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The biggest news for the 2014 Ozone product line is their new push away release system, the ability to offer custom colors and graphics, and a complete redesign of the Reo surf kite. Ozone USA’s Lee Kidd walks us through these changes and what else we can expect from Ozone in 2014.
Ozone has introduced a new bar. What has changed?
A push-away release system has been one of our most requested items from riders. For 2014 we are pleased to deliver the new Megatron II push away release chicken loop. The push away system is simple, clean, and easy-to-use and reload. The chicken loop also spins freely. Combined with a swivel on the flag-out line, the leash will stay tangle-free during rotations. Manually untwisting the center lines is a breeze. The new 2014 bar will work with older model kites, and the previous year’s bars will also work with the 2014 kites.
In 2013 Ozone introduced custom color availability on all kite models as well as custom graphics. Do these features cost extra?
The custom-color and custom-logo kites have been a very big hit. I think the ability to offer custom kites is something that sets Ozone apart from other kite companies. We own the factory that produces the kites. The people in our factory build world-class paraglider wings as well as water, snow, and land kites. This means production with top-of-the-line materials is closely controlled, and the quality is second to none. The custom colors and logos look phenomenal, almost like stained glass. For custom-color kites, you can select your own color schemes for the different areas of the canopy within the existing pattern.
It’s an additional $150 to the price of the kite for the customization. The cool thing about the custom colors, aside from personalizing your kite, is easy identification at the beach. One of the guys at the shop got his own custom-color Catalyst, and you can tell he’s riding from miles away. Beyond custom colors, we can also include your own logo or design on the kite. Recently we made a custom Zephyr with a giant skull and crossbones graphic that’s been very popular. Costs for a custom logo generally start around $500 plus the cost of the kite. Costs vary based upon the complexity of the design, but these kites are custom made just for you and really stand out.
Were any changes made to the Catalyst? For whom is this kite best suited?
The Catalyst is truly a kite for everyone. Freeriders love the consistent power so they can relax and enjoy the ride. The Catalyst is also an excellent freestyle starting block. It has fast turning and an open-C shape that allows you to push your limits without the aggressive feel of a traditional C-kite. For anyone looking to catch a wave, the smooth, predictable handling and depower permits you to ride the wave without continuously flying the kite. Easy relaunch makes the Catalyst perfect for lessons or for those just starting out.
My favorite part about the Catalyst is that it’s a kite that will progress with you from the beginner stages all the way through advanced. If you push the kite, it responds and takes your riding to the next level. The Catalyst underwent a big redesign for the 2013 season, and everybody loved the new design. The new wing shape gave the kite faster turning speeds and more low-end power. For 2014, aside from the color and printing changes, there are a few tweaks to the bridle to increase the power and low end. Also 7m and 9m sizes have been added to the line to allow a more perfect fit for the discerning rider.
Any updates to the Edge for 2014?
With kiteboarding’s short-lived acceptance into the 2016 Olympics, the International Kiteboarding Association moved to standardize the release time line for race equipment. New race gear will be registered with the IKA by March 2014 and then released shortly thereafter. This will give racers the chance to try out, select, and practice on their gear for the race season starting in September 2014.
What does this mean for the Edge? Our current world championship-winning design will be offered until the spring of 2014. The Edge is the chosen kite for racers around the world who are looking for peak performance. The high aspect design builds tons of speed through apparent wind for unmatched power delivery. It’s also a great kite for those looking to ride fast, boost huge, and ride upwind effortlessly. We’re already hard at work on the new Edge design. It’s a secret for now, but we are excited about the new design. Stay tuned!
The Reo has been totally redesigned for 2014. What are the major differences riders will notice?
With feedback from wave riders around the world incremental improvements have been made continuously since the Reo’s 2012 launch, but the new 2014 Reo is a whole different animal! For those unfamiliar with surf-specific kites like the Reo, they sit further back in the wind window and drift with you so you can focus on wave riding instead of babysitting your kite.
Riders returning to the Reo this year will notice the familiar super-fast turning speed and kite stability with improved drift, float, and depower. The new 2014 Reo has more low end power than the previous models. We also filled in the gaps between sizes. Riders who loved the older 8m Reo will feel right at home on the new 7m size.
The Zephyr, Ozone’s light wind kite, was redesigned in March 2013. What are the notable changes?
The new Zephyr design is simply amazing. I get calls every few days from people across the country raving about it. After countless hours refining the design of the Edge, designer Rob Whittall translated those performance increases to the Zephyr. You can see and feel some of the similarities such as the shapes of the kites and wing tips that give faster turning and forward flying speed. Thinner struts and a reduced-weight bladder help to shave pounds from the Zephyr so that it flies more easily in even lighter winds.
Some popular features of the Zephyr did not change. It still has the same fatter profile in the middle of the kite, which makes relaunching easy. The massive wind range that’s been the benchmark of the Zephyr is still there, and this is the true difference between the Zephyr and any other light wind kite. You get similar low wind performance, but the Zephyr has tremendous forgiveness when the wind reaches the high teens or even 20 knots compared to other kites in the same size range.
This also makes the Zephyr the perfect kite for handling gusty conditions. Riders switching from an older Zephyr to this new design will immediately feel the differences. The bar pressure is much lighter and the kite is more nimble in the air. It flies more like a 13m kite than a 17m. Kite loops are easy and the Zephyr makes an excellent training kite for freestylers in lighter winds.
Any changes to the Access and Frenzy foil kites for 2014? How do these kites differ from one another?
On both kites changes were made to the kite shape and bridling. The Access is the perfect kite for newcomers or for the occasional snow kiter who wants to experience the thrill of the sport with ease. Just add wind and enjoy! The changes to the Access give the kite more stability at all angles of attack while maintaining reactive turning and an excellent feel on the bar. The low-aspect design also makes the Access a must-have for any kiter looking for the ultimate stability in turbulent or gusty mountain conditions.
For ten years the Frenzy has been the go-to snow kite for many, and we believe the 2014 Frenzy will continue this tradition and become an instant classic. Freshly redesigned, the Frenzy has big lift, responsive handling, a tight turning radius, and great power. It’s a do-it-all kite for snow kiters looking for that perfect mix of versatility and performance. If you love to blast the mountains, carve tracks in powder, or boost snowy wind lips, the Frenzy is for you.
While we’re on the subject of snow kites, I must mention the Summit. For 2013, the Summit was introduced as the ultimate power and performance kite to complete the legacy of the old Manta. Its high-aspect design, amazing power generation, and crisp handling (due to a small tweak to the bridle for 2014) ensure a smoother ride. This will inspire any rider to push the limits. A new 15m size has been added to the lineup that will make those lighter wind days some of your best.
Why did Ozone replaced their legacy land/buggy kite, the Yakuza GT, with the Quantum for 2014?
Since 2005 the Yakuza, followed by the Yakuza GT, has been winning buggy races around the globe. For 2014 the design goal was to make an easy-to-fly, high-performance, race-winning land and snow kite that topped the Yakuza GT. Those goals were exceeded with the Quantum as the result. The Quantum became an immediate hit on the race course when the prototypes took the top spots at several ultra-competitive events. I think the design of the inside of the Quantum is fascinating.
Internal strapping and ribs distribute stress and allow for fewer bridle attachment points. The bridle attachment points also have small plastic rods that spread the load over a wider area. There is also a greater number of cross vents in the cell walls for easier kite inflation and reduced weight. The higher arc and more cells yield a perfect shape that is stable and fast. The Quantum is on the cutting edge of design and is the ultimate kite for any buggy or snow kite racer.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Ozone is set to dominate the land, water, snow, and air again this season. If you haven’t tried an Ozone kite yet, get in touch with your local dealer. We hope to see you out there!