Ken Winner and Sky Solbach´s inside view about the new Neo
The 2014 Neo is a full-on dedicated wave kite. It's got all of the key performance characteristics we felt a wave kite really needs to have and also happens to be a really fun and playful free-ride kite.
1. Quick, "round" turning. Everyone knows quick turning is good for waves because allows you to position yourself exactly where you want to be on the wave and allows you to make small corrections in kite positioning at a moment's notice. But the real key to the Neo is not just the quickness of the turning but the WAY in which it turns. It has what we are calling "round" turning, which means that it really tracks through a turn and generates power immediately and equally all the way through the wind window. This means that when you are on a wave you can generate power whenever you need it, no matter where the kite is in the window. This opens up a lot of new possibilities and really helps to link more turns together with flow.
2. Drift. Drift is super important for surfing waves because it allows you to park your kite and focus on surfing the wave rather than constantly needing to steer your kite and follow it through every bottom and top turn. The Neo's amazing drift gives you more room for error when surfing waves and allows you to recover from those mistakes without dropping your kite. We spent a lot of time testing the Neo's tolerance to slacked lines and optimizing the weight in the wingtips to drift straight backwards and not twist and fall nose down.
3. Lots of low-end power. The low-end power of the Neo allows you to ride a kite 1 to 2 square meters smaller than you normally would. This means you have a small, more compact and faster turning kite in all conditions.
4: Quick relaunch. The compact shape of the Neo makes relaunch super easy and allows you to get your kite up quickly before getting munched by the next wave!
The Neo has evolved into a pure wave kite, so Maui is the perfect place for developing it further.
And while the image of Maui involves perfect peeling ground swell and strong, steady sideshore wind, the reality is different. Sure, there are perfect days, but there are also a lot of days days with average waves and gusty wind. And while we test Neo protos at breaks like Lanes and Ho'okipa and Outer Sprecks, we also test at Waiehu, where the waves consist head-high to triple-head-high wind swell, and the onshore wind from 10 to 30 knots.
The 2013 Neo was a great starting point, as it had many great qualities already, so we focused on building its strengths: good power, easy turning and excellent drift.
As everyone knows, one of the most important qualities of a wave kite is its ability to turn quickly and precisely. The easiest and surest way to make any kite design turn quickly is to make it small, so for 2014 we bumped up the power of the Neo. This means riders can ride smaller, faster-turning kites than they may be used to. It's not uncommon for Sky to be riding at a Maui break on a Neo two meters smaller than what other good riders are using.
Quick turning also requires a kite that doesn't luff or flutter a lot on the side that is on the outside of the turn. We kept this luffing and fluttering, which is common on three-strut kites, to a minimum through careful strut placement and profile design. The profiles in the tips are quite flat and even the first profile above the tips struts were carefully tuned to avoid the draggy luffing that can slow turning.The two leech battens on each side help with this also.
Drift is another key quality in a wave kite. This is improved through optimized weight distribution. We had great drift with the zero-strut protos we tried, but surprisingly we had even better drift with the two- and three-strut protos. Something about the lower center of gravity.
Relaunch on the Neo is almost effortless and almost instantaneous, in large part because of the tight cone and increased sweep.
"The process" Episode
Inside Information Rebel 2014 - What's really new?
STRUT CONSTRUCTION 3D
The Struts have been refined with a semi-segmented construction. The segments allow the struts to mimic the shape of the profile, which helps to avoid stress points. The design is very lightweight but also precise, which increases the structural rigidity.
NEW PANEL LAYOUT “FORCE CONTROL”
Compared to 2013, the layer of wave-shaped cloth situated at the boundary between the durable 50-gram D2 Ripstop Canopy and the super tough 160-gram trailing edge dacron is put higher and wider to eliminate stress points between the two materials. This change in construction leads to a better mitigation of flutter and flexing between the dissimilar materials.
In 2014, the Rebel has a slightly deeper and more draft forward profile, which gives the kite a more positive upstroke and smoother transit through the centre of the wind window.
SIZE SPECIFIC TUNING:
The Rebel has been a competitive kite in racing with super lowend and excellent upwind ability. Besides, within the North Kiteboarding line up the Rebel has the best windrange together with the Dyno. Today you could virtually say the Rebel is developing into two different directions.
ONE KITE/TWO PERSPECTIVES
RIDER PERSPECTIVE Sky Solbach
The Rebel 2014 in smaller sizes, talking about size 10 to 5, is my favourite kite when I go wave riding. Mentioning below just some of its performance properties which are essential for waveriding:
— Enormous depower ability
— Smooth turning
— A lot of power, which is especially interesting
for heavier kiters
— Stable and solid feel
— Good drift (the kite does not fly as quickly to
the edge of the wind window which permits to more readily drift downwind) Summarizing, due to the diverse characteristics the new rebel can be described as a High performance Freeride/Wave kite.
DEVELOPER PERSPECTIVE Ken Winner
The bigger size Rebels 14 / 13 / 12 and 11 are characterized
by the following performance properties:
— Super lowend
— Massive hangtime and jumping abilities
— Good upwind performance
— Sheet and go
Based on these properties in the bigger sizes, the Rebel is an absolutely freeride-oriented kite.
North American Championships - San Francisco
2012 KSP World Champions Crowned On Maui's North Shore
Kahului, Hawaii – December 8, 2012: The final day of the Ho’okipa Kite Surf Pro delivered classic Ho’okipa conditions and saw major upsets and discussions in the world title race. Event winners and overall KSP World Champions were crowned on Maui’s north shore today.
The final day of the Ho’okipa Kite Surf Pro got underway in building surf and returning trade winds. The first major upset of the day came early this morning in the final heat of men’s round 2 between Worldchampionship points leader Patri McLaughlin (HI, North) and world number 4 Luke McGillewie (RSA). McGillewie crushed McLaughlin’s world title hopes with a super narrow and still discussed defeat in their early morning clash at Ho’okipa after having delayed the heat due to conditions.
The upsets continued in the men’s elimination when world number 2 and Worldchampion 2011 Airton Cozzolino (ITA, North), world number 3 Sebastian Ribeiro (BRA) and world number 4 Luke McGillewie (RSA, RRD) all failed to advance to the semi-finals, effectively opening up the title race to riders Guilly Brandao (BRA), Keahi De Aboititz (AUS, Cabrinha) and Mitu Monteiro (CPV, F-One), all tied for 5th place in the world ranking. Just a little bit more luck next time Airton, and you’ll be Wave Worldchampion again! Still an amazing season and in our view the most spectacular style in any conditions, mixed with freestyle maneuvers most of your competitors are just dreaming of…
In the men’s semi-finals, Monteiro advanced in a high-scoring affair over Brandao and De Aboitiz defeated Ferreira, setting the stage for a riveting final showdown. With the Ho’okpa Kite Surf Pro event title and the world championship crown on the line, Monteiro and De Aboitiz had the crowd on the edge of their seats, exchanging the lead several times throughout the final in exceptional conditions. De Aboitiz emerged victorious, taking home his first ever KSP World Championship title in an emotional victory.
Ho’okipa Kite Surf Pro Men’s Final Results:
1st Keahi De Aboitiz (AUS, Cabrinha)
2nd Mitu Monteiro (CPV, F-One)
3rd Guilly Brandao (BRA, Best)
4th Filippe Ferreira (BRA, F-One)
Ho’okipa Kite Surf Pro Women’s Final Results:
1st Moona Whyte (HI, Cabrinha)
2nd Jalou Langeree (NED, Naish)
3rd Kari Schibevaag (NOR, Ozone)
4th Milla Ferreira (BRA, F-One)
2012 KSP Men’s World Championship Results:
World Champion - Keahi De Aboitiz (AUS, Cabrinha)
Vice World Champion - Mitu Monteiro (CPV, F-One)
3rd Airton Cozzolino (CPV, North)
2012 KSP Women’s World Championship Results:
World Champion - Jalou Langeree (NED, Naish)
Vice World Champion - Ines Correia (POR, RRD)
3rd Ninja Bichler (GER, North)