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AXIS was a new company in 2013 and for 2014 is releasing an expanded and retuned line of twin tip and directional kiteboards. Board designer Adrian Roper has been shaping boards and working with composite materials for longer than kiteboarding has been recognized as a sport. He answered our questions about the 2014 AXIS product line.
The 2014 AXIS Kiteboarding product line has many new offerings. Let’s start with the Freeride Program. New for this year is the AXIS Liberty, which is a price-point model. How is it different than the Inferno?
The Liberty has a flat base and flat deck with a tapered rail. It is a full glass construction with a wood core, targeting the price conscious kiter who is looking for a great priced board or a first board to grow into. While it’s a budget board it carries many elements of our higher end models.
For example, we have included the rocker and outline ideas from our other models so it does ride very nicely. The accessories are also the same as our higher end models. The 2014 Inferno has a 3D CNC cut core and a lighter carbon/glass laminate. It has an improved outline and rocker as well as lighter weight. The Inferno targets the all around kiter who is looking for a more aggressive freeride board which rides nicer and has better pop and response on the water.
Have there been any large construction changes on the twin tips from 2013 to 2014?
There have been a number of improvements on the 2014 product line. All the 2014 AXIS boards have a softer flex compared to 2013. Also the outlines have changed as we fine tuned each size and model to the ideal length and width. After a lengthy R&D process we have also updated the rocker lines for most of our boards so each one rides exactly as you would expect. We focused on response, performance, and smoothness.
Another new board from AXIS this year is the NuSkOoL. What type of rider is this board meant for?
The 2014 NuSkOoL is a board that suits younger freestyle riders. It has more pop and a less complicated base shape. That said it is still a great all around ride for more advanced riders.
Younger or lighter riders can use the NuSkOol with either the included 2014 Traction System pads/straps or boots for maximum freestyle support.
Other than size, what makes the 2014 Patrol and Ultra light-wind specific boards? How are these boards different?
This season the Patrol and Ultra are designed specifically to for the ultimate light wind performance. While both the Patrol and Ultra are designed with light wind in mind, their unique outlines, rocker lines, and shapes make them the ideal boards to push your freestyle limits on even in light conditions.
This is a direction that many of our customers enjoyed in the 2013 Patrol, and for 2014 we expanded the idea into two different sizes and two different constructions. The 2014 Patrol is a carbon/glass board and the Ultra is a full carbon version. The Ultra is probably the lightest board of its class with more pop and a better low end.
Are there differences between the Vanguard and Limited other than construction?
The 2014 Vanguard and Limited share the same molds so the base shape and deck flow (taper) are the same. The outlines are similar but the sizing is different. We really worked the sizes between the 132 and 140 to provide the perfect board size for every size rider. The thicknesses are different as the Limited needs to be thinner to get a similar flex to the Vanguard.
A full carbon board can be too stiff if you do not tune the flex correctly. As a result both the Vanguard and the Limited are incredible freestyle machines with the Limited being a bit snappier and lighter.
Can you describe the bottom shape of the Vanguard and Limited? What benefits does this shape offer the rider?
The quad channel design on the Limited, Vanguard, and the rest of our quad channel board line breaks up chop and as a result provides a much smoother ride. The channels also help with hard, fast landings as they help the rider get back on their edge easily. It’s an aggressive design that delivers great results in both smoothness and ride performance.
How are the straps and pads different this year?
The AXIS Traction System pads and straps are all new for this season. Starting with the pad, it has a stable EVA frame with a soft yellow EVA insert. Under the heel there is a 4mm thick Poron XRD insert to absorb impact loads. AXIS is the first company to use Poron XRD in the watersports market, showing our focus on innovation and advanced materials and design.
We have two PU strap support sticks that come out of the base plate to provide a stable connection to the straps. Our standard straps (STD model) use two Velcro straps for adjustment and come in two sizes (XS-L or M-XL). We also have a four strap pro version (PRO model) that really allows you to fit the strap and control the flex in the strap to provide a more locked in feel.
How is The Parker Pro different than the other models in the line?
For 2014 AXIS has introduced a new series of wakestyle and cable hybrid models: the Bootleg 138, Parker Pro 140, and Tranq 141. They are designed for aggressive wakestyle and park riding and the boards have a tough Petex base and double inserts to hold down the bindings.
The three models also range in flex from softer to stiffer. We have worked with Billy Parker since the beginning of AXIS and the Parker Pro is the outcome of multiple prototypes and shapes. The TRANQ is the outcome of our tight collaboration with Alex Lewis-Hughes and his unique needs as a wakestyle and cable rider. The Bootleg is similar to the Parker Pro in a smaller size.
How is the AXIS New Wave different from a more traditional surfboard?
The New Wave is a very special board. It has a durable full PVC sheet foam core with Paulownia wood rails. It is CNC cut and infusion laminated on a full mold that also molds the rails to ensure the shape and tuck in the rails is the same each time. It has a lower center of gravity and more flex to provide a very easy ride. The full EVA deck also gives great grip.
We have found riders that come from twin tips find the New Wave a very easy surfboard to ride. It’s also great for unstrapped freestyle with the full grab rail and super tough construction.
What’s the difference between the two surfboard constructions?
The 2014 AXIS Pure and Pro Wave surfboards are made from injection molded EPS foam with a full wrap 3mm thick PVC sandwich. This produces a tough yet light construction but is very expensive to build. The AXIS Wood Oak series are all CNC cut with a thin wood veneer top and bottom. It offers a cool look and the wood adds a lot of toughness to the board. The flex feels nice and we can offer a wider range of models at more competitive prices.
This year you are offering a twin tip for wave riding. What makes this board special?
The 2014 Twin Wave has tucked surfboard-style rails in the center tapering to normal twin tip rails in the back. It is a symmetrical board but is supplied with one 80mm and two 70mm surf style fins and two 50mm fins for the nose. It is normally setup as a directional. It carves like no other twin tip and drives all the way through the turn. When ridden with 50mm fins all around it provides a very smooth ride in rough water and is great for old knees.