Neo 2017 - An inside view from Kite Designer Ken Winner
Whether you're a strapless freestyle fanatic or on a mission to get shacked, the Neo will get you to where you want to go. We caught up with Ken Winner to get a designers perspective on the new, 2017 Neo.
What was your vision for developing the 2017 Neo?
As a dedicated wave kite, the Neo's top quality is its ability to turn quickly in a well-rounded arc and deliver power through the turn in a smooth and consistent fashion. It drif ts well when the lines loosetension and is incredibly powerful for its size. Ultimately, if you can use a smaller kite due to its power, then you are automatically using a faster turning kite. Our other top demand from the Neo is for it to provide constant and precise feedback about its whereabouts when in-flight, so the rider can fully concentrate on the wave ahead. For 2017, our vision was to further improve on all of these features.
Did you work with any Team Riders in the R&D process for the 2017 Neo?
Yes I always work with Team Riders, mainly Sky and Patri who live on Maui and are some of the smoothest, most capable wave riders in the world. They are both very demanding and sensitive to the slightest failing in a kite, so they keep me working hard.
What are the main differences between the new 2017 Neo and last year's model?
The leading edge diameter is slightly less in the smaller sizes of 4m-8m. As the Neo is a wave kite, we didn’t want it flying to the edge of the window too quickly, so we didn't make the reduction too drastic. This small change definitely improves the Neo’s top performance and makes it even quicker through the turn. In the larger sizes we also reduced the leading edge diameter along with creating a slightly flatter profile. These changes help with turning speed, depower and a more direct bar feel thus improving the ability of the kite to signal its position in the sky.
What are your recommendations on the different settings?
Most riders - particularly serious wave riders - will prefer the wave setting for the front bridle and the hard setting for the back bridle which is how Sky, Patri and I ride the Neo. The wave setting on the front bridle makes turning smooth and round with consistent power. The hard setting on the back bridle gives the most feedback on the kites location. For those who perhaps don’t have all the kite sizes they would like, try the Freeride setting on the front bridle to get more depower rather than switching to a smaller kite. Riders who like a lower bar pressure, then the soft bar setting on the back bridle is the one for you.
Which line length do you use on the different kites?
We tend to use 22m lines on all sizes, but for a little extra power - at the expense of slightly slower turning speed – try using 24m lines on sizes 9m – 12m.
In a nutshell, what's new for 2017?
Incremental improvements in turning speed, depower and a more direct bar feel.