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Now in their third revisions, both the Best Kahoona and Nemesis HP kites have gone through significant design and performance changes over the years. For 2011, they have undergone a program of significant refinements with the Kahoona remaining the all-around kite for riders of all levels in the Best kite range with excellent wave riding characteristics. The Nemesis HP is better suited for more experienced riders seeking a high-performance kite perfect for big air and pushing their limits. Best Kiteboarding’s designer, Peter Stiewe, answered our questions about these two new kites.
|Product Name||Kahoona V3||Nemesis HP V3|
|Conditions||Any||Loves to be overpowered|
|Stand Out Feature||Auto-relaunch||Cuben LE with Twister Tech|
|Sizes||3.5, 5.5, 7.5, 9.5, 11.5, 13.5m||8, 10, 12, 14m|
|Available||April 2011||April 2011|
What refinements were made to the Kahoona and Nemesis HP kites?
Many parts of both kites were tweaked, refined, trimmed, polished, and improved. While some of these changes may only represent small value changes in absolute terms, say a centimeter or two trimmed from the wingtips or a few millimeters taken out of the center chord profile, what these changes deliver in terms of improved ease of use and greater performance is anything but subtle. Riders can expect both kites to feel instantly familiar, but they’ll quickly see how both kites have been improved.
The 2010 Kahoona featured new bridle connection points, an updated leading edge seam construction, and a continuation of the quad-strut delta kite layout. What are the design changes on the 2011 model?
Some design improvements are a direct response to customer feedback on the kite and some are based on our ability to improve some technical aspect of the construction or material selection. The Kahoona V3 uses our advanced infusion Dacron and ripstop materials that were developed with new fiber treatments and material coatings to give reduced load elongation and longer service life. The V3 handles with a new crispness in its steering response. The canopy profile was revised to provide smoother airflow and reduced drag. The wingtip shaping was modified to give a more stable platform, which provides a level of high wind stability that riders will come to love and trust. The wingtip changes also allowed us to add multiple rear line attachments points. Now riders can really tune their Kahoona V3 for different riding styles and best performance in all wind conditions.
Are there major performance differences that previous Kahoona riders will notice immediately when riding it for the first time? Why would a rider want to upgrade to the new model?
The first time a current Kahoona owner unpacks the V3 kite they will see the new features and construction details that have been added to the new design: Kook proof attachments, strut strings, new Dacron and ripstop material, and the AB custom tune options. As soon as they fly the V3 they will instantly notice the improvements in high wind stability and steering responsiveness as well as realize that it has retained 100% of what made the Kahoona such a firm favorite with so many different riders in the first place.
Any tuning tips you can share that riders may want to try out for different conditions or riding styles?
The Kahoona V3 back line options are simple to use. There are two pigtails positions, A and B. Using the B setting will give you a kite with more feedback, a heavier feel on the back lines, better down the line surfing, and more predictability when unhooking. Using the A setting puts the back lines towards the trailing edge to give you faster turning, a broader and sweeter depower feel, and is better for freestyle tricks and jumping.
The Nemesis HP has made a return this year. Why did you phase out the Nemesis NXG?
A lot of NXG riders swapped over to the Taboo when it was launched. With more available sizes the Taboo gives more options for building a complete quiver and there’s overlap in the performance of the kites, particularly unhooked. The success of the Taboo killed off the NXG, which was a good problem to have! We’re really happy that the Taboo has such a broad appeal, just as it was intended. It also means we can reintroduce the Nemesis HP to cater to those customers who simply won’t settle for any other kite. It has a really loyal following with riders who like to ride overpowered, old-school, mostly hooked in, and just can’t help throwing massive airs.
This is the third version of the Nemesis HP. What have you learned from the kites that have been developed while the HP was unavailable?
We’ve not made a Nemesis HP since ‘09 and that’s a long time in terms of development. Since then we’ve changed the sail loft we build at, developed new Dacron and ripstop fabrics, and introduced a whole host of improved construction techniques and added features. Naturally all these made their way into the HP V3. The HP V3 is really the return of the prodigal son. Everyone who still rides one or ever tried a Nemesis HP knows exactly what that kite does, how it turns, goes upwind, delivers power, and what happens when you pull the trigger. What we’ve learned since we last made the HP is how to make it stronger, faster, lighter, and even more reactive. The HP V3 beats both previous models for handling response and jumping ability.
The HP is the only kite in the current lineup to use Twister Tech and Cuben Fiber. What are the benefits of building a kite this way?
Using Cuben Fiber allows us to make the kite with a thinner LE than we can with Dacron. We can use higher inflation pressure to give a structure that is stiffer and lighter. That means more stability, less drag, better upwind ability, and better jumping and hang time. A reduced diameter LE is pretty much the most beneficial design choice you can make and Cuben allows us to do that. Because Cuben is so stiff both in flexure and torsion we developed Twister Tech to allow the LE to twist for better steering responsiveness while still retaining the tip-to-tip stiffness. On the V3 we’ve revised the placement of the Twister Tech segments and the locations of the bridle attachment points to give the best possible load distribution across the LE and maximum turning speed. It’s a real step forward from the HP V2 and very different from how the NXG flew.
Can you give us some tuning tips to get the most out of the Nemesis HP V3?
The Nemesis HP has the same rear line connection options as the Kahoona V3 so the advice for the Kahoona applies to both kites. Of course, if you really want to get the most out of the HP, then ride it lit.
Is there a new control bar for 2011?
The Redline Performance Bar continues for the 2011 season. We’ve already introduced several rolling changes to the design including a tighter cuff with slightly higher release load, a large size chicken loop for riders who love unhooking, and we are looking at a single front line leash kit for the future. The standout feature remains the quick release cuff with its load-independent release pressure and integrated swivel. Every part on the bar is replaceable, so a new Redline Performance Bar can keep going and going. It’s here to stay.
Why would you recommend a rider choose the Nemesis HP versus the Kahoona V3?
They are very different kites suited for different types of riding. Of course both of them can be used as cruisers, but that’s missing the point. The Kahoona is a kite for any rider, any skill level, and all riding styles. It has a bias towards freeride and waves, but it’s the easiest kite in the range to jump and handles superbly unhooked. Most of our team will pick a Kahoona for practicing new tricks. The Nemesis is very different. Its bias is towards aggression, jumping, and speed. It’s unforgiving and is a kite that demands to be thrown about and needs a firm and experienced hand on the other end of the bar. If you want to go big and fast then the HP V3 is the kite to do it on. It’s the original surface to air missile.