Aaron Hadlow and Craig Cunningham ride hard and need a kite that can keep up. Not only that, they like to switch it up between freestyle, big air and park riding, so they need a model that’s versatile, direct and solid all round. The new 2018 Vegas was created to fulfil the North team’s every need as well as being incredibly user-friendly. Hanging with them all in the freestyle arena, it separates itself by doing more than just freestyle… but the boys can do the talking…
Can you Introduce the 2018 Vegas
AH: New canopy material and our continual strive to improve performance year after year shines through once again in the new model. In 2017 we found the perfect base of a great kite. Now, with a cleaner profile and more reactive canopy the kite flies faster, drives through the window quicker and is smoother than ever before.
CC: The 2018 Vegas is the most user-friendly C-Kite on the market, while at the same time offering our team and customers no compromises when it comes to high-end performance. It jumps to the moon, loops smoothly with an early catch, slacks for days during freestyle tricks and provides a steady pull in the park. It does all this as well as giving you loads of depower and tuning options.
What was the aim in this year’s development?
AH: We aimed to improve handling and feeling whilst keeping the perfect ‘pop and slack’ balance that we have in the Vegas. We didn’t want to totally overhaul the kite, so continual changes to create the perfect profile were implemented to speed the kite up through the window. We knew the addition of our new trinity TX canopy material would benefit the structure of the canopy and has led to a more reactive kite as well as increased durability.
CC: The aim was to keep the same feeling in the kite for freestyle and park riding while increasing the durability, stability and jumping performance.
Where does the Vegas fit in the North Kiteboarding range?
AH: We create the Vegas to fulfill the needs of our team riders at the highest level of freestyle and wakestyle. At the same time the kite is aimed at aspiring riders looking to unhook and learn wakestyle tricks, and big air riders looking for extreme kite loops. With so many tuning options the kite is surprisingly user-friendly and many riders still enjoy the direct feel of a C-kite whatever their level.
CC: It’s the high-end freestyle, park and big air beast. If you want to push your limits in any of these disciplines this is the kite you want to pull you.
Why do you choose to ride the Vegas?
AH: The stability of the pure C is exactly what I need in all aspects of the sport that I love and excel in. For unhooked tricks the kite is predictable, and with its direct feeling you always know exactly where it is. In strong wind and for extreme riding it’s solid and has the perfect arc for getting your kite loops low and spectacular.
CC: Other than riding a foil board (I’ll ride a Mono or Neo then preferably) I don’t have to compromise my riding style due to the kite I’m flying. A lot of other pro riders change their kite depending on whether they’re riding freestyle, big air or park, but I will just change my settings on my wingtip and i’m good to go. The main reason though for choosing the Vegas is the predictability. I always know where it is and what it’s going to do without even having to look at it. From 2016 to 2017 the kite may have looked like it didn’t change much but they flying characteristics changed drastically. Moving forwards into 2018 I think Ralf has really honed the characteristics we’re looking for perfectly. I hope we can leave it the same moving into 2019!
What are the Vegas’ standout performance features?
AH: The range of tuning options to compliment your style, and its direct solid feel.
CC: The slack lasts a long time but keeps a slight amount of pressure in the bar, unlike other C-kites that slack so much that you loose feeling in the bar. This feature allows you to pass the bar early but still have feedback from the kite. It also makes going for that second pass a lot easier since that little bit of pressure helps you rotate through the trick. The boosting and looping abilities are pretty special as you can make them as aggressive or mellow as you like by simply switching a few settings. Lastly, the fact that it flies downwind without stalling, just as well as any kite on the market makes it great for hitting rails and kickers! Being able to approach features from way upwind and head almost completely downwind with a slight angle makes the kite fly without much pressure in your lines; a night and day difference in the park!
How versatile is the Vegas?
AH: The Vegas is designed to be the best in all the disciplines it is meant for. The range of settings make it perfect for riders looking for maximum pop when unhooking, for me this can be achieved with the Low depower setting. As you shift up through Medium and High depower, the kite becomes more user friendly whilst the bigger wind range makes it ideal for strong wind and huge jumps. At the rear you can change the steering options. I use the Hard one as it gives me the most feedback and direct feeling, but you can move it out to lighten the steering to suit your preference.
CC: As mentioned in my previous answer the Vegas can do it all, well almost. You could take it into the waves but you’d have to work it, and you can foil with it although it’s not ideal. For me the Vegas really stands out from the rest of the C-kites because of it’s versatility – most are tuned specifically for freestyle. The Vegas will hang with them all in the freestyle arena, no doubt, but it separates itself by doing more than just freestyle and offers a user-friendly feeling with high end performance, something you don’t usually see these days in kiting.
What are your thoughts on the Trinity TX material?
AH: Our kites have always been long lasting and durable, but the new canopy material allows the structure of the kite to stay flexible which is key for a fast turning kite. At the same time it improves the strength which prevents ripping that occurs in the more common (vertical) way.
CC: It’s resilient AF! Our D2 material was no slouch, but the Trinity TX material has taken the durability to a new level without loosing performance. A lot of companies have big claims about their canopy material, but do me a favour and next time your at the beach go feel some different kites that have been used for 6 months to a year. Trust me, you’ll see where the difference is.
Which bar and line lengths would you recommend and why?
AH: The kite works best on the Wakestyle bar and 22m lines. It is designed and optimised around this set up. The lower V split from the front lines and smaller length of bar give the kite a perfect feeling.
CC: Depends on what you’re doing, but my usual setup is the Wakestyle bar on 22’s. I’ll use this for freestyle and park riding 90% of the time. 22m lines give you the right amount of feedback and seem to be the most comfortable as far as wind window navigation. They also provide the most slack according to Aaron, so I’ll stick with them for that! Sometimes I’ll ride a ClickBar with 27m lines for light wind, and 19m lines for stronger wind and kite loops. I do prefer the smaller bar though as it delays the steering slightly and forces you to pass in the right spot each time. It’s a common misconception that you can’t turn a kite as fast with a smaller bar, but you just need to use more leverage and you can get the kite to move just as fast. So that’s the main thing for me, it slows it down but I can move it fast when I need it too!
Who will enjoy the 2018 Vegas?
AH: I know there is no other choice for me, but anyone looking to learn the latest unhooked tricks or boost some huge kite loops can be guaranteed a great ride!
CC: Anyone who wants to push their level in freestyle or the park, or for people who just want to go massive and get gnarly! To be honest though, anybody at an intermediate level can hop on this rig and be right at home. Don’t be afraid because it’s a C-kite, give it a go, you’ll be surprised at how forgiving it can be while at the same time offering you all the performance you can handle!