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After growing up in the UK, Mark Shinn moved to the Canary Islands to pursue a windsurfing career. He discovered kiteboarding in 1999 and quickly rose to the top, competing on the circuit until 2005 when he refocused his efforts to start his own board company. Now in its second year of distribution in North America, Mark unveils what’s coming down the line from Shinn.
Shinn releases products when ready and doesn’t pay attention to traditional release schedules. How is a customer to know when a next generation or new product might be coming out?
We release products depending on the season but not in one release. The Freestyle boards are released in late summer (August) and the Freeride range in the spring. This follows the buying patterns we see for each of these products but also allows our R&D team to fully focus their efforts on one product type at a time.
It’s very hard to develop freestyle and freeride boards at the same time as the requirements are very different and swapping between the two can give misleading test results.
The Monk has traditionally been Shinn’s best selling board. For 2013, Shinn has introduced the Monk Forever. What changes were made to the board and what will previous riders notice the most?
The Monk Forever is an evolution of the Monk. I worked hard to refine the flex of the board in the tip and tail so that when fully flexed the pattern of the flex was still constant. This made the board turn better and ride softer which in turn let me refine the outline in the tail area to give more grip. The end result is the smooth ride and constant control the Monk is famous for but with more grip than before and more low wind range performance.
In 2012, the Supershinn board integrated Hydro-Flo technology in its construction. How did this affect the board’s performance and what changes were made to the new Supershinn?
The tail conduits served to improve pop through reducing lateral flex. I also increased the rocker around the fin area allowing for harder carving into the pop. Redirecting the water flow meant smaller fins could produce the same grip as larger ones. For 2013 I applied the same tweaks to the tip and tail flex as I did for the Monk Forever but did not adjust the outline.
The end result is a smaller difference than that seen in the Monk Forever however the better pop and light wind performance are there all the same.
|2013 SHINN BOARDS|
|Board Name||Sizes||Type||Target||Date Available|
|The Monk Forever||128, 130, 132, 134, 136cm||Twin Tip||Crossover/freeride||Now|
|The New Supershinn||134, 135, 136, 137cm||Twin Tip||Freestyle/wakestyle||Now|
|Toyboy||126, 128, 130cm||Twin Tip||Crossover/womens||Now|
|The Street||133, 135, 137cm||Twin Tip||Wakestyle/freestyle||Now|
|King George III||144, 146cm||Twin Tip||Freestyle/heavier rider/light wind||Now|
|Gintronic||132, 134, 136, 138cm||Twin Tip||Freeride/freestyle/beginner||Now|
|Dundee||129, 131, 133, 135cm||Twin Tip||Freeride||Now|
What is the Street board and where does it fit in Shinn’s product mix? How does it differ from the Supershinn and Monk Forever?
The Street fits between the Monk and Supershinn. It has less tail surface area than the Supershinn and features our EP rail for easier pop. This board really suits very aggressive riders that want the control of the Monk yet want more pop. It excels in boots too due to the changes in the overall flex.
The Dundee and Gintronic boards are classified in the freeride category. Were any changes made to the boards for 2013 and how do they differ?
The 2013 Freeride range will not be released until Easter next year and the R&D is ongoing. You can expect the same changes to their flex profiles as were made to the Monk Forever. I am
working to make this board even better for carving and general freeriding applications.
The King George boards are for big riders. Is this board built off a template of an existing board? Why not just offer big boy sizes in your existing board line up?
We do offer 44 cm wide versions of all our boards but simply scaling up a board doesn’t make it good in light winds. A dedicated planing board, either for light winds or bigger riders, has by its nature some compromises. I don’t try to make this board work in 35 knots of wind – it’s zone is 8 to 20 knots.
The larger the range of conditions a board has to work in the more compromises you have to make at either end of the scale (either the light wind performance or the high end control). The King Geroge is designed to work at the lower end of the range and yet still be fun to ride. Riders that want outright light wind performance should look to a race board but if you want to ride a twin tip in as light as wind as you can, it should at least be fun!
The Capri GT was rolled out in 2012. Can we expect to see any more changes on this model in 2013?
The Capri GT was a special project. My partner and I both enjoy alpine snowboarding and we wanted to make a kiteboard that carved as hard on the rail as a slalom snowboard. It was a fun project but somewhat limited in appeal. There was never the intention to make a continuing product line with this range.
How about more kite surfboards?
I’ve been very disappointed by the construction quality and attention to detail of all the Far East factories we have produced samples in until now. Our boards are made to very fine details and the quality of the surfboards has to match that of the twin tips. We are now working on a new technology and hope to have surfboards again very soon.
Rumor has it that a new wakestyle/park board is in the works. Can you share a bit of info with us?
There is indeed a project in the works but you’ll have to wait until next year to see it!
Any changes to the foot pad and strap system?
This year has seen the introduction of the Sneaker X system. The pads retain the memory foam technology allowing it to shape itself to your foot and where you stand on it but has a new top surface to add extra grip and still more feeling for the board through your feet. The Sneaker X strap now has adjustable stance angles available and moves to a buckle fastening system over the webbing we had before.
The buckle makes adjustment easier and suffers less from creep over usage. The Sneaker X remains the lightest system on the market which when added to our already light boards makes for an unparalleled feeling on the water and in the air.
Want 185 pages of 2013 kiteboarding gear info on 28 brands? Check out the TKB 2013 Buyer’s Guide.