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2013 Buyer’s Guide: Best Kiteboarding

Photo Carlos Moncho

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Best kiteboarding has made a lot of changes for 2013 with one of the largest being the use of their new Double Core RS canopy fabric on all their kites. According to Best this fabric stretches less and is more durable than other canopy materials. Best has also updated their twin tip line and is introducing a brand new line of directional boards. Best Kiteboarding’s Lia Feriancek answered our questions about all the changes for 2013.

What are the major changes between the 2012 and 2013 Best product lines?

There have been so many changes it’s difficult to know where to start, but these are the headlines. Every molded part on both bars has been completely redesigned. We kept the functionality but improved the ease of use and have added a few new features to the bars. When the RP-Bar was submitted for the AFNOR test in France it came out with the lowest QR activation pressure, meaning it’s the easiest safety to release on the market.

The twin tip boards all have a new core construction and layup using only pre-preg glass and carbon fibers. We’ve managed to trim up to 700 grams from the weight of the largest boards in the range while improving the responsiveness and strength over last year’s boards. We’ve also replaced the entire surfboard lineup by introducing the Smack and Stubby surfboards and the Kiaola (fast freeride). We’ve developed a multi-layer foam core construction that’s light and strong and we’ve topped them off with a wood deck underfoot for maximum feeling and low weight.

It’s the kites that have seen the greatest changes from last year. We’ve introduced new tech, new fabrics, and and an all new wave kite, the Cabo. Every kite in the line now uses the new Double Core RS (ripstop) canopy fabric. It has lower stretch, greater UV resistance and durability, and nearly twice the tear resistance of standard canopy ripstops.

2013 Best Cabo

What is some of the rider input you used when developing the 2013 kites?

You can always rely on team riders to tell you when something is good and when they think something can be improved. We’ve reduced the back line pressure on the GP as riders asked for it to be even lighter for unhooking and with a touch more depower. In the TS we’ve changed the sizes and adjusted the profiles and chord shapes to give more complete coverage of all wind speeds from fewer kites.

We were able to deliver the turning speed improvements riders asked for in every kite by using our new Double Core RS canopy fabric. It’s stiffer so it’s more responsive to steering input. There are lots more changes to the line and almost all of them came from team rider or customer requests. Of course we also added the Cabo as Kristin, Nuno, and Pedro all wanted a 100% wave-focused kite and we created the Cabo for them and anyone else who just wants to surf.

Who are the target riders for each of the 2013 kites?

The Cabo is designed for riders who want to surf. Plain and simple, it’s a wave kite. It’s low aspect ratio and crazy stability and drift make it a forgiving kite for any rider, but if you live for the waves it’s the Number one choice. The Kahoona is our freeride kite. You can jump it, cruise it, surf it, and even unhook with it. The Kahoona will do anything as it’s suitable for any riding style and riders of all skill levels.

The TS is the most flexible kite in the lineup and it’s our ultimate crossover kite. The 5m and 6m and perfect high wind kites, rock solid and responsive allowing you to push your freestyle or wave riding with them. The 7-12m sizes are perfect for freestyle/new school riding. They unhook almost as well as the GP and are a lot more forgiving so you can progress in comfort every session.

The 15m and 17m sizes offer aerodynamic refinement, minimum drag, and huge low end for making the most of light wind sessions and even tackling course racing. The TS kites really offer performance for all.

The GP is still our out and out new school/wakestyle kite. If you want to compete or simply be the best at your local spot then the GP is the tool to let you perform. With the addition of Double Core RS this year it’s even stronger and more responsive than last year’s kite and is the firm favorite of all our PKRA riders. The Nemesis HP is still in the lineup for riders looking for the best jumping kite ever made. It’s the ultimate point and shoot big-air kite.

Photo Carlos Moncho

What is the difference between the Kahoona and Kahoona+?

About two minutes between getting it out of the bag and going riding! The Kahoona+ uses our EZ-Pump inflation system and is built with Double Core RS canopy fabric. The standard Kahoona is normal inflation and the canopy is made from our Air-Aid Ripstop material. It offers comfort and performance for riders who don’t want to spend as much as the entry level ticket from other brands.

2013 Kahoona

How was the TS updated for 2013?

The TS has undergone a significant round of changes for 2013. It now comes in 1m increments between 5-10m, so there’s guaranteed to be the perfect size to fill your quiver. The wingtip design has been adjusted for less drag and more responsive steering. Combine this with changes to the LE bridle design and the TSv2 is now more stable than ever before.

The biggest news has been the introduction of Double Core RS canopy material to every TS size. It’s lighter, stiffer, and more durable with up to twice the tear resistance of standard canopy materials. Double Core RS helps to make every TS kite turn faster and it’s crisp feel and responsiveness is the first thing you’ll feel when upgrading from original Taboo or last year’s TS kites.

2013 BEST KITES
Kite Name Sizes Stock Line Length Target Date Available
Cabo 5, 6, 7, 9, 11m 22m Waves Now
Kahoona 5.5, 7.5, 9.5, 11.5, 13.5m 22m Freeride, new to sport Now
Kahoona+ 3.5, 5.5, 7.5, 9.5, 10.5, 11.5, 13.5m 22m Freeride, new to sport Now
TS 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 15, 17m 22m Freestyle Now
GP 6, 7, 9, 11, 13m 23m Freestyle, wakestyle Now
Nemesis HP 8, 10, 12, 14m 22m Freeride, big-air Now

How will new school/wakestyle riders decide between the TS and GP?

The TS is an exceptional new school/wakestyle kite. It unhooks easily with great feel and good slack line handling, but it’s more than just a trick machine. It’s a real crossover kite that you can ride day long in flat water and in the waves. The GP is a pure unadulterated new school/wakestyle kite. The GP delivers pure performance. It’s a precision tool crafted for a single task and that is to help you dominate every heat and every session. Riders really need to try them both back to back before they make a choice to see if it’s going to be the TS or the GP that they ride all season.

2013 Best GP

New for 2013 is the Cabo. What does it do differently that makes it more suited for wave riding than the other kites in the range?

The Cabo is built to excel in the waves. Because we weren’t focusing on characteristics that don’t benefit the wave rider we could more perfectly home in on those criteria that define wave riding performance. The key goals for the Cabo were to deliver the best downwind drift, responsive slack line steering, fast turning, and low bar pressure allowing you to choose to attack a wave using the kite as the engine or to truly ‘ride the wave’ with the Cabo drifting with you until you need it to charge back upwind.

It’s a tri-strut design, which sheds weight and enhances stability in light winds and when drifting. It has a moderately low aspect ratio and micro-bridle supported LE that allows for rapid changes of direction with minimal steering input. It also has swept/narrowed tips which ensure it relaunches in an instant if you are unlucky enough to put it down between waves. If you add in our surf tough construction and Double Core RS canopy fabric you have a 100% wave kite that’s simply built to perform. It’s that dedicated focus on wave riding characteristics that make it the best wave kite we’ve ever built.

Any changes for the bars for 2013?

It’s all change on the 2013 bars. Every single molded part of both bars has been redesigned from the ground up. We have re-tooled for every part of the bar except the composite bar tubes and the depower line saving Sacrifice Inserts. We’ve kept all the functionality from last year’s bars but added a single front line leash to the RP-Bar for enhanced safety.

The QR has been updated to the new Pro-Cuff+ system which offers lower release pressure than all the other bars that were submitted for 2013 testing under the French standard. We’ve designed a new swivel, made the stopper ball easier to grip and push away, and given you a choice of chickenloop sizes. Of course just like last year all the parts are available as spares so you can keep rocking your new bar forever.

Photo Carlos Moncho

What type of rider is each of the twin tip boards designed for?

The Spark-Plug is designed for cost conscious riders looking for an entry level/progression twin tip that they can keep coming back to season after season. It’s the perfect freeride twin tip. Riders looking for a little more performance and control underfoot should take the Armada for a spin. It’s lighter, faster, and stronger than last year’s board. It’s the perfect freestyle/freeride package. For women looking to scratch the itch that the Armada fills for men we have the KB4Girls board. For heavier riders and light wind freaks we have the two Breeze boards to help you get out on the water even in the lightest of winds.

The Profanity is for pure wakestyle riders who want a board for boots that will let them take on anything and even handles the cable park. The Pro-Creator is for competition focused new school/wakestyle riders who simply want the most explosive and uncompromising twin tip they can ride to help them nail every heat.

The Smack and Stubby surfboards are designed for wave riders. The Stubby gives you the flexibility to tackle a broad range of conditions, swapping between thruster and quad-fin as conditions dictate. The Stubby is a dumpster/fish style board built for smaller surf. The Smack will help you out in pushy waves. It’s a classic short board shape designed to offer the best balance between slashing turns and stability at speed.

The final board is the Kiaola. It’s a fast-freeride board that is in a class all of its own. The Kiaola is for riders looking for an easy riding, fast, and fun freeride directional that can handle everything from light wind to small waves. It comes with 20cm slalom foiled fins for charging in light wind, swap them over for a set of shorter thrusters and you have a capable high-volume surfboard.

2013 BEST BOARDS
Board Name Sizes Type Target Date Available
Spark Plug 136 , 142cm Twin Tip Freeride, new to sport Nov. 2012
Breeze 145, 158cm Twin Tip Light wind Now
Armada 131, 135, 138cm Twin Tip Freeride/freestyle Nov. 2012
Kb4Girls 130cm Twin Tip Freeride/freestyle for girls Nov. 2012
Profanity 134, 138, 142cm Twin Tip Wakestyle Now
Pro-Creator 135cm Twin Tip Freestyle/wakestyle Nov. 2012
Smack 5’7″, 6’0″, 6’2″ Surf Waves Spring 2013
Stubby 5’4”, 5’8″ Surf Waves Spring 2013
Kiaola 170x60cm Directional Fast freeride/crossover Spring 2013

What makes the KB4Girls a girl-specific board?

The board gets a fair amount of R&D and an awful lot of feedback from participants at KB4Girls events all around the globe. The KB4Girls uses a narrower stance, a softer flex pattern, and is more forgiving than many unisex boards. It uses the same basic recipe as the Armada but it has been built to specifically fulfill the needs of female riders.

How would a boot rider choose between the Pro-Creator and Profanity boards?

You can ride in boots with either the Profanity or the Pro-Creator, which one you chose comes down to your intended riding style. The Profanity is an out and out wakestyle board. It has moderately high rocker, channels on the tips, and could be used on sliders and kickers if you remove the fins. The Pro-Creator is also built for wakestyle riding but the board isn’t reinforced for sliders and kickers. It’s a flat water competition standard new school/wakestyle board that can be ridden with boots or straps. They are quite different boards.

How have the Best surfboards changed for 2013?

The 2013 Smack and Stubby surfboards are both brand new designs. The Stubby is a Dumpster/fish style board with a wide platform, multi-layer core, ¾ wood deck, and a swappable quad/thruster fin option so you can tune your fin setup to your preferred style and conditions. The smack is for faster waves as it’s narrower and longer and comes with a thruster setup.

Both of the boards ship with the tail pad fitted, there’s an additional front traction pad in the box and a pair of straps. You can rig them how you want, waxed, pads, or full straps. Both of the new boards have benefited significantly from the input of the wave team this year, helping to refine the shape and feel of both boards underfoot. These are our best surfboards yet.

What’s the idea behind the creation of the Kiaola? What kind of rider is it designed for?

The Kiaola is a unique proposition and it perfectly bridges the gap between light wind, surf, and freeride. It’s for riders who want a directional board but still want the flexibility to use it in all conditions and for all types of riding. It’s for riders who do a bit of everything and want to be able to ride every day from sun up to sunset. It’s just designed to have fun with and it’s going to be a game changer in the board market.

Want 185 pages of 2013 kiteboarding gear info on 28 brands? Check out the TKB 2013 Buyer’s Guide.

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