After eight years of selling Nobile boards at retail, Boardsports California is now the Nobile distributor for the US and Caribbean markets. Nobile was the original manufacturer/designer to bring wood core, flex board technology to the kiteboarding market. While Nobile is most well known for its award winning line of boards, Nobile’s manufacturing arm produces over 38 other brands of boards throughout the kiteboarding industry. Jesse Stewart, Nobile USA/Boardsports California’s sales manager, takes us through the 2017 Nobile lineup.
Nobile’s has three distinct kite models, the T5, the Fifty50 and Mr. Big, your 17m light wind machine. The T5, your all around, do-it-all kite, is the staple of the Nobile kite line. What makes it so popular?
The T5 is my personal favorite kite to fly. It is in its third version and we continued to improve upon its excellence while making minor changes for the better. This year we introduce double ripstop to the canopy and Dacron reinforcements throughout. This has lead to a more durable kite that will retain its shape and give you the same performance on day 100 that it did on day one. The T5 is a fast turning, do everything kite. Jumping is a joy as the kite lifts and sets you down gently while still giving you great height and hangtime. The kite drifts well in the waves and depowers on the wave for an enjoyable ride. This year the pivot point was shifted from the center about halfway to the wing tip, which has given the kite more direct steering and improved power while looping and diving the kite. Overall, this is a kite for anyone from beginner to advanced looking for a responsive, fast turning, high jumping, wave slaying kite.
What are the differences between the two control bars that Nobile offers and how should a rider choose between them?
The overall design is very similar to each other in terms of looks. Both are bright orange and blue and use the same quick release as previous years — the easiest to reassemble in the water of any bar I have tried. Both bars have soft perforated EVA grips and bar ends that conform to the hand nicely. The standard Trust bar remains mostly unchanged from last season with the exception of a sleeker quick release. The Comforty bar is new for 2017. It has a single clear polyurethane depower line, no sliding stopper, and a larger chicken loop. The Comforty bar is aluminum like the Trust bar, but the center is now stainless steel. To sum it up, the average rider can use either bar, but someone looking to ride unhooked should choose the Comforty bar for the larger chicken loop.
We are excited about Nobile’s new Split Foil. How does this new product stand out from what is available from your competitors?
Well for starters, everything breaks down into an airline compliant (no additional fees) bag that also has room to pack two kites and your other necessities. Nobile has spent the last five years working on foil and board development. The foil itself has an aluminum mast, carbon/aluminum fuselage and CNC milled G10 wings. The masts will be available in three sizes to help narrow the learning curve. Three wings are also available so the foil can progress with you as you want to go faster. The All-Around wing is great for learning and is nice and slow, stable and generates lift early. The Freeride is the go-to, higher aspect cruising wing that still generates lift early, but has better top-end speed and a wider wind range. We expect this to be our best seller. The Race wing is for those looking for speed from their Nobile foil. While this is not a ‘competitive’ race foil, it is very fast and enjoyable for the speed demons out there.
The Split Infinity Foilboard uses the industry standard 165 x 90 cm plate mount so those who already have a compatible plate mount foil can pick up this board to make travel a breeze. This board is based off our popular Infinity Split surfboard but was built side by side with the foil. It’s a 5’1” chop-nose design that is strong, light, and thin so it keeps you connected to the foil beneath. This is a wood and carbon core board with a full EVA deck pad. The board also comes with a FCS thruster setup so you can take this out in the waves as well, making this the most versatile travel board out there. Nobile has also produced a nonsplit foil skim board that is compact and lots of fun.
Nobile has one of the deepest board ranges in the industry and pretty much owns the split board market. Besides the obvious break down for travel, how do split boards perform and ride compared to their non- split siblings?
That’s a great question that we get a lot. Regardless of the split these are some of the best boards out there (and confirmed by many of our customers). This year the W-connection was improved yet again, yielding an even stronger connection and providing a stiffer board. The split versions are about 10% softer than their non-split counterparts. This is done for two reasons: First, the NHP is Nobile’s high performance freeride/freestyle board, and as a result it is fairly stiff, but when Nobile decided to split this board they reduced the overall stiffness to make the board more desirable to a larger audience by giving it a more forgiving ride. The second reason is that reducing the stiffness of the board gave the designers better control of the flex throughout the whole board, so there is no unwanted flex at the joint due to the W-Connection. Essentially the board flexes as one.
For those wanting a stiff board, we offer all the splits in carbon construction, which sheds weight while increasing the stiffness. We have tons of customers who ride splits as their everyday board. Why buy two amazing boards (one for home and one for travel) when you can just buy one great board that does both?
One market that we didn’t really plan on for the splits was the light wind non-travel market. The Split Flying Carpet is a great performer in less than ideal conditions — it’s lightweight and rips upwind. Since it splits in half, it takes up much less room in your car. This means more room for other toys (like a split foil hint, hint). Who wants to lug around a huge light wind board?
Get the latest from the top brands on their 2017 gear in Tkb’s 2017 Buyer’s Guide.