Q&A WITH RIDE KITE DESIGNER, DAMIEN GIRARDIN
When did development first begin with the Ride kite concept? How long did it take before you were happy with the final design?
I first started working on the Ride over two years ago. Originally, I wanted to make the Park with two struts. The very first samples ended up being the Park, but without a center strut. Then, we decided that the Park should keep three struts (for stability and gusty wind control), but I didn’t want to give up on the two struts idea – the prototypes were way too good! So we re-focused the project toward a more “user-friendly” kite concept in order to help the re-launch and give it a more forgiving feel.
What characteristics set the Ride apart from other kites in the line?
Easiness! The Ride has that in its DNA. With the Ride, you don’t need to be a good kite flyer with advanced steering skills; you can just sheet-in and you’re going! The Ride never wants to back stall so it’s very forgiving when over-sheeting.
Why is the Ride’s 2 strut design so ideal for freeride kiting?
The two struts on the Ride provide a lighter kite that generates a better low end and naturally flies better in the air (lighter weight means better efficiency).
Why is the Ride so stable with just 2 struts?
The Ride is stable because the overall kite is perfectly balanced. Technically, this means the tow point of the kite (i.e. the virtual point where all the bridles pull from) is perfectly aligned with the center of effort of the kite (i.e. the virtual point that results from the addition of all the force generated by the entire canopy of the kite.)
Why is the Ride so easy to re-launch?
The re-launch of the ride is easy because of the overall outline of the kite; the wing tips are swept back in a way that allows the kite to easily rotate when on the water.
Why does the Ride work so great in light winds?
The reduced amount of struts results in two things for light wind riding. First, as stated above, the fewer number of struts translates into a lighter kite that is more efficient and flies better. Second, because there is no center strut, the center of the kite acts like a spinnaker, expanding a bit when you need power to harness more wind.
What is new for this year’s Ride?
This year’s Ride was built on last year’s proven platform. We’ve made the arc a bit flatter in order to improve the low-end and changed the bridle platform by making them start higher up on the leading edge. This makes the kite more solid when flying thru the window and in the end, results in a kite that responds quicker to the rider’s input when initiating a turn.
by Pete Hardie on August 30, 2013