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2014 Buyer’s Guide: Blade

Photo Asaf Rahamim

Photo Asaf Rahamim

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Get full 2014 gear info from 28 brands in the TKB 2014 Buyer’s Guide.

Blade takes a rider-centric approach to product development over one dedicated to specific styles like new school, freeride, wave, and all-around because they believe that styles are often too broad and don’t accurately capture who people are as riders. For 2014 Blade is particularly excited about the newest addition to their product line, the Mist. The Trigger kite was also refined as well as their control bar. We caught up with Blade’s Yoav Barlev to get the full picture of what we can expect from the 2014 product line.

Blade has a new kite for 2014, the Mist. Where does this kite fit in your product mix?
The Mist is something completely different from anything we’ve released in the past. It’s targeted to the intermediate and advanced kiter looking to bring their jumping skills to the next level. Most of us strive to become a better rider with each and every session on the water! If you want to pull bigger kiteloops, land blind, learn handle pass tricks, and just be a better unhooked rider, then this is the kite for you. Helping kiteboarders easily learn and tweak new tricks is at the core of the design of the Mist.

Blade2014-Mist-Packshot-A-01R

The new Mist features a super short bridle and drastically curved wingtips. How do these design features affect performance?
For a kite like the Mist, direct handling is a crucial feature. Having a mini bridle system gives the rider direct handling and at the same time strong support for the LE to maintain its powerful profile. With the unique wingtip design the kite’s turning characteristics are generated at the wingtip, helping produce a lot of potential power but also extreme control to help with smooth landings.

What are the major differences between the new Mist and the Trigger?
These are two completely different kites. The Trigger is an all-around progression kite. It’s a super fun kite best for dynamic riders who have a versatile riding style. Kiters who like freeriding, shredding in the waves, boosting jumps, and riding in all conditions will most appreciate the Trigger. The Mist is more aimed at riders who are developing their unhooked tricks and big kiteloops and those who like edging hard for explosive pop.

Blade2014-Trigger-Packshot-A-01R

Were any changes made to the Trigger?
Now in its sixth generation, we added an 8m size to the line to round out the sizes and refined the LE on the 12-14m range for improved low end grunt. We also added more stability to the smaller sizes so they handle gusty wind conditions even better than before.

Now in its third year, the Fat Lady has a solid following among light wind kiters. What makes this kite stand apart from the competition and were any changes made to it for the new model year?
The Fat Lady has definitely made its mark in the light wind category. What makes this kite exceptional is its responsiveness and quick turning ability. This is mainly due to the 3-strut design, super thin LE, and unique wingtip design. People are always amazed by how much fun a light wind kite can be. There’s no sluggish feeling. On the Fat Lady you can still throw down at least 80% of the same tricks you can on a 10m kite!

Blade2014-FatLady-Packshot-A-01R

The Uni Bar was launched in 2013 and has received some tweaks for 2014. What changed?
In terms of functionality we were very happy with the 2013 design, so we did not change a thing except for a new stopper ball. Still, if you compare the new model and old one, many small changes can be noticed. For example, the construction process of the grip pad is much cleaner, as well as an added unique heat treatment process called T6. This process creates a stronger bond between the aluminum molecules and also gives the bar a very smooth finish. You can also see some differences in the swivel body, which helps flag the kite in lighter conditions, helping people self-land.

Blade2014-Unibar-Packshot-A-01R

When changing the adjustable throw, does it affect anything else other than just moving the depower closer or further away for personal comfort?
This is a common misconception, but adjusting the bar throw on the Uni Bar (moving the clam cleat up or down) does nothing to the overall depower of the system. You either move the clam cleat higher to have more bar throw or down to have less bar throw. The overall length of the depower line never changes. This feature gives the rider an added benefit of having a system that’s catered specifically for their riding style. We’ve seen a lot of different styles, but generally speaking wave riders like having longer bar throws and freestyle riders prefer having short bar throws. It takes just seconds to change the bar throw, so you can easily try different settings in one session to find what you prefer.

Photo Moshiko Levy

Photo Moshiko Levy

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Other than performance, a common feature of our kites that gets overlooked is the construction. I can say with confidence that in terms of durability and material strength our kites are some of the best built kites on the market. The attention to detail is outstanding. Whenever you get the chance to see a Blade kite on the beach, I ask you to compare it to our competitors. You will be able to see for yourself the amount of reinforcements in comparison to other brands.

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