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Get full 2014 gear info from 28 brands in the TKB 2014 Buyer’s Guide.
For 2014 the Best kite line has received a big update including the addition of the Extract (Ruben Lenten’s kite) and the new Twist Lock valve to make inflating and deflating your kite much easier. Best’s Peter Stiewe answered our questions about the 2014 kites and Franz Schitzhofer told us what we can expect from the 2014 Best board line.
It looks like the kites received a big update for 2014. What are some of the biggest changes compared to 2013?
The biggest change has to be the input from the new team riders and how that has helped shape the design of the kites. We have been able to unleash the best characteristics for each kite to perform the way they are meant to. Also, we introduced our new patent-pending Twist Lock valve on our EZ-Pump kites this year allowing you to pump less and ride more.
Briefly describe the target rider for each of the 2014 kites.
The TS is designed for advanced riders looking to upgrade from a freeride kite to a more performance orientated product. It’s for all-arounders who want a kite that performs for all riding styles. Any rider pushing their limits should look to the TS. The GP is for advanced riders looking for the ultimate freestyle kite. It’s for wakestyle riders who go fully committed into every low level trick. Basically the GP is for any kiter who wants to ride a competition level C-kite designed and tested by the world’s best riders.
The Cabo is designed for surfers looking for a pure performance wave kite. The Cabo is perfect for freeriders who are looking to push themselves and develop their skills in the waves and of course for experienced wave riders looking for a better-built wave kite that comes with a lifetime guarantee.
The Kahoona+ and Kahoona are for experienced riders looking for a reliable and durable freeride kite. It’s also perfect for beginners looking for an easy freeride kite with predictable safety, relaunch, and depower. The ease-of-use and all-around performance make the Kahoona an insane freeride kite with traits we’ve refined through six generations. The delta shape helps the Kahoona relaunch almost automatically while the quad strut layout provides easily accessible power in low wind speeds. It also remains perfect for kiters who value ease of use, safety, and accessible depower.
The newest kite in the line is the Extract, Ruben Lenten’s rocket ship. The Extract is for any kiter who wants the ultimate megalooping, jumping, and extreme trick kite. It’s for riders who demand a kite that is 100% reliable in any conditions. It’s a jaw dropping, eye popping, extreme performance 4-line C-kite for riders with no limits.
How should a progressive rider decide between the TS and GP?
That’s actually a pretty simple choice. The GP is a dedicated competition freestyle kite. The TS is a high performance crossover kite. If you are training for freestyle competition or all you do is freestyle and wakestyle tricks then the GP is the perfect choice. It will give you the pop, power, and control that you need to learn how to stomp your double passes.
If your riding is concentrated on freestyle and wakestyle but you like to mix it up with a bit of surfing and some free riding then the TS is the perfect choice. The TS has more accessible performance and each kite has a broader wind range than the GP. For 90% of riders the TS is the obvious choice if they want a high performance kite that covers all riding styles.
What makes the Cabo a wave-specific kite? Can it be used for other types of riding?
The Cabo is a three strut kite, so it’s lightweight, has reduced drag, and has a profile that allows it to sit deep in the window. It’s shaped so that it doesn’t get back winded which allows you to ride at it when you are on the wave without it dropping. It’s super stable, so once you are on the wave you can forget about the kite. It will drift back with you as you concentrate on finding your perfect line.
The Cabo is also packed with durability features and uses our Double Core RS canopy material so it’s sure to be tough enough to take a pounding. Sure, you could use the Cabo for some freeriding and it is super stable as a beginner kite, but that’s missing the point. The Cabo is all about delivering the best experience in the surf and allowing you to charge every wave.
What are the differences between the Kahoona and Kahoona+?
The Kahoona+ and Kahoona are the same kite in terms of design, shaping, and materials. The difference is that the Kahoona+ is fitted with our new Twist Lock LE valve and EZ-Pump inflation system while the Kahoona uses a standard inflation system with valves on each strut.
New for this year is the Extract. Can you tell us more about it?
The Extract is Ruben’s kite. It’s a brand new design with a Cuben Fiber leading edge and Twister Tech. Ruben and the R&D team designed the Extract for riders who go huge. If you are throwing megaloops, sick jumps, and crazy stunts then the Extract is built for you. In many ways it is the successor to the Nemesis HP but it’s also more than that. It’s not just a big air kite like the HP was. It’s a serious freestyle kite as well. It’s built tough enough to withstand the way Ruben rides. There’s not really much more to say about it. Riders who need this kite know who they are.
There are three different bars for 2014. What are the differences between them?
The RP-Bar is our 4-line bar complete with 23m lines. It’s designed to be used with any four line kite. It’s built to be easy to use, is packed with advanced product features, and uses our Pro-Cuff+ QR. This season it comes with a micro leash that attaches to the spreader bar on your harness. The GP-Bar is our five line C-kite bar and is designed to be used with the GP. It features the same QR and clam cleat depower setup as the RP-Bar but uses a bombproof braided 8mm thick depower line and comes with a full length handlepass leash and 20m lines.
The Extract bar combines features from both bars. It’s a 4-line C-kite bar and uses the bombproof braided 8mm depower line from the GP-Bar and the front line leash from the RP-Bar. It’s grippier and better padded than the RP-Bar and built as tough as the GP-Bar, complete with strongest heavy duty 20m lines on the market.
The Extract bar shown at Surf Expo had no 100% depower safety. Best is bound to get some negative reactions because of this. Why offer a bar with no safety system?
The bar we showed at Surf Expo was Ruben’s personal bar. He prefers to ride with just the suicide leash. The production Extract bar uses the same 100% front line safety as the RP-Bar but uses the 8mm depower rope from the GP-Bar. It’s plenty safe enough.
Any big changes to the twin tip line for 2014?
Yes, we’re the first company to introduce basalt fiber technology into our boards. Basalt fiber is lighter and stronger than fiberglass and provides more progressive dampening than carbon. It allows us to reduce weight and provide a level of dampening and flex control that is unmatched. All of our twin tips are now exclusively made with pre-preg materials. There’s no wet layup at all allowing us to save up to 700 g in weight over previous year boards. They are the lightest, strongest, and most technically advanced boards we can currently make.
How should progressive riders decide between the Profanity and Pro-Creator?
There’s quite a bit of overlap between these two boards. Ultimately the Profanity favors the pure wakestyle rider who spends all their time in the park on rails, sliders, and throwing low level tricks. If you ride exclusively in boots then the Profanity might be the one to go for. The Pro-Creator is more of an all around board. It’s built to take boots and straps and it’s a pure freestyle tool. It’s a little easier to charge upwind on in the competition zone and it carries a little more flex to make the best of choppy conditions. Both are excellent boards for wakestyle and freestyle. Which you prefer will come down to personal taste.
What types of riders are the Armada and Spark Plug made for?
The Armada is the board that most people should be riding. It’s a refined performance freeride and new school twin tip. If you have an above average skill level and are constantly progressing your riding then the Armada is the board for you. There are enough sizes in the lineup to suit almost any rider and it’s the perfect twin tip for mixing it up. The Spark plug has a softer flex pattern than the Armada and it’s a little less demanding with regards to control. It’s more forgiving, planes early, and is soft enough to ride all day long. If you are coming into the sport or want an easier board to ride then the Spark Plug is the one.
What makes the KB4girls a woman-specific board?
Each season the KB4Girls is refined in response to the feedback we receive from hundreds of participants at the KB4Girls events run by Kristin Boese all around the world. Female riders need different things in a board than their male counterparts. They prefer a lighter board with a softer flex pattern that is more suited to their weight. They also need a board with progressive dampening rather than an overly quick rebound.
This season we’ve been able to optimize the flex and dampening of the KB4Girls with the addition of our basalt fiber technology. It has also helped the KB4Girls board shed a few hundred grams of weight as well. The Kb4Girls uses a slightly narrower stance that female riders prefer and we offset the inserts slightly towards the heel edge to help you edge the board more easily.
Have the straps/pads been updated for 2014?
We’ve been working hard on perfecting a new mounting plate system for the 2014 Mercury and Prime strap and pad combos. It has a taken a little longer than we thought to make it perfect, but it has been worth the wait. The new Padlock strap mounting system assembles in seconds and fits together without any additional hardware. You just slide the straps into slots on the footplate and pull them backwards to lock them in place. The Mercury strap and pad combo takes everything we’ve learned about riding comfort and board control over the past decade. We’ve combined support, comfort, and infinite adjustability to create a strap and pad combo that’s as comfortable as your favorite sneakers.
The Mercury combo is our top end strap and pad package. It uses a reinforced molded footplate with micro-adjustable stance angle. It’s fitted with our Sneaker Fit double strap, so you can dial in exactly the right tension across your toes and the bridge of your foot to give you the perfect fit. The Mercury uses our multi-density EVA foot bed and has anatomic arch support, metatarsal button, and toe ramp to keep you riding in comfort all day long. The Prime combo is a pared down version of the Mercury for the price conscious rider and comes with a single adjustable foot strap and micro-adjustable stance angle. It uses the Padlock mounting system just like the Mercury giving you the ultimate in convenience and adjustability.