Producing kites and paragliders in its own factory has certainly given Ozone both R&D and production advantages and now Ozone has its own in-house board production facility as well. With three new kites, one new twin tip and performance improvements to the rest of the line, the Ozone team summarizes the highlights of Ozone’s exciting new expanded 2019 product offerings.
OZONE HAS AN ALL-NEW LEI DESIGN FOR 2019, HAS RELEASED THE FIFTH VERSION OF THE REO WAVE KITE WITH THE ADDITION OF VARIABLE BRIDLE SETTINGS, AND THE NEXT ITERATION OF THE CATALYST FREERIDE KITE. GIVE US THE SCOOP ON THE NEW ALPHA ONE STRUT KITE AND LET US KNOW WHAT PREVIOUS REO RIDERS CAN EXPECT FROM V5 AND HOW THEY CAN BEST TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE NEW BRIDLE SETTINGS? WHAT CHANGES WILL PREVIOUS CATALYST RIDERS NOTICE THE MOST?
We are very excited to be launching a new one strut LEI design. The Alpha offers amazing performance, designed with the travel hungry riders in mind. The principal aim was to produce a lightweight, travel and freeride specialist kite. It has a unique planform and innovative flat arc design, making it simple yet very effective. Suited for any style of board riding—foil, twin tip or surf—this fun travel-friendly kite is the perfect choice for any occasion anywhere in the world. The kite excels in both light and strong wind hydrofoiling and is a great option for those who prefer an inflatable kite over a foil kite, not to mention that it has fantastic drift and floats with you while foiling or riding a wave. It delivers dynamic turns when needed and a smooth lift for transitions and jumps. To top it off, the Alpha is super responsive in the relaunch and rolls over in an instant.
Our iconic Reo is now in its 5th edition. Previous Reo riders can expect the same immediate relaunch, reactive response, massive wind range and downwind drift that they have come to love from the Reo V4. We understand that not every wave session is going to be in perfect down the line sideshore conditions so the addition of the new VBG (Variable Bridle Geometry) options on the Reo V5 allows the rider to choose between two settings to optimize the kite for different conditions, maximizing the success of their wave sessions.
In the first setting, the Reo will be the same familiar feeling of that of the V4. Here, the bridle is optimized for sideshore to side-offshore winds. The kite flies further forward in the wind window allowing the rider to redirect it without puling you down the face, letting you focus on setting up for your next move and take advantage of the power of the wave. In the second setting, the bridle is optimized for more of an onshore wave scenario. Here the kite sits a little further back in the window, which is beneficial for when you have the wave face moving in a similar direction to that of the wind. It can also help in slightly underpowered conditions where you need that little extra low-end to make it back to the peak.
Finally, the Catalyst V2 has been refined in terms of stability and wind range. It is still a solid low aspect ratio kite that makes relaunching super easy. Previous Catalyst riders will notice an improved ‘sheet in and go’ power delivery with very predictable handling. The updated airfoil section produces efficient power even when the kite is at the edge of the wind window, helping you to ride upwind and giving you more time to spend improving your skills!
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 HYPERLINK HYBRID FOIL KITE WAS LAUNCHED LAST SEASON. WHAT KIND OF RIDER IS THIS KITE IDEAL FOR? WHAT ARE ITS ADVANTAGES/DISADVANTAGES COMPARED TO A TRADITIONAL LEI KITE AND HOW DOES SIZING COMPARE BETWEEN THE TWO DESIGNS?
The Hyperlink is ideal for any kiter that has accomplished intermediate kite skills and appreciates a kite that is fun, easy to fly and wants to add another dimension to their kiting. While we are seeing very good adoption to the Hyperlink and foil kites in general in regions with lighter winds and big open beaches, the possibilities of the smaller sizes in strong wind areas is growing and we are seeing riders taking even the small sizes out in the waves and high winds, as well as using them for unhooked tricks and even park riding.
Just as you needed to learn and practice how to clear your bridle, connect your lines, launch, relaunch and land your leading edge inflatable kite (LEI), such is the case with a foil kite. Many of the perceived disadvantages are due to the fact that most people aren’t familiar with all of the nuances of foils that they have come to learn over time with their LEI’s. Most people will want to start with a LEI to learn and develop their kite flying and board riding skills, but once you are competent and ready for the next step, making the crossover to adding a foil kite to your quiver can increase your enjoyment and time on the water.
The advantages of the Hyperlink and foil kites in general is that they pack down smaller, fly in lighter winds, generate more power for their respective size (approximately 2+ sq meters more powerful than an LEI) go upwind easier, and have amazing lift and hangtime. These advantages can lend themselves to light wind riding, easy travel, learning to jibe or tack a directional board, or needing those extra few seconds of hangtime to get the board back on your feet after a board-off trick. Despite the general belief that foil kites don’t relaunch they are actually easier to relaunch off the water in light air compared to an LEI. They will take some extra skill to learn to fly them properly but the performance can really be enjoyed once you get dialed in.
AT THE BEGINNING OF 2018, OZONE INTRODUCED ITS FIRST BOARD TO THE MARKET, THE CODE TWIN TIP. WHAT KIND OF CONDITIONS DOES THIS BOARD EXCEL IN AND DOES THE COMPANY HAVE ANY PLAN TO ROLL OUT ANY OTHER BOARDS DURING THE 2019 SEASON?
As the first board offering to the market, we wanted the Code to handle a variety of riding styles and conditions. Considered a performance freeride board, it won’t hold you back or pigeon-hole you into a certain style of riding. From boosting and carving to forgiving landings on powered handlepass tricks, the Code is really designed for a rider that wants a forgiving board in a variety of conditions. With a rounder outline and softer flex, it eats up chop and has a skatey, playful feeling underfoot that lends itself to easy transitions to toeside and rail-to-rail carving while still being easy to set the rail to load for jumps and upwind riding.
Our most recent release in the board line is a performance freestyle board, the Torque. Upon its entry into the market, the Torque has got people excited about riding twin tips again. With a more parallel outline and a stiffer flex pattern then the Code, the Torque has amazing pop and holds a rail like it is on tracks. The quad concave bottom shape gives it a precise grip on the water and a unique feel while riding. While being boot-capable for wakestyle riding, the Torque is just as happy being wound up and released for a massive boost in powered up conditions. While being a dream in flat water, the Torque is no slouch in the chop for a freestyle board and is definitely worthy of consideration for anyone looking for a fast, stable and predictable ride. We are always working on new designs in our board-specific factory and have plans to release new models to complete the range. When they are finished and only when we are happy with the performance will we bring them to market.
WHAT WERE THE DESIGN CHALLENGES AND CONCEPT BEHIND OZONE’S NEW CLICK-IN LOOP QUICK RELEASE CONTROL BAR AND HOW DOES IT STAND OUT AMONGST ITS COMPETITORS?
It took more than three years of development and finetuning until we were happy and sure of our Click-In Loop quick release. The design is based on the principle of a car seatbelt and how intuitive it is to use. The Click-In Loop stands out for its ease of use and simplicity to be reconnected. Our aim behind making the quick release so ingeniously simple was to coax riders to release at the end of every session instead of unhooking; in doing so they will develop important muscle memory that will aid the speed of use in times of need, whilst ensuring their system is clean of sand and functioning properly. We believe the one step functionality on release systems will become an industry standard.
The Click-In Loop features other important design aspects required for a safe and operational release system, such as a manual Spinning Head with Anti-twist Flag Out Line. Our custom Stainless Steel Swivel Ring locates into the Click-In Loops rotating internal core. When manually turning the Spinning Head to untwist the front lines, the Flag Out Line rotates in unison with the core keeping all the lines twist free.
THIS YEAR OZONE HAS RELEASED TWO NEW FOIL KITE MODELS THAT ARE FULLY DEDICATED TO THE SNOW, THE EXPLORE AND THE SUBZERO. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THESE KITES AND THE OTHER NON-INFLATABLES IN YOUR LINE?
The performance of a foil kite is mind-blowing compared to an inflatable (LEI). Once you master the different launching and landing techniques there’s no limits to where you can go with them. The Explore V1 is extremely lightweight and ultra-compact; the single surface design means it is also super easy to fly no matter what your skill level. From beginner to expert it has truly versatile handling. It has been built for simplicity and ease of use, giving freedom and accessibility to riders in search of fun and adventure to go off and discover untapped terrain. It is user-friendly to learn on, gives confidence to intermediates wanting to progress their skills and offers a whole new feeling for advanced riders with its adaptable handling in extreme conditions. Our industry leading re-ride system that has been used in our foil kites for a number of years means you can confidently self-land the kite quickly whenever needed. When activated, the re-ride system depowers the kite instantly without tangling and remains in an open position ready to be relaunched.
The Subzero is an open cell foil kite option for all-around performance. This ‘ram-air’ design means instant inflation, no need to have a pump, which makes it ideal for snowkiting backcountry adventures. The refined bridle configuration offers an amazing feeling on the bar; matched with an incredibly stable canopy this kite delivers smooth, predictable handling. Integrated with our revolutionary Internal Re-Ride Release System, taking a break or self-landing is now a guaranteed option. The Subzero is built for intermediate and advanced riders and it allows the adventurous to push the boundaries of the snowy backcountry terrain.
Snowkiting is the perfect sport to quench the kiting thirst in the winter months—the feeling of edging through powder and cruising across open terrain takes riding to a higher level. The whole mountain can become your playground, allowing you to access areas unreachable on foot. If you live near snow, you need to snowkite! The added bonus is you’ll never have to buy another lift pass.
Together with our bespoke, ever-evolving CAD software, our own dedicated factories and committed team we will keep exploring different designs with the intention to keep our sport advancing, making it as interesting and as fun as possible no matter the terrain you’re flying on.