North Kiteboarding’s blog caught up with their kite designer, Ken Winner to talk inspiration, design process and characteristics of North’s 2017 Mono kite.
What inspired the concept for the Mono?
The evolution of sport often brings a demand for more complex designs. As the leaders in the trend towards sophisticated innovation, we also understand and appreciate the appeal of simplicity. The Mono is our take on a refined, stripped-back construction and based on the essential components of a kite. We’ve packed the maximum amount of performance into a minimalistic package and it’s great!
What’s the process of bringing a concept to life?
When creating something new, we always start with design attributes from existing models. We then select the characteristics we want to harness into the new model and go from there. For the Mono, we called upon the Neo, Dyno and Rebel for their in-flight abilities. However, as the process got underway it was the structure of the Neo that really saw the Mono come to life. Don’t be fooled by thinking that the Mono is a one-strut Neo, design is not that simple. With the foundations of the design in place, it was a case of refining the one-strut design to create a stable, top performer which was easy to relaunch and had smooth handling.
Who did you work with during the R&D process?
Sky Solbach and Patri McLaughlin were important cogs in the development of the Mono. But the main goal for the kite was for it to be fine-tuned enough for the experienced rider, as well as comfortable, forgiving and fun for the less experienced. So I had a whole demographic of kiteboarders test the Mono during its development.
Which type of rider will love with the Mono?
The Mono will appeal to all levels and styles of rider, from the expert wave shredder to the absolute beginner getting started. It hangs extremely well in the sky due to its light weight whilst the Dacron in the canopy makes it tough and durable. Its soft and comfortable feel through the bar makes it a pleasure to fly and it’s very quick and easy to relaunch.
What are the Mono’s star characteristics?
Its simple design creates a unique combination of light weight and durability. It’s good for freeride enthusiasts, jumping and wave riding. It also hangs impeccably in the sky making it ideal for foiling. It’s easy to relaunch and has a very versatile nature.
Any tips on line length across the sizes?
22m lines on the Mono should do the trick, but if you’re looking to gain some extra power you can go up to 24m, even 27m lines on the 9m-12m kites.
Please describe the Mono in a nutshell.
It’s a simple one-strut kite, low in weight but high in performance. This year it has a slightly flatter canopy for better high-end function but without affecting the low-end. The narrower tips provide a direct and solid bar feedback as well as less flutter. It’s tough and durable with a shorter bridle so there’s less chance of tangling. The Mono is a versatile kite suited to all styles and levels of kiteboarder.