Who are ECHOVOLT?
Recently I travelled to Tarifa with North Kiteboarding Team Rider Tom Court, to document the launch of the new 2015 Vegas from North Kiteboarding. WET Watersports threw The party of the summer, premiered the US trip video and invited a local Spanish rock band, Echovolt to play the night away. Following the evenings epic showdown, Tom and I gave the guys a few days to recuperate before travelling up the coast to Sancti Petri, home of Echovolt to talk music, videography, photography, kiteboarding and SUP.
Carlos Andrade is the eldest of the three brothers all born in Chiclana. He moved to Tarifa in 2000 where initially his plan was to work, kite and play in a few bands with his brother Antonio. In 2002 Echovolt was formed. “We started by covering songs by famous bands, but quickly realised that we could do our own stuff” says Carlos. Along with music, Carlos' passion for Kiteboarding saw him him join forces with Peluka WSM to develop KITEC Pro Camp Junior. Names such as Jerome Cloetens (NKB) Liam Whalley(Cabrina) Manel Arpa (NKB) and Maxi Gomez (Nobile,)now predominant riders on the professional Kiteboarding circuit, all came through the annual camps hosted in the Kiteboarding mecca of Tarifa.
Following the success of the camps, North Kiteboarding Team Rider and Kiteboarding legend Jaime Herraiz introduced Carlos to Volker Hansen, head of International Marketing for ION as well as a huge music and watersports enthusiast. Immediately the two bonded over their individual passions, what Echovolt and ION represented as brands and how they complemented each other. In addition to the camps and music, Carlos started the Waterman School working exclusively with the Boards and More family of brands; Fanatic, North Kiteboarding and ION. “Regarding my personal Kiteboarding, I'm so pleased that NKB and ION support me as a rider. Fanatic is also a key player in the success of the school. Without them, none of this would be possible,” says Carlos.
So what about Antonio and Perico Andrade? Yes, they too are influential characters within the Spanish watersports community, epic musicians and creative geniuses. Perico's introduction to the sea came on a Bodyboard. Reaching a high level, he was shown how to use a SUP six years ago and has never looked back. Over the years he focused his time behind the lens as official photographer for Clan up ( a magazine he had with Carlos,) but laughs as he tells me; “everyday I use the camera less, and the paddle more!' With outstanding talent on a SUP and an eye for capturing photos, he is responsible for the image and creation in the production company Sundown Entertainment, which he runs with third brother Antonio.
There is no doubt that Antonio has enormous amounts of musical ingenuity, and it doesn't end with Echovolt or musical composition for Sundown Entertainment. He also plays in Atomica, a hard rock band and is also one of the most famous Trap and Breakbeat music producers selling online under the name Knox. When talking about his input with ION, he says; “I make the music for the videos. For the latest Surf and Bike video I was working on the track for a year and a half. I am working 24 / 7 with ION and videographer Carlos Guzman. I love the idea of making music for their videos as I understand the sports and the lifestyle that goes with it. If a video is good, people are even more motivated by the music.” In short, I think this can be considered as the most customised service for video production, someone who is able to compose a track to suit the brief. If you want to hear some of his work, watch the latest ION Action Glue video or the Sri Lanka Episode from North Kiteboarding.
After spending the afternoon with Carlos, Perico and Antonio, it's obvious that you don't have to be a pro rider to influence the core community around you. Rockstar status aside, it's about having creativity, vision and passion, as well as being a relatable addition to the industry without actually being in the limelight.
Can't stop won't stop
Check out the brand new episode from North Kiteboarding! Can't stop the pop, won't stop the riding. For 2015 we've created a Vegas so good it's addictive. Our most influential Wakestyle Team Riders took an epic road trip down the west coast of America, starting off with a rail riding jam in Hood River, finishing off with a memorable session under the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco.
Vegas 2015 by Aaron Hadlow and Ralf Grösel
Q: The Vegas is obviously a completely new kite, how could an icon like the Vegas be redesigned from scratch!?
A: (Ralf Grösel) As on the EVO and the DICE, we have worked on the new Vegas more than two years, parallel to the existing kite lines. The main target was to create a superior kite for our team riders, to enable them to push their level and style. But, without losing the special VEGAS DNA. Unfortunately this target was everything but easy to achieve. The needs for guys at the pinnacle of a sport are completely different to the needs of our customers, even if they are really good kiteboarders.
Q: Aaron Hadlow is on the team since a couple of weeks only, how could he influence the development?
A: (Ralf) I met Aaron in January 2014 in Cape Town. We knew each other from other projects already and just started chatting about the Vegas and directions of kite development. We realized pretty fast, we are talking the same language in terms of kite design and started quite quickly to work on this project together. Aaron is using his 6 line system for years now, which I tried for the first time on the Vegas and was impressed by the way the kite changed by only using this different line setup. Six lines sounds a bit much on the first view, but is actually quite easy to handle. The goal now was to find a perfect kite for Aaron, but still offering depower.
Q: For which kitesurfers in mind are you designing the Vegas?
A: (Ralf) By using three very different line setups, we achieved that the kite has still a similar DNA to the previous Vegas models once you fly the kite on the normal 5th line bar. But by using the new Wakestyle Bar, the kite turns into the most versatile and extreme competition kite available on the market. So a typical Vegas fan to me is a rider aiming at competitions, using boots and smashing kiteloops, but also riders riding in straps, enjoying their hooked freestyle and high jumps, all offered with a really direct feeling, you´ll always know where your kite stands in the wind window, eyes closed, guaranteed.
Q: Why does the Vegas still have 5 lines?
A: (Ralf) The Vegas always needed a supported LE bridle. All available line setups are supporting the structural stiffness of the whole kite, which ensures a smooth and predictable handling and pop. Only with the 5th line it´s possible to produce this typical direct Vegas feeling and the big depower on a very short depower stroke on the bar. Additionally, the 5th line safety is still the fastest and safest safety solution.
Q: Why is it so important to use the right line length?
A: (Ralf) The handling and reactivity of a kite highly depends on the line length. The Vegas should be used with a 22m bar for all sizes below 12m², 24m above 12 m². I develop all the small sizes on 22m lines, so all small kites work perfectly on short lines. The kites feel more direct, crispier and with smoother, more predictable power development. For more low end at the big sizes I recommend 24m lines.
Thank you, Ralf.
The Hadlow Setup by Aaron Hadlow
The Hadlow set up is very personal to me, it started out as a sketch in my notebook many years ago, I was trying to give the kite support without loosing any performance. I needed something that would support the kite and make it totally stable whilst keeping the bar simple and free of clutter, as if it was a 4 line set up.
I tested this concept and it turned out to work so well that I still use it to this day. The Vegas is already a very stable kite and works well with a 5th line, the tension in the 5th line gives the kite some additional characteristics.
The Hadlow set up gives a similar LE support but changes the feel of the kite totally. Instead of an independent 5th line the Hadlow set up starts out like a conventional 4 line bar, and then 4 meters away from the kite the front lines split, your normal 4 lines attach in the conventional way but now you are left with 2 more lines that connect to the LE instead of your 5th line ‘V’. By eliminating the 5th line you reduce drag. The support lines on the Hadlow set up keep the kite solid, stable and ridged, the minimal drag of these lines do not effect or depower the kite in anyway. It remains in the C shape, free from deformation, in which the kite performs best. When riding a kite I am looking for a consistent, driving turn that generates a consistent power supply when turning, this set up does just this by producing a wider, smoother turn arc and kite loop. All the pressure is taken through the front lines and this allows the kite to behave in such a way.
With the 5th line, where some pressure is taken though the centre of the kite, the kite tends to pivot around this point. It’s a feeling that comes down to personal preference but this is one of the main reasons I use this system. Up until now many people have been put off or uninterested because of the lack of information.
Now with North Kiteboarding we have further developed the system to work reliably for safety and relaunch with a comprehensive explanation on the set up. It’s just like remapping or adding a chip to your car’s engine and now it is accessible to all! I’m so glad I can now share the benefits that I feel and just add it to your new Vegas.
Noticeable changes from the conventional 5th line are the turning of the kite and its overall performance and speed. The Hadlow set up gives a similar LE support but changes the feel of the kite totally. The support lines on the Hadlow set up keep the kite solid, stable and ridged. It remains in the C shape, free from deformation, in which the kite performs best.
When riding a kite I am looking for a consistent, driving turn that generates a consistent power supply when turning, this set up does just this by producing a wider, smoother turn arc and kite loop. With North Kiteboarding we have further developed the system to work reliably for safety and relaunch with a comprehensive explanation on the set up.
HOME - Stefan Spiessberger
Mario Rodwald takes his third European Championship title!
I had been dreaming about the title long before I competed at my first European Championships five years ago. The first two years I was close to 1st place, but not close enough. Once in Lamezia where this years competition took place, a famous sportsmen said,“second is the first loser.” I'd never really shared this point of view, although there were certainly times I felt like it and so, coming second in the Singles in Italy was not the best start mentally.
The event was held on the infamous Hang Loose beach in Gizzeria, where Italian local and Northkiteboarding team rider Gianmaria Coccoluto really surprised me landing a variety of doubles and moves I rarely see. I had a good Semi Final landing a KGB5 and Frontmobe5 but I wasn't able to repeat my performance for the Finals in the Single eliminations. According to spectators, the wind was good for my heats and over the next few days the Shirokko wind kicked in despite a bleak forecast. With lots of power in my 9m Vegas I set my focuses on having fun and taking pressure off myself. Every heat I improved my riding landing Double Hinterberger 3, Double S Bend passes, Frontmobe 5s and my first Tootsie Roll. I am very stoked to get a third European Title and would like to thank my family, friends and sponsors.
Paula Novotna showed an incredible performance coming back from injury, landing Mobes and S-Mobes and taking the European Title. My team mates Gianmaria Coccoluto and Sander Bos complete the triple podium for North Kiteboarding!!!
In the coming days, I will enjoy this feeling and express it in my heats during the PKRA in Germany!