After 10 years, the Trigger remains Blade Kite’s solid all-around performer. Focusing on high performance kite only products, owner Yaron Barlev tells us about the evolution of this design as well as other changes he has made to Blade’s 2018 line.
THE TRIGGER HAS LONG BEEN THE FLAGSHIP MODEL FOR BLADE AND THIS YEAR IS ITS 10 YEAR ANNIVERSARY. WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHANGES IN THE EVOLUTION OF THIS PLATFORM TO ARRIVE AT THE AWARD-WINNING DESIGN YOU HAVE TODAY?
The first Trigger was released in 2007. The industry has evolved so much since that we can’t really compare what we have today and what we had back then, but the difference is most noticeable in two areas—the profile and the bridles. In both elements of the kite, precision is the most important aspect of design and with that we have mastered our ultimate performance goals. We did this using our custom built in-house design software that can translate our very demanding performance needs to a simple 3d layout. Back in 2007, we would have never been able to achieve the precision and perfection which this software made possible.
The construction of the kite has also changed dramatically due to technical developments of the material which we use. Over the years we’ve seen significant improvements in the agility and firmness of the kites because of advancements in the makeup of the kite fabric. The industry as a whole has seen amazing improvements over these past 10 years and we are excited to be playing a significant role in redefining the possibilities and tools available.
THE HIGH SCORE IS NOW IN ITS SECOND GENERATION. WHAT IS NEW FOR THIS MODEL AND WHAT CONDITIONS AND RIDING STYLE DO YOU RECOMMEND FOR THIS KITE?
The High Score has been completely restructured and redesigned. While the core performance, characteristics and goals have stayed the same, the shape and design of the kite have been fully overhauled. The kite is intended for any rider who is looking specifically for a wakestyle experience.
The Trigger is a well-balanced kite for people who like to do some freestyle, but the High Score is purely oriented for new school riders. With full-time direct power and a simple unhooking apparatus, wakestyle riders can progress in this discipline much faster.
In 2018, the High Score and all new kite models will feature the TE Wave X. This is a wavy-shaped double ripstop layer. This new shape helps to evenly spread the force between the single to double layers which results in less wear and a more robust structure.
Unique to the High Score’s 2018 release, we have decided to add a firmer structure to the base design for the most extreme conditions; anything from gusty and strong winds to very powerful and aggressive riding. This requires a leading edge bigger than we are used to and therefore we designed new profiles and strut structure to make this work. In order to be able to continue with Blade’s distinctive direct handling features, we developed a new wingtip profile that could stand the power needed. The Wingtip Power Balance was born and became the perfect solution to finalize the redesign of the High Score.
WHEN IT COMES TO WAVE RIDING, THE SKINNY BOY QUICKLY ATTRACTED ITS FANS. WHAT CHANGES HAVE BEEN MADE TO THIS KITE?
The Skinny Boy is in its 3rd generation now and has been around for over four years. We have always tried to really push it to the extreme in terms of providing all the features needed for a pure wave experience. While many wave kites out there are generally all-around kites with a few wave characteristics, this kite has been designed to be a 100% wave kite since day one.
The huge depower throw, the quick handling, and endless drift make it an ideal ride for kitesurfers in any wave condition. For 2018, we went even further along with the extreme wave characteristics of the kite. You will notice the Skinny Boy Double Connection option which gives the user the ability to decide between the all-around wave and the ultimate wave. The ‘all-around wave’ setting is considered a more laidback setting for average wave, freeride or hydrofoil sessions, while ‘the ultimate wave’ setting is a hardcore setting that sacrifices just a bit of the handling in favor of mesmerizing drift and depower features.
An added benefit to the kite’s huge depower is that it is also a very fun hydrofoil kite. This aspect is a great advantage when hydrofoiling and helps to stabilize the kite and maintain control in all conditions.
ANY CHANGES IN THE CONTROL BAR FOR THIS YEAR? WHAT ARE THE BAR’S BIGGEST SELLING FEATURES?
The 2nd generation Unibar has been around for the past four years and this past summer we released the 3rd generation Unibar. This is a newly designed bar with many new features. The bar is super light with the weight of only 318 grams which makes a big difference when riding. We also have a new feature called the Line De-Twister which automatically straightens the front lines after any rotation through a simple downward pull on the bar.
The bar swivel was simplified in the new release as well, resembling a previous model we designed. This swivel streamlines the bar parts and gives the bar an even lighter feel. The bar’s ergonomics has a double grip layer to provide a softer feel, which is especially effective during longer sessions.
The Uni cleat now has a magnet in it so the depower strap is always neatly attached and does not wrap around the lines. All bars come with 19+4 meter lines which means riders can choose a 19m setup or 23m setup depending on individual preference or discipline.
All in all, our team has put a lot of thought and design hours into this bar, and that is very obvious when you see all of the key features that are necessary to the performance and enjoyment of every rider.
WHAT CAN YOU UPDATE ON THE FAT LADY?
The Fat Lady has been awarded the ‘Fun Light Wind Kite’ award year after year, making it a clear crowd favorite. The 4th generation Fat Lady has been out for over a year now and the feedback from our dedicated riders indicate that there are no areas that need improvements. This 17m kite has been an amazing low wind weapon that acts like a 12m kite in terms of handling and gives the low-end power needed on days when the rest of the beach is building sandcastles.