A new video with Youri Zoon is out. You wonder if there ever will be someone that will be even close to beat this amazing guy!
Archive for December, 2011
A new video with Youri Zoon is out. You wonder if there ever will be someone that will be even close to beat this amazing guy!
In case you havn’t seen it already. Here it is, Nick Jacobsens crazy jump from a 40 meter high rusty crane, enjoy!
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RedBull Ragnarok is a snowkiting competition that takes place once a year on the mighty plateau of Norway, Hardangervidda!
Last year 200 riders were selected to participate in this battle. Among them were Susanne Mai, Ruben Lenten and Aaron Hadlow.
“Ragnarok” derives from the Norse mythology, the final battle between good and evil gods where only the heroes on the battlefield survived. RedBull’s Ragnarok symbolise this battle and fact is that far from all riders pass the finish line. Endurance is important but freestylers also have an advantage since they can jump over obstacles and shorten the track.
This year Ragnarok takes place the 12th – 15th April at Haugastøl, Norway.
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Looking for a new kite but do not know which brand to choose? Then you should read this guide.
But, after reading this, you might feel a little scammed, for in this article, you are in fact not recommended to buy a single kite, the article is purged from brand names. However, it will give you some good tips on how you should proceed to determine the kite for you to choose. And is that not really what you need? =)
“Can I not just ask the forum?”
Yes, of course, that’s what forums are for =) and there are many out there who are holding on to lots of useful knowledge. But the question has been asked many times by other riders in your situation, and the questioner is often left with more questions/options afterwards, than he had to begin with.
Here are some of the reasons to why it’s less useful to ask for recommendations of what kite to buy on a forum:
1) Most riders are happy with their equipment! This is a fact that is reassuring to take into account when buying a kite, because it means that you probably will be there happy with your kite no matter what you choose! The main reason I would say is that the vast majority of kites on the market are of high quality. Another reason is that many who have spent $1500+ on a kite need to justify their purchase (which you can learn more about if you read some basic psychology). A third reason is that you adapt and learn to use the equipment you have. And a fourth reason is that the vast majority of riders do not have any good basis for comparison (which leads us on to point 2).
2) Very few kiters have used more than one kite long enough to provide a reflective (see also point 3 and 4) and the relevant comparison. Most active riders replace their kitene with 1-2 year intervals. But given the developments that have been on the equipment in recent years, most people that change kites probably have experienced that they have gotten a much better, no matter which brand you have chosen.
Some would argue (often loudly) that they have tried a whole host of kites, and can see that their own kite is the best (usually followed by !!!). Read point 1 again. There is a big difference in trying a kite for 30 min (or a day for that matter) and to spend time to learn the equipment to know over time, which most people do with their own equipment.
3) Some riders choose kite out of personal relationships. Let’s face it, the local kite community where you live is probably not huge? and most of the people in your area began with kiting because they know someone else who was doing it already. Because the amount of people that have a kite to sell, it is not unlikely that you within a short time will be friend with someone who sells kites or someone who knows someone who sells kites, someone who offers courses for someone who sells kites, etc. Many think it’s fine to recommend that others buy a kite from his friend (this is also something one can learn about in the basic psychology).
4) A surprisingly large proportion of kiters around the world have some financial interest in that you ride the brand they recommend. The percentage of team riders, promo riders, instructor and part-time employees must be very much higher in the kite community than in any other comparable activity. =) Not everyone is quick to speak out about what interests they have, before they give you recommendations to buy “their” product.
“Damn it. How should I choose which kite I want to buy?”
As stated under point 1 there is an imminent probability that you will be satisfied no matter what kite you choose. That said, it’s obviously some differences between the various kite properties. A very good source to get an overview of these is the SBC’s annual kite boards kite review, link: kite reviews 2011. They describe the properties of many of this year’s kites, in an objective and neutral manner. You will not find any obvious recommendations, but it’s not the point. You have to find a kite that suits you, and here are some points that may help you to choose:
1) The first thing to determine is what type of kiter you are or will be. Let’s be a little black and white and divide riders into those who are engaged in “Free Riding” and those who are engaged in “Freestyle”. As a new kiter, what did you see? Well, probably you have experience with any other type of activity that requires almost the same characteristics of you as a person, as kiting do. If you go skiing or snowboarding, do you just pretty much cruise down the mountain sides (freeride), or do you spend the day on rails and doing big jumps in the park (freestyle)? Unfortunately it is unlikely that you will start to rip hard just because you get a kite in your hands. :-)
Most kite-producers/-suppliers have kites that have characteristics such that they tend to fit either Freeriding or Free-/Wakestyle. The differences are not very big, and due to that, no one is 100% free rider or 100% freestyler, nor is the kite itself. But it may be advantageous to at least choose a kite that basically is in your cubicle.
2) No matter how much you read about a kite on the net, or what someone tells you about it, nothing comes up to actually try it yourself. Fortunately, most vendors are super-interested in allowing you to test their equipment if you request it. Because the amount of teams and promo-riders (see point 4 in the previous question), it is possible to test the kites where you live, even if the supplier is located elsewhere in the country. Show up on demos that are advertised in your local forum, or contact your provider and ask for the demo!
3) As a new kiter is almost mandatory to take a course. If you can not use the equipment, you may as well save money (and health). On the course, you hopefully also get the chance to try a kite or two, and it can actually be a small point to buy the same equipment that you have used on the course. The reason is that the course has received expert guidance in the rigging and safe use of this kite, making you safer and minimizes the chance that you make a mistake when you stand alone on the beach. And it does not hurt either that many instructors gives you a discount on the purchase of a kite after the course.
4) Price is important for most people, not much more to say about it. A good deal means money left in the bank, such as might be used for other necessary equipment. For example, a helmet, which is actually required, but as many drops.
5) Service can make all the difference in how satisfied you are with your kite purchase. Do you know a local supplier with knowledge of the kite, the you might want to consider this. It is invaluable to be able to pop in on monday to buy new lines because the old snapped the this weekend. Or to get them to show you hands-on how quick-release actually works. Or simply just to chat. =)
“Okay, I see … By the way, what size should I choose? What is the difference between a foil and a tube kite? What is a C-/BOW-/SLE-kite?”
See, this is a question that you can get reasonable answers to by asking in a forum! And there are actually many people that have asked about these things before, so by searching, you’ll probably get answers to them pretty quickly.
Good luck with the purchase of your first kite, we are sure you will have fun no matter what logo it is marked with! =)
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Anyone who has been kitesurfing for some time, is probably familiar with the name Wainman. Lou Wainman was one of the pioneers of kite surfing and has promoted the development of complicated tricks. You will probably find some ambitious kiters, who in 2005 told us that Lou Wainman should not be modeled. The man was just a cool type, although usually somehow trapped in his own world. Quite common for well known companies today are that their founders are a bit crazy and “odd”, Lou Wainman is not an exception.Wainman recently sent me a package with the “Joke” board. First, it should be noted that included in the package was a board bag and a bag for the straps and pads were there even was a screwdriver for the assembly, as if the customer is clearly in focus and is so caring for him. After a quick installation of the soft-grip pads and straps then it was time for Joke to convince me on the water.
Striking is the high bending of the Joke. It quickly becomes clear that the Joke is designed also for fixed bindings and to manage lots of tension. Moreover, on the bottom of board are small channels that allow you to get along entirely without fins, thus Joke should be perfect an ideal toy for the slider and obstacles. Due to the high bending it takes a little more pressure on the board to specify and manage to point out the direction you´re going in. But once the joke is on the plane, that´s when he shows his potential. It has very high returning force, allowing the surfer to take height, especially during unhooked jumps. After landings in hooked jumps only a short adjustment period is needed to find the edge and quickly get the balance in the water. Super tight corners can be taken with the Joke and it is a true friend when it comes to carving. Riding toeside or blind is a pleasure, and the board is easy to rotate back on the surface.
Conclusion: The Joke is clearly aimed to the dedicated riders who want to be able to shoot themself up from the water with power when riding unhooked. For hooked jumps, it also offers good performance. The soft pads come to great use when landing, acting as shock absorbers that save your knees. The Joke is the perfect board for whoever who wants to be on the road even with boots and wants to rock out one or another obstacle. For beginners, the Joke is not recommended, the planing is not optimal and a bit more wind is required for riding upwind.
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How To Stay Warm When It’s Freezing Cold In The Water And Air?
Not all of us are lucky enough to live where it is warm all year round. I live where it currently is about 5 degrees in the air and probably not much warmer in the water. Most people gave up their kitesurfing season for this year in October, but we are a few dedicated guys that still defie the cold to get our necessary dose of kite surfing. Question is how the hell do we handle the cold? Me myself hate cold and I freeze very easily, which means that I have been forced to develop some survival strategies to keep myself warm. Here are my hottest my tips!
1. Basic Equipment
A varm wetsuit is a must, preferable a new one. I use Prolimit Maverick 6/5 DL, a soft and smooth wetsuit in double neopren.
Boots! I use Prolimits 6mm Predator Boots. They are expensive, but warm and comfortable, and they do give you a pretty good board feeling.
Gloves! This is a problem. I use one of the best gloves from Prolimit, 3 mm thick and 98% water proof, but this is far from enough. Gloves without fingers are warmer, but then you’ll get clumsy instead. Luckily there are a solution… read on ;)
Hood! A hood is probably the most important equipment you can use. The best are those that are integrated with the wetsuit which prevents cold water from running down your neck and back. If you don’t have a wetsuit with integrated hood, then get a hood with a big collar to keep it tight along your neck.
2. Extra Equipment
You can get along fine with the basic equipment as long as the temperature is above 10 degrees, but it’s not enough for colder temperatures. Here are some extra equipment that are really nice the temp drops below 10 degrees.
Thermal Underwear. A thermal underwear layer under your wetsuit makes a huge different! Doesn’t have to be something fancy, a cheap pair will do fine! I even use two layers of underwear for my legs. Would do it for my chest as well, if there was space enough.
Heater Vest. Heater vest deliver heat to your lower back keeping your kidneys warm, the organs in your body with the highest blood flow, hence keeping the kidneys warm will make sure that the blood going to your extremites are warm, or at least warmer than if you wouldn’t have a heater vest.
Neopren Cap. Before you put on your hood, put a neopren cap on your head! Again multiple layers are the key to keep the heat.
Hand warmers! Put them in your gloves and you’ll be able to keep your fingers tips warm. There are two different types on the market. Those where you open up a small bag called little heaters warmers. These bags keep the heat for several hours, but they have one big drawback, they don’t like water. So they work great as long as you can keep your hands dry, which I figured is pretty hard when you’re kitesurfing. The second alternative is those where you crack a little metal plate that are kept in a bag with some fluid. These work flawlessly, only problem is that they don’t last very long, about 30 minutes or so. But they are cheap and one could easily afford 3-4 pairs without making a big dent in your wallet.
Another tip to keep yourself warm is simply to not get cold. Before you go to the spot, get dressed. Put on your thermal underwear, jump in your wetsuit and put heater in your car on max! Once you get to the spot, keep your gear on by all time. Keep your gloves on as you rig the kite. Once in the water kite hard, make your body work as you would go to the gym, the fysical activity greatly helps you to stay warm.
That’s about it. Have a great winter!
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You might have seen the clip on youtube where a crazy dude jumps over Brighton Pier. You might even have thought that it might be fake, who could make such a jump? Well, it wasn’t fake. The name of the guy who jumped over the pier is Lewis Crathern, former British kitesurfing champion. The jump wasn’t just a crazy impuls, but a well planned jump with lots of preparations.
Here is a documentary about Lewis Crathern and how he challenged the Brighton Pier.
What kite he used? A 2011 Slinghot Fuel 7m.
His borad was a Slingshot Misfit 136.
Thought about buying a second hand kite? If you like me are a poor student without a fat salery that drops down in the end every month, then buying a brand new kite might not even be an option.
I have bought several second hand kites throughout my kite career. I have usually been happy with my kites, but I bought some really crappy stuff a few times. If the person that sells the kite lives in another state or even country, then maybe you don’t feel for spending hours in a car + expensive gasoline to go and buy the kites when it´s easier to ask the seller to just send the kites by mail. The drawback with this is of course that you can’t check the kites and you have to rely on photos and words from the seller. In most cases this is fine. Kitesurfers are in general an honest race and will let you know in what condition the kites are if you don’t have the possibility to check the kites in forehand. However, there are always a few that withholds deficiencies with the kites they are selling. I am now going to tell you about my last buy, that could have cost me a visit at the hospital.
2010 Slingshot RPM 8m and 12m with two bars.
That’s whas the title of the ad. The two kites had apperantly been used abroad in some warm country during the winter in 2010 and were well used, but in good condition. The 8m kite was repaired in the canopy, but that was all. The seller also pointed out that they were holding the air. The price was ok too, $990 for them both with shipping included. Here are some images that I got from the seller.
Looks pretty nice huh? But once I got them, the kites turned out to be salty and the metal pieces on the bars were rusty and sandy, the safety release was completely stuck on one of the bars. However, I could deal with that. Some fresh water for the kites and oil for the bars fixed made them look nicer.
So one day it was blowing about 25 knots and gusty like hell. I decided to try the 10m kite. I pumped it up and got out in the water. About 30 minutes later I notice how the kite is acting flapping and very hard to keep stable, it wants to go left even though I steer right. I go back onland, bring down the kite and notice how it is soft, apperantly it´s leaking somewhere. In almost all cases kites that are leaking air are leaking from the LE bladder, so I pumped it up again and closed the valves to the struts just to be able to exclude the struts from the air leakage investigation. 5-10 minutes later I give an OK-sign to my buddy to launch my kite. Now I did expect to launch the kite smooth and controlled in the edge of the wind window up to 12 o´clock. Instead it quickly turns to the left and rushes through the power zone. I barely had time to react before I was torn up several meters in the air. I remember that I stayed in the air long enough to have time to think “This can not end well … it is now I will break a bone”, but luckily I landed in shallow water and soft sand. For once I was launching the kite when I was standing in the water, otherwise I normally stand on land when I launch the kite. This is something to keep in mind, if you ever feel uncomfy with launching the kite or if you aren’t 100% whether the kite is correctly set up and in good condition, do not launch on land! If something goes wrong would you rather crash on land among stones, trees, building, people… than in water? Just don’t be stupid lazy and put yourself in to danger when you easily can prevent it. Ok, back to me. So, it turned out that one of the struts was leaking air and was almost completely drained with air when I launched the kite, which made the kite almost uncontrollable, imagine driving a car with a flat tire.
Once back home I took out the strut bladder and noticed that there was a big fucking hole, which was poorly repaired. Was a little bit pissed of of course, but didn’t bother to contact the seller, I fixed the hole and waited for another windy day.
So came another day, when it was blowing even more, around 25-30 knots and 4 degrees celsius in the air and maybe 6-7 degrees in the water. Not the most perfect conditions, but I just had to kitesurf this day and knew from before that the 8m kite at least was holding the air, time to try it! Once on the spot, the kite was pumped up, the lines where lined up and all I had to do was to attach the lines to the kite. While doing this I notice that the right wing tip had a blue short line attached to the attachment point. I did suspect that the red line was missing on the left wing tip, but I wanted to kite so badly that I decided to believe that the blue short line simply was there for no reason, so I removed it, to make the steering lines in equal length…
It was time to launch. Do you think I went out in the water? Hell no, I stood on land and made thumb up to the guy holding the kite… Have you ever launched a kite in strong wind with the bar sheeted in to the max? Even if you havn’t you can probably guess what happens. The blue line should of course not be removed and doing so results in way to short steering lines, just like you have full power and a bit more when the bar is sheeted out to the max.
So what happened? I launched the kite, but instead of going to the edge of the wind window above my head it stayed in the power zone, about 60 degrees from the ground. The kite immediately started to pull me forward, I took a few steps and then got airborn. I released the bar, but this didn’t depower the kite, now I only had full power in the kite. I landed with my feet in the ground and slided on my feet about 15 meters before I came to a stop only a meter from a fence. The ground was a muddy mess from an earlier storm and heavy rains so I got covered in mudd, it sprayed up in my face and in my eyes as I slided through the mudd.
Miraculously, neither me or the kite got hurt. I did learn another lesson and hopefully will I be more careful in the future. I´ve seen many accidents that occur on land. You learn from them, but they are sometimes painful.
With this said I hope that you as reader, especially if you are a beginner, have learned something. If you buy second hand kites or other gear, check them carefully and don’t tempt fate if you´re somewhat doubtful with your gear, wind conditions or whatever. Kite safe and don’t hurt yourself due to stupidity.
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It seems like 2012 can be Airush’s year! Airush has released many new products for year 2012 and they seem to be a success so far according to reviews and videos that are floating around on the web. So what’s new for 2012? Well, there is a lot, to much for me to cover everything in this post. However, Airush has products that are something extra, the smartbar III, Varial X and the Protoy board. Let´s take a look at them!
The 2012 Smartbar is a highly tunable bar with some of the smartest features on the market today. A clean, yet very functional bar. Airush has integrated the Brain Quick Release with an extentable bar and other improved features, such as:
- Float Integration (to prevent the bar from sinking if you drop it into the water)
- EVA Grip
- 2012 Brain Quick Release
- Union Rivet
- OS Handles
- Extendable Length Bar
- Active Removable Stopper Ball
- Depower Strap
- E-Z 4-5 Line Conversion
- Multiple Length Options (3 meter extension lines comes with the bar)
Mark Pattison, the designer of Varial X says that the goal with this kite was to take the depower, relaunching and forward speed from the previous Varial, and combine this with the unhooked performance, direct steering and highend of Vapor X. The result was the Varial X, a concept that is called SL-C i.e. a hybrid between a SLE kite and a C-kite. A kite for those who are looking for the unhooked, boosting and direct steering that comes with a C-kite, yet with a clean 4 line setup.
The Varial X sits further forward in the wind window than the Vapor X and it also flies faster through the wind window. When you sheet in the bar to the bottom the kite with surge forward to the edge of the wind window. This is something that gives you a great vertical height when jumping. The Varial X needs airspeed to develop power, so you can’t really park it and expect that the kite will act as a truck. The kite is constantly seeking its way forward to the edge of the wind window which might punish those who prefer to just park and ride, but in turn reward those with good flying techniques.
The Protoy board is as flexible as a PU (PolyUrethane) board, but made in high modulus carbon fibre, which gives the board much more reflex and at the same time makes it stronger.
The ACTIVE technology doesn’t prevent the board from flexing, but it prevent the board from breaking under extreme loads, for instance if you land hard after a jump.
Airush claims that this board is 20% lighter than a standard sandwich construction.
The image to the left shows an exploded view of the Protoy board.
- Diamond grooved EVA ultragrip traction
- Lightweight spray finished, sanded back.
- 40 GM protective layer
- 101 GM T700 Carbon biaxial lightweight carbon outer skin.
- High strength, optimum flexibility and lightening fast response.
- Heavy duty double glass reinforcement in heel area.
- Corecell san foam high density layer for strength and reduced weight over wood.
- 40 GM lightweight base layer for sandwich.
- Patented active stringer.
- High density foam reinfocement in fin areas.
- Corecell san foam high density layer for bottom deck.
The protoy board also comes with a surfinz adjustable box system and a carbon reinforced hexcore fin set.
I know, lot’s of techniqual stuff here… Perhaps just easier to watch this movie and form your own opinion :)