Red Bull KOTA Entries for 2019

There is no doubt that the most spectacular kitesurf event is the Red Bull King of the Air in Capetown. This years entries are all showing that super high kiteloops with late backrolls are just not good enough anymore, no, you now have to add board offs into our trick box too.

Megaloop over the pier at Balneario in Tarifa

Back in 2011 Ruben Lenten jumped the pier in Tarifa that separates the Atlantic from the Mediterranean, something that does not only require balls of steel but also the right kind of Levante wind. Even then, he had one very close call where he did not manage to clear it completely and nearly ended up on a stretcher. But this is the mega god of megaloops and after casually having kicked cancer in the ass, he decided to go back to do what he was born to do: Megaloop over the pier!

I cannot begin to describe how crazy that is and in how many ways this could have gone wrong, yet he just pops one right over the pier and then continues on his trip to the next destination. You know, as if it is no big deal, at all. What a super star!

 

Kiteloops on Land: Taming the Beast

While for most kitesurfers the mere thought of pulling the trigger gets their hearts racing, these boys are on a different level. Coming down from a missed kiteloop can hurt and we all know how hard water gets when you impact it like a dinosaur-killing-asteroid. But now imagine the same scenario but swap the water with land! Yes these guys have some massive brass Lent10 class balls!

Where to find reliable wind, blue skies and nice beaches: Lefkada, Greece

Last year we got a call from an old friend, Rob Claisse, who created Progression and was fundamental to what now we consider the gold standard of kitesurf video tuition. He was looking for a spot that would offer reliable wind, blue skies, nice beaches and ideally something not too far from the UK. Not long after he arrived with a ton of equipment and pro riders Danny Morrice and Oli Sweeney, riding every day on their 2 weeks and getting loads of the filming done. Read about their trip on the Progression Blog and Rob is now in the finishing phase of editing the new videos for the Progression app so be sure to check it out too.

The North Dice 2018 is out

 

Its the time of year again when all the large kiteboarding brands start flooding the internet with their new product clips and this week it’s the Dice that is being promoted as the “ultimate kite for unhooked performance, jumping and wave riding”. But is it really?

North has kites that seem to do it all and start to overlap in their abilities to such an extent that it can become a bit confusing, especially with such marketing blurb that just adds to the confusion. In recent years, they are trying to keep them a bit more apart but it is true that you can do a lot with most of their kites, even when they are not really designed for it. The Dice was originally born to be something of an in between kite – lined up between the Evo and the Vegas. The Vegas always was the exciting kite and the “king” of the line up but that did not translate into the biggest seller. Once Hadlow was added into the mix, the Vegas really went right to the Backmobe-slider crew, a small part of the overall kite buyer market. Of course there are many non-handlepassing riders on Vegas kites too – you have to be able to show off somehow at your local pub after all, but what this division created was space for riders who wanted a bit of the softer Vegas characteristics, combined with a bit of the Fone Bandit feel and hangtime. Also, added into that, a four line setup – something most riders prefer for its simplicity (That is not to say 5 lines are complicated – we always ride 5 lines if possible, especially in light and strong wind days for easy relaunch and safety – respectively).

The marketing video is underlining the changes for 2018 that include a bigger leading edge diameter an extra panel in the lift section of the kite and wider connection tubes for the strut bladders. So what does that all add up to? The leading edge diameter is going to give you more lift, a stiffer overall frame (good for 4 line control as it means less wobble and flex) and it will make the kite move slower through the window. This in turn means the kite is more of a drifter when riding waves and slacking the lines, a bit more grunt on the lower end and also the steering can come more through the wingtips, when using the “soft” pigtails.

The extra panel adds a bit more lift and stiffness in the center and gives the kite a rounder contour behind the fatter leading edge and obviously, the wider tubes help inflate and deflate the kite a bit quicker.

What I find interesting is how the Dice is going to get you to “megaloop heaven” and how many times kiteloops are being mentioned in the product video. From all my kiting friends, among them, the kiteloopers I can count on one hand and megaloopers – zero. Clearly we all aspire to one day loop it like Ruben but come on, that’s laying it a bit thick…

But what you can see in the video is how changing the pigtails on the rear will change the looping behavior. Since the whole frame is rather stiff in the center, using the “soft” settings will pretty much do a “stall” loop, i.e. the kite will use the bent wingtip as its pivot axis, rather than the center (where the center strut is). This will give you very fast, “pussy” loops, little horizontal pull and far less brown pants moments. The further forward you connect your backlines, the less steering will come from bending a wingtip and instead a bit more from twisting the whole frame, akin to what a real C-kite would do, resulting in more uumpf as you pull the loop.

Anyway, I do like to applaud North for showing their kites in “real world” kite spots – the spots most of us ride in. Not everybody lives in Maui and rides in sun-kissed, kite heaven *cough*Naish*cough*Cabrinha*.

So in conclusion what do we have here? Its no Vegas replacement – no matter how much they say that the slack has improved. To get slack you need a fast kite, something that moves through the window quickly, generating the sudden pop and then slacking at the edge of the window. But of course not everybody unhooks on every session so you do get all the bonus features that the Vegas does not offer – much better low end, better hangtime, drifting on wave rides and 4 lines. It’s a great allrounder that works just as well on a foil, skimfish, surfboard and twintip but has to give way to the Vegas when the conditions are begging for your boots. How much better it is than the 2017 Dice we have yet to see but if you have to make a decision now and are looking for something that will get you decent unhooked performance, good hangtime, good wave riding and an overall simpler kite, go with the Dice.

Another flat water kite spot? Yes!

Kite Clinics Lefkada Griechenland 2017

Kiteboarding in Greece is something special

Once again my ex student Liam Whaley is doing what we all would prefer to do – discover new and fantastic kitespots. So this time he came over to visit us in Greece and shoot an episode of his Cloud 9 series and I think you will agree, this is a fantastic place to come kiting in.

PIQ and North working on the Jaime Kiteboard of the future

During the last years we have seen more tech gadgets enter the world of kiteboarding but who would have thought that one day we will plugging a USB cable into a kiteboard! North and PIQ are now working on integrating their excellent kiteboarding tracker (which we reviewed here) into the Jaime kiteboard. It really is a logical step forward and will hopefully develop into even more useful tech integration such as an integrated GPS sensor that could also allow you to track your lost board. Welcome to the future!