In 2013, CrazyFly built their new custom-designed facility in Slovakia where they started making all their twin tips, bars, pads and straps in-house. This year, CrazyFly took a huge step forward in adding kite production to its factory in Europe. Starting with the 2017 product lineup, all kites, boards and accessories will now be made in CrazyFly’s expanded factory which the company believes will allow them greater attention to detail and higher quality production compared to using factories in the east.
The CrazyFly kite line has gotten a series of design and construction upgrades for 2017. What are the big changes for 2017?
One of the changes that came along with moving the kite production to Europe is brand new kite construction techniques. The kites are more rigid and durable than past years, made with the latest double ripstop sail material, Dacron leading edge and struts and Arptex abrasionresistant reinforcements. To strengthen the kites, the number of seams and panels have been reduced because the material is stronger than any place you have a join between materials. For example, on the wingtip of the Tango there is a single Dacron panel that runs from just above the bend in the wingtip on the leading edge all the way to the trailing edge and up to about where the strut connects with the trailing edge. This single panel of Dacron makes the kite more rigid, which results in a quicker reaction time when the bar is moved and it also makes this instant reponse last longer since there are no seams or multiple panels to stretch or wear out over time and use. For 2017, the pulleys have also been removed from all the kites, meaning a more direct connection from the rider to the kite and this linked bridle results in more precise kite handling and reactivity while also increasing the durability of the bridle lines since there is no friction or wear from a pulley. All these innovations have allowed the 2017 kites to save 10% of the weight compared to the 2016 models which noticeably improves the performance and extends the wind range of the kites.
As far as changes to the individual kite models, the 2017 Sculp has been totally re-worked. Compared to the 2016 Sculp, the 2017 model has a higher aspect ratio which makes the kite slimmer from leading edge to trailing edge and allows the kite to fly faster through the wind window. The Sculp still retains its delta shape which offers smooth and stable flight along with progressive power delivery and easy relaunch. For 2017 the Tango and Cruze have received a few minor tweaks to the design but mainly benefit from the many changes in construction that resulted from moving the kite production to the factory in Slovakia.
For 2017, the Sick bar has also received some updates while retaining the simplicity, ease of use and lightweight bar design it is known for. The lightweight design starts with a monocoque, one-piece bar made from carbon fiber and is covered with a premium leather grip. The bar has newly designed ends that are shorter and stiffer with deeper cutouts for winding lines as well as a new float design that allows the floats to be nicely folded to easily wrap your bar. The push-away release system on the chicken loop is easy to trigger and reload and flags the kite out on one of the front lines. One PU tube runs from the chicken loop up through the bar to protect and contain the chicken loop and flag out bungee lines. The trim system is an above-the-bar Clamcleat system that is lightweight and allows for easy reach and adjustment of the kite trim.
How do you recommend customers choose between the Sculp, Tango and Cruze models for the various skill levels and disciplines of kiting?
With only three kite models, the choice between them comes down to the type of riding you mainly do rather than skill level or discipline since they have totally different shapes and designs. For most people, the Sculp is going to be the bread and butter choice. This delta-shaped kite is a versatile, all-around kite for big jumps, smooth transitions, and easy cruising with stability, consistency, predictable handling and a great wind range.
Moving up from there is the Tango; this is the kite that is meant for the rider looking for a little more performance. The Tango has an open C-shape for more pull, power, and pop making the kite an excellent choice for freestyle and kiteloops. It turns quickly, has excellent upwind ability and great boost with amazing hangtime.
The Cruze is the dedicated light wind kite of the lineup only coming in 15, 17, and 19m sizes. The Cruze has a higher aspect delta shape with a deeper profile to give the kite plenty of power in light winds, but despite the large sizes, the kite is more agile and stable than you would expect. The delta shape and deeper profile also help make relaunch of the kite easier in light winds.
CrazyFly is known for its tech and impeccable quality in the twin tip category. What is new for 2017?
At the top of the CrazyFly twin tip lineup is the Elite. The Elite blends the most advanced technology and materials to create the best possible performance twin tip on the market. Utilizing a special type of carbon fiber, the Elite is highly reactive and has more flex compared to any other full carbon board. The Elite is an amazing board with smooth riding, excellent grip, fantastic upwind abilty and great pop. The Elite comes with special Elite-edition Hexa bindings and is fully assembled and ready to ride right out of its custom-made board bag. The Elite also comes with several sets of fins: 5cm red fins, 5cm blue fins, and 3cm fins. If you spare no expense in kiteboarding, the Elite is the best board you can buy.
The Raptor LTD is back for another season with its full carbon construction and gullwing double concave. It’s our most popular and bestselling board by far and if you’ve ever ridden one you know why. The board cuts through chop with ease and the full carbon layup means great pop for jumps. The gullwing concave helps break the water when coming down from jumps for a softer and sticker feeling on landings and also helps the board ride upwind like you’re on rails. For 2017, the Raptor LTD features new Nano-Glide skin technology on the bottom of the board that has micro-channels for better tracking and upwind performance as well as making the board more durable and resistant to scratches.
The Raptor received a full makeover in 2016 and quickly rose to be our second bestselling board. The Raptor’s new shape features a multi-channel bottom: there are double-U concave channels in the center section of the board for better upwind ability while the tips of the board have V-shaped channels for plenty of grip when loading for jumps. The Raptor also has a 3D-shaped or step-cap deck. The step-cap deck makes the board thicker in the center around the footpads to hold more energy for jumping and is thinner on the rails which translates to a more precise edge for better tracking and upwind proficiency. Similar to the 2017 Raptor LTD, the Raptor also received the new Nano-Glide skin on the bottom of the board.
This year, the Allround received the full redesign treatment with a new shape and footpads. The new shape features a single concave bottom for a smoother ride and squarer tips give larger surface area for better upwind performance. The Allround footpads have also been given an upgrade and are very similar to the Quickfix II pads and straps that everybody loved on the CrazyFly boards prior to 2016. The bindings feature dual-density EVA foam padding, arch support, toe grip, and a proven single-strap design. It’s hard to beat the Allround for design and construction once you see the price tag.
The Girls board also received a full makeover for 2017. Both sizes have had their width increased from last year for a little bit more surface area and all-around use. The design of the board has also progressed from a more beginner-type board to one that’s better for intermediate to advanced riders but is still great for beginners. Put in terms of other CrazyFly boards, it’s more like the Shox than the Allround this year. It features a double concave in the center of the board and concave tips for better upwind performance along with a step-cap deck like the Raptor which allows for excellent pop and even more edge control. All of this is combined with a special construction with softer flex specifically made for female riders.
The Hexa bindings made their debut last season and are back again as one of the most comfortable and adjustable bindings on the market. The Hexa bindings are aptly named for the six directions of adjustability: the pad can be moved towards toeside or more towards heelside, clockwise or counter clockwise for toe-in or toe-out, and left or right for changes in stance width, while the pads can be moved up or down to be snug with the foot or accommodate booties, forward and back to position the toes on the toe ridge, and also the angle of the strap can be changed to a steeper angle for a shorter foot or flatter for a longer foot. The Hexa bindings also feature 6” insert spacing so they will work on most boards on the market. This insert spacing also means boots can be used on just about all of CrazyFly’s boards this year if riding with boots is your thing.
The surfboard line for 2017 looks like it’s got some interesting construction and shapes. How do you steer customers through the various models for the waves?
The choice between boards in CrazyFly’s surfboard range, similar to the kites, comes down to the type of riding and location since they have totally different shapes/designs. Also like the kites, the surfboard production has moved to Europe this season and all the boards have received an update in construction.
The ATV (All Terrain Vehicle) is the most versatile surfboard in the CrazyFly lineup. Its design has a medium-rocker for early planing, faster speeds, and ability to handle waves from small to large. If you’re looking at getting started with a surfboard, the ATV is a great first choice. For 2017, the ATV has a brand new ultralight construction that’s about as close to traditional construction as you can get. The tip-to-tip bamboo layup has been removed resulting in less weight and stiffness for a smoother ride.
The Strapless is designed for lighter winds, small waves and strapless tricks. The wider outline gives more volume for getting started kiting on lighter days and also for learning how to ride a surfboard. Contrary to the name, the Strapless does come with straps. The Strapless features a brand new PU core and polyurethane resin construction along with bamboo reinforcements under the feet to help make the deck more durable for freestyle tricks.
These days, a snub-nosed surfboard is very common and the Strike is CrazyFly’s addition to the craze. The Strike is designed for small to medium surf and strapless tricks. The truncated nose gives more power to the turn because there is less weight in the nose of the board. It also puts the volume of the board underneath the rider for more precise control. The Strike’s straighter outline gives the board as much volume as a traditional surfboard allows for more control in choppy conditions. Like the Strapless, the Strike features a brand new PU core and polyurethane resin construction along with bamboo reinforcements under the feet to help make the deck more durable.