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2014 Buyer’s Guide: CrazyFly

Photo Cedric Schmidt/Defy Gravity

Photo Cedric Schmidt/Defy Gravity

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

Based in Slovakia, CrazyFly is a family business that started out with humble beginnings. Today the company distributes kites, boards, and accessories to 60 countries and also has their own factory where they produce their boards and bars in house. For 2014 Crazy Fly will introduce two brand new kites, a redesigned Sculp, and an updated Sick Control Bar. Two new board models were also added to the company’s extensive board line. CrazyFly USA’s Brent Regan tells us more about what’s coming for the new model year.

The Sculp has undergone a major update for 2014. What are the most significant changes?
The Sculp received some design changes over the past two years but the 2014 model carries the most dramatic changes. The size range has changed to include a smaller size while removing the two larger sizes to make room for a new light wind kite called the Cruze. The Sculp’s key design goals of smooth power and flight combined with easy handling and depower have been maintained for 2014, but with significant performance enhancements. For one, the overall shape has changed with more swept forward and squared wingtips, improving low-end power and making it even easier to relaunch.

Also, the different shape allows for additional bridle attachment points to increase rigidity in high winds and gusty conditions, giving the 2014 Sculp more stable and consistent performance at the high end. All our kites now use Teijin Technoforce ripstop material for longevity and durability. The Sculp also has Kevlar reinforcements on the leading edge and wingtips for exceptional strength in areas that take a lot of abuse. A lot of attention to detail has gone into the new Sculp, and it’s clear the Sculp is the shining star for performance and all-around use.

Sculp-2014-orange

Can you tell us about the new Cruze kite?
The Cruze is CrazyFly’s first light wind-specific kite, though the concept has been in the works for almost three years. It was designed from concept to completion as a light wind kite. Essential light wind elements were addressed in the design of the new Cruze. Five thin struts maintain the shape in lighter winds and the higher aspect ratio means more forward flying speed to build apparent wind for better upwind and downwind riding in light conditions.

The semi-squared wingtip shape makes relaunching easy and it comes with 24m lines with 3m and 6m extensions. This gives you options for 24m, 27m, 30m, and 33m line lengths all in one package, which will extend the range of the kite and help out on those really light wind days.

Cruze-2014

How does the new Tango fit into the line?
The Tango will make a big splash this year due to its focus on versatility. Small changes can be made on the bridle to accommodate three distinct styles of riding. The Nifty Bridle System allows for a very quick and easy change that affects the dynamics of power, turning speed, and position in the wind window to make the performance more appropriate for wave riding, wakestyle, or freeride/freestyle. It’s as easy and quick as loosening a larkshead knot and moving to another knot.

Whereas the Sculp is primarily a high-performance freeride/freestyle kite, the Tango is really first and foremost a wave kite on one setting (leaving it farther back in the window with a little less power for great drifting), and a wakestyle kite on another setting (leaving it far back in the window ready to load up with lots of power for hard pop off the water). The last setting is for freeride/freestyle, lending it to be more in the middle of the window to get the most out of good power, good upwind and downwind riding, awesome depower, light bar pressure, and good speed.

Tango-2014

Are there any changes to the Sick Bar for 2014?
The focus of the Sick Bar since inception has been safety and simplicity. For 2014 the bar received some very nice tweaks that produced a much cleaner, smoother overall package while ensuring safety. It is still a monocoque full-carbon bar made 100% in Europe with 100% European parts, and it still has a soft EVA foam diamond grip and soft floaty bar ends plus a simple above-the-bar trim system with a clam cleat. New is a lip around the top of the push-away release. It’s always been easy to push away, but the lip helps ensure that even in slippery conditions (such as snowkiting) it’s always very easy to release.

Another change was adding stainless steel lever mechanisms inside the quick-release to reduce the pressure and make it easier to trigger. The quick-release plastic cover is now made of very durable Delrin plastic. Also, the center hole in the bar has been enlarged and shimmed, so in combination with a new tough-coated Dyneema depower line there is a radical reduction in depower line wear and tear. The 2014 bar received an international NF S52-503 certificate for kitesurfing safety systems, meaning it’s passed rigorous guidelines to be one of the safest bars on the market.

Sick-Bar-2014

In 2013 CrazyFly offered 13 different board models and 41 different size options. Are all these boards being carried into the 2014 line?
For 2014 there are now 15 models with 48 different board/size options! There are many different sizes, shapes, and riding styles of people out there, so we must try to truly match the model and size for anyone out there. The board range is large, the size range is large, but our customers are consistently blown away by how good it feels to be on a board that truly complements their size, conditions, and style. The major changes to existing models are on the Taurin, Skim Board, Bulldozer, Nuke, and the new SEC pads/straps. The Taurin 5’8” now has a 5-fin setup so it can be ridden in a twin fin, tri, quad, or 5-fin setup according to your specific wave conditions and desires.

The Skim Board got a new outline with straighter rails and a wider nose to enhance early planing, making it more viable as a fun light wind option. The Bulldozer and Nuke both got Kevlar layups in their heelside edges last year for increased strength, but this year they both got an insert adjustment as well. Also, new bottom shaping means quad concave to hexa-concave channels at the tips for the Bulldozer and double concave to quad concave channels at the tips on the Nuke. Both are compatible with boots, and the Nuke has been beefed up with extra layers of multi-axial fiberglass to take a beating from sliders and kickers, making it a true park/wakestyle board.

The SEC pads and straps are strong and comfy redesigns of the Pro Comp pads and straps that were on the Pro Tour board for the last few years. They have been modified to be more comfortable with wider pads and strap widths and more EVA padding on the inside while still providing great coverage from ankle to toes and giving a maximum locked in feeling with the convenience of being able to kick out easily. The SEC pads and straps come standard on the Bulldozer, Nuke, and Pro Tour for 2014.

crazyfly-2014

For 2014 you added two more boards, the Shox Green and the Elite. Tell us about them and who would best enjoy them.
The Shox Green edition introduces the most environmentally friendly methods possible now in kiteboard manufacturing, yielding almost zero waste in production. Thanks to new materials from suppliers and new technologies and machinery, CrazyFly is happy to limit waste and be friendly to the natural environment we depend on for our sport. The process takes longer with more tedious work and more attention to detail with hand work than other production methods, but the result is very successful. In shape, stiffness, and core materials it is like the Shox Custom, so anyone who loves that combination of double concave, great upwind ride with very good pop, soft landings, and more flexibility than the carbon fiber models will love this board. And if they like the color green or cutting-edge environmentally friendly production methods then this will be the clear choice over the Shox Custom.

The Elite will likely be the most advanced kiteboard on the market. It will be a very light board laid up with carbon across the entire top and bottom with capabilities for maximum response in load-and-pop jumping, super smooth riding and handling, and clean soft landings. It will be a peak performance freeride/freestyle board in the vein of the Raptor LTD, but unlike anything on the market. This board will be available in early December, so we don’t have all the details yet, but a ton of work is going into this board. I can tell you the price tag will reflect this: It’s a $1,400 board. There will be many who could enjoy this board, but I daresay that the right mix of a need for top-performance riding and materials, a drive to have the best, and the means to get there will be necessary for the owner of an Elite.

Photo Cedric Schmidt/Defy Gravity

Photo Cedric Schmidt/Defy Gravity

With so many board models, how do you suggest a potential buyer best choose what board will suit him or her best?
Definitely trying before buying is always the preferred method, but I know many people won’t have a whole fleet available locally to try. The common approach is to get insider knowledge and suggestions from your local CrazyFly shops or lesson centers. If that’s not an option, then get suggestions from another authorized dealer you trust who knows the product line. If I know your weight, experience, and riding conditions I can narrow it down to a specific size range and two or three models very easily, and from there it’s not hard to get a few more details to guide us to the perfect board for you. Because these boards are made for specific conditions or styles, I’m never choosing from 15 models when making suggestions. Once I know your level and your goal with the board then most options eliminate themselves quickly. I also help guide dealers when needed to ensure a customer will be happy in the end.

crazyfly-surf

Anything else you’d like to add?
If you’ve always thought of CrazyFly as a board-only company, you would have been right for a number of years, but especially now with the 2014 range of kites, it is time to get on a CrazyFly Sculp, Tango, or Cruze and see that the same attention and care found in the boards is also present in the kites. We’re constantly working to make our products better, and the years of design and development means we have a board and kite setup to please most riders out there. We love to share the information you want to know. Never hesitate to ask more when making a decision for a new kite or board, and don’t sell yourself short by getting something that isn’t really what will work well for you.

Photo Michal Bukovcak

Photo Michal Bukovcak

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