You can tell quite a bit about a kite brand just by looking at their quick release. Some companies go the generic route, choosing a pre-packaged product off a shelf from a communal factory in China. This is essentially design a la carte; a simple process of picking and choosing between discarded or generic designs and putting them together for a product typically deemed good enough. Other brands go the path less traveled—they hire an engineer, a CAD-man and they build molds to cast and assemble parts in a lengthy R&D process aimed at improving upon the safety, function and convenience of this simple device.

The quick release system can save your life and that’s why Bernie Hiss, founder of Core Kiteboarding cleared the slate and started from ground zero. “In R&D, you can either follow the crowd or go your own way,” says Bernie, looking back on their groundbreaking quick release. Bernie’s team invented a rotor quick release after seeing the benefits of twist systems used in high-performance aviation. They found that the rotating motion generates more torque and can function under twice as much load as a traditional push away release. In that process, they discovered a laundry list of additional safety benefits that come with the design and yet their biggest critics charge them with being different from what else is out there. Yet this comes as no surprise to those who know Bernie Hiss and his calculated approach to product development.

Tkb digital issue available now. Print issue mails Sept 7, 2018.