CR:X One design convertible kiteboard from NeilPryde is the pathway to the next generation of kiteboard racing.
Until recently the only class to have fixed box* rule, the IKA Formula Class or Open racing without strict equipment measurement, such as the Kitefoil Gold Cup and Hydrofoil Pro Tour.
Many racers have switched to foiling over recent years but many have become disillusioned due to the time and cost to be really competitive and the dream gets abandoned.
The foiling concept is awesome and is by far the fastest and best way of flying above the water. However, it is hard to learn and requires skill and experience. You also require locations that are deep enough to cope with the 90cm+ masts.
For riders who want to race at a local sailing/kiteboarding club but enjoy the excitement and adrenaline rush that foiling provides what are the options? Open Class, Box Rule or One Design?
You will quite often see Hydrofoils being used recreationally – however if you want to race you have to invest in a minimum of 3 kites and a board which could set you back US$15,000 – this could easily be out of date in 3 months as manufacturers register more equipment under the box rule or even by the next regatta in the case of the Open class.
So what are people to buy who want to foil in a large fleet with a modest budget? Well until now they may have bought a foil kite or two and a foil board however that may be about to change with the introduction of CR:X.
David Kay, who designed the CR:X and Mike Raper division manager at NeilPryde have been working on this concept for the past 18 months. They truly believe that it meets all the demands of pathway equipment to get people into fun TT and foil racing.
The key to the project was safety, the bar features AFNOR approved safety release system and flagging option, many box rules control systems do not meet this international standard. Furthermore, the kites are inflatable, easily re-launch and are extremely stable. Inflatable kites do not sink and due to their Inflatable Leading Edges, they can be used as a safety device while awaiting rescue.
At first looks the CR:X equipment may look like any other board or foil – however, it is a clever package that has a board that can convert into a twip-tip ideal for learning, shallow waters and easy to understand formats of racing including KITECROSS TM(jumping over buoys) and slalom. Also, it features a learning 40 cm mast for the first stages of hydrofoiling.
The CR:X has taken the best from all sides of racing and free riding and combined them into a one design that is easy to ride and affordable. The edges of the product are rounded and safe, unlike a  lot of the composite products, they are also easily and affordably replaceable.
It is important to understand what you can buy if you want to go racing. A CR:X package with 3 kites will cost US$5470 whilst a comparable Box Rule 3 kite package will be US$15,000, its target price is almost a 1/3 of the cost of a box rule racing set.
Okay the CR:X is never going to beat a Box rule or Open class equipment on the race course. It was never designed to do this. It is, however, a well-designed, well-built foiling package that offers the perfect solution to introducing keen riders to the enjoyment of foiling and racing that kiteboarding has to offer.