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2013 Buyer’s Guide: CrazyFly

Photo Michal Bukovcak

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For the 2013 model year CrazyFly has made significant changes to their Sculp kite while the Slash and MooWii remain relatively unchanged. The Sick Bar also received a major upgrade and there were some changes to the extensive CrazyFly board range. Brent Reagan from PKS Distribution, the USA distributor for CrazyFly, answered our questions about the new line.

CrazyFly is offering the same three kite models as in 2012. What are the major differences between the 2012 and 2013 kites?

The biggest changes are on the Sculp, which received a full overhaul for 2013, while the more niche kites (the Slash and MooWii) haven’t changed much. The first thing you’ll notice in the Sculp is that the range of sizes was expanded to 5 to 17m. When a company does this the right way, they test and design each size for the type of winds it is used in and this takes time. This was the goal for 2013 and CrazyFly focused a redesign on all existing sizes and the expanded range one size at a time. Also the main shape changed by going slightly more high-aspect, giving it more power, boost, and hang time. At the same time the struts changed taper for more speed and less weight.

The bridle system has been changed and improved and the bar almost completely made over, so you get more direct control and reaction in the 2013 model as well. Leaving nothing unnoticed, the valves and one-pump system changed and even the material has changed for 2013. The Sculp is made with the highest-quality Dacron from Germany and ripstop nylon from Japan for reduced weight but maintained strength. In sum, there are many changes, but the Sculp remains a Flat-Delta kite as in 2012.

2013 CrazyFly Sculp

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

CrazyFly is based in Slovakia, so they get a lot of international rider input from many types of riding conditions all over the globe. The main feedback we wanted to work on was to improve three main areas: low-end, turning speed, and the bar. Feedback was very good for the main flight characteristics, turning, smoothness, and power, but we agreed with many in that a little more pulling power and faster turning would be advantageous to most experienced riders. The re-shaping and re-bridling plus lighter wingtips with the new Dacron has helped accomplish both of these aspects. It bumps it up to that next level of performance without being so different that it feels like another kite altogether.

On the bar, pretty much every detail was improved. It’s still a very simple and clean above-the-bar sheeting system with active stopper up top, but you’ll notice big changes below that. See the question below about bar for more on that. Riders wanted refinement in all the details of the overall system, ease of use, the look of gear, and in the kite performance, too. It’s important to listen to riders and their collective input. It makes a much better product in the end and we know everyone will be much happier with the new results!

2013 CRAZYFLY KITES
Kite Name Sizes Stock Line Length Target Date Available
MooWii 7, 9, 11, 13m 24m Beginner through lower intermediate (schools only) By request for schools only
Sculp 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17m 24m Beginner through lower advanced (freeride/freestyle) Nov. 2012
Slash 5, 7, 9, 11, 13m 24m Intermediate-advanced freestyle Dec. 2012

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

The Sculp is perfect for all levels of freeride and freestyle riding and covers the riding style of at least 70% of riders out there. If you’re very specific to wave-riding, wakestyle, new-school, or competition, I suggest looking at kites specific to those niches, but if you’re a beginner through advanced freerider or freestyle rider (which admittedly most of us are), this kite has the super-stability, ease of relaunch, fast turning, direct feedback, steady power, and good pop you want. The advantage of the Sculp for many riders is that it’s stable and friendly enough to use when learning, but turns with the speed and power you will still love a year or two down the road.

The Slash is a high-depower C-kite with no bridling, just five direct lines, but with depower, stability, and relaunch like a hybrid. The advantage over the Sculp shows when you want big pop, steady pull, and fast and big kiteloops. It’s geared towards intermediate to advanced riders who want that pop and looping power and is great for new school, freestyle, and competition riding. The MooWii is a low-aspect kite with steady power and lift, but is geared towards beginners specifically, and so is only typically sold to lesson centers or beginners who don’t want anything too fast or progressive. The stability, relaunch, slower turning speed, smooth flying, safety, and depower make this the kite to teach on for instructors.

2013 Slash

Any changes for the bar for 2013? What’s special about the bar’s construction?

The monocoque (single-piece) full-carbon bar now has an aluminum insert in the center to take tons of wear and give longevity to the life of the depower line, but it is still an extremely light yet very strong bar being a hollow bar of carbon fiber. I don’t know of any other bar with this construction and it’s made in Europe with 100% European parts. Otherwise, the new ergonomic grip is improved in look, feel, and shape, the new bar ends integrate the floats into the ends while allowing plenty of room to wind the lines, the push-away release of the Sick Click system has a new look and internal improvements, and the lock-tube on the chicken loop is improved for a lasting and reliable lock on your spreader bar.

The safety line (mini-5th or flag-out line) still goes through the center of the chicken loop for out-of-the-way leash connection and no bar wrap-ups. Overall there have been many changes to details, appearance, quality parts, and durability, but the Sick Bar maintains its goals of clean simplicity and light weight.

How has the twin tip range been updated for 2013?

The two biggest updates since 2012 are the introduction of new sizes for certain models and some construction changes in certain models. The Raptor Pro, Raptor LTD, and Bulldozer now come in a 140×42 size. The Allround now has a 145×44 size and the Pro Tour now comes in three different sizes of 133×41, 136×41, and 139×41. For construction, the ProTour, Bulldozer, and Nuke now have Kevlar strips on top and bottom across heelside edges of board right under the heel and center of foot. This low-weight material is very strong and will help reinforce these freestyle/wakestyle boards while they take an incredible beating.

The carbon models have a slightly decreased stiffness from 2012 for ease in the chop, but still have exceptional pop. We still have 12 different models in the twin-tip range, which makes it very extensive, but with a little research or conversation with an authorized dealer you can be sure that we have the size and type to fit your experience and riding style. CrazyFly pays attention to every model, not just the most popular, and changes are made not to have something different, but only when deemed an improvement.

Photo Michal Bukovcak

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

For freestyle, the Bulldozer is for the rider who is a comfortable intermediate rider looking to start unhooking and progress with bigger load and pop. It is a stiffer board than most in the lineup and forces you to learn how to load and pop hard with the stiffness to get the most out of the board and enjoy it. For a lighter rider who rides aggressively but not super hardcore or a freestyle rider who wants a handle on their board, this is the better choice. The Pro Tour is the competition level board that came from an older design that was a regular production model but made to the specifications of world-class competition level riders. For 2013 the full top and bottom layup of Spread Tow carbon fiber helps thin the layups for lightness while maintaining full strength in a more perfect weave. The smooth and consistent response you get from this layup combined with the incredible pop you get from the center of the board while still having flexible tips and the unique double-velcro strap bindings on a new and improved Pro Comp Pad system and lack of a handle make the Pro Tour the top board of choice for the advanced freestyle-dedicated rider.

For freeride, the Allround is exactly as the name states. For beginners to intermediates and beyond it’s an easy board for all general conditions. The Shox Custom is a bit more advanced having the benefits of a double-concave bottom, slightly more aggressive rocker, and stiffer center for great pop, but still overall is a more flexible board than the carbon fiber models with great upwind ability. It’s ideal for freeride-dedicated riders into advanced levels of riding. The Girls board is much like the Allround in terms of riding characteristics and has good flex for lighter-weight riders and comes in smaller sizes and more female-friendly colors and designs.

2013 CRAZYFLY BOARDS
Board Name Sizes Type Target Date Available
Raptor Pro 127×38, 127×40, 132×39, 132×41, 132×42, 137×41, 137×43, 140cm Twin Tip Advanced freeride, intermediate-advanced freestyle Now
Raptor LTD 132, 136, 140cm Twin Tip Intermediate-Advanced freeride/freestyle, chop Now
Pro Tour 133, 136, 139cm Twin Tip Advanced freestyle Now
Shox Custom 132, 133, 136cm Twin Tip Progressive beginner-advanced freeride Now
Allround 135, 138×40, 138×43, 145×41, 145×44, 145x48cm Twin Tip Beginner-upper intermediate freeride Now
Nuke 134, 137, 140cm Twin Tip Wakestyle Now
Bulldozer 130, 135, 140cm Twin Tip Progressive intermediate freestyle/wakestyle Now
Cruiser Pro 135, 145×44, 145x48cm Twin Tip Intermediate-advanced light wind Now
Cruiser LW 154cm Twin Tip General light wind or school Now
Girls 127, 132, 135cm Twin Tip Freeride for lighter weights/women Now
Girls Pro 132cm Twin Tip Advanced freeride/freestyle for lighter weights/women Now
Wave Taurin 5’8″,Takii 6’0″,Thunder 6’2″ Surf Surf (straps or strapless) Dec. 2012
Skim 135cm Skimboard Skim/KiteSkim (strapless with fins) Now

For freeride/freestyle the Raptor Pro has been the king crossover and most sold board in the CrazyFly lineup for years. Its construction and features allow it to work really well in about any condition including heavy chop and waves while being very light weight and very nimble. It feels loose and ultra-maneuverable but with great speed, edging, and load-and-pop abilities. The Raptor Pro is for that Intermediate to advanced rider who wants a fast, smooth, responsive board that works in a variety of conditions (which describes a lot of riders out there).

The Raptor LTD is the same general shape and rocker line to work in similar conditions, but has a double-concave bottom with extending sides (making it more like a quadruple concave) rather than single concave, which allows for splash-free riding, softer landings, better upwind ability, straighter tracking, and a little more “sticky” feeling to the water than the Raptor Pro. Its target is the same type of rider as the Raptor Pro, but for someone who wants a little more upwind ability, stability in landings and edging, and broader wind range than the Raptor Pro. The Girls Pro is the same rocker and shape as the Raptor Pro but in a lighter layup for more flexibility for lighter weight riders.

For light wind, the Cruiser Pro has been very popular for years all over North America from the Florida Keys to Canadian rivers and lakes. Compared to many other light-wind specific boards out there, the Cruiser Pro is much thinner and lighter (partly due to its heel-side carbon fiber layup), and its very thin tips allow for much smoother riding in choppy conditions.

I hear all the time how amazed people are that they can actually ride a light wind board that shoots upwind and still jump or ride toe side or ride in various conditions with ease. The 135×46 is the smaller travel size for light wind. The Cruiser LW is the longer “dog-bone” board geared towards those looking to just get out and cruise in light conditions and go upwind with ease, thanks to it’s very long straight edge and asymmetrical fin setup.

For wakestyle, the Nuke is designed to only be ridden with boots (inserts use 6” spacing, and won’t take CrazyFly’s regular pads with their 6 ¼” spacing), and can’t take a handle. It has more pop than almost any wakestyle board out there, but the 1cm fins and continuous rocker (it’s the only board in the line-up with continuous rocker) allow it to excel at the wake park as well.

Finally, the Skim board is not a twin tip, but not a surfboard either, so I’ll list it here. It’s a strapless skim board with the options to ride fin-less or with three fins. It’s nice in lighter winds, though not big enough to be a light-wind dedicated board. The CrazyFly Skim is simply a lower-cost, really fun alternative to twin tips and is perfect in places the waves aren’t great but you want some directional type strapless riding.

What are the differences between the Raptor Pro, Raptor Pro LTD, and Pro Tour Models?

This is answered in more detail above as to who would enjoy these more based on riding style, so I’ll stick to board differences. All are laid up in carbon fiber, however the Raptor LTD is laid up 100% top and bottom in Nano carbon, the Raptor Pro is 90% carbon with both Nano-Weave and Uni-Directional carbon in different places (and just fiberglass in a couple key spots) for maximum flex/pop/stiffness patterns at different places throughout the board, and the Pro Tour is laid up mostly with Spread-Tow carbon (wider weaves) for thinner stretch over the surface and Kevlar in key heel-side strips for extra reinforcement in spots it needs it most.

Carbon fiber construction makes these all very light weight and similar in responsiveness and gives a unified feeling of the board. All these boards have very similar rockers with aggressive curve up to the tips for great ease of riding through chop or flat water, however only the Pro Tour and Raptor Pro have a single-concave bottom with a multi-concave bottom on the LTD.

Also, all three boards have wider stance options than most of the CF lineup for more stability in landing aggressive moves. The Pro Tour is unique in that it has no handle inserts and it’s the only CrazyFly board with the double-velcro Pro Comp pad/strap system which gives a very locked-in feeling of the foot so that you get the support and lock of bindings with the ability to kick out. The Pro Tour is also the stiffest CrazyFly board, about 35% stiffer than the Raptor Pro or Raptor LTD and more than double the stiffness of some of the Allround sizes. That means huge competition-level pop.

Photo Michal Bukovcak

What are the differences between the Girls and Girls Pro? What is special about these boards that make them girl-specific?

The main things that make them girl-specific are the light layup for good flex under lighter weights, coming stock with small size straps, and board sizes only in smaller ranges (127-135cm), though they do have some sparkly glitter on them for that little bit of shine most women like. The Girls board has a slightly flatter rocker, no concave on bottom, full fiber-glass layup, and more flex in all sizes. By contrast, the Girls Pro has a more aggressive rocker (like Raptor Pro), single-concave bottom, carbon-fiber reinforcements for better flex/pop patterns, and is stiffer overall for aggressive riding. The Girls Pro is geared towards high-performance freestyle riding and only comes in one size.

What are the major differences between the carbon and non-carbon boards in terms of how they perform on the water?

We get questions about this all the time, and the answer is almost everything. Carbon makes boards faster, stronger, and lighter than fiberglass but doesn’t automatically increase your upwind ability. What it does do is change the way it feels when you ride. In over 15 years working with carbon fiber CrazyFly has learned to unleash its incredible responsive properties that give it very high strength in tension and high stiffness in flexion.

What this means on the water is when you edge hard or load up before a jump, what you push and give into the board you will get back when that kinetic energy is released. You never feel a mushy or floppy response and that means smoother, faster carving and loads of responsive pop in jumps, allowing you to push all your riding limits more than glass alone allows.

What advantages does operating your own factory offer CrazyFly?

Quite simply the biggest advantage any brand has in manufacturing is precisely controlling its production versus demand ratio. Owning our own factory means we’re never unable to make CrazyFly boards because the machines are tied up making other brands. It means if we sold ten to one Girls boards to Raptors this year and that ratio reverses, we’re ready.

We haven’t made overstock of anything at anytime because we can manufacture as demand allows through the year. It means we don’t have to do massive closeouts and lose at the end of the year if something didn’t sell. And last but not least it means we are able to make changes to production designs, rockers, materials, anything at all anytime if needed. Luckily this is almost never needed, but it’s very handy when we get a new design idea and want to make a prototype immediately.

What type of rider is each of the surfboards designed for?

The Taurin is the 5’8” quad-fin and is ideal for smaller waves and slop or as a light wind alternative in chop. The Takii 6’0” is essentially the same board in a bigger size and is designed for either medium sized waves or heavier riders (over 200 lbs.) in smaller waves. The Thunder is a 6’2” thruster setup designed for bigger, longer-lasting waves where you have a true lip to hit and especially nice long surfing on long closeouts.

They all come with straps and can be ridden with straps or strapless and the construction means they can take a good beating in the waves, catch big airs, and keep on going. The wave boards have a new hand-laid bamboo sandwich construction with vacuum production, allowing the rails to be laid with overlapping fiberglass, making them extremely strong. They also feature top-quality epoxy fins in Future boxes (made in the USA) for long-lasting great performance.

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

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