2011 Flexifoil Board Line:
2011 Flexifoil Kite Line:
Flexifoil 2011 Gear Preview
Flexifoil went through a number of internal changes over the last year on the administration side but design and development continued as strong as ever. For 2011, the company has refined the three kites in its line and has two new Hadlow signature boards coming out this winter. Plans are also in the works for a new twin tip board that can be attractively value priced with a kite as a beginner package. We spoke with Flexifoil’s Operations Manager Martyn Hogg to get an overview of what’s coming down the line for 2011.
For 2011, Flexifoil is continuing with the Ion, Proton, and Hadlow Pro. What changes were made to each?
From year to year, Flexifoil’s changes are mostly refinements. Radical design changes require much more time and testing and there is a limit to what can be achieved and properly tested in the very short design cycle that this industry tries to adhere to. Flexifoil continually improves their designs with refinements and the radical prototypes happen in parallel with this refinement process until they are ready for the market. The Proton was a radical change to the Atom range and it will see some refinements based on feedback from customers. The Ion was refined in terms of accuracy of shape and benefited from the new construction techniques. Aaron tweaked the Hadlow Pro as he played with the delicate balance of forward speed and relaunch by changing leading edge diameters.
What changes will previous riders notice most on the new kites?
The most noticeable change will be the construction. Flexifoil has worked hard to get a good reputation for build quality and the new construction sees an even stronger LE seam, stronger and stiffer strut to LE joints, Kevlar wear patches, and some subtle changes to the canopy construction. Ion riders will notice a kite that is even more solid in the sky and still gives an excellent freestyle pop and a predictable, stable freestyle ride. The Proton retains the boost from the Atom range but takes on a new shape with more swept-back wingtips for an easy relaunch and more depower. Hadlow riders will enjoy a stiffer leading edge that helps with relaunch and the included depower bridle option gives the kite greater control for gusty conditions or wave riding.
Can you point out the major differences between the Ion and Proton so riders know which kite would suit them best?
The main differences are that the Proton has an easier relaunch than the Ion and slightly more depower and so is better suited to a beginner or intermediate rider. It still has great boost and can be tuned for freestyle so riders will not be held back once they have mastered the basics and want to start trying tricks. The Ion has a feel much closer to a C-kite in terms of turning and kite looping and if you use the slower turn settings, the Ion really does drive all the way through the turns giving it a very positive C-kite feel.
Is there a new bar for 2011?
Yes, there are plans for a new bar to be released sometime in 2011. The issue we have is we believe our current bar is the simplest, most functional bar on the market and its hard to change something that works well. We regularly benchmark our products against competitors’ products and there are some fantastic looking bars out there at the moment but few of them seem to have valued simplicity as an important design feature.
What’s coming down the line for your 2011 boards? Can you summarize the major differences between each board?
We have just launched the new Hadlow Freestyle Board in 138×40 and this will be followed by the Hadlow Wakestyle Board in 138×43. The only difference between Aaron’s boards and the production boards is a Red Bull logo! The Hadlow Freestyle is a very special board that is being enjoyed, surprisingly, by all levels of rider. The Hooligan and Anarchist may see a facelift on the graphics but we are very pleased with these boards as they are. The only Hooligan board to break worldwide was broken by a certain Mr. Billy Parker and I’m sure this had something to do with sliders, kickers, bindings, or just the fact that Billy rides harder than anyone on the planet! We hope to launch a beginner board for next season to be sold as a package with a kite. The challenge here is to produce a fantastic value board that a beginner will not grow out of –we are confident that we can achieve this.
Peter Trow, your North American distributor is a wave icon in our sport. Are there any plans for him to develop directional boards for Flexifoil?
There are no concrete plans for a directional board at the moment but it is a subject that crops up every year at Flexi HQ. We have been considering a number of different ways of producing directional boards and looking at all the different manufacturing methods and materials. We have even considered the possibility of locally produced boards but it’s hard to compete with the cheaper Asian boards out there. One thing you can be sure of is that when Flexifoil does release a directional board it will have the Peter Trow stamp of approval!