T H E L O O K O F
Airush Switch The Switch has been Airush’s best-selling twin tip for many years. And for good reason: It’s the most versatile and comfortoriented twin tip they make and pushes all the right buttons for an incredibly broad range of riders. The 2016 model offers a reduced weight for a more precise feel, a new 3D deck for optimized flex, and a wider outline for enhanced upwind performance.
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Liquid Force Carbon Element Is this twin tip porn? It’s probably about as close as you get. Liquid Force’s trailblazing Element is given the carbon treatment. Designed by Jimmy Redmond working alongside Chris Tack, this is the ultimate freestyle machine.
Nobile Flying Carpet Split We can all appreciate the sense in splitting a board in half to save on air fares and to make it easier to fit into the trunk of the ridiculously small hire car you ended up with (should’ve spent the extra €5 a day), and it makes even more sense the bigger you go… So, although the 160cm Flying Carpet is a serious amount of twin tip real estate, perfect for light days but a bit of a chunker to lug around, 2 x 80cm mini-twin tips are an absolute joy…
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RRD Passion MK8 The Passion draws on all of the experience of the RRD team to produce the ultimate all-rounder. The MK8 delivers smooth predictable power on an incredibly stable platform. Moving from five struts down to three for this latest edition has resulted in a lighter kite with improved low end, and you can get the Passion in sizes 17m down to 3m, so true kiteboarding fun for everyone…
Dakine Ranger Duffle The Ranger Duffle is available in 90 and 60 Liters and is the kind of intelligent bag you need to cause you minimal hassle while you’re trying to negotiate the rest of your kit through check in. There are plenty of pockets, it has straps so you can wear it as a rucksack and – once you’re done with it – the whole thing handily packs into the end pocket for easy storage. It’s a bag Tardis…
AXIS Limited Imagine the top-end and then imagine what is above that and you will find the AXIS Limited. This is the no-cutcorners, no-expense-spared board in the AXIS range. For 2016 it keeps the outline, channels and rocker of the 2015 model, but with a completely redesigned profile and with the new FAT Rail.
Ozone R1 The rise of foil boarding has suddenly opened up a whole new realm of kit. Amongst the many items now on a kiter’s wish-list is likely to be a couple of foil kites for lightwind/superefficient use. The R1 ticks all of the boxes for intermediate to advanced riders and racers who want to know they are getting every possible ounce of power from their kite… It’s a serious kite for serious riders. And the V2 was out in force at the recent Hydrofoil Pro Tour so watch this space...
Blade Trigger The 8th generation Trigger builds on the worldly experience of its predecessors and guarantees highly refined all-round performance. We have had one on test (for next issue…) and – not to give too much away – but once again we have been truly impressed by an offering from the Blade stable. They are a brand who are very much on the up.
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Ocean Rodeo Mako For 2016 Ocean Rodeo’s bestselling freeride twin tip, the Mako, has had a full rework. The 18mm rail to rail concave provides smooth, fast progress through chop and intensifies power in turns providing deep and dependable carving ability. It’s a twin tip for the ‘real world’ and turns those imperfect days into a potential-filled skatepark.
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Manera – EXO
Manera – SENSO
Manera’s EXO harness builds on the same technologies that they have worked with since they first introduced their harness range two years ago. For 2016 changes have been made in both the structure and the materials, further improving both comfort and durability. Manera’s design team looked for the best possible materials in terms of look, colors and durability and utilized those that they thought would work the best, including rip stops, PU, 600D, soft touch and premium neoprenes. At the heart of the EXO is the Energy Dispersion Frame, a hexagonal structure built with various stiffness and volume degrees to control its flex and resistance. Its main advantage is that it is connected directly to the spreader bar so directly transfers the load and therefore receives 100% of the kite power thus distributing the pressure over a much wider area. The EXO has been rigorously tested to perform in even the most extreme conditions.
As with the EXO, the SENSO benefits form Manera’s Ergonomic Prefit, so it is designed to perfectly fit the natural curves of the back and adapt actively to your movements during riding. This ergonomic shape provides freedom, flexibility and softness, while minimizing friction areas. To ensure optimum comfort during action, the EXO & SENSO harnesses are preformed, which means the ergonomic shape of the harness is built into each layer of material during manufacturing. This product fits perfectly and protects you from injuries and from friction right from the first use. A supremely comfortable and well-functioning harness evolution.
€249 | $279 | £199
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€199 | $219 | £169
ION – APEX
RRD – THRIVE
Targeted at experienced and well-rounded riders looking for a supple yet supportive ride no matter whether they are riding in the waves, the race or the freeride session ahead. The APEX is ION’s benchmark harness for quality, comfort and all-round top performance. It features the X-Spine Stress reducer, an Internal Flex-Belt to keep your harness in place when unhooked, and an Invisible-Seam Ridge for free and smooth material transitions.
The Thrive harness has more curve in the vertical line and is best suited to riders with a more curved lower back by nature or riders that prefer a more upright position. So it is best suited to free-riding and to down-the-line wave riding. It features ultrasoft neoprene on the inside, a fully molded EVA outer and a quick release closure to ensure that you don’t waste any time getting on or off the water…
$230 | € - Check Local Dealer | £170
€197 | $225 | £155
ION – VERTEX SELECT
RRD – SENSE
Also known as ‘the Twist harness’, the VERTEX SELECT is jam-packed with high tech features, making it the perfect harness for waves. This year ION have added the new WireTec and its complementing X-Spine technology for balancing the load distribution. Then there is Memory Foam to create an ergonomic fit every time, the X-Spine Stress reducer for the spine made from X-shaped and thermo molded EVA protection, and the new Neo-Belt for improved flex, twist and comfort.
The Sense harness is a harness for ladies with style both in and out of the water. It is tailored for the female figure and has a slightly flatter lower back section so that it can comfortably handle plenty of power. It is equipped with all of the main features found across RRD’s harness range, including the molded EVA outer, pre-shaped internal plate reinforced with fiberglass battens and the spreader protector with a 20mm foam rail.
$290 | € - Check Local Dealer | £200
€204 | $233 | £160
ION – HUMMER
RRD – SHIFT PRO
Targeted squarely at the hardcore freestyle fanatic looking for a super solid and reliable harness, the HUMMER is the result of years of innovative evolution and continuous improvement. It offers outstanding performance, superb freedom of movement and solid support. The Neo-Belt offers improved flex, twist and comfort, the Flex-Cut provides a slim outline to enhance freedom for sideways flex and the Inside-Eva Internal EVA construction provides optimized comfort.
The Shift Pro is the choice for riders with a flatter lower back shape for an ergonomic fit when riding with a lot of power. It works best when the rail is dug in deep and the kite is low. The fiberglass reinforcements inside are positioned to correspond with a low kite angle and focus the pressure to where it’s most comfortable. The convex curved lower edge of the harness (Flexcurve) is more flexible and designed to stay in contact with the rider during a wide variety of tricks. This makes the Shift Pro about as versatile a harness as you can get.
$260 | € - Check Local Dealer | £150
€232 | $265 | £182
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NP – 3D
NP – BOMB
The NP 3D harness offers maximum support due to its unique pre-bent shape that comfortably wraps around your body. The Back Base system provides support where it’s needed most, while the cushioned interior matches the concave shape of your lower back perfectly. NP have also designed this harness to reduce rubbing when worn so have hidden stitches on the inner back and hip area to avoid chaffing. This harness offers maximum support in a hard flex feel.
The NP Bomb is a multi-sport harness designed for those long sessions. The Bomb offers a perfectly balanced combination of support, comfort and light weight. The ergonomically designed shape with lumbar support provides great stability while the inner EVA pattern ensures the harness always stays in place. Features are as the 3D but designed with medium flex and medium stiffness. The Bomb is NP’s best seller and a favorite with the team!
€159.95 | $189.99 | £119.95
€149.95 | $149.99 | £109.95
NP – MIRAGE
NP – RAVEN
The Mirage is NP’s ultimate freestyle multi-sport harness. The unique contour and low cut side panels allow for extreme maneuverability and freedom of movement, while lumbar support and padded hips provide maximum comfort. A medium supported harness with a soft flexible feel.
The NP Raven is a true beauty in design. Its supreme looks, ultra-comfortable fit and unique Back Base lumbar support system make this an incredibly luxurious ladies harness. Designed specifically with the unique demands and body shape of female riders in mind.
€ 139.95 | $ 139.99 | £105.95
€119.95 | $114.99 | £89.95
NP – SPREADER BARS With NP you buy your harness without a spreader bar and can then choose the spreader bar which will work best for you. Both of these bars are constructed entirely out of forged aluminum construction for best strength to weight balance and anti-corrosion properties. Incredibly strong and light, the S1’s unique shape allows for an even load distribution. A smooth finish with no sharp edges completes the unique design.
NP – S1 KITE EZ
NP – S1 TRACKER EZ
A classic hook design especially shaped for kiteboarding and safe security finger attachment. Features include a rounded shape hook with a deep curve allowing the chicken loop to attach securely reducing the chance of accidental unhooking and a channel to allow the security finger to freely travel up through the hook and to prevent it from disconnecting. It is compatible with most chicken loops and security fingers and has three attachment points to the spreader bar for maximum strength and stability.
Bends the rules in spreader bar design. It has a pivoting hook which reduces the torque load experienced when a kite starts pulling with a side vector to the body. The spring powered hook effectively makes the connection point much closer to the rider, negating sideways forces experienced during turns or toe-side riding. The hook self-centers once the load is removed, making hooking in after performing unhooked tricks easier. The S1 Tracker completes the harness to bar connection, reduces load points and stabilizes harness movement.
€89.95 | $89.99 | £69.95
€109.95 | $108.99 | £89.95
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Mystic – MAJESTIC
The Legend is a new one of a kind harness which combines simplicity and flexibility. Mystic developed a unique concept which they call the Flymould; they thought of a traditional harness, then threw away all of the various layers and combined them into one single piece. The Flyweb (an ergonomically designed backplate with extra spinal inserts) then ensures that the force of the kite is evenly distributed over the Flymould which allows you to stay on the water for longer.
Mystic’s top-end harness has an enviable reputation and is packed with features. The core of the Majestic harness is an ergonomically shaped back support, the shape and design of which is the result of years of research and development on the water, with strong polyester webbing strategically placed on the back support to spread extreme loads evenly. The Majestic is equipped with the Clickerbar 3.0 so it really does just take one click and you are ready to ride! The low torque fixation is specially designed by Mystic to prevent the spreader bar from any upward rotation, then the memory foam forms perfectly around your body giving an incredibly comfortable fit.
€240 | $280 | £170
€260 | $298 | £180
Mystic – WARRIOR
Mystic – DRIP
The Warrior has been the bestselling and most comfortable harness in the Mystic harness collection since day one. It’s built to withstand the toughest conditions and features the Multi Hook Clickerbar 3.0 which, with its low torque fixation, is specially designed by Mystic to prevent the spreader bar from any upward rotation. Then there is the Battle Belt waist enclosure to ensure that the harness doesn’t move around and soft neoprene edges for maximum comfort.
The Drip is a feature-packed, all round harness for general use. It has an Anatomical Backplate, 3D contoured neoprene interior, comfortable foam panels and soft neoprene edges. It also benefits from the Multi Hook Clickerbar 3.0 to get you into and out of your harness with minimal hassle and has the Battle Belt waist closure to prevent the harness from moving out of position. The Spreader Down system then prevents the spreader bar from riding up and pushing on your ribs.
€230 | $275 | £160
€180 | $205 | £115
Mystic – LEGEND
Mystic – DIVA BRUNA KAJIYA
Mystic – DUTCHESS
What more do you need to know about a female specific harness than that it has been developed and ridden by one of the most iconic riders of recent times, Bruna Kajiya? The harness is engineered specifically for the female figure and has soft edges, perfect for the female body. The HP system is included with plastic tube to make sure the Handlepass leash glides smoothly from side to side and is reinforced with Dyneema rope.
The Dutchess benefits from Mystic’s top-end features and harness tech and is designed with female riders in mind. The Clickerbar 3.0 has four attachment points on the harness enabling you to easily adjust the tension on the spreader bar using the top or the bottom straps. The height of the back and the waistline are designed for the female form and the Dutchess also features a detachable handle which can be used during tuition.
€220 | $245 | £150
€170 | $195 | £110
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Ride Engine – BLACK CARBON KATANA This sleek and sexy hard shell harness is built around a carbon fiber and Kevlar backplate. The stiffest and lightest of Ride Engine’s three models, the Elite Carbon series provides the ultimate locked-in feeling for riders looking for a harness that fuses with their back and lumbar and won’t shift from side to side or ride up. The Katana was designed to address the problems of harnesses that were not built to handle the specific loads and angles of kiteboarding, and exemplifies how a kitespecific harness should look, feel and perform. It can be paired with the sliding rope, carbon or fixed hook spreader bar. $349 | £330 | € - Check Local Dealer
Ozone – CONNECT BACKCOUNTRY The Connect Backcountry harness has been designed for comfort and support while remaining clean, simple and lightweight. It is an incredibly comfortable waist harness with leg straps and is ideal for experienced backcountry snowkiters venturing deep into the mountains, or riders looking for a lightweight comfortable fit alternative to the classic spreader bar system. The Connect Backcountry has been designed like a rock climbing harness so that it will not ride up. $170 | £110 | € - Check Local Dealer
Ride Engine – PATRICK REBSTOCK PRO Patrick Rebstock is one of the world’s hardest-charging kitesurfers and has been a key Ride Engine collaborator since the beginning. Rebstock pairs his signature hard shell harness with Ride Engine’s carbon sliding rope spreader bar for ultimate support, freedom, and range of motion in the waves. This setup will take your game in the waves to the next level. The Rebstock Pro features a blended carbon, Kevlar and fiberglass shell that fits in the middle of the Ride Engine’s lineup in terms of stiffness, weight and price. It can be paired with the sliding rope, carbon or fixed hook spreader bar. $299 | £300 | € - Check Local Dealer
Ozone – CONNECT PRO The Connect Pro harness is ideal for all snow or land kiters with the added support and ease of use of a Stainless Steel spreader bar. This comfortable waist harness includes removable leg straps making it a versatile harness on the snow or land, and it has been engineered so that it will not ride up. Designed for comfort, support and flexibility in use, the Connect Pro is perfect to wear over or under your snow gear. . $250 | £190 | € - Check Local Dealer
Ride Engine – GREEN HEX CORE Ride Engine’s Hex Core hard shell harness features a stiff injection-molded shell contoured to marry with the lumbar curves in your lower back. This design helps lock the harness in place and keeps it from sliding from side to side or riding up. The hard shell also provides significantly more support and spreads load evenly through your back and sides, rather than buckling and pinching under pressure as other harnesses can. Although still quite stiff, the Hex Core is the most flexible of Ride Engine’s three Armor Harness models. It can be paired with the sliding rope, carbon or fixed hook spreader bar. $249 | £250 | € - Check Local Dealer
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Brunotti – SMARTSHELL In the Smartshell, Brunotti have developed a super lightweight frame that supports your body and eliminates multiple layers. By stripping all other unnecessary parts they ended up with harnesses that combine top-of-class support with the lowest mass. The 360 Smartframe then acts like a force distributer, distributing the forces all around your body and eliminating hotspots (where too much force is applied to the body), thereby maximizing comfort and control. €220 | $ & £ - Check Local Dealer
Prolimit – PREDATOR
Everyone has a different body shape and Liquid Force’s Arc harness addresses this head on with easy fit customization features. Utilizing the memory foam lumbar support, adjustable back support, and the internal pressure dispersing full wrap suspension, comfort is simple to attain. Combine this with exclusive Liquid Force harness features such as the single adjust spreader bar clamp, rash guard technology and a pre curved spreader bar pad and you have an incredibly comfortable harness…
The Prolimit Predator is a top-end waist harness with medium height back support and lots of freedom of movement. It is a Hybrid Technology constructed harness, and the molded parts are stitched together using their Predator X-Frame to get an optimized 3D shape. The unique neoprene four point inner belt prevents the harness riding up whilst riding, and the slide-in bar and pad makes sure that the dual webbing FAT spreader bar stays in place and eliminates the potential danger of hurting your ribs. The Duracore straps are made of the same material as your car’s safety belt and are indestructible, then the Predator features multiple leash connections to suit the requirements of any type of rider.
$230 | £180 | € - Check local dealer
€229 | $209 | £149
Liquid Force – ARC
Prolimit – WAVE
The Solo is a lightweight and incredibly easy to use harness. Liquid Force’s plan was to eliminate all of the unnecessary material and over-built ideas and to strip things back to achieve a high performance harness with a weight saving advantage. Minimum weight but maximum performance…
Sliding wave harness technology is Prolimit’s new concept in wave riding harnesses. This rotating and sliding harness is designed to create more freedom of movement and the possibility to rotate further into your turns like you are surfing. The harness slides around your body when you do a bottom turn or if you hit the lip. This results in more powerful turns, easier riding and more control on the wave.
$180 | £140 | € - Check local dealer
€199 | $209 | £139
Liquid Force – SOLO
Prolimit – KITEWAIST MOULDED
The Supreme harness delivers supreme fit, comfort, and support. Offering a fuller outline and higher back, the Supreme delivers increased stability. It also has also has dual safety leash releases, the exclusive Liquid Force Locking Cam Strap, and all of the other premium features found in Liquid Force harnesses.
A new molded waist harness with optimized molded support, this is a light and durable harness with a minimalistic approach but with all the features you need for everyday riding. The Kitewaist is 3D shaped and pre-curved for comfort and support, has the low absorption internal EZ waist belt, a high load optimized outline profile and Pro Limit’s Patented Pin Release (PLT) bar system.
$200| £155 | € - Check local dealer
€179 | $159 | £119
Liquid Force – SUPREME
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Dakine – C1 The C1 is a new harness from Dakine for 2016 and their first hardshell offering. It features their unique Adaptive Fit Composite with Texon® counter/stiffener which offers exceptional support for the back without there being any pressure points on the center or the side of the harness. There’s memory foam to ensure maximum comfort, then their independent primary and secondary power belt to really get it locked in tight. The C1 can be ridden with either the Hammerhead or the Maniac sliding spreader bar. €270 | $300 | £240
Dakine – PYRO The Pyro is DaKine’s top end harness and has set the standard for many years. If you are looking for a truly dependable harness with hundreds of hours of R&D behind it then look no further. For 2016 it has the Memory Foam inner and spreader bar webbing hold down strap, and the Pyro continues to set the bar for top-end harness tech. The Pyro can be ridden with either the Hammerhead or the Maniac sliding spreader bar.
Dakine – HYBRID RENEGADE The 2016 Hybrid Renegade is a true evolution of one of the most popular harnesses on the market. There is a Hybrid dual density pre-curved support structure to give heaps of support and enable you to really lock the harness in, then there is the spreader bar hold down webbing strap, and the Power Clip Lock buckle system for maximum security. The Renegade has been one of Dakine’s best sellers for many years, and for good reason… €180 | $200 | £130
Dakine – FUSION The Fusion is Dakine’s seat harness and sets the standard by which all other seat harnesses are judged! Featuring the Power Clip Lock buckle system, Hammerhead spreader bar and their 8-Point load dispersion system, the Fusion has evolved over many years into the comfiest and most functional seat harness you could ever hope for.
€210 | $240 | £165
€175 | $220 |£135
Dakine – CHAMELEON
Dakine – WAHINE
The ultimate in harness versatility can easily be transformed from a seat into a waist harness ensuring that those starting out get maximum value from their harness... For 2016 the Chameleon offers great back support with the integrated precurved P.E.B. and ES foam support, as well as multiple leash attachment options and an integrated handle to give you plenty of confidence when you are starting out.
Designed with the unique demands of female kiters in mind, the Wahine packs in all of the top-end features that can be found across the range. So there is now the memory foam inner to release pressure points and ensure maximum comfort, as well as the Pre-Curved P.E.B. inner support structure and the independent primary and secondary power belts. Maximum comfort and maximum functionality for female riders.
€150 |$170 | £115
€155 | $170 | £120
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Naish – ARSENAL The next evolution in maximum support harnesses, the lightweight Arsenal conforms to the body with molded memory foam padding along the spine and an ergonomically shaped structure. A superb choice for a wide range of body types, the Arsenal’s wider shape evenly distributes pull – ideal during powered up or overpowered riding. Double spreader bar straps lock the bar securely into place while strategic contouring and memory foam on the spreader bar provide a more comfortable fit.
The Reefer Series from Airush encourages you to connect more strongly to the environment and to push your own boundaries ever harder. The Reefer harness has this attitude at its core and with features such as the Dual Adjustment Waist belt – which helps to keep the harness locked in for your most extreme maneuvers – as well as heaps of other top-end harness tech, it will help you take your riding to the next level.
€279 | $240 | £219
€200 | $230 |£180
Airush – REEFER
Naish – BOSS The lower cut of the Boss is ideal for riders looking for a high range of motion and excellent back support. The locked-in bar pad features extensions which insert into the sides of the harness to lock the bar into place. A low-profile, contoured spreader bar adds extra comfort and double spreader bar straps further prevent the bar from riding up with use. The lock-in-and-release mechanism has been adapted to be more user-friendly, while 3D-fit technology, contoured side-shaping and a dual tension belt ensure the harness conforms to the rider’s body for maximum comfort. €239 | $215 | £179
Naish – ALANA Formed and sized for a woman’s curves, the Alana’s 3D-fit technology features a cushioned, molded shell for customized support and stability in key areas. The locked-in bar pad stays securely in place with double spreader bar straps and extensions that tuck into the sides of the harness. Then there is a click-in spreader bar and a dual tension belt to really get the harness locked in tight. €229 | $200 | £175- Check local dealer
Airush – CORE Airush’s Core harness is designed for all round riders who want to get the very most of their equipment. Designed to fit in with the rest of Airush’s Core range, it features an ergonomically optimized load plate with 3D thermoformed inside skin to ensure that the harnesses fits as snuggly as possible. A versatile and stylish option. €195 | $220 | £175
Airush – TEAM Airush’s Team series is a range of truly top-end products that enable you to really push your limits. It’s the range ridden by most of Airush’s enviable team riders. As with the rest of the collection there are no compromises with the Team Black Harness which is specifically developed to withstand the rigors of freestyle, racing and waveriding. €210 | $240 | £185
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Every sport has its champions. Those that are so dominant that they end up representing not just their sponsors or team, but their sport. They set the bar that all others are judged by. Surfing has Kelly Slater, MotoGP has Valentino Rossi, football has Cristiano Ronaldo, basketball LeBron James, track and field has Usain Bolt, Formula One has Lewis Hamilton… you get the picture. Well, when it comes to kiting in the waves, you have Keahi de Aboitiz. Growing up in Noosa, Queensland, Keahi was blessed with a father who was into all things watersports. Keahi was exposed to surfing and kiting from a young age and whatever his dad did when he was growing up: it worked. Keahi is equally at home riding waves on a SUP, shortboard, longboard or, lucky for us, a kite. He is one of those people that must have some kind of green alien blood, how else can you explain so much talent packed into one kid? I was in Western Australia a few weeks ago with Keahi. We had the worst luck with weather, as if we were having our patience challenged by Mother Nature herself. It was flat, the wind never showed up, then – when the wind finally came up – the rain poured down. But he didn’t let that get him down. I always try to see how the athletes I travel with deal with bumps in the road. And with Keahi he had a smile on his face and a positive outlook every day, which made getting skunked that bit more manageable. I have spent lots of time on the road with Keahi and have rarely, if ever, seen him down. He once made it all the way to the far reaches of the northern Philippines and lost his wallet in the process. He did not sweat it, he just kited the hell out of the place and somehow made it home, all with some hidden cash he kept in a kite bag or something… He is the consummate professional, someone to look up to, and the way he carries himself is not what you would expect from an athlete of his caliber. Often I find that top level surfers and kitesurfers come with a bit too much ego for my liking. So Keahi is a breath of fresh air. My wife always makes his bed with pink sheets and a Tom and Jerry blanket just to see if he will ever complain. He laughs, brushes his teeth and curls up in Tom and Jerry on our guest bed with a smile. Too polite to ever say to us that he has finally grown enough to sleep without his beloved Tom and Jerry. Keahi recently went under the knife again (this time to repair a dislocated shoulder) so he had some time on his hands which gave us the perfect opportunity to throw some questions at the Champ…
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Jason Wolcott on Keahi de Aboitiz
JW: My goal when shooting kiteSURFING is to be able to show a pro surfer a shot of a kiter that blows them away and makes them want to learn to kite. This shot should work just fine.
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Haha, I’ll leave that one up to everyone else to decide. I just really love the sport, pushing the limits and showing people what’s possible when it comes to waveriding with a kite. I get a real kick out of trying something crazy or chasing heavy waves with a kite so if that makes me one of the top guys then great. I try to bring a bit of a different approach to the sport and I think that has helped shape me become the rider I am today.
Tell me about the wave that you got shortboard surfing at Backdoor Pipeline. Man, it was a crazy feeling. I’ve spent a bit of time out in the lineup, but I don’t get out there too often as the crowd can be pretty hard to deal with sometimes. This was just one of those random days where it wasn’t perfect Pipe and Backdoor, but there were some crazy ones if you got lucky and although it was crowded, it was spread out enough to sneak a few waves. It’s funny, I wasn’t even sure if I was going to surf it that day but my mum was in town so I thought I’d take her down to see Pipe again and just put a 6’1 in the car in case. The swell was still pretty solid and my board was a little small, but because the swell had a bit more north in it I saw a few sneaky rights that I might be able to luck in to. I think I got one pretty average wave before this one and was probably only out for about half an hour before this one came through. Because it came through super deep at Backdoor, most of the good guys were out of position and it seemed like no one even looked at it. It was drawing so much water and had a crazy bend to it so I knew I had to try – even if I was undergunned. Luckily I was in the perfect spot and although it was a super critical drop, somehow I was able to knife it and get my rail in to get down the line. I thought I was going to be too deep but it ended up being round enough to let me through. Right before it spat it breathed in super hard and I thought I was done but once it started spitting it pushed me through. I thought I was gonna get lipped on the way out but luckily I snuck out right before it. I’ve had some big barrels in my life, but that was by far the biggest and heaviest barrel I’ve paddled into in my life. I think I’m going to remember that one for a long time to come!
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There was a lot of talk about it being the wave of the winter, how do you think it stacks up? I think it was pretty up there. They actually just announced the winner and although I didn’t take it out I’m stoked to make the top 10 of such a prestigious competition. It was cool to see Anthony Walsh post the clip as well saying it would have been his pick for the win. I’m just stoked to even find a wave like that out there. There were some amazing Pipe days this year so just to be in the top 10 at the end of a winter like this is pretty amazing. JW: TRAVELING SOMETIMES RESULTS IN THE KIND OF SESSIONS YOU HAVE ONLY PREVIOUSLY DREAMED ABOUT BECOMING REALITY. THIS IS SOMEWHERE IN THE INDIAN OCEAN...
Do you enjoy getting involved with board or kite development? I like to a little bit, but I try not to get too into it. I know what I like and what feels good, but sometimes I have a hard time picking up on the subtle differences and the super technical stuff. Some guys are really good at it and it can be a little hard seeing as the wind and waves are always changing. I don’t mind leaving it up to the other guys and then taking my pick of what feels best!
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I heard there is going to be a strapless freestyle world tour; do you think that is a good thing? I think it could be cool and I think there is definitely a future there. I have to admit that I was pretty blown away at the level and support at the Tarifa event last year. For me it was the most spectators I’ve seen personally at a kite event and it was cool to see how into it they all were. It’s a pretty cool feeling pulling something big and having the crowd cheering every time you land something. I think it’s nice to have another variation to the sport that you can still do when there are no waves. I think that’s why it took off so much in Europe as well.
I think it’s pretty cool what you guys are doing, but to me, pure wave riding is where it’s at… What are your thoughts? For me I definitely still enjoy pure wave riding much more but getting ideal conditions can be a little hard to find sometimes. The good thing about strapless freestyle is you can do it pretty much anywhere. I kinda liked what the VKWC were trying to do last year where they wanted to have a percentage scoring system where they scored jumping a little as well depending on the conditions. If the waves were pumping like Morocco there was no real emphasis on jumping but if it was somewhere with small mushy waves you could have more scoring opportunities through that. For me it just seemed like a great way to open up a few more locations as getting perfect waves and wind in a small waiting period can be a little difficult sometimes. It sounds like they might try doing something like that this year so it will be interesting to see how it goes.
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CW: I REMEMBER THE FIRST TRIP I DID WITH KEAHI TO A HEAVY LEFTHAND BARREL. HE STRUGGLED A LOT WITH GETTING THE PIG DOG STANCE JUST RIGHT WHICH LED TO SOME SPECTACULAR WIPEOUTS. MOST SURFERS STRUGGLE WITH BACKHAND BARRELS, AND ADDING A KITE MAKES IT EXPONENTIALLY MORE DIFFICULT. I THINK IT'S SAFE TO SAY THAT HE HAS FIGURED IT OUT NOW, AND FOR ME HE'S THE BEST BACKHAND BARREL RIDER IN THE SPORT TODAY.
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Tell me what kiteboarding was like when you started. What was the gear like, what’s changed? Oh man, it has come a long way! Although it was a little better by the time I started, it was still pretty basic. When I learnt, my dad taught me on small two line school kites and then I went on to some basic four line kites in the beginning. It’s crazy to think how far it’s come and I think that’s really helped push the level to where it is now. Back then there just wasn’t the depower, ease of use and relaunch that we all take for granted now. It just makes so many more things possible now.
IT'S NOT ALL WORK...
Any kitemares? Personally I haven’t had anything horribly bad that’s worth writing about. I mean I’ve had my share of solid wipeouts, gear breakage and chasing after gear but I feel like I’m usually pretty good at finding a way out of situations. I usually try to only put myself in situations that I think I can get out of even if something goes wrong or the kite goes down. I definitely had a couple long swims in though – all part of the game.
Where will the sport go from here? It’s hard to say and I think it has leveled off a little more recently but I think we will still see some crazy advancements in the future. If you tried to tell me what guys are doing in strapless freestyle now a few years ago, I wouldn’t have believed it and I think we’ll continue to see more crazy new tricks as the years go on. For wave riding I think the improvement in gear will continue to make more things possible especially in terms of tackling some heavy waves. I think there are still so many crazy waves out there to kite and it’s just about getting there with the right conditions and trying it. That’s where I love really pushing it, personally.
Do you remember that time you crashed your kite in the channel at that really sharky place we went in Western Australia with Ryland and Reo? I have this memory that seems almost fake, I was sitting on the jet ski as you sorted your lines out, neck deep in deep water, and I remember having this badly bleeding cut on my finger from some strap on the ski… Did I really flick blood at you? That seems like something I might have done in my younger years. I have this memory of Reo Laughing as he drove the ski for me, he was saying…. “Dude, that’s hilarious, wait… what if he gets eaten?” Haha I vaguely remember that! But I don’t remember being too stressed about it as way heavier things have happened there. Sure would love for another session back there again though. We all know how sharky that area is but I try not to think about it too much. 84 | TheKiteMag
HE CAN RIDE THESE THINGS TOO.
When you were younger, it seemed as if you were bulletproof. I saw you eat shit so many times where you should really have gotten badly injured and you always came up laughing. The past few years has changed in that regard, tell me about the injuries you have had. It’s funny. Both times I’ve hurt myself I wouldn’t say they were the craziest wipeouts and it seems like that’s the way it usually is. It’s the ones you don’t expect and you aren’t ready for. When I broke my ankle, I think it was more because I wasn’t expecting hitting the bottom and didn’t brace for impact and I think it was a bit of a similar thing with my shoulder. When you fall and your muscles are relaxed I think it’s easier to hurt yourself. On a lot of the bad ones, its more like, oh here we go and you sort of learn how to deal with it.
Has the time out of the water changed you mentally? I think it may have slowed me down a little bit but I guess my wave at Backdoor makes a fair argument against that! I’ve sorta learnt that hesitating can end up being way worse so I still try and make sure I commit to things as much as possible when I can. I think I may have started pulling into less closeouts but I try not to think about it too much. I really try not to psyche myself out too much as I think that ends up being worse sometimes.
Who are your biggest influences and why?
JW: HOLDING IT ALL TOGETHER WHEN ALL THE WAVE WANTS TO DO IS KILL YOU.
These days I think I draw the most inspiration from pro surfers and I really enjoy trying to replicate some of the stuff they are doing – whether it’s big power carves or airs. When I was younger I definitely drew a lot of inspiration from guys like Ben Wilson who I think really helped pave the way when it comes to kiting in waves.
He was the first guy I saw getting barreled kiting and I think that really helped open my eyes to what was possible. The same goes with Ian Aldredge. I remember seeing that first clip of him doing the front rolls and tripping out. Look at how far we’ve come now though!
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Do you think you will die with your clothes on? Haha, who knows, probably with board shorts on, probably in the water.
What’s the funniest joke you can remember? What language does a Jewish Kiwi speak? He Bru.
You are related to Pete Cabrinha, can you explain? I try to get a proper explanation of this from my parents and relatives, but I usually seem to forget the exact details. Basically from what I hear, he is my mum’s second cousin which makes him my third cousin. When I’m back in Hawaii at some of the family get togethers, his parents are usually there and our families know each other pretty well which is cool.
What is the best thing about having dual citizenship? Definitely the freedom of being able to come and go to Hawaii whenever I want without having to worry about visas or staying there for too long. Sometimes it’s nice to have a couple of options for passports as well, as one may be a little more liked than others in certain countries…
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Your girlfriend [Moona Whyte] kites pretty damn good! How does that affect your relationship? How do you like your eggs? Coffee? Favorite color? Song? Do you cry when you watch sad movies?
I like it. She kites good and surfs good, which means a lot of the time she is happy to kite and surf the same places as me which makes things pretty easy. She also seems to be much more understanding of “sorry the surf is pumping today so I’ll probably be spending all day in the water” and most of the time she’ll be out there with me which is pretty epic.
Fried or poached.
Not a huge fan really. I think red. I’ve always liked a red/black combo. I seem to go through phases but probably something off the Triple J Hottest 100 list right now. Haha Sometimes. Seems to happen more on planes for some reason!
Can you remember and describe the best wave you caught in 2015?
There was definitely a few pretty notable ones, but kiting would have to be the big one at Teahupoo. It was a bit of a split second decision – one of the tow guys was going but fell trying to get up on the rope so I just whipped it last minute. Although it may not have been the deepest kiting barrel it was about as deep as I could have been on a wave like that. I just remember the wave spitting and being blind right as my lines started getting caught in the lip and thinking ‘I’m not coming out’! But somehow I was able to just sneak out the end before my kite hit the water and pulled me through the back. I’m gonna remember that view for a long time to come.
Who is your all time hero?
I think I’d have to say John John Florence. He’s one of those guys that just lets his surfing do the talking. He’s humble and still seems like a nice guy despite being arguably the best surfer in the world. I’ve always loved just watching how he approaches waves differently and brings his own style to it. You just never know what to expect and he is always pulling something crazy off.
How many world titles do you have to your name?
Four consecutive ones so far. Unfortunately I think it may be a little hard to defend it this year if I have to miss a couple events but I’m really looking forward to getting back to competition when I can.
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Didn’t you win the Australian National championship on a twin tip? Yeah! I actually won a couple times in the end. When I was younger I grew up riding a twin tip a lot. I still enjoy it now from time to time but nothing compares to waves for me these days. I just love a changing playing field, and trying to keep up with what the top guys are doing these days is a little painful for me.
Are you enjoying your time at home? It’s good to be back but it always hurts missing good swells here especially when I’m here watching it too. I’ve got some other things to keep me occupied but it’s still always hard watching perfect waves at home.
What is the most annoying question you have been asked in an interview? If you could be a character from any movie, who would it be?
Do you prefer dogs or cats? Dogs for sure.
What has been the most satisfying moment of your career? Probably winning my first world title. That was a dream of mine from a very young age so to have it come true relatively early was an amazing feeling. To have it come down to the final at the last event of the year made it that much more special too.
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What do you see yourself doing after the dream is over, when you wake up one morning and you are not a pro athlete anymore? I’ve been trying to think about it but I’m not too sure yet. Possibly something within the industry still, or maybe pursue the drone filming a little more. It would definitely have to be something that doesn’t take me too far away from the ocean
Why do they charge 50 Cents for tomato ketchup in Australia? It’s like air, it’s necessary for survival. Ha it’s usually 30 Cents, but yeah it can be a little annoying for sure. Maybe we’re paying for the epic little squeeze sachet they come in. It all depends on the place or restaurant though. I guess we don’t quite love it as much as Americans do. Why do they throw like 10 packets of ketchup at you at a McDonalds in America? You can’t tell me people use all of them. Maybe we’re paying for all the extra ones you waste.
CAPTION: JW: KEAHI IS A WATERMAN. A NORMAL DAY FOR HIM IF CONDITIONS ARE ON: WAKE BEFORE DAWN AND SURF FOR HOURS. EAT FOR 20 MINUTES. KITE UNTIL LAST LIGHT. SLEEP. REPEAT.
I have my moments, but I guess I don’t let anything get me down for too long. Probably helps that most of the time I see you I’m somewhere getting extremely barreled. Right now it’s probably much easier to aggravate me!
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A POSTCARD FROM PAT A G O N I A Some kite trips are easy: you pack your board, two kites, boardies/bikini (delete as applicable) and just head to the airport, and then onto your perfect sun and wind-drenched base for the next week. This option is – of course – always a winner. But do you ever wonder that you might miss out on some of the magic and immediacy that comes with just being on the road? With no clue where your next session’s going to be, where your next meal is coming from, and where you’re going to rest your head that night? Maybe not. But when you look back in years to come those tropical days might just all blend in to one, whereas a trip punctuated with 25 hour drives, late night sushi, and with a real ‘wing and a prayer’ vibe to it will probably stick in the mind…
Words: Sensi Graves | Photos: Vincent Beregon
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A P O S T C A R D F R O M PATA G O N I A
Many of you have probably looked at an idyllic landscape postcard of Patagonia. The horizon is displayed big and bold and the craggy mountains jut out of the earth, reaching toward the heavens. In this image, crevices abound and crystal clear blue water reflects the picturesque world. It’s enough to make you want to go searching for it. And searching for that postcard we did. I dare call us a group of intrepid travelers attempting to get a postcard picture of our own. That image in our minds was the only information we had about the southern region of Argentina, but it was enough. Brandon Scheid and I often travel together. As a couple and team riders for Liquid Force Kites, we are thankful that our schedules align so often. Usually, for a trip like this, we do quite a bit of planning before an adventure to a new place. We need to be sure that not only will it be worth our time and money but that it will yield amazing results. We knew this trip to Argentina could yield beautiful photos but our planning was entirely in the hands of our Argentinian friends. This trip began when the Argentinian distributor of LF and owner of Second Wind kite shop, Ramiro Martinex Pena (or Rama for short) began pleading for Brandon to come south. Brandon had traveled to Argentina two years prior and Rama had loved having the 2015 AWSI Kiteboarder of the Year there to represent LF at Kitefest, a huge kite weekend in Argentina. He wanted Brandon again, but this time for a series of events and kiting around Patagonia. From that point forward, the planning was purely in Rama’s hands. We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. Besides a few emails outlining the places we would visit and a rough day-to-day schedule, we were entirely unsure of where our trip would take us and we were happy to be shown the open country by a local. Upon arrival in Argentina, we were greeted with the Sprinter-esque van we would be traveling in over the next 10 days with Ramiro Gallart (Rami – confusing!) and Mariano Cuevas, local riders for LF and Second Wind. Then, before we knew it, we were off on a 10-hour drive to the Chocon Wind Fest, a three day kite demo. And it was here that we were greeted with our first glimpse of Patagonian landscape. The high desert terrain showcased rock formations and craggy peaks, then the beautiful clear lake at Chocon provided an impressive spot for kiters to ride, then – right next door – a much smaller lake held a 2.0 cable! Both areas had their own kicker and a slider so, wind or no wind, you can hit features. “How is this here?” I asked. In slowly articulated Spanish with a dabble of broken English, the Chocon event host explained to me, “The Agentinians are a motivated group of kiteboarders. They like to push themselves!”. “Motivated they certainly are”, I mused.
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On the first day of the event, we met a bunch of kiters that had traveled from Buenos Aires (as we had), to attend the event. They were frothing to get on the water and when the wind was up, everyone clamored to get on the lake and charge the free-standing slider park they have there. They were energized and eager. The open lake pumped chilly wind at our backs as we cruised over the clearest, freshest water Iâ€™ve been on in a long time.
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CROWD PLEASER Later that night I found myself facing the few hundred kiteboarders that had attended the event that day. We were doing introductions and I stepped onto the stage to introduce myself. Because I speak a bit of Spanish, the host started rapid firing questions at me. I could understand everything he said, but forming the words to answer the questions in that setting was super challenging. I went with “Me encanta su pais!” (I love your country!) which I yelled into the mic. The crowd went nuts. Even though we communicated in short bursts and fragmented sentences, their enthusiasm and welcoming vibe was felt throughout the place. That theme continued for the rest of the trip. Vinny and Brandon don’t speak Spanish and I only speak enough to get by, therefore our conversations with those that weren’t fluent in English lacked depth. However, we could sense the hospitality and enthusiasm the Argentinians felt in hosting us in their beloved country by their hearty laughs, kind demeanor and their ability to have a good time. Kiteboarders in general are a stoked bunch but never have I met a more enthusiastic group of riders – they
just want to get out there and push it to the limit. During the last evening of the Chocon kite event we (or rather Rami and Mariano) hosted an asado dinner at our rental house. Asado, or grilled meats, is the traditional welcome dish of Argentina. There are few things better known about Argentina than their Malbec wines and their red meat. My recent journey there did not disappoint in either category. We sampled asado often and the perfect accompaniment to that meal? You guessed it, the smooth, bold and flavorful Malbec red wine. This sweet liquid elixir fueled many nights and I challenge you to visit the country and not fall in love with their wine. We missioned to Argentina because it holds a lot of undiscovered locations. Yet, finding and getting to those undiscovered places was no easy task. From Chocon we headed further west to Villa La Angostura, a small European chalet ski town. Two tourist seasons exist in that village, high summer where the lake is a magnet with water enthusiasts and winter, when parkas and boots alight on the streets and ski teams,
photographers and traveling snow sport die-hards chase the endless winter. We drove into Villa La Angostura in the afternoon and met up with Javier Genesio, our guide for the day. After hours in the car, we were eager to get on the water. Javier is good friends with Rama and lent us his small motorboat for an excursion out onto the lake and another taste of what kiting in Patagonia is like. The crew loaded up his small motorboat and pushed out into the lake. Putt-putting out over the cold, fresh water with the wind whipping our faces, our boat on the verge of sinking with the amount of gear and people piled inside, I was reminded of where we were. In Patagonia and we were now at our epic ‘picture postcard’ location! We arrived at an island that looked like it should’ve been in the middle of the Caribbean. The water was that clear and such a beautiful turquoise blue. Instead it was in the middle of a meandering fresh-water lake. We rigged on the open beach but, looking every which direction, the mountains surrounded us: strong, bold and beautiful.
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Rami, Brandon, Mariano, Sergio and myself were so amped to be outside of the car and kiting that we stayed until the sun went down. Vinny shot with three different camera set-ups and we all had a brilliantly good time. Exhausted, hungry and ready to get a good night’s sleep, we headed back to the shoreline and waited to hear where we would sleep that night. Most of our days were like this, in and out of the van we would go. Scoping a new location, sessioning and then waiting to hear where and when we’d be able to find a meal and a bed to hunker down for the night. It was in Villa La Angostura that we were pushed to the limits with the eating customs of the Argentinians. After kiting all day, we were eager to have an early night and an order for sushi was made. Unbeknownst to us, the sushi was prepared by a friend and took an extraordinarily long time. The Argentinians eat their last meal of the day very late by our North American standards. We were told 9 or 10pm is early! We were both in and out of dealing with this ok. Our first few nights, we were jet-lagged and we stayed up drinking wine and socializing. It was therefore easy to fall into a routine of late mornings and meals got pushed later and later into the day. Soon though, when we began kiting more and more often, we’d be tired and hungry and have to force ourselves to grumpily stay up until 11 to finish dinner. On our sushi night, we didn’t end up eating until 12am and the ‘hangries’ were setting in. Despite the epic beauty of Villa La Angostura, our schedule required us to drive on to Bariloche, a well-known hub for skiers and snowboarders to base out of while exploring the surrounding mountains. Bariloche is a cool mountain city and once again provided some epic backdrops for our photos. We stayed in Bariloche for two days, making friends with the local kite crew (one local rider invited us to stay in his hostel for the night, saving our butts when we had nowhere else to go), and kiting in front of the quaint downtown. The launch is situated on prime waterfront and is complete with an air compressor, restrooms, launching stations and a friendly crew. Upon launching, you soon find yourself looking up at the town with its houses nestled among the trees and church spires jutting into the skyline.
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In Bariloche, the kiteboarders are serious. The wind usually starts to fill in during the afternoon and the parking lot starts to fill up around 2pm in anticipation. The two days we visited, riders would be rigged and ready for the first gust to make ripples on the water. Our crew did as well, posting up on the beach all afternoon in another attempt at capturing the vast beauty and mystique that Patagonia has to offer. When the light turned golden, we marveled in the spectacle. Alas, we had to keep moving and soon found ourselves pulling out of Bariloche and looking forward into the mountains.
HIT & RUN Our drive home took us on a meandering route up through a region known as the seven lakes. We drove past all seven along a slow-winding mountain road. Our final kite destination was a lake named Meliquina. Nestled in the mountains, this cold fresh water destination is known for it’s clear, clean water and is somewhat of a hidden treasure. It’s wild, remote and windy! As we made our way out along the seven lakes road and neared the detour towards Meliquina, we could see the trees start to move. “Do we want to go check it?” Rama asked. “It’s 20 minutes out of the way.” What’s 20 minutes? The vote was unanimous. Let’s go! We pulled down a few dirt roads and finally arrived at the lakeshore. The wind was whipping the water up into a frothy mess and it was cold. Dark grey clouds
hung low over the horizon, threatening to spew their contents down on us. They were moving in quickly. We rigged and launched, the gusts coming in quick and dirty and the rain starting to pit patter on our heads. This was combat kiting at its finest and it made you feel alive! Vincent strode purposefully along the shore; crouching among the shrubbery and lying on the rocks in an effort to capture the surreal moment. The session was a short one, the rain made the wind fluky and it was hard to hold down my eight meter. We were cold but exhilarated. The boys and I quickly de-rigged and peeled our wetsuits off, huddling in the shelter of the van. The rain started coming in more heavily now and we were eager to get warm. Then it was back on the road again…
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TOURIST TIME We drove straight back home to Buenos Aires. A 25-hour drive. I’ll spare you the details. In Buenos Aires, I was eager to explore the cosmopolitan city and delve even more into the culture. Our first day in the big city, we departed on a mission to explore the downtown and sights such as the Modern Arts museum, the Recoleta cemetery and to find us some tango dancers! Our day started out like many others on the trip, late but full of potential. This was going to be a great day – the city spread before us, rumbling with activity, full of colors and smells! And then it started to rain. “No big deal”, I thought. “How long can this last?” I pushed the boys onward to our first destination, the MALBA museum. Our time in the MALBA was short and standing in the foyer, staring outside, the rain had not let up. We stood and joked and waited for the rain to stop. “Do you want an umbrella?” asked the museum’s coach check lady. Heck yes! With one umbrella between us, we made our way to La Recoleta, the oldest cemetery in the city and a real sight to behold. Massive tombstones and crypts are jammed into a five acre plot and cats patrol the tombs. The rain made the scene even more ominous. We continued onward, walking for miles on the streets. The city was a lot bigger than we thought and our feet weren’t getting us anywhere very quickly. I attempted to get us to a famous coffee house and we were just at the point of quitting when we finally reached it. It turns out one umbrella is not enough for three people. Huddled in the restaurant over hot café con leches, I finally became deterred. It was now absolutely pouring and dark and we were hungry, and cold. The theme of the trip continued: getting the shots and experiences hadn’t ever been easy. We ran out of the restaurant and darted along the streets, sharing the one umbrella between us before we finally hailed a cab and rode home. This wasn’t our easiest kite trip. Patagonia isn’t just a park and ride kind of place. We had to work to get those sessions. We drove and drove and crashed where we could. Days were long and our nights were a mix between wine fueled socializations and working to stay awake to fuel our bodies for the next day. The people we met were hospitable and so stoked to welcome us to their country. It was a blessing to have so much local support during our mission, for it was most definitely a mission. Did we get that epic postcard photo? You’ll have to be the judge. But it certainly left us wanting to explore more.
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Close Encounters OF THE EPIC KIND...
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Philip getting in the zone where he is happiest. Humpbacks calve and mate around the Islands during the winter months. Close encounters like this require lots of patience...
Philip Shearer, co-founder of Big Blue Unlimited on Turks and Caicos, recently entertained Dimitri Maramenides and helped him to uncover some prime locations for getting some shots of the new 5G kit. But it wasn’t the first time the two’s paths had crossed… Philip recalls when they first met ten years ago and reflects on what has changed since then. Words: Philip Shearer Photos: Gustav Schmiege TheKiteMag | 101
Ca icos I
The Turks and Caicos have been building momentum as a world class kiteboard destination for the better part of ten years, and within the last two to three years the scene has exploded in popularity – partly due to brands like Epic, who visit regularly, as well as the presence of companies such as Big Blue who specialize in getting kiters to stunning locations that are off the beaten path. Bathed in sunshine and surrounded by crystalline waters and golden sand beaches, the Turks and Caicos Islands have traditionally been windsurfing territory. Other than a few locals and the odd visiting rider, kiters here were a rare breed until a few years ago. And it wasn’t known as a kiteboarding ‘destination’. In fact, ten years ago I was still windsurfing when one day a fit, hyperactive, fast talking “kiteboarder” cruised through the office and showed pictures of himself boosting a big shipwreck on the outer reef. It looked thrilling. He said as much, asked a few questions, needled a few answers out of the staff and boldly stated that they’d all be hooked on kiting soon enough.
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a short exchange that had a lasting impression
Dimitri and his own inimitable style TheKiteMag | 103
Dimitri Maramenides was the bundle of enthusiasm that swept through on that day and while I clung to windsurfing for a few more years, I slowly and surely made the transition to kiting as Dimitri had predicted. The boosting nature and sheer adrenaline of kiteboarding soon became an addiction and then an obsession. Night sessions, solo sessions, riding with friends and exploring new places occupied every spare moment. I was hooked as Dimitri had stated would happen. Jumping forward to the present and the scene here is now well established. The local kite beach, Long Bay, which was once considered remote and empty, is frequented by pro riders, young local sponsored kiters and all manner of recreational enthusiasts. Relatively speaking it can get busy (at least in the eyes of the locals). During those years Dimitri himself was also busy, making a name in the sport by going big and completing crazy stunts which were not for the fainthearted. And today he runs Epic Kites and his company mirrors his epic riding style. With huge trademark airs, massive board offs, and big loops, Dimitri is a joy to watch and a bundle of positive energy both on and off the water. His passion is contagious and is born from an unfettered addiction to rideâ€Ś
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Middle Caicos is a stunning visual experience. Wind or no wind this place is magical. So the perfect spot to showcase the new EPIC 5G kites...
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With Turks and Caicos now fully on the kite map as a top class kiteboarding destination and with plenty of accommodation options (such as WindChaser Villas, Villa Esencia on Providenciales or East Bay Resort on South Caicos), promoting his kite brand here is an easy decision for Dimitri, so he booked in along with Gustav Schmiege who would be behind the lens. With 20 years of watersports adventure experience across these islands, I was confident that I could showcase the best spots on and off the beaten path and get the Epic Kite team, loaded with all their gear, to those spots. On the water I knew that Big Blue had to come up with a plan that was off the charts. We needed something that reflected the essence of Dimitri and the Epic brand so we devised a schedule that included cliffs, wide mangrove bushes, drones, moving boats, aerials, waves, slicks, heaps of sunshine and of course wind – lots of wind. And so, armed to the teeth with the latest Epic 5G equipment, the Big Blue kite team along with Dimitri and Gustav loaded up and headed out with Captain Brent to get some breathtaking and awe inspiring shots. The proof, as the saying goes, is in the pudding. Dimitri is tireless and Gustav challenges him with location and stunt to get the perfect shot. The 5G products look amazing against the natural colors that the local flora has to offer, and the spirit of this place and the thrill of kiting is evident in the pictures and session stories. For any strong-willed kiters who enjoy action at a feverish pace: you have to come ride with the sport’s original wild man, Dimitri Maramenides. And make sure you have a huge breakfast because you’ll need all the energy you can muster. The stoke is infectious for those that can keep up. I can’t imagine what this guy would be like if he drank coffee…
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No time to stop for refreshments...
No time to walk to the beach
Limestone is the reason these islands are littered with caves, holes, cliffs and, above all, why they have crystal clear water
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P EO P L E
M A K E
H A PPE N . . .
UNDER THE HOOD W I T H
BL A D E
K IT E B OA R D IN G
Interview: Betti Menzel
The bus number 852 travels through the streets of Tel Aviv, takes the path to the highway and trundles past Tel Aviv’s tech center “Silicon Wadi”, with the corporate headquarters of Microsoft, SAP, IBM and Google. The longer the ride lasts, the smaller the places that pass by the window. After 40 minutes, the door opens with a hiss and one arrives: In Beit Yanai, a 100-strong village some 40 kilometers north of Tel Aviv, where the headquarters of “Blade Kiteboarding” are located. Yaron Barlev, the founder and CEO of the Israeli kite brand Blade lives here with his wife, their three children and his Golden Retriever, “Libby”. For a kite brand, the most alluring part of Yaron’s set up is its location. While the other brands have to travel to begin testing their products, Yaron has to walk just a few steps. Located on a picturesque cliff, the sea is only a few meters away from the garden fence. Yaron likes to gaze into the distance from up here, at his feet lies one of the best kite spots in Israel. A few hundred meters further on at Beit Yanai Pier, there are kitesurfers going to and fro. A view to the sky reveals plenty of Blade kites amongst the many other familiar brands.
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When he walks back to his office, his jacket flaps above his “Blade” t-shirt and the wind moves his short curls, his nickname “Rasta” comes from another time. Barlev and his wife are pioneers of kitesurfing in Israel, they were among the first ones practicing this sport. And only five years after his first kite session Barlev founded the first and only Israeli kite brand. In the beginning Blade was known mainly for its reasonable prices, but a lot has changed since then and today, 10 years later, the brand sets new marketing and design standards in the kite world, produces parts for other major brands and creates specific kites for demanding riders. Blade is a brand very much on the up, so a great time to find out a little more about its roots from the man at the top, Yaron Barlev… Not everybody knows your brand. How would you describe Blade Kiteboarding? We don’t try to make comfortable kites for everyone. If you compare kites with cars, many brands try to be a comfortable Mercedes-Benz – we are more of an off-roader with four-
wheel drive. We do not believe that a kite everyone likes can achieve the best performance. Our kites are designed for very specific riders with special requirements. A good example is our leading edge: If you have a broad leading edge, the shape of the kite is very stable, which is comfortable, of course. But in terms of performance this is a big disadvantage and exactly the reason why our leading edge is considerably thinner than that of most other brands. We always try to take our kite design to the limit. Customers appreciate this, our light-wind kite the “Fat Lady” was a great success, because of its great performance. It is extremely fast despite its size. Apart from that we also offer an all-around kite called “Trigger” which is very fast. The “Skinny Boy” is a special wave kite, the “High Score” which is designed for freestyle. And soon our “Old School” kite hits the market, which we have developed alongside Mark Shinn. You design very specific kites. Do your clients need to know exactly what they want? Not necessarily. There are also beginners who have a lot of fun with our kites – and others do not. It doesn´t depend on the rider’s level, it’s all about attitude: do I want a comfortable kite or do I want a high-performance machine? That´s the question!
to this sport and I still am. There was not a single repair shop at that time in Israel so I used this gap in the market and opened a small repair shop in Jaffa. Every weekend I drove the 100 kilometers from Haifa to Jaffa, I collected the broken kites on the way and repaired them over the weekend. I was able to finance my studies with this business. Eventually an Israeli paragliding company took notice of me. They wanted to get into the kitesurfing scene in a similar way that the paragliding companies like Ozone, Flysurfer or Advance did at the time. They became interested in me due to my technical studies and my experience in kite repairs and they wanted me to help them to develop a kite. I gladly accepted this challenge, and after about a year of work, we had a great product. Shortly before the start of the first production the owner realized that kitesurfing is much more complicated and expensive than paragliding as you have to invest a whole lot of money in branding and marketing. With paragliding it´s different, hardly anyone is interested in the image! I believed in the product that I had created, so I searched for investors and was lucky. In 2005 I was able to found my company. The name “Blade” doesn´t have anything to do with kiteboarding at first glance, but it fits perfectly. Like a blade, our kites are sharp and precise.
How did Blade begin?
You started kitesurfing 15 years ago, do you still feel passionate about it or do you see it as a job?
I was studying in the last semester at Technion in Haifa, a prestigious technical university in Israel. I started both my studies and kitesurfing in September 2000. From the beginning I was addicted
His team rider Nir Nehoray interrupts before Yaron can answer: I can tell you a story that answers this question. Two days ago, the conditions were really bad: It was incredibly cold, the wind was very
strong and gusty, it was raining – there was no-one on the beach, let alone in the water. I told Yaron: Listen, let’s go home, today´s not our day. But Yaron just shook his head, took his Skinny Boy 6m, went into the water with his twin tip and put on a great show, he had a lot of fun. When he came out, he was full of adrenaline. Yotam Levi, another team rider and me stood at the beach and we asked ourselves: How does Yaron do that? How can he still be so passionate about it, after so many years? Of course, I myself have a great passion for kitesurfing, but not like Yaron. I know very few kitesurfers who have so much passion for the sport, especially after so many years. Yaron Continues: If I no longer have that passion, I have to look for another job. For me, this is part of the whole thing. How could I build good kites without being passionate about it? Blade sets new standards when it comes to marketing. How? Advertisement in kite magazines usually looks the same: Action shots, maybe a picture of the kite or board you want to sell - and that´s it. We have a different approach. We don´t necessarily need an action shot. We work with the element of surprise and with lots of humor. For example, our current advertising campaign, “People who bought this also bought” shows six non-kite related products people would buy for each of our specific kites. Like what kind of a vehicle they would buy if they use a specific kite, what kind of drink they drink and so on. For me, coming up with new marketing campaigns sometimes is even more challenging then designing new kites!
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UNDER THE HOOD
Team rider Mauricio Pedreira reaping the rewards of Yaronâ€™s hard work. Photo: Hugo Valente
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Yaron’s back yard
Blade is the only brand in the world that offers a kite for kids. Has your 7-year-old son something to do with that?
How do you cope with the tense situation in Israel in your private life?
I would be delighted if my kids liked kitesurfing just like me. So partly I designed the kite “Tiny Beast” for my children. My biggest, the 7-year-old, is already practicing with our trainer kite “New Guy”. He likes it – but he also likes soccer very much, maybe even more!
Usually it is very calm in Israel and nothing like they tell you in the news. For a long time, I have felt safe in my country despite of the conflict. But now I have children, and that changes things. We try not to let our children grow up in fear, this works very well. We live in a very picturesque town, in the middle of Israel so the things people see on the news is very far from the way we live and it is fairly easy to let them grow up in a safe enviorment. They grow up just like any kid in the western world. Go to the beach, play soccer or just hang out with friends.
Your 2011 film When The Wind Blows is one of the most watched kite movies ever – does this still reflect your attitude to the sport? This movie represents the idea and the philosophy behind Blade. Even today, I still get goosebumps when I see it. It actually has nothing to do with marketing, it´s just the lifestyle and the philosophy behind Blade. We filmed it in Sinai, a magical place that today unfortunately is not safe anymore. Back then I really began to understand the importance of marketing. At first I thought it was enough to have a good product. When I started this business I was 28 years old – now I have more experience. An excellent product is not enough, people need to know about it. That’s why marketing has become a high priority for me. The decisive factor here was a good friend of mine, Yaniv Turgeman, who showed me how marketing works. One day he just told me face to face that my kites look like crap. Next day he begun working for me and we started to brand Blade from scratch. Our weekly Sunday meetings lasted way over 12 hours, an eternity in which everything in terms of marketing and design was discussed. You can see the change quite clearly in the catalogue, kite designs, websites and all other marketing designs since 2011 compared to the previous ones.
I just really hope that when they grow up all this conflict will be over and they live in a very peaceful country. How do you choose your team riders? It is completely irrelevant to me whether someone wins competitions or whether he competes in the World Tour. From a marketing point of view it is also not important – besides the top three places on the world tour nobody cares about the rest. I find it very important however that the team rider is a good ambassador of my brand. Everyone in our team is just nice, funny and a good person. That sounds weird in this day and age, but to me it´s the most important thing. All our riders are very talented and great kitesurfers, but no one is smug about their skills, no one is arrogant, they are all just nice and represent the brand well. It is also important that they have a good lifestyle and make cool videos. That is why they all get incentives for making cool pictures and videos.
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UNDER THE HOOD
And what are you working on at the moment? Right now we are working on two big projects. Our Uni Bar has been on the market for three years and we have learned a lot over this period of time. We have been working on the next generation bar for over two years now and it has been a real fun and interesting experience. We have some really talented product designers working on this bar and together with our team riders we have come up with an amazing product that I am very proud of. Our second project is a new kite that we have been working on together with Mark Shinn for about a year now. This is a new kite that is all about old school tricks. Big air and lots of lift. Hopefully this kite will be out some time during 2016. So, looking back, are you pleased that you decided to begin Blade Kiteboarding all those years ago? When I began Blade I was really young and didn’t know what I was getting myself into. After 10 years in the business I have learned so much and met so many interesting people. I feel very fortunate to be able to work in such a rewarding job that lets me invent useful products, work with great people, and keeps me learning new things every day. Of course there are up and downs, like every job in the world, but to wake up each morning and to do what you like doing is really something I feel fortunate about. Where do you see yourself and your brand Blade in the future? I want to continue making these special kites that serve very specific needs. For me personally, I hope to be able to keep my passion for this sport for many years. When the treetops are moving and the wind rustles through the leaves, I want my children to say – even in many years: “Hey Dad, it’s windy, are you going kitesurfing now?”
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PHOTO: PETER KNOF CAPTION: HENDRICK BURGERS HEADING UP IN THE DOMINIC REPUBLIC
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TKM: A little bit of a tongue-in-cheek option here for our technique section. Being brutally honest you could count on both hands the number of riders with the skills, knowledge and balls to try and pull into a keg at Jaws. Still, if you did accidently find yourself in the line up one day and fancied taking a shot, here Patri McLaughlin takes us through what you should keep in mind to maximize your chances of survival.
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PHOTO: CAM E RO N M A R A M E N I DE S
PHOTOS: ERIK AEDER
T H E ‘ H OW T O ’ The key to pulling into the barrel when kiting big waves is knowledge of the wave itself. I know Jaws pretty well and it is one of only a handful of big waves in the world that allow for barrels with a kite. The first thing you need to do is set yourself up behind the lip – big waves generally throw a big barrel so you need to backdoor the section to get yourself deep enough into the barrel. This takes a tremendous amount of commitment. If you set yourself for a big barrel and the wave doesn’t throw, then you’re going to wear thousands of gallons of water on the head... If you are lucky and you find that the wave is going to throw, then you want to set your rail and try to take a high line through the first part of the barrel. Then, after you pull in, you need to readjust your line down the wave so you don’t end up getting sucked over the falls and generate the speed that you need to make your escape. If you get this part done successfully: stand tall, enjoy the view, and hope you get spat out…
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Tell Me About It: MYSTIC LEGEND
12 years ago a handful of watersport fanatics felt that the existing equipment on the market
was holding them back so they conceptualized their own brand whose primary focus and dedication was, and still remains, to create technical apparel that would see a new wave of extreme riders hit the spotlight.
This was the beginning of the Mystic journey and their first kite specific harness, the Darkrider, hit the market in 2002. Co-founder of Mystic Max Blom recalls, “The brand grew alongside our first team riders, Youri Zoon and Ruben Lenten, who worked closely with our R&D team to kickstart our line of products. At the time, both riders were very young and making an impact on the industry. Ruben had a penchant for constantly pushing the limits of the new and emerging sport, which in turn required us to constantly innovate the products to support the progress. He was really pushing the extreme side of riding with storm chasing and Megaloops, and our passion was to create apparel that could withstand the elements and help him complete his mission. We started with reinforcing parts within the harness, and the success of our first try instilled a passion for developing this fundamental piece of kit, which still remains our core product at Mystic.” To give you an idea of the philosophy of riding that Mystic represents, you only have to look at their prestigious team of riders and the events the brand chooses to support, such as the Mega Loop Challenge and the Red Bull King Of The Air. Although ‘extreme’ is an inherent factor of the brand’s building blocks, Mystic is no one trick pony. When you’ve got a team
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of riders who are so diverse, exclusive and extreme, it’s only natural that the line of products needs to live up to each rider’s demands. Youri Zoon, Christophe Tack and Bruna Kajiya have taken world titles, invented tricks and worked hard to increase the exposure of the sport. Then you’ve got swell chasers such as world wave champion Jalou Langeree, and self proclaimed professional wanderer Guilly Brandao, who’s constantly dreaming of the next steps toward the perfect barrel. To round up the varied team of pure talent is Ruben Lenten, one of the true pioneers of the sport and whose iconic status is more than well deserved. Over the years, Mystic has touched on the majority of design aspects throughout the development and evolution of the waist harness. The Warrior model was proven as the strongest and most supportive harness of the last 10 years. Then came the Majestic which took on the integrated pre-curved plate feature which prevents the compression of the harness body. But what many don’t realize is that a harness can be made up of more than 100 pieces, and it’s the combination of each intricate part and the role it plays that create an individual product with its own set of characteristics. You might think, why can’t a harness be made out of one piece? This is something that manufacturers are looking to achieve and could be a
production goal of the future. And for their latest venture Mystic has been taking steps in this direction through collaborating with their manufacturers to produce an injection mold. The result of this is the new Legend. A one of a kind harness which channels simplicity combined with a unique construction method to completely prevent water absorption. Behind all of this innovation is 30-year-old Global Brand Director Max Blom from the Netherlands, a kite, wake and snowboard fanatic who is passionate about his work and brand. His main objective has always been to find likeminded individuals who bring an enthusiastic work ethic blended with a creative spirit. So time to catch up with Max and find out some more about the new Legend: How long have you been working on the Legend, and how would you describe the philosophy of the harness? The Legend has been in development for two years. We visited various factories in China sourcing materials and producing countless samples. The team tapped into technical innovation and the latest manufacturing techniques to replace all of the single layers seen in past models with one unibody flymould that is the product of one piece of EVA.
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How’s this achieved? The Legend is made with a new machine that injects raw materials with great force into the mold, heating it to high temperatures and which is then cooled again and the final product is extracted. This production process defines the most important characteristics of the harness. To this base we add reinforcements to distribute the load evenly over the Flymould, called the Flyweb. This is then connected all the way around with the spreader bar. Once you had a first prototype what was the next step? Once the concept started to come together, the R&D process got under way, testing with a variety of riders such as Ruben Lenten, Boujmaa Guillo, and windsurf legend Robby Swift. We tested many different shapes, foam thicknesses and malleable attributes to get the best outcome. So there were a few protoypes tested by the riders? Yes, I’m not joking when I say that we redesigned the whole harness several times! But it’s so rewarding when something genuinely new comes to life. The Legend has been developed to provide optimal back support and freedom of movement, adapting to the pulling power of a kite’s change in angles. The Flyweb ensures that the force of the kite is evenly distributed over the Flymould, and the ergonomically designed backplate with additional inserts provides further support. Then, to complement the flexible body of the harness, we designed a new lightweight spreader bar.
assessed. Withstanding the gruelling process confirms that the harness is ready for extreme and highly intensive use, which is exactly what the typical Mystic customer demands. So who is going to want to use the Legend, is it suitable for all disciplines? Yes the Legend is a true freeride harness so can be used for every rider. The special construction makes the harness very light and therefore it’s a good harness for freestyle. Then the anatomical back plate gives the rider maximum support, this is a typical feature for freeriding. The Average Joe riding up and down in the weekend will like this harness a lot, but so does Ruben Lenten pulling big Megaloops and Marc Jacobs riding powerful wakestyle... Would you say the harness is comfier for longer sessions – I guess a lot of your team have been enjoying 6+ hours a day on the water in Cape Town! The harness is definitely suitable for long sessions on the water. Due to the fact that the harness doesn’t have EVA foam on it, the harness does not absorb any water and will stay comfortable no matter how long your session is. But I would not say the harness is specially designed for very long sessions. Every rider spends their time differently on the water. Some riders ride all day and others just try to get the maximum out of their session and focus on two hours max. But the Legend offers you the support to stay out longer for sure.
And then there is a lot of testing of the final product?
How many colorways are there and will there be a women specific version?
Yes, the finishing touch to this lengthy process is to secure the Mystic stamp of approval which means that the harness is subjected to ruthless testing where its ‘durability’ is thoroughly
The are 3 colorways for the harness now and this fall we will bring one extra colorway. At the moment we have no Legend harness for the ladies, but let’s just say that’s a work in progress!
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Tell Me About It: F-ONE FOILS
F-ONE have promoted the ‘one kite for all kiters’ philosophy for many years, so their move into the nichest of corners of our sport has been an interesting one. Their Diablo kite and their foil have
blown the racing world right open, and have done nothing but enhance the perception of the brand – so it’s not always about selling kites, sometimes it’s just good to be able to say ‘we’re the best’!
Their new range of foils has just been released – the man behind the racing renaissance, Charles Bertrand, takes us through it.
So you’ve expanded your range of foils for 2016. When did you begin developing them?
race foil, but all the knowledge we get from this is so valuable to design the future of freeride foils.
Yes, the range is expanding. This was planned from the beginning: you start with a balanced product and then you’re building on from there. The foil opens a whole new world with lots of different styles or practices so we’ve got to cater for all of them.
For ‘ordinary’ consumers the main change for 2016 is the addition of an aluminum mast option – can you explain why you introduced this and if you are happy with its performance.
The R&D is an ongoing process, we basically never stop! We’ve been designing, developing and testing for four years now and we’re constantly fixing the latest bugs on next year’s product but also setting the bases for what will come in two years or more… Who have been the main people developing the foil and where has your R&D taken place? I’m running the foil program at F-ONE with Raphaël so I’m in charge of the design and engineering using my background in naval architecture, sailing and fluid dynamics. All the R&D is done in-house in Montpellier. I also gather all the feedback from the tests. We have a pretty wide array of people providing feedback or actively testing locally but also as far as Noumea or San Francisco. Our racing team – Maxime, Axel, Joey and Romain – are obviously very much involved in the development of the
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Carbon has always been quite expensive and will remain so even though it’s being used more and more in planes and cars. It’s also quite labor intensive to build a top quality carbon mast. The aluminum masts are produced from an extrusion process from high grade aluminum which is a much more affordable process. By reducing the production costs, we’re able to put on the market a foil which is a lot more accessible financially. The masts are rather well suited to the process of extrusion which requires a constant section profile along the length. And the isotropic properties of aluminum make it a good material to provide stiffness in both bending and torsion which are both very important. We are actually really happy with the performances of our aluminum mast. Not only is it light, but it’s stiff and can be really fast when pushed hard. Alex Caizergues has reached 31 knots with this mast and the standard freeride wings!
The Freeride 600 with carbon mast
The Freeride 800 with aluminum mast
The Race GP â€“ The fast one...
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At the heart of your range is the fact that all of the systems are interchangeable, have you had to make any compromises for this to be the case? The connection is actually really stiff and putting the foil together is so quick and easy, we are 100% happy about our patented FCD system. Up to now, we haven’t found this as a problem forcing us down to a compromise we didn’t want. All the wings (whether freeride, carving or racing) can fit on all masts or fuselages and everything is tuned so that you will find the same balance on the foil and won’t need to readapt when switching to a new wing. This year, the stabilizer is now split from the fuselage so you can adapt different wings and pack everything in a more compact box. The Entry Level foil is the Freeride 800. Is this suitable for complete novices and would it be sufficient for ‘recreational’ users to use all of the time? There is a fine balance between having an easy foil which is too slow to be performing in light winds and a foil which is too fast to be easy for novices. We think we have struck that balance with the Freeride 800. It has a generous area in the front wing which makes it easy to fly even at low speed and really stable. But the profiles and overall hydrodynamics are nicely refined to keep the foil efficient and maintain this feeling of glide which you get directly addicted to. This foil is predictable, easy to learn with and it’s always reacting in a more controlled way which also makes it effortless for freeriding around the bay at cruising speed. If you wanted to improve performance then you would move to the 600 right? How much difference does this make in terms of performance and are you able to purchase the smaller wing separately? Yes, the other wings can be ordered separately and adapted to your foil with no tuning required. Switching from the Freeride 800 to the 600 will make your foil faster and more responsive. The Freeride 600 wing is still pretty stable but definitely wants to take you further and faster. For top end performance you would then be looking at the “Carbon Race Grand Prix”. Has this changed for 2016 and what level do you need to be at before you are ready for this? The 2016 carbon masts (95 and 105cm) are totally new. They are longer but also have a new profile for more performances and stability. The chord length, thickness distribution and overall stiffness along the length have also been improved for better performances and to be competitive at the top level.
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But you really don’t need to be a top rider to enjoy all the benefits from these masts. It’s easier to begin with a mast which isn’t too long as this is usually more manageable. But it’s about the only restriction really. Besides, a longer mast is a lot more comfortable if you usually ride on a choppy spot and gives you more air time to complete your jibes or tacks. Will your race team be using this foil? Our riders are important, but so are our customers so we’ve focused on the production Freeride foils first before putting the last touches to our racing foil. Besides, their demands to be able to win the world tour are so high that it’s been a tremendous amount of work but also incredibly instructive. Max, Axel, Romain and Joey are starting to use the F-ONE race foil this season and you will be able to purchase the exact same gear. The foil market has exploded over the last three years – what are the most important factors in bringing a successful foil on to the market do you think? It’s crazy when you look back how things were three years ago. And it’s staggering to see how quick people and the market can adapt. Three years ago only a handful of riders believed in foiling and soon everybody will find it normal to cruise at 20 knots around the bay and cover more than 50 miles in the afternoon. We believe it’s important to start from a sound base with a concept that is fully reliable and will be able to evolve with time so we can dig more potential out of it every year. The sport is new and the average level will grow with time so we need to be able to adapt and think ahead to match the market’s expectations. And as with everything, you need to have a balanced product and to care for the variety of styles and practices. In terms of a potential path to the Olympics, do you think this would be a good move for the sport and what steps are you taking towards this? Foiling is clearly part of the future of sailing and going on the water generally. If the Olympics want to embrace this future then kitefoiling is probably the easiest and most affordable way for it. The Olympics are very inspirational on the sporting aspect and granting an Olympic medal to kitefoiling would most likely bring more kids into the racing game and raise the bar in terms of overall level. As far as the gear is concerned, the Olympic status freezes the development for a minimum of four years so there would probably be a parallel circuit where the riders will compete with the latest tech. As far as we are concerned we can only keep working hard to develop the best possible gear, keep pushing the sport forward and we stand ready for everything.
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Tell Me About It: CORE FREE
That incredibly well-oiled CORE machine is at it again. This time round it’s another kite to complement their ever expanding range: the Free.
So, a new CORE kite. Can you tell us where the new Free sits in the range? Sure. The new Free fills a natural space between our other two allrounders as the one with mad surf skills! The Universal+ Series is a family of three high performance all-rounders: the Free, XR, and GTS. Although each kite line in the Universal+ Series is built for all riders and all conditions, they each have one discipline injected with “super powers”. Why did you feel that now was the time for a new ‘Universal’ kite? We have learned after 10 successful years building high performance all-rounders that kites develop individual and distinct personalities which, in our opinion, is a good thing. Although many CORE riders try a little of everything, they usually have a personal preference for one of the three main disciplines. With this in mind, the new CORE Universal+ Series allows us to supercharge wave riding in the Free, unhooked freestyle in the GTS, and Big Air power freeriding in the XR series. But don’t underestimate the all-round abilities of all three. We will always have a few wave riders who prefer the GTS or XR. And we take that as a compliment. What are the key design characteristics that differentiate it from the GTS3 and the XR4? Although all three Universal+ Series kites have wave credentials, the Free feels more at home in the waves. Its lightweight three strut construction drifts better and is more agile than the XR4. The XR4 is a more powerful five strut design that delivers better hangtime.
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The Free enjoys a little more depower over the GTS3 which makes it easier to shut the kite off when you are on a nice wave. Kiteloop junkies, though, will prefer the superior travel of the GTS3 during big kiteloops. And the GTS3’s superior unhooked slack lining makes it a better choice for freestyle. What kind of rider is going to want to ride the Free and not the wave–specific Section? The rider that buys a Section thinks about waves and nothing else. The rider that purchases a Free loves waves but also enjoys exploring other areas, such as foiling, skimboarding, or boosting. Whereas the Free can do it all, the Section is our 100% wave kite. With no compromises. It is faster; has less harness pressure; and is more agile on the waves due, in part, to its thinner leading edge. If you identify yourself as a wave junkie, then you’re probably a Section rider. If you see yourself as a free spirit that loves waves but also enjoys a good twin tip session at the local slick, then you should be checking out the new Free. You have really worked on separating your main kite range from your ‘Specialized’ range – why is this? The Specialized Series is CORE’s brand dedicated solely to highly specialized, single purpose, pro level gear. Specialized kite buyers know what they want, and they seek out the brand with highest quality and most durable components because they know how hard they are on their gear. Currently, we build two Specialized Series kites, the Section which we already talked about, and the Impact, a pure, no bridle, C-kite. With four or five line setups. A kite for the 1%ers.
Core Free: A new member of the Universal+ Series
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Would you advise people to try and demo the kites to get a feel for which works best for them?
I guess it is a good indicator that your kite department is doing well – are you seeing solid growth in your kite sales?
Absolutely. Although each kite in the Universal+ Series is fully capable in each discipline, they do have different personalities. And this is because the GTS is a bridled C-kite; the XR is a five strut bow; and the Free is a three strut bow. You should try them all and find your favorite.
Sales, right across the board, are exceeding our expectations. So yes, we are super happy. But never satisfied!
Does the Free fly on the Sensor 2 bar? Yes, of course! The Free is designed to leverage the Sensor 2’s attributes. The last 18 months have seen your range of kites almost triple! Have you been drinking a lot of Red Bull over there on Fehmarn?! It’s been a lot of long nights and endless board meetings to bring you what we think is a complete line of kites. We are driven to experiment and innovate. And if we hit the target we are going to build it and let the market decide its fate.
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The clip that you released with the kite is very impressive! Can you take us through how this came about and the vibe you were trying to get across about the kite? The new CORE Free is about hanging out with your friends, trying new things, exploring new lakes, and just being free. To do anything. The Free is about playing and sharing the stoke. The clip that we shot in Mauritius reflects this ethos… We are almost scared to ask, but do you have anything else in the pipeline?! There is always something in the pipeline. Gear that will incorporate innovative “never-been-done-before” elements that will get everyone pumped. And when we are ready, we will let you know. But for now, ride on. And ride happy!
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NO STRETCH STRUCTURE NO STRETCH STRUCTURE
HIGHER AIR PRESSURE HIGHER AIR PRESSURE
THINNER EXOSKELETON FRAME THINNER EXOSKELETON FRAME
IMPROVED AERODYNAMICS IMPROVED AERODYNAMICS
IMPROVED RIPSTOP IMPROVED RIPSTOP
HIGHER UVUV PROTECTION HIGHER PROTECTION
BETTER FLIGHT STABILITY BETTER FLIGHT STABILITY
FOLLOWCORE COREKITEBOARDING: KITEBOARDING: FOLLOW
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CORE Kiteboarding – a Hiss-Tec brand // Fehmarn, Germany CORE Kiteboarding – a Hiss-Tec brand // Fehmarn, Germany O T. +49 (0)4371-88934-0 // email@example.com // 54.445874 N : 11.191058 T. +49 (0)4371-88934-0 // firstname.lastname@example.org // 54.445874 N : 11.191058 O
HARD CORE ExoTex. ExoTex.CORE’s CORE’snew newhi-tech hi-techDacron. Dacron.Like Likea ashark sharkcage cagethat that protects protectsits itsdiver, diver,the theasymmetrical asymmetricalweave weaveprotects protectsthe the kite’s kite’sexoskeleton exoskeletonframe. frame.ItItalso alsoallows allowsthe thedesign designofof thinner thinneryet yetmore morerigid rigidstruts strutsand andleading leadingedge. edge. The Thekite kiteflies flieswith withaacrisp, crisp,intuitive intuitiveprecision. precision. ItItheads headsbetter betterupwind upwindand andcreates createsmore morelift. lift. ExoTex. ExoTex.Developed DevelopedininGermany GermanybybyDimension Dimension Polyant, Polyant,the theworld worldleader leaderininyacht yachtsail sail design and manufacturing. design and manufacturing.
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Tell Me About It: F LY S U R F E R S P E E D 5
The SPEED was a ‘go to’ foil kite before foil kites began to enjoy their current renaissance.
Now into its fifth generation, Flysurfer’s Ramon Schoenmaker takes us through what’s new….
So you are on to the SPEED5 making the SPEED now nearly 10 years old. Can you explain to us the main innovations for this latest version? The main innovation is an improved canopy profile, creating less drag and more efficient flying of the wing, furthermore we increased the aspect ratio of the kite, giving a bit more performance and lift, and we increased the turning speed and turning ratio. Last but not least we implemented the Rigid Foil Technology from our race machine, the SONIC-FR, in the SPEED5 as well. We are very happy with it. It took a long time to make a real step forward from the SPEED4 Lotus, and since our big sizes are so important and popular for this kite, we took our time to make them as good as we could.
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And if you looked at the SPEED1 now, then what would be the main difference to the SPEED5?! Wow, that’s a long way to look back! I would say around 99% of how that kite felt is different to the current SPEED5. What we have done is kept the amazing lift and hangtime – this was one of the reasons which made the SPEED so popular in the first place. Then, since we always try to focus on making our products more userfriendly, further down the line (when more and more people began to get enthusiastic about the kite) we focused on the usability and improved the handling massively.
How does the proto process work with a foil kite? Is it easier to ‘tweak’ the design through adjusting the bridles and improve the kite this way, or do you go through a lot of canopy prototypes? We go through a lot of prototypes, especially for this model, and we also took two directions with the prototypes for the SPEED5, one with a bit of a different feeling to the other, and then on the water we compared head-to-head with different riders and testers to get feedback. Tuning with the bridle only allows us to adjust around 10%. The canopy of the kite must be very good to begin with. We do have some handy tools we use to trim the ballooning of the cells of the kite, which have big effects on the stability and flying speed for example, and we also create our own internal trim construction which helps us with the kite development process.
F LY S U R F E R S P E E D 5
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Who are your main customers for the SPEED kites? A big range of people. The SPEED5 is our ‘all terrain’ vehicle in kiting, meaning it is our go-to kite for water, land and snow, which is also the main target group that kiters who buy the SPEED5 are using the kite in. Another big target group is the kiter that wants to jump high in lowwinds and wants to have a lot of lift and hangtime/float to do their oldschool/ airstyle tricks. If you look at the WOO statistics of users then your regularly see 10m+ jumps coming in 10-12 knots from the better kiters on foil kites. For kiters who have only ever ridden LEI kites, what would you say to them to encourage them to have a go on a SPEED5? First of all: it’s a kite! There is nothing different there in terms of the riding feeling, so go on out and use it, and let it impress you. If you love boosting high – especially in low-winds – and want to be one of the first ones out going upwind and jumping then you want a foilkite 132 132 || TheKiteMag TheKiteMag
that is very playful, stable, and easyrelaunchable. And in sizes from 15m down it is easy to downloop after your jumps. Foiling and snow kiting have really increased in popularity over the last few years – this must have been a great boost for you guys and reinvigorated the foil kite market in general? We have always believed in the future of the foil kite, and as one of the biggest foil kite/ramair makers in the world, it is an area that is very close to our hearts. We also believed in the hydrofoil potential massively and now almost two-thirds of our employees foil. It allows you to kite in so many unique places and in such low winds, so whole new spots and kiteboarding options appear. Then snowkiting is truly three dimensional. That is what gives the extra passion to snowkiters as they can use the hill or mountain in so many ways: for soaring down, or to get up as fast as possible, pack down and create your own fresh lines in the virgin powder, or just for cruising around backcountry and exploring whole new areas
And what is next in the pipeline for Flysurfer? Our SONIC2 is in full development. We have had some early prototypes out in Mexico, Ragnarok and VAKE (Varanger Arctic Kite Enduro). But we will take all the time we need to get it as good as possible. Our current SONIC-FR is still performing very well and winning races worldwide, but the The SONIC2 will have a higher aspect ratio, new airfoils, new bridles, and much more… So it will have even more performance, but at Flysurfer we also try hard to make these race kites more user friendly whenever we see the possibility. We will probably release it to fit the IKA certification timetable, so end of summer 2016.
Photo: Klaus Schulz | Model: Sabrina A. Parisi
SLINGSHOT FOIL FLIGHT SCHOOL
d n o y e b n . . o . i t a t c e p ex
HIGH PERFORMANCE CROSSOVER L.E.I
Sizes 5 / 7 / 9 / 11 / 13 / 15 LW / 18 LW Airstyle, Freeride, Hydrofoil
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SCAN ME FOR THE FULL TESTS!
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
TEST VE TILITY R
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BLADE SKINNY BOY
Blade are going hard out at the moment with the release of several new kites and new generations of some of the old favorites. One of which is the wave-specific Skinny Boy. The 2nd Gen builds on the reputation for quality-construction that Blade have earned. The canopy is Teijin, reinforcements are well placed with different Dacron weights according to their placement, and overall the Skinny Boy is very light. A big factor in this is the very ‘skinny’ LE and struts – the Skinny Boy has one of the smallest leading edges of any kite we have tested in recent times. One final addition is the new Max Flow inflation – we thought we had seen it all here, but Blade’s new system actually requires an entirely new nozzle attachment to increase the size of the hose. With this attached it really does inflate with zero resistance. On the water and the Skinny Boy flies incredibly quickly through the air. We were riding it alongside some more freeridey kites and the difference in speed was striking. It feels very taught and balanced and flies quickly and precisely through all parts of the window. Depower is very quick and complete and turning is very pivotal. For waveriding – if you are confident with your kite handling and placement – it is a dream. You can easily place it where it needs to be and it will do exactly what you expect. In both onshore and more side-off conditions it responded intuitively and we really enjoyed flying it.
In a sentence: For competent waveriders who know where to place a kite in the surf, the Skinny Boy provides all that you need and more: truly impressive.
The Lithium is a mainstay in the Airush range and is a kite that has helped to define what a ‘freeride’ kite should do. With the arrival of the Union in the range and with the success of other ‘performance freeride’ kites on the market, we were keen to see how the Lithium compared. Construction – as with the entire Airush ALL -R O range – is very well thought out and solid. BO O ST U IN The Dyneema Load Frame provides enhanced strength across the canopy and the use of Teijin Technoforce proves that no corners have been cut. The Lithium has a pulleyed bridle for maximum depower and the Core bar uses a pull/pull depower system. In the air and the Lithium is a very stable kite. Movement is controlled and very predictable with no twitchiness or unexpected surprises. It is the kind of kite that you would be 100% happy to let one of your non-kiting mates have their first go with and that would comfortably introduce them to the world of kites. Depower is as close to complete as you are ever likely to get and the smooth ‘power on’ feels like you are steadily putting your foot down on the accelerator. You can load it up and send yourself up for some nice lofty airs as well – if you went a size or two bigger than you needed then it would be a boosting machine, and also in the waves for ‘park and ride’ shredding it is a lot of fun. DE
In a sentence: A very stable, safe and fun kite to fly – still defining what a true ‘freeride’ kite should do. 134 | TheKiteMag
CORE FREE As you can find out more about in ‘Tell Me About It’ this issue, the Free is an addition to CORE’s ‘Universal Series’. So these are Core’s range of kites designed for all round use but each has a few additional skills in one department. For the Free that is wave-riding. It’s a three strut kite that borrows some design features from both the XR4 (swept back tips and bridle configuration) and the GTS3 (three struts and lower aspect). Construction is excellent with the ExoTex Dacron beefing up the frame and we were using the Sensor Pro carbon/ titanium bar. First impressions in the air are that the Free flies quickly through the air and for us is the most agile of the Universal Series of kites. Depower is excellent and we were also surprised by how well the kite got you back upwind. The Free really turns on once you get onto a wave – for onshore riding you really can whip it round and it turns on the spot (without flying too far forward) and drives around. It is easy to keep the momentum going as you are hitting sections and the depower means that – even though it sits quite deep – you are never pulled off your edge. For cross-off conditions it L- R O U N AL DE R has a nice soft feeling and you can let it sit there with minimal input and it will drift nicely down the line. In a sentence: A very wellbalanced kite with impressive pivotal turning and excellent depower and range.
The Strike is CrazyFly’s first foray into the ‘noseless’ market. And sometimes coming in a little later is good as it enables you to learn from what has gone before! The Strike is only available in a 5’4 and is built around a genuine PU core (yes, you can see the stringer). The weight is a respectable 3.3kg and with five fin boxes you can ride it as a thruster or a quad. For us the graphics are very cool. In the flesh the red is more of a fluoro orange and – as with their twin tips this year – the graphics department have done a great job. Volume is relatively low at 23.5 liters and when you first pick it up you notice that the rails RFBOAR are not as ‘boxy’ as other similar boards and come in pretty sharply. On the water and the SU D BUIL D S Q N U Strike trucks around very nicely – the straight rail line, low rocker and wide nose make I A F L cruising around in chop easy and ensure that you can get back upwind even if the wind is marginal. The PU core delivers a very smooth ride indeed and is a definite improvement by the CrazyFly team. We generally rode it as a quad and found that you could really snap it around – particularly in more onshore conditions. It spins around quickly but with a nice loose and skatey feel, and you can release the fins and let the tail slide out relatively easily. The slimmer rails mean that you get more drive than on other noseless boards so you can really power into more hollow sections and put it on an edge with confidence. The flip side of this is that it is a little less forgiving, but for us this was a fair trade off and gives the Strike some solid ‘performance’ credentials.
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In a sentence: Impressive entry to the noseless market, and the slimmer rails deliver good performance in more solid conditions.
NORTH PRO KONTACT
OCEAN RODEO FLITE 8M
HORE ONS D O
E LIN E-
In a sentence: The Kontact has one job in life – to help you to excel in solid surf – and it does this exceptionally well.
Why, you might ask, have you told us that you tested an 8m here when you do not on other tests? [Editor’s note: if you are interested, then we generally test 8 and 9 meter kites – normally 8m for wave focused kites and 9m for everything else.) Well, the reason we have specified the size in this test is that the Flite was introduced to the OR range as a ‘lightwind’ kite, L- R O U N so was only available in BIG sizes. But they liked it AL DE BO O R ST so much that for the 3rd generation they have IN scaled it down with this 8m now being the smallest. The test team were intrigued… Out of the bag and construction is solid but relatively light – there are no excess reinforcements (although there are new Kevlar reinforcements in critical points) and this smaller size has a similar attitude when it comes to keeping its weight low as you find on the larger sizes. This is further assisted by the leading edge which is small and the struts which are tiny… In the air and you appreciate that this is a relatively high aspect kite. It sits forward in the water and really drives upwind and feels like a performance ‘racier’ kite. Then, once you begin moving it around, it becomes clear that this is a perfectly poised kite – it feels very ‘light’ and you would expect that to result in a reduction in responsiveness but it doesn’t: the Flite turns very smoothly and the power on/off is tuned in and effective. There are surprises also in the turning speed which is quick and pivotal, even when riding it towards the top of its range. It looks like a kite that shouldn’t be rubbing shoulders with other ‘freeride’ kites that look completely different but it really does… G
In this world of ‘do it all’ kites and boards, it is always fun to test something that doesn’t pretend to be anything it is not. The Kontact is a board for riding waves, and not just any old wave – the Kontact is designed for riding ‘proper’ waves. This year it has the Light Team Construction, so it has less reinforcements and a lighter layup with the carbon beam running through the highest stress point of the board to ensure that it can handle the rigors of both strapped and strapless riding (unlike the other Light Team Construction boards the Kontact also has inserts for straps). The Kontact has a true ‘bigger surf ’ planshape, and is relatively narrow (the 6’1 is only 17¾” wide) with a slender nose and pulled in through the back third coming in to a pintail. It has a thruster set up. On the water and the best way to describe cruising around on the Kontact is that it really just ‘glides’ around. With the smooth contour, generous rocker and new construction it cruises around very nicely indeed. When it gets to where it wants to be – on a solid wave – it really comes into its own. It accelerates very quickly and the rail engages and gives you complete confidence that it can hold an edge and hold its line. When it’s time to initiate a bottom turn you need to make sure you are drawing solid, carvey lines to keep your momentum and you can then drive up the RFBOAR SU face with plenty of speed. Coming off D BUIL D S Q U IN the top and – if you have enough A F L lick – then it will drive nicely off the lip and send you on your way to the next section.
In a sentence: The Flite 8m is perfectly tuned and wellrefined – it genuinely does put a smile on your face.
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RRD JUICE V3
RRD’s Juice V3 seems like it has taken a look at itself in the mirror and decided that it needs to toughen up. There is a more aggressive vibe, with tip cut-outs, new channels and some fresh graphics – which are very pleasing on the eye. RRD have also decided to go to the track system which really gives you the ability to tune your perfect stance set up, and this will have a large appeal to the boot riding crew as tweaking those stance angles is key to powered landings and getting that explosive pop. Another couple of impressive touches are the straps and pads which are exceptionally comfortable, and the smaller fins which work perfectly on this style of board. The Juice V3 has had a lot of input from RRD’s entire freestyle team and particularly Dutch giant, Jerrie van de Kop, who pushes his boards to the limit so we were expecting bombproof performance. It is designed for wakestyle riders who want to go hard and as such it has an increased rocker line and an outline designed to give you smoother landings and increased control when you are landing hard. Despite this, on the water we were impressed by the fact that the rocker line was very well balanced so you are not sacrificing too much upwind performance. Coupled with this, the board’s flex pattern is very well-tuned to deliver some seriously explosive pop, but it is still a relatively easy board to cruise around… For us, although the Juice V3 might have you wondering if it’s the right choice for you as it is touted as a wakestyle board, it is well worth checking out as it is actually really manageable for all levels of riding. So there was just one more thing to say: Stupefacente! (‘Amazing’ in Italian…) C
In a sentence: The Juice V3 is a very well thought out and engineered board, guaranteed to quicken the pulse of any serious wakestyler but also a surprisingly enjoyable board to cruise around on. EST FR
The much anticipated updated Wainman Hawaii Joke has finally landed, and once again Wainman have not disappointed. The Joke is a board that we really enjoyed first time around so we were excited to see what the Wainman crew had been up to for this latest version. There are small wakestyle G10 fins (nice touch), new footpads and fresh graphics. The first version of the Joke was possibly overlooked by many because of the original ‘out there’ graphics, but with these slick new graphics there is now no excuse not to put your feet in one and go for a spin. On the water and the first thing you notice is the incredibly smooth and forgiving ride. Not what you expect from a true freestyle weapon, but don’t let this silky ride take you away from what’s really there: explosive pop, superb straight line speed and grip in abundance. The one-of-a-kind bottom shape of the Joke is what sets this board apart from the pack and at the heart of this is the ‘bubble’ in the center of the board which helps to break the surface tension on powered landings. You really do have unrivalled control when you’re coming in hot. What the previous Joke lacked was upwind performance, and Wainman Hawaii have listened to the riders and flattened out the rocker line on this new model so that it now really motors upwind (if that is not what you are after then the new Joke Pro, with its increased rocker, might be more up your street). So no matter what level you are at, the EESTYLE FR new Joke is a pure shredding machine and B T PO H O IG P E guaranteed to take your riding up a level. W
It is fair to say that the world has gone a little bit crazy for these splitboards over the last 18 months. Originally pitched as a good option for traveling, kiters are also realizing that having a split board just makes life a bit easier (especially if, like this one, they come in a nice bag!) – you can fit everything in the car more easily and when you get home you can fit it into a cupboard… The NHP is Nobile’s hugely successful freeride board and has been given a rework for 2016 but still has the freeride-fun philosophy at its heart. For the split there is the patented 2nd generation W-connection which Nobile (and nice to see some straight-up facts here) say increases flex by around 20%. But this is a freeride board so that is no bad thing. On the water the NHP Split provides a very comfortable ride, the rocker is generous so it sucks up chop and the asymmetric shape, bottom contours and double concaves all combine to provide excellent upwind performance – you can really dig in and drive the NHP Split. For boosting you can really load and, although you are never going to get the same pop as the more wakestyle driven models (such as the 50/Fifty) you get a nice release and the NHP sends you up. For landings the NHP Split is super-forgiving and really wants to see you ride away.
In a sentence: Pure freeride fun with excellent boosting credentials – would you know it was a split-board if you couldn’t see the W-Connection? Unlikely…
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In a sentence: Top-end performance in a truly accessible package – an intelligent evolution.
NOBILE NHP SPLIT
The Chaos now has a world championship title under its belt – no mean feat – so is the kind of kite that deserves your attention if you are a freestyle devotee. Depending on your perspective it is either a six line kite, or a four line kite with two additional ‘suspension’ lines which serve to maintain the shape of the LE and provide additional support. The Chaos flies on the Cabrinha Chaos 1X bar which is set up exclusively for this kite, and for 2016 there are customizable steering options for either a) quicker turning or b) improved stability depending on your style of riding. In the air the Chaos is really positive and direct, and there is a decent amount of bar pressure which lets you know where your kite is at all times. Although you may think of this as more of a wakestyle machine, we were really impressed with its boosting. It gives you a decent pull off the water, and if your timings are good then it will really send you up and the hang time is pretty tasty – C-kites seem to be the choice once again for good old boosting sessions. Then the Chaos responds really positively to input, and if you want to really huck it into a Megaloop then it is keen. It’s also been well tuned to catch you through tricks which gives you the confidence to push harder knowing that the Chaos will be there to catch you. If you’re looking for that wakestyle pop then the Chaos has been built with this in mind, you only have to watch Liam Whaley loading up and letting rip to appreciate its credentials here. It gives you a good progressive edge to load up and create solid pop, then once you’ve released the Chaos flies forward perfectly and provides you with some sweet slack line for your passes. For relaunch it is back to basics with the ‘swim toward’ technique (rather than the hybrid pull the back line). But if you’re buying a Chaos that kind of thing isn’t going to bother you… RANGE
Y LIT BI
In a sentence: This is a cracking C-kite – excellent wakestyle and slack line credentials make it a handlepass machine, but also very good to boost. AL
L- R O U N BO O
This is one of the kites we have been eagerly waiting to test. Ozone have pitched the Enduro as a kite that does it all. It has three struts on an open C platform with swept wingtips and a medium aspect ratio which means that it looks like it should be pretty much at home in the hands of all styles of riding. Out of the bag and, as with all Ozone kites, the Enduro just shouts quality. Build is light but solid and well thought out, and you know there is no unnecessary cloth and that reinforcements are only where you need them. It has a front bridle, and three steering and speed adjustment options on the wingtips, so you know you can really fine tune the Enduro to your riding style. We flew the Enduro on the 50cm Contact bar which is also a fantastically engineered bar with a light, comfortable grip, large chicken loop and solid safety system. On the water and the first thing we noticed about the Enduro was just how grunty it is. It was a pleasant surprise, and that – coupled with medium bar pressure – makes the Enduro feel very well balanced. If you want to adjust that then you can change your wingtip settings to lighten it up, but for us it felt good from the off. Power delivery is smooth and the depower is progressive – Ozone have really been getting this right over the last few years and it’s great to see them maintain a consistency. Boosting and the Enduro has solid performance – not as much lift as the Edge but impressive for an all-round kite – it gives you a decent pull off the water and the float is good. Then what really impressed us in the freestyle department was the kite’s ability to give massive amounts of pop unhooked. Even though it’s a true all-rounder, the Enduro really excels in the freestyle department – it flies forward nicely and gives a bit of slack line for passing. In the surf/freeride department, the Enduro has all of the handling characteristics that you need – the smooth and near-complete depower and the drift will put a smile on the face of waveriders and provide plenty of versatility for freeriders. Upwind handling is also exceptionally good and the Enduro carries plenty of speed. Overall we really found it hard to find any fault with the Enduro and once again Ozone have produced a cracking kite which we’re pretty sure will gain a devout following. In a sentence: Don’t be fooled, this is not ‘just’ a freeride kite, it’s an impressive freestyle option, great in the surf, and has that distinct ‘Ozone feel’ as well. TheKiteMag | 137
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METEOROLOGY WITH TONY BUTT
PHOTO: CARLOS TORO W W W.W H I T E WAV E S . E U
WIND SCALES: PART 1 When we talk about any natural phenomenon, we often need to communicate to other people the size or amount of that phenomenon. Sometimes we need to be precise and objective, with some sort of numerical measure instead of just saying ‘big’, ‘strong’ or ‘fast’. Wind velocity is, of course, no exception. It comes in a bewildering array of different units; for example, meters per second [m/s], kilometers per hour [km/h], miles per hour [mph], knots [kts] and Beaufort scale [Bf ]. Many of us use knots, and some of us still use the Beaufort scale, particularly if you were brought up with the BBC Shipping Forecast, like I was. Both of these units are a bit weird and both have an interesting history behind them. The knot is defined as one nautical mile per hour, and was originally conceived as a method for measuring the speed of a boat through the water. Only later was it used as a measurement for wind, principally over the sea. Until around the 15th century, anybody crossing the ocean in a boat had extreme difficulty knowing how fast they were traveling, so they couldn’t easily navigate from one place to another. The original method for measuring the speed of a boat was to throw a wooden log overboard and see how fast the boat moved away from the log. People began to attach a rope to the log and measure the length of rope that was paid out in a given time, and hence were able to calculate the velocity. (All this assuming that the log remained stationary in the water.) Now, sometime around the 15th century, the nautical mile was introduced. A nautical mile [technical lingo warning!] is one minute of latitude, or the length of the arc that subtends an angle of one minute around the Earth’s circumference. Distances over the sea started to be measured in nautical miles, and the
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velocity of boats in nautical miles per hour. The simple log was replaced by a weighted triangular piece of wood called a chip-log, and knots were tied in the rope at regular intervals. By counting the number of knots that were paid out in a given time, it became much easier to measure the speed of the boat. Typically, the system was ‘calibrated’ in nautical miles per hour by putting the knots at eight fathom intervals and using a 30-second sand glass as a timer. Using this system, it is pretty easy to work out that the number of knots paid out every 30 seconds is equal to the speed of the boat in nautical miles per hour. The Beaufort scale is defined by the UK Meteorological Office as an empirical measure for describing wind intensity based on observed sea conditions. Basically it is just a set of numbers from 0 to 12 that correspond to various different sea conditions observed from a boat, assuming that the wind is the major controlling factor for those conditions. The scale was first devised around 1805 by the Irish-born mariner Rear Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort. A few simple wind scales had already been invented; for example, Daniel Defoe’s Table of Degrees from 1704. This contained 12 different descriptions of the wind, such as ‘a fine breeze’ or ‘a hard gale of wind’, but was still very subjective. Beaufort’s idea was to relate a scale of numbers to much more comprehensive descriptions that everybody could recognize. The initial Beaufort scale was not actually based on sea conditions, but on descriptions of the types of sails required by ships according to each wind force. These contained terms ranging from ‘just sufficient to give steerage’ to ‘that which no canvas sails could withstand’. It was only in 1903 that a scale of corresponding wind speeds was added, which made the scale more quantitative and objective. It works on this simple relationship: v = 1.625 B3/2 Where v is the equivalent wind speed in knots and B is Beaufort scale number. By the 20th century, large sailing ships were quickly going out of fashion. So around 1906, it was proposed that the scale be based on descriptions of the sea state rather than the amount of sail a ship needed to carry. This was officially adopted in 1939. Finally, in 1960, equivalent wave heights were added to the scale.
The Beaufort scale that you see nowadays contains the following parameters corresponding to forces 0 to 12: equivalent wind speeds (see table), a simple description of the wind, e.g. light breeze; a simple description of the sea state, e.g. rough; a comprehensive description of the sea conditions; and probably wave heights. You can find the full official descriptions together with photographs of typical sea states at the UK meteorological office website, metoffice.gov. uk. Force 12 on the Beaufort scale, or ‘hurricane force’, is around 64 kts, and is the windspeed at which an Atlantic tropical storm can officially be called a hurricane. Interestingly, in 1946, the scale was extended to include forces 13 to 17 – precisely for special circumstances such as hurricanes. However, that was quickly abandoned in favor of scales such as the Saffir-Simpson, specifically designed for tropical cyclones, which I’ll talk about next time. 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…
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COMPETITIONS RIDING UNDER PRESSURE
IS IT TIME TO GET A BIT MORE COMPETITIVE? That is the question we are asking this issue at KiteSista. So what does it mean to take part in ‘competitive kiteboarding’. Your first thoughts might involve judges, championships, pressure and talent – but that is not where we are going with this. What we want to talk about is you, your friends, and the advantages (and the fun you can have) when things get a little bit competitive.
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WHAT IS COMPETITION? You might label yourself as highly competitive or, on the flip side, consider yourself someone who’s not in the slightest bit competitive. But either way the fact is that we all have a competitive edge: it’s inbuilt and part of our evolutionary make up.
We all know this to be true in kiteboarding. You only have to be riding towards someone in light wind to feel that need to assert yourself as the more upwind rider and therefore the one with priority. (What? don’t tell us you use that moment to refer to the regulations and give way to the rider on the starboard tack! Of course you
don’t, you turn your hips and dig in your heels!) Anyone who kites with windsurfers will also be able to admit to themselves the odd, “I bet I can go faster than you!” moment as you go hell for leather trying to prove to the windsurfer that there are very few remaining reasons for them not to pick up a kite… Riders: Estefania Rosa & Bruna Kayija Photo: KiteSista
“COMPETITION IN BIOLOGY AND SOCIOLOGY, IS A CONTEST BETWEEN TWO OR MORE ORGANISMS, ANIMALS, INDIVIDUALS OR GROUPS FOR TERRITORY, A NICHE, FOR A LOCATION OF RESOURCES, FOR RESOURCES AND GOODS, FOR MATES, FOR PRESTIGE, FOR RECOGNITION, FOR AWARDS, FOR GROUP OR SOCIAL STATUS, OR FOR LEADERSHIP. COMPETITION IS THE OPPOSITE OF COOPERATION. IT ARISES WHENEVER AT LEAST TWO PARTIES STRIVE FOR A GOAL WHICH CANNOT BE SHARED OR WHICH IS DESIRED INDIVIDUALLY BUT NOT IN SHARING AND COOPERATION. COMPETITION OCCURS NATURALLY BETWEEN LIVING ORGANISMS WHICH CO-EXIST IN THE SAME ENVIRONMENT.” (WIKIPEDIA)
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Rider: Estefania Rosa Photo: KiteSista
THE NATURAL HIGH It feels great to win. Even the least competitive amongst us will admit that it feels good to win something on your own merit. More than just the win however, the very act of competition raises our adrenaline levels and can induce an ear-toear smile which (provided you are also a good loser) stays on your face for the rest of the day.
i AM NEVER GOING TO BE A CHAMPION
So it is in your natural instinct to compete: your mind and body are drawn to it, it makes you feel good and it is fun. Fun is something that no one can contest to having too much of in their life, and any opportunity to have more should be embraced.
So you’re not champion material. That’s okay, nor are we… But whether you’re trying to go that first few meters further than your friend on your first board-start, using a WOO to prove once and for all that you jump the highest at your local spot, or
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yourself to riding up and down all day on your own. Anyone who has been to a kite camp can attest to this – it is not just coaching but being in a group filled with people trying the same moves as you forces you to try harder and ultimately to progress more. even something as simple as getting upwind faster than the person you’re riding with – competition is a great way to improve your all-round kite skills. And then you can of course compete against yourself. Landing a new trick, holding that grab a moment longer, grabbing a new part of the board, adding an extra half rotation. In reality you are competing against yourself all the time to become a better kiter.
WINNING A MEDAL At this point we need to not overlook ‘real’ competition which (with the current absence of a credible wave tour) comes in 2 basic flavors.
COMPETE TO PROGRESS Ride with people better than you or those trying the same things and you will progress many time quicker than always being the best in your group, or confining
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Riders: Liloo Gringa & Laura Jaubert Photo: KiteSista
FREESTYLE The laying down of your very best tricks in a limited time period (usually 7 or 10 minutes). Try it. No matter what your level, stick a digital watch on your arm, set the countdown to 7 minutes and see just what you can do. If you are lucky enough to possess an actual trick repertoire then feel free to have a friend list the tricks and try and score you. The first thing people realize is just how short 7 minutes is, and how differently you ride and perform your tricks when landing them is the most important thing. 150 | TheKiteMag
Rider: Dioneia Vieira Photo: KiteSista
RACING The most primitive and accessible part of kiteboarding. It only takes two people (or you can race the watch if you truly kite in isolation) and can be done anywhere. It should be noted that racing doesn’t necessarily require special boards, expensive foils, or highly tuned kites. It is also worth noting that whilst the technical aspect of professional racing gets more and more complex, the discipline being considered for the Olympics is current twin tip racing!
Racing can be practiced over a course, from point A to point B, upwind, downwind (or a combination of the two) and requires no special equipment or judges to validate it (photo finishes excluded: if in doubt, race again). And the only trophy you need at the end is the large beer that the loser bought you…
READY, STEADY, GO So that is what we want you to take away from this. Not just a sentiment or some advice, NO, this is an order! Get out there, get competing, motivate your friends to do the same and – as well as becoming a better kiter – you might just find that you feel ready to step up to the next level and get involved in some more serious competition. TheKiteMag | 151
B E HIND
C L I P
When we first saw that a clip had arrived from two of the younger riders on the scene who were fresh back from their big Western Australia trip we were expecting 5:10 of non stop action
from the familiar spots backed up by some down-with-the-kids soundtrack. What we got was a very well edited ‘short’. Nicely shot and thoughtfully cut. Time to find out where Noè Font and Jerome Cloetens went to film school… You make good use of the drone in the intro – who was in charge of flying that and did you lose any drones in the making of the clip?! NF: Jerome got his hands on a Phantom 3 a few weeks prior to the trip. It is a really awesome toy to play around with, helps a lot to get filler shots as well as a good perspective of the landscapes. Jerome was in charge of flying since the drone was his. JC: No losing drones. We are still young boys so we can’t afford to lose any! Had you been to Australia before? What did you make of it? NF: It was the first time in Australia for both of us. Luckily we became good friends with a few locals who showed us around and drove us to the best kite spots. For the movie we really wanted to feature the Australian wildlife so we went on countless missions looking for kangaroos, koalas, seals and others Aussie wildlife. The kiting side of the trip was epic. There is no other way to describe it. When there was wind the conditions there are top notch so that made making the action part a pleasure. We both stomped our best tricks at the time so we are very happy with how everything turned out.
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Did you kite every day on the trip? JC: No not at all. We had so many no wind days. At one point the only thing we were doing was playing Xbox until the light was good to film some landscapes and lifestyle, then we were back to gaming! Did you nail any new tricks? NF: On our second week we visited Woodies. The wind was blowing from the wrong direction so it was pretty gusty, however I stomped my first front side 317 which I was very happy about. And by the end of the trip I managed to land it again during one of our mornings shoots. JC: Some, not as much as I expected but I improved quite a lot on the tricks I had already. I hurt my shoulder on the last week which was the best week we had in the whole trip unfortunately. Were any babies harmed in the making of the clip? JC: Ha! You should have seen Noè’s face when he saw the kid there in front of the camera. Noè and Stefan were riding and when I put the cute baby there, they were like, “Jerome what the hell are you doing?” Thanks again to his dad for being cool with it btw!
NF: The baby shot was very random. The kid was playing in the shore and his dad – who I recently got a message from congratulating us on the movie – was watching the action. Jerome was filming and he proposed doing a few tricks over the kid. Very random. Did you eat any Aussie pies?! NF: No we didn’t! I guess that is the kind of thing that you don’t know of unless somebody tells you about it. JC: Nope! We ate tons of pies but not the Aussie ones, definitely next time! The production is excellent – who was in charge of the edit and how long did it take? NF: I was in charge of the edit and it took me a while. I wanted to take my time with it, visualize the idea I had and make the movie the way we wanted it. We tried lots of things and did so many modifications to what we thought was the final version. Overall it took me about three months, but I wasn’t editing six hours a day or anything like that. In the end the film is how we wanted it so we are stoked. JC: Mr Artsy aka Noè Font. He was frothing on the retro films we watched on the trip, so I think he enjoyed doing the edit. We were
in touch all the while so we knew how we wanted to do to the edit before we started. The only thing I had to do is a little edit on my own and send it to him so he could get inspired on my perspective. There is some great random tuneage at the start and the end of the clip – where did you source that? NF: I’m always looking for new songs, sounds or anything like that to give my movies a different style. Those are some of them and they make the movie a little different than what we are used to seeing. Will you be heading back over? NF: One hundred percent yes! Australia is now top of my list. I had a really good time there and I’ll be going back for sure. JC: Sure thing – I’m in love with west Australia!
Where was the best place you rode out there?
JC: Fremantle! Noè is underage so we had a blast sneaking into the clubs.
NF: We were based across the street from Safety Bay, which is the best flat water spot in the area. The setup we had there was perfect, right in front of the spot. Just the perfect atmosphere for what we wanted.
What’s next on your agenda?
Where did you have the biggest nights out? NF: The bus station was literally in front of the house so one night we decided to go out in Perth. We tried to get into this first club but they wouldn’t let us in without an Australian ID or Driver’s License. All the clubs in the area have this machine where they register everyone who gets in so we couldn’t enter any of them. After that we tried out in Freemantle, there is a big university and plenty of parties there.
NF: I’m getting ready for the Triple S Invitational in a few weeks. I got invited this year and I’m really excited for it. I’m looking on focusing more time on making movies and at some point a full length film. JC: No idea! We are both busy right now competing, Noè is busier on the slider comps, and I’m more into the freestyle ones lately. But what Noè and I have been thinking about for a while now is doing a full length movie! There is no date planned but I have a feeling we will do it soon and this time it will be probably be at our home spots and some other spots that we love…
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