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Get full 2015 gear info from 26 brands in the TKB 2015 Buyers Guide.

JN has been making kiteboarding products under this brand name since 2003. Before that, Michael Nesler, with a successful aeronautical/paragliding design background, and Bernd Jochum, the business manager, were designing kites for some of the biggest names in the industry. When Josh Bacon from North Carolina first tried the JN Wild Thing, he was sold, took a leap of faith and became JN’s North American distributor in 2014. Josh is excited about JN’s 2015 lineup and talks to TKB about some of the collection’s highlights.

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Mr Fantasitc

Last year the Wild Thing earned impressive reviews in the TKB Freeride Test for its speed and precise handling. What is in store for the 2015 Wild Thing? The 2015 Wild thing continues to deliver high performance and precision utilizing kite speed, power, lift and boost. The 5th generation of the Wild Thing provides fast turning, strong static pull, powerful lift and enhanced low wind performance. We’ve upgraded to a single point inflation deflation system, a tried and true rock solid system designed for use with any pump.

What are the benefits of the Virtual 5th Line and why should a dedicated 4-line rider give it a try? The benefits of the virtual 5th line system are simple. In light winds it aids in simple water relaunch. In high winds it stabilizes the canopy and leading edge in gusty and unfavorable conditions. In ocean riding conditions a rider can pull the 5th line emptying the canopy to have the wave wash over it. In emergency situations, we believe the 5th line flag out is hands down the safest option of any system.

The 2015 kite line also includes the Prima Donna and Mr. Fantastic, what’s the target rider and ideal conditions for these kites? Don’t be fooled by the Prima Donna’s namesake or pretty flowery graphics. This modern C-kite is the most accessible, balanced freestyle and freeride kite we have ever produced. It is stable, direct, punchy and easy to handle. Anyone can ride this kite although a skilled rider can access the power and precision and unhooked performance for which the Prima Donna is known for. Mr. Fantastic covers a wide wind range and offers easy handling by a simple and refined 4-line set up. The all-purpose kite offers the necessary characteristics for all stages of rider skills and an on/off power generation for beginners, along with tight turns and a stable well balanced flying character for more experienced freeriders and wave riders. Mr. Fantastic is shaped with a swept back leading edge, which allows the rider to adjust the angle of approach as with other high depower kites, but without the loss of direct steering. The simple bridle supports the increased angle of approach and additionally enhances the kite’s stability while offering a wide wind range. In addition, the kite provides tremendous pop and boost for big fun and unbelievable rocketing.

Prima Donna

Prima Donna

What are the highlights for the 2015 Master’s Craft Control Bar? The Master’s Craft Control Bar for 2015 is basically the same as the 2014 with some small improvements. The bar has great feel and feedback from the kite with moderate to high bar pressure which is great for wake and freestyle. It has the same super strong flying lines, an improved quick release mechanism and other small adjustments to improve the durability and strength of the bar in key areas. Overall it is simple and very efficient with lots of room for customizing line lengths, bar width and more. We have softened the handle grip material just slightly but left the awesome knobby-like grip design. A cool aspect of the Master’s Craft is that you can convert into a 4 or 5-line control system so it can be used on any JN kite.

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Walk us through the construction, design and target riders for the 2015 line of twin tips. The PeaceMaker is great for wakestyle and freestyle riders. Depending on your preference, the board works both with wake bindings or traditional foot strap bindings. Flexible tips with a tapered outline help you control your speed and pop precisely. This board is extremely durable, sports very nice, strong G10 fins, and will stand up to some serious beach abuse. The PeaceMaker has a light three stage rocker, and slight concave which aids in early planing, and will get you upwind fast. The reinforced edge has plenty of grip when overpowered and makes it easy for the rider to dial in the right pop for jumps and tricks. The board is framed with a 3mm ABS sidewall, which helps to prevent damage due to impact, either from sliders or hard landings. The Paulownia wood core is considerably lighter than the popular cottonwood, and makes the board extremely robust and stable. This stability is noticed right away. We redesigned our inserts to make them correctly spaced so the rider can use the PeaceMaker with most of the popular wake bindings out there.

The Chit Chat reloaded will bring you to the next level in your freestyle and freeride experience and skills. The board has a fairly square outline and flat three-stage rocker with flexible tips, helping make this board an unrivalled freestyler in terms of pop, speed and smooth landings, thanks to its optimized concave and flexible tips. The Chit Chat reloaded will also give the rider incredible upwind performance, mainly through the balanced combination of concave, the board outline, and extra thin ABS sidewalls. The board’s flex response and vibration control offers precise feedback. Thanks to the balanced flex and straight outline of the Chit Chat, this deck provides amazing pop.

The Chit Chat reloaded has a honeycomb core laminated with fiberglass combined with a sophisticated application of carbon fiber which helps the board achieve the precise flex we all hope for on the water. The durability was enhanced with ABS sidewalls and an ICP bottom sheet which makes the Chit Chat reloaded a very long lasting and tough board. Like the PeaceMaker, we have completely redesigned our inserts making them correctly spaced allowing the use of the most popular wake bindings.

Last but not least, the JN Sunset is ideal for all aspects and styles of riding but definitely excels as a light wind weapon. The Sunset provides all the key features and characteristics to get out riding a bit earlier than the rest sitting on the beach. The board has more of the edge in the water, and it almost feels like you’re using an additional fin. in light conditions, you can shoot upwind and maximize your fun on the water. The board is also particularly beneficial for heavier riders and beginners. This board has a flat scooped rocker line and a parabolic outline. This aids in early planing, outstanding upwind ability and excellent grip. All JN twins come with injection molded G10 fins. The Sunset is framed with a 2mm ABS sidewall. The Paulownia wood core is considerably lighter than the popular Cottonwood, and makes the board extremely robust and stable, a lot like the PeaceMaker, just a very comfortable and stable deck on the water. Like the other JN twin tips we have completely redesigned our insert system to make them correctly spaced for use with the most popular wake bindings, and of course, continue to allow the use of traditional strap. options are Good!

You offer two surfboard shapes, the Nammu and Opium, what type of surfing conditions do these boards work best in? I think both the Opium Large and Small can be considered a slicer with no limitations. The Opium Small is a dedicated kite surfboard that is pleasing to the eye, tough as nails, fast, carves upwind and slices the junk out of waves. This board is most comfortable powered up in 18 to 20 knots and will truly help you control and hold your grip in the harshest wave conditions. The Opium Small is destined for the demanding rider who is ready to improve their wave riding skills in moderate to high wind and can be ridden as both a quad or thruster. Most riders will be more comfortable in straps on this deck but with a large pad it works great strapless. The board has a deep concave under the front foot and finishes into a double concave towards the tail. Designed with a low kite-specific rocker line and pintail with a straight outline, the Opium Small provides riders the capability for eariley planing, tearing upwind and amazing control when the wind gets crazy. In addition, the board handles the chop great with minimum bounce. Rider Chad Speedy from Cape Hatteras had this to say about the Opium Small:

“The Opium is a really good board. it seemed to hold its line even when I was overpowered. Most importantly, it was really good on the wave face. The rounded pin kept me from spinning out as much from having too much speed. So I could hit the lip as hard as I wanted and I didn’t have to worry about losing control. Usually you have to give up something, for example, good on the wave but bad at staying upwind. This isn’t true with the Opium. I was really surprised at how well it went upwind and cut through the chop. I put this board through some beatings and it held up better than any other board I have had. All in all, this is a sick high performance short board made for kiting!”

The Opium Large is basically the same as the Small but with a diamond tail, slightly less concave and rocker with five fin boxes. Either board will give you good upwind performance, snappy turns off the lip and speed with control on the wave. The large is typically the better choice for a bigger rider or if you have lighter wind.

The construction of both the Opium Large and Small is lightweight and almost bombproof. Wood stringer, EPS high density pressurized core, and bamboo laminate sandwich construction was used both on the deck and base. These little beauties have full carbon rails with extra wood core reinforcement under your feet. Triaxial glass, premium epoxy resin throughout, and unidirectional full length wood stringer for strength and controlled flex along with a fin box and gloss lacquer finish tie in this badass directional.

The construction of the Nammu 6.1 is just as the Opium in terms of build and materials used. But the Nammu 6.1 is best suited for a large rider and lighter conditions. The Nammu 6.1 sports a three-fin box setup. However, don’t be fooled; The Nammu is a high performance surf board and extremely fun and easy to ride in any situation. The board has been tested in a variety of wind and wave conditions and it’s hard to find a smoother, livelier deck out there with the flex, and weight to strength ratio as this gem.

This little sweetie is a great freeride/freestyle fish that is light in weight with extra big volume at 27 liters, so it works great for light wind sessions. It has a compact size of 5’5 x 21. Even in light wind, this board has the ability to go upwind very easily. It is also very well suited for strapless freestyle and waves. We are running five fin boxes so you can choose a traditional thruster set up (three fins), or ride a quad fin for even better upwind performance, sharper turns and more powered up riding. The Nammu is a great all-around board, perfect for everybody, from beginner to strapless freestyler. It was designed to have fun in all kinds of conditions.