Where there's a wave, there's a way! NEO 2015 out now!
Last year the NEO was redeveloped as a pure wave-riding kite, focusing on the qualities that riders demand in waves. The kite not only impressed the riders, but also won several magazine tests in its class. This year the NEO has been completely reworked to further improve its performance. The NEO still has amazing drift capabilities, but the top end has also been improved while keeping the amazing low end. The kite has excellent sheet and go characteristics, meaning you can either dump power, or use it according to where you are on the wave and how it is breaking. this will get you out of difficult situations, but it also makes riding waves easier and flying the neo is very instinctive. For 2015 we recommend using a kite 1-2 sizes smaller than you would normally as the low end is so impressive! The world’s best wave riders all love the neo and when you fly one on the waves, you’ll fall in love too!
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.
Olly Bridge crowned king at the Formula Kite European Championships
Mielno, is a large coastal village in north western Poland. A well known tourist destination with sandy beaches, it lies on a spit between the Baltic Sea and the large Jamno lake. Playing host to the Formula Kite European Championships, the world's greatest riders gathered for a 5 day showdown. Once again, the NKB team took to the start line on the new, 2015 North Race Ltd 69 which has proved its high performance abilities since it's release. Good conditions greeted the start of the event as the qualifiers got underway. NKB rider Olly Bridge led the fleet, and Blasco Ozog showed great form.
Day three saw lighter winds for the start of the Gold Fleet. Olly was dominating the ranks with Blasco in second. Unfortunately the diminishing conditions meant that only three races were run. Winning two out of the three races, Olly was 13 points clear of second place going into the final day of competition. Sadly on the fourth and final day of competition the wind failed to put in an appearance, and the medal series was abandoned. Blasco Ozog finished 9th and Olly, was crowned European Champion for a second year running in both the men's under 18 and men's under 21
The video of the event
Stoked to scoop the AWSI 2014 Brand of the Year Award at the Surf Expo!
The Surf Expo is one of the biggest trade shows in the world with around 26,000 people attending the event. Hosted in Orlando Florida, it's the one-stop marketplace for the latest products and hottest trends within the Surf, Skate, Wake, SUP, Wind and Lifestyle industries. Over the few days of the event, brands showcase their upcoming season's products and often fly in their biggest International Team Riders and product designers to be part of the event.
This year, North Kiteboarding was there in full swing and with such a large team of riders, the US division (Sky Solbach, Colleen Carroll and Craig Cunningham) were there to lend a hand.
During the Expo, Industry leaders gathered to honour 2014's greatest at the 4th Annual Wind Industry Party, represented by the AWSI. Prizes such as Kiteboarding athlete, retailer and brand of the year were up for grabs and we are proud to say that we took home Brand Of The Year! Honoured by the acknowledgement from the US Kiteboarding industry we are exciting by the coming 2015 season. There to collect the award was Doug Hopkins, the North Kiteboarding-US distributor.
“The award means a lot to us at North Kiteboarding. We've won it in the past but every year we get it, it's a really good indication of the support the dealers are giving the brand. I'd like to thank the whole industry. The highlight of last year was introducing a new kite into the range; the Dice 2014 and as it continues forward in 2015, the whole line is really well rounded, there's something for every type of riding. The reason we can do this is with our two teams of kite designers and we're the only brand in the industry who has that. This enables us to really focus on each category of riding and make the perfect kite for everybody's riding style.”
That's a wrap for 2014, North Kiteboarding is moving on to bigger and brighter things for 2015!