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The Features 058
N I G H T C R AW L E R S What happens when you combine one of the best kite photographers on the planet with several of the best riders on the planet, then mix in a few massive flashes and sprinkle over the dependable wind and classic freestyle set ups of Brazil? Well. Unsurprisingly: magic happens….
NICK JACOBSEN VERSUS SNOW Snow is not known as your classic weather accompaniment to kitesurfing, but Nick Jacobsen and friends head off to snowy South Dakota nonetheless to test some wetsuits and to see what it has to offer in the kite-potential department…
SCILLY TIMES You may not have heard of the Scilly Isles. Situated off the southernmost tip of the UK, the archipelago provides a wealth of uninhabited islands and secluded beaches to explore… All linked by extremely tidal channels and
AN AFRICAN WINTER Graham Howes takes some out-of-season time out of his Dirty Habits commitments to hit the road and check out what’s on offer elsewhere on the African continent… From solo sessions in Mozambique to true tests in Namibia – quite a lot it turns out…
unpredictably shallow bays. So perfect for learning to foil.
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// Gallery... Keahi De Aboitis and Moona Whyte in Indo
Technique with Eric Rienstra
// Pro Tips: Foil Physics
Tell me about it… Naish Slash
// Tangled Lines with Tom Bridge
// Profile: CR:X
Meteorology with Tony Butt
Kite Sista... The cable
Behind the Clip… Melancholy (in cursive)
0 5 4 // On The List... with Jason Hudson 1 0 0 // Under the Hood... F-ONE 108
Designer’s notes... Frank Ilfrich
COVER: Alex Neto making it look easy – but just think about all the elements that have to align to get this kind of shot. And then remember that he has to do it in the dark… Photo: Andre Magarao HERE: Big Air aficionado Bibiana Magaji punts one into the sunset 100% Flysurfer fueled with her Boost2 and Radical5 set up… Photo: Ivo Sedlak 10 | TheKiteMag
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Hereâ€™s a man whoâ€™s seen a few contests come and go in his time but is just has hungry as ever... Mitu Monteiro eying up the next section in Dakhla. Photo: Ydwer van der Heide
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A good year for kiting As 2016 draws to a close (although if, like me, you have been looking at 2017 kites since June, it feels a bit like it ended a few months back) it is of course a good time to reflect on the world of kiteboarding over the last 12 months… As with all sports, kiting will be judged by what has gone down at the ‘top level’. Unless you’re a superfan, you don’t assess motor racing on what happened in GP3 – you want the headlines from Formula 1; you don’t care too much about who won the third league of Italian football, but you might want to know who topped Serie A… So for kiting, the last couple of years have been a bit of a letdown. Of course as a regular kiter you might not mind too much about how the respective tours are getting on but – taking a wider look at the sport – a lot of people will only connect with kiting through seeing or reading about competitions and how the top pros are performing, so when the competitive side of the sport is in a state of disarray it really does reflect badly, and does the sport as a whole no favors… At the start of the year, 2016 had all the hallmarks of another bang-head-against-wall year… No tours, more arguments, and not much to report. And yet, jump forward 12 months, and we seem to be in a different place altogether with coherent tours in both freestyle and wave and an entire new structure of the sport worked out and signed off by World Sailing. Is it all happy families? Who knows. But it looks very promising
and we can only hope that this has laid the foundations from which the professional side of the tour can really develop and present kiteboarding confidently to the rest of the ‘extreme sport’ world and beyond… Closer to home and of course we hope that you have had a great year and have got plenty of sessions under your belt – maybe you’ve added a few new moves to your freestyler repertoire, maybe you’ve had some of the best waves of your life, or maybe you’ve put together your first few runs on the foil. You’re probably your own harshest critic but, be honest: you’ve made some progress! Which is one of the many things that makes kiting great, you are always going somewhere with it and – whether you’re 14 or 64 – there are always improvements along the way… As a magazine we’ve been stoked with how the year has gone. We’ve worked super hard to bring you the very best content that we can and to really take TheKiteMag up a level, so we’ve had more pages, more content, and we’ve worked harder online (now with 40,000 Instagram followers!) to keep you in the loop with all that is good and great in our sport. So, thanks for reading the mag, and here’s hoping you step it up to the next level in whatever you have planned for 2017… Enjoy the issue.
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RIDER LILOO GRINGA
PHOTO ANDRE MAGARAO
TKM: Could this be the perfect kiting shot… Well, does it have palm trees? Yes. Is it a nice ‘core’ move? Yes. Is the water a pleasant shade of blue? Yes. Are there any wetsuits in evidence? No. It ticks all the right boxes then…
Editor: Alex Hapgood (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Online: If you have a clip or would like to get something on the website please send it over to us: email@example.com.
Sub editor: Cai Waggett Art Director: Louise Kelly Assistant Art Director(s): Andy Gimson / Matt Hollands Contributors: Andre Magarao, Brendan Pieterse, Finn Behrens, Alexander Lewis-Hughes, Toby Bromwich, Bianca Asher, Svetlana Romantsova, Lukas Pitsch, Paco Ancell, Jay Wallace, Mike Raper, Craig Howes, Christian Black, Amy Romer, Bas Koole, Graham Howes, Damien Girardin, Noè Font, Ben Gillespie, Vincent Bergeron, Ned DeBeck, Marcus Gracien
In the mag: TheKiteMag welcomes both written and photographic submissions. Photography should be submitted in both RAW and edited format. Please note that the publication of written content is generally dependent on the provision of high quality photography, so in the first instance please send photographic samples and a 150 word synopsis of your writing to: firstname.lastname@example.org You can find TheKiteMag on:
TheKiteMag is… WATER BORN Published by 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. 16 | TheKiteMag
This magazine is printed on paper sourced from responsibly managed sources using vegetable based inks. Both the paper used in the production of this brochure and the manufacturing process are FSC® certified. The printers are also accredited to ISO14001, the internationally recognised environmental standard.
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RIDER OZZIE SMITH
LOCATION FALSE BAY
PHOTO BRENDAN PIETERSE
BP: So the story behind this shot of Oswald Smith making this jump from the icy and super sharky waters of False Bay into the crystal clear waters of one of the most scenic tidal pools I have even seen began with a road trip… And with none other than the Dirty Habits team.
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I can’t tell you the exact location of the tidal pool as it is a pretty secret spot, but I can tell you that you travel towards one of South Africa’s largest townships along the False Bay stretch. Oh and I forgot to mention that you need special permission to kite there as it is a public pool. The reason for our road trip was for a new web series that the boys at Dirty Habits are busy putting together. On this trip we had Oswald Smith, Carl Ferreira, Graham Howes, Jop Heemskerk and myself. It was a perfect day, around 28 degrees and the wind was around 17 knots. It was an epic adventure with the boys and I am super stoked to have captured this image that pretty much sums up our day.
RIDER FINN BEHRENS
LOCATION KEGNAES, DENMARK
PHOTO MADS WOLLESEN
I always get inspired when I’m watching wakeboard or snowboard movies. I see tricks, which I want to try in kitesurfing. In snowboarding “one footers” are quite common nowadays. A lot of snowboarders are doing one footers with spins or even
flips. Felix Gerogii, one of the best German wakeboarders, is doing one footers off a kicker – it looks super stylish and you can get creative, combining it with spins and grabs. I went to the cable to get used to the trick as it is easier because of the constant pull and the flat water. After a few kicker hits, I got the feeling and the right timing for the trick, so it was time to try it behind a kite. We chose the spot with the best flat water conditions and set up the kicker and Mads got in the position right next to the kicker. It was hard to get the right angle and the right speed because the wind was quite gusty but, after a few hard crashes, I was able to land a few and Mads had the right timing on the camera!
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RIDER AIRTON COZZOLINO
PHOTO TOBY BROMWICH
TKM: Sometimes Mauritius isn’t all about One Eye, or about intense competition against the very best that the waveriding and strapless world has to offer. Sometimes it’s about heading out for a sunset session with a top photographer and clearing your head with a nice little punt as the sky turns from orange to red…
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RIDER ERIC RIENSTRA
LOCATION PINTANG, CHINA
PHOTO ALEXANDER LEWIS-HUGHES
ER: I was in Pintang, China for the IKA World Championship. It was my first time in China and I didn’t know what to expect. For some reason I thought the world would be different in the fabled Middle Kingdom, but the only thing I found strange was that some beachgoers would totally cover up and wear masks so as not to get a tan. Being pale is a sign of status and the locals I talked to said that they didn’t want to get a tan because then they would not be able to get a boyfriend. I guess it is a way of showing that you don’t have to work outside, which apparently is a bad thing. I thought it was funny because they seemed to adore American culture, which promotes tan lines, and loved groping my tanned, hairy chest as they lined up to get their picture taken with me!
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RIDER LUKE MCGILLIWIE
LM: On Wednesday November 9, Cape Town got hit with a nice 4.6 meter swell at 16 seconds with a solid 25 knots of wind. What we got was absolute perfection resulting in perfect round cylinders waiting for someone to pull in!
PHOTO BIANCA ASHER
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RIDER MATHIEU FOULIARD
PHOTO COURTESY RRD
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TKM: Mathieu is brand ambassador for RRD and lives a pretty perfect life on the idyllic tropical island of Tahiti. How perfect is his life? Well, here’s a ‘normal’ day: “First I check the forecast to organize my different watersport activities and plan them out, then I might do some shooting for RRD, then I try to spend time with my wife, friends and my dogs who love swimming with us to the reef and back…” Pretty sickening hey.
RIDER JULIA CASTRO
PHOTO PACO ANCELL
JC: I was all relaxed having a nice Levante session (you know, the bad wind!) during the 2017 North Kiteboarding dealers meeting. Then someone called from the beach for me to come in. It was Lucas Tozzi taking a photography course for Canon and he asked if I could perform some jumps in front of the 20+ photographers he was taking the course with. No pressure then! But as you can see I stepped up to the challengeâ€Ś
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RIDER MARCO KÖPPEL
LOCATION HOCHWANG, SWITZERLAND
PHOTO LUKAS PITSCH
LP: Hochwang offers everything a snow-kiter dreams of. After two short rides on a chair-lift and a skilift, you end up at 2284m above sea level. Every normal skier starts their decent back to the valley, but for us, this is just our starting point. With the right wind direction and your kite, you start your journey further up to the mountain tops, enjoy untouched powder slopes or just cruise on the ridge through this endless playground. On this wonderful day last February I also had lots of camera gear with me when adrenaline seeker Marco Köppel was pushing the limits of his equipment and was flying down the mountains…
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RIDER GRAHAM HARNEY
LOCATION ISLAND VIEW BEACH, VANCOUVER
PHOTO JAY WALLACE
GH: I only had a three hour break between classes, so the whole session I felt like I was rushing. The wind had come on hard halfway through and I was absolutely lit on my 8m roam, fully depowered. For this shot I had hit the lip too late (hence the water everywhere) and basically just did everything I could to try and hold it all together and land it!
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RIDER ALVARO ONIEVA
PHOTO SVETLANA ROMANTSOVA
SR: Alvaro told me about this spot and an idea that he has had for nearly three years about one spot not far from Tarifa. When I saw this place the potential for this picture was obvious... We were super lucky that day. We had everything well lined up and there was good wind until dark, and then even the moon came out for the background for the shot.
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This year in Indo wa s a pretty tough one for us. Although we go t some fun condi tions, th e weath er made us work really hard for i t. We would only ge t a small window of sun and wind to work wi th and almost e very day wed' fight a war wi th a big black cloud that wa s in t en t on killing th e wind right a s i t start ed to ge t ki t eable. This forced us out of our comfort zone, but in a way wa s a blessing in disguise a s i t made us explore a little bi t more. We go t to ki t e some new spo ts and scored amazing surf almost e very day. Although i t wa sn't th e best trip for wind, we still wen t home feeling accomplish ed. Some times i t's good to ge t a little skunked to bring you back down to earth . Wh en i t all comes toge th er again next time, i t really makes i t that much better! Words: Keahi De Aboi tiz and Moona Why t e Pho tos: Ja son Wolcott
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KEAHI AND MOONA IN INDO
It may be hard to belie ve, but this sho t makes i t look much better than i t wa s this session! This is a great wa ve wh en i t's on and i t's super pho togenic, but because i t breaks so close to th e poin t, th e wind usually ge ts a little funky right wh ere you wan t to do a turn. Luckily for me, I go t a good gust on this one and I wa s able to bla st off a pretty good turn. If you look closely you can also see th e lines of some unlucky person stuck on th e inside (possibly Moona!) which is no t a fun place to be.
This wa ve ha s always been a fa vori t e of mine for airs and I m ' a little bummed I only go t one short session th ere this year. Th e wind is a perfect direction and th e wa ve always stands up perfectly for airs. What you can't see in this picture is th e gian t black cloud moving in behind us that killed th e wind 20 minut es lat er, h ence th e gray pho to. Story of th e trip...
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This is a si tuation that ha s become all too familiar for us in Indo. Wh en th e wind is a s light a s i t wa s, we 've found i t's actually ea sier to body drag back upwind to ge t back in to th e lineup. This particular wa ve is a really short barrel and wi th a re verse rip h elping you back upwind i t actually works surprisingly well. Here is Moona, Matt, Ryland and I making our way slowly back upwind. Credi t to Ryland Blakeney for starting this trend a few years back wh en th e wind wa s light and all h e had wa s an 8m.
Th e payoff! Wi th one more swell on th e foreca st, I decided to ext end my ticke t and roll th e dice a s i t looked like i t could be a good one. Although i t looks good, this wa s th e hardest I 've e ver worked for a session in my life. Th e wind wa s super light and just getting out involved a walk up th e reef followed by a ske tchy body drag out. I didn't ge t many but th e ones I go t were some of th e most perfect, clean barrels I 've e ver had th ere. A session to remember for sure, all made possible by a 13m and a lo t of body dragging.
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KEAHI AND MOONA IN INDO
Most of our sessions ended like this, in rain. This day, we saw th e cloud forming on th e moun tains but decided to go out anyway. Aft er getting some wa ves, th e sky turned dark and we could see th e rain coming. I didn't make i t all th e way in before th e wind shut down and I had to swim in. A t lea st we go t a cool freshwat er rinse!
No wind days were th e perfect excuse to go exploring around th e island. A short dri ve on th e mopeds brought us to this lookout, just one piece of a long stre tch of beautiful, un touch ed coa stline. It's crazy how e ven wh en we tra vel halfway around th e world, some times we ne ver lea ve th e ki ting beach because th e condi tions are too good. I m ' glad we go t a little time to see new spo ts.
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I came to Indonesia wi th very little experience of going left. And Indo is ba sically known a s th e land of lefts, so th ere wa s no chance I would be getting any 'ea sy'â€™sessions (on a right). We spen t th e two pre vious weeks in Mauri tius so I go t some practice riding on my backhand th ere, but i t wa s still feeling a little unnatural for me. It's hard going in to pho toshoo t days wh en you're no t 100% confiden t in your riding, but watching th e o th er guys and just going for i t e very day really h elped me ge t th e hang of i t.
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Pro Tips: Foil Physics OKAY, NOT STRICTLY ‘TIPS’, BUT HERE WE HAVE MICHAEL OCHS FROM LEVITAZ FOILS TAKING US THROUGH EXACTLY WHAT’S GOING ON WHEN – LIKE SOMETHING IMPOSSIBLE FROM THE FUTURE – WE ARE ABLE TO STRAP OURSELVES TO A FOIL, ELEVATE OURSELVES ABOVE THE WATER, AND SCREAM AROUND FASTER AND MORE EFFICIENTLY THAN ANYTHING ELSE ON THE HIGH SEAS…
HOW DOES IT WORK? The best way to comprehend what is going on with a hydrofoil is to think of it as an airplane that flies in the water. Then the rider controls the speed and direction by transmitting their weight. Simply explained, the buoyancy and lift is generated from the pressure differences between the upper and lower side of the wing. With sufficient speed and angle of attack on the front wing, the hydrofoil generates buoyancy force and lifts the kiteboard over the water surface. Once the board has left the water surface, the drag is reduced to a fractional amount.
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Therefore, hydrofoils allow extraordinary upwind angles as well as unbelievable low end abilities compared to a twin tip. If you want to quantify this in figures, the key performance indicator is the ratio between lateral force and drag: a twin tip shows a key figure of 2.0 in comparison to a race hydrofoil with a key figure of 10.0. The control of a foil is also totally different to a conventional kiteboard. In addition to the direction, the flying height has to be adjusted. This opens up entirely new possibilities for the rider which had never existed before and aside from being vastly more efficient, due to the board riding above the water itself, choppy water no longer exists.
HOW DOES THE FOIL BEHAVE IN THE WATER?
Hydrofoils move in a three-dimensional space. In order to describe the orientation in the 3D space, we use terms that are usually applied to aircraft. Therefore terms of flight control like “roll”, “pitch” and “yaw angle” are common.
The front wing determines the lifting forces of the foil. The larger the surface of the wing, the stronger the lift will be. This results in a lower take-off velocity (which is necessary to begin foiling). Stability and maneuverability are affected due to the span and design of the wings. A higher aspect ratio leads to higher performance of the foil.
Hydrofoils rotate around three axes: the lateral axis, the
longitudinal axis, and the vertical axis. The meeting point, in which all three axes converge, is called the “center of rotation”.
Rear wing. The rear wing works as a stabilizer and provides deviation, similar to the elevator unit of an airplane. In the case of the hydrofoil, it stabilizes the pitch and yaw axis. Fuselage. The fuselage connects the mast with the front and rear wing. The longer the fuselage, the more stable the foil in pitch axis (with the same size rearwing). In other words, the longer the fuselage the smaller the rearwing can be and - up to a certain point - this reduces the drag of the foil.
WHAT ARE THE MAIN COMPONENTS OF A FOIL? Mast. The mast is the connection between the board and the wings and is available in different lengths. In order to transmit a rider’s forces without loss, maximum stiffness of the mast is necessary. At the first glance it looks like a shorter mast is easier to ride. But a certain space between the water and the board can make riding easier. Sizes between 80 and 100cm are common for freeride foils. Racers prefer longer masts up to 115cm due to their extreme lean angles (role axis). Different systems are available for mounting the mast to the board. The most common are 4-screwplate connections and standard boxes which are adopted from windsurfing such as the deep tuttle box.
HOW DO YOU BALANCE MANEUVERABILITY AND STABILITY? Each component of the hydrofoil has a massive effect on its maneuverability and stability. The designer´s objective is to find a balance between those two extremes. The relevant question is not: which characteristics are better, stability or maneuverability? But rather: what type of foil does the designer want to create?
No object which is in motion will be absolutely stable or totally maneuverable, so there is always the fine line between maneuverability and stability, and minor changes of the components of the foil will influence the riding characteristics significantly. Hence there are a lot of different foils on the market and – if you are planning to purchase one – you must look very closely as small differences in the foil have a big effect in how they ride!
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TA N G L E D
L I N E S
TOM BRIDGE HAS BEEN TOUTED AS ‘FUTURE FREESTYLE LEGEND’ FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS NOW… AS HE APPROACHES THE AGE WHERE HE’S READY TO BE RELEASED INTO THE WIDER KITEBOARDING WORLD (AND H AV I N G B E AT E N S O M E TO P P R O S TO W I N T H E F R E E S T Y L E E V E N T I N P O R TO P O L L O ) W E T H O U G H T T H E T I M E WA S R I G H T TO G E T H I M T H E Q S …
What does a champion kitesurfer like to eat?
As you get older is progression a harder process?
Well when I was young and had just started out kiting I was progressing really quick, learning new tricks every day. It was like this ‘til I got to the age of 13 where I could do some of the doubles but never looked powerful… So from ages 13-14 there wasn’t as much progression and I was mostly working on consistency because I wasn’t big enough and didn’t have enough muscle to pass to that next level of tricks. When I came back from my knee injury earlier this year I had been working in the gym a lot whilst doing my rehab so I was a bit stronger and a bit taller, so in the past few months I have been progressing a lot and am now super motivated to learn more.
Well I never really thought it was really possible for people to be called that because Aaron is so good and won five championships so young. In Italy [at the freestyle championships] I had the statement drilled into me by Jezza (one of Lewis’s friends) who really said I would be.
You recently joined a NKB photo shoot. What was your best experience during the trip? And please, tell us more about your relationship with the hot chocolate machine and chocolate fountain?
Yeah it was amazing to get the invite out on the photo shoot, I had a lot of amazing experiences in Mauritius! I had never been there before so it’s always amazing to visit somewhere new. One of the best experiences was going surfing out at One Eye with Sebastian Ribeiro. I had never surfed a wave like that before with so much power. All the freestyle sessions I had were amazing, learning every day, but definitely my best experience was going out to One Eye with my freestyle board – it felt a bit out of my comfort zone seeing these huge walls of water coming towards me with Matchu, Airton, Patri and Tom Hebert going into these massive waves which I wouldn’t even look at! It was a mad experience. My relationship with the chocolate machines was great. I was sharing a room with Sebastian Ribeiro and right next to our room was a hot chocolate machine with some of the best hot chocolate I’ve tasted. It was great!
You had a great year and have been landing new moves as well as winning the tour stop in Italy. How are you planning to make your big freestyle entry in 2017? Well I would love to do all of the competitions that I can but unfortunately my mum is giving me a lot of jip about my GCSEs which will be finished in June. If I pass these then I can travel and compete. So that just can’t come round soon enough.
How did you deal with recovering with your knee injury and did it make you think how to look after yourself in the future?
Well it was an eight month recovery until I was back on the water and I don’t want that again. It was good with my recovery because I was able to get some really good support in the Harris and Ross center up in Manchester where they have a massive gym and hydrotherapy pool, and it was amazing to work with them. I also got some really good braces from CTi which I’m really thankful for. That helped me a lot. Now I’m back on the water I’m wearing braces on both knees so this does not happen again but I’m still pushing it as hard as I used to.
You do a lot of other cool sports. What are these and what is it about kiting you love most?
Well I would say I have one of the healthiest diets out of all the kiters! It mainly consists of ice cream and chocolate. If I’m feeling super healthy I might go on to try a piece of fruit. Mum is super healthy and she’s trying to influence me, Guy and Olly. Some days I open up the fridge and I see what looks like frog spawn and brown smoothie and I have to say I’m not hooked on that yet.
What does it feel like being the next Aaron Hadlow?
I do a lot of sports other than kiting. I’m really into surfing, snowboarding and I’m really enjoying mountain biking at the moment. The problem with these sports is that you normally need a specific place where you can do it. This is why I love kiting so much because you can travel to new places and you only need the wind and the water and you’re going to have a good time. Also there are a lot of things that have not been done in kiting so far so there are always new things you can do. 40 | TheKiteMag
What moves are you working on at the moment and what do you think of the progress of the top guys on tour?
I’m working on a lot of new stuff at the moment. I can do most of the 7s now and I’m working towards doing new tricks such as a Front Blind Mobe 5 and some different stuff which no one is really doing. I think the progression is really good on tour – doing lots of 7s and 9s – but I think that there is only so many spins and passes you can do before you are dangling like three years ago (I was a specialist in that!). Even though it’s super cool to see Carlos Mario or Liam flying 20 meters across the water doing two or maybe three handlepasses, that also has a super high risk for injury and things that can go wrong. So I would love to keep pushing that side of the sport but also work on more technical tricks.
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Mike Raper, who is now Division Manager at NeilPryde One Design Kites, takes us through the whirlwind journey that has resulted in the recent launch of CR:X and then its adoption by World Sailing as a ‘Class’. So. What does it all mean?! Okay, let’s start at the beginning. For the uninitiated, in a few sentences can you summarize: What is CR:X? At NeilPryde we are expanding our one-design program into kite racing with the introduction of CR:X, the world’s first one-design kite racing class. CR:X is an innovative, versatile kite racing
platform that features a convertible board which can be switched between TT and foil modes. Multiple modes mean that the same set of hardware can be used for beginner or more advanced foil races or in changing weather conditions. Our mission is to create a community of kite racing enthusiasts of all levels and abilities and enable them to race on a level and affordable playing field. CR:X delivers on this promise through a one-design pathway Class where riders can compete on affordable and matched equipment. What makes up the ‘complete’ CR:X equipment package? The full CR:X pack consists of three kites (7, 10 and 13m), 55cm bar, convertible board with fin and foil sets, and then the pump and a travel bag. The whole set up comes in at under 25kg so can be easily checked in for travel.
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The set up encompasses options for different racing ‘disciplines’ within one set of equipment. Can you summarize what these are? Yes, so the CR:X board has been designed to be ridden in two distinctly different modes for varying conditions and race formats. So there is Twin Tip Mode which allows the board to be used as a normal, bi-directional kiteboard. The board is designed to be used by kiteboarders of all skill levels and is best suited for stronger winds, course racing or compact boardercross race formats. Then there is Hydrofoil Mode where the board is fitted with a foil. Due to the efficiency of a hydrofoil, this mode is ideal for light winds, upwind/downwind course racing and long distance races. The hydrofoil brings a higher level of excitement but also technicality to the CR:X package. Can you take us through the build and construction of the twin tip and the foil? The board is unique and progressive within kiteboarding as the first twin tip board to be truly convertible between twin tip and hydrofoil racing. The board has a moderate rocker line with a modern straight outline, suitable for the first time rider through to a top end racer. The stance widths and binding positions can be adjusted to accommodate a range of athlete weights and sizes.
C R : X C O N V E R TA B L E K I T E B O A R D I N G C L A S S
The board’s core is Paulownia wood, with ABS rails and a durable fiberglass laminate. The board has a stiff flex characteristic, ideal for both the twin tip or hydrofoil modes. Then the foil has been designed to promote progressive racing. The moderate aspect ratio wing is fast yet forgiving. The wing profile allows the first time foiler to easily lift up at low speeds, yet the wings have low enough drag that the athlete can drive the foil at speed around the race course. In terms of build, the CR:X foil wings are molded from a super tough carbon composite, ensuring they are durable and hard-wearing. The consistency of the construction of each wing is critical, as the equipment must be the same for each athlete. To achieve this the wings are molded under very high pressure, providing a high quality and consistent finish. Both the mast and fuselage are made from aircraft grade 6061 aluminum that is stiff, lightweight, durable and affordable (in comparison to a full carbon piece!). And then there are ‘shims’ – can you explain the effect of these? Yes, a unique feature of the CR:X foil package is the ability to change the angle of attack of the rear wing. This is possible due to different shim sizes that can be adjusted. This allows a first time rider to increase the angle and provide more lift, making it easier to get foiling. As the rider’s skills progress they may reduce this angle thus reducing drag and increasing top end speed and performance. You have three kite sizes within the package, 7, 10 and 13m. Do you think this covers most conditions and most rider weights? Yes, we think so – we have had youth form body weights in light winds planing on foils in 5-6 knots all the way through to heavyweight riders in TT mode in 40 knots. The great thing about the equipment is that it is so versatile, it can be used in so many different conditions and adjustable to so many different body weights and sizes. Great for the race officer or Chapter Ambassador running local races is that they can choose the set up based on the conditions and location of that day’s racing. It really is versatile.
movement. And you have run a few events – were these successful and can you take us through the format of these? Yes, it’s been an amazing start! Events so far include Mui Nei, Phan Rang, Sail Melbourne World Cup, World Sailing Youth Worlds in Auckland, all before the end of 2016. Then looking forward to 2017 we have some massive plans for an international tour. The CR:X was designed to be adopted in a club racing environment – do you see the potential for this to take off? Our vision is to create a kite movement which will bring together people from all over the world with a common goal of kiting, having fun and setting challenges. To enable this vision to develop we will be setting up local chapters and ambassadors. The Chapters will be run by individual ambassadors, sailing associations or clubs, and will support training, races and freeriding at their local kite beaches and sailing spots. With the help of Chapters, the class will run local, regional, national and international events to include all levels and abilities. At the heart of the Chapter is the Ambassador who is the torchbearer – the person that leads Chapter members for race training, weekly events, long distance races and fun introductory days. The aim is to give kiters an outlet to join together, share, look after each other on and off the water and help spread the word about our sport. CR:X is here to encourage inclusivity and accessibility, to grow the community and, most importantly, to put new feet on boards and get people enjoying kiteboarding. CR:X was recently recognized by World Sailing as a Class. Can you explain what this means? What a journey it’s been! Late nights and long weekends developing and testing the CR:X while holding down my day job at Cabrinha as division manager. Exhausting is an understatement, it’s been tougher than anything I’ve ever done before, but we freaking did it! World Sailing recognized the CR:X Class as a WS Class. This probably means nothing to most people, but it meant a heck of a lot to us. There is still a long road ahead, but it’s a massive hurdle overcome.
How long was the CR:X in development? We had a year of development from November 2015, when the concept was born, to delivery in October 2016. We really leveraged what we had within the Pryde Group: 16 years of kite design, 40 years of manufacturing within our own facility, and our experienced international distribution, so we have delivered a quality offering and we expect great things from the Class and
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Mike Raper spreading the CR:X love!
Competitive foiling has obviously really taken over on the race scene now with a pretty incredible increase in the technology and R&D driving the top guys ever faster – is your hope that this scene continues to evolve and the top pros then also begin engaging in the CR:X class and events? The Foil Gold Cup and the Formula Class are awesome, it really is pushing the sport and equipment to the limit and we love this developmental aspect of the sport. The NeilPryde brand has been at the forefront of Formula windsurfing and kitesurfing for many years. We do not expect the current generation of athletes in the IKA Formula Class to cross over to the CR:X – they are chasing their dreams of high tech development and evolution. The CR:X is attracting the grassroots community within the sport, and the local and national beaches will eventually have Chapters all over the world, where anyone can freely turn up and race in a fun environment with other like minded people.
Is there scope to continue to tweak the package or are you locked in to it now it’s been recognized by WS? One Design means there are no changes allowed, that’s it. So it will stay the same unless the members of the Class decide to change it. The great thing is that the Class is elected by their own members, they decide what to do with the Class and the modifications, so as a supplier we need to follow the guidelines of the members of the Class. So is the eventual aim the Olympics? CR:X is not designed to be an Olympic Class. It has been designed to be a Feeder and Pathway Class. We are not saying it can’t be an Olympic Class, but CR:X’s primary focus is to help people get into TT and Hydrofoil racing.
Can you take us through the next steps for the CR:X? The goal is to develop racing at all four levels, with a strong international spread into developing nations. Our strategy is to focus on strong support for the first three levels of local, regional and national events. We need to make sure these are solid with a high level of participation. And then there is also hope of bigger events? Yes, on the international side it’s an incredibly exciting time. We are in negotiations with a major sponsor to support an international championship with incredible prize money. The benefits of a major sponsor are that they can dedicate a strong media budget. This budget allows us to use digital technology to educate the viewer by making it easy for them to understand. The challenge with kiteracing in foil and TT mode is that it can be hard to understand, so our goal is to partner with a media team and sponsor who can make it easy for the viewer to follow and enjoy. The future is wide open, it’s so exciting to see the potential and be involved in the birth of this new Class and movement. The feedback so far has been amazingly positive, and we can’t want to share it with everyone!
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S T U F F W E L I K E T H E L O O K O F
ACID HRD Carbon A true new school weapon, the ACID Carbon incorporates all of the latest tech innovations from F-ONE. There is the three part HRD rail for incredible grip and maximum comfort, a new three stage rocker and – of course – all important carbon for feather-light pop-tastic performance…
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North Evo If you want to mix up your riding styles or you want to go BIG then you probably want the Evo. It’s a superstable 5-strut machine that suits all riding styles and all disciplines, and gives you the perfect platform to really take your riding up a level – or to go for some crazy Tom Hebert #NewCalStyle maneuvers…
Best Procreator Fresh into the range, the new Procreator is the most advanced freestyle board Best have ever built. There is an all new Power Channel Bottom, designed to ride faster, edge harder and jump higher. Then this bottom and the new 3D top are both engineered with a progressive Textreme© Carbon construction. And all handmade in Europe.
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CORE Section LW CORE’s impressive wave-specific kite, the Section, also has a lightwind option. But this is no ‘ordinary’ lightwind kite. The Section LW takes its job seriously, so there is a totally different canopy material (CoreTex Light), some weight trimmed from the tips and a slightly higher Aspect Ratio to ensure that you really can be ripping it up even when conditions are sub-prime.
Nobile T5 Nobile’s new T5 provides rock solid stability, exceptional control and the kind of all-round performance you dream of. For 2017 all Nobile kites are now also built with double ripstop Tejin so you can expect all of the top-end benefits that come with that in terms of performance and durability…
Slingshot SST The SST continues to impress for 2017. Unshackled from having to be anything else apart from a 100% wave kite, the SST has proven itself to be an incredible surf performer with perfectly tuned turning and insane amounts of drift. It’s been so successful in fact, that there are more sizes added for 2017 to keep surfers (and foilers) on the water whatever the conditions.
Liquid Force WOW The WOW managed to live up to expectations in its first incarnation when the general reaction to flying it was, well, “WOW”! Thankfully for V2 Liquid Force have stuck with the winning formula so you can expect perfectly tuned surf performance and top-of-class wave riding finesse. And a great foiling option too.
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Naish Pivot Already something of a ‘modern day classic’ the Pivot is back for 2017 and is now smartened up with the Naish Quad-Tex treatment. If you want a kite that’s easy and fun to fly, can shred in the waves, and that will also give you plenty of oomph for boosting and for strapless freestyle, then you probably want the Pivot…
w .facebo k.com/AxisKteboarding htps:/twiter.com/AXISKiteboardin htps:/vimeo.c m/axiskteboarding htps:/instagrm.com/axiskteboarding The 2017 Vanguard retains the outline, construction and channels of the 2016 model, but has a more continuous rocker, for a smoother ride. Ride it with straps or boots, and thanks to our new 17mm insert spacing, achieve the perfect stance. Our widest range of sizes guarantees an ideal fit. Built to last with a Paulownia core, Biaxial Glass and Carbon reinforcement to control flex, continuous FAT rail, the Vanguard can take whatever you can throw at it, any way you like.
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Mystic Essentials It’s all about your extremities come the darker months… You might have the warmest wetsuit on the market, but if your hands and feet are feeling the pain then you’re not going to last long. Time to invest in some new Mystic wettie tech…
ION Hadlow Carbon Aaron Hadlow brings his experience and knowhow to the ION harness range in the form of the Hadlow Carbon… The specifically designed carbon/PE construction provides a perfect fit, with extreme back support provided through different shaped layers which wrap themselves precisely around you. It’s a topend harness for top-end riding…
CrazyFly ATV Now built in Europe, CrazyFly’s ATV has shed a few ounces and is now looking stripped back and ready for action. With a wider entry point and broader outline there is plenty to get you up and riding, and then the pulled in tail ensures you can really crank your turns for maximum performance. And the PU construction? Well that ensures an unbeatable ‘pure surf ’ feel…
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ON THE LIST
T H E
L I S T
And sometimes all the pros come to town. Here’s how it looked for the WKL event on the island... Photo: Svetlana Romantsova
I might be misguided, but when you mention the word kiteboarding to me my thoughts immediately turn to a very special, one-of-a-kind place. It washes over me in waves of warmth. In a surge of relief I picture a place that not only represents the sport of kiteboarding as I desire it to be, but a place that makes me feel far from my troubles, far from traffic lights, far from crowded elevators and far from everything that tethers me to modern life. I imagine consistently windy, white sand, palm-clad beaches with lush low-rise tropical jungle as far as you can see. I feel the warm air across my cheeks, the stick of the salty humid air on my palate and skin. I imagine brightly illuminated turquoise water filled with shadows of scattering aquatic life; I can see the outlines of intricate reef systems filled with the healthy vegetation indicative of a thriving ecosystem. I see a bikini-wearing brown-skinned girl beckoning me with a single finger to come closer, to let go, to ‘jump in’… and I do, every single time.
I am the first to admit that my imagination is an amazing place to retreat to when the stress of life piles on, but the place I have just described does not only live in the hypothetical – this is reality in Dominican Republic. Dominican Republic has existed as an enchanting destination for wind sports for over three decades. It is a tropical Caribbean paradise shrouded in the shadows of the coco trees. It is a smile-laden country where a fruitful feast literally grows on trees, the wind blows strong, and the measures of happiness and wealth are synonymous. Making up the eastern portion of the Island of Hispaniola, Dominican Republic has green rolling hills and lush forests covering over three eighths of the entire island. Neighboured by Haiti to the west,
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DR is the second largest Caribbean nation (out-populated by Cuba), and pokes out at the most easterly point of the windward island chain of the Greater Antilles. It is semi-triangular in shape with the nubby point of Punta Cana facing southeast towards Puerto Rico. This orientation makes up part of the secret formula Dominican Republic has of being such a consistent kite destination. The winds in the Caribbean are composed primarily of trade winds, blowing out of the east. The north coast of the island dips just enough into the wind to produce side onshore conditions like clockwork. Pretty much every day between 12 and 2pm you’ll see 16–22 knots of consistent open ocean winds coming in. It’s even more helpful that the north coast faces out into the open Atlantic, exposed to swells coming off the east coast of the US, and the tropical cyclones spinning from Africa.
It is common for DR surf kiters to enjoy 6–8-foot-long period swells in the winter time, and larger short period swells in the fall. And it is good on a twin tip all year round… The obvious spots in DR attract all the tourists for a classic formula of travel and comfort. Kiters flock to the popular destinations of Cabarete and Punta Cana. Cabarete has a place in kiteboarding history and has been at the hub of the
world of wind sports since their conception. The town has long been a hotbed for the committed wind freak, hell-bent on learning the newest wind-driven sport. It is a town built on adventure, and it is roughly five miles long; a beach road strung with wind-oriented shops, bars, and restaurants of endless origins and appetites. Influenced by an incredible melting pot of cultures, the small hustling town reflects less of Dominican culture and more the impressions of the thousands of visitors.
Locals digging the BWS crew!
Another empty setup...
Ariel Corniel enjoying the conditions.
If you continue through town and drive east then the road begins to open up. At the red archway make a left and travel past old Casa Roma, a deserted and spooky vacant resort that signifies a boom time in Cabarete’s eco-tourism history. Then at the end of the road follow the sand trail to La Boca. At the mouth of the Rio Yasica river is one of the best flat-water spots in the world. Protected by the ox-bowing mouth of the river you will see fairly smooth conditions and winds ripping in through the valley. While you’re there, take the outboard motor charter across the river to the café on the adjacent side; reflect on your session or toss your kite up for one more go. La Boca isn’t exactly a secret, yet there never seem to be many people out there. And this is the unbelievable thing about DR: most
of the travelers stick to the resort. Cabarete offers beach access resort living and amazing conditions, however this enticing formula keeps kiters away from exploring the coast’s many other epic spots. The steep photogenic cliffs, wide-open spaces and seemingly untouched beaches that make up much of the north coast... To drive along it is breathtaking in itself, to stop and take it in for an afternoon is an incredible experience. Then, as you sit along the warm stretches of beach taking your sunglasses on and off and wondering if your lenses have anything to with how absolutely blue the water is (then realize they don’t), consider the vastness of untouched space to your left and to your right, the peace and quiet only interrupted by waves pounding the reef exposed by the falling tide. And then you will know that you have arrived in Dominican Republic.
MOST LIKELY TO HEAR: “Same again tomorrow?”
GETTING THERE Fly in to Puerto Plata and drive east along the coast into Cabarete for the easiest approach. More comfortable travelers may save a few bucks on flying into Santo Domingo and then driving the long way up to the coast.
IN THE BAG 9 & 12m
NOT IN THE BAG Your smart togs. It’s all pretty low key here…
LEAST LIKELY TO HEAR: “This place is overrated.”
How tough are you? Maybe a shortie for the sunset sessions or outside of summer…
€1.90 $2.00 £1.70
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N I C R
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G H T A W L E R S
As dependable as the wind is in this blessed part of the world, we know that photographer Andre Magarao will always get the gravy on his annual trip to Cauípe Lagoon. But he’s not content with the easy option of getting everything lined up and shooting for half an hour as the sun goes down before packing up and heading home for a beer. For Andre that is just the beginning of his session as he embraces the dark, and the brave new world of ‘massive flash’ photography. HERE ARE THE PRIME CUTS FROM HIS LATEST FORAY… TheKiteMag | 59
N I G H T C R AW L E R S
ANDRE MAGARAO I’m pretty lucky as I get to work in different fields of photography throughout the year, but I really do look forward to the Brazilian kiteboarding season… In my opinion kiteboarding is one of the coolest sports to photograph. It has a little bit of everything. It is fast like wakeboarding, which makes it challenging to shoot, but you are not constrained by the limitations of needing boats and jet skis. It has the water aspect like surfing, but you are not limited to having to rely on waves. Then you can also take advantage of the fact that you are able to easily interact with the rider during a session like with BMX and with snowboarding. I find that kiteboarding is almost like a team effort between the photographer and the rider. And in Brazil you get to do it all in the perfect environment when it’s warm and in a flat lagoon. Once again this was a great season. I had a few setbacks and had to cruise back home a couple of times which kind of made my season not as productive as I would have hoped, but I can’t really complain about it. I had a great time working with some of my favorite riders. This year I took a few new ideas to try. Most of them didn’t really work but it was a nice learning experience! Hopefully I will be able to take the ideas that worked to some other locations and work a bit more with kiteboarding throughout the year. And I’m for sure already thinking about new things to try next season. I also had to film quite a bit this season so my time wasn’t fully dedicated to photos. But it was great to see the progression. A lot of riders landed new super gnarly tricks. I think you guys will enjoy seeing the clips whenever they come out. I won’t spoil the surprise except to say that some heavy things went down. But for now, enjoy the photos…
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N I G H T C R AW L E R S
YOURI ZOON Brazil around this time of the year is always amazing. There is consistent wind every day and you’re riding in board shorts, while it’s getting colder and colder back home in Europe. Plus the wind consistency is high so you can really work on new tricks and ride every single day. On the photographic side of things, working with Andre is great – and I am a pain in the ass to work with! – I usually want to have the perfect spot and perfect conditions. Then when I do I just want to go big! But going big is not what it takes to get great pictures so a good combo of grabs and going big is what Andre is trying to get from me. With the flash he is always spot on and he always has his gear ready – nothing is more annoying than when you make the effort on sick tricks and the flashes don’t work! In terms of what I’m working on, I am just trying to follow Bebe – he’s a beast! But things are going well, I’m getting into a good shape on the tricks and still managing to learn new ones – even though I’ve been round the block a few times. I’ve had some time back with the RPM and I am back to where I feel most comfortable and can start pushing it again. The only problem with Brazil is that it’s way too chill to stay for a long time… That’s why I always come several times during the year: short, quick and full power! TheKiteMag | 61
N I G H T C R AW L E R S
CARLOS ‘BEBE’ MARIO Living in Brazil is great. There is always a sport to do. The conditions are great for kiteboarding but there are also other options too. I’m so grateful to have been born at Cauípe Lagoon and to live where I live – to be able to ride at Cauípe for me is probably like what surfers feel about Hawaii – it is the ultimate spot. The conditions are perfect and warm and it’s like riding in paradise. And then working with Andre is great – to me Andre is one of the best photographers I’ve ever met. He can get shots that no one else can get and I really like his style…
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N I G H T C R AW L E R S
I TS LIKE RIDING IN PAR A D I S E
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N I G H T C R AW L E R S
B R U N A K A J I YA It’s not very often that I get to spend a month in one spot, so when it comes to the time to do so, Cumbuco is on the top of my list. Not only for the world class conditions but also for the lifestyle. The simple life in this area of Brazil is refreshing: a little town where you can go everywhere in your beach clothes and bare feet and can sit in the town’s square after a day in the water and have $1 chicken skewers with the locals. This atmosphere makes this place great for training, a laid back environment where it’s easy to go to sleep at 10pm and wake up at 6. Because of that it gets a lot easier to focus on my riding – also a routine is nice for a change. Then for shooting it is ideal – the steady winds blow every day and also at night, when this shot was taken. Then the water at the lagoon is shallow in many areas, making it easy for Andre to position himself and the flashes on the ideal angles.
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N I G H T C R AW L E R S
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N I G H T C R AW L E R S
PAULA NOVOTNÁ I have spent a lot of time in Brazil over the last few years. I love it here so much! There is nothing I have to worry about. It’s always windy, sunny and there are plenty of good vibes around. It’s a perfect place to train, to relax, and to enjoy life how I like it. There are always plenty of friends here too as a lot of people come to Brazil to train and, since I‘ve been coming for many years, I’ve also learned how to speak Portuguese so I have a lot of local friends as well. I enjoy working with Andre, he is very easy going and such a chilled person, and he understands
us as riders. He always gets the shot he wants; the timing, the grab, the good light – he is very professional and always has everything in the right place. So thanks Andre for all the hours spent with us behind the flashes!
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N I G H T C R AW L E R S
TH E T I M I N G TH E G R A B TH E G O OD LIGHT
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The last shot after the sun disappeared behind the horizonÂ Photo: Alan Van Gysen 68 | TheKiteMag
Anon TheKiteMag’s South African man-on-the-ground, Graham Howes, resists the urge to hit the ‘head for the hills’ button this winter and instead takes on some exploration a little closer to home…
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Every year, as the main season ends in Cape Town, I am repeatedly asked, "So where are you off to for winter?". In the past there has always been an exotic answer, “Bali, Mauritius, Dubai…”. But this year my answer was simple and a lot less glamorous. "I think I’ll just hang around and explore Southern Africa." It is right on my doorstep and it has to be the most underrated place for a surfer or kiter to travel to, with more point breaks and more lagoons than anyone could wish for and with dependable offshore wind in the morning and crossshore winds in the afternoon... You just need to be willing to spend a lot of time in the car. So, with that mindset I was able to say ‘yes’ to some great African adventures. First up was a photographic trip with my 'Instagram famous' brother @craighowes to shoot a campaign for Amazon Kindle, #havekindlewilltravel. So we packed our bags, booked a 4x4 with roof top tents, and hit the road. Stop 1: Blyde River Canyon; Stop 2: Kruger National Park; Stop 3: Mozambique; Stop 4: Kosi Bay; Stop 5: Durban. With a total of 3000 kilometers in six days, it’s fair to say we had our work cut out for us. This wasn’t a pure ‘kite exploration’ trip. It was a chance to get out of Cape Town and see a part of South Africa and Mozambique that hasn't really been explored with a kite, and during the first week I didn't even pump a kite up. We did, however, climb enormous trees, hang out with wild cheetahs (one stole my GoPro out of my hand), canoe through hippo infested rivers, drink lots of R&Rs (rum and raspberry) and get lost for an entire night in the Mozambique jungle trying to navigate by the stars… It was just awesome. For so many trips I've been chasing the wind, chasing forecasts, chasing swells. It's always hectic and can often leave you disappointed. I did not leave entirely empty handed though as, towards the end, I did manage to get a 12m kite up for a 20-minute session with just enough time to snap a drone shot…
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Selfie time... Just put your recording GoPro on a piece of driftwood and hope for some good screen grabs!
Setting up camp somewhere in the bush… Photo: Craig Howes
One out of many empty point breaks we shared with dolphins along the Wild Coast
Playing with a rehabilitated cheetah in the wild Photo: Craig Howes
Crossing hippo and crocodile infested waters to get the local shebeen (pub) TheKiteMag | 71 Howes Photo: Craig
We arrived at the airport six days and over 30 hours behind
the wheel later, and we had got the shots for the campaign, but I was left with a deep seated sense of yearning after seeing so much potential and so many world class kite spots. Then I bumped into a surfer at the airport who would send my world into a dilemma and my head in a spin, with one question: "Have you seen the swell about to hit bru?" Having investigated further I extended my ticket by another week and waved goodbye to my brother as he boarded the plane back to Cape Town. I sat in my car on Google Earth mapping out potential spots (lagoons and point breaks) along the coast, and with friends' recommendations from Instagram posts, I headed in the direction of the Wild Coast, via some popular surf breaks in Kwazulu Natal. My destination was a friendâ€™s spot on the Umtamvuna River (The Border Post) where he had set up the ultimate playground which included a 2.0 cable park, a blob, mini ramp, a wake boat, as well as having two point breaks and lagoons within a 15-minute drive!
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Walking through banana fields to find new spots
Another selfie from a secluded private lagoon in between banana and cane fieldsÂ
I've never been one to kite alone, I never really saw the point
Exploring Mozambique by kite... Photo: Craig Howes
Boardshort sessions in the warm Mozambican ocean in the middle of winter
in it as it’s more fun riding with mates. But on this particular trip I found myself discovering remote spots with not a single soul in sight. No cars, no beach access, no humans, just me and the wind. And in this particular spot a sandbar separated the lagoon from the ocean, surrounded by banana trees and cane fields, and some fallen trees in the water, which made for a perfect and fun session and will go down for me as one of the best sessions ever, with no one to hear my laughs and screams of joy (or to rescue me when I was hanging from a banana tree). It seemed to amplify my every emotion and I felt like a kid trying a sport for the first time. The rest of that part of the trip was all about chasing waves and at that time of the year the wind blows offshore all morning and you can surf all morning from 5am until 11. Each spot was better than the last: surfing in boardshorts with endless barrels (and one session with large pods of dolphins) only to come out of the water to pick some fresh bananas before paddling back out. But Cape Town was calling and I had to get back to my overflowing inbox after being ‘off the grid’ for two weeks. Winter in Cape Town is different, I barely touch a kite when I’m home… I surf, drink lots of red wine, and catch up with stuff I’m too busy to do in summer. I love it, but I still get itchy feet...
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Getting some shade from the warm winter sun
Endless chocolate barrels in Namibia
Stalling for barrels in 35 knots with a 25 knot moving wave in Namibia is challenging Photo: Grant Scholtz
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So it was about a month later I found myself back at Cape Town International airport, this time about to board a tiny 37 seater plane… Too bad my boards wouldn’t make it onto the same plane as me, they were lying on the tarmac next to the plane and I was told that none of the bags (including Jordy Smith’s) would be traveling with us as there was no space on the plane for the surfboard coffins. I finally arrived in Namibia over 24 hours later and, after four trips back to the airport, the bags finally arrived an hour before sunset, leaving us with not enough time to session the best day of the forecast… So, why Namibia? Well, apart from the constant stench of rotting seals, the imminent threat of Great White sharks and the bone-crushing heavy waves, it is undisputedly the best barreling left point break in the world! Two kilometers of dredging barrels breaking on knee deep sand. Someone told me that I would need to see a psychologist after surfing this wave... Boy were they right: it totally blew my mind. Faster, heavier and shallower than everyone had tried to explain. To put it in perspective, the wave runs down the two kilometer point at about 25 knots, so if you
want to have a chance of making the wave with enough wind in your kite, you’ll need over 30 knots and then you’d still have to constantly loop your kite to keep it from falling out of the sky while you stall for the barrel. Granted, kiters have kited this wave before, but they are often 10 meters in front of the barrel and the only serious footage I have seen is of Hawaiian Patri McLaughlin, and that was enough to scare and excite me equally as much. But… as it turned out there was only enough wind for an hour’s session, so I went balls to the wall and got stupidly barreled at the end of the point (long after my GoPro batteries had died). Then I ended up surfing this wave all day and got, hands down, the best wave of my life. And that one moment alone made the trip worth every cent… Whenever you plan a kite mission, there are risks and rewards. This particular mission would usually be considered a fail: I missed the golden day, lost my bags, slept on floors, waited around airports when I should have been hunting barrels. But life throws you curveballs, and to make the most of them you just have to aim to knock them out of the park.
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NICJ JACOBSEN VERSUS SNOW
NICK JACOBSEN VERSUS SNOW Nick Jacobsen heads somewhere cold, without much water and not exactly world renowned for its wind stats. Can he turn it in to a successful trip? Of course he can… Words: Nick Jacobsen Photos: Christian Black
When I got the call from NP to head to South Dakota to test out some of their wetsuits in extreme environments, all I knew about the place was that Mount Rushmore is nearby and something about Dances With Wolves. I didn’t know what to expect. I watched The Revenant on the plane, much of which was set in South Dakota, and this got me excited. But there didn’t seem to be a lot of water there! I had heard about the wild nature and extreme conditions and, due to the warm winds coming up from Mexico and meeting the freezing Canadian fronts, the weather can be very fickle and change in a day. But Dakota was unchartered territory for watersports. Time to chart it out. 76 | TheKiteMag
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NICK JACOBSEN VERSUS SNOW
DAY 1 - ARRIVAL After more than 20 hours of traveling I landed in Rapid City, the capital of South Dakota. The airport was literally deserted apart from the passengers that arrived. No people, no security, no taxis. Even the free shuttle to town had gone home. After a few phone calls they promised to send one for us. Even in northern Europe the days were warmer and nights balmy. Not on that day in Rapid City. It was 5 degrees Celsius and snowing. Heavily. The team gathered in the historic Alex Johnson hotel in Rapid City â€” a charming downtown building designed in German Tudor style and brimming with authentic Native American decor. Basically a lot of animal heads. The hotel is also apparently haunted â€” you can even book a Ghost Adventure Package stay. The team gathered at the bar for a pre-shoot brief and a beer or two. In the crew we had Antoine Martin, a pro windsurfer; Melissa Gill, a pro water woman from Costa Rica; Alex Zenovic from NP, photographer Christian Black, videographer Elliot Leboe and our local guide Dr. Bill Young. There was general concern (and excitement) about the weather forecast, and plans were made accordingly.
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S O U T H D A K O TA
Day 2 The day started like the previous one finished — 5 degrees and snowing. We decided to head to the nearby Black Hills, but first we headed through the historic town of Deadwood. Yup, it’s not just an HBO series — it’s a real place. Wild Bill Hickok was allegedly shot in Deadwood at Saloon Number 10 while playing poker. This place has an amazing collection of guns and animal heads. It’s stunning and a real piece of Midwest Americana. Moving on, we traveled up to Terry Peak — with all our water gear and armed with wetsuits. Terry Peak has an elevation of 2153m and was completely covered in snow when we arrived. The nearby ski slope was the perfect first test for the suits and to see how our boards work in snow. Always good to know. The suits kept us warm despite the chilly wind and fun was had by all. On the way back, the beautiful winter scenery provided the perfect backdrop for some amazingly unusual photos. We refueled with some sausages at the Germanthemed Sled Haus before stopping off at Bill’s best friend’s amazing log house. The place was like a museum — full of interesting trinkets, Native American artefacts, hunting rifles and the ubiquitous animal heads. No wind today but what an amazing adventure so far.
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NICK JACOBSEN VERSUS SNOW
Day 3 The next day, it snowed. We headed to Pactola Lake to try our luck with the wind, despite the freezing temperatures. Pactola Lake is the largest reservoir in the Black Hills of South Dakota and is a product of the Pactola Dam. We were greeted by little wind but amazing vistas of the lake, bordered with snow-covered coniferous trees. After some SUPing to explore the lake, the wind picked up and I decided to try my luck with a foil. These things can go in nearly no wind but the few puffs weren’t even enough on the day. The warm wetsuit and booties kept most of the cold out but I couldn’t feel my hands after a minute in the water and my head felt as if I had just eaten three scoops of ice cream at once. Ouch. Elliot spotted a bald eagle and we chased it around the lake for a while to get his Nat Geo shot. Our daily burger fix was supplied by the healthily-titled Sugar Shack which supplies ‘the best burgers in the Hills’. A dubious statement but they did let me flip one or two… On our return to the hotel we explored the nearby ‘art alley’. Dakota didn’t stop surprising us as it suddenly felt like we were in a back alley of New York.
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Day 4 More and more snow. We headed back into the Hills to explore another lake. Antoine and Meli took to some paddle boarding while I tried to test my limits by seeing for how long I can kite naked. There wasn’t enough wind for this but we got some shots for good measure. Antoine even managed to surf down a snowy slope and into the water on his iSUP. We heard there might be more wind at the state’s biggest lake so we quickly packed our gear and took off — but not before stopping for another Sugar Shack grease refill. As we drove south, the sky got darker but the wind was definitely picking up. When we arrived at Lake Angostura, it was howling. Angostura is actually a reservoir on the Cheyenne River, one of the bigger bodies of water in the area. I got my smallest FX kite and the Double Agent foil and jumped in as quickly as I could. Despite the moody skies the scenery was beautiful — and the water freezing. The good news was that the suits were working! We had a great session in 20-30 knot winds and nine degree water.
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NICK JACOBSEN VERSUS SNOW
Day 5 Finally the weather started improving and there was wind on the horizon. On the way to our next destination, the beautiful Sylvan Lake, we stopped off to see Mount Rushmore, one of America’s most recognizable tourist spots. In glorious sunshine, we took in this magnificent monument and I got George Washington to wear an NP cap. The road to Sylvan took us via The Needles — eroded granite pillars, towers and spires that create an unforgettable landscape. We threaded through The Needles via a serpentine-like single lane road then, at Sylvan Lake, we got to explore the area on our SUPs. Sylvan is nestled in the hills of Custer State Park at an elevation of 1873m — so any wind that you get is pretty gusty. This time we were lucky and I managed to get going on a foil, after some freezing moments in the water. I think I was probably the first kiteboarder to kite on this pristine lake and it was an incredible experience. After Sylvan, we went home to pick up our camping gear and headed to the infamous Badlands for a night under the stars. But not before stopping for a drink at Bill’s friend’s amazing home — complete with an 1800s saloon bar.
Day 6 When we arrived at our Badlands camp site it was dark and we weren’t 100% sure where we were. At the break of dawn, we were struck by an unforgettable sight: an otherworldly, rocky landscape stretching as far as the eye can see. Beautiful morning light bounced off the eroded sedimentary rock, generating a myriad of colors that warmed the crisp morning air. After spending a good hour taking photos and enjoying the view we set off for some kiting. On the way I spotted a milky-white pond created by water mixing with white Badlands sand and thought it would be amazing to kite it. We had to stop a few hundred meters from the pond so I pumped up my kite and ran down the road with it — much to the amusement of passing truck drivers. The pond was so shallow I had to take my fins off and I had to jump over some barbed wire to get going – but the ride was wild… It was time to go home. This place was incredible and a trip of a lifetime. We got to experience four seasons in one week, saw buffaloes, elks and other wildlife, took in the most incredible scenery, and got to kiteboard some amazing places: what more could you ask for.
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S O U T H D A K O TA
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NICK JACOBSEN VERSUS SNOW
And when itÂ´s not snowing...
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S O U T H D A K O TA
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T R E S CO
ST M A RY ’S
ST AGN E S
SCILLY TIMES Committed UK kiter Ben Gillespie headed over to the UK’s southernmost archipelago, the Scilly Isles, in the hope of catching the last of the British summer sun with the aim of exploring the islands and taking the next step on his journey towards foiling super-stardom… Words: Ben Gillespie | Photos: Amy Romer
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As if I’d just eased back on the throttle (I checked, I hadn’t) the 15hp engine on my tiny RIB slowed and then cut out, leaving me in absolute silence and alone a mile from land. I gave the petrol tank a quick shake, eliminating the possibility that the problem was the only one I knew how to fix, and looked up to find myself a mile from land in every direction. Thus I discovered the reality of adventure kitesurfing, rocking less than gently in the solid swell coming from the Atlantic to the west, and headed slowly but surely towards the rocky shores of the Scillies. Luckily, there were oars in the bottom of the boat, eight hours of daylight remaining, and only a light breeze to contend with. The swell caused me some concern and I briefly considered stripping naked, soaking my clothes in petrol and starting a signal fire but, in the interests of not compounding my embarrassment I thought I’d better stay dressed. Before I started rowing, I gave the starter rope a hopeful tug and, surprisingly, my somewhat frantic efforts brought it throbbing back to life. I put my t-shirt back on, and set my course to St Agnes with my fingers crossed. As I did, I thought about the reason I’d come to the Scillies, and why I kept ending up in situations that bordered on the ridiculous. I decided we all started kitesurfing for different reasons. Some love cruising on a sunny day, feeling a connection with the ocean. Some, especially in the UK, love the power, the
excitement, and feeling like you’re in a battle with the elements. Some just love learning something new. I am a fan of all of these factors but for me some of the best times I’ve had kitesurfing have been when it’s just an excuse to go and explore somewhere new with my mates. Which I guess is why, having visited St Martin’s (another of the five inhabited Scilly Isles) back in March, I’d decided to come back for a proper look around. Having convinced a couple of friends, the guys at Moses Hydrofoils, and myself that the Scillies was loaded with potential, I spent three months emailing, calling, and otherwise pestering residents and (gratefully, I should note) found myself captain of a vessel approximately two meters long and one meter wide, with an apparently not entirely reliable 15hp outboard on the back. I knew we needed a boat to explore fully, because transport between the islands is expensive, and awkward enough that you can’t really visit more than one island a day. We’d had two other boats lined up but both fell through for various reasons (another reality of adventure kitesurfing) so we were delighted to accept this third offer from Leon, a local kitesurfer. Leon’s been on the Scillies for 10 years and kiting almost as long – for most of that time he’s used the boat he lent us to take himself wherever’s on, regardless of the weather. Hearing this conjured up epic visions of Leon crossing the main channel in 25 knots, climbing up mountains of white flecked ocean, then screaming down the other side, with kit flying around the boat. He seemed pretty chilled about it, but having been out in that boat in 10 knots, I wouldn’t want to be out in much more. To be fair, he probably had a VHF radio…
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THE SET UP
Just in case the perfect beaches come too close to convincing you you’re not in England anymore...
There are two things that make the Scillies so interesting from a kitesurfing perspective, the first is the number of islands and the network of sandbars between each, which offer great potential for flat water, and spots in any wind direction. In fact, on the lowest tide of the year it’s actually possible to walk (and wade, sometimes chest deep) between all five inhabited islands. The second is the weather; it’s the warmest place in the UK, hence its dominant flower growing industry. It is also fully exposed to wind from all directions, as evidenced by the multitude of hedges grown to provide shelter for those same flowers. Unbelievably, the forecast for our week there was, apart from one morning, for sub 10 knots every day which, as well as being sure to put my new foiling skills to the test, made navigating between the islands three deep in a motorized bath tub possible, if not easy.
THE HYDROFOIL I had a suspicion that it might even be possible to explore the islands by kite alone. I reached out to Moses Hydrofoils UK, who liked the sound of the project, and sent me a Fluente to test out. At the last minute Craig Sparkes from Flysurfer offered me the use of his 15m Sonic too, and I couldn’t resist. I told a bunch of mates that I’d just take the hydrofoil to the island and figure it out when I got there, but fortunately they convinced me to invest some time in learning before I left. Oh man, such good advice. I don’t want to say it’s prohibitively difficult, because it’s not, but it is TERRIFYING, and what you really want to do is keep your eyes peeled for a 15 knot day, at a spot where you can get into neck deep water without too much effort. With that, you’ll be up on the board easily. With a bit of practice, you should be able to keep the board on the water while you get a bit of speed up, and then ollie the board onto the foil. Once you’re up, it’s just a case of staying calm as you accelerate to close to the speed of light, directly into the wind. Seriously though, once you’re on the foil for more than a few seconds everything starts to make sense, you’ll start to get used to applying front foot pressure, and going in basically any direction you choose is possible. You’ll crash often and harder than you might expect, but you’ll be staying upwind after your first run. I had two great 10-15 knot sessions before leaving for the Scillies which, with the wind forecast as it was, turned out to be really handy….
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No wind, no problem: showing the lo cals how to enter the water properly
Five inhabited islands make up the Scillies, along with just over 2000 people and a bunch of tourists. I already knew St Martin’s was great for flat water freestyle, so we kept that in the back pocket in case of strong winds from the south west. The north westerly isles of Tresco, Bryher, and the uninhabited Samson were those I was most keen to explore. Sandbars, and the mostly low lying Samson, looked hopeful to provide flat water heaven, and a deep channel between the islands looked likely to provide an opportunity to cover some distance in relative safety on the Fluente. Naturally, I left booking our campsite ‘til late in the day and ended up having to stay on St Agnes, the most remote and rockiest isle. On the upside, we had a great view from the tent, and a mooring at our disposal.
The natural harbor at St Agnes provides a super fun playground when the wind is good - just mind the ro cks
We restricted ourselves to exploring St Agnes for the first couple of days, scoring a lucky window of wind one morning and kiting the natural harbor on the west of the island, right by the campsite, before making an ill-fated attempt on the idyllic sandy bottomed bay between St Agnes and its smaller neighbor Gugh. While the majority of the island is pretty rocky, this bay offers stunning views with a handful of yachts moored in the deep water just meters offshore and, like much of the Scillies, incredibly clear blue water. A narrow causeway to the north means that the bay is exposed to wind from the N/NNW and the S/SSE, and can be ridden in both onshore and offshore conditions. It’s small, but it’s pretty cool, and the deep water means it has good potential for hydrofoiling as well as flat water freestyle. Unfortunately, the wind was too light to even keep a kite in the air by the time we got in the water here this time.
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APPLE TREE BAY Our hopes were soon raised as there was a little wind forecast and it was in the right direction to light up a spot called Apple Tree Bay, on Tresco. At high tide, the spot here is about two meters deep for probably a square kilometer – ideal for practicing foiling. The wind vanished after a couple of hours – it proved typical of the isles for weather to change a lot. I guess because it’s a small land mass, weather systems blow straight through rather than sticking around. We didn’t experience any strong wind this time, but from my last trip out I knew that you need to keep an eye on the horizon for squalls… Having used up what we were confident was all the wind we were going to get, on Tuesday morning we set aside thoughts of kiting and set off to explore the Scillies’ largest uninhabited island, Samson. We’d glimpsed it on our trip the day before and, based on that and reports from various locals, knew it had potential. Unfortunately, on this particular day we had no options for transport other than the bathtub, so we decided to travel light and took only ourselves and Amy’s camera. We arrived on the island two miles, and close to an hour, after we left St Agnes, in a sandy bottomed lagoon straight out of a Caribbean guide book. We immediately decided there was enough wind to ride the hydrofoil set up. After very little discussion, we decided the boat would go faster with just one of us in, and I set off back to St Agnes to collect the kit. 15 minutes later, I found myself in the situation I described at the beginning of this piece… Having started the engine again, I grabbed all the kite gear, a load of food for lunch, and my phone, before hightailing it back to Samson. The engine held out, and I returned to Samson in a solid 10-12 knots; wind that would normally be a frustrating few knots shy of useful, but was now an excellent opportunity to test the light wind potential of foiling. There was a little careful exploration to avoid writing off expensive carbon gear, but there is actually plenty of space and the feeling of nipping between islands and exploring
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is really satisfying. Once you’re away from the island, a trip to Apple Tree Bay only takes a couple of minutes, where you can foil to your heart’s content with no fear of underwater obstacles. Once I was a bit more confident, I started kiting downwind (which on this day meant heading north) to explore the channel. I made it as far as the harbor at New Grimsby (nicer than it sounds) and spent most of the afternoon kiting back and forth between the two islands. The wind coming up the channel was clean and the water was calm, with only the odd water taxi to share it with. The next day we had what appeared to be much the same conditions, so Hugh and I returned to the same spot with the intention of getting some more pictures ourselves. The wind was slightly lighter, which I thought might prevent any riding at all, but I was blown away by the performance of the Sonic/Fluente combo. I’ve never ridden anything similar, so the best indicator I can give is to say that the kite was struggling to stay in the air when I was stood on the beach. This really was a good test of my ability, and after a few attempts I found that I could loop the kite, pump the board, and get on the foil. Once I was on the foil I was shooting upwind, grinning ear to ear. My problem came when I reached the end of my tack in deep water off Apple Tree Bay, and had to stop to turn. Obviously the kite fell out of the sky immediately. Luckily I could swim ashore, and repeat the same process to get back across the channel. I think I ended up doing about four pack downs that day, with Hugh doing a sweet job of rescuing me with the boat when I wasn’t near a beach. After that, Hugh and I made the decision to get out of Dodge. I considered myself super lucky to be able to tick off all five of the islands, and to have confirmed that there is indeed some sweet kitesurfing to be had. In future, I’d base myself on either Bryher or Tresco for best access to a variety of spots without having to catch a boat, or on St Martins, if I was happy to kite the flats there exclusively. I still think there’s a great adventure to be had getting round the outside of all the islands, but there is no doubt that “we’re going to need a bigger boat…”
The 15m Sonic and the Fluente will have you riding in 8 knots... Just donâ€™t drop your kite.
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Photo: Svetlana Romantsova
Ask anyone on the World Tour who the easiest guys to get along with are, and the name Alex Neto is guaranteed to crop up. With his easy going Brazilian attitude it’s pretty clear that life is pretty crusiey for Alex. But don’t think that means that he isn’t a contender – he has posted some great results over the last few years and is always pushing hard and going big. This issue he scored the cover of the mag, so we thought it would be a good time to find out a little bit more about ‘Neto’…
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INTERVIEW: ALEX NETO
Hey Alex, thanks for taking the time to catch up with us. So, let’s start at the beginning, you grew up in one of the most popular kiteboarding spots in the world – Cumbuco, Brazil – can you tell us a bit about your upbringing and when you first saw people kiteboarding? I’m actually from ‘Icarai’ which is around 8 kilometers south of Cumbuco (although I kite at Cumbuco pretty much every day). I first saw people doing the sport just in front of my house at my homespot and I used to see people passing by doing downwinders almost every day, and sometimes I was surfing when these people were doing a downwinder – going fast and pulling extreme moves on the waves – that for me was something unbelievable. And when did you first have the chance to begin kiting yourself ? One day I went surfing with some friends that had started kiting a year before I did. They invited me to come to have some lessons as I was pretty much the most annoying kid out there, always asking them all the time to teach me! So at the end of 2007 I finally had my first lessons and it was an incredible feeling. From that moment on I decided to have a break from surfing and go kiting more then, as I was picking up the moves very quickly, all I wanted to do was improve my skills with the kite. When did you first get your own kites? I got my first kite in 2008 from a German guy, Manfred, who owns a pousada in Cumbuco.
From there the game was on for me; I went kiting all-day-every-day with some other local kids from Cumbuco who are also living the same dream as me – Eudazio da Silva, Set Teixeira and some others – we were all training together at the famous Cauipe Lagoon. Can you remember the first competition you entered and the result you had? The first event that I competed in was a local one with Junior and Pro categories. The level was always very high in both categories so I wasn’t doing very
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well in the beginning until I got the support of a local guy called Luiz Carlos and I had the chance to kite with some good gear which helped me to improve my riding. Then, after competing a few times at the local comps without getting any good results, I went to try the Brazilian Juniors Nationals in 2010, and things went well for me there and I was the 2010 champ in the Juniors category! When did you realize that you had the skills to begin riding professionally? This feeling came when I entered an international competition in Cumbuco for the first time – that was one of the KPWT stops. I was pretty stoked to finish that event with 6th place. After that I started to make plans to travel to Europe to compete at the European championships as all I was dreaming of was travelling around the world competing with the world’s best riders. So when did you first compete on the World Tour? In 2011 and 2012 I only did a few stops, but I started more seriously in 2013 when I joined the Best Kiteboarding team. Which is your favorite stop on tour? Definitely the Brazilian stop, but as that hasn’t really happened lately I would say the stops in Egypt and Venezuela were the best for showing a high level, as the conditions there are very good. It seems like a good vibe amongst the top riders, do you guys always get along well?! Of course! When we are competing against each other you try to concentrate more on yourself and take all the time you have to set up your mind nicely for it, so we end up not being the closest friends in the water, but as soon as the red flag is up and the heat is over everything goes back to the normal vibe where everyone starts talking about tricks and giving tips to each other! When we are training the vibes are always good too and turn the sport into a big family of great people.
This is a Melon Grab KGB. Bas captured the perfect moment with this awesome sunset in the background which turned me into a very nice silhouette. Photo: Bas Koole
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I N Tis E aRPete V I ERose W: A L EaXkicker N E Tduring O This 5 off one of my heats at the Cabarete event. Iâ€™m not very high as I was trying to get nice and close to Svetlanaâ€™s lenses! Photo: Svetlana Romantsova
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INTERVIEW: ALEX NETO
Working with Andre Magarao is always great because you know that there will be some good stuff by the end of the session! Even if there isnâ€™t great light or light wind, heâ€™ll still manage to get good shots, especially when it starts to get dark and he puts his mega flashes out... Photo: Andre Magarao
When I saw this wooden blue house in Cape Town we decided to get some lifestyle shots there - nothing special but we had some funny ideas that turned out nicely! Photo: Svetlana Romantsova
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Another awesome sunset picture where Bas clicked the button just at the right time! I was trying some big KGB5s and this is definitely one of my favorites - especially when it comes with that beautiful background of Cauipe lagoon! Photo: Bas Koole
How have you found the WKL and the new format? I’m very surprised with the amount of positive changes that we managed in such a short period of time. I think that this is the first moment that kiteboarding has brought the riders all together, supporting an association created by us, the riders, in a mission to make the World Championship the best one so far. Lots of the riders, including myself, were a bit unsure of the new format but as soon as we tried it out we realized that an event can be done in a much shorter time compared to before, and that brings a better impression and a more competitive image to the spectators. What gear are you riding at the moment? I’ve been using the Obsession Pro, Juice V3 board for freestyle, and Religions for waves. I am so happy with this gear and how motivated I feel with it! Have you had some input into the R&D side of things? So far the most work I did together with the other RRD team riders was on the new Juice board, which we are more than happy with the result of ! You’ve recently covered quite a few miles by kite – can you tell us about that? Yes, last year I got invited by the Surfin Sem Fim crew to join a 600 kilometer downwinder on the northeast coast of Brazil, crossing three states. I must say that was one of the nicest things that I’ve ever done kiting. I saw a lot of wild locations during the downwinder that I was never expecting to see, beautiful places that there is no way to see by car, so there is never anyone else kiting. So this year I did it twice again! One the same as last year, 600km, and another of 330km. Can you imagine how tired I was having done 930 kilometers in three weeks! But I just never got tired of seeing those empty amazing wild kite spots on the way! You’ve traveled a lot – have you found anywhere that beats ‘home’ for kiting?! Honestly – if I saw it I don’t remember it! But I do also love kiting in the extreme conditions of Cape Town, and the blue water of Egypt...
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T H E
P E O P L E
W H O
M A K E
H A P P E N . . .
UNDER THE HOOD W I T H
F - O N E
F-ONE is a brand driven by a deep-seated love of kiteboarding. They have always pushed the brand in an innovative direction, and have a truly committed following who buy into their ethos and their attention to detail. At the heart of the brand is Raphaël Salles, who succeeded in turning a passion for being powered by the wind into one of the most respected brands in the sport… F-ONE is a brand driven by a deep-seated love of kiteboarding. They have always pushed the brand in an innovative direction, and have a truly committed following who buy into their ethos and their attention to detail. At the heart of the brand is Raphaël Salles, who succeeded in turning a passion for being powered by the wind into one of the most respected brands in the sport... Let’s start at the beginning, before there was F-ONE, can you tell us about your windsurfing background? I started windsurfing when I was 13 years old in 1976. I went quickly into competitions and became a pro from 1980 to 1995. The top of my career was in 1985 when I was 3rd overall at the 100 | TheKiteMag
K I T E B OA R D I N G
World Cup. At that time we used to do waves, slalom and racing so it was pretty challenging. And then when did you begin F-ONE and what was the motivation for this? I started F-ONE in 1994 with windsurf boards because I was sure I could offer something new to that market. But in 1996 I tried kitesurfing and then I put all my energy into kitesurfing. My first challenge was to be able to go upwind and stay on the same spot. The first F-ONE kitesurf production boards arrived at the end of 1997 and they were the only ones on the market. Can you explain the technology here and why these boards were good for kitesurfing? We were the only brand on the market in 97- 98 and my constant developments gave us some advance on the kitesurf boards. The most popular model was the red 215, and the shape was a mix of surfboards and windsurf wave board – for getting the planing and to go upwind.
The very early days...
What was it like producing boards and kites in the early 2000s – it must have been quite exciting with such quick evolution?
super exciting because the same year, or even month, Naish presented the Sigma and the Bow concept was there too!
do you consider creating a bigger range of kites or are you committed to the ‘one kite’ philosophy?
Yes, like always at the beginning you had a new revolution every month and you had many brands on the market. It was a challenge for us to stay on the top. You know when you’re first on the market and alone, it’s difficult to see so many brands coming along.
The Delta shape goal was the maximum depower with the biggest wind range, re-launching with good And the Delta could do it all.
Then in 2008 F-ONE released arevolutionary kite – the Bandit. Can you explain how you arrived at the design of the kite… it must have been very exciting to realize what you had created?!
You know it is like your baby – it’s always the most beautiful so I was fully convinced that it would be a success! Because of the Bandit we doubled our sales in the first season so the customers seemed to like it too. You know it is maybe the longest success story of all the kite models in history because not many models have stayed for 10 years in the market, and it is not over yet.
The Bandit is such a surprising kite – if you look at today our top freestylers use it on the World Tour and our top wave riders use it on the Strapless and Wave Tour. We also sell it to schools and kite centers and they love teaching with it. Now our sport is changing and foiling is becoming a major discipline and the way a hydrofoil is gliding on the water is way different than a twin tip or surf. So we need some new kites with a different traction and performance so we have introduced the Breeze to our range. But the Bandit is still 90% of our sales.
The Bandit arrived with the Delta C-shape patented design so it was huge for us to make such a decision, especially when you announce that you will have a single kite model! Every brand used to have a few models in their kite range. People were thinking that we were crazy and that soon we would have all the other kites, but it took 10 years before we introduced some other models. It was
to have stability, the best handling.
Did you expect it to be so successful?
Since 2008 F-ONE has gone from strength-to-strength and you now have a complete range of twin tips and surfboards. The Bandit is still the ‘main’ kite and is focused on all disciplines,
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UNDER THE HOOD
Still the early days - showing some commitment in serious surf
customer’s feedback a lot and analyze what should be changed and we try to make the innovation and not follow it. We cannot change all boards every year or bring major innovation in each one so we decide what range should be improved first. What have been the most significant evolutions in terms of board construction and materials since you have been making them? Back at the end of the 90s we were already making surfboards with an EPS and PVC sandwich with carbon, so it’s always the same type of construction but constantly reworked with new fibers or foam. For twin tips the major change was when we were the first brand to build them like snowboards with a full wood core.
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You have a core crew of riders and testers who have been working with the brand for many years now, can you explain who they are and what they bring to the F-ONE experience?! We like to have long term relationships with our partners in many areas so it’s the same with our riders. Some of our riders keep working with us after their careers, and as a pro rider before I appreciate their needs. For sure, today Mitu is our most emblematic rider and after so long with us we have a strong relationship that is far above a ‘classic’ brand/rider situation. Mitu is a real star of our sport and what he brings to the strapless discipline is unique. He’s also a great businessman and his center in Cabo Verde is now huge with about 30 people working there during the winter season. Then we now have a bigger team with
the long term riders like Alex Caizergues and Charlotte Consorti, but some new comers like Filippe Ferreira for surfing, Camille Delannoy in strapless and in freestyle with David Tonijuan and Set Teixera. We have a big ‘next generation’ team with the next stars of our sport and Mikaili Sol from Brazil will be one of them. At 12 years old her freestyle level is impressive. Our foil team is big with our 10x World Champion Maxime Nocher, and Axel Mazella is already on the podium at only 19 years old. For testing, Mika has been my partner for 10 years and we know each other so well now that we can be ultra-precise and are able to do so many tests. So in combination they all bring a lot to the brand in terms of image, feedback, relationships and as you can see in our
The modern era - Raph still with plenty of commitment!
films sharing a trip with them is always a huge moment. And you now also have your son Julien managing Manera – did you hope that your children would follow in your footsteps and is it an easy transition to bring your family into your business? Julien, my son, graduated from a business school and my thinking was that it could be good if he worked first in other companies and businesses to gain experience and then maybe one day come back to the family business. But he came to the office for a few months and then decided that he wanted to stay with us. His motivation was impressive but I was also surprised by his capacity and knowledge so his mother and I decided that he could become Manera’s brand manager. You know Manera is all
new and he could really build it from scratch with his own view. Sophie,my wife, is the key person at F-ONE, and we’re both proud to see him taking more responsibilities. Can you explain to us a little about where you are based in Montpellier, and how the F-ONE ‘machine’ works in terms of R&D and production? Our office is in the south of Montpellier, so 10 minutes away from the sea. We have all kinds of wind conditions and they’re similar to what our customers are using when they kitesurf. I spend maybe 150 days on the water with Mika. Then we have a staff of 20 people at the office, then all of our production is done in Asia. Perhaps for F-ONE the second ‘revolution’ (after the Bandit) has been the emergence
of foiling in the kitesurfing mainstream. Did you realize immediately that this was going to be a big thing for kiting? Some of our riders and ambassadors started foiling in 2008, I then started in 2013 because the improvements I could see in light wind were huge. So it’s been around for eight years already. At the very beginning the equipment was not that easy so I was not sure it would be a success. But now it’s becoming such a big part of our riding that the other day coming back from the spot with Mika, I asked him, “What were we doing before foiling arrived?” And then we realized that with wind below 15 knots we weren’t really in the water and that now with anything below 18-20 knots, we only foil! Then since September all my SUP sessions are all foil SUP, so the foil is now a huge part of our time on the water. TheKiteMag | 103
UNDER THE HOOD
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SOMETIMES I REMEMBER T H AT W E S TA R T E D W I T H ONLY €7000 IN OUR POCKET! TO DAY W E A R E A M E D I U M S I Z E D CO M PA N Y F O R KITESURFING – IT IS A P O S I T I O N T H AT W E L O V E A N D T H AT S AT I S F I E S U S .
And Raph looks pretty satisfied with his lot in life here...
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UNDER THE HOOD
You have embraced this since the beginning, and for 2017 have introduced a massive range of foils for all disciplines (with more due for release this January). This must have been a big decision to make! Do the early signs suggest that there is going to be a big market for foils across these disciplines?
The early foil
I always have the same way of doing things: I try it and if I like it, we do it! Sometimes I’m wrong but luckily not that many times. Then the second thing is that when we do it, we do it fully. The French market – and especially in the south of France – is way in advance for foiling so as I said it started eight years ago and we had an idea on how the world market would be in the future. We started to develop our foil range four years ago so the range built up along the way, but the fact that foiling is now expanding across disciplines is a great surprise and confirms that foil will be a big part of all water sports... And what are you working on at the moment – can we expect any big surprises over the next few months? Today I will say that the biggest surprise will be the foil development on all sports. And that our investment in team riders and freestyle disciplines might get bigger! So if you had been able to see what you have achieved now when you first began F-ONE twenty years ago, what do you think you would have thought?! I would not have liked to see where we are today – maybe I would’ve got scared off! 20 years later and, with the size and image of the company and the brand, people don’t know how we started just me with Sophie. Sometimes I remember that we started with only €7000 in our pocket! Today we are a medium sized company for kitesurfing – it is a position that we love and that satisfies us. And getting too big might bring us less freedom and bigger problems!
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The 2017 foil
Raphael does spend a little bit of time here...
The Bandit aged 10...
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For many years CORE were known as a two kite brand with their GTS and XR series proving incredibly versatile and popular kites. Over the last 18 months, however, something has happened on the German island of Fehmarn where the brand is based, and the ‘kite creation’ department has gone into overdrive. Their kite range has more than doubled with three new kites slotting into the range, with CORE drawing on over two decades of kite building experience to offer these new propositions to their customers. At the heart of this revolution has been CORE’s kite designer, Frank Ilfrich…
So let’s start at the beginning: what’s your background and how did you end up running the kite design show at CORE? Well, I started kitesurfing in ’99. So I was one of the first, but education-wise my background is in mechanics, and then I was
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a graphic designer for computer games. After that I started doing the layout for a German kiteboarding magazine. That’s when I began testing kites, and I did some of the tests for the Carved boards in 2004/2005. Then Bernie (CORE’s CEO) asked me if I wanted to do something within the company and I said yes. I was firstly responsible for the bar, so the early bars – like the Carved bar and the ESP bar – they were more or less my babies, but I was also supporting the kite designer we had back then. After two years he moved on and so then Bernie asked me if I felt confident that I could do the job, and so that was the start for me then in kite design! That was in 2005. It was really like starting from nothing as our designer took all the files with him, but it was good timing as it was the time when the Bandit came out, so it was more or less the second revolution in kiteboarding.
Yes, this is ‘work’...
That must have been an exhilarating time to be a designer – with so much innovation in a short period of time. Is it still as exciting for you these days?
our new Section compromises all-round usage for unmatched wave riding. And the Impact now serves the pro level wakestyle market.
Yes! I feel just as pumped as when I started. Kite design is nowhere near maturity stage. We continue to find new and innovative ways to improve our kites. Building specialty kites is challenging and rewarding work and we are in the business of putting silly grins on kiter’s faces. I have done my job if CORE kites are first on and last off the water.
So how do you know what your customers are looking for and make those big decisions?
Okay, Let’s talk about model lines. The all-in-one kite had long been a dominant theme at CORE until last year when – out of nowhere – CORE’s range went from two to five models. What happened?! Fundamentally, we addressed two separate issues. Firstly, we filled a hole in our Universal Series of kites. And secondly, we addressed a section of the market looking for highly specialized kites. So each one of our Universal Series of all-rounders features a superpower. The XR’s is performance freeriding. The GTS is freestyle. The new CORE Free fits nicely in between the XR and GTS with its superpower in wave riding. Then we launched the Specialized Series last year to address the needs of highly experienced riders who just ride waves or just ride unhooked. For those kiters,
We work very closely with our loyal customers and listen to them as often as possible. Our demo days provide us with valuable feedback. Every new model update must stay true to its existing user base but should also attract new kiters along the way. The challenge is to make our kites more exciting without messing up the secret sauce! It’s very interesting and rewarding to watch our customers grow, develop and learn with us with each new kite generation. So when it comes to revisiting a kite’s design, how do you choose what to change in your design? Many characteristics can be modified in different ways using different approaches. In general, the kite’s aspect ratio and fundamental shape have the biggest impact on performance. Kite performance is also affected in large part by wing curvature, strut count, leading edge diameter, and bridle design. The trick is to get the right combination and to tune each kite size for best performance individually. To make things even more complicated, the rules for lightwind kites change completely!
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How critical is your software in putting all of these elements together – can it do it all on its own?! No, our software is not quite there yet to design kites on its own! It can’t make structural calculations or perform airflow simulations. The design starts and ends with me. However, our software provides individual “components” and setting options that support my work. A kite is almost impossible to simulate as it flexes in flight, so it still comes down to old fashioned experience and prototyping. If other kite designers have the same design software, do similar products come from this? Not so much because our software is customized to our needs and requirements. It would be pretty hard to duplicate the exact settings, options, and inputs we have developed over the years. The software is so robust that the combinations and permutations are virtually endless. How much influence do other kites on the market have on the direction you take with your design? Every designer has their personality and it’s important for them to do their thing, and testing our competitor’s models is normal – we fully expect our competitors to do the same with ours. That said, our priority when redesigning a model is to maintain its signature CORE character and – I don’t know what drives other designers – but personal satisfaction drives me to create my own designs. Certain shapes have functionality that works for the target market’s style of riding so I just can’t build a kite for my enjoyment, I have to consider my target market’s riding style and preferences. But this doesn’t hold me back from designing a kite for an emerging or new market segment which is what we did eight years ago when we built the first GTS. We created a new market for a kiteloop machine that excelled in unhooked riding and big air. The GTS’s bridled C-kite design ultimately became a global bestseller. Similarly, with the XR, we built a kite with huge hangtime, linear power, effortless waterstarts, and massive range. The market responded with the XR becoming our biggest seller. Can you describe your prototyping process? We operate on a two-year product cycle which gives us more time to make meaningful improvements. In theory, we have closer to 18 months development time because we need sufficient time towards the end to fine
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tune each kite size. At the beginning multiple concept studies are worked on concurrently until a frontrunner becomes apparent. We can then have a new prototype produced and delivered to our HQ in 9 to 12 days. Then the fun begins! Sometimes prototype testing results in the quick adoption of features and other times prototyping takes a little longer. Either way, it’s my favorite part of the process. Who is involved in assessing the protos? We currently draw from a large team of testers. Prototyping starts with Basti (Buzzy) Witzleben and myself. We then bring others in from around the world for a second look and Bernie, our CEO, is closely involved in most of the development phases. It helps that all our staff kite and the beach is literally around the corner! Then to get unfiltered feedback, we rely on our loyal customers. Who has the last word when it is decision-making time? We see kite design as a team sport where every member plays an important position. I may be the head coach, but everyone on the team brings value. I make the final design decisions. CORE is known for its technical material innovation like CoreTex, ExoTex, Tectanium lines, and the Sensor 2S bar, but do you think we will see entirely new kite shapes and control systems in the future? After 20 years of kite evolution, I don’t believe we will see a wholesale design change in one direction or another. Take for example our current product line. We build five kites that have clearly defined target markets. The XR and the Impact have little in common but still fly on the same bar system, and both are unmistakably CORE kites. Although different in shape, the two kites are still governed by aerodynamic and hydrodynamic principles. Nothing is preventing us from trying new shapes – the question is whether any new shape outperforms the current designs we have perfected over the last ten years… And in terms of kite design, will we see another revolution in kite design like the bow kite, or an evolution like the delta kite? We are continually working on our current kites and “out of the box” concepts. Whether our concepts prove themselves in testing is to be seen. I do believe, though, that exciting new designs and concepts are in the future of the sport…
Frank talks team rider Willow-River through the finer points of kite design...
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KG B T H E M OV E
The KGB is one of the best feeling tricks. It was one of the last moves I learned and now I think it may be my favorite. Off the kicker I like to do them with a Mexiroll, like wakeboarders. Once you get the release right it feels like it takes much less effort to initiate and complete the rotation than other moves.
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PHOTO: TOBY BROMWICH
T H E â€˜ H OW T O â€™ Pop off your toes and throw your head straight down at your back knee. Then turn your head over your back shoulder and pull the bar in to your hip. You should be spinning and flipping at the same time at this point, probably disoriented! Just focus on passing the bar. Now spot your landing and decide whether you need to open up to slow down the rotation or not. Once your feet are back under you, extend your legs and stomp it! Extra steeze points if you land with just your front hand on the bar.
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BAGGAGE BUYER’S GUIDE
Baggage Buyer’s Guide Whether you’re off to far flung lands, off on a road trip, or just off to the beach, keeping your kit safe is essential. Time to check out our guide for the very best in baggage…
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BAGGAGE BUYER’S GUIDE
RRD have a broad range of bags in a massive range of
sizes. All great for protection, ease of handling and for traveling with your favorite gear. All bags feature: • Anti corrosion zipper and pullers • Reflective tarpaulin to mirror away sunlight and heat • Clear size marking • Sufficient padding • Lightweight TheKiteMag | 117
BAGGAGE BUYER’S GUIDE
1. GOLF BAG The Golf Bag has a big volume and can fit several twin tips and kites, plus your regular accessories (harness, bars, wetsuits…). It has wheels and many reinforcements that make it convenient and durable, whether it is for a day-trip or for several weeks on the other side of the globe. 2. SESSION BAG This is the light bag: no wheels and no rigid structure. It is easy to travel and pack anywhere, you can fit twin tips, kites, harness and accessories in there. A great option for a day-use bag, but also for flights as the weight won’t be a problem… 3. SURF 5’8” Thick foam and durable construction, this bag can be used either for a day-trip or for flying to the other side of the planet… Includes an ‘alu-tarpee’ layer to reflect the sun and keep your board safe in hot conditions.
1. NP GOLF BAG NP’s Golf Bag is an airline-friendly kiteboard bag that resembles the shape of a golf travel bag. The bag comes in two sizes allowing you to comfortably pack three kites and up to two twin tip boards with bindings, multiple harnesses and wetsuits. The Golf Bag is padded with 8mm of foam to protect your gear yet it only weighs 3.6kgs. 2. NP SURFBOARD BAG The NP Surfboard Bag is made from a durable woven material and padded with 8mm of foam to protect up to two surf boards on your next trip. The bag features an integrated fin/wax pouch and has nose-to-tail rust-proof zipper opening for easy board access.
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3. NP BACKPACK The NP Backpack is an all-purpose backpack featuring an inner organizer, laptop compartment and a protective sunglass pocket. This 25 liter urban-to-beach pack can fit a 15” laptop while also comfortably carrying your wetsuit, towel and a water bottle.
BAGGAGE BUYER’S GUIDE
1. GOLF BAG Here’s Liquid Force’s take on the miracle ‘excess saving’ Golf Bag option. Super tough and superstylish you can get all of your kit in and approach that check in desk without your credit card at the ready. 2. COFFIN BAG For 100% confidence that your kit is going to arrive in one piece, the Liquid Force coffin bag can fit in two boards, 3 kites and still have room to spare for your harness, pump and copy of the Lonely Planet.. 3. WORLD SURF TRAVELER For serious trips to cranking reefs and perfect point breaks, the World Surf Traveler can fit in two boards and three kites. So you’ll have no excuse for not going out no matter how big the surf is…
1. ELEVATE The Elevate boardbag is made of a lightweight coated nylon ripstop fabric and weighs a mere 2.2kg. The bag is extremely light while not compromising the bags strength. Then, if you are just a bit overweight at the check-in counter you are able to remove the wheel system and place the wheels in your hand baggage. The Elevate boardbag has a lot of storage space to bring all your gear and yet it can be reduced to the tiniest package size for convenient storage at your destination. 2. TRIPLE WAVE BOARDBAG The Triple boardbag is a great new boardbag to take you all over the world. This boardbag can be used in three ways… 1) Compressed, use the bag compressed for one board. Compress by using the hook, loops and straps. 2) Semi-compressed, use the bag semi-compressed for three boards and additional gear or 3) Full usage, use the full space of the bag for three boards and additional gear.
3. GEAR BOX DELUXE The protective core of the Gear Box is an 8mm thick closed cell foam padding, keeping a tight balance between weight and impact strength. The ventilation patch improves the environment in the boardbag by increasing the breathability. If you are traveling straight from the beach, good ventilation helps to keep your gear in good condition. The Gear Box Deluxe is equipped with a replaceable puller system and one spare puller is included. Also includes two vacuum bags and a small pump. Packing was never this easy! TheKiteMag | 119
BAGGAGE BUYER’S GUIDE
1. SURF TRAVEL BAG For those bigger trips hunting down serious waves, the Surf Travel slots in two surfboards and three kites... With TPE backed 600D polyester, 10mm foam padding and internal and external compression straps you can expect your kit to arrive at your destination in exactly the same condition it left home… 2. GOLF BAG Get all of your kit packed up well and hope to capitalize on some complimentary luggage allowance. The Golf Bag has airline friendly dimensions and you can fit in two twin tips and three kites. And you could maybe even squeeze in a golf club.
3. DUFFLE BAG A great option for loading up all the rest of your holiday essentials, the Duffle Bag has heaps of room and is super-sturdy, and you can then attach it to the Surf Travel or the Golf Bag to make traveling life a little a bit easier…
1. GEARBAG TEC 1/3 ION have a couple of Golf Bag options… Here is the smaller brother, the 1/3, which takes 1 board and (you’ve guessed it!) 3 kites. Also available is the 2/4 – you can do the math on that one. 120 | TheKiteMag
2. SURF TEC TRIPLE Here’s the daddy of the ION surfboard range – you can easily get three boards in here, then there’s a single board bag inside so that you can take your stick of choice out the bag and to the beach without having to worry about dinging it…
3. KITE CRUSH BAG When space is at a premium you can get your kite into the Crush Bag and really squeeze every last bit of air out of it. Available in medium (up to 10m) and large (up to 14m).
BAGGAGE BUYERâ€™S GUIDE
A A R O N
H A D L O W
WORKED-IN CARBON/PE CONSTRUCTION F O R S TA N D - O U T B A C K S U P P O R T
SURFIN G EL EMEN T S ION-PRODUCTS.COM
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BAGGAGE BUYER’S GUIDE
1. TACTICAL TROLLEY Ride Engine’s Tactical Trolley is a utilitarian roller bag that will have you hauling mass amounts of gear across the planet with ease. Large enough to take multiple twin tips up to 158cm long, but compact enough to fit within standard airline baggage limitations, the Tactical Trolley features large interior compartments, compression straps, Kevlar reinforcements, a wet-dry compartment, rugged wheels and integrated runners to give the bag structure with or without a twin-tip inside.
2. SPACE AGE DUFFEL This is a no-nonsense gear and travel bag designed for those who want maximum durability and
function out of a traditional duffel bag shape. Featuring a full PVC outer for splash, dust, dirt, mud and weatherproof protection, this bag is offered in two sizes – small (105L) and large (206L) – and features one large interior compartment, side pockets, central carry straps with Velcro closure and a heavy-duty padded sling strap for shoulder carry. 3. ROVER BACK PACK Available in grey or brown, Ride Engine’s Rover Back Pack is a classic day pack loaded with features to keep you organized and mobile on whatever adventures you find yourself in. Features include a padded laptop sleeve, hidden stash pocket, fleece-lined sunglass pouch, multiple zipper compartments, interior organizers, water bottle holders and extra cushy shoulder straps.
1. X FIT KITE/WAKE BOARDBAG If you want plenty of room to get your twin tips, kites, harness, pump and a few beers for the end of the day then this could be the bag for you. If you want it with features like Air Mesh Ventilation Technology and the X Fit compression straps and you want it in a super stylish package then it is definitely the bag for you… 2. X FIT KITE/SURF BOARDBAG If you’re off on a trip then you want 100% confidence in your kit. You want to make sure it arrives in one piece, and you want it to be easy to move around when you’re there… The X Fit Kite/Surf has hardened roller bearing in the PU wheels, a protective tarpaulin inner shield and close cell shock absorption so is about as bombproof as it gets. Meaning you can just concentrate on getting barreled…
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BAGGAGE BUYERâ€™S GUIDE
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TELL ME ABOUT IT
TELL ME ABOUT IT
NAISH SLASH For a brand stationed on the most wave-centric island in the kiteboarding universe, it was exciting times to hear that Naish had entered the â€˜pure wave kiteâ€™ game. Kite designer Damien Girardin takes us through it.
So all new for 2017 is the Slash. Why did you think the time was right for the first 100% wave focused kite from Naish? We had spent a few years thinking about it, but we believed that the Pivot was answering the demand. Then I talked with a few distributors and I understood that some people were looking for more than a Pivot when riding waves and doing strapless tricks. A kite that would be even more stable so you could forget about it when working on tricks and that would drift so well that you could literally park it in front of you and focus 100% on your wave riding. So when you sat down to begin the design, what were the key qualities that you wanted from the kite? I really wanted to focus on delivering unparalleled drifting ability and increasing stability, while also giving lighter bar pressure than the Pivot.
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So can you talk us through the key design and performance characteristics of the Slash? The main key design is that the Slash is derived from the Pivot, so I took all of the good elements from that and added to it in order to reach the designâ€™s objectives. In order to increase the stability, I reworked the Leading Edge taper to make the diameter more constant throughout the entire kite, which delivers a more solid platform and in the end provides a more stable kite. To work on the drifting ability, the idea was to have a kite that would fly a little further back in the window when depowered. The slightly bigger LE diameter already helped for this characteristic, but then I also changed the wing tip design, making it more boxy (shorter in height) and sitting further back (longer in length). This changed the way the wing tip weight acts on the entire kite while in the air and allowed for a kite that would have a slightly lower angle of attack when depowered, and indeed make it drift like a charm!
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TELL ME ABOUT IT
Okay, so one of your headline features for the new line up has been the Quad-Tex… What can you tell us about the material, and how does it impact on the performance and the durability of the kite? Quad-Tex is something I am really, super happy with. The very first goal was to increase stiffness and longevity of the canopy material. The approach was that instead of starting with a material and adding ripstop yarns to it, I looked at it the other way around. I started off with a matrix of ripstop yarn (typically 3x stronger than the rest of the yarn in the material) that would give superior characteristics to the material and then added the “regular” yarn in between this matrix to complete the material. Increasing the stiffness of the canopy makes your kite respond faster to bar input and wind gusts, making your kite so much more direct and fun to ride. “Faster turning”, “more direct” and “more crisp” are a few of the key characteristics that most people are feeling on kites made out of Quad-Tex. Improved rip prevention of course also came with the nature of the material.
From our experience in testing ‘wave kites’, some tend to perform really well in ‘perfect’ down the line conditions but then less well in ‘less than perfect’ onshore conditions and some are the other way round. Do you think the Slash is good in all surf conditions? While working on the Slash, I did get to test quite a few wave kites out there and definitely noticed what you’re saying. So when working on the Slash, I wanted to make sure we would have a good kite in all conditions. Luckily here on Maui we have a mix of absolute perfect side shore conditions, more offshore spots and a full onshore spot. The wind is also quite gusty here, which makes it similar to a lot of places in the world. I also had the chance to test some of the prototypes in Cape Town, where the conditions are also very different. In the end I can say that I am really happy that the Slash works in all these conditions! And a lot of riders are now also getting involved with the ‘strapless freestyle’ scene. Did you have this in mind with the Slash? This was totally on my mind when making the kite. Personally I mainly ride strapless now, and when there are no waves it’s all about the jumps and tricks. For that I was super stoked when we were testing the prototypes with Kai Lenny one day as his first comment was how much he liked the Slash for flat water tricks, because with the kite being so stable, he didn’t have to worry about what to do with the kite and it was always there where it needed to be at all times. I should add that, as with all of our kites, the Slash has tons of depower, so when you jump strapless it’s super easy to adjust
the power in order to land tricks and you never get carried away (like I experienced when I was testing other “strapless” kites). 126 | TheKiteMag
Finally, our long-term (three years) testing has proven that these characteristics continue to deliver responsive performance longer on a Quad-Tex kite and, over time, will still feel superior to a kite made out of other canopy materials. This is due to the fact that with Quad-Tex you rely less on the resin of the material to provide the stiffness. Instead, these characteristics come from the very nature of the core of the canopy itself. And moving on to the sharp end – you also have a new bar offering with the new Torque system. Can you take us through the key technologies and features of this? The key features of the Torque are the new quick release that not only passes the French AFNOR norm, but is also incredibly simple and easy to reload. Then both above the above and below the bar trim options come with a ball bearing swivel right above the release handle, making it super easy to untwist your front lines. So it is fair to say that it’s been a busy few months for Naish with a few significant new releases – did you guys plan to have a busy year or has it just worked out that way?! Well, we’ve been busy for three years working on the QuadTex, two years on the Torque and a year on the Slash. To be honest I knew it was going to be a big launch for three years already because of the Quad-Tex! And what’s in the pipeline for the next few months? We’ve got more coming in the next few months! Our next big release is spring 2017…
The Jesse Richman test
Itâ€™s a pass...
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NAISH SLASH There was much excitement on hearing that Naish were bringing out
genuine kudos – it is a pure, no compromise wave riders kite which has
a ‘pure surf ’ kite… The Pivot had been a favorite of the test team and
been consistently refined over the last seven years, and there are few
had been a great kite in the waves so we were excited to see what extra
other kites with such a devoted following… For 2017 there have been
qualities the Slash would be bringing to the party… The first point
a lot of changes across the RRD line up with a new logo, new ‘bling’
to note is the fact that the Slash is built from Naish’s new Quad-Tex
designs across the kite range, as well as some genuine developments
material. There has been much hype around this and, as a canopy
in the design department. The headlines with the Religion are in the
material, it really does have a whole new look and feel… Profile wise
construction, where a new Dacron web provides additional strength
and the Slash is pure ‘three strut boxy kite’. It looks like it is coiled
across the canopy, while additional reinforcements on the leading edge
up and ready to let loose! We also had the new Torque ATB bar to
panel and radial reinforcements also improve strength and durability.
test. This is solid with a super-plush and comfy finish, and the new
Then, in terms of design, the primary focus has been on tailoring
QR system is very simple to release and to re-arm. It’s a very well
the individual sizes to ensure they meet the differing demands of
thought out and well-engineered evolution and is a welcome upgrade
contrasting conditions. So the smaller sizes have the more classic
from Naish. In the air and for us the Slash felt a
consequently it is very easy to place the
settings to adapt the flying characteristics
Slash where you want it. It sits relatively
depending on the conditions… On the
deep in the window making it a great
water and the Religion feels crisp and
kite for onshore conditions as there is
responsive – we felt that the low end was
always power on tap when you need it
improved on last year and, flying the kite
but, if you don’t want the power, it will drift
on the onshore settings (we had the 8m on test) the kite pivoted beautifully, enabling you
comfortably downwind with you. The drift is super-stable and predictable and was one of the
to really utilize it in ‘real world’ conditions. It sat
standout qualities for us. For sideshore riding, the Slash is happy
predictably in the window without flying too far forward and behaved
to fly a little further forward in the window and there is plenty of
exactly as you want a kite to in those conditions. In more ‘classic’
depower for when you don’t need anything from the kite, and the
conditions (set to the ‘sideshore’ setting) the Religion has that nice
Slash depowers very quickly without having to sheet all the way out.
familiar feel and an insane amount of depower. Even when the wind
Generally, we found that the Slash was a very accessible and easy kite
increased and you felt it was time to change down to a 6 or a 7m, the 8m
to fly, but for experienced riders who want to be able to place their
Religion still performed very well and could be utilized in decent waves.
kite exactly where they want it, the Slash offered much more than that
In a sentence: We really enjoyed flying the Religion MK7 –
with some exceptional performance.
the performance and we were particularly impressed with the
all of the characteristics you
there are some clear improvements in both the build and in
clear distinction in the onshore/ sideshore performance.
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In a sentence: A great addition to Naish’s line up, the Slash has want from a wave kite but in a particularly ‘tuned
in’ and refined package.
It responds to even the smallest input and
Sizes 4-8 now also have onshore/offshore
been tweaked to perform better on lighter days.
little more tuned and refined than the Pivot.
‘boxy’ Religion wingtip, while the larger sizes have
RRD RELIGION MK7 The Religion has always been a kite which has given RRD some
ALL R OU
The Rebel is one of the longest
Well, it’s a big birthday for the Bandit. The
running kite models currently on the
kite which blew minds on its first release has
market – it blew a few minds when it first arrived on
managed 10 years of continued innovation… It
the scene but is now much more of a ‘classic’ with a truly obsessive
is interesting to look back at how it has evolved from the Bandit V1
following who love that distinctive Rebel feel. For 2017 North have
as it’s a microcosm of the changes that we have seen across a lot of
worked hard on the construction of the kite and have increased the
kites over the last decade and sums up their philosophy of ‘continuous
number of segments through the center to improve the turning speed
improvements’. For this 10th edition the main difference you are
and range of the Rebel, and there’s also a new Dacron frame around
likely to notice is the wingtips – these are notably squarer. In terms
the wing tip to improve response and durability.
of F-ONE’s aim with the Bandit, the focus has been on ‘traction and
Then there is also a new size – a 15m for bigger
speed’ and on developing a kite that enables you to get up to speed
riders and those who want to boost huge –
easily but then maintain the power without having to work too hard…
and we flew the Rebel on the Click Bar.
In the air and after your first few runs on the Bandit the first thing we
With its shorter bar throw we found
appreciated was the effect of the new tips. For us these gave the Bandit
that the Click Bar worked particularly
a more ‘pivotal’ feel when turning(we had the 10m on test) – more like
well with the Rebel and you get a nice
you would expect from a surf kite. Then we found that, for freestyle,
injection of power with just one turn on
it moved a bit slower through the air making freestyle and jumping a
the bar. On the water and – as you would
little more predictable – we all agree if a kite is too fast we are more
hope – this feels like a Rebel. The loaded 5th
tentative about trying new tricks and the Bandit has slowed itself
Line gives you a short bar stroke for that instant
down a notch or two. For heading for the sky, the Bandit has always
power delivery you expect. In addition to this the Rebel gives you an
been a good kite for boosting and this continues to impress – the lift is
incredibly smooth and stable feel through the bar. It’s hard to think
pretty mighty but controllable, and the hang time is
of a freeride kite that can really beat the Rebel for feel. Then it offers
superb. Through loops the Bandit was not with
fantastic upwind performance and, again with the loaded 5th Line, it
smooth with minimum flutter and upwind
gives superb control even in the gustiest conditions. We found that the
the Bandit pulls you along with minimum
Rebel did prefer to have a bit of power in it, and then the Rebel really
fuss. The Bandit’s also equally at home
comes alive when you want to jump. If you check the WOO records
with a surfboard, where F-ONE seem to
then you can see that the Rebel features regularly as it’s a real go-to
have got the perfect balance point on the
kite for boosting. It really is a rocket ship and has oodles of hangtime…
bar where you can just sheet out, dump
So it’s nice to see North taking some time to look at the build of their
the power and ride the wave. The boxier
kites and the Rebel does seem to have benefited – it feels smoother
tips also deliver a more pivotal feel to the
and silkier in the air but without sacrificing any of the features or feel
Bandit and we think that wave riders will be
that you expect from a Rebel.
particularly impressed with this latest incarnation.
In a sentence: The Rebel continues to deliver in the premium
In a sentence: We have now had a whole 10 years of Bandits, and it
can also take you up and away if that’s what you’re looking for…
a refined all round machine and if F-ONE continue in this vein we
ALL R OU
freeride department – it’s an accessible and friendly kite to fly, but
is great to see that the latest version hasn’t let the side down – it’s can probably expect another 10 years of Bandits.
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When we first saw the Apollo we weren’t entirely
You know with Ocean Rodeo that they spend the time to get their kites
sure what to make of it – it is such a high aspect kite that it really
exactly how they want them before they let them loose… The Roam
does look different to everything else on the water. So what was the
has been a few years in the making and fills a gap in the OR range. The
thinking? Well Cabrinha were looking for a kite that would meet the
Prodigy has been a popular kite for waveriding but perhaps lacks the
needs of foilers and riders who are looking for a fast kite or a super-
more pivotal turning that comes in handy in this department and – on
efficient kite in lighter winds, so they have employed all of their kite
first impressions – it looks like the Roam should tick this box. Even
developing knowledge and created a kite with an insane AR which
by ‘surf kite’ standards, the Roam is particularly low aspect, with a
is still accessible and easy to fly. Tech wise and the Apollo uses the
chunky LE and super-square tips. Bridle wise this is short (so tangle
Pure Profile Panels which we can see across much of the 2017 range
free) and there are no pulleys. Trailing edge flutter is kept in check
– these result in improved airflow across the kite and thus improved
with small battens and overall the kite feels very well put together.
performance, and also Pro Span which flattens the kite when it’s in
In the air and the Roam immediately feels connected and ready to
flight to increase the projected area and improve the efficiency of the
go... It is very stable, but as soon as you turn it you can tell that this is
kite. On the water (we tested the 12 and the 14m) and you need to reset
a nimble kite that’s ready to have some fun in the surf. The low end
your expectations – there’s not really any need to move the kite, you
is very solid – we rode the 9.5m in a range of conditions and were
can just sheet in and you are away. Then the Apollo handles much
particularly impressed with its performance when conditions were
more like a foil kite, so you pull the bar in and get some power, but then
marginal and other guys were out on 12s. When you couple the low
this just keeps on coming! Once you’re riding you really appreciate the
end with the fast turning, it is easy to generate power and get yourself
efficiency – you fly upwind and you can just dig your edge in, pull
cruising around without any more kite than you need. For onshore
against the kite, and just keep going faster. It’s a whole lot of fun.
conditions turning is pivotal and the power shuts off smoothly when
For transitions (whatever you’re riding) just moving the kite through
you need it to. We found that you could come off
the zenith gives you a lovely amount of float so you have plenty of
the top of a wave without having to worry
time to turn your board, get your feet set, and then you are away
about the kite holding you back and that
ALL R OU
OCEAN RODEO ROAM
again. The range is also impressive – although
it sat nicely in the middle of the window
you’ll want to pull on the depower if you’re
and would drift comfortably down the
stacked – and the Apollo will surely be
line with you. Steering when sheeted
up for some hang time records. You
out was also very impressive and in
can boost relatively high, although not
more crosshore conditions you could
stratospheric, but then the amount of
make small adjustments to the kite without
float is insane – if you keep the bar in
having to be too aggressive with the bar. We
you’ll float and float… We flew the bigger sizes but we can imagine that the smaller sizes (there is a 7 and an 8) would be superb kites for foiling in light winds and we’d be surprise if a few more kites in this style don’t pop up over the next couple of years… In a sentence: The Apollo is a serious piece of kit which reminds you just how much pure power a kite can deliver – but don’t be fooled, it is also a very fun kite to fly and becomes strangely addictive…
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put the Roam in the water a couple of times and – with a solid tug – it popped up nicely, particularly for a bigger kite. In a sentence: The Roam is a well-balanced and well-built surf
kite – turning is pivotal and smooth and overall it’s the kind of kite to give you plenty of confidence in the waves.
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METEOROLOGY WITH TONY BUTT
PHOTO: CARLOS TORO W W W.W H I T E WAV E S.E U
CO L D WAT E R , PA R T 1
This issue Tony strays a little away from Meteorology and takes a look at the effect that the weather can have on our bodies…
So, I thought it might be interesting to have a quick look at what happens to your body when you get cold in the water. In this, the first part, I’ll have a look at how the body tries to defend itself against the cold, and why the mechanisms it has evolved are more of a hindrance than a help.
I spent the first few winters of my surfing life on the south coast of England. Not the coldest water in the world by any means, but the temperature was certainly a major factor. In the winter, the main reason you would get out of the water was not that you were tired or bored, but that you were just too cold to carry on. I remember always having numb hands and feet, and sometimes coming out of the water violently shivering.
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The human body, just like a machine, is designed to function within a certain temperature range. If the working ‘core’ of the machine becomes too cold, it will not function properly. So it has built-in control mechanisms to keep it at the right temperature, despite the outside being colder. For example, in cold conditions, a car engine works harder and burns more fuel, and the water is circulated straight back to the core instead of being pumped to the radiator where the outside air would cool it down. In a human body, the metabolic rate is increased to generate more heat, and the blood is circulated back to the vital organs instead of pumped to the hands and feet. When we start to get cold, we shiver. When we shiver, large groups of muscles produce random contractions exclusively to produce heat. In this way, extra heat energy is available to avoid your core temperature going down. In other words,
the extra heat is used to ‘combat’ the cold. You’d be surprised how much energy is used by shivering. Research has shown that violent shivering is able to increase our base metabolic rate by around 400 per cent – equivalent to a brisk walk or a slow bike ride. Shivering comes in various different stages. First, you get a barely perceivable tightening of the muscles, called ‘preshivering’. Then, shortly afterwards, come the familiar short, rapid movements such as chattering of the teeth. These movements get larger and larger until you enter a state of uncontrolled violent shaking, where you find it difficult to see properly and difficult to talk. If you get to this stage in the water, your coordination will not be very good. Crucially, you’ll still be getting colder and colder – a sign that more serious things could happen if you don’t get out as soon as possible; but also a clear indication that the shivering is not doing its job.
In addition to shivering, when we get cold our hands and feet go numb. The numbness is due to the blood vessels in our hands and feet contracting, restricting the blood supply: a process called cold-induced vasoconstriction. In normal circumstances, where our core temperature is slightly above the outside temperature, the core is prevented from overheating by pumping warm blood to our extremities, where
it cools before being pumped back. In colder conditions, the blood is short-circuited away from the extremities straight back to the inner core, so the vital organs stay warm. As a result, the extremities, which are not receiving warm blood, cool down a lot more than they normally would. Hence numb hands and feet. You could say that the mechanism has evolved to sacrifice the hands and feet to save the vital organs. Unfortunately, cold-induced vasoconstriction isn’t a very efficient process either. It comes into action far too soon, way before our vital organs are put in any significant danger. Our hands and feet go numb at relatively high temperatures, and the negative side-effects usually outweigh the decreased danger to our vital organs. So, it seems that the two major processes that we have evolved to keep us warm – shivering and vasoconstriction – don’t work properly. The reason why they don’t work very well is because they evolved when we were still living on the plains of Africa. As a species, we haven’t been living away from that environment for long enough, so, unlike other mammals that have lived a long time in cold climates, we simply haven’t had time to evolve efficient mechanisms for keeping the cold out. In fact, the major reason why we are able to live in cold climates is because our brains have become clever enough to invent warm clothes and central heating.
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THERE ARE NO CABLES
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aabb ese T r e h T
If we write an article about wakestyle, kickers, sliders and the cable park, it would be a fair assumption that a signiﬁcant number of you would immediately turn the page and move onto something else, muttering something along the lines of...
Why? Quite simply they loved their winter sports. Combine that passion for waterskiing with a passion for engineering and we get to Bruno Rixen.
A BIT OF HISTORY
As a watersports addict he wanted to make waterskiing more accessible, so between 1960 to 1969 he spent a decade patenting and building prototypes until he had a system capable of the demand of constantly pulling a skier through the water for hour-after-hour, day-after-day around a ﬁve pulley track (or a 5.0 as you will hear it called). Fast forward to today and you have over 265 parks operating Rixen Full Size Cableways in 45 countries and six continents. And that doesn’t take into account the smaller 2.0 (two pulley) systems which are cheaper, easier to construct, and pull one rider from point A to B and back again.
Let’s start from the beginning. Before kitesurﬁng and wakeboarding even existed there was waterskiing, and of all the countries who loved waterskiing there was one which loved it more than the rest. Germany.
It is even possible to build temporary set ups for events in public places, as they do in Germany every year for the huge Wake The Line event where they link up full size Olympic swimming pools for the event.
“I kitesurf, I am not a wakeboarder, and all that stuﬀ with objects in the water is practiced by a minority of too-cool-for-school young riders.” With that in mind our aim here is to explain how wakeboarding, and more speciﬁcally the cable park, can be the perfect complement to your kitesurﬁng passion and can provide a useful path to progression.
WHO IS DOING IT Now you know what it is and how it came to be, we would like to prepare what you will ﬁnd when you get there. The answer is: everybody. Young and old; girls and boys; mums and dads… Everybody can have a go. This is often
a surprise as we imagine a wake park like a skate park, full of fearless adolescents bouncing around as if their bones were made of rubber. And whilst they are there, they are not always the majority. TheKiteMag | 135
CABLE RIDING IS AN EXCELLENT CROSS-OVER SPORT FOR KITEBOARDING BECAUSE IT IS SO CONSISTENT. THE PULL IS THE SAME EVERY TIME AND YOU CAN WORK ON TRICKS WITHOUT HAVING TO WORRY ABOUT THE KITE. IF YOU’RE LOOKING TO START HITTING PARK FEATURES ON THE KITE FOR THE FIRST TIME, CABLE RIDING IS A MUST. PLUS THERE ARE A LOT MORE ves. si Gra n e S , arroll leen C l o C : s Rider
CABLE PARKS OUT THERE THAN THERE ARE KITE PARKS! -SENSI GRAVES
I’M A KITER, NOT A WAKEBOARDER We have a lot of the skills required and whilst the first few sessions will seem a little strange, once you get over your initial urges to edge hard against the cable and learn instead to follow it, you will begin to develop board skills that will greatly help your kiting. Riding a cable is a bit like unhooking and riding off downwind after your kite, and whilst this might not be something you do every day, being able to ride 136 | TheKiteMag
downwind towards the force that pulls you whilst still maintaining an even tension and pull, is a very helpful skill when you start doing downwinders and of course after performing unhooked maneuvers. If you come with snowboarding experience then you will already know about using both edges of your board, but the lesser experienced kiter only uses their heel side edge which is only 50% of your board – and if you want to get your money’s worth out of that shiny new kite stick, you should be using 100% of it!
LEARN NEW SKILLS So you can improve skills which you can bring back over into kiteboarding, but what about the world of new opportunities the cable offers? This is where the magic lies. First off, you do not need to check the forecast for the cable: providing there is not a thunderstorm you are pretty much good to go. Which makes a change for us Windguru-addicted kiters.
Then you may spend your first few times absolutely terrified of the sliders and kickers as you ride past them, but the moment you pluck up the courage to ride over one of them will be a life changing moment. You will realize that it actually isn’t nearly as difficult as it looks, and suddenly countless hours and days of progression will open up in front of you.
Rider: Julia Castro.
Then you may spend your first few times absolutely terrified of the sliders and kickers as you ride past them, but the moment you pluck up the courage to ride over one of them will be a life changing moment. You will realize that it actually isn’t nearly as difficult as it looks, and suddenly countless hours and days of progression will open up in front of you. We started at the cable about a year ago, and still find that about 90% of our sessions have something in them that we do for the first time. It may only be a small step, but the confidence and satisfaction that comes from doing completely new things for the
first time will motivate you to push your kiting too.
WHAT ABOUT THE BOOTS Fear not, at the cable park, once you start to ride around with conﬁdence and hit the modules you will be wearing boots like everyone else, and this will help you become accustomed to them in a safer environment without the addition of a kite and wind. Then if you want to start wearing them when you are kiting then you’ll be in more familiar territory. Of course you can still catch an edge and suﬀer the consequences, but unlike the kite: you can let go of the cable. TheKiteMag | 137
We go on about it all the time, but one thing that has been lacking in the current state of kiteboarding is individual creativity. We have to say it is coming back, and why? Wakestyle. Riders who rip at the cable park are much more used to developing their own style of riding and attacking tricks and modules. There are no constraints and style is much more an expression of you and your creativity.
Being completely exhausted and getting social are two aspects of the cable that go hand in hand.
You do not have to ride the same as everyone else, you develop style, tricks and ways of approaching things that are a reflection of you.
You will find that the cable park is a very social environment as everyone gets to watch everyone else ride, you can even go round with a friend on the same cable if you wish. As for the exhaustion, well, after an hour of riding at the cable you will know exactly what we mean, and this makes the sitting on the side and hanging out with the other riders, exchanging tips and building friendships, a side of cable riding which is very different from kiting.
Kites RIDING CABLE IS PERFECT FOR PRACTICING YOUR PARK MOVES! PERSONALLY I HAVE GOTTEN VERY EXCITED ABOUT RAILS AND KICKERS THIS YEAR. I LOVE HITTING UP THE CABLE ON A NON-WINDY DAY. THERE ARE NOT TOO MANY KITE PARKS AVAILABLE AROUND THE WORLD YET, SO IT’S GREAT THAT YOU CAN WORK YOUR MOVES IN THE CABLE. IT’S SO MUCH FUN! - MALIN AMLE
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In kiting a lot of interaction is based on dependency You need someone to launch and land your kite. At the cable park you don’t need anyone, but you sure as hell want to share the stoke with everyone! As for that exhaustion, give it a couple of sessions and you will start to develop a new set of upper body muscles that you did not think even existed. It is really a physical sport, especially in the beginning, and if you had become complacent in kiting you will really appreciate the extra work out for your body.
READY? So what are you waiting for? Overcome that initial fear, grab a friend, leave your pride at home for the first few sessions, and go and try something new: you won’t regret it. (In fact, we loved it so much that we decided to launch www.wakesista.com as a place for girls to find all the latest info, tips, tutorial and news on all things wake!)
sista Rider: Malin Amle Photo: Håkon Mæland
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BEHIND THE CLIP
Melancholy (in cursive)
Noè Font is clearly a special kind of talent. Making the transition from a freestyle to a park focus seamlessly, he is now one of an exciting new generation of riders giving the old guys a run for their money… On top of that he is also keen on the ‘creative’ side of the sport and we have been impressed with his clips before. This latest clip adds to his impressive collection and the fact that he wrote a fairytale for the narration to introduce the film is proof – if it was needed – that Noè is very much a ‘details’ kind of a guy.
On the film bio you’re quoted as saying “Filming for this project has been the toughest of all the films”. How come? If you’ve ever looked at Hood River on the map, you know it’s far from the coast and surrounded by mountains. It’s definitely not your average kite spot and sometimes that’s hard to keep in mind. As you can imagine the wind has to blow from the perfect direction for it to be steady, but that doesn’t always happen. During the two weeks of filming we had wind all day every day, but always gusty and coming from the mountains. That made getting the clips we wanted very hard, we would be out there for hours waiting for a good gust to get a trick. It took me way more tries than usual to get the tricks which was very frustrating at times, but the crew was positive and it turned out better than we thought.
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How was Vince to work with? Hahaha. Vince is awesome! He is just as motivated as me to get out there at any time, for as long as we have to. Apart from being very good behind the lens he is also a good friend and fun to hang out with. Plus he is always down to try out new ideas. Working on projects like this with friends is the best thing ever. Things just come along very naturally, we all know what to do and if one isn’t pumped one day the other one cheers him up. Do you know what he was filming on? I own a Sony FS5 myself so Vince shot the movie with my camera. We also used an a6300 with a housing for the water angles and a drone.
How much time did you spend in Hood River this year? Everybody talked me into it so much so I knew I had to spend the summer there this year, six weeks total. This was my first time there and it didn’t disappoint. What was your favorite obstacle – the new Cabrinha Rail seems to get a bit of a spanking in the clip! Park riding has been progressing a lot ever since I got into it. We are at a point now where to see more progression we need the features to evolve as well. Luckily more brands are getting involved and there are new features being placed in every corner of the planet. The Cabrinha Rail was one of the highlights of the trip. Three different lines, transfer, wall ride and step up ledge made the list of tricks endless.
This being said, my favorite setup was the Session Kicker to Cabrinha Rail. Going off the kicker and landing onto the wall was so much fun! So you’re really focused on getting your park riding dialed in – how is it going and do you feel like you are coming up to a level with the established guys? It’s been really cool to come into this new scene; different riders, styles, tricks and mentalities. Park riding is very different from freestyle in the way that there is an endless amount of tricks you can do on the same obstacle. That leaves a lot of room for creativity and progression. You’re influenced with what’s around you and I’m lucky to be surrounded by very creative people willing to do things outside the box. Which is exactly why I’m so driven by park riding at the moment. There are no limits, we’re not stuck training the same handful of tricks every session, and every day in the park is a good day to try something new. I’m really happy with how far my riding has come in the past year. From my first park event in the Philippines until now, I’ve been learning new tricks almost every session and finished the season ranked 3rd overall on the Kite Park League ranks. The vibe on the park scene seems pretty cool – do you all get on well most of the time?!
Hell yeah! We compete against each other all the time, during the events and freeriding. But when it comes down to it we are a group of friends who love riding rails with a kite. Progression has gone through the roof just looking to the past six months. I feel like all the “old” guys had been waiting for a new generation to come in and start pushing them a little bit more. That’s exactly what’s happening now with guys like Ewan, Alex, Annelous, myself. So the crew is a big part of it? Yeah, with park riding you need a whole crew to make it happen. Unless you live in Hood River, you can’t just go out and ride a park. That’s what’s also very cool about it, you depend on your friends to ride features so we are all more united with building, setting up and all of that. We’ve tried to work out who The Cluster is... feel like letting us in on the secret? There isn’t a straight definition for it yet. Time will hopefully give it an identity of its own. For now let’s leave with it being my alter ego as a filmmaker. There’s some lovely narration at the beginning and end from Merel Summerhill. Where are the words from?
thermal winds. The mood was different; The river, the mountains, the trees, the whole place felt like it deserved a fairy tale. So I wrote one, I wasn’t really sure how it was going to turn out until I got Merel to narrate it for me, that’s the icing on the cake. It’s a five minute clip – how many hours riding and editing do you reckon went in to it?! I don’t even want to know, but probably something in between 250-300 hours. At least! In the last issue we covered the Gorge in great detail. What does the place mean to you? Did it really break your heart? Hood River is very unique in many different ways. The scenery, the people, the culture and the only public kite park in the world, just to name a few of the facts that make this place truly special. My time there went by really fast, on my last few days I felt like I wasn’t getting back what we deserved. The weather played with us, teased us everyday and drained our patience. I left Hood River with some unfinished business, there were things I wanted to do that I didn’t get the chance to. So yes, it broke my heart. But that’s fine – I’ll come back for more soon.
During my whole time there it felt like we were dealing with much more than just
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A P PIN G
U P G E T T I N G YO U R ( DO N K E Y ) D I C K O U T. # B R O S T Y L E here’s a big problem with magazines like this one: we’re offering you an impossible dream. We’re showing you pages and pages of unattainable moves in unattainable places… We all love imagining ourselves into these kiting nirvanas pulling the flawless moves that you see within these pages, but we know that these guys and girls are pros… it could never be us... Or could it?
get rad with pretty much the same basic kit of a few kites and a couple of boards. Thus this lack of diversity among kiters surprised me. When I started kiting I knew I wanted to ride waves but when I came across wakestyle on YouTube I knew that would be my second love, and I made it my mission to get my buddies doing it too – I would become the local wakestyle proselytizer. Ned: Despite being a kiter since 2007 and working for Ocean Rodeo since 2012, I’ve never had any interest in unhooked riding. Wakestyle is for wakeboarders, kids, and people who don’t care about their knees (right?!). Everyone knows the worst wipeouts come from unhooked trick attempts... Like most of us, I was drawn to kiteboarding by the apparent freedom, big airs, and soft landings. Add some strapless, and I’ve still got loads of room to progress nearly 10 years in. Why would I ever unhook? I’m too old and smart for that now! Tony: Nobody here on Vancouver Island was really riding wakestyle, so I had the internet teach me. Every time you pull that bar all the way in it seemed a long way from how simple those tutorials made things look back
home… “Oh crap how is this going to work! My arms are getting yanked out! I’m going to eat it so hard!”. It was full on 7m conditions the day I finally committed to really go for that first unhooked Railey attempt in Paracas, Peru; not exactly ideal learning conditions but what did I know (I don’t think the internet tutorials really emphasized enough how preferable 12-14m days are for learning). That was an enlightening day… Ned: It’s interesting to take a step back and really look at wakestyle riding. Why are (relatively) few kiters doing it? Why do so many of us shy away from it? I think there are a few things at play here. The exposure on the discipline is largely at the ‘pro’ level in magazines and videos. Landings are hard, and it seems like half the pros are all wearing knee braces. You only see teenagers or 20-somethings try this stuff, the tricks happen so fast, and for the average kiter (let alone new spectator) the difference between a Back Mobe and a KGB is… well, they don’t even know, and that’s just it! Conversely everyone can quickly grasp a big air with a tail grab, and those look pretty cool too. We all figured wakestyle is just for bros, and
It’s a steep learning curve...
As editor of TheKiteMag I’m not a teenager anymore and I’m pretty sure that I know my limits on a kiteboard. But do I? Or have I just allowed myself to believe that I’ve plateaued so I can take it easy? Deep down maybe those reasons you give for not really pushing hard and going for new moves are actually excuses. And maybe it’s the same for you, maybe you have got more in you… Maybe you’re not too old to get your (donkey) dick out and see where things end up. So went a conversation between competent wakestyler Tony Litke, and ‘definitely plateaued’ Ned DeBeck one night. And so the next day, the #brostyle game was on… Photos by Melodie Devries. Tony: Have you ever noticed how once someone starts kiting they quickly discover their niche in the sport, be it twin tipped big floaty airs, strapless flickety tricks or down the line waves and often never really expand their horizons beyond that? So I guess I wasn’t that surprised to discover that all my kiting buddies, some who had been kiting for 10 years more than I, had never pulled their (donkey) dick out and tried unhooking. Coming from windsurfing one of the biggest advantages I saw in kiting was its versatility. From 12 knots to 40 knots and from flat water to heavy waves, you can
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A F E W H A L F D E C E N T AT T E A L OT O F C R A S H E S , A N D M I N O R C U T S A N D B R L AT E R W E R E CO N V E N E D M A S S I V E G R I N S A N D B E E
M P T S, S O M E U I S E S W I T H R S .
Hands in the right place. The problem? No bar...
Ned nails it
with Tony being such a bro, we called his unhooked sessions #brostyle. Tony: After months of incessant badgering to get my buddies on the wakestyle (now #brostyle) train it all came to a head after plenty of beers around a Nitinat campfire in mid-July. Five boozed-up and overconfident unhooked virgins dropped the hammer and committed to make tomorrow the day they pulled their (donkey) dicks out. Morning came, the thermal wind kicked in and there were some nerves amongst the candidates for sure with at least a couple trying to make a solid effort to bail out. Unlucky for them I wasn’t letting them get away that easily though and after some “positive reinforcement” the guys were pumping up, sourcing longer kite leashes, putting their safety systems in suicide mode and asking questions about what exactly they were about to attempt. Because there is no internet at Nitinat, it’s not like they could do any of their own research. Ned: After all the trash talk, we had no choice but to suit up, venture into the unknown, and pop those unhooked cherries. How hard
can it be? Just pop the donkey dick (I like chicken finger), ride downwind, and then just go for it right? Well… maybe not so much. Our attempts were anything from pitiful to scary and everything in between. I think I tried to unhook 3-4 times before realizing I had to really ride downwind, not just ‘less upwind’. Others reverted to the ‘never ever ever let go of the bar’ mentality, and half of us sent it like we were trying to boost moonshot 40 footers – not the greatest for Ralieys. One thing that quickly became apparent to all of us though: this was actually pretty fun. Tony: This was probably the funniest thing I have ever seen in eight years of windsports. Kiting is inherently individual, and unlike other boardsports, you kind of want to stay the hell away from everyone else. It’s rare to get that jam-session mentality going where a group of your bros are all trying new moves for the first time, destroying themselves, and egging each other on to keep trying. The boys were all just killing themselves, sending it hard, eating it, recovering and then cruising back and forth on the lake giving the “look my (donkey) dick is out” gesture to everyone they knew cruising by.
Surprisingly, a couple of them even threw down some pretty legitimate Raileys... Ned: A few half decent attempts, a lot of crashes, and some minor cuts and bruises later we reconvened with massive grins and beers. Needless to say, there were a lot of laughs, excessive hand talking with kite bar motions, and continued trash talk. Everyone agreed that this was something that needed to happen again on a regular basis. This time it was the Railey, next time something else. The unhooked cherries were popped and we were already looking forward to the next team #brostyle session. Tony: This isn’t a pro story, none of us are expecting to throw down Double Back Mobes anytime soon. We are just a bunch of guys in our 30s who discovered a fun way to push ourselves, try something new and having a stupid amount of fun doing it. So the next time you are at the beach and you find yourself stagnating and bored with the same old tricks you’ve been doing for a while, rally some buddies, reach down, take your dick out and go for it. You’ll be better for it. Just maybe wait for a 12m day…
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