Kiteboarding is a constantly evolving sport with endless new opportunities to try different things, ride different terrain and have a good time. Here are 14 predictions we think you need to know for 2014. We'd love to hear your thoughts too so post them at the bottom of the article.
Predictions from Matt Nuzzo, REAL Co Founder:
1. Wind people will finally embrace surf wetsuits:
If you have a smooth skin 10 year old wetsuit that is more aqua seal than neoprene, you're missing out on the warmth, stretch and comfort of a decent surf wetsuits. Brands like Rip Curl and Patagonia have been pouring money into r&d and coming out with amazing products and 2014 is the year that wind people finally embrace the surf brand wetsuit.
2. Year of the foil:
The other day Trip was talking to me about installing a foil on his Tundra so that he can be more efficient on his drive to work. This year, people will be putting foils on everything. With the efficiency, the coolness and the tech, you can't really say no. Just watch the video below and tell me you're not interested...
3. School is cool:
This is the year that your friends finally hit you up after listening to your kite stories and they are ready to join the team. Don't get suckered into teaching them.... book a trip to Cape Hatteras, put your friend in Zero 2 Hero and session your brains out.
Predictions from Nate Appel, REAL Media Mogul:
4. Year of the drone:
Aerial cinematography is now accessible to everyone with radio controlled quadcopters. Right now though, they don't perform very well over 20mph so expect to see lots of aerial scenery mixed in between light wind riding clips (and plenty of drones going for a swim). Skip to about 2:45 in the video below to see whats possible...
5. Get ready for combos:
Spending plenty of time behind the lens gives you a good window into how people ride. I really hope to see more combinations of tricks (like skateboarding) this year. We're all ready for it. It would be cool to see riders doing successive tricks without hooking back in between them.
6. Someone might find the magic kite surfboard:
Heavy constructions are getting lighter; lighter constructions are getting stronger. Now it's just a matter of meeting in the middle and this could be the year that someone strike's gold!
Predictions from Trip Forman, REAL Co-Founder:
7. Two line kites are coming back:
You head it here first.
Predictions from Toby Diggens, Sales Manager at REAL:
8. More people will make the switch to Liquid Force than ever before:
My prediction for 2014 is that the Envy/NRG combo will be putting more and more kiters on the water as they realize there are other kite brands to consider than the big 4 (Slingshot, Naish, Cabrinha and North). Liquid Force have amazing build quality, which this year has been combined with two products that nail the kiting publics true needs. The Envy delivers no nonsense all weather capabilities and great all round performance from beginner to high end freestyle. The NRG flies fast and suits the intermediate/advanced riders wanting to add more input to all aspects of a session...
9. Kite "surfing" will continue to flourish:
Nothing new here but more and more riders are reaching the stage in their progression where flatwater yard work becomes a little monotonous and a foray into a new discipline can be the way to inject some extra fun and learning into sessions. With surf shapes becoming more and more user friendly it has never been so easy to make the jump to riding in the surf.
10. Greater Sports Crossover:
This year more and more kiters will focus on keeping the fitness, balance and technique up when there is no wind. 2014 and beyond is sure to see water sports enthusiasts choose another sport to learn and master as well. The biggest trend we are seeing right now is kiters surfing and SUP. The added benefits are clear, as your balance, ocean awareness and overall fitness increase exponentially all leading back into better kite sessions when the wind is on.
Predictions from Pete Hardie, Head of digital marketing at REAL:
11. Specialization is fading:
Labeling kites with a specific discipline will continue to decline as we all keep searching for 1 kite that can do it all (the exception is dedicated freestyle c-kites). My top picks for the upcoming year include the Liquid Force Envy, Best TS, Naish Ride & Slingshot RPM...
12. We're not made of rubber:
In the next 12 months, another decent portion of kiters will make the move towards a board with a little more rocker. Pancake flat boards may give you great pop but we're not all 15 yrs old and going home with sore knees after a session isn't fun anymore.
13. Less waiting for white caps:
In case you've been living in a wind tunnel, light wind kiteboarding is the real deal. The gear is finally there to do a whole lot more than mow the lawn in 10 - 15mph and light wind kites are selling faster than ever.
14. Kite surfers will start to compromise "airs" for the sake of a good board:
People that live in an area with good waves and enjoy riding them will start to cut out the aerial attempts and reap the benefits of being able to ride a kite surfboard that is light, flexible and will last a long time because you aren't dropping 20feet out of the air. Current top pick is a Lib Tech Waterboard.