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.
Vegas Launch Party
North Kiteboarding wins men and womans kite race world championship!
The Formula Kite Race World Championships took place on the Black Sea in Istanbul. Attracting the fastest men and women riders on the planet from over 20 countries, it was an impressive 5 day show of outstanding performance. Amongst our riders the new 2015 North Race Ltd 69 was the optimum weapon of choice, proving itself through its results, finishing consistently within the top 3 ranking.
The first two days of qualifiers saw the arrival of stronger winds, and riders rigging 11 – 15m Kites for a series of races which determined a Gold and Silver Fleet split for the days to follow. The Men's Race discipline was dominated by NKB Team Riders Olly Bridge and Maxim Moocher, with Blasco Ozog showing great form following Appendix surgery a few weeks prior to the event. In the Women’s discipline, Steph Bridge showed a return to full power and performance, demonstrating from the get go that she was in it to win it!
As Racing got underway there were signs of history in the making, with a double victory for both mother (Steph) and son (Olly) looking promising. However, a bad decision on Kite choice cost Olly his World Title on Day 4. The Regatta was now in the hands of Maxime Nocher who progressed into Medal Race day with 14 points, a clear lead ahead of the other top three riders. All of the four Medal Races were won by Olly Bridge bringing him closer to the top three, but it wasn't enough to make up for the damage done the previous day.
It's clear to see that the fastest Team in the world right now is North Kiteboarding and they're unstoppable. Be sure to follow them next week when they head to the Kite Race European Championships in Poland.
Maxime Nocher 1st
Olly Bridge 3rd
Blasco Ozog 4th
Steph Bridge 1st
Theo 9th silver fleet
Axel 6th silver fleet
HOME - Stefan Spiessberger
Dice - The designer’s perspective
Ralf Grösel is the designer of, and mastermind behind the highly successful Dice. Since its launch last year it has proved to be a bestseller, and is still the reigning champ as the most sold Kite from the North Kiteboarding range, EVER!
Ralf, what's the secret!?
The Dice is amazingly versatile with a lot of playful character.
As you were designing the Kite, did you have a specific type of rider in mind?
We built the foundations of the Dice by taking influence from the Neo concept. From this, we were able to target a wide range of riders. The Dice is an all-round performer, similar to the Evo but lighter due to its 3 strut design which is orientated towards enhanced handling.
Throughout the development process, we realised that everyone within the R&D Team enjoyed the Dice. From Wave to Wake and Freestyle riders, no one was left disappointed.
Can you tell us a little more about the three strut concept teamed with a four line bar ? The three strut concept delivers a lighter and crisper feeling to the rider via the bar. Being light in the hands is an important aspect of Wave riding as the Kite has to travel with the rider in a smooth, consistent way. The disadvantages come within the stiffness the structure has in the canopy however, we were able to compensate against this with a new bridle geometry and attachment points on the front tube.
Why is it so important to use the right line length?
Line length is essential for handling and positioning of the Kite within the Wind Window. Short lines make the Kite more reactive and responsive. Longer lines can improve low end performance.
What is the best line length suited to each size of Kite?
It's quite simple really. I suggest using 24m lines for 12m and above, otherwise I would use 22m.
What are the benefits of using the Dice regarding the following:
The Kite has a very round canopy radius, similar to a C-Kite. This means the Kite can turn very tight and fast.
The Dice has very close looping abilities to that of the Vegas although the horizontal pull is not as extreme, which can help you to push your limits. The Dice is Tom Court's favorite Kite for extreme Kite Loops and is also my first choice when it comes to strong and gusty conditions.
The Dice has great jumping abilities. The Kite pulls you extremely high giving you the opportunity to perform new and old school tricks. I would recommend that riders use the hard steering setting on the back pigtails for high and aggressive jumps.
Alongside the NEO, the Dice has very good drift. This performance helps the rider to fully concentrate on the Wave and not on the Kite.
For unhooked maneuvers, the Vegas is The machine however, the Dice has no backstall tendencies at all and great unhooked pop. This characteristic makes it a very versatile Kite for Wakestyle moves.
Ralf, who should buy this kite?
Kitesurfers who want to combine best of both worlds (Freestyle unhooked and Wave riding) For those looking for specialist, specific styles of riding there might be some small disadvantages. Ultimately, the Dice will make any rider happy on any board in any conditions, every single day.