The company that introduced world renowned and longstanding products such as the Rebel and Vegas line of kites, in addition to twin tips like the Jaime and surfboards like the Wam, is now called DUOTONE. Yes, the people behind the award-winning products formerly branded under the North Kiteboarding label are now building the same and next gen products but under the new name. With the same design team in years past we interviewed Duotone’s North American team to go beyond the logo/graphics swap to find out what’s new for 2019 in terms of product offerings and performance.
LAST YEAR THE REBEL MADE THE BIG JUMP FROM A DEDICATED 5-LINE KITE TO A 4-LINE KITE BUT THIS YEAR ALSO GOT SOME SMALL DESIGN TWEAKS TO FURTHER REFINE THE NEW PLATFORM. WHAT KIND OF RIDER IS THE NEW REBEL DESIGNED FOR AND WHAT WILL THE CLASSIC REBEL FAN FIND IN THIS LATEST ITERATION?
Last year, we completely reworked the famed Rebel to be compatible with a 4-line setup and the response was incredibly positive so we ran with it and this year designer, Ken Winner, worked hard to make small refinements resulting in the best version yet. From the 2019 Rebel, you can expect huge airtime with a more vertical trajectory during jumps. With a smaller diameter leading edge and a flatter center shaped profile, not only will you experience higher jumps but will also feel the benefits of even more predictable handling and direct response. Riders that are new to the sport will appreciate the Rebel’s predictability and ease of relaunch while more intermediate to advanced kiters will love the Rebel’s versatility and hangtime.
WHEN IT COMES TO THE CROSSOVER COMPONENT OF THE FREERIDE LINE OF KITES, HOW DO YOU DIRECT KITERS TO CHOOSE BETWEEN THE DICE, NEO AND EVO AND WHAT ARE THE BIG CHANGES FOR THIS YEAR?
We offer a broad range of high performing kites so it is important when deciding which model is best suited for your riding style that you consider your skill level as well as your preferred discipline. If you are looking for a wave dedicated kite that will drift down the line faultlessly as you carve down the face, then the Neo is the best choice kite for you. As many foilboarders have found, one of the defining characteristics of the Neo is to sit deeper in the window and this makes it a versatile ride for both surfers and foilboarders. If you like to kite waves but also like to boost big or even do some unhooked freestyle, the Dice is the choice for any kiter who wants one high performance ride that can do it all. With solid unhooked performance and big hangtime, the Dice is quickly becoming one of our most popular kites. For those riders who are newer to the sport, they can’t go wrong with the Evo. The Evo is an all-around predictable ride that will make progressing quite easy. With a breezy relaunch, robust quality and simple design, anyone looking to get going in the sport with a new Duotone kite will be happy with their choice of the Evo.
WHILE MUCH OF THE TWIN TIP DESIGN AND TECH IS CARRYING OVER FOR THIS YEAR, HOW DO YOU RECOMMEND RIDERS CHOOSE BETWEEN THE CLASSIC AND TEXTREME CONSTRUCTION OPTION IN YOUR LINE OF TWIN TIPS? WHEN IT COMES TO SKILL LEVEL AND FREERIDE STYLE, HOW DO YOU STEER RIDERS BETWEEN THE JAIME, ALL NEW SELECT AND SOLEIL?
For this year’s lineup, we’ve chosen our best selling models and now offer them in an even higher performance construction in addition to the classic construction. For the Jaime, Select, Soleil and Spike, we will also offer all sizes of each model in the Textreme construction. A full carbon construction, Textreme showcases the best of our expertise in twin tip design by showcasing our patented Spread Tow Fabric paired with a 45-degree diagonal Biax Carbon layup on the bottom. This combination offers the best combination in pop and grip while maintaining an incredibly lightweight ride.
In the Classic construction, we offer a very robust, performance-oriented layup that our riders have come to know and love. New for 2019, we introduce our new SpaceFlex technology. This is an adapted tip that pairs a stiff outside frame coupled with a softer inner area to allow for smooth water release, early planing and a reduction in swing weight, all of which facilitates easier tricks and faster rotations. For riders that demand the lightest weight, highest performance ride on the market today, the Textreme is the construction of choice for them. If a more budget-friendly durable construction offering a softer ride is what they are looking for, then the Classic construction is sure to suit their needs.
When choosing between board shapes, the rider should consider their size, ability and preferred riding style. For the best combination of freeride and freestyle, the Jaime has been a crowd pleaser for many years offering a lively ride. For a smoother feel that will dampen chop and carve with the best of them, the best choice for the freerider is the new Select which also replaces the previous year’s X-Ride. For lighter weight riders with smaller feet or a preference for a narrower board, we’ve developed the Soleil alongside it’s counterpart the Select to be a women’s-specific all-around ride.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN CLASSIC AND PRO CONSTRUCTION OPTIONS IN THE SURF LINEUP AND HOW DO YOU STEER RIDERS BETWEEN THE SURF-ORIENTED BOARDS, SUCH AS THE WHIP AND WAM SHAPES IN YOUR LINEUP?
In our Classic versions, we use the Bamboo Tec Construction, which delivers our most durable surfboard layup and has great resistance to dents and perforations as well as a high strength to weight ration. Offering an ideal combination of flex and strength, the boards in Bamboo Tec have an impressive feel on the water.
For 2019, our team has worked tirelessly to further develop our Light Team Construction, which you will find in all of the Pro Construction models. Using a more labor intensive, multi-step vacuum bag process, we are able to produce a super strong lightweight board with a custom finish. With our new method, we no longer have the need for the full bamboo sandwich layer of previous model years. By removing the bamboo, you can now see the crock shock absorber through the top deck, which is the key to allowing the deck to flex like a custom PU board but with a minimal amount of heel denting.
As far as choosing between shapes, the rider should look at which type of wave riding or strapless freestyle best suits them. For riders mostly looking to send it high in their jumps, then the new Pro Voke would definitely be their best bet. If they are more of a traditionalist, sticking solely to wave riding then they are likely to be very happy with the new Wam which is the ideal all-rounder kitesurf board built to deliver high performance in a traditional shape that excels in most conditions. As for the rider who wants to do a little bit of everything, they are likely to be the happiest with the Whip. Designed for smaller waves and the ability to carve vertical snaps with maximum maneuverability, the Whip performs well in waves and works well for the less extreme strapless freestyle tricks.
THIS YEAR DUOTONE IS LAUNCHING NOT ONLY A NEW BRAND IMAGE BUT ALSO A NEW CLASS OF SURFBOARD. THE PRO VOKE IS A PURE STRAPLESS FREESTYLE MACHINE BUILT FROM THE FINS UP. HOW DOES THIS DESIGN TRANSLATE TO LANDING SURFBOARD STRAPLESS TRICKS?
Surfboard designer, Sky Solbach, worked closely with 2x World Champion, Airton Cozzolino Lopes, to develop the brand new Pro Voke model. This board steps outside of everything we have done in surfboards before by borrowing technology from wakeboards to develop a stronger base that will also better separate the water upon landing and therefore will absorb massive airs and have the strength to withstand the hottest of landings.