2017 Kiteboarding Gear Trends
With kite equipment becoming more refined, there has never been a better time to be a kiteboarder. Beginner equipment is more user-friendly than ever and the advanced gear is truly dialed for its intended purpose. Whether you are looking to start kiteboarding on the right equipment or get a new quiver to improve your sessions, we’re here to get you up to speed with the latest trends in kite equipment.
Big Wind Range
We all love having a massive quiver, or at least dream of owning every kite size. While this was once a necessity, many kites on the market are covering such a wide wind range you can get away with having a few kites to cover you in a wind range that would have required three to four kites of the past.
The CORE XR5’s rigid construction enables this kite to keep it’s shape incredibly well in powered conditions, while the forward position in the wind window and ultra-responsive turning make it easy to build speed in underpowered conditions. As you pull more and more depower, the XR5’s finely tuned bridle system maintains backline tension; even when you are totally lit you can steer this kite without ripping yourself off the water.
If you are looking to streamline your quiver, consider a 7/10/13.5 XR5 quiver over you typical 7,9,12 lineup to cover a wider wind range.
Do it all
While professional kiteboarders are getting more and more focused towards specific disciplines like Wakestyle, Freestyle, Foiling and Kitesurfing, the rest of us still want to do it all. Here’s where all arounders fit in. Kites like the Ozone Enduro, Core GTS4, Liquid Force NV, and Naish Dash are all kites you can learn on, test your unhooked skills, or take to the surf to shred the waves. What’s the common trend among these kites? 3 struts, swept back leading edge and a full wing tip. The three strut design makes these kites lightweight, stable and easy to fly, this translates to good drift in the surf and a reliable kite to learn on. The swept back leading edge provides an easy relaunch, critical for surf and beginners alike. The full wing tip gives you consistent power through turns, pull through kite loops and a kite that generates excellent pop when unhooked.
Easy learning curve
Breaking into kiteboarding used to be a daunting task, to say the least. The days of overly complex gear, hours of maintenance and unstable kites are over. Beginners today are learning faster and faster with easy to fly kites like the CORE Free, Ozone Catalyst, Slingshot Rally, Liquid Force Solo, Naish Ride & Pivot. These kites all relaunch with next to no effort, they stay in the sky when you outrun them and are built to take the abuse a beginner puts their kite through.
Kites have had trailing edge adjustments for quite some time now, these increase or decrease turning speed and bar pressure depending on your settings. We are now seeing more and more manufacturers offer adjustments on the leading edge as well. These adjustments change where the kite sits in the wind window and the associated performance characteristics. When you set a kite deeper in the window it offers more consistent pull and provides more power for load and pop tricks. Kites set forward in the wind window will boost higher and provide superior upwind performance.
Adjustable Control Bar Width
Need a control bar for each kite? Not anymore. With most manufacturers offering adjustable bar ends you can get away with one bar for you small kites and big kites. Set it on the narrow setting for the small kites, and wide setting to provide more leverage over big kites. The downside of these adjustable bars is you will put more use on your one bar over a season but as a perk, you don’t have to keep track of as much equipment and end up saving money at the checkout.
Hard Shell Harnesses
Like it or not, the hardshell harness is here to stay. We’ve found that most people who have tried them love them, and most people who are against this new tech have yet to give it a chance. Hardshell designs provide more support than a soft shell harness which means you are spending more time on the water, in greater comfort.
There’s never been a better time to kite, whether you are picking out your first quiver or looking to have more fun on your sessions it’s good to know the popular trends in the industry so you don’t get caught behind the times. If you have any questions about the right gear for you or the latest and greatest tech the REAL Pros are here to help.