Designer’s Corner: Best Balance Board 2010
Originally Published in the December 2009 Issue of The Kiteboarder Magazine
Name: Carlos Saez
Location: Motril, Spain
Job Title: Designer, R&D, Team Manager
Designing: 10 years
Kiteboarding: 9 years
Product name: Onieva Signature 2010
Product category: Twin tip
Sizes available: 135
Release date: November 2009
For 2010, Balance focused on further refining the construction of their boards to extract the last ounce of possible performance. Designer Carlos Saez is utterly confident that they have the highest parts specification and construction found anywhere in the kitesurf market. Now distributed by Best Kiteboarding, in the words of designer Carlos Saez, “the Onieva Signature is solid gold.” Balance is offering three lines for 2010 in six sizes.
Where does this product fit in your 2010 product mix?
The 135 Onieva Signature sits alongside the 137 Tyushkevich Team board and the new Wide series in our line-up. The Signature boards have an improved core layup compared to the Team models and the Signature shapes are absolutely tailored to the rider’s demands. The Team boards are a little more all-round in nature. The Wide series are for those riders who want the same performance as the Team boards but require a touch more width underfoot. All of the boards regardless of length and width excel in upwind speed and pop, and none of them bring any spray off the rail or front fins into your face; that’s really important when you are competing.
What was your biggest challenge in developing this product?
Pro riders tend to like heavier, slightly overbuilt boards than customers because they are tougher on them, so it would so it would have to be weight. We have come to a point where everyone is happy; the pros know they can trust them and customers know they won’t find a stronger, lighter board anywhere. We ended up just around the 2.5 kg mark. The boards feel so light on your feet while planning over the water; you’d never believe how strong they are built. It’s all about hydrodynamics, the bottom rocker, concave shape, and the material chosen for the bottom of our boards. Everything counts.
If you could choose one standout performance or new construction feature to highlight, what would it be?
It would be the “Balance” of all of those parameters, performance and construction. It’s not something you can point at when you see the board on the rack, like great graphics and perfect build quality, but when you put your feet in the straps for the first time and head out on the water – you’ll know what I mean.
What are some of the other key product features and performance characteristics?
Our boards are produced at one of the most advanced ski-snowboard factory production lines in the world — all our components are made f the finest quality materials you are able to find. The shapes are refined by a strong team of top ranking pro kiteboarders. We think a product is a 360 degrees thing. We are working very hard on every aspect as you can see.
What is your warranty policy on this product?
Total 12 month warranty of using and abusing it for hardcore or recreational kiteboarding.
What do you think differentiates this product from what else is available in the marketplace?
Firstly, we listen to the professional riders — they are the driving force of the company. Secondly, we really have a superior build quality, in terms of both materials and finish. Thirdly, our graphics are different. I like to think that our graphics are more radical than the rest. In terms of performance we follow our own ideas. In terms of graphics we look to our love of surfing, snowboarding and skateboarding, and the great art that surrounds these core sports. We try to bring that fresh feel into the sport that we love best.
What differentiates your product from your competitors?
I think our best publicity is the fact that none of our riders get paid to ride our products. They do it by personal choice because of the performance of our boards. Riders should know that the only way to choose their gear is to ride before buying. Don’t follow the crowd; it’s a sure way to get bad advice. All riders are different and have different needs; the only opinion that counts is your own. Lead, never follow. That is our philosophy – the riders’ philosophy.
TESTED: Pat Lemoine, Team Rider/Ocean Extreme Sports
For a medium sized rider, this is the perfect “one board” for your quiver. It gets you going in the light winds, but never seems too big when the winds are cranking. The board is smooth and seems to just cut through the chop like floating on air. This is great on the knees and makes for a super comfortable ride. If you load it up, it has insane pop, like that of a much stiffer board. Coming down on a hot landing, the board switches back to that “soft” feel. The overall outline and rocker also make it fun in the waves for a twin tip.