“By Innovators for Innovators” is Airush’s motto for 2021, where the alignment between designers working to offer something new, and riders who are seriously pushing their limits, comes into play. Focused on innovations, both big and small, the big news for Airush’s new product line is new construction in the twin tips, improvements to the kite models, a new collaboration with its sister company Starboard for wingsurfing and a revamped surfboard collection. Marketing’s Cheree Thompson clues us in on what’s coming.
We have had an incredibly positive year with a lot of new products and categories all coming together. Within the design space, Dave Kay (DK) took on the product design of the twin tip range in addition to control bars and key foil products. Dave has developed some legendary products in his career, and he has a very technical engineering background which blends perfectly with our team. DK has introduced key new Basalt and Basalt Carbon constructions to the twin tips, along with a super-refined new Apex range. We introduced the all-new Session and Lift kites which are groundbreaking new models for us. Outside of the kite space, AK Durable Supply Co. (AK), our brand which focuses on accessories, has seen huge growth, along with the introduction of our FreeWing and foil products. We have invested in a few key South American riders, and welcome Juan Rodrigues and Ramiro Gallart to the Airush team.
IS THERE A SINGLE INNOVATION THAT YOU WOULD FIRST LIKE TO HIGHLIGHT?
With each range launch we introduce at least one product that we feel really pushes the boundary of riding. For the 2021 range we introduce the Slayer and Foil Skate which are incredibly different, blending twin tip style constructions into a foil and strapless application.
HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN THE KITE MODELS IN YOUR 2021 LINEUP IN A NUTSHELL? FOR EACH KITE, WHAT IS THE INTENDED TYPE OF RIDING AND TARGET USER AND KEY CHANGES FOR 2021?
We have reintroduced a brand-new rendition of the Lift kite, along with a new Union v6 in the Big Air and Freeride space. The Lift focuses on hangtime and massive air, while the Union is your looping go-to. The Razor is a familiar freestyle favorite in our lineup, with precision unhooked performance. The updated smaller sizes were optimized for big air and looping.
In the Freeride space, we have changed the range up quite a bit between the Session and the Lithium. The Session is an evolution of our wave and previous Diamond kites, where we have combined these designs to both suit the purist wave rider and performance freerider, who likes to boost as well as appreciates drift and agile turning capabilities when riding waves. The Lithium, known as our all-around freeride model for the most amount of fun on the water, also has a new construction update along with lighter bar pressure, making it even more user friendly in the hands of both a beginner and an experienced rider. With the increase in popularity of foiling and light wind riding, the Ultra v4 offers a complete solution for foiling, freeride and surf riding. Lastly, the One, also a single strut design with great relaunch capabilities and instant depower, bridges the gap of light wind riding and kiting in gusty conditions, making it ideal for learning.
IF YOU ARE RELEASING A WING PRODUCT THIS YEAR, WHAT IS THE TYPE OF RIDING THAT IS TARGETED AND WHAT ARE THE KEY FUNCTIONAL AND PERFORMANCE FEATURES INTRODUCED THIS YEAR TO YOUR WING?
We had a unique opportunity to collaborate with our sister company Starboard, to develop the first Airush X Starboard FreeWing Air, a pet project for quite a few years, and a big step forward from our early designs.
The dream was to develop a product that combines the simplicity and playfulness of a kite, with the direct connection and security of a windsurfer. This project has highlighted the benefits of having dedicated R&D teams in areas with high wind and super light wind, which has given us the conditions to really refine the smaller and larger sizes. The FreeWing has been designed to suit you if you’re looking for an entry point into windsports, or want a completely fresh experience as an advanced rider—the Freewing opens up a whole new dimension to wind riding.
WHAT ARE THE NEW AND/OR THE MOST POPULAR MODELS IN YOUR TWIN TIP LINEUP? HOW HAS THAT CHANGED FOR 2021?
New for 2021 is the Apex, Apex Team and Diamond. The Livewire and Livewire Team are still super popular amongst the park and freestyle guys, while the Apex is there for those pushing big air boundaries and performance freeride. The completely new construction and shape of the Apex range have set it up to be one of our key products for this season.WHAT ARE THE NEW AND/OR THE MOST POPULAR MODELS IN YOUR SURFBOARD LINEUP? HOW HAS THAT CHANGED FOR 2021?
The full range of surf directional boards are new for this collection. Brand new is the Cypher which has been adopted by Kiko Torres for strapless freestyle. The Comp is still a firm favorite amongst wave riders and the Amp is a great onshore wave groveller but still performs incredibly well in bigger surf and for strapless freestyle—allowing you to bridge the gap here. Then a completely new rendition of the Mini Monster convert is the perfect travel companion. With foil inserts and a quad fin setup, you can surf, ride in bigger waves and foil in light wind conditions.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ACCESSORIES OR OTHER PRODUCT LINES YOU WOULD LIKE TO BRIEFLY INTRODUCE OR DISCUSS CHANGES/HIGHLIGHTS FOR 2021?
In 2018 we launched AK Durable Supply Co. into the market and it has since exploded. We are now offering a full range of traction, fins, and harnesses, including the all-new Ether and Method, which are completely different from anything Airush has done in the past. AK has taken these to the next level, along with foils and the new Phazer boards which are in a more of a multi-discipline space.