Q&A WITH TRIP KITE DESIGNER, DAMIEN GIRARDIN
When did you first start development on your strutless kite concept? Was the end result what you expected?
The idea of removing struts is a process that I started years ago when I first began designing kites. I always wanted to design the lightest, most simple and functional kites possible. But maintaining performance while removing struts is not that easy.
When you remove the struts on a kite you have to make sure it remains stable. In previous years, we went down to 3 struts with the Park, and then played with the idea of 1 strut, but wasn’t happy with the result. So then I went to 2 struts with the Ride. The Ride turned out to be such a good kite that it felt natural to move forward and design a strutless kite.
The design objectives for the Trip were very clear: create a compact kite convenient for traveling that has a lightweight, simple overall design and continue the idea of a user-friendly, fun kite. A minimalistic design that’s also lightweight is always favorable for any “flying object”.
After a long period of development, we ended up with a design that exceeded our expectations in terms of light feel, stability and light wind riding.
What advantages do you believe the Trip has over a traditional SLE or Bow design?
The main advantages of the Trip are that it is light in the air and the lift generating center section of the canopy will expand when flying. This translates into a great gain in light wind power. Other advantages include faster inflation time and more compact packing, making the Trip a great “go to” kite for traveling.
Are there any disadvantages to riding a strutless kite like the Trip?
Even though the high end control on the Trip is really good, you will reach a limit where the kite will simply saturate and start fluttering when you sheet out or head downwind. The re-launch will require more skills, as the kite won’t keep its structure when lying on the water.
We don’t recommend the Trip to be the only kite in your quiver, because in some conditions, or for certain styles of riding, it will not perform as well as the Park, Draft, Ride or Torch.
First concerns about a strutless kite are relaunch and stability. Please address both for the skeptics.
There may be times where you need some advanced skills to get a strutless kite back in the air. This is the main reason why we do not recommend the Trip for beginners. Also, instability in the air is not an issue when flown within the Trip’s wind range. However, fluttering can occur when fully depowering the kite.
Where does the Trip kite fit in your product mix?
The Trip is a kite that targets intermediate to advanced riders that want to lessen their load when traveling. It’s perfect for someone who wants to travel with only one “all around” kite that works well in most conditions.
The Trip is in a class by itself and is a nice addition to the rest of our line.
by Ian Baldwin on August 30, 2013