After 9 years of development, F-ONE continues to improve and refine its signature Bandit kite. For 2016, all sizes of 11m or larger were optimized for light wind riding with increased maneuverability, while the smaller sizes in the 5-7m range are now targeted towards wave riding. F-ONE is particularly excited about its new foil kite and foilboard program, both for recreational riding and competition racing. Founder and designer, Raphael Salles, tells us about the new Lite Tech construction introduced to the brand’s twin tip line, along with what else we can expect from F-ONE for 2016.
The F-ONE team made some slight changes to the Bandit for 2016. What can dedicated Bandit riders expect in terms of change in performance?
Riders can expect more stability when the kite is in its top position (zenith) or in motion during flight. In terms of performance, the 2016 Bandit is easier to send to the top of the window for jumps and offers more hangtime for our pro kiteloop guys. The bar feeling is more than ever direct, accurate and clean. The kite flies faster through the window during loops, showing no decrease in speed before rushing back to zenith. For unhooked riding, its stability and ability to fly close to the edge of the window enable a better pop with a progressive traction throughout handlepasses.
The Bandit’s control bar received some small but functional changes as well. What’s new and what are the key features that someone new to F-ONE should know about?
The new bar has an upgraded quick release with a shorter throw. This enables riders to bring the bar closer to their bodies and get more power from their kite. The depower system received a new stainless steel pulley for less friction. Lastly, we also have the un-connecting strips fitted at the end of the lines to make it easier to undo your lines. Turning heads on the race course in San Francisco, the Diablo is F-ONE’s new foil kite.
How did F-ONE, a company with experience in inflatable kites, come out with such a competitive foil design?
When we decided to start the foil kite program it was only because we were able to collaborate with a state-of-the-art designer from the paragliding industry, namely Mr. Gin Seok Song.
GIN Gliders Paragliding is a leading brand of high-end and competition paragliders. The Diablo was designed by Gin Seok Song and then tested and developed by two previous paragliding world champions: GIN test pilot, Hans Bollinger, and our own designer, Robert Graham. They used advanced design and manufacturing technologies that have been acquired through many years of paragliding. The experience of this collaboration has enabled us to quickly build a kite that has already placed F-ONE team riders on the podium of international competitions.
The collaboration between F-ONE and GIN Gliders was natural because both companies are driven by the same passion: a passion for our respective sports as well as uncompromising dedication to creating premium products and innovation.
How does the Diablo perform compared to an inflatable and what do users need to know before they take a foil kite for a spin?
The Diablo and inflatables can be used in different conditions. The Diablo really performs well in low wind and can fly in a lighter breeze than an inflatable kite. It also has impressive upwind performance and I won’t even talk about the hangtime! The Diablo needs some speed to deliver power but once you get going, it has loads in store. It’s a racing weapon with tons of stability, designed so that anyone can handle it. It’s also a rocket for snowkiting because its abilities are more appropriate than an inflatable in low wind. You can use a 10m Diablo when you will need a 12 or 14m tube kite.
For about a year and half, F-ONE has been developing a production foilboard and you’ve just released the finished product to the market. What is the goal with this board and what kind of rider should consider adding this to his/her quiver?
Foiling is a new discipline and a new way of sailing. Accessible and really progressive, the F-ONE Kitefoil is the new weapon of choice, not only to ride, but to truly fly over the water. When the wind is light and you think you have nothing to do, it’s not a problem anymore thanks to the foil. You can ride with only 6 knots and still be really powered up! A sunny light wind session can now be enjoyed at full speed. With a foil in your quiver, you should be able to ride pretty much every day. It also lets you further explore your local spot and makes a lot of new light wind locations ridable. Try it and you will be addicted to it! It’s a brand new world, but any rider with a bit of experience who is able to fly a kite properly can consider learning to kitefoil.
For those that are looking for a surfboard, how should they weigh the choice between the Mitu line of boards and the Signature Series?
It really depends what you are looking for. The Mitu board is totally innovative and has been developed for strapless riders. However, Mitu pushed the concept for an extremely versatile board. All in the same day, he is able to ride freestyle in the morning at Kite Beach, go surf kiting in Ponta Preta in the afternoon and finally, when the wind drops, enjoy an evening surf session on the same board; this board is really useful and will do everything to an incredible level! Compact, stable and responsive the Signature boards are designed to be genuine surfing weapons for all waves and conditions. They benefit from their well-balanced and really intuitive shape. These boards are capable of effortlessly carving short turns as well as long and fast curves. Surfing becomes such a pleasure when you can focus on the waves and not on how to get your board moving. Just look ahead, these boards will follow! For strapless riding the Signature complements the Mitu Monteiro range for those looking for a narrower board or for stormy conditions with steep chop.
For the freestyle and freeriders out there, how should they weigh the decision between the Trax, Unik and Acid twin tip line of boards?
The Trax represents an optimized design equipped with HRD (Helical Rail Design). It gives a smooth ride, incredible drive, earlier planing and is totally made for freestyle. If you prefer to practice new school, the Acid is the board you need. With a rounder rocker, this board provides softer landings and better speed control. Its outline is dedicated to new school freestyle with incredible pop. Equipped with HRD, it will be a perfect weapon for your most impressive tricks! For wakestyle, there is no need to look for anything other than the Spicy. Explosive pop, ideal twist control, ultra soft landings and solid as a rock; it’s the wakestyle board of choice. Forgiving and very comfortable, the Next is really good for freeride and is available in a light wind version. The Unik combines performance and accessibility in all conditions with unrivaled freeride abilities; it’s a versatile board for freestyle/freeride.
Some of the freestyle boards come in carbon and other come in Lite Tech construction. What is the difference in terms of weight, durability and performance?
The carbon construction of some of our boards (Trax and Acid) offers a lighter weight which you can feel when riding and during tricks. We improved the strength/weight ratio on this construction to achieve a solid and maneuverable board. The Lite Tech brings a nice look and design to your board and it’s a solid board with an unmatched, smooth ride. Lite Tech boards weigh a bit more but in terms of performance, both are incredible due to their shapes and HRD.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
We are not involved in kiteboarding because it is trendy or fashionable. We are here because of passion. All our products are developed at the highest level and tested all year long — sometimes longer to offer you only the very best. Try them and enjoy your kite sessions!