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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 Click Bar – Will you know how to fix it?

So it´s out, the “Real Game Changer” from North Kiteboarding and judging by the social media and various forum comments, it is creating quite a commotion. While there are many that applaud North for pushing innovation in our sport, others think this is all going a bit too far. It seems as if we will be seeing an even stronger divide between two kitesurfing groups: The ones who lean more towards the simplicity of sailing equipment, avoiding anything that would complicate their equipment and possibly ruin a windy session on the beach because of some kit malfunction and the second group, that is happy to spend extra money on the latest equipment that lets them enjoy the sport even more.

This split is also reflecting in the way kite manufacturers lead their innovations. While North is aiming for very integrated and “German” engineered bar, Cabrinha looks for a more natural feel, simpler solution to the spreader bar with their Fireball system.

But with such “complicated” equipment, you also have to accept that maintenance is not just a rinse in clear water and instead requires you to either read a manual or at least watch instructional videos. Judging by how often we need to explain how to correctly trim your bar, it´s safe to say the majority throws their printed manuals for their bars and lines into the bin as soon as they unpack their kit, so it´s a good thing North has decided to release a whole series of videos that explain in detail how to take the Click Bar apart and replace every single part in it.

Here is the one that explains how to replace the EVA floaters, which nicely shows the inner workings of the North Click Bar.

The King of Pop is here – Vegas 2016

North-Vegas-2016-NKB-Kiteboarding

Finally the new North Vegas 2016 is out and I can hardly believe my eyes because it actually does not look like it has been designed during somebodies LSD trip! Furthermore, the Hadlow branding has been reduced quite a bit, so now if you want to distinguish your Vegas from the rest, it will have to be blue since all others don’t have the Hadlow print on it.

But enough pub surfer talk, now to the important stuff. The kite is really geared to the wakestylers and offers just like last year a multitude of setting options. Using various attachment points on the front, rear and different line lengths + different center line “V” / Hadlow bridles, you can fine tune this kite to make it fit your riding style, not the other way around. This is much more in line what you would expect from a specialized kite and if you just want to keep it simple, the Dice is a much better choice for you.

Improvements over the 2015 are mainly details such as overall stiffer frame, improved strut attachments / re-enforcements and the clever fast pump valve that now is standard on all North kites. Probably the least visible improvement are the 3D shaped panels that now give the kite a smoother profile with less drag. While this sounds like marketing blah, it actually is quite necessary because the 2016 Vegas sits even deeper in the window as you ride normally and when you load for your pop, the kite needs to accelerate out of the powerzone to pull you out. The faster the kite can do that, the more pop you will have and the more slack you will get after the pop since the kite has moved even closer to the edge of the window.

If you are thinking “sure, whatevs man” then have a look at the video, especially at 1:45 where you can clearly see how the kite just rips the rider out of the water and lets him drop into the bar just a second later.

King of pop Vegas 2016

Of course you still need to do a proper load and pop, no kite can do that for you but the Vegas 2016 will help to make it bigger and give you plenty of time to pass the bar.

What am I hearing you say? Struggling with your load and pop? Well don’t miss out on our instructional that will help you with that and of course you could always join one of our kite clinics in October in Essaouira

 

 

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5 line versus 4 line Kitesurfing

North Kiteboarding recently released a video promoting the advantages of the 5th line:

Clearly North would like you to believe that riding with a 5th line system is always better than using a 4 line bar. However, the video is not a good representation of both systems and I do wonder why North sells 4 line bars if they are that much worse.

We have been riding a lot of systems and the better part of the last 5 years it was all on our North Vegas kites that only fly on 5 lines. One issue that the video did not address is that of the kite rolling into its own lines. Now you might say that only happens to beginners but we can assure you, that from riding in waves and getting washed into your own luffing kite to misjudging a strong gust on a jump, anybody can get into that situation.

Once your 5th line wraps neatly over your rolled kite, relaunching is not a simple affair and will take a lot more time than a 4 line kite. The reason for that is that a four line kite will respond and relaunch just the same with its front and backlines crossed (after the roll) where as the 5 line system means you first need to get the 5th line off the canopy so that the kite can catch some wind and get into a relaunch position. We often see riders give up on that and rather pack down their kites or drift off hoping for help because they cannot free the line from the wrapped kite.

However, there is a solution to this – simply pull your quick release and let the kite flag out on the 5th line. Once its hanging off only that line, you can pull on one of the backlines while making sure you do not get tangled in it, and the kite will turn around catching the wind again. At this point you can put your quick release back together again and hook in to relaunch the kite. The 5th line will be wrapped around and behind the other 4 lines and although it looks like a mess, you can relaunch and fly the kite back to the beach. From there you will need to land and sort out the 5th line.

On a 4 line kite you could keep kiting with the crossed lines but here too it is advisable to get back to the beach as soon as possible to sort out the lines because of the added stress and wear at the areas of contact.

So which system is better?

It really depends on you preferences and the conditions you ride in. On a light wind day, a 5th line can make relaunching much easier and on a gusty day, a 4 line system can be a blessing. If you are using a camrig on your front lines, it is much easier and safer to mount than with a 5th line setup. What we do recommend though is to ensure that your 4 line system will flag out correctly on a single, front line. If a quick release only means that the kite will flag out on both front lines and therefore keeps flying, this can lead to dangerous situations since the kite never fully depowers.

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Are you wearing a GoPro camera?

It was not so long ago when getting a video of you kitesurfing meant to have somebody standing in shallow water or even on the beach and film you from a distance. But with the emergence of action cams and especially the wide spread success of the GoPro we can film our sessions from various points of view without any assistance.

However, on the search for even better POVs (points of view) more and more people use a variety of mounts for the camera and not always are these safe. Recently a motocross rider drilled a three-foot pole extension into his helmet, attached a GoPro camera to it, then wrenched his neck when the jury-rigged device whacked a tree. An Australian BASE jumper leaped from a ledge in Moab, Utah, did a flip, and released his parachute bridle when the lines wrapped around his chest cam. He fell to his death.

These incidents are not restricted to those sports, it spreads into all sports. The National Ski Areas Association reports that “Helmet cams are less of a problem, but we’ve seen chest-mounted cameras get caught up on chairlift safety bars.”

So can it happen in kitesurfing? Yes it can and it does which I have experienced myself. A popular GoPro mount is the Line Mount where the camera is attached to an “H” shaped mount that sits in between your front lines and is held in place through the tension in your lines. It can produce some incredible shots like this one I took while racing a windsurfer in Dakhla:

[image url=”http://www.alwayswindy.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/IMGP0781.jpg” title=”Line Mount Kitesurfing” alt=”Line Mount Kitesurfing” raw=”true” alignment=”center” margin_left=”0″ margin_right=”0″ margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”0″ border=”mediumBorder” lightbox=”http://www.alwayswindy.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/IMGP0781.jpg” icon=”magnify” iframe=”photo” width=”800″ height=”600″]

But things can go very wrong too. I was using the same setup while wave riding in Mui Ne, Vietnam and on surfing down a wave, the lines of my kite went slack. Since the line mount with the camera is heavy, it started to sag and swing around the lines which got tangled and caught around the camera and the mount. As the kite powered up and tightened the lines again, the kite was bent out of shape and was impossible to steer because one front line was shorter than the other. What was worse, the fifth line was caught in the mess as well so when I was being washed towards some rocks on the shore, I quick released my kite but it kept on flying and pulling although it was only connected to me via the fifth line. I had to release the fifth line too which saved me and trashed the kite on the rocks.

[image url=”http://www.alwayswindy.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/gopro-mounts.jpg” title=”GoPro mounts” alt=”GoPro mounts” raw=”true” alignment=”center” margin_left=”0″ margin_right=”0″ margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”0″ border=”mediumBorder” lightbox=”http://www.alwayswindy.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/gopro-mounts.jpg” icon=”magnify” iframe=”photo” width=”1050″ height=”368″]

Most other camera mounts that give you a “third person perspective” such as the extension bar by Hypoxic or also the helmet swivel mounts such as the Gospin360 are not so common in kitesurfing but I have seen them being used and I really recommend to be very careful while riding with them. As a kitesurfer we must always be aware that the kite lines and the angle at which we lean away or towards them is constantly changing. Anything protruding from your body can get tangled up in them and can then lead to accidents.

Everybody wants to be a hero and rightly so, after all, our sport is a very visual one and nothing can convey the feeling you have on the water like your own point of view. But it is important not to forget that we are practicing an extreme sport that deals with a lot of power and it is essential to be aware of potential dangers which can arise by adding more equipment to your regular riding gear. Ride safe!

Kiteskate – Endless fun in light winds on a big kite

Kiteskating Gokova Turkey

Kiteskate, Summer Days from David Dopico on Vimeo.

The summer is not quite here yet but the temperatures are going up daily and while you might not be rocking on a 7m, you will have many days for a bigger kite. One of our favourite light wind toys is a wakeskate board. It is basically a very large skateboard or skimboard and allows you not only to ride in next to no wind but is incredibly fun to throw around wearing nothing but regular, old skate shoes.

So on your next flat water, light wind day (which is what we are getting pretty much every day now in Gokova, Turkey) I suggest you try something new that will keep you smiling even under a large kite.

BEST PRICES GUARANTEED!

Gokova Budget Kitesurfing Holiday

THE BEST DEAL IN GOKOVA FOR EARLYBIRDS

Unlike other travel agencies around the UK, Always Windy does not sit in an office dreaming of kitesurfing but instead we live at our spot which is why we can offer you the best deals in town.

1 WEEK GOKOVA 116 GBP/193 EURO

For the season opening in May we are offering you our 6+1 Night Free special including a reduced airport transfer. That means 1 week in Gokova will cost you only 116 GBP/193 Euro (based on two sharing) including breakfast and airport transfer!

LOWEST PRICES GUARANTEED

We travel ourselves and don’t want to pay more, so why should you. If you find an offer somewhere for accommodation, airport transfer or rentacars which is cheaper, please let us know and we will try our best to beat that price. So what are you waiting for – get in touch with us and book yourself a great deal on a kitesurfing trip in Turkey.

Always Windy in Brazil

This winter season we have decided to give the northern coast of Brazil a go and have a look at some new and not so new kitesurfing spots.

We have already checked off pretty much every lagoon and river mouth starting in Barra Grande straight down to Cumbuco and are now even further south, investigating lesser known areas. We have found a few jewels and also some truths about spots that surprised us which we will soon be writing up in the next few blog posts. Until then, stay tuned for more.

New North Kiteboarding Dice is out

North Kiteboarding brought out a new line of kites – the Dice. They say: “The Dice is a brand new kite for 2014, aimed at the rider wanting a do it all machine with C-Shape flying characteristics. It is based around a C-Shape profile, using a lightweight three strut construction.”

What this boils down to is a kite that should fit in somewhere between the Evo and a Vegas line without really excelling in any particular area but play the part of Norths do-it-all kite.

It is a very stable kite which makes it good in the waves and without being to much of a hybrid, it still gives you a C-Style feel.

Kannst Du den Frontloop schon?

Mittlerweile zählen unsere Kitesurf Anleitungsvideos zu den populärsten Kitevideos auf Youtube. Da euer Feedback ausserst positiv war haben wir es uns zum Ziel gesetzt in Ayvalik unser neuestes Lehrvideo zu drehen. Diesmal geht es um die Front Rotation:

Hast Du Lust auf mehr? Auf unserer Webseite findest Du noch viele weitere Kitesurf Lehrvideos wo wir Backloops, Toeside Transitions, Load and Pop, Jump Transitions und noch vieles mehr zeigen.

Wenn Du mal auch Kitesurf Unterricht wie in unseren Videos erleben möchtest, schreibe uns doch einfach an und wir schicken Dir gerne mehr Infos zu unseren nächsten Schulungsterminen.