Airush caught up with Design and Brand Director Clinton Filen on their Airush Boot program. Read the full interview here.
What was the broader idea with developing the Boot program for Airush Kiteboarding and how has it progressed since its inception?
With our legacy of being the leading freestyle brand in the market and working with the absolute best rider in the world, we saw the weaknesses of wakeboarding boots for kiteboarding and the opportunity to bring our concepts, design style and innovation to the market. For example we have a philosophy of working to make products twice as durable as our competitors. The current boots on the market lacked key features in terms of comfort, technology and durability specific to kiting. We started from a very solid platform of knowledge with a very inspired team of developers and testers and over the last few years have continued to refine every detail possible.
How do you measure and test stiffness of each boot that you test?
We have a pretty good idea during the construction of the boot by the different use of materials how to optimize the boot stiffness. However, a lot of it comes down to testing it on the water and seeing how the boots feel as they change over time. We work very closely with key riders such as Alex Pastor, Bas Koole, Anthar Racca and Oswald Smith as they all have different riding styles and requirements, ride boots 100% of the time and push the design requirements constantly. Dean Freedberg (co-designer collaborating on the project) and myself will also make a point of testing everything we make, to give a more average riders view and really understanding the product. We also looked at ways to make a stiffer boot without an increase in weight, if you look the Airush AP boot you will notice a unique 3D outer molding that is lightweight but increases the structural rigidity in key places. The Reefer Boot continues to be the softer boot in the range allowing for more flexibility by using softer materials while continue to support especially through the heal.
Why do you feel there is a need for kite specific boots?
Firstly, kiters spend a longer amount of time riding than wakeboarders do, for example it’s not uncommon to ride for a few hours, whereas generally wakeboarding you would have much shorter sessions. Secondly, the loads are higher. Even at an intermediate level, you go much higher and land hotter a lot more often than you would wakeboarding. Thirdly, the loads are different. Its not uncommon to get continually dragged along, putting a lot of upwards tension on the boot against the board. This loads the stitching radically and puts significant upwards stress on the base plate. This would not typically happen wakeboarding as when you eat shit you just let go of the wake handle behind the boat or on the cable.
Below, Cliten talks tech on the 2017 Airush boot range:
AP BOOT —
The AP boot takes the unique demands of wakestyle kiting and combines them with the performance of a dedicated wake boot. Traditional wakeboarding boots are not designed for the relentless use that kiteboarding places on bindings and we have examined every aspect to make some key improvements. For 2017 increased fiber content in the baseplate and increased thickness of the stiffening bar significantly improves the rider connection and durability. In addition Airush has developed an external load plate allowing them to have more control in regulating the stiffness of this high performance freestyle binding.
REEFER BOOT —
The Reefer Boot takes the unique demands of wakestyle kiting and combines them with the performance of a dedicated wake boot. Traditional wake boots are not designed for the relentless use that kiteboarding places on them so we have examined every aspect and made fundamental improvements. The Reefer Boot features increased padding of the inner and foot bed, along with additional reinforcing in key high wear areas and increased stiffening in the ankle area of the boot. These key upgrades take the performance of what was already the ultimate kite specific binding, to a whole new level. By introducing the new flex zone, the Reefer Boot’s comfort, support and rigidity is optimized. This flex zone reduces the strain on the binding for improved long term performance.