This is the first year that North Kiteboarding is releasing a unique set of products with a direct connection to the North parent company, North Technology Group. As director of sales in the Americas, Matt Aiken reveals the benefits of the transition and introduces the 2020 North product portfolio with an exciting first look at the full line of kite products being released this year.
MOST KITEBOARDERS KNOW THAT NORTH IS RE-ENTERING THE MARKET IN 2020 WITH A COMPLETELY NEW LINE OF PRODUCTS THAT REPRESENT A NEVER-BEFORE-SEEN GROUND-UP REDESIGN WITH STATE OF THE ART INDUSTRY TECHNOLOGY AND EXPERIENCE. WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF RE-BOOTING A BRAND LIKE NORTH?
North Kiteboarding has always been a high-performance brand, but the “re-boot”, as you call it, brings North back to its sail industry heritage under the innovative umbrella of the North Technology Group. The three big advantages of bringing North home were selecting the dreamteam of designers and managers, having the chance to recalibrate and re-energize the brand and opening the door to a whole new level of design and engineering innovation in direct collaboration with the North Technology Group.
We’ve had this awesome opportunity to bring together a hand-picked team of the industry’s most experienced and respected designers, engineers and brand managers. I firmly believe creating great products is all about investing in incredible people, and I’m very proud of how our team has collaborated, working hard to leverage years of experience and passion. We’ve had a perfectly “blank slate” to play with from a design perspective, and the opportunity to recalibrate, step back and look at the industry as a whole, asking: “Where should we go from here? How can we improve?” Bringing home the company’s design and manufacturing to our parent company North Technology Group (NTG) means we can also leverage the unmatched aero and hydro expertise within our parent’s company portfolio.
THE 2020 LINEUP INTRODUCES A THREE-KITE PORTFOLIO TO COVER THE MAJOR STYLES AND SKILL LEVELS OF KITEBOARDING. HOW DO YOU STEER RIDERS BETWEEN THE ORBIT, PULSE AND CARVE LINES OF KITES?
All our kites share the same flattened 2-stage arc design with straighter wingtips, enabling more power and a more dynamic steering response across all three kites. What’s different between the models is the extremity of the arc width. Our Orbit freeride/big air kite has the widest span, and thus delivers the best power delivery for its size with more hangtime and drive.
As the arc shape becomes narrower, the kite uses less of its area to provide actual power and efficiency. A smaller turning radius kite like the Carve kite is fast in flight with less pull or power in the turns which is ideal for the surf.
To steer riders between the three kites, we provide a simple Style Guide for each kite to show how the kite performs. The Pulse kite has the most slack/pop for freestyle, wakestyle and unhooked riding, but also ranks highly for freeride. The Carve kite allows you to power on and off instantly for wave riding and strapless freestyle, but it’s also our favorite choice for foiling. The Orbit is incredibly stable, with anti-gravity boosting (as its name implies), but it’s also strong upwind and has a huge wind range.
It’s all going to depend on how you want to express yourself as a rider. If you’re into jumping high and having a lot of fun, go with the Orbit. If freestyle tricks are more your style, the Pulse. And if you love surfing or foiling, the Carve will be the best choice.
WHEN IT COMES TO SURF, NORTH HAS INTRODUCED SOME HI-TECH CONSTRUCTION TECHNIQUES FEATURED IN A THREE BOARD LINEUP THAT COVERS A WIDE RANGE OF SURFING STYLES. HOW DOES THE CHARGE, CROSS AND COMP LINES OF SURFBOARDS FIT INTO VARIOUS SKILL LEVEL, RIDING STYLES AND CONDITIONS OF KITING WAVES?
One of the biggest advantages of bringing North home is our access to design and technology. The surfboard line all incorporates our Carbon Innegra Futurelite system which forms a structural skeleton that supports the laminates but allows the boards to flex. This has enabled us to craft a lightweight board that is strong enough to kitesurf but has the feel of a high-performance surfboard.
The Charge performance surfboard is a dedicated surf shape that allows a powerful vertical attack in bigger down the line waves. It’s a fast and responsive board for more experienced, extreme high-performance riders yet it is versatile enough to pop strapless freestyle tricks.
The Cross freeride surfboard is your everyday go-to board, blending the line between disciplines, and giving speed and drive when needed. It has generous volume and width for a fun, forgiving ride in an ever-changing surf playground, whether it be offshore, onshore or flat water and chop. When conditions get more challenging, ride it with our Free Surf Straps for ultimate control.
The Comp strapless freestyle surfboard blends the line between surf-style carving and skate-style strapless riding. Compact in size with outstanding speed and edge control in a range of conditions, this is the board you’ll see three-time Kitesurf World Champion Jalou Langeree riding on the GKA Tour.
THE NORTH TWIN TIP LINE OFFERS FOUR BOARDS AND MULTIPLE TYPES OF CONSTRUCTIONS. HOW DO YOU SLOT THE BOARD MODELS WITH VARIOUS RIDING STYLES AND SKILL LEVELS AND HOW SHOULD BUYERS CHOOSE BETWEEN THE VARIOUS CONSTRUCTION OPTIONS?
We’ve designed each twin tip board with a different overall flex and feel, which is determined by multiple construction features used in the lineup.
Our Prime freeride twin tip is an affordable, composite construction with durable ABS rails for longlasting performance. The combination of a Paulownia wood core with engineered E-glass laminate layups on the top and bottom drives riding performance, delivering a well-balanced softer flex for a comfortable ride and forgiving landings in all conditions, perfect for progressing jumps and tricks.
The Atmos freeride/big air hybrid series has strategically placed layers of unidirectional carbon tape in high load areas, for reinforcement of the E-glass laminate. This construction allows for a well-balanced, forgiving flex so that you can ride for longer with flow and form.
The Atmos freeride/big air carbon series is master-crafted by our skilled engineers, who have carefully positioned the full carbon laminate layup to provide a dynamic and responsive ride with well-balanced torsional stiffness and flex. This high-performance version of the Atmos is for riders looking for the best board money can buy.
The Pulse freestyle/freeride hybrid series is precisely engineered to push the boundaries and generate ultimate pop for aggressive freestyle moves. This board also gets the most votes for color in our NZ Design Showroom and also happens to be the choice of Triple World Freestyle Champion, Bruna Kajiya.
The Pulse freestyle/freeride carbon series has a high-performance refined carbon laminate layup with a carefully selected and arranged combination of woven roving and biaxial carbon fiber fabrics and unidirectional reinforcements. This board provides an extremely fast response when loaded, with greater torsional and longitudinal board flex that in turn assists the rider to load and pop.
The Flare wakestyle/park is a composite construction designed for advanced riders, with ABS rails and bulletproof P-Tex grind base material making it the most durable board that can stand up to the abuse of riding in the park.
NORTH HAS RELEASED A FULL LINE OF FOIL PRODUCTS FOR 2020 THAT SATISFIES EVERY NICHE UNFOLDING WITHIN THE FOILING MARKET. WHAT ARE THE KEY COMPONENTS TO THE NORTH FOIL HARDWARE AND HOW SHOULD BUYERS NAVIGATE THE VARIOUS WINGS AND BOARDS BASED ON THEIR STYLE OF RIDING AND SKILL LEVEL?
The modularity of our Sonar range is the plug and play functionality we’ve always dreamed of as kiters. You’ll notice how smooth the ride is, and how quickly you feel comfortable at once. Key features are the fully modular system allowing you to ride any style, easy breach recovery, and the GeoLock technology that offers a more effective load-bearing connection. The stabilizer sits above the fuselage for a clean, undisturbed hydrodynamic flow, and allows for easy breach recovery. Because the front wing sits deeper in the water, when the wings approach the surface, it’s the stabilizer that breaches first while the front wing remains submerged, giving you that extra time to react and adjust your ride height.
We recommend you start your Sonar Foil journey with either the Freeride Edition or the Surf Edition, then add additional wing sizes and mast heights to suit. The Freeride Edition is made up of an 850 carbon front wing, combined with an 85cm mast, board adaptor, fuselage and stabilizer. To adapt the Freeride Edition for foil-surfing, SUP or wake surfing you’d add an 1150 or 1650 front wing, and a 70cm mast.
Or you could buy the Surf Edition, which comes as a complete setup with a 1650 wing and 70cm mast, then extend your playtime by adding the 850 or 1150 wing and the 85cm mast. We have a Foil Rider Style Guide table that helps riders choose between the various wing and mast combinations most suited to their weight and style of riding.