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2013 Buyer’s Guide: Litewave Designs

Photo Stephan Kleinlein

Visit Litewave Designs for more info.

As one of kiteboarding’s first board companies, Litewave Designs has been passionate about the sport since 1998. Owner and designer Dave Turner is excited to introduce three entirely new board shapes to his 2013 line up: The CarbonKICK, the CarbonWING, and the DV8 kite surfboard. We managed to get Dave to answer our questions about his new boards before his trip to Asia to do a quality control check on the first run on his 2013 twin tips.

Your new twin tip board, the CarbonKICK, obviously has carbon in it. How does carbon help a board’s performance?

Carbon has a higher strength to weight ratio than fiberglass. In general, if you substitute a layer of glass with a layer of carbon, you can get a lighter board for the same strength. Another good property of carbon fiber is its fatigue resistance after prolonged flex/reflex and the quicker snap back to original position.

This is what gives you the pop feeling in a carbon board. Of course there are many variables. We use a composite of fiberglass, carbon, wood, and epoxy in many different weaves to achieve the best board possible.

2013 CarbonKick

What’s the difference between the new TeXtreme carbon you are using versus the regular carbon used in most boards today?

TeXtreme is a relatively new innovation in composite technology. With standard carbon, a round fiber is woven into a cloth to be used in lamination. With TeXtreme, that round fiber is spread out flat like a ribbon on a Christmas gift and then these carbon ribbons are interwoven into a cloth. This makes the weave flatter.

The fibers in TeXtreme make less of a 90° corner on each weave and thereby are less crimped in the final cloth. The flatter/straighter weave lessens the amount of epoxy entrapped and also makes for a straighter fiber that is stronger in tensile strength. Therefore it is lighter and stronger – and more expensive!

2013 LITEWAVE BOARDS
Board Name Sizes Type Target Date Available
CarbonKICK 132, 135, 139, 144cm Twin tip Freestyle, chop, waves, all-around Dec. 2013
Wing 146, 153, 161cm Light Wind Performance Light wind freestyle, beginner Dec. 2013
CarbonWING 146, 153, 161cm Light Wind Performance Light wind freestyle, beginner Spring 2013
DV8 5’7″, 6’1″ Surf/Freestyle Onshore junky surf, directional freestyle Now
Quad-Surf 5’8″ Surf Hardcore down-the-line surf Now

You tweaked your light wind board, the Wing. What will previous riders notice the most?

The Wing has been such an amazing success that we didn’t want to change much, but demand from the techie-crowd has driven us to make a carbon version that will have about the same design characteristics while being lighter. The CarbonWING will be available in Spring2013. This lighter CarbonWING will be the ultimate high tech light wind machine. We will keep the original Wing also as a more affordable alternative.

2013 Litewave Wing

All your twin tip boards come with Litewave FLS Sandal Bindings. What’s so special about the bindings which makes them patent pending?

The Foot Lock System (FLS) is an idea I had a couple of years ago after struggling to put on regular straps/pads. The FLS makes it easier to mount because the strap attaches to the pad before you screw it down to the board, thereby putting no tension or pressure on the screw. The benefit you will feel while riding is due to the fact that the strap is attached in each corner of this massively wide strap. A regular strap with two points of attachment will rock forward as you go toeside.

The FLS will not rock forward. All of the pressure from your leg to the strap directly translates to the edge of the board. I compare it to having a pair of custom fit ski boots: You get a way more powerful edging response. The third main advantage is the size variation. The S/M will go from USA Men’s 5-11 and the L/XL from 9-14 – they offer a big range.

Your new surfboard, the DV8 is a thruster. Besides having three fins versus the four found on your Quad Surf model, how else does it differ in construction, performance, and feel?

The DV8 is a completely new concept in terms of a kitesurf board construction. We use a wood core like our twin tips to achieve a much thinner center section, but build up the rails to about 1.5″ thick so that they can be shaped like a surfboard. The rails are round in front and sharp in the back by the fins.

The raised rail also makes a great grab handle. By having the majority of the board about 3/8″ thick as opposed to 2″ or so on a regular surfboard, the DV8 has flex. Flex makes it so much smoother in chop and makes for some really fun freestyle moves like ollies. With the fully padded flat deck, the DV8 is very stable which makes jibing and tacking a lot easier. This is an ego board for sure. I like to ride it with wakeskate shoes strapless. With the shoes you can shuvit harder and edge harder. Try it!

Litewave DV8

You were one of the first companies to offer a Golf Travel Bag. Do they still work or have the airlines caught on?

It really depends on the ticket agent you get. In Hawaii they are tougher than other locations that rarely see surf toys. A warm smile, friendly conversation, and a box of chocolates never hurts either! The Litewave Golf LTD is made a little wider than many bags to accommodate today’s wider boards. The bag only weighs 7.5lbs so you’ve got 42.5lbs of gear you can put in. It will comfortably hold two boards and two kites while staying under the weight limit.

Photo courtesy Litewave

How does the Slam Vest fit into the mix of accessories?

The Litewave Slam Vest is unique like most Litewave Designs products. It has a built in bar pad that also acts to hold the vest down to your harness. The vest is locked in and will never ride up. The segmented ‘muscular’ panels also provide flotation, though this is not considered a life jacket nor is it Coast Guard approved. However, it is approved by many kite schools and aspiring kite loopers.

Any plans for a race board from Litewave?

Nothing on the drawing board yet, but I’m not ruling it out.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Litewave has been in business since 1998 and has sold about 17,000 kiteboards so far. We’re in this for the long haul!

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

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