Ozone is one of the only companies in the kiteboarding industry that produces paragliding foils in addition to a full line of kites. Technology from each sport has crossed over to the other, such as Ozone’s new freeride Hyperlink foil kite that crosses into the LEI performance divide. For 2018, the company focused on improving the construction of their designs and refining the performance of their entire line. Ozone’s Dave Tyburksi talks to Tkb about all the new changes.


OZONE HAS INTRODUCED AN ENTIRELY NEW PRODUCT CATEGORY WITH THE HYPERLINK FOIL KITE THAT PERFORMS LIKE AN INFLATABLE. WHAT’S THE ADVANTAGE OF THIS KITE AND HOW DO YOU SELL IT TO THE AVERAGE KITEBOARDER?             

The advantages of foil kites are clear. They pack down smaller, fly in lighter winds, generate more power for their respective size, go upwind easier and have amazing lift and hangtime. However as compared to inflatable kites, they do have some drawbacks that have hindered their adoption by the general market. The Ozone design team set out to identify the drawbacks and to create a foil kite that provides the performance advantages of a foil while offering a similar feel and simplicity of use you find in an inflatable. As we have seen a surge in popularity of foil kites with the R1 and Chrono models, other brands are hopping on the bandwagon—so clearly the market for foils is growing. The key to selling the Hyperlink to the regular kiter is to get one in their hands and let them try it for themselves! While launch and relaunch are different to that of an LEI kite, any intermediate rider can easily master the technique in a few sessions. The Hyperlink is easy to launch, easy to relaunch and is very stable due to its mid-aspect ratio. The minimal bridle plan removes a lot of the complexity and offers a very direct feel on the bar—much closer in feeling to an LEI than other foil kites. To the holdouts, I say extend your riding time, enjoy a new feeling and don’t knock it until you try it! If you are foil-curious, the Hyperlink is the best foil kite to try for your first time. It marries the performance of a foil kite with the feeling of an inflatable. It is also available in an ultra-light version made with the same material used in our R1V2 race kite. It stands apart from the competition not only on performance and ease of use, but also because it is a hybrid kite with the ability to be used on water, land or snow. The cells on the leading edge have a Velcro closure and zipper that when closed, allows air to enter the kite but not exit on a crash. This helps to maintain its shape for relaunch when being used on the water. For use on snow or land, the zippers can be opened, allowing the kite to inflate and deflate more quickly and be used with an optional 5th line that functions to collapse the kite as a re-ride safety system.

THE ENDURO GOT SOME TWEAKS FOR THIS YEAR. WHAT’S NEW AND HOW DOES IT COMPARE TO VERSION 1?             

The V2 has stayed true to its name and is a pure all-terrain kite due in part to its open C-shape and swept leading edge. What has changed is the wingtips have been refined by becoming tapered at the leading edge to increase stability when depowered. This results in a much smoother ride and more solid bar feeling in strong and gusty winds. Also changed is the strut construction which allows more support and shaping in the canopy which contributes to improved lift, better stability and reduced flutter when sheeted out. Overall, the new version has a more refined feel in the power delivery due to the increased shaping in the struts and the canopy, which in turn contributes to a smoother and more precise feel on the bar. For those who follow Ozone, you know that we are very much of the ethos of not changing something just for the sake of change. If something can be improved upon, we don’t confine ourselves to a deadline for release and focus exclusively on achieving the design and improvement objectives for a specific kite. This year we haven’t changed the 3-stage variable bridle geometry that offers performance enhancements across a wide range of disciplines. With an incredibly simple adjustment to the bridle at the LE, you can change the turning speed, bar pressure and depower to tune the kite to your desired preference or conditions. For freeriders, the Enduro’s freeride setting excels regardless of whether you are on a twin tip, surfboard or foilboard. The smooth power delivery, refined predictable handling and excellent depower allows you to relax and enjoy the ride. In the wave setting, the handling, depower and drift opens up the opportunity for vertical snaps and aggressive cutbacks. Strapless freestyle aficionados love the progressive handling and smooth lift. If freestyle is part of your repertoire, the freestyle setting makes progression fun and easy. From your first unhooked moves to kite loops and right up to advanced unhooked riding, The Enduro delivers accessible pop making learning technical moves and handlepasses easier.

OZONE HAS MADE SOME BIG CHANGES IN THE SNOWKITE LINE INTRODUCING THE BLIZZARD V1 IN PLACE OF THE ICONIC FRENZY AND SUMMIT KITES. WHAT’S THE SCOOP ON THIS AND HOW DOES THIS FIT IN WITH THE REST OF THE LINE?     

After 10 versions of the legendary Frenzy and four versions of the iconic Summit, we felt that the time was right to create a specific model that combined our favorite characteristics of the two kites into the concept of a single kite with the Blizzard V1. While the Access V7 kite anchors the snowkite lineup for entry-level stability and predictability on snow or land, the Blizzard V1 is for performance-oriented freeride and backcountry riding. Featuring a tight turning radius for climbing in the alpine conditions found in the western and mountain states, the Blizzard is equally at home sending it off the flats and kickers of the frozen lakes and snow-covered landscapes of the midwest and eastern states. With performance freeride at the core of the Blizzard’s design brief, safety was never an afterthought. The Blizzard features our industry leading internal re-ride safety system that provides the ability to immediately and safely disable the kite on a moment’s notice. It is widely regarded as the safest means to render the kite powerless and free of tangles while allowing for easy relaunch when ready. With the incredible adoption of the Chrono and Hyperlink kites by those who prefer water/land hybrid kites, the Blizzard sits on top of the dedicated open cell snowkite category and carries on the legacy of its predecessors. Available in an ultra-light version that uses the same material as our industry leading performance race kite, the R1V2, the Blizzard UL is lighter weight, packs down smaller and allows for an increased turning speed and improved stability in light air and wind shadows found in the backcountry.    WITH THE PROLIFERATION OF FOIL KITES FOR LIGHT WIND KITEBOARDING, HOW DO THE LARGER SIZES OF THE MODIFIED EDGE 9 STAY RELEVANT IN THIS CATEGORY? WHAT PERFORMANCE UPGRADES WILL WE FIND IN THE LATEST MODEL?      

As with any shift from the mainstream, there are going to be holdouts who are dead set on what they like and are reluctant to change—I think that will be the case with the LEI’s and foil kites. There is a whole list of arguments that one can make against another and yes, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if we saw numbers of the big Edge sizes drop as foils for light winds become more adopted by the general market. Touting our largest sizes of our inflatable models with a 19m, 17m and 15m, the wind range for those sizes can be covered by a foil kite that is smaller and lighter. Add a foil board into the equation and you can pretty much get away with a foil kite half the size of what you used to ride on a LEI and twin tip. The reality is that there are those riders that for the foreseeable future will want to ride a large LEI because of reasons important to them and as a matter of personal preference. Whether it be the feeling, the comfort of having an inflatable object to hold on to should the wind die, or something specific to a spot that they ride—like launching from a boat or drift launching from a rocky beach— there are always going to be those that will choose a big Edge over a foil kite which is great and why we continue to improve the Edge and make larger sized LEI’s. The Edge has always been widely regarded as one of the best boosting and hangtime kites on the market and that is even more apparent in the new Edge V9. With changes in the shaping of the struts and canopy of the V9, the Edge has made an even bigger impact in the freeride market by offering a new bar feel, improved hangtime and smoother power delivery upping the level for a performance freeride kite. One of the biggest improvements that I appreciate in the V9 is the way the kite turns and comes through a loop. Prior versions needed more bar input when down-looping. The V9 comes through a loop silky smooth and is much more playful than prior versions. This is a result of new shaping in the wingtip and a repositioning of the bridle on the leading edge.       WITH THE PROLIFERATION OF FOIL KITES FOR LIGHT WIND KITEBOARDING, HOW DO THE LARGER SIZES OF THE MODIFIED EDGE 9 STAY RELEVANT IN THIS CATEGORY? WHAT PERFORMANCE UPGRADES WILL WE FIND IN THE LATEST MODEL?          

As with any shift from the mainstream, there are going to be holdouts who are dead set on what they like and are reluctant to change—I think that will be the case with the LEI’s and foil kites. There is a whole list of arguments that one can make against another and yes, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if we saw numbers of the big Edge sizes drop as foils for light winds become more adopted by the general market. Touting our largest sizes of our inflatable models with a 19m, 17m and 15m, the wind range for those sizes can be covered by a foil kite that is smaller and lighter. Add a foil board into the equation and you can pretty much get away with a foil kite half the size of what you used to ride on a LEI and twin tip. The reality is that there are those riders that for the foreseeable future will want to ride a large LEI because of reasons important to them and as a matter of personal preference. Whether it be the feeling, the comfort of having an inflatable object to hold on to should the wind die, or something specific to a spot that they ride—like launching from a boat or drift launching from a rocky beach— there are always going to be those that will choose a big Edge over a foil kite which is great and why we continue to improve the Edge and make larger sized LEI’s. The Edge has always been widely regarded as one of the best boosting and hangtime kites on the market and that is even more apparent in the new Edge V9. With changes in the shaping of the struts and canopy of the V9, the Edge has made an even bigger impact in the freeride market by offering a new bar feel, improved hangtime and smoother power delivery upping the level for a performance freeride kite. One of the biggest improvements that I appreciate in the V9 is the way the kite turns and comes through a loop. Prior versions needed more bar input when down-looping. The V9 comes through a loop silky smooth and is much more playful than prior versions. This is a result of new shaping in the wingtip and a repositioning of the bridle on the leading edge.

ONE OF THE UNIQUE ASPECTS OF OZONE’S APPROACH TO BUILDING KITES IS THAT YOU ARE ABLE OFFER THE ABILITY FOR CUSTOMERS TO ORDER KITES WITH CUSTOM GRAPHICS AND COLORWAYS. HOW DOES THIS WORK?       

Other brands contract with private factories in China or Sri Lanka to build their products, often sharing them with multiple brands, whereas Ozone owns and operates its own dedicated factory in Viet Nam. Early on, Ozone realized that it was important to protect their intellectual property and processes while having complete control and flexibility in the design and manufacturing process. Because of this, out of our staff of 1300 highly skilled craftsman and women, we have a dedicated team that only builds custom kites for both individual customers and private companies alike. Whether it is a single kite or an order of 200+ pieces, we offer this service to anyone. The kite design is based off of any of our existing kite models, however the graphics are the customer’s design and limited only by their imagination. The graphics are either screened on, sewn on, adhered on, or a combination of the three. We make custom kites for use in television commercials, marketing campaigns, bonus incentives, and regional branding and advertising for everything from large corporations and banks to tech startup companies and mom and pop home businesses. It’s a great way to get your message out in a high-visibility, interesting way and you can write it off as well! At our factory, we utilize ‘just-in-time’ manufacturing meaning that we build each kite to order, so building custom kites aren’t a big departure from how we do things anyways. Apart from custom designs, we also offer custom colors of all of our kites. For a small surcharge you can pick your own colors, even if it isn’t part of our usual production colorways. On the bottom of each of our product pages on Ozonekites.com you can click between colors and see how your custom color(s) would look. Whether you want to promote your company or brand or just stand out from the crowd and match your kite to your outfit, check out our website or contact your local Ozone dealer for a custom kite or custom color.


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