Airush has one of the deepest kite lines in the industry and for 2018 the brand has created three distinct feature levels within its flagship Lithium model. With a complete shakedown in the 2018 surfboard lineup, Airush’s Marc Schmid answers our questions about everything from the latest in kites, surfboards and twin tips as well as the brand’s completely re-designed foil program.
THIS YEAR THE LITHIUM, AIRUSH’S FLAGSHIP FREERIDE MODEL KITE, IS AVAILABLE IN VARIOUS CONSTRUCTION LEVELS WHICH IS A NEW CONCEPT FOR 2018. HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN THESE CONSTRUCTION VARIATIONS TO THE END USER AND WHAT WILL THEY NOTICE ON THE WATER?
Taking inspiration from the mountain bike industry, we wanted to give the customer the choice of construction without sacrificing performance and versatility that the Lithium shape has been known for. We have broken it down into three different product levels that offer various features and constructions as you move up the series. The Lithium Progression is our base model. We focused on the most simple layout with a multi-inflation system, Teijin T9600 single ripstop, and a robust use of Dimension Polyant Dacron throughout the leading/trailing edge and struts. The Lithium Progression is more ideal for entry level riders, kite schools and those looking to get into the sport at the most affordable level possible. In the mid-range model, the Lithium Progression SPS, upgrades are made from the multi to the single point inflation system (SPIS) to quickly pump up your kite and increase the canopy strength to Technoforce D2 double ripstop canopy by Teijin. This option offers a bit more features with a stronger canopy, being more ideal for everyday freeriders.
The standard Lithium has been fully equipped with the most premium performance and construction for our riders. This top of the line model in the series utilizes a single point inflation system, Technoforce D2, and our exclusive Dyneema Load Frame technology to give unquestionable durability and performance. The Lithium also uses our V3.2 bridle along with a slight change in flying characteristics to give this year’s kite more response and wind range, both qualities that serious freeriders demand. On the water they have slight noticeable differences between the Progression/ Progression SPS and the standard Lithium but all fit the requirements of an extremely fast relaunch, depower, low-end power, wind range and response that the Lithium has been known and loved for.
WHEN IT COMES TO FREERIDE TWIN TIPS, AIRUSH HAS A FULL MODEL LINE WITH THREE VARIATIONS IN CONSTRUCTION. WHICH TECHNOLOGY DO YOU RECOMMEND FOR A GIVEN STYLE OF RIDING AND SKILL LEVEL AND WHAT WILL RIDERS NOTICE MOST ABOUT THE DIFFERENT LAYUPS?
Much like the Lithium, we wanted to create various options to meet our rider’s requirements and budgets without sacrificing performance characteristics. The primary goal of offering three constructions was to meet the demand of the various freeride disciplines. We took this concept into our longest running and most popular twin tip; the Switch. With over 17 years under its belt, keeping the freeride characteristics of this board was absolutely necessary.
The Switch Progression takes the ever popular design and construction of the Switch into a super easy and comfortable board to start and continue your kiteboarding progression. For all-around entry-level freeride, the Switch Progression features a parallel outline along with a refined and smooth flex pattern combined with a flatter rocker for amazing easy planing and upwind ability. As one of longest running board models in kitebo
arding history, the Switch is the ultimate and most refined freeride machine. Although the overall outline of the Switch has remained the same, a significant change in the 3D deck contouring has improved its flex characteristics for excellent comfort and reduction of weight giving this board a smoother and livelier ride.
With the same amazing freeride performance as the Switch, the Switch Team offers a new lightweight carbon construction. Combining this carbon construction with the Airush Multi-Zone Biotech Core (a vertical Paulownia wood core sandwich, this multilayer construction creates a consistent density from the natural material) takes the standard Switch model to a new level creating an extremely responsive freeride board with loading, popping, landing and cruising.
As our users progress in their riding, so do the products that we design. This year we had a lot of focus on the Union and Wave due to the immense amount of feedback on the Union II and Wave. The Union has always been focused on aggressive all-around performance. For the past few years, riders are getting more radical with bigger jumps and more intense kite loops while still wanting to keep all of the other versatile aspects. Therefore, we had to look at the shape of the Union and focus on the jumping aspect.
The Wave kite has continually been dominating the surf but what many customers wanted was more stability in gustier conditions and fast maneuvers. A lot of change throughout the increase sweep of the wingtips eliminated the flaring in the wingtips and gave it more progressive/smoother power, as well as increased the relaunching capabilities which is always a priority. These small and large changes just make the kite a lot more manageable in the most unfavorable conditions which many riders choose to go out in because this is when the surf is best at their local spots.
We are always looking at the range to make sure riders have a clear understanding and pathway through the range. The best way to explain it is starting from the absolute beginning of one’s kiting career which is where the Lithium range would start. A majority of riders would stay with this model as it does accomplish most hooked-in rider’s needs. For those looking to take their all-around riding to a more aggressive position with bigger kite loops, faster turning, and better unhooked capabilities, the Union III would be your go-to. After these kites, if a rider transitions into a more specific discipline then we have other kites to meet riders more specific demands of particular styles of riding. If you only want to unhook, the Razor would be your go-to kite. For riders looking specifically for top to bottom wave and strapless riding, the Wave has been designed specifically for their needs. The Ultra fall into the low-end realm of riding for those strictly focused on light wind riding, foiling and directional boards. The new Vantage III coming out is focused on leading edge inflatable racing which many are using for twin tip racing. Finally, we have the Diamond kite which is specifically designed around female and lighter riders in mind. Ideally women riders with shorter arms and less weight would benefit the most out of this kite that provides them a freeride platform.
THIS YEAR THE AIRUSH FOIL AND FOILBOARD PROGRAM GOT A COMPLETE REDESIGN FROM THE MAST UP. WHAT LESSONS ABOUT CONSTRUCTION AND PERFORMANCE WERE LEARNED FROM LAST YEAR AND HOW HAS THAT TRANSLATED INTO THE LINEUP FOR THIS YEAR?
Spending time with new and veteran foil riders, our research showed that riders want to have a system that is truly modular and customizable. Foil riders are extremely explorative and want to learn with one product and then slightly modify their foils to have a completely different feeling. Therefore, we approached the Airush Foil range with a new outlook while keeping design, performance and efficiency in mind. With a new supplier and an adjustment to the design to make the foil extremely customizable, the Airush Core Foil allows the rider to start from a short mast entry level foil product and progress with endless possibilities for where they want to take their riding. Changing their wing allows them to have a higher aspect speed foil or simply a low aspect fun and floaty surf style ride. With more than four options in mast length and material (carbon mast coming soon) one can change to a more advanced or speed-driven ride or a playful shorter mast option.
This allowed us to start with a new supplier and method of assembly so we could change our mast lengths, constructions, fuselage, wings and mounting systems. The possibilities are endless and with new advancements in design and styles, riders can use the Airush Core Foil in so many ways. Our board systems share a very similar pathway. We have expanded our offering quite a bit, really focusing on freeride and versatility as a priority. This is so we can match individuals abilities from the first time user with the larger Airush Core Foil board all the way to a more skate-inspired Core Foil Mini which allows you to be extremely portable.THE SURFBOARD LINE HAS SEEN SOME TWEAKS THIS YEAR, BOTH IN MODEL SHAPE AND WITH THE INTRODUCTION OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSTRUCTION STANDARDS, BUT THE NEWEST ADDITION TO THE LINEUP IS THE MINI MONSTER SURF/FOIL COMBINATION. WHO IS THE IDEAL END-USER FOR THIS BOARD?
Being approved for Ecoboard status was a very big step for us and the industry. We aim to reduce our impact in this world and put focus on using innovative materials in all of our directional boards while keeping the performance and feel in mind.
The Mini Monster is a new board in our range. It is such a fun board with so many options and styles to choose from. With the Mini Monster Convert, the aim of the board was to create a single board that would be perfect for the traveling rider that wanted a board that could get them riding in all sorts of conditions whether flat water or waves. A versatile surf-shaped board that is extremely short in length, the Mini Monster Convert features surf fin boxes and a low drag foil mounting system for plate foils. The traveling kiter can foil in low winds or change to surf fins and enjoy strapless freestyle and small onshore waves.
It’s truly an awesome combination with the Airush Ultra kite which shares the same compact ethos. With just an 8-12m Ultra, the Mini Monster Convert and Core Foil, you can travel the world scoring the lightest wind conditions to some really pumping waves, all with equipment that fits in one bag.