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For 2013 Airush has simplified their range of kites and boards, making it easier for riders to find the products best suited to them. The popular Lithium kite is back for 2013 as is the Sector directional board, which is now available in three sizes as well as a one-design version for club-level racing. Airush’s Marc Schmid let us know what to expect from the latest offerings from Airush.
It looks like the Airush range has been simplified a bit for 2013. What are the major changes in the line between 2012 and 2013?
Yes, absolutely the Airush range has been simplified this year. The major changes with kites are that we took out the Access and consolidated the One into the Lithium range to create a 16m One. It was a tough call but we felt we needed to do this to introduce the Airush Wave into the 2013 range. In boards, we consolidated the Choptop and Quad into a single model called the Cypher. The Cypher is ideal for onshore/cross-onshore waves, light wind kitesurfing, and strapless riding. In the twin tip range we have taken the standard Protoy out and expanded the Protoy Team to three sizes.
|2013 AIRUSH KITES|
|Kite Name||Sizes||Stock Line Length||Target||Date Available|
|DNA||4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14m||24m w/segments||All-Around Entry-Intermediate||Now|
|Lithium||5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, 16m||24m w/segments||All-Around Entry-Advanced||Now|
|Varial X||6, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14m||24m w/segments||Intermediate-Advanced Freestyle, Freeride, Hooked/Unhooked||Now|
|Razor||5.5, 7, 9, 11, 13m||24m w/segments||Freestyle||Now|
|Wave||6, 9, 12m||24m w/segments||Wave||Now|
|VXR||10, 13, 15, 17m||24m w/segments||Race||Now|
What was some of the rider input you used when developing the 2013 kites?
Airush always has a strong rider input throughout the range. The Team Series specialty range is really focused on the performance of the products in the hands of our team. These kites and boards are specifically designed with our team’s feedback to get the best performing product they need. The Core Series kites are a combination of designer, team, and everyday riders from all over the world to get the ideal product for the everyday rider. We send test kites to places like Hood River, Tarifa, UK, Australia, and Asia to get input from a wide variety of riders and conditions.
The Lithium was a successful kite in 2012. Has it changed much for 2013?
The biggest comment was, “Don’t change the kite!” The Lithium was so successful in 2012 we didn’t want to redesign the kite, so we just made subtle changes in construction as well as an added a bar pressure option to the bridle. These were the comments we received when customers gave their feedback about what they wanted.
In previous years the DNA was promoted as a school kite, but now it’s one of the core kites. How does it differ from the Lithium?
For some time we had the DNA as a school-only offering. This kite was almost a carbon copy of the Lithium except for the lack of a one pump system, subtle construction changes, and a simple duffel bag. We felt cutting back on certain items allows us to reduce the cost making the Airush DNA/Vox package the best value on the market today!
Who are the target riders for each of the 2013 kites?
The goal of simplifying the range also allowed us to have more clear guidelines for each kite. We wanted to avoid a lot of ambiguity and make the riders’ decision easy. The DNA is focused on the entry level riders. Packaged with the Vox, this kite will take you from the absolute beginning to advanced riding. The Lithium is our bread and butter kite for most riders who want an all-around kite. Whether you are freeriding, jumping, or wave riding, the Lithium is the one! The Varial X is the next level from the Lithium – it flies a lot further forward than the Lithium featuring some amazing low end power, easy unhooking, and great direct steering.
From the core range, we go to the specialty kites which focus specifically on the three major categories of kiting. The Razor is our no bull C-kite designed with current PKRA leaders Alex Pastor and Bruna Kajiya. This 5-line kite is super responsive and has massive pop for wakestyle and freestyle riders. The Airush Wave is a wave kite with specific focus on drifting capabilities, lots of speed, and a great range for over powering conditions – this is my go to kite for riding in Cape Town. For all the future Olympians, the VXR is our pure performance race kite. This high aspect design is focused for extreme upwind angles, stability, and downwind speed, essential for winning races. These six kites plus our trainer kite range will take any kiter from their first body drag to the podium.
What are the differences between the Varial X and the Wave for riding in surf? Why would a rider choose one over the other?
The Varial X is a bit more all around for riders who are interested in a bit of everything from big boosting, wave riding, and freestyle. When developing the Wave we didn’t have any other kite to base it from – Airush just wanted a kite that solely focused on wave riding with the best drift stability and increased steering speed.
How would riders who are looking for an all-around kite choose between the Lithium and the Varial X?
The Lithium is our Delta Hybrid kite which sits a lot further back in the window than the SL-C (Supported Leading C-Kite) Varial X. Naturally as a Delta-Hybrid, the Lithium is the easiest to relaunch and has a wider range than the Varial X. On the other hand, the Varial X sits further forward in the window making it easier to unhook with better upwind performance.
Any changes for the bars for 2013?
The big change to the 2013 Airush Smartbar is that we added a new rubber molded bar end with an extra size adjustment. This in conjunction with the current pin adjustment system allows the Smartbar to be the first bar on the market that goes from 45-52-55-62cm allowing for one bar to fit all Airush kites from 4m to the biggest race kite!
What type of rider is each of the twin tips designed for?
There are five twin tips in our range which makes it easier to navigate through than before. The VOX is our entry board, ideal for any rider simply wanting to get into the sport with ease of use. The Switch is our flagship freeride board; this is a super comfortable design making it great for freeriders and everyday cruisers. We start to get a bit more aggressive in shape with the Protoy which is now a full-carbon design. This board has a bit more pop, a double concave, and narrower tips for more aggressive freeriders and freestylers.
A completely new board to the range, the Livewire takes freestyle and wakestyle riders to a whole new level with four sizes from 132 to 142cm. This board can be ridden with straps or boots and has a lot more rocker than any board in the range making it ideal for riding powered up. The last twin tip in the range is the FS Team, which is the lightest competition freestyle board on the market. This board is specifically designed with currently number one ranked PKRA riders Bruna Kajiya and Alex Pastor to get the best amount of pop while remaining extremely light.
How does the construction of the FS Team differ from the rest of the range?
A lot of R&D goes into the FS Team boards. The FS Team is one of two carbon boards in the range that feature a strategic pattern layout to maximize flex where it is needed. The FS Team is designed to be the lightest and most responsive competition freestyle board which demands the most pop, smoothest landings, and best upwind performance needed in an event. When you try the FS Team board you won’t only notice how light the board is but you’ll appreciate its butter-smooth feeling even just cruising around.
|2013 AIRUSH BOARDS|
|Board Name||Sizes||Type||Target||Date Available|
|Vox||135, 140cm||Twin Tip||Entry Level/Freeride||Now|
|Switch||130, 135, 138, 142, 146cm||Twin Tip||Freeride||Now|
|Protoy||132, 135, 138cm||Twin Tip||Aggressive Freeride/Freestyle||Now|
|Livewire||132, 135, 138, 142cm||Twin Tip||Freestyle/Wakestyle||Jan. 2013|
|FS Team||132, 135, 138, 142cm||Twin Tip||Competition Freestyle||Jan. 2013|
|Cypher||5’4”, 5’6″, 5’8”, 5’10”||Surf||Lightwind/Onshore riding||Now|
|Compact||5’4″, 5’6″, 5’8″||Surf||High Wind Cross-shore/Cross-Onshore||Now|
|Converse||5’11”, 6’1”, 6’3”||Surf||Cross/Cross-Off Down the Line Riding||Now|
|Sector V3||172×54, 178×60, 182x66cm||Light Wind Directional||Lightwind Freeride Directional||Now|
|Sector One Design||178x60cm||One Design Racing||Entry to Course Racing||Now|
|Monaro V4||189.8×69.5cm||Course Raceboard||100% Course Racing||Now|
The surfboards are again offered in two different constructions. What do the different construction technologies translate into on the water?
Yes, again we have the two different constructions, a Bamboo construction and the Active construction which both offer something for everyone. The Bamboo construction gives a great balance between durability, flex, and weight. It’s a great construction for those looking for a board that is simply reliable and gives good feedback on the waves.
The Active construction has the response of a PU surfboard yet surpasses the durability by leaps and bounds. This is especially noticeable when the board responds to bottom and top turns. For any wave riding aficionados, the Active is the best. The Active construction is in it’s third year of production and features a Carbon I-beam stringer running the length of the board. This in conjunction with the carbon layup makes the board extremely light and responsive.
The Sector is now available in three sizes. Are the different sizes for riders of different weights or are there larger differences?
We get this question a lot. When you line the 54, 60, and 66 together you have what we call the Progressive Ride Configuration. This means as you go from the smallest to the largest the boards go from most maneuverable to the most race oriented. The 60 is right in the middle as a do everything for everyone type of board.
Weight is a factor of course for big and small guys but a lot of it depends on which kite size you would put up. The 54 can be used by a 150 lb or a 200 lb person in the same wind but of course the 200 lb rider might have a kite 4m bigger than his mate.
What are the main differences between the largest Sector and the Monaro?
The differences are huge! The Monaro is uniformed to the IKA/Olympic box rule standards of a 190x70cm board. It is simply a beast and takes a bit of training and understanding of how this type of course board operates. The Monaro and all other race boards are not for the faint of heart. The Sector 66 is a more friendly version of the modern race board making it easier to cruise in light winds if you want to but also allows you to get into the riding style of the Monaro. It is extremely user friendly compared to the Monaro but offers a competitive outline and fin system so the rider can be easily introduced to its bigger brother.
Adding to this we have the Sector One Design which is our development class allowing everyone to get into the concept of directionals and racing for their first time. It is based off the Sector range design making it easy to ride yet competitive when racing with your friends or at the local sailing club!
Want 185 pages of 2013 kiteboarding gear info on 28 brands? Check out the TKB 2013 Buyer’s Guide.