Since 2015, unbeknown to most, F-One and their head board designer Charles Bertrand have been developing dedicated boards for wheelchair athletes with the help of SitKite godfather Thierry Schmitter. Here is the updated sitkite board collection. F-One is using their know-how and access to technology used on their surf and foilboards collection to improve the previous models.
As a mountaineer Thierry got hit by an avalanche while climbing. When the snow melted, Thierry sailed out winning multiple World Championship’s and participated in three Paralympics. In his search for independence and with his passion for the outdoors he became the godfather of “SitKite” and continues to develop this new sport. Thierry inspires, motivates and grabs all opportunities and has been deeply involved in the development of the SitKite boards. Below is his take on the new board setup:
“F-One, my dedicated partner in the development of sitkite boards since 2015 comes out in 2020 with the latest version of the surf and foil models. Both models have been improved together with my progression in sitkite-surfing and -foiling.
Many riders have tried to use existing foil boards as a sitkite-board. The outline of those boards looks like the outline of a sitkite-board (but isn’t the same!) and are in general cheaper than a dedicated sitkite-board. Therefore, I can understand the temptation to use mass produced boards…
But the lack of nose rocker and straight outline makes those boards unsuitable to ride in chop or surf waves. Also, the nose of those boards is too long which makes the board unsafe when being dragged in the water by the traction of a crashed kite. The nose surface in front of the rider’s feet works as a drogue anchor, which prevent the rider to orient himself into a safe waterstart position (feet oriented in the direction of the kite). Also, the reduced volume of the F-One sitkite board is essential for the safety. A board with too much volume implies that the rider floats butt up and head down, which means drowning…
Further, to be able to go upwind properly, you need at least two fins 6-10cm deep. The Tuttle box, instead of a unibox system, enables beach landing without breaking fins or board inserts.
The combination of a wooden core (reduced volume) and the pronounced 3D nose rocker (longitudinal and transversal curvature) makes the design of the F-One sitkite board unique and asks for a dedicated production process. The wooden (Paulownia) core is CNC machined in the F-One twin-tip factory and the glass layup is done in the F-one surf board factory.
The 3D nose rocker makes the wave riding sensation very close to surfboard, the rail is rounded in the front and ‘edgy’ in the back. The winger and swallow tail are also implemented for wave riding in small to medium size waves and chop (typical conditions of the North Sea). To make the board indestructible, a small deck strip / elevation has been incorporated to spread the local load of the frame into the board.
Further, the deck layout and inserts position of the F-One sitkite-board are compatible with the Wolturnus sitkite-surf frame and sitkite-foil frame. The frame is made of anodized high-grade Aluminum (7030). The weight of the surf frame is 1,8kg! and after 3 years of intensive use in all kind of waves and salty waters, it has been found indestructible. Wolturnus is a high-end wheelchair manufacturer in Denmark.
The seats are manufactured by Tessier adaptive sports in France and are available in 4 sizes. The dedicated sitkite cutouts makes the Tessier seat specially adapted for sitkite boarding.
The (foot)straps and webbing to fix the spreader bar are custom made by my local sailmaker in Scheveningen. The shock absorbers connecting the board with the frame are standard shear-mounts APK type (TP080A70). Those shock absorbers enable that the frame doesn’t prevent the board from flexing. All nuts and bolts for assembling the different parts should be of marine INOX 316 grade (A4).”