Like a chef using different ingredients to create a signature dish, Duotone’s directional board shaper, Sky Solbach, combines aspects of traditional surfboard design with his knowledge of how the power of a kite changes performance in order to create a delicious range of kite surfboards fit for purpose and riding styles, covering all conditions. Here he takes us through what’s new for the 2020 duotone surfboard line.
The Pro Session is the go-to board for when the waves get bigger and when you want a board with maximum drive and carving ability. The Session loves to stay connected to the wave face for big drawn-out carves and butter smooth rail work. The 2020 Pro Session now also comes with the option to ride it as a quad (4 fin ) setup. Riding the session in a quad configuration increases the speed and stability at high speed and is the preferred option for big, drawn out carves, while the thruster (3 fin) setup gives you tighter, more precise carving for vertical top to bottom surfing. Looking for a very carvy board which can still take waves from medium to huge, the Pro Session is it!
I got some requests from young riders in Europe and Hawaii who wanted a smaller board that would
work for them. Kids are starting younger and younger these days and they need specialised equipment just like the rest of us. So this is definitely way more exciting than just another length! The bigger brother, the 5′5′′ Pro WAM is great for riders down to around 50 kg, but we really needed something smaller. Now this Pro Wam 5′3′′ is especially designed for kiters from 40 – 65 kg.
From a business perspective, I think the market is not huge, but I’ve had a lot requests recently to make custom boards for riders who are starting really young. I think it′s the best thing we can possibly hope for, because these kids are the future of kitesurfing and we also are aware of our responsibility to keep the sport fresh and interesting for the next generations, competing with all the distractions our modern world has to offer.
As any rider knows, it’s really important to have the right size board for your weight. A really light rider using a board with too much size, weight and volume, even something like a Pro Wam 5’6, will simply not be able to get the same performance and feeling they would out of a board that suits their weight.
Especially for the up and coming kids, strapless freestyle is an important part of their kitesurfng.
The WAM is also a great all rounder and in fact some of our top riders on the GKA like Airton and Matchu are also using the WAM at times for strapless freestyle. This is also the reason we chose the WAM model as the board for the groms, because it is our best all round design that bridges the gap between all styles of surfboard riding.
During last season, we actually started off this new project by trying to make some updates to the Nugget, a light wind surf board. Foiling has of course completely changed the light wind market in the last few years and most riders prefer to simply go foiling in light wind rather than surf waves. I’ve always been interested in trying to make performance oriented short and wide boards and we thought it might be cool to play with a bit of a retro look for this board. Sebastian Ribeiro and I had worked on a Nugget design two years prior and had one magic board from that test round that didn’t quite t into the range at the time, so I transferred the experience with this older board onto a new outline template and a new rocker I thought might t and made two different variations of this new design. Right away one of these boards was a clear stand out that opened up a whole new design concept for us to explore that ended up being nothing like a Nugget at all.
I see the Pro Fish as being a great bridge between the Pro Whip and Pro Wam. It’s shorter and wider than a WAM and not quite as compact as the Whip and obviously also has a completely different outline. It really just works in almost any conditions and is so easy and forgiving to ride. I find I can have fun with this board in knee high waves all the way up to double overhead. The Pro Wam and Pro Whip are already incredible all-round designs and the Pro Fish just gives us one more option to choose from that is somewhere in the middle and offers a different surfing sensation.
The Pro Fish appeals to a wide variety of riders. It’s got a certain look and style … you could call it retro or whatever, which on it’s own will already appeal to a certain type of kitesurfer. On top of that it has great performance in a wide variety of conditions from small onshore waves to overhead sideshore down the line conditions. It is incredibly balanced and stable riding through the chop and carries speed really well on the wave even when the kite lines go slack. It’s very forgiving and allows you to make mistakes and easily recover from them. Maybe the easiest way to explain it, is that the WAM and Whip are really performance dedicated and you need to be on your game to get the most performance from them, while the Pro Fish just makes everything easy.
In the last 6 months I have rarely ridden anything but the Pro Fish. I ride it in onshore waves and in side shore waves from 1 to 6 feet. It’s simply my favourite toy.
The Pro Whip has undergone major development for 2020 to improve it’s surfing and handling. This was achieved by moving the wide point slightly further forward, increasing the nose rocker and decreasing the overall surface area of the nose while leaving the back half of the board essentially unchanged. The result is an extremely well-balanced board with incredible handling thanks to the straight outline in the tail, but provides explosive snap off the top and has the ability to turn tight in the pocket of very steep sections without any catching or awkwardness of a traditional compact shape. The Pro Whip is the board which blends the two worlds of compact surf and pure high-performance surf seamlessly.
The Duotone Hybrid is a crossover surf and foil board built in the high performance and light Pro Construction. Its shape is inspired by the Pro Whip and works in small to medium size waves. The fully integrated 4-point mast connection has minimum influence on the weight and flex of the board to keep its surf characteristic while giving you a solid connection to the foil. Especially for traveling, this versatile combination is perfect to travel with only one board. If you want to ride waves and enjoy light days on the foil, the hybrid is the perfect board of choice.
This article first appeared on Duotone’s blog here.