2011 Best Kiteboarding Kite Line
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Best 2011 Kiteboarding Gear Preview
New for 2011, Best is introducing the Taboo, a high performance kite to replace and surpass all previous Nemesis designs.
The Taboo line represents a completely different approach to designing a range of kites. Every size of the Taboo is based on analysis and rider feedback of the most popular riding style for the wind range covered by each kite.
Best is offering something for everyone in 2011 from the beginner rider looking for their first kite to the hardcore freestyle rider looking for gear that is built to last and dressed to impress. Kite designer Peter Stiewe fills us in on the details of the 2011 kite line while board designers Shannon Best and Jeff Beige give us a peak as to what we can expect with the boards.
With the release of the new Taboo, Best says it has introduced a “radical new approach” to how a range of kites is designed. What’s so radical about the new kite range?
Look at any kite model on the market and they all do the same thing. They all try to make every kite in a range as similar as possible to each other so they all fly the same. But do you want your smallest kite to handle like your largest and vice versa? Or would you rather have a kite where every size has been designed to be perfect for a given riding style and specific wind range?
That’s what makes the Taboo radical; every single size is designed to be the perfect high performance kite for a given riding style. Each kite is unique, with unique geometry, unique construction techniques, unique product features, and even unique materials being selected for specific sizes based on their intended use- we call it ‘Ride Optimized Geometry.’
How did Best determine what sizes would correspond to specific riding styles?
We had test riders and members of the R&D team out at beaches with clipboards, noting down which kite models people used in what winds and how they rode them.
Once we had the data it was just a process of number crunching and then putting the results to the test to make sure we had interpreted the facts correctly. The results were pretty simple and that was what led us to the small-medium-large kite grouping that you see in the Taboo.
The smallest kites focus on control, stability, and unhooked performance. These kites are fast and direct with light bar pressure and steer well even when unhooked. They are rock solid in the air and make the perfect platform for unhooked wave riding or wakestyle riding depending on which bar size and back line connections you hook up to. The medium sizes focus on power delivery, speed and feedback. They have insane pull for kite-looping and will launch you sideways through a loop as fast as they take you upwards, perfect for new school riding and powered unhooked moves.
The largest two sizes focus on aerodynamic efficiency and handling. They are light fast turning kites which penetrate upwind in the lightest breeze. Their canopy shapes and bridles make them exceptional downwind kites as well, so they are perfect for course racing as well as pure lightwind riding.
***This info has been updated from the October 2010 Print Article as all kites were not finalized as of the print deadline.***
Doesn’t the weight of a rider also have a large influence on size? For instance, a 12m could be a light rider’s largest kite or a 200 lb. rider’s smallest one.
That’s true, and as long as they both want a hard looping, aggressive kite with huge hangtime they’ll be more than happy. We’ve designed the Taboo to have a broad depower sweet spot in each size, so there’s plenty of range for light and heavy kiters.
None of the sizes requires legs of steel to push them upwind so weight isn’t an issue with any size in the range. We base the sizes around an average 75kg/170lb rider. Lighter or heavier riders should adjust their size picks accordingly. We figure 10kg (22lb) equals 1m difference in canopy size or +/- 2 knots.
Is the Taboo similar to any past kites that Best has released?
It’s probably fair to say that there is a little bit of every kite we’ve ever made in the Taboo range as you can’t unlearn what you already know about kite design. However, the Taboo is unlike any other kite we’ve made, both in concept and execution.
Where does the new Taboo fit in the 2011 line up? Who is the kite targeted at?
If your quiver is already built up of odd kites in different sizes for the different types of riding that you do then the Taboo was designed for you.
We wouldn’t advise beginners to buy them, especially in the mid sizes where the endless depower could get you into trouble really fast if you take your eye off the kite mid-turn.
So is this new approach across the board for the company’s kite line up?
We accept that some riders want a quiver of kites with a consistent feel across sizes. For these riders the Kahoona and Nemesis HP v3 will continue to be their go-to kites.
But for riders who really have to push the limits of wave riding, wakestyle, new school, big-air, and racing there’s the Taboo.
Best introduced the new Redline bar this year. Will this be the bar for the 2011 line of kites?
All the new kites are designed to fly on this bar, we’ll not be replacing the bar for 2011 but eventually rolling out improvements to the design as they are developed, tested, and signed off for production. The Redline Performance Bar is here to stay and it will just keep on getting better and better.
Best changed factories for its 2011 twin tip board line up. What did this accomplish?
Lighter, stronger boards with a better ride — we can now make a better board for similar money at the new factory and their finishing process’s are way beyond what we had access to before.
The finish quality of the printing and gloss work is simply astounding. More importantly, it’s also less shipping time from the factory to where we test in Europe, so we can make more prototypes which means better boards in less time.
There’s a new wakestyle board in the line-up this year, the Profanity. Can you explain it?
Sure. We took a thin section Paulownia wood core and laminated it vertically with a PVC foam base for a unique vertical sandwich construction that gives you the lightweight of wood and the speed of pop of a foam core. We then added deep section ABS rails that are deep enough for you to sand the shape of the tips if you prefer a rounded corner.
The underside of the board is a masterpiece –large single into double concave flowing into a twin channel tip. The accelerated channel flow under the tips has the same effect as reducing the rocker given you a faster planing board with a livelier feel, but you still have the extra rocker for pop and landing smooth. We’ve also created an outline that gives zero spray in combination with our thicker rail without suck down. You can run it finned or finless for sliders and kickers.
Because of the twin channels you lose little grip without fins. For taking it on sliders we’ve beveled the underside of the rail. Just before you hit the concave there’s a flat section with a negative 1.5mm drop, meaning that no matter how you hit the rail you aren’t going to trip your rail and take a face full of pipe. The Profanity is built to take straps or boots and comes ready to take 6” or 7” mounts.
What are the most significant changes that were made to the next generation of Armada twin tips?
The most noticeable thing is the quality. From the finish of the graphics to the see-through core to the rail to the A4 stainless inserts, everything is improved- it’s built to tighter tolerances. There are also specific design changes; the lay-up has altered with a new mix of biax and uni-glass. The weight has dropped even further than before yet the strength and stiffness has increased due to the new PVC core-surround construction
In 2010, Best produced a limited quantity of the Kristin Boese pro model board and was surprised with how quickly this board sold out. Is this board coming back in the 2011 line?
We should have known it would be a sellout — if you have a great looking board tailored for women riders designed by the ‘winningest’ female kitesurfer of all time, it’s going to be popular. So yes, it’s making a reappearance for 2011 and has been moved to the new factory so will roll off the production line with its big brother Armada.
How about the Spark, your price point twin tip. Is this board coming back?
The Spark stays with a few tweaks under the hood and a new lick of paint for those entry level riders who like a little touch of wakestyle.
What’s going on with your 2011 surf program? Any changes?
Both boards will get new graphics for 2011 and maybe some tweaks to the fin area and deck pads, but that’s a little far off yet to be able to call it.