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Get full 2015 gear info from 26 brands in the TKB 2015 Buyers Guide.
For 2015, Airush focused on improving the construction of its kite line and introduces The Diamond Series, a female-specific line of kites and boards designed with World Champion Bruna Kajiya, along with the Grindrite, Airush’s new wakestyle board for wakestyle riding, as well as two new boot models focused on kite-specific use. Airush’s Marc Schmid answers our questions about what kiteboarders can expect from Airush in 2015. ￼￼
The Lithium has been an extremely popular freeride kite. What changes have you made to its construction and design for 2015? The Lithium has been a highly regarded kite over the past five years. For 2015, we took a look at construction improvements as our major focus. Airush has introduced Technoforce D2 by Teijin into the canopy, which when combined with the poly Load Frame, makes the canopy one of the strongest on the market. We pride ourselves in being one of the last few brands that uses Teijin in our canopy. Although it is more expensive, we find it is better and offers more consistent quality. in addition, we have upgraded the inflate/deflate valve to the XL Boston valve for quicker pump up and pack down. Airush has also added a new one pump system making it far more durable.
The DNA is your price point/school kite. How does its construction and performance set it apart from the rest of the line? The DNA is for the price conscious customer as well as schools. We had to design something that would fill the needs of someone that is looking to get into kiteboarding on a budget, but also for a school that needs an extremely durable product that can handle punishment. For 2015 the DNA has changed slightly in performance by increasing the LE in the smaller sizes. Of course this can slow the kite down a little, but the gust stability increased immensely. Both riders and teachers alike appreciate the change to a Double Rip Stop canopy; it is not Technoforce D2 by Teijin, but it gives the best balance of price and durability – especially with UV rays and stretching over time. On the trailing edge of the canopy, we have increased the Dacron area. This area is always known for decreasing in longevity over time especially if the kite is left on the beach flapping.
The Varial X looks as if it has undergone a significant redesign, most notably in the wingtips. How does this change its target audience and performance? The Varial X was a hard change for us. We had a lot of feedback through our website and from people at the beach and came to the conclusion that we had to give something up in order to gain a lot more in performance. What Airush Kite designer, Mark Pattison, decided to do was lose a bit of the unhooked freestyle component in order to gain improved relaunching capabilities, high wind stability, and low end grunt. These three major characteristics seemed essential to our customers who wish to use a higher performing kite than the Lithium, but still wanted some comfortable traits that they know from this kite.
How would a kiter decide between the Lithium and the new Varial X? It might sound daunting but can actually be quite simple when looking at our range. We have two major ranges: CORE and TEAM SERIES. the Core Range shows a progression from beginner to advanced all-around riding while the Team Series range is ideal for riders looking for a specific style of riding (wave, freestyle/wakestyle, race, etc.) when comparing the Lithium to the Varial X the customer should know a few things. The Varial X sits further forward in the window than the Lithium. What you will feel from this design feature is that it has more top end range compared to the Lithium which has more low end range. It also gives the varial X a bit more upwind ability, especially in higher winds. The Varial X likes to be flown a bit more aggressively than the Lithium, which is ideal for riders looking to do more boosting and looping, play in the waves, and unhook a bit. the Lithium is so tame and easy, this kite is perfect for the everyday freerider who wants to cruise, jump, and play in the waves.
This year you are offering a girls’ specific line of kite and bar. What sets this kite apart from other kites in the lineup? To set the record straight, it is not a cosmetic change when it comes to our female-specific range. We worked with Bruna Kajiya to build a product range designed for riders that are lighter and have a shorter stance and arm span. A lighter, smaller rider has a disadvantage when riding normal kites designed for a larger person. The most noticeable issue is upwind ability and depowering the kite without losing your edge. First, we focused on upwind ability. The kite flies further forward in the window, making it a lot lighter in bar feeling but also easier for a lighter rider to edge upwind in high wind conditions. Secondly, we focused on the range a smaller rider can move their arm up on the trim line (depower line). We wanted the kite to respond at the same amount of depower that our other kites do, but in a trim line that is shorter than the other bars. this means that the female rider can keep their stance while riding, locked in and comfortable.
What are the biggest construction changes to the kite lines this year? As mentioned before – a lot of focus went into the construction of our kites for 2015. We have added more stitch protection throughout the leading edge and struts, progressive dacron thickness through the trailing edge, and the introduction of Technoforce D2 by Teijin to complement our already existing poly and Aramid Load Frame that only exists in the Airush kite range
Who are the target riders for the different boards of the 2015 twin tip line? The 2015 twin tip line covers the entire range, from the entry level, price point conscious customer with the VOX to our premium wakestyle/freestyle carbon boards like the Livewire team. In between, we have the Switch which is ideal for the everyday freerider who rides in flat water to moderate chop. The Apex gives a combination of Switch freeride with the aggressive feel of a Livewire, with a higher rocker and stiffer feel. The Apex team is for customers looking for that same aggressive freeride performance in a lighter, more responsive carbon construction. The Livewire is the board of choice for 2013 pKrA winner, Alex pastor. It is the go to board for wakestyle and freestyle riders. Whether you ride straps or boots – it is ideal for riders who give their board a beating. For 2015, we have also introduced the Grindrite sintered grind base, that handles sliders and kickers very well. Lastly, we introduced the Diamond female-specific board range that has been designed with PKRA contender, Bruna Kajiya. This board features a softer flex, narrower stance, and overall smaller profile. It has a bit more rocker than standard female boards which makes it ideal for comfortable riding whether freeriding, freestyle or wakestyle riding.
This year you narrowed the strap and pad line to one model with a very significant redesign in the base plate. What was the motivation for this? We found that if you are truly locked into a board, you will get the most performance out of it. therefore, we focused on this type of feeling. While designing this pad/strap system, we were able to reduce the amount of evA, which becomes unnecessary when your foot is not swimming around in the strap. this also greatly reduces the weight, which in return makes your entire board lighter.
What type of riding is each of the surfboards designed for? The three types of boards in our range cover a vast variety of conditions. The Cypher is our everyday, sloppy, onshore riding board which is ideal for light wind riders and first time strapless riders that need a wider, more stable board that makes planning and riding a breeze. The Converse is quite the opposite – narrow, with a higher rocker. This board is the first choice for riders going out in serious wave conditions, looking for a down-the-line, top to bottom style of board. The Compact bridges the two boards as an all-around board. this is a favorite board for riders that are going out in all type of conditions. It can handle strapped and strapless riding in onshore to cross shore conditions.
The Converse got a new tail and the Compact has a new fin setup. How will these changes affect each board’s handling? The Converse client wanted more snap out of the board, so we played with new tail shapes and fin positions to achieve this. The Compact ￼￼￼this year has a thinner rail with multiple options for fin set up. With the quad fin, you will get better upwind ability and more drive – ideal for lighter winds and sloppy onshore conditions. The tri fin set up is best for the classic style of riding, bottom turn, hit the lip, slide the tail out, drop in and repeat.
For true light wind kiting, among the Sector, Slayer and more traditional Cypher, which has the most upwind potential? For true light wind kiting, the Sector is hands down the best board for freeride. The goal of the board is to get going in extremely light winds and keep going upwind in a comfortable fashion. this board is ideal to add to a rider’s arsenal if they want to guarantee the most time out on the water.
Anything you’d like to add? This year, Airush has focused on introducing two boot ranges that are focused on kite-specific use. The AP Pro Model was designed with 2013 PKRA Champion, Alex Pastor. This boot gives a classic wake boot feel with increased stiffness, specific reinforcements in high wear points in the top and heal area, as well as dual lacing systems to get a solid fit. the core Boot has the same kite specific reinforcements, but is designed around one handed entry for riders who are new to riding boots. the core Boot features a softer liner and dual velcro strapping. This makes it super easy for entry and exit.