It’s official – Aaron Hadlow is joining North Kiteboarding

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The rumors have turned out to be true. The five times World Champion that has consistently innovated the world of freestyle kitesurfing is now joining the North Kiteboarding Team.

While this might seem to be just another pro rider swapping a sponsor, for North fans and in particular North Vegas fans, this is a new hope. Aaron will not only be riding for North he will also be involved in the R&D for North and that can only mean one thing – a new kite for complete beginners. Nah, just kidding! Of course it means we will be seeing his influence coming to the one kite that defines North Kiteboarding, the Vegas. Now you might think that’s exaggerated but we have been North riders since back in 2004 and there were only 2 kites that really turned the tide in the industry – the Cabrinha Crossbow and the North Vegas. Back in those days a kites depower was nearly non existent and if you could not hold your boards edge, you were going downwind, really fast. But then Cabrinha splashed out for the licence to make their first bow kites (patented by the famous Bruno Legaignoux and Dominique Legaignoux brothers) and although depowering now meant huge throws or pulley bars, the kiteworld was never the same again. Everybody and their grandmother wanted to use a bow kite that could be used in huge ranges of wind due to the massive depower.

North though had nothing to offer along those lines and Ken Winner (main kite designer at North) even was quoted saying “But we (at North) do want something that we enjoy riding, which is one of the reasons we’ve been slow to go in the bow direction, because we really don’t like riding those kites. It’s hard to get enthusiastic about something that seems so flawed”. – June/July 06 edition of Kiteboarding Magazine (US)

Of course we all know how that went for North and before you could say “we-need-to-REBEL-against-losing-market-shares” they brought out their version of a bow.

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But in all that noise, what many people did not realize was that North had developed a truly revolutionary kite that not only could depower massively but also feel and jump like a C-Kite. The 2006 Vegas was truly a design revolution and paved the way for all the hybrid kites that every brand is now selling as their version of a modern C-Kite. The only major difference between those is whether the wider arc of the kite is being supported with some sort of simplified bridle (C4 Ozone for example) or with a 5th line that splits into a “Y” at the leading edge (like the Vegas).

So what does all this have to do with Aaron? While the Vegas went through the years, North kept trying to improve the kite and had a famous one-year-good-one-year-bad streak right up until 2010.

[image url=”” title=”The terrible 2009 Vegas” alt=”The terrible 2009 Vegas” raw=”true” alignment=”center” margin_left=”0″ margin_right=”0″ margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”0″ width=”350″ height=”350″]The terrible 2009 Vegas

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By then they settled on just changing the colors (and some of those must have been acid trip inspired or done by a 3 year old) but the kite was pretty much perfect.

[image url=”×300.jpg” raw=”true” alignment=”center” margin_left=”0″ margin_right=”0″ margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”0″ width=”214″ height=”300″]The awesome 2008 Vegas

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The keyword here is of course “was” and then came the 2013 version. The wingtip battens had to go and that meant the leading edge had to get thicker there to support the tips instead. It also meant less segments to stitch and resulted in a kite that was cheaper to produce but also in a different feel on the bar, and I don’t mean a better one either…

[image url=”×5001.jpg” raw=”true” alignment=”center” margin_left=”0″ margin_right=”0″ margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”0″ width=”400″ height=”400″]The not so good 2013 Vegas

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So here is where Aaron could come in and save the day. If he really gets a say in the next version of the Vegas we could be seeing a return to the rock solid feel of the older Vegas, the precision with which the 7m is cutting the air through a kiteloop, the speed of the 12m that could even be used to do powered kiteloops, the grunt combined with speed on the 14m for the heavy riders and maybe if we get lucky, a non-puke-inducing design.

All hail the King!

3 replies
  1. Neilbracwell
    Neilbracwell says:

    I am waiting for the time when my favourite kite surfer Aaron Hadlow will be surfing for north kiteboarding. I am a huge fan of Aaron and just want him to play the sport. I just want to watch him dancing on the waves on his kite.

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  1. […] Aaron is finally spilling the beans and for those of you who have been reading my post on his possible influence on the Vegas will know how much I was hoping this would change the Vegas for 2015. Good news – it is […]

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