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“Welcome to the ‘No Stress Island!'” Philip Schinnagel, Core Kiteboarding’s International Sales Rep says to a room full of dealers on day one of this year’s Core International Dealer Meeting in Cabo Verde. With the dealers anxiously sitting at the edge of their seats waiting to see Core’s latest kite, Philip presses play and projects two videos, the first of them featuring Willow-River Tonkin tucked into a barrel at One Eye in Mauritius, while the other features Steven Akkersdijk boosting the type of big airs and megaloops that have earned him multiple invites to the Red Bull King of the Air contest. While both videos showcase vastly different disciplines, the standout message is that both athletes are able to perform their respective styles at a professional level with the same kite: Core’s all new Nexus.

New for this year, the Nexus replaces the Free in Core’s lineup and sits between the XR5 and the GTS4 in Core’s Universal Plus Series. “When we were developing the GTS4 we immediately felt there was a wave ability so we took this out of the line and developed it further until it became another decent wave kite along with the Free but it was so much better for freestyle (than the Free) so it deserves a new name so that’s why its called Nexus and not Free 2 anymore,” Philip explains.

Core team rider Steven Akkerdijk (LEFT), Core Internatioanl Sales Rep Philip Schinnagel (CENTER) and R&D+Designer Sebastian Witzleben (RIGHT) explain the key characteristics of the Nexus

At the beach, dealers were treated to a bottomless supply of Core kites, twin tips and surfboards along with some additional boards from Carved, Core’s sibling brand that specializes in custom carbon boards. It’s nuking when we first arrive at Sal’s kite beach so I grab a Nexus 5m with a surfboard and make off into the waves where I spend the next five hours putting the Nexus through its paces and comparing it to the rest of the kites in Core’s lineup.

Derived from the GTS’ Future C-Shaped canopy, Core’s designers gave the Nexus a higher aspect surf profile in order to improve drift and establish it as both a wave and freestyle kite. What really makes this kite behave differently across the various disciplines is how you tune it. The technology that gives this kite two unique faces and allows it to perform in opposing disciplines is its three different CIT (Core Intelligent Trim system) points. With three bridle connection points along the leading edge, users can set up their kite for wave, allaround or freestyle and change the kite from a grunty freestyle machine to a drifty surf engine. While the CIT points are located relatively close together and look like they may only provide a minimal change, these small adjustment points make a world of difference. 

Out of the bag, the kites comes set up in all around mode for general freeride or a balance between both settings. On the wave setting, the kite turns faster and provides a lot of depower in order to keep you placed exactly where you want to be on the wave. You’ll get that ‘on and off, powered when you want it, depower when you need it’ feeling that helps ensure you don’t get pulled off your board but guarantees you’ll have the pull you need to get around a section. This setting also helps the Nexus with drifting down the line as the kite is more apt to float back. If you want to switch into freestyle gear you can hook your bridle to the freestyle attachment point and you’ll immediately notice a more rigid frame that gives the kite consistent pull and grunt throughout the wind window. The kite then delivers the kind hard-charging pull you want from a big air weapon.

Core’s strapless freestyle and wave rider Willow-River Tonkin goes for a lofty strapless kiteloop on Core’s new Nexus.

Setting the steering line pigtails on the correct loops also affect how the Nexus acts within each mode. For surf, attach your pigtail line to the outside loop (closest to the wingtip). When paired with the wave CIT point, this gives the kite more of a surf oriented open profile whereas for freestyle, attaching your pigtail to the inside loop (farthest from the wingtip) in conjunction with the freestyle CIT point pulls the kite into a bit more of a C-shape.

Adjusting the CIT and wingtip settings on the Nexus give it varying performance characteristics making it a great choice for anyone who’s not looking for a specific or dedicated riding style kite and likes to dabble in it all. It’s also a great travel companion for those who have various kites for different disciplines but don’t want to carry all their kites on their next trip.

Compared the the Section 2 (Core’s dedicated wave kite), the Nexus is not as direct and has a bit more pull whereas the Section 2 is a bit more twitchy and offers more drift. However, with solid steering response and a tight, pivot style arc, with the proper tuning setup, the Nexus excels in all disciplines. Connect to the freestyle CIT point for big boosting and looping, hang out on the all around CIT point for general freeride then hook up to the wave CIT point and drift down the line for your next surf session. The Nexus is great option for both freestyle and general crossover into surf.

With no special adapter needed, the Nexus features Core’s Speed Valve 2 which connects directly to any standard 20mm OD twist lock pump hose for quick, reduced effort inflation and comes with an attached deflate chip (hidden in a pocket in the center strut) for speedy deflation.

Like the rest of Core’s kite lineup, the Nexus features no-stretch ExoTex Ultra Rigid Dacron along the leading edge and struts as well as Core’s exclusive CoreTex Triple Ripstop Canopy. The talk between the dealers often highlighted the high-quality build resulting in strength, durability, tear resistance and longevity.

The definition of the word ‘Nexus’ is a connection point between two or more objects and Core’s Nexus certainly stands at the meeting point between surf and freestyle. In today’s kiting landscape where so many riders are crossing over between disciplines, there’s a growing group of kiters who are diversifying their riding styles and are looking for a wider range of performance out of one set of kites; that’s where the Nexus shines. For those Core customers previously hooked on the Free, the Nexus is an excellent evolution that is well worth a try and for those kiters who frequently cross between surf and freestyle sessions based on conditions and mood, the Nexus is a great cross terrain option with tuning capabilities for the best of both worlds.