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Get full 2015 gear info from 26 brands in the TKB 2015 Buyers Guide.
Best has been busy preparing for the 2015 season with huge improvements like major weight reduction to the entire kite line, a never before seen Rocker Flex Adjuster twin tip technology and a new surfboard manufacturing process. Best Kiteboarding’s Lia Ferianek answered our questions on what riders can expect from Best for the new model year.
It looks like you’ve made some canopy construction changes for 2015. What are the biggest changes compared to 2014? The biggest change is definitely the weight reduction. On all our 2015 kites we revised the placement of the heavy Dacron canopy on the wingtips and on the trailing edge, therefore we were able to reduce the weight of the kites up to 15% compared to 2014. This results in much faster and direct flying characteristics. Due to the use of reinforcements with our double core ripStop canopy, the kites are as durable as ever.
Briefly describe the target rider for each of the 2015 kites. The TS is for ambitious riders who need a kite that works with all riding styles. You can use it for surfing, freeriding or even for a freestyle session with unhooked tricks. We also offer the TS in 15 and 17m for those who just cannot accept sitting out on low wind days.
The Cabo is the one for surfers who need a fast turning kite with great drifting abilities. It’s also beloved by freeriders as it is super stable and has great relaunch capabilities. Our Kahoona is a true pulling machine perfect for freeriders that seek a kite with great low end, lift and hangtime. Due to its incredibly easy relaunch, it is also the kite for people who are new to the sport.
For the few hardcore, elite kiters that ride aggressively and need a kite with lots of line slack for handle passes, we offer the GP. Next to the TS, the GP is the choice of most our team riders.
The GP is clearly the choice for dedicated park/freestyler but the TS and Cabo seem like solid choices as freeride kites. How are these two kites different for ￼the average kiter who does a little of everything? The kites are fairly different. The TS is much more aggressive than the Cabo, which was originally designed for surfing. For the average person who wants to do it all like jumping huge airs and maybe even throw freestyle tricks, the TS would be the best kite. For those who would rather have a smooth freeride kite that is also perfect for waves, we recommend checking out the Cabo.
At Surf Expo we were told the 2015 GP has lighter bar pressure and more slack after load and pop maneuvers. How did you go about designing for this? The magic is hidden in our reflex leading edge. Thanks to our pro team riders like Youri Zoon we were able to get the feedback we needed to fine tune it. We also reduced the surface area in the wingtips while increasing the aspect ratio, which results in a more stable kite.
It looks like you’ve made some subtle changes to the RP bar. What are the biggest changes and how will they impact the rider’s experience? What everybody notices first is the new suede cover of the bar. it provides a much better grip which helps especially in advanced tricks. Another thing people will probably not notice at first, is that the bar itself is a little bit thinner in diameter. Especially in long sessions, this reduces the stress on the lower arms. Then we equipped the RP bar with better lines and bar ends with floaters molded out of one piece. Overall, we are very proud of the clean geometry and sleek feel of the 2015 bar.
You’ve made some big changes to the twin tip line this year by introducing the all new Spin as an entry level price point option and upgraded the Spark to an intermediate board. How should a first time kiter decide between these options? Both the Spin and the Spark are perfect boards to get started. The main difference can be found in the design features of which the Spark has plenty. This board delivers the most comfortable ride of the whole range. This is due to its channel construction on the bottom, 3d shock absorbers on the deck and soft flex pattern. The Spark is also a beauty, with its shiny lacquered top which also adds a layer of protection to the board. In comparison, our Spin is good for beginners and for cruising, but it’s also a great tool to have fun on water. It offers maximized fun for the buck on every riding level – it’s the real money deal!
The Armada is the longstanding go to freestyle/freeride board in your line. Any changes for this year? The 2015 Armada features a completely new construction. The most noticeable change is the revised channel layout, rail steps and brand new rocker line. These changes enhance the control and grip of the board. We added a 3d torsion shock absorber on top of the board to cushion hard landings and define the flex pattern. The pop of the board has never been better. As you said, the Armada is one of our longest standing shapes and it delivers better than ever in 2015.
Your core freestyle performance is covered by the Procreator and Profanity boards, which seem to be geared for comp style and park type riding. What are the features that set these boards apart? The procreator is all about freestyle. Its construction is incredibly light weight as it is made from a carbon compound. It delivers unbelievable pop needed for the most technical tricks and the channeling on the bottom gives the board the ultimate grip. This is the board that is aimed to please the most aggressive of freestylers. The profanity is made with the park junkie in mind, as it has more rocker and a thicker construction. This allows you to blast kickers, hit the sliders and jib anything in your path. This year we added a sintered grind base, similar to what they use on the bottom of a snowboard. This protects the board and enhances its ability to slide. You can even give the board a fresh wax if you find you’ve been generating some wear on the sliders!
This is the fifth year for the KB4Girls model. Are these boards designed for a specific style of riding and how are these shapes specifically designed for women? The KB4Girls is the board for performance-oriented freeride/freestyle girls and also works great for new school maneuvers. The slightly narrower stance and flex pattern is tuned to the needs of female riders who usually are slightly smaller and lighter than guys. Light, fun and forgiving are the key characteristics of the KB4G.
The Admiral line of boards feature some pretty wild tech in terms of material and the Rocker Flex Adjuster device. How does this tech transfer to riding styles and how will riders choose between the two? the Admiral board line is split into the Admiral and the Admiral Aramid Limited. The Aramid is basically the essence of the Admiral and will be launched at the end of 2014. Both boards are constructed with high tech materials: The Admiral is built with the super light Carbon® Basalt compound which was developed by the russian space program. For the Admiral Aramid Ltd we use a Kevlar® Aramid fiber woven into red carbon. These materials deliver an outstanding comfort and performance due to their light weight and flex characteristics. Together with the bottom v-shape and the double edge rail, the Admiral is at the top of its class when it comes to high-end freeride boards. The Rocker Flex Adjuster is a separate project: A device which can be used to adjust the rocker and the flex of a board on the go. It works with most of the Best 2015 board range, though only the flex pattern of the Admiral Aramid Ltd is especially designed for the device. It works very simple: you replace your grab handle with the rocker Flex Adjuster and screw it tight with the special inserts. All you need to do then is flip the switch to increase the rocker and reduce the negative flex of the board. It uses the same ratcheting system that snowboard bindings use. More rocker and less flex equals more pop, higher jumps, better carving and turning. With the touch of a button, the board goes back to its original shape. The rocker decreases and the flex pattern becomes softer. As a result the upwind ability increases, the riding comfort in choppy upwind courses is higher and also the low end performance of the board is boosted. We like to think of it like changing the shock settings on a high performance car. Click a few times to activate sports mode and then release to engage the comfort settings!
Best has an entirely new surfboard manufacturing strategy for 2015. With the USA boards shaped and glassed on the East Coast while the boards sold in Europe are built in Portugal, how does this division benefit your riders? The biggest advantage is the ability to work in such close contact with the most experienced and well-respected surfboard shapers in the industry, and as such we believe our surfboards are of the highest caliber. In working with shapers specific to the different markets we’re able to produce custom boards for the waves found in those regions. Additionally, with the ability to be so close to the shapers we were able to create a development process that involved constant feedback and a faster development timetable. Being able to test a prototype and then go and have a beer with the shaper at their house while talking about the performance was both enjoyable and massively beneficial.
What construction methods are used in these boards? The boards are cut using a CNC machine and hand shaped/sanded by WRV Shaper Jesse Fernandez. They are then hand glassed, airbrushed, and finished. This hands-on finish allows us to maintain an accurate and flawless production process while maintaining the integrity of a handmade board. With regard to materials, we’re using a high density foam blank which is more resistant to impact and heal dings than a normal foam blank. Additionally the foam has a uv protective tint that prevents “yellowing” in the sun. For glass layup we’ve utilized Innegra S-Glass, some of the strongest material available while still maintaining flex. We’ve combined the Innegra with traditional fiberglass cloth and polyester resin for a board that feels like a traditional surfboard construction but that is MUCH stronger and resistant to heel dings.
How should surfers choose between the Shifty and the Session? Both are great surfboards that work in a variety of conditions. The Shifty Pro is great for smaller riders or your average-sized rider who has smaller, less powerful waves at their local spot. We named the Shifty’s “big brother” the Session Pro because this board allows your average-sized rider to use it for both surf sessions and kite sessions — no matter what the condition you’ll be able to “session” the Session Pro. This board works great for a 170lb rider in waves ranging from waist-high to well overhead conditions. It can easily be surfed and kitesurfed. Pack the Session Pro along with a 7 and 9m kite in one travel bag and no matter where you go, surf or kitesurf, you’ll be scoring great sessions!