Airush has one of the deepest kite lines in the industry with seven distinct models that target specific riding styles and skill levels. Besides overviewing the company’s 2017 kite offerings and comprehensive surfboard line, Airush’s Marc Schmidt answers our questions about the brand’s new two-pronged approach to foilboarding.
This year Airush has a three-prong approach to the freeride/surf market with the Lithium, Union and Wave kite models. How is each of these kites different and what type of riding is each targeted for?
The Lithium has been our centerpiece for all freeriding. As the world’s favorite freeride kite, this delta-hybrid platform boasts all-around, hooked-in performance. It excels in cruising, boosting, old school freestyle, and wave riding. As a lower aspect design, the Lithium has the most parked power out of the three kites. This makes it a favorite for everyday riders who are not necessarily moving the kite aggressively to generate power when they need to.
The Wave kite has always been designed around surf riding. Naturally, it was made to be extremely fast in the window to generate speed and to maneuver as quickly as you do in the critical areas of the wave. The Wave has a finer leading edge yet overall lower aspect planform design. This allows the kite to shoot forward for riding upwind and drop back in the window to increase drift stability while riding towards it on a face of a wave.
The Union combines a lot of characteristics of the Lithium, Wave and Razor to give a kite that is ideal for freeride, wave, and wakestyle. Its higher aspect C-shaped layout allows the kite to sit further forward in the window, ideal for those looking for a kite that is lighter in feel, more direct, and has more top end in wind range. The kite is a natural progression for intermediate to experienced riders.
In the surfboard department, how should a rider choose between the Converse, Compact and Cypher lines of boards, and what type of rider should go for the Slayer?
We try to make our lines very clear and defined and use three shapes to attack the most common conditions found throughout the world. The Converse is the classic shape in the range. It has the highest rocker and most narrow outline and enjoys a faster, larger wave with top to bottom style of riding. The Cypher has the flattest rocker and widest outline in the range. This shape creates a lot more speed which is ideal for onshore and sloppier, smaller waves. It is also perfect for riding in underpowered conditions utilizing the more parallel rails compared to the Converse and Compact. The Compact is our most popular board in the surf range and is classified in an all-around style. A perfect combination of rocker and width, the Compact can be used in overlapping conditions of the Converse and Cypher.
The Slayer positions itself entirely separate from the Surf range. Its focus is towards strapless freestyle in flat water conditions — usually in lagoons, sounds, lakes, rivers, or bays that are not blessed with waves. Its shape and wide deck makes the board extremely easy for first time or avid strapless users.
What’s new in the twin tip department?
Within the twin tip range, we have kept the model range overall unchanged while focusing on the refinement through our flexes — specifically in the tip flex which is where you will find a lot of the performance and comfort. The most exciting boards for us are the Switch, Livewire and Diamond. The Switch is the longest running twin tip in the kiteboarding industry. For over 15 years, this board has been refined to perform in a wide range of freeriding conditions. Whether cruising, carving medium chop, boosting, or kitelooping, the 2017 Switch with updated independent flex tips and carbon torsion control provides smooth and harmonious flex throughout the board, perfect for small-medium chop and all-around riding.
The Livewire is the workhorse in the twin tip range. Designed with 2016 GKA Rider of the Year, Alex Pastor, the board is perfect for freestyle and wakestyle performance. For 2017, we have increased core thickness between the feet for less flex which is ideal for boot riders, while adding tip flex allowing for beautiful release when loading the board for pass tricks. The ABS inserts featured on the Livewire make the connection to your boots bombproof; we are the only brand in the industry with a two year warranty covering these inserts.
The Diamond board has had a major work over with 2016 World Champion, Bruna Kajiya. The board has changed in tip shape, making it a bit more narrower — this allows a more snappier feel and the ability to hold the board down more in overpowering conditions. The board comes in a 131 and a 134cm length giving smaller women riders the choice to still use a board with performance characteristics.
Tell us about the new foilboards — you’re offering a carbon and aluminum model straight out of the gate? What is each foil designed for: going fast or slow carving freeride?
The foilboards have been broken down into the Airush Core and Airush Team Foilboards. The Airush Core Foilboard has a larger platform for standing and stability, a higher volume, easier subplaning conditions needed as a beginner, and a very forgiving bottom shape which reduces drag when you are touching down. This greatly helps the beginner or everyday foiler who is looking for the easiest and most fun board to use while freeriding.
The Airush Team Foilboard is specifically designed with high speed racing in mind. The torpedo-style hull and narrow outline is strategically designed for racers who are angled quite close to the water at ridiculously fast speeds.
The Airush Core Foil corresponds well with the Airush Core board; it is one of the lightest and most responsive aluminum foils on the market. It’s great for first time foilers, but it will progress you beyond just your first rides. The foil has a unique rear wing trim adjustment, allowing riders to trim their ride to their abilities. Moving the rear wing forward makes it extremely easy and stable for first time users while adjusting the rear wing back allows the foil to gain more speed for experienced users.
The Airush Team Foil is our premium freerace foil that is built around a prepreg carbon mast and wings along with a titanium stiffening rod throughout the fuselage. The Team Foil layup is designed on minimal torsion and maximum rigidity for the perfect high speed freeride foil.