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Get full 2015 gear info from 26 brands in the TKB 2015Buyer’s Guide.
Since 1998, AXIS founding member and designer Adrian Roper has pioneered kiteboard designs, many of which are today’s industry standards. The company continues to be a market leader, refining timeless concepts and integrating new technologies into their product line. For 2015, AXIS has a number of new and improved kiteboards and surfboards to offer but the big news for AXIS is their new Tandem board, Pure Wave Oak Series and coming soon, two new foilboards! Evan Mavridoglou answers our questions about what’s next for AXIS.
Your twin tip line starts with the entry-level board called the Liberty. How do you keep the price down while making a board that meets the needs of new kiters? The 2015 AXIS Liberty features a base and top sheet of gloss finish PTB allowing bright sublimated graphics. The rails are made from AXIS ABS. Our ABS material is very tough and is a special formula that bonds very well to epoxy, resulting in very strong construction.
The core of each AXIS Liberty board is solid Paulownia wood. Paulownia has the highest strength to weight ratio of any timber, making our cores light and strong. Paulownia is a very fast growing timber and one of the most sustainable timbers on the planet; we like to do our part for a sustainable kiteboard future. The laminate is a triaxial fiberglass, which provides durability and great dampening. The boards have inserts along the centerline so the board can be ridden with either edge to extend the life of the board and keep life interesting the AXIS Traction System footpads/straps and fins make for secure riding, but should it go wrong, as it does with progressive riding, our visible graphics and accessories make the board very easy to see when it stays behind you.
While the Liberty is priced lower than the rest of our boards, it’s not an inexpensive board. Working closely with our factory, we created a board that has all the features needed for this level board without going overboard. This includes paulownia wood construction, AXIS ABS rails, G10 fins and the UTS pads/straps. As you can see from the materials and quality of construction, we have managed to pack the AXIS Liberty with the quality and materials of our more expensive boards. The Liberty rides smoothly and it can be a board that kiters can keep for years.
What type of riding does each of the boards in your Freeride/ Freestyle category seem to best suit? The Division, Vanguard and Limited can be used for either freeriding or freestyle. This is possible because AXIS wants everyone to be able to enjoy our whole line up of products. For instance, most people think that a carbon twin tip is out of their range of skill level.
This is true for most brands. Usually the boards are too stiff and uncomfortable for the majority of kiters. These boards are typically designed to meet the needs of the highest level freestyle riders out there. our flagship board, the Limited, is not only for the highest level freestylers but for intermediate riders as well. It has incredible response, loads of pop, and has just the right flex so that the board can remain lively for freestyle and also be incredibly comfortable while freeriding.
The Vanguard and the Division were developed with this same concept in mind; designed for freestylers and intermediate riders alike. The Division has a different outline and bottom shape than the Vanguard and the Limited. the division has a straighter outline in the middle and is more curved in the tips making it smooth and stable, instantly comfortable, and a blast to use.
The bottom shape of the Division is less complicated but still provides a good grip. In addition, the rocker line allows the board to glide over the water, which, coupled with the bottom shape, reduces the drag of the board, makes it faster, provides more upwind ability, and makes for some smooth, solid landings. The Outline, flex, and bottom shape allow this board to butter through chop and still deliver when it is pushed to the next level. On the smaller sizes, the AXIS Division has been highly revered by our younger and female riders because it is very light and has the correct amount of pop that lighter riders need to achieve their goals. The Division is super comfortable to ride. Ride it for the first time, and it will feel like the best board ever.
The Vanguard shares the same outline, rocker, and quad concave bottom shaping of the Limited. The main difference of the Vanguard compared to the Limited is that the Vanguard’s laminate is a biaxial fiberglass with Uni-carbon reinforcements and the Limited has a biaxial carbon laminate with Uni-carbon reinforcements. The Vanguard’s fiberglass laminate reduces the responsiveness of the board slightly, allowing this board to excel tremendously at both the freeride discipline whilst maintaining an incredible amount of pop, speed, and control for the freestyle oriented kiters.
What changes have you made to your wakestyle/park board line for 2015? The 2015 AXIS wakestyle/park boards have held some of the features from 2014, and added a nice amount of improvements for the 2015 collection. Why fix it if it’s not broken, right? The Bootleg, Billy, and Tranq still maintain the TPU foil top with graphics printed on the laminate side. This gives a finish that is super tough with enduring graphics. The base of the board is thicker and harder in the 2015 line up to add more durability to those slider fanatics. The base of these boards is made up of an ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE). UHMWPE is also known as PTex found on snowboard bases. Our UHMWPE base material provides great glide over obstacles with steeze, and is easily repaired if you run over a windsurfer (hey it happens sometimes) with top and bottom graphics that are printed on the inside of the material, safe from jibbing booms, sides of super yachts and the expected daily abuse these boards are designed for.
The bottom shaping still maintains the quad concave but the 2015 boards have a slightly different shape. This year the spines on the bottom of the board have been flattened to ensure less wear and better slides on rails. Not only does it make our wakestyle/park boards better on rails, it also adds to the lifespan of the PTex grind base. Throw in dual inserts for custom boot placement and a triaxial fiberglass laminate and you have bombproof construction required for solid park/ rail/kicker performance!
You were the first company to introduce a production tandem kiteboard in 2014. How does your current design differ from your typical twin tip line? Our team rider Tamatoa Gillot has been practicing tandem kiteboarding in tahiti for a few years now, and we have been particularly excited about the potential of tandem kiteboarding for our sport. In 2013 we started developing a tandem board with Tamatoa and the results have been very encouraging. We didn’t just take a big beginner board and add straps to it. We selected one of our top shapes, the AXIS Vanguard, as the perfect platform for our tandem boards. The flex, sizing and construction were ideal. We started with the biggest AXIS Vanguard of the line, the 148x46cm. Then we had to tweak the weight, thickness and materials in order to get the ultimate combination for the tandem. We also added more carbon on the board to accommodate the reverse flex of having two riders on the board. Finally we chose the combination of pads and straps with one pair of 2015 AXIS Traction PLUS pads and straps and one pair of 2015 AXIS Traction Small pads and straps. We had to add extra inserts while leveraging the handle inserts, to accommodate four pads and straps while not adding too much weight. For AXIS, tandem Kiteboarding is a very exciting development for our sport of kiteboarding and we will keep on further developing its potential. AXIS has also designed a tandem harness connection system, which will be available later in 2015.
You’ve said the Limited is your favorite freestyle board. Tell us about its unique construction features and how they affect performance? The AXIS Limited is indeed the most incredible board we have ever made! The 2015 AXIS Limited is all about extraordinary performance. We threw in all the chips making this bad boy. The care, precision, and knowledge used to design this board is apparent when riding. Only the best materials are sourced to give riders who demand the best the AXIS Limited. The 2015 AXIS Limited has a durable clear TPU foil top and bottom sheet, which is screen printed in black white and a silver that is a mix of silver and clear. When viewed in sunlight, you can see through the silver a little and also see the carbon structure. The finish is super durable with lasting color. The laminate is biaxial lightweight carbon with additional Uni-carbon reinforcing. The combination of the carbon layup and carbon reinforcements with the Paulownia core provides a very lightweight board with very powerful load ‘n’ pop, and super responsive flex with just enough cush to feather landings. The Limited features the AXIS quad concave to assist tracking the board for better load and explosive pop, directing water during landings and providing longitudinal strength.
This year you’ve added a new line of Woody surfboards. How does the new construction work for the various styles of surfing? the AXIS Wood Wave surf line is not just beautiful to the eye. It’s also built OAK tough. Our goal with the oak Series is to provide our customers with the ultimate surfboard feel while keeping our strong, durable, kite-specific construction. These EPS/ oak wood veneer surfboards are made from a quality CNC cut EPS core with a paulownia wood stringer. The board has a 3mm thick high density PVC insert in the deck only to keep it tough and prevent heel dents. The top and bottom have a surfboard standard 90 degree weave glass and an oak veneer providing excellent strength. Multiple insert places and predrilled extended EVA foam pads allow for customized strap placement with or without the front EVA pad; the options are endless. We have extended the front EVA pad in length to accommodate some of the wider stances we have experienced when landing strapless airs. We all know how easy strapless airs are — it’s the landings that count! This dedication to achieving the ultimate surfboard feel while keeping our proven durability and offering a different board shape for almost every condition allows us to provide our customers with the right board for any one of the many various styles of kitesurfing.
What style of surfing do you recommend for each board in the line? We have four different programs for our surf line up. Freeride/freestyle, small surf, all-around surf, and large surf.
The 2015 AXIS new Wave series is our freeride/freestyle surfboard. Our designer Adrian Roper invented this style of board many years ago. The recessed deck of the AXIS New Wave gives a more direct feeling underfoot. The surface of the board is all EVA, giving great foothold, an improved feel for the board and cushioned landings. the new Wave is very strong and flexible, providing a super comfortable ride, and sizing in at 5’4” or 5’8”, the New Wave is suited to riding waves or freestyle with uniquely raised rails for aerial grabs and flat water trickery. The AXIS New Wave is also unique among any surf shape on the market as it has nice flex underfoot, making it the ideal freestyle board.
The AXIS Wooden Spud (spud=potato in NZ) fills the small size surf program. These boards are our specialist shapes for anyone who does not live at the sideshore/cross-shore turquoise firing surf break where you can see your kite through the clear lip while being barreled in the lovely tropical waters of never never land. That’s right, picture yourself making the most of small mushy onshore waves, surfinga lake, throwing down strapless airs, or racing sections for a bit of sideways slide hacks on small onshore mush!
The 2015 AXIS Wooden Spuds are made from a quality CNC cut EPS core with a Paulownia wood stringer. The board has a PVC insert in the deck to keep it tough with all those strapless airs. The top and bottom have an oak veneer providing excellent strength.
The Spuds features standard 90 weave glass and PVC box supports for our Futures fin boxes to prevent fin box rolling when you run aground showing off to the girls on the beach. The Spud’s a performance shape for small onshore crap conditions. Taller dudes will dig the 5’6” and reports from the team show that it goes good in clean head high surf too, and handy for punts, so chin up soldier, it’s all good!
Set up in quad configuration and supplied with four AXIS RTM Blue Honeycomb reinforced Futures base surf fins, this board also comes with multiple insert places and predrilled extended EVA foam pads.
The AXIS Pure Wave Oak Series boards are for the all-around surf program and are the dedicated surfboard shape for wave riding. We all love the idea of kitesurfing our shortboards, but alas we all know surfboards do not last long. So at AXIS we created a strong, durable board that has the flex and feel of our favorite surfboards, and gave them to the surf team to destroy. Through thorough testing, we achieved a sweet balance of weight, durability and performance.
The AXIS Pure Wave boards come with the rear EVA footpad already mounted with the option for you to mount the pre-drilled front pad or wax if you like the direct feel of a surfboard. The Pure Wave has a surfboard leash plug and can be ridden with straps also. It is suited for waves up to head high and has good down the line speed and tight turns in the pocket.
Last but not least is the 2015 AXIS Pro Wave. The AXIS Pro Wave is our performance surfboard and the choice of our pro riders when the surf gets large and heavy. The shape features a narrow square tail and pronounced rocker which make it quick and ideal for aggressive pocket surfing. The turns are insane! Choose the Pro Wave for heavy and bigger waves, when control, performance and the highest scores are needed.
You have two models of foilboards with some interesting tech features. How should foilers decide between the two? We have been seeing a nice growth on the hydrofoil segment of kiting the past few years. Between our team in New Zealand, California, and Europe, we developed two foil-specific boards that address foil racing (AXIS Race Foilboard) and the all- around / traveling foil market (AXIS Foilboard Convertible).
The AXIS Race Foilboard features the latest design trends from the world’s top riders with beveled channel rails all wrapped around to the tail, W-shape deck concave, five inserts adjustments for each strap for maximum customization of stance, three straps, and a track system for adjusting the foil position. The construction is bombproof with 100% carbon top and bottom for strength and flex control, and PVC sandwich top / bottom (tough/durable/reasonable weight). The size for the AXIS Race Foilboard is 155 x 54cm and it’s also available in 150 x 53cm by special order. The board is compatible with all foils that use 90cm plates. Tuttle or Pro box boards are also available by special order.
The AXIS Foilboard Convertible is our all-around foilboard, designed for foilboard kiters who want to use their foils to the max but not compete every day. Ideal as a foilboard or a surfboard, the AXIS Foilboard Convertible comes with four FCS fins, and a 90mm plate configuration for the foil mount.
Based off the design of the AXIS Wooden Spud, the AXIS Foilboard Convertible is 5’1” x 21.5” made from the highest quality CNC cut EPS core with a Paulownia wood stringer. The board has a PVC insert in the deck to keep it tough for those awkward learning moments. It’s a strong and light board that will be a great surf and foil board solution for your daily or traveling needs.