Designer’s Corner: Eclipse Kima Wave Custom
Originally Published in the December 2009 Issue of The Kiteboarder Magazine
Name: Justin Muller
Location: Nags Head, NC
Job Title: Eclipse Shaper
Designing: 5 years
Kiteboarding: 2 years
Product name: Kima Wave Custom
Product category: Surf
Sizes available: Call for a custom design consultation, stock sizes are 5’8” and 6’0”
Release date: Available Now
Is this a new design or a next generation on an existing design?
The Eclipse Kima board is a new, custom designed product, which is designed around the rider’s specific needs and ability level.
As a new design, where does it fit in your product mix and what were you main goals in developing it?
The Kima wave board complements our Kima wave kite line. If you have the perfect wave kite now you need the board.
What do you think are the top three or five things that riders often overlook or should consider when choosing a directional board for kitesurfing?
Most riders read a lot of hype about what a production board can do. I feel that many production boards on the market are ridden by and designed for pros that ride in near-perfect conditions every day and they’re great when you have those conditions. But lets acknowledge the reality; most riders are faced with conditions that are far from perfect and boards that work great in Hawaii don’t necessarily work great in Long Island or Florida. A rider needs to recognize the conditions they are faced with as well as his/her current ability level, and then a shaper can help them design a board which will enhance their riding experience.
What was your biggest challenge during the prototype phase?
I am used to shaping traditional surfboards. Like most shapers in this industry I have found kiteboards require a slightly different construction to handle the abuse and impact most riders will place on the board. My personal challenge was to design a board that met the needs of our team, while keeping the board strong and as lively possible. I don’t like working with epoxy-style construction so I had to develop techniques to keep the board strong in key areas without degrading performance and the appearance of the board.
If you could choose one standout performance or new construction feature to highlight, what would it be?
All our boards are handmade here in the Outer Banks. We use traditional construction along with reinforcements in key areas. All my boards are designed, shaped, and glassed entirely in-house. Most brands don’t offer that. I find that hand shaping with polyester blanks and using polyester resins helps retain the feel in the board, which is often lost during mass production process or with certain epoxies. Of course I was trained by old school shapers so that may effect my opinions. Not many brands are fortunate enough to have a full time shaper on staff; each day I develop products for myself and the team.
What are some of the other key product features and performance characteristics?
Initially I was contacted by Eclipse to design a board they could use for mass production. I did not like this idea. I suggested I would design a board platform that could be customized specifically for riders needs. I can make up to four boards a day, which satisfies the demand. I set out to make a unique product that would work well for riders based on conditions they are faced with at their local beaches. In our case, it was designing a board which would work well in the Outer Banks. After shaping a series of boards I found several sizes and shapes that worked well for a variety of riders – these are our Kima customs.
What style/level of rider will most enjoy this product and in what conditions?
I can create a custom shaped board designed specifically for your abilities and conditions.
What is your warranty policy on this product?
We guarantee that the product is perfect once it ships. However, all my workmanship has a one year warranty from the purchase date.
What differentiates your product from your competitors?
I made this product by hand, which is something not a lot of our competitors can say. Every customer has a personal consultation with me so I can design a board around their specific needs. I have been shaping boards since I was 16 and was the apprentice of some of the best shapers on the east coast. I love shaping and will do everything in my power to make the perfect board for each of my clients.
TESTED: Wendi Palmer/Team Rider
I was very interested to test the new custom directional boards that Eclipse is having shaped locally here in the OBX. I was immediately impressed with the build quality and unique graphics. While testing I rode the Kima kite and the 5’8” strapless in three to four foot surf. The Kima Wave Custom directional board is stable and helps you build confidence, yet is very maneuverable and carries great speed. The upwind ability was also very impressive due to the unique rail construction. The Kima Custom is another high performance product from Eclipse. I’m stoked that it can be customized to my weight, conditions and riding style and am looking forward to adding this board to my quiver for more fun and performance in the surf.