Fresh off its win as AWSI 2018 Brand of the Year Award, Airush enters 2019 with a solid lineup of kites, including an updated version of its widely acclaimed light wind Ultra 2 kite with improved low wind performance. This year Airush is offering a complete line of foil designs targeted for every type of foilboard riding from speed to freeride and surf. We interviewed the Airush team to get all the latest details.
EVERYONE KNOWS THE LITHIUM IS AIRUSH’S LONGSTANDING FREERIDE KITE, BUT HOW DO YOU STEER RIDERS THROUGH THE PERFORMANCE BENEFITS OF THE UNION AND ULTRA, BOTH OF WHICH RECEIVED SIGNIFICANT DESIGN IMPROVEMENTS FOR THIS YEAR?
The Lithium has earned its stripes as our longest standing model, and rightfully so. The Lithium has been built to take you from your first laps through to your first tricks. Being a versatile kite it is an appealing choice for most riders across all genres.
For the market of more progressive riders, we have a selection of kites that are more purpose driven in design. The Union is our high performance 4-line offering, and is the natural step up from the Lithium. With a direct steering response and a higher aspect ratio, the Union has amazing unhooked response and boosting abilities which are here to help you through the freeride to freestyle crossover.
The Ultra was originally developed as high performance kite for light wind freeride and foil riding. Due to the super light weight of this kite, it has proven to have amazing ‘stay in the sky’ drifting abilities making the smaller sizes especially good for park-and-go wave riding. The Ultra has become accessible for riders on all levels and across all genres of freeride. The improvements on the Ultra v2 are mainly on the bigger sizes where we managed to reduce the drag even more by reducing the leading edge segments which increases the skin tension in each panel. This makes the kites feel faster and more crisp.
The improvements of the Union v4 are more about seeing what we could do with a fixed bridle to give the kite a more locked-in feel. The feeling is quite unique compared to the rest of the Airush range—it offers a direct response and uses less bar input for immediate steering; this crisp feeling results in improved kite looping.EXTRA LONG THROW HAS LONG BEEN A BAR FEATURE USED BY ADVANCED KITESURFERS, BUT THIS YEAR AIRUSH HAS INTRODUCED THE ULTRA BAR WHICH FEATURES A VERY CLEAN AND SIMPLE DESIGN WITH NO POWER ADJUSTMENT AND A LONG THROW. HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN THE BENEFITS AND FUNCTIONALITY OF THIS BAR TO PROGRESSIVE FREERIDE KITERS?
The Ultra Bar is a classic result of the Airush design team chasing the dual goals of making gear as simple and light as possible. The more mainstream Airush control systems feature 40 to 50cm of bar throw combined with 15cm of trim. The Ultra Bar simply takes the trim length and adds it to the bar throw, effectively giving the rider the same total range as the other bars, but without the clutter and weight of the trim system. To make use of this increased range we also reduced the size of the chicken loop to somewhat compensate for the longer reach needed to use the complete range of bar throw.
Advanced hooked in freeriders, freeride foilers and strapless wave riders are all potential users of the Ultra Bar. However it is not the bar for everyone and does not replace any of the more mainstream bars in the Airush range. The rider will need to be aware of the kite trim and may need to adjust the bar or kite often to match their style and the wind conditions.
WHEN IT COMES TO SURFBOARDS, AIRUSH HAS THREE DIFFERENT CONSTRUCTIONS THAT ARE INTENDED FOR SKILL LEVEL, STYLE AND RIDING PREFERENCE. CAN YOU DETAIL THE BENEFITS OF EACH CONSTRUCTION AND THE IDEAL RIDER INTENDED FOR ITS USE?
I would consider the key benefits as strength to weight ratio, overall feel and cost. All boards are Eco Boards, using Biobased epoxy systems and Fused EPS cores.
Our Custom Epoxy construction is a single skin construction with Carbon and Innegra reinforcement under the heels. The Custom Epoxy construction has a thicker skin, a wood stringer and a medium density core. This translates into heavier weight for the same given strength in terms of buckling, but the thick skin makes the custom epoxy very impact resistant. The Custom Epoxy construction feels similar to a classic surfboard, with a high amount of flex and a slow response. The overall laminate is still around twice as much material as a traditional surfboard. This construction is the most cost effective to produce. The Custom Epoxy is ideal for the rider focused more on wave riding.
The Reflex Bamboo is a bamboo Sandwich top and bottom; this allows for a lighter laminate for the same given strength. Flex is maximized by removing the center stringer and varying the bamboo orientation; this increases flex in the tail and stiffness in the nose. UD flax rails increase the impact protection and create lightweight rail stringers. The Reflex
Bamboo construction maintains a high amount of flex with an intermediate flex response. The overall construction has the lowest environmental impact through the combination of the Ecoboard materials and the bamboo replacing traditional glass layers. The Reflex Bamboo offers the best balance between price and performance and can be used with the AK Glue On Insert pads for footstrap riders.
The Reflex Carbon Innegra construction sets out to be the lightest construction on the market with a durable sandwich skin. The top deck features a Corecell Sandwich Foam covered with a Biaxial Carbon Innegra laminate; this offers the best combination of flex, strength and impact resistance.
The bottom deck features a Biaxial Carbon sandwich for the best combination of strength and flex. This construction is ideal for the rider looking for a high-performance ride and chasing a big air game and can also be used with the AK Glue On Insert pads for footstrap riders.HOW DO YOU STEER PEOPLE BETWEEN THE SWITCH, APEX, LIVEWIRE AND ALL NEW SHREDDER TWIN TIPS AND HOW SHOULD A RIDER CHOOSE BETWEEN THE CONSTRUCTION OPTIONS?
We strive to design an easily understandable twin tip range that communicates the different riding disciplines and skill levels through their performance features.
The Switch is our ultimate freeride machine with a lower rocker profile, the most curved outlined in the range and very flexible tips. These features allow for the smoothest all terrain riding board in our range.
The Apex is our crossover board. This board allows more progressive freeriders to really push their riding, while guys trying to branch out into freestyle using boots can get the response, rail line, and rocker from the Apex. With a stiffer flex pattern and higher rocker than the Switch, the Apex is Airush’s do it all board.
The Livewire is the ultimate freestyle machine that world champion title holder Alex Pastor has helped develop over the years. Available in both freestyle and park-specific outline options, this board is best ridden with bindings and when unhooking for the ultimate freestyle performance. The highest rocker and stiffest flex pattern in our range allows for the aggressive pop and control on powered take-offs required to really push your freestyle riding.
The Shredder is the newest member to our lineup. This asymmetrical was born from the pure love of waves. The Shredder allows all kiters to enjoy a wave session while still giving the ease of use and maneuverability of bi-directional twin tip. The Shredder is a pure freeride board with great boosting abilities and guarantees fun each session.
Most of our boards come in two primary constructions, a full fiberglass construction and a more premium carbon construction. All boards are built with a full biotech Paulownia wood core for ultimate response and durability. The fiberglass constructions come in at a cheaper price than the carbon and are incredibly durable— the carbon boards are the more premium offering, boasting faster response due to the high modulus carbon used. We have progressive fiberglass and carbon through the ranges to make sure the boards when used under high stress are as durable and responsive as possible.
Our Nano Rod Technology has been introduced deeper into our range as the durability and response results from the Carbon Nano Rod technology were found to be groundbreaking. This year we introduced Fiber Glass Nano Rods into our Apex while the Carbon Nano Rods are still featured in the Apex Team, Livewire and Livewire Team.
WHEN IT COMES TO FOILS WITHIN THE AIRUSH FAMILY, THERE ARE TWO FREERIDE FOILS UNDER THE AIRUSH BRAND AND A SURF FOIL UNDER THE ASSOCIATED ACCESSORY BRAND AK SUPPLY. HOW SHOULD RIDERS CHOOSE BETWEEN THESE THREE FOIL OPTIONS BASED ON SKILL LEVEL AND DESIRED RIDING STYLE?
All of the foils are designed to be used in conjunction with our modular foil platform, allowing riders to tweak and update as their riding evolves.
Our Freeride foil uses our 825cm2 wing and an 80cm mast, and is most similar to a classic freeride foil designed for going fast and high speed maneuvers. Recommended for intermediate to advanced freeriders, it can also be paired with our Freerace Wing and/or 95cm mast for a racier option.
In the pure kiteboarding space the Carving foil represents the cutting edge of recreational foiling. The 1050cm wing and the 70cm mast offer an incredible combination of maneuverability and ease of use, which allows for lower speed turns with a surprising amount of top-end speed. This wing can be paired with an 80 or 95cm mast for the more advanced rider or riding in larger swell. The X-Wing rear wing comes into its own with this foil, as the rider can trim the stability or maneuverability orientation. The Carving foil is also a great entry point into foiling due to the lower speed range, high lift and stability.
The AK Surf foil is a multi dimensional tool that was developed for the prone surfing space when paired with a Surf foilboard or the larger Airush Mini Monsters. Larger wings are also becoming increasingly popular with kiteboarders and the X-wing rear wing allows riders to tune their setup for a more stable platform and reduce the overall lift of the wing through the tail wing. The 60cm mast is most suitable for entry level riders while longer masts are recommended for pumping or kiting in larger swells.