JN has been building kites since 2003 with head designer Michael Nesler and business partner Bernd Jochum. In addition to a full line of kites and kiteboards JN is also a producer of technical outerwear for snow and cold marine environments. We caught up with Josh Bacon, North American distributor to talk about the 2018 gear from JN.
THE MR. FANTASTIC IS IN ITS 4TH GENERATION, WHAT ARE THE LATEST CHANGES TO THIS CANOPY AND WHAT STYLE OF KITING AND SKILL LEVEL DO YOU GENERALLY RECOMMEND FOR THIS MODEL?
The Mr. Fantastic 4 is a dedicated 4-line kite whereas the Wild Thing can be flown as a 4-line or as a 5-line kite. The Mr. Fantastic 4 is best as a school kite for those professionals out there instructing. The kite offers the best ground pull (best efficiency of surface to power) and is also great for intermediate and expert riders that enjoy the drift it offers in the waves and its stellar hangtime in the freestyle realm. This kite is a very good choice for the individual looking for an all-around kite. A standout on this kite is its unique leading edge shape. This is seen with its swept back up/leading edge nose shape which allows it to hang, drift and water launch like a champ. Available in 6m up to 16m sizes, the Mr. Fantastic 4 hosts a more rigid 5 strut layout than its brother, the Mr. Fantastic 4-LFE.
NEW FOR 2018 JN HAS BUILT A SINGLE STRUT VERSION OF THE MR. FANTASTIC. WHAT CAN KITERS EXPECT FROM THIS NEW WEAPON AND HOW DOES IT COMPARE TO THE PERFORMANCE OF THE REGULAR MR. FANTASTIC?
The new Mr. Fantastic 4-LFE (light wind and foil edition) is a dedicated foil, light wind and school kite. Utilizing a single strut canopy made of the latest and best industry materials like Teijin double ripstop D2, the kite represents a higher quality of workmanship and more refined settings such as the new Freeride and Freestyle setting options, no pulley bridles and a reinforced leading edge for stiffer and even more responsive turning under heavy load. WHAT ARE THE PERFORMANCE CHARACTERISTICS THAT STANDOUT IN THE WILD THING 6 AND WHAT KIND OF RIDING DO YOU RECOMMEND FOR THIS PLATFORM?
Fast and powerful. The Wild Thing 6 flies quickly to the front of the wind window where it will turn incredibly fast, in part due to its thin leading edge which is reinforced for a stiffer and stable shape that will hold under the most extreme forces. The kite will climb fast out of a kiteloop to offer riders a softer and more controlled landing. Another attribute to be admired by wakestyle riders is the kite’s perfect unhooked performance, allowing for a predictable and refined blend of power and pop. In addition, the bridle offers a pulley free set up with an added wake/freestyle setting on the pigtail. The Wild Thing has never been a generic ride, it is a hyper-sporty kite amongst a sea of grocery getters, refined just enough for the intermediate rider but easily unleashed for expert pilots. THE SURFBOARD PROGRAM FOR 2018 HAS SOME NEW SHAPES AND SIZES. HOW DO YOU HELP KITESURFERS PICK BETWEEN THE NAMMU, PLAYER AND OPIUM?
Simple, first we must know the style and experience of the rider. Is the rider a classic wave style, new school freestyler, hard charger in big waves, a light wind champ or foilboarder? The Player is a directional cut much like a twin tip with its blunted tip and tail sections. The lines make it great for the adaption of a foil as one model variation which is possible due to the US box mounting system. The board is designed to work great with or without the foil attached making it a fantastic choice for travel. The Player is a good strapless freestyler with lots of ollie-like pop. The Opium is the classic surf shape that is known as a hard driving, jiving machine. You can throw some straps on this board in large waves or see what you’ve got in your strapless game. Either way you’ll find this board extremely responsive while holding an edge like a master, yet the tail will still break loose if needed.
The Nammu is ideal as an entry-level surf and wave board that is also suited for light wind wave fun or added rider weight. This board is the most accessible for beginners to learn some strapless riding with a wide stable deck perfect for practicing your jibes.
SOME MAY NOT KNOW, BUT JN HAS A SOLID LINEUP OF OUTERWEAR APPAREL THAT WORKS GREAT IN SNOW AND COLD, HIGH WIND ENVIRONMENTS WITH STYLE. WHAT ARE THE MOST POPULAR ITEMS FROM THE LINEUP?
Bernd Jochum, some team members and myself have an outerwear and hardware sports industry background. In 2008 we started to play with the concept of a clothing line for our team, especially for the addicted freeriders. The first collection debuted in 2009/2010 and we took it to ISPO, proudly winning the overall award as best newcomer. As a core concept we combine natural material such as Loden (pressed wool) and Walk (boiled wool) with the best high tech fabrics making technical 3-layer industry fabrics such as Dermizax and Toray. The core concept and fabric alignment are nicely seen in one of our most impressive jackets, the Lanagan series. Our collections will keep you warm and dry, and wick moisture away in the harshest of environments. The natural wool fibers do not absorb body smell and pretty much clean themselves. With no-stink outerwear you are free to warm yourself by the campfire without worry that your outerwear will smell like smoke forever. All jackets, pants, second layers and first layers are merino wool blends and at this point we have over 30+ styles in our collection. Designed explicitly for outdoor lovers who are looking for a sustainable, highly-functional and stylish clothing line, the new collection will be published in spring 2018 and available around the world. Freeride champs like Flo Orly, Hardy Brandstätter, professional mountaineering athletes and of course our very own outdoor addicted team test and ride the collection all year long. The clothing is known to hold up to a lifetime of use and enjoyment. We love this outerwear and that is an understatement!