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Flexifoil works on a two year release cycle and has a new hybrid kite and wakestyle board for 2014. They also perfected their new SkyBar and reworked Aaron Hadlow’s signature C-kite. Flexifoil’s design team consisting of Anthony Van Dort (CEO), Andy Preston (kite design), and Aaron Hadlow (board design) and the product development team of Peter and Oliver Vandeweege worked together to answer our questions about the company’s 2014 products.
Flexifoil launched a new kite this summer called the Shiva. Tell us more about it.
The Shiva is a totally new design and is the result of months of work by our design team. We believe it’s the most advanced hybrid design on the market this season. The Shiva offers unparalleled ease of use, effortless relaunch, incredible turning speed and wind range, and legendary Flexifoil build quality. The Shiva has really light bar pressure which takes the work out of riding but still gives amazing feedback through the bar. Its super stable qualities and user friendliness let you concentrate on your riding and push your limits on the water.
It has good lift which freeriders and freestylers will love, but it maintains all of the characteristics necessary to make it great for wave riding. We worked hard to make the kites turn very quickly for their size, which is essential to good wave riding performance. The Shiva also has an amazing amount of depower which keeps you in control as you are flying down the wave. The profile of our hybrid design allows the kite to drift downwind when you turn towards it and delivers smooth, predictable power during smooth loops down the line.
In 2013 Flexifoil replaced the Ion 5 with the Force. Were any changes made to it for the 2014 season? Why would a rider be better suited for this kite than the Shiva?
The Force is a freeride kite with a more hardcore C feeling than the new Shiva. It has an increased water relaunch capability over the Ion 5 and each size is tailored to its optimum performance window. Strut count on the Force has been lowered to four reducing the weight and increasing turn response and drive during the upward part of kiteloops. The largest size (13.5m) has a higher aspect ratio as well as a new profile to enable light wind water relaunching and more sustained power for better board speed and lift. It represents the original Ion 5 very well, but improves on the original design considerably.
The Hadlow Pro MK IV is five-time world champion Aaron Hadlow’s signature C-kite for hardcore freestylers. Were any changes made to it for 2014?
Yes, there are many changes to the Hadlow Pro for 2014. The most noticeable is the position change of the front toggle points to give a more direct feel to turns. The canopy has been reworked for better drive up the window, internal reinforcement was beefed up, and the leading edge is now double stitched for maximum durability. The lines have been reworked so one bar and line set will fit all kites without the need to remove the front supporting lines from the leading edge on each size. The lines have also been beefed up to 450 kilos for mega safe looping. A reworked panel cut and new graphics complete the changes nicely.
Flexifoil was planning on rolling out the new SkyBar in the spring of 2013 but it is now being released with 2014 model kites. What happened?
Correct, we announced the SkyBar for spring 2013 but the final feedback we received from team riders and the R&D team gave us the opportunity to optimize the bar even further. Flexifoil is well known to put high standards to its products and that’s why won’t release a product until it’s perfect and ready for a long life cycle of several years.
The SkyBar features a single line flag out system and above-the-bar swivel. What did these changes affect compared to the previous bar?
Our new single front line flag out system changes the way the kite depowers in an emergency, allowing one side to completely flag out for complete depower. One of front lines is held on the swivel while the other passes through it. This swivel can be completely stripped and cleaned in a matter of minutes without removing the lines. We wanted to do this because swivels don’t tend to work too well for very long as sand and salt water do their best to seize everything up. Being able to easily clean it out was a primary concern. Under the bar is a self-rotating chicken loop which fits into a milled aluminum center core. There is EVA foam grip on either side of this with a new fluid graphic design and the center portion has a molded grip design for unhooked riding with your hands close to the center of the bar.
Have any changes been made to the 2014 twin tip line?
We released a new version of the 138cm Hadlow Freestyle board. Aaron decided to add more rocker and narrow the tips. We also recently released the Hadlow Wakestyle MKII. The new Wakestyle is aimed to meet a new standard in performance with a key list of features integrated together to perfection. It has a stiffer flex and thicker design than a conventional kiteboard and has been optimized for bindings. The thicker core gives it more volume for quicker planing and a less sluggish feel. Combined with a stiffening structure between the boots you will not get any unwanted flex in the center of the board. As the board tapers off towards the tips flex increases allowing you to dig the tail in and create explosive pop.
The Hadlow Wakestyle MKII has a completely unique and perfected channel system designed for maximized grip and optimized water flow. A deep and strong quad concave in the base of the board adds overall speed and enhances grip along with specialized channels along the heel and toe edges. The rocker of the board has been developed to find a perfect balance not only on the kite, but also for cable park riding. Combined with the base channels you are left with fast board speed, quick planing, and a superb handling board that generates strong pop and locked in landings. We can also announce that there will be a totally new board aimed at freeriding. More info on this will be released later this season.
Flexifoil is working with its North American retailers directly with no US/Canadian distributor. How will any warranty issues be handled for North American consumers?
All worldwide warranties are handled directly by Flexifoil customer service to provide the most efficient and quickest customer service possible.