Testing is where the magic happens
At North Kiteboarding, we have an array of specialists that make up a Team responsible for the creation and evolution of our innovative and high quality products. So when it came to testing this year, we took everyone to Cape Town. Flying in from all over the globe -Maui, Germany, Sri Lanka, Brazil, New Caledonia, UK – the key players met to make a plan of action for the next 10 days of testing.
Cape Town is a great destination for testing thanks to its reliable and variable conditions. Days often start with light winds, ideal for testing the lower end performance of kites, those bigger sizes and efficiency of our boards. In the afternoon the 'tablecloth' can be seen covering the iconic Table Mountain, from where the Cape Doctor delivers the much loved, and strong South Easterly winds. These conditions are exciting yet tough, but ultimately they are optimal. We really need to push our kites and boards to their boundaries, and it is here that we develop them to retain high performance characteristics, even on their limits.
At North Kiteboarding we rely on customer and rider feedback in order to reach our goal of giving every rider what they want. It is because of this value, that we put a lot of emphasis on the design team working intensively with a handful of Team Riders. Sky Solbach (Rider) and Ken Winner (Kite-Designer), and Tom Court (Rider) and Ralf Groesl (Kite-Designer) are perfect examples of how these longstanding relationships and open lines of communication between the duos, have had a huge impact on the products of today.
Sky and Ken focused the wave riding and foil test days, choosing a variety of spots along the coastline to test all aspects of the wave riding products. Meanwhile, Tom and Ralf headed up the freestyle, wakestyle, freeride and big air disciplines, where they were joined by Aaron Hadlow, Tom Hebert, Reno Romeu, Craig Cunningham, and Colleen Carroll, collectively more feedback helps to further refine products.
Other than developing existing products - often one of the biggest challenges as it is hard to improve on already high performing gear – it is motivating to see innovation brought to life. For 2015, the Vegas concept changed, a specific wakestyle bar was brought to market, we introduced Hadlow's 6 line setup with extra trim options, new materials were sourced and implemented into our products and the POP Boot evolved and continued to be successful. Now if I was to tell you that these products were tested, tuned, tweaked and finalised in Cape Town last year, can you imagine how excited we are for next years gear!?
It's hard to not go into too much detail as I don't want to spoil the surprise for you, but for those 10 days of testing it was inspiring to see visionaries, great minds and talented riders come together, to pour knowledge and passion into the same thing; now that really is True Kiteboarding.
THE NORTH KITEBOARDING CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR ROUND UP!
Baby it's cold outside and my how quickly the end of another year has come around. Before you get fully settled into festive cheer and Christmas carols, we thought we would share some of our 2014 highlights with you!
This year our Team Riders have taken on the globe with force, creativity and a professionalism that defines North Kiteboarding. With new members joining, champion titles dominated and records set, it's safe to say that we're impressed!
For those unfamiliar with the constant stream of inspiring videos associated with, or created by North Kiteboarding, then make it your New Year's resolution to stay tuned for 2015. Some of the top videos were those created by our riders. Obviously brimming with epic action, they also gave a more personal insight into the passion that they have for their home spots, their incredible zest for life and huge appetite for travel.
Having launched the new 2015 range, we're proud to say that our products have come on leaps and bounds, with endless technical features aimed at giving you, the rider more! But, let's not forget where it all started; back in Jan 2014, with our design and engineering teams in Cape Town and Maui.
Opening up about our production techniques and the facilities we use, we brought you Quality Made In Austria – an insight into how North Kiteboarding strives to deliver the product to market fast and efficiently, and in an environmentally responsible and sustainable way.
And finally, before you scroll down to get the detailed scoop on North Kiteboarding's 2014 highlights, we'd like to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has shown their support and dedication to the brand and our riders. We wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year!!
The season kicked off in Cape Town with the prestigious King Of the Air. Reno Romeo and Gianni Aragno pulled some insane moves in the mega loop competition, but it was Tom Hebert who truly WOWED the crowds. Over the summer Mario Rodwald and Paula Novotna became European Freestyle Champions, returning to the PKRA where they joined Stefan Spiessberger and Reno Romeo.
In racing, Maxime Nocher showed consistent determination throughout the season taking home trophies and top results. The Bridge family are to be commended! As Olly and Steph Bridge were busy setting records and winning world titles across the globe, young Tom Bridge was dominating podiums at the PKRA Juniors.
Airton Cozzolino played poster child and won the Red Bull Unfastened strapless wave series in Sardinia this summer, while Matchu Lopes still stands as the most progressive strapless freestyle rider in the world. Across the pond, Sky Solbach has been hard at work with the R&D side of the wave boards. The perfect blend of world class rider and designer, his input has proven to be golden.
And finally, we welcomed 5x World Champion Aaron Hadlow to the team and saw him put in a great performance this season after a long time away from the competition scene. After winning the PKRA in St.Peter Ording and securing a 3rdplace overall, he, Tom Court and Craig Cunningham put inshow-stopping performance's at the Triple S along with Colleen Carroll who cleaned up across all women's disciplines.
Jerome Cloetens and Manu de Pfyffer brought BOIRA to our laptops this autumn, a magical movie set in the Kiteboarding Mecca of Tarifa – think synchronised Back Mobes and beautiful imagery of their home spot..
Stefan Spiessberger brought us HOME. An action packed video set in his local, quaint mountain village in Upper Austria, with a lot more to offer than snowy mountains, woods and folk music.
Or how about Paula Novotna's 'LIKE TWO DROPS OF WATER. She teamed up with Gisela Pulido for some serious girl power and a deeper insight into the lifestyle of a pro rider.
And what about the talented Tom Court? This year he has provided countless cuts of events, worldwide wake sessions, freeriding and promo reels via his YouTube channel .
Toms Kitchen 2 proved a huge hit for old school enthusiasts as Tom Hebert soared the skies of his home spot in New Caledonia. Never one to take things too seriously, we passed on his questionable cooking skills, but got some mega inspiration from a King of the Air.
Colleen Carroll and Craig Cunningham delivered a Caribbean dream to our screens with ISLAND BREEZE. Hooking up with all time rail rider Andre Philip, they cut the crystal waters of Antigua with style and hit some sketchy rails.
Finally, there was the CAN'T STOP, WON'T STOP Vegas video, so good it even had it's own launch party in Tarifa!
We're proud of our achievements in 2014 where we released 4 features length episodes, 5 teasers, and 13 product clips. In addition to this we created the educational video Mr.Four vs. Mr.Five, the inspiring Tom's Kitchen for old school tricks and Court's Council, a detailed playlist of how to's focusing on new design features and getting the most out of the products. Feel free to check out the NKBROCKS YouTube video library of slick videos and epic riding.
For 2015 we saw a total revamp of the Vegas. Heavily freestyle influenced and competition oriented, it even has a 6 line setup option for those who like to ride like Hadlow.
Celebrating the 2nd year of the Dice – the most successful kite from the word 'go' ever – we launched it this time round with refined characteristics for an even more outstanding all round performance.
The 2015 Race LTD 69 proved to be a winner, steaming ahead in international competitions and taking our riders to the top!
We saw new and innovative shapes throughout our wave boards, a range so fun and diverse you'll want them all. Within the twintips, the new Hadlow Team Series draws inspiration from the Gambler, whilst being a lightweight 'pop' machine. With rail riding hitting new levels, we've worked hard with riders such as Tom Court to develop the Gambler into a steezy sliding machine, whilst Craig Cunningham has put a lot of effort into the development of the new and totally redesigned Pop Boot.
In short, there's been a lot of testing, tweaking and fine tuning of products throughout the year, and as always it's a fantastic process to see innovative ideas and designs evolve over the twelve month cycle.
DESIGN AND PRODUCTION:
Quality Made In Austria, Yes! The production of our Twintips has been brought closer to home, and we are confident with our fair wages and meeting of European working standards. Using highly skilled workmanship with more than 20 years of experience in composite technologies, we embrace our responsibility to the environment, making sure that our innovation, use of advanced materials and production techniques has zero negative impact. A little further afield is the fantastic kite production facility, responsible for the premium quality of our Kites. Based in Sri Lanka, it's the world's leading action sports manufacturer, and has an incredible working environment and great sense of family and community.
THE VERY LATEST DEVELOPMENT, IS THE NORTH KITEBOARDING APP!
Enhance your kiteboarding experience and download the North Kiteboarding App now for free!
The first on the market specifically tailored to deliver outstanding interaction, connectivity and product information to the Kiteboarding community, we guarantee it will enhance your on-the-water experience.
You might be wondering what the APP does and how it works. Firstly, it allows you to connect, create and compete. By joining the community with your friends you can interact with other Kiteboarder's, connect directly to our North Team Riders, see where they're riding, the tricks they're landing and gain access to their latest tips. Use the Kiteboarding Tracker to log your sessions, share with the community and compete with your friends and our Team Riders, even Aaron Hadlow!
The APP also has an informative and detailed product section. Browse all of our kites, boards and accessories to create your very own virtual quiver. If you're unsure which is the best product for you, you can find everything you need to know about the latest North Kiteboarding products by making use of our in-APP Product Finder.
North Kiteboarding. Stoked to bring you the ultimate Kiteboarding experience right at your finger tips.
iPhone and iPad: http://itunes.apple.com/app/id914918034
Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.boardsandmore.northkiteboarding - See more at: http://www.northkiteboarding.com/blog/article/its-appening-weve-released-the-first-and-hottest-kiteboarding-specific-app-on-the-planet/#sthash.kgO2HuBR.dpuf
The success of North Kiteboarding is an accumulation of varying factors; vital cogs that all play an important role towards the never ending growth and evolution of our brand and products. Loyal customers, proactive and successful riders and our global network of motivated and knowledgeable distributors play one part. The other is our in-house Team of product designers and engineers, videographers, photographers and a driven group of Kiteboarding enthusiasts who work behind the scenes to bring the North Kiteboarding lifestyle to life.
ONE FINAL NOTE:
It's always an incredible feeling to look back at the end of the year and see the awesome results of the hard work and dedication each and every member of the team puts into the process of bringing North Kiteboarding products to market. But, one thing is for sure. Without you, our loyal customers, NKB enthusiasts, and fellow kiteboarding junkies, none of this would be possible.
We at North Kiteboarding look forward to sharing with you, what looks to be a banging 2015!
Have a very MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
Quality, made in Austria
Did you ever wonder where in the world we brought our innovation to life? Well if you did, the answer is Austria! With 20 years of experience in composite technologies, our epic range of Twintips are produced at a high tech facility, and we're proud to bring production closer to home.
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.
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