The video premier party that celebrated the new 2015 Vegas, goes down a storm!
WET Watersports drew in 500 revelers from the beaches of Tarifa as the evening kicked off with cool beers, mojitos and much anticipation to see the video. With the sun setting and the tunes pumping, familiar faces from the North Kiteboarding Team, Tom Court, Aaron Hadlow, Reno Romeu, Paula Novotna, Stefan Spiessberger, Angela Peral and an array of global National riders, rolled in to lend support and let their hair down. If you were wondering why so many riders were in town, the PKRA World Tour was in full swing, capitalising on the great winds Tarifa has to offer.
Appetites were satiated with an immense BBQ keeping energy levels high for the evening ahead. Longstanding Team Rider Jaime Herraiz sessioned the scene welcoming members to the event and band Echovolt took to the stage to get the party started.
As darkeness fell and energy levels soared Tom Court, Aaron Hadlow and Reno Romeu, took to the microphone to introduce the 2015 Vegas video. Premiered across the multiple screens set up throughout the venue, Pico Pix had a variety of their projectors beaming the images onto the white walls, so not only did the video wow the crowds, but the atmosphere was buzzing.
Not to pull the rip chord on the fun, Echovolt took to the stage once again rocking party goers further into the night. A band who performed their own original material, they pulled out some classic covers amping up the dance floor. To round off the night, Red Bull has parked their infamous DJ Hummer at the entrance to the venue. As the decks were spun and tunes pumped into the early hours of the morning, there was no doubt that the party was nothing less than a great success!
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.
THE BOSS IS BACK! HADLOW TURNS HEADS IN ST PETER ORDING
The Think Blue Kitesurf World Cup was hosted in St Peter Ording, Germany. Possibly one of the biggest events of the PKRA World Tour in terms of attendance, it's a buzzing event drawing in a huge spectating audience and brand presence. Running from the 1st to the 10th of August, the world's elite kiteboarders came together to fight their way through heats in magnificent fashion to gain points and dominate the podium.
North Kiteboarding had a strong presence at the event, most impressivly from Brazils Reno Romeu and newest team member Aaron Hadlow from the UK. Reno has had an exciting and consistent season so far, marked as a strong contender for SPO and quite rightly so, taking 4th in the Single Eliminations. However, the rider with the most outstanding track record and world titles under his belt is Aaron Hadlow who, after time out from the circuit, injury and change of brands has taken to the tour once again hungry for yet another World Title. Having not had much luck since the start of the 2014 Tour, he put in a remarkable performance, dominating and claiming a first in the single eliminations, holding it through the doubles to come out on top at St Peter Ording.
Aaron, you’ve been battling hard in previous legs of the PKRA but haven’t had much luck. How does it feel to be back on top after your result SPO and whats changed?
Luck, inconsistency and confidence have all played a factor so far. Although I've been able to do the same tricks as the other guys, I seemed to have failed by having bad heats at critical times whilst the others are on top of their game in every instance. In some cases, winning that one heat instead of loosing would have had a major impact of some of my results so far, but that is competition and level right now is higher than I have ever seen right now. I realise the reasons I am in this position half way through the season, so those are the areas I have been working on. I do feel I have under achieved so far this season but I knew I only needed everything to come together and those better results would start coming. After being on the edge of podium all season I couldn’t have picked a better time to turn that around. I have never won in Germany, even with past career wins so to come out on top exactly half way through the season is amazing, especially at Norths home ground!
Having been out of the competitive circuit for the past few years, has it been a case of falling back into old ‘competition mode’ that saw you dominate for so many years or, as you have grown as a person, have you had to adapt what you know to suit who and how you are now?
There is no doubt that I have gained a lot of experience in the past which definitely helps and I think this last competition has showed that. I was able to make the most of the conditions, pull the tricks I needed at the right time in the right place and keep my cool to focus in the Double Eliminations. It is good to have been on both sides and I can imagine how the younger, hungry competitors feel as I have experienced that myself. Being older and seeing the bigger picture is pretty cool, I really think things have changed so much since those days, it's much more of a challenge and I really have to focus, practise and look after my body. I guess my mind set is similar during the heats but I have had to adapt and do everything I can to make a win possible.
How are you getting on with the North Kiteboarding gear?
The gear has played a massive roll in getting me closer and now finally to that top spot of the podium. Since I got my new kites and boards I feel totally in tune and comfortable on the water, it's made a big difference. In Fuerte I was really feeling the new gear and was unlucky to not get a better position. Finally in Germany, my riding came together along with my kite and that was enough to do it. Having the choice of every kite size has helped me a lot, along with the new North Kiteboarding boots on my Hadlow Edition Team Series aids landing and consistency.
What’s your game plan for the next event and are you feeling confident?
A win for sure gives you confidence but I have to take each event at a time. Liam Whaley is also full of confidence right now and although I have spent most of the Summer in Tarifa, he grew up there and knows the conditions better than anyone. Beating him and other top riders like Christophe Tack was great at the event in Germany, but they all have the ability to come back strong from defeats. It is really close at the top with any one of 4 or 5 riders can take the win at any time. I just hope everything clicks and I can make it happen again.
Any tips for any young riders looking to compete?
To practise hard and know that if you are dedicated enough, you really can achieve anything. Competing is quite physiological as well as physical, so gain as much experience where you can.
Double Elimination Results Men Freestyle
1st Aaron Hadlow (UK)
2nd Liam Whaley (ES)
3rd Marc Jacobs (NZ)
4th Christophe Tack (BE)
Double Elimination Results Womens Freestyle
1st Karolina Winkowska (PL)
2nd Gisela Pulido (ES)
3rd Bruno Kajiya (BR)
4th Annelous Lammerts (NL)
The Dream Team of the future. Aaron Hadlow joins North Kiteboarding!
He is one of Kiteboarding' s most prestigious riders, 5 x World Champion and an inspiration to kiteboarders across the globe with his sheer style, ruthless technicality and British persona. The name has been seen on kites since 2008, boards since 2004 and he was landing double handle passes over 10 years ago. Bringing years of experience in product development, we are proud to announce that Aaron Hadlow has joined the North Kiteboarding Team.
At just 25 years old, Hadlow's kiteboarding career has been exceptional throughout. Forever advancing at a pace that left the rest of the PKRA competition fleet behind, Aaron has carved a name for himself deep into the kiteboarding industry. Having managed his own brand within Flexifoil for years, he speaks about how he is excited to be part of a team after a longtime being responsible for everything from product development and marketing, all the while trying to find time to train and travel on the PKRA tour.
Hadlow joins North Kiteboarding not only as a rider and Team member, but will be involved heavily in R&D. Between his extensive knowledge and time on the water, teamed with North Kiteboarding's product development and setup, it's as if the 'Dream Team' has finally joined forces and it's more that he could have ever imagined.
I'm excited about joining North Kiteboarding and it's great to be supported by such a knowledgeable and experienced team. It's obviously a massive step for me, but I feel that this partnership has a lot of synergy and potential.”
So what's next? Hadlow joins a Team of life long friends such as Jaime Herraiz and Tom Court, so you can expect some great videos from Tom and Aaron as the work and travel together. North Kiteboarding also has PKRA riders Mario, Stefan and Reno to offer up some in-house healthy rivalry on the tour. And finally, next month Aaron will be headed to Hood River with the other Vegas riders for his first Team shoot, so stay tuned on how that goes.
Welcome to North Kiteboarding Aaron Hadlow!
photo credit: Toby Bromwich