Kite and board designer Peter Stiewe has been in the industry since the beginning, yet it wasn’t until 2017 that he launched his own brand, Eleveight. With a passionate team inspired by kiteboarding, surfing, skateboarding, wakeboarding, snowboarding and windsurfing, Eleveight’s focus is on designing simple perfection in high-end performing products. With new foils, new surf construction, a new kite, and a new board, along with tweaks to the existing line, North American distributor Kevin Wade fills us in on what’s exciting about Eleveight’s 2020 lineup.
FOR 2020, ELEVEIGHT IS INTRODUCING FOILS INTO ITS LINEUP FOR THE FIRST TIME. TELL US ABOUT SOME OF THE R&D THAT WENT INTO YOUR NEW FOIL PROGRAM AND WHAT PRODUCTS WILL WORK BEST FOR DIFFERENT SKILL-LEVEL RIDERS IN VARYING CONDITIONS.
Prior to the initial Launch in 2017, the Eleveight crew knew that it was important to offer a foil range in the lineup. The team spent over two and a half years testing every foil on the market to make sure that our product would offer incredible performance within its category. After tons of testing and feedback, we decided that our initial offering should focus on the freeride category. Most riders want a foil that is durable but not too heavy, something that will allow them to progress quickly and will continue to push them when they are advanced. With modular parts that are interchangeable between models, carbon composite wings, G10 stabilizers, and $1099 price tag, we are very pleased with how things turned out. The HCS is the smaller, medium/high aspect wing that offers a very agile and stable ride. It is geared towards those looking to progress quickly in performance freeride. The HCS+ is our larger, medium aspect wing that planes quickly and provides a rock-solid platform. Riders looking to push the light wind limit and/or surf without a kite in decent swell will love this foil.
ELEVEIGHT ALSO LAUNCHED ITS FIRST SINGLE STRUT KITE FOR 2020. WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE TO BE THE PROS AND CONS OF THIS TYPE OF DESIGN AND WHO IS THE NEW OS KITE BEST SUITED FOR?
Like the foil range, the OS has been in development for three years. One strut kites are important in our market because they offer a lighter alternative to traditional designs, with foils giving us the ability to kite in lighter winds than ever before. Not only that, but you can do it with a kite that is small and playful. It’s important to have smaller kites with a lift to weight ratio that allows them to keep up with the performance of the foil. Kites with less struts became the obvious approach to solving this problem. The issue with struts is that you are essentially removing the structural framework of your kite. Kites with fewer struts are often less rigid and therefore lose some of the performance associated with rigidity. Relaunch, responsiveness, stability, and speed can all be linked to a kite that is solid and well balanced. The goal with the OS was to make a solid kite that was as light as possible while maintaining all of the above-mentioned benefits. Peter decided to take a slightly different approach than some of the other brands when doing this. Using lighter ripstop is a very common way to achieve a lighter kite. The material costs less, weighs less and offers adequate durability in most light wind applications. The drawback, like always, is weight vs. durability and rigidity. The OS uses the same premium X4 fabric as the rest of our models. A slightly thinner bladder material compensates for the weight that would be gained by using a different fabric. With the X4 canopy, XT leading edge and struts, hybrid design, and medium AR, the OS provides the best of both worlds when it comes to light wind performance. Light wind surf, lightweight riders, or foil fanatics will be stoked on this kite.
WHAT OTHER DEVELOPMENTS HAVE BEEN INTRODUCED INTO ELEVEIGHT’S KITE LINE THIS YEAR?
We have continued the evolution of Eleveight both in product refinement and expansion of the line. The popularity of the WSeries kite has caused us to expand the line and add three new sizes (6, 8, 13m). Our new 5-point bridle system has been implemented across the line and is the most significant change this year in terms of kite development. This system has increased performance and added versatility across the line. It allows the user to change the turning axis of the kite to suit their style and various conditions. Increasing the turning axis will give you a more powerful turn while decreasing it will allow the kite to pivot with increased speed and less power. Want to surf with your RS in the morning, and take it for a boosting session after lunch? A simple adjustment will give you the most out of the kite for either discipline. Want to teach your friend to do her first downloop transitions and head out to shoot your King of the Air wildcard video right after? The new system helps to make it possible. Other changes like our V2 bridle deflector and Dynamic Super Seam have improved on concepts that have already helped Eleveight to stand out.
WHILE ELEVEIGHT DESIGNS PRODUCTS FOR ALL TYPES OF CONDITIONS, IT IS NO SECRET THAT YOUR DESIGNER, PETER STIEWE, IS PASSIONATE ABOUT THE SURF. WHAT WAS THE MOTIVATION BEHIND INTRODUCING THE NEW CVC CONSTRUCTION TO YOUR EXISTING LINE OF CFT KITE SURFBOARDS AND HOW DO THE TWO LINES DIFFER?
Our CFT construction is based on the fact that there is no true substitution for a polyester surfboard. The flex and responsiveness of a poly layup are why 99% of the pro surfers have stuck with this construction over the years. CFT boards represent the latest in polyester constructed boards designed to maximize durability while maintaining that pro surf feel. As kiters, we realize that there will always be a need for bombproof surfboards that are lightweight and responsive. The CVC takes the approach of a modern premium kitesurf construction with an EPS layup. With a timber deck, carbon fiber bottom, and vacuum construction process we were able to keep the weight down while ensuring that the boards can take a beating. The CVC will be the bulletproof option, while the CFT will offer pro-level flex and responsiveness. Looking to focus on your air game with a new school board? Want to throw some straps on your performance board when it’s massive? CVC is for you! Looking to use the kite to make impossible sections and add to the stoke when the wind picks up? Committed to primarily using the power of the wave? Check out the CFT! Both lines offer amazing performance—it’s just a matter of the rider’s style.
THE NEW COMMANDER TWIN TIP HAS LOTS OF CHANNELS AND ROCKER TO IT. WHERE DOES THIS BOARD FIT IN ELEVEIGHT’S TWIN TIP OFFERINGS? ARE THERE ANY OTHER CHANGES TO THE 2020 TWIN TIPS?
The Commander is our freestyle / wakestyle board for 2020. The surprising thing about this board is how efficient it is. Normally when you think of channels and rocker you think of control and powered performance. The sacrifice is normally upwind ability and acceleration. The three-stage rocker on the Commander combined with the Triax carbon composite layup gives it unbelievable efficiency while maintaining the benefits of wakestyle performance. This board flies upwind with or without fins. It works well with straps or boots and has quickly become a favorite among our team members. We have also added a carbon fiber version of our Master twin tip for 2020. It is designed to be the ultimate in premium freeride; it’s extremely lightweight, has loads of flex and offer excellent responsiveness for a comfortable ride. The outline and bottom shape made the Master an instant classic in 2019 so we think riders will be stoked on the carbon version.