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!
Outstanding results in Spain for the PKRA Freestyle Junior World Championships
Sant Pere Pescado, Bay of Roses, Spain played host for the second year running to the PKRA Freestyle Junior World Championships, which ran from the 30th June - 4th July. The idyllic venue of Camping Ballena Alegre, saw 46 riders representing 18 nationalities including exotic locations such as Hawaii, Japan, Philippines and Mauritius. The boys were split into three age categories and the girls into two, giving each rider a fighting chance for a place on the podium.
The first day saw strong and gusty winds from the south and riders using a broad range of kite sizes (5m – 12m). Although the conditions were tricky, NKB rider Karim Mahmoud from Egypt set the tone for the rest of the week, showcasing some powerful riding and winning the youngest age group.
Swiftly the 12yrs-14yrs category got underway and NKB's Tom Bridge demonstrated why he was the favourite for the title with some impressive tricks. Progressing into the Semi Final with Tom was another NKB rider, Christian Tio from Boracay, also showing why he is one to watch out for in the future with some stylish and powerful riding. Over the course of the competition, the Single Eliminations were completed with Tom beating Christian in the Semi's, before going on to dominate in the Finals taking 1st place and Christian taking 3rd.
In the eldest of the boys category, NKB rider Guy Bridge made his way through the heats against some solid competition reaching the Semi's and securing a 4th place. Also riding well in his category was Yaya Ochiai from Japan.
As the Double Eliminations got underway they were dogged but marginal, light and gusty winds taking time to reach the Final heats on the last day. Guy Bridge managed to maintain his position finishing 4th in the 14yrs-16yrs age category. Christian Tio improved his position by one place securing a 2nd behind the winner, Tom Bridge.
A view from across the pond – Colleen Carroll
Colleen Carroll is a pint sized bombshell from the US who joined North Kiteboarding last year. For those of you unfamiliar of her, don't let appearances fool you, she rides hard! Often found hanging out at cable parks around the world honing her skills on the features, she dominated at the Triple S last year and is on a mission to do the same again this year. We caught up with Colleen to find out what she's been up to and what her take on kiteboarding from 'across the pond' is.
“I’ve been travelling, kiting, spending lots of time at the cable park and in general loving life!
Seeing other people on the water pushing their riding really inspires me to go for harder tricks or to try out a new one. It also helps that our sport is so fun. I never have the feeling that I’m lacking motivation when I’m at a kite spot. If its windy and the water looks nice, I’m in!”
When asked how she sees the progression of the female side of the sport, she say's; “progression is kicking ass these days! In the last year I’ve seen and met many female riders who are really pushing their personal limits as well as those of women’s kiteboarding as a whole. I’m curious as to when we’ll see the first double pass landed...”
As a Team Rider it is always interesting to get an 'insiders' perspective on the North Range and more specifically for women and Colleen's style of riding: “Firstly the North Kiteboarding range is huge. There is definitely something for everybody in there whether it’s sliders, freestyle, speed, hang-time, or waves. Whatever fuels your fire. More specifically, the North range offers the perfect setup for me and I think any girl can find what she needs. The performance, safety, and durability are all time on the North kites so I don’t really know what more you could ask for! My perfect set up is a 9m Vegas on 22 meter lines with 136 Gambler and North Kiteboarding boots. Also need my ION sol harness and of course a lovely Sensi Graves bikini. If the wind is a smooth 20kts, the water butter flat, and there is a feature to session, I am in utter heaven!”
A well known rider on the American Kite scene she has never made it across the pond to test out some of Europe’s hotspots, but she is adamant that she will be making the trip this summer. Inquisitive to find out how she felt about riding for a European brand and whether it has influenced her view on the sport, she said: “ Our first kites as a family were North kites and the brand has always had such a strong presence in the Hood River/Seattle kite spots that I guess I’ve never really felt it was foreign. However, working more closely with a European brand, it has shown me how much bigger and more mature the industry is ‘across the pond.”
Looking to the future, she admits that it is best to be flexible when trying to make plans materialise, but that a trip to Europe is on the cards and that her main goal and sights are set on the Triple S Invitational, Cape Hatteras. “I was really lucky last year and came out on top. I have a feeling I’ll see even more competition this year on the girls side so I’m feeling a bit of pressure to up my game.” And up her game she did!
Colleen was crowned the women's Triple S Champion 2014. Never taking her eyes of the prize she dominated the field securing a 1st in Slicks and Sliders, and 3rd in the Surf putting her 1st Overall. Her performance in the Slicks was solid, with two clean runs and stomping technical moves such as Back to Wrapped. A day in the Surf saw her dialling some stylish grabs and unhooked moves off the kickers, scoring well with the judges. In the Slider discipline, she cruised through the heats with clean hits across the park. A stylish front side 180 tail press to blind across the flat bar put her in the Finals. She said;
“All of the girls were riding really solid and it was made even more intense having mixed heats and riding with the boys. I’m incredibly happy that I advanced through to the Finals with the North boys.”