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Stronger. Lighter. Superior. SLS technology is the big news coming out of the Duotone camp for 2021. Duotone touts their new and innovative materials as some of the greatest advancements in kiteboarding manufacturing. Tuned to the millimeter over countless hours until 100% satisfied,  Marketing and Communications Manager Philipp Becker walks us through the two new materials integrated into Duotone’s SLS products and other changes in their 2021 lineup.


WHAT IS NEW AT THE ORGANIZATIONAL LEVEL OF YOUR COMPANY FOR 2021?

Even in special times, the structure of Duotone’s parent company, Boards & More, stays exactly the same and is expanding. Our office team centers around the company’s founder, Till Eberle, with four people working in Marketing and 10 people in R&D and Design. Duotone Kiteboarding is the only brand working full time with two kite designers, Ken Winner and Ralf Grösel; Sky Solbach is designing the surfboards and a talented team of experienced foilers is involved in the foil and foil wing development. We strongly believe in our team riders, opinion leaders and the Duotone family—even in challenging times, we’re sticking together and fighting through the crisis, helping each other out as well as we can.

IS THERE A SINGLE INNOVATION THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO HIGHLIGHT?

The biggest innovation this season and a big step for the kiteboarding industry is Duotone’s SLS concept, a category of special products using the lightest materials and the newest technologies. The first products launched as SLS products are the Neo SLS, the SLS twin tips and the SLS surfboard range. Coming later in March 2021, the Evo will be released in SLS construction. Our kites are using the light Penta TX material which is exclusive to Duotone, while our twin tips and surfboards are using Technoforce Innegra, a special carbon with incredible dampening performance, delivering a lot of comfort while also being super strong to make sure the boards stand the test of time.

HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN THE KITE MODELS IN YOUR 2021 LINEUP IN A NUTSHELL?

For each kite, it’s best to get an overview by visiting our website and using our product finder—this way you’ll find exactly the kite for your needs. Or better yet, join one of our demo events and try out for yourself which kites are best for you. In a nutshell, the Rebel is our high performance, boosting and hangtime machine freeride kite with 5 struts. The Evo is the allrounder with 3 struts, the Dice the more sporty allrounder for the experienced more hardcore kiter, and the Neo is the ultimate kite for wave riding, credited for helping our riders win several world champion titles. The Vegas is our classic 5 strut C-kite for Freestyle/Wakestyle. The Neo SLS and Evo SLS are similar to their classic siblings, except they are more sporty, reactive, responsive, and, in general, even more fun. On the light wind/foiling side, we have the three-strut Juice and the one strut Mono, as well as our foil kite, the Ace. The line has changed and grown a lot over the past years and though we constantly try to simplify it, when we analyze our selection, we realize we need every single kite for the different riding styles and expectations of customers, and we want to fulfill all those wishes.

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’re already in the fourth generation of Duotone wings and one of the leaders in developing this amazing sport. This season we will have the Unit and the Echo. The Echo is unique with its boom which makes freeriding and learning the easiest. The Unit with handles is targeted to waves and downwinding. This growing market will have several segments, and we will have wings to fill all demands.

WHAT ARE THE NEW AND/OR THE MOST POPULAR MODELS IN YOUR TWIN TIP LINEUP? HOW HAS THAT CHANGED FOR 2021?

The newest innovations are integrated into our SLS twin tips, the Jaime SLS, the Select SLS, the Soleil SLS and the Spike SLS as well as the Ultra Spike SLS. All these boards are now equipped with Textreme Innegra. SLS twin tips are light, durable, noticeably smoother and more responsive. They offer added performance and durability without adding weight—the lightweight fiber Innegra makes it all possible! You will notice an incredible dampening performance; SLS tech offers an absolutely smooth ride in chop, allowing cleaner edging and resulting in less knee and back fatigue. The feeling is very controlled and delivers explosive pop due to less vibration compared to normal carbon boards. Higher impact resistance is achieved due to a carbon deck, which is especially great when riding boots. Overall, it’s a really exciting new feel on these boards!

WHAT ARE THE NEW AND/OR THE MOST POPULAR MODELS IN YOUR SURFBOARD LINEUP? HOW HAS THAT CHANGED FOR 2021?

The whole surfboard line also made a big step forward in performance and durability, and is also being offered as a SLS segment, using new, lighter yet more robust materials. The innovative Innegra Shield vastly increases durability and impact resistance, making the SLS boards significantly more resilient against cracks, dings and heel dents. Weight is reduced by replacing fiberglass with lightweight Innegra fiber. The impressive dampening properties of Innegra reduce resonance, ensuring a smooth ride even in the choppiest conditions. Traditional polyurethane foam surfboards have very low-frequency vibration and excellent dampening properties, but very slow reflex, resulting in a loss of energy and “spring” through turns. EPS foam/epoxy boards on the other hand have excellent reflex and spring, but often feel very harsh due to their high-frequency vibration. Our Innegra shield has the quick reflex and spring of an epoxy board with the low-frequency vibrational dampening of PU, combining the highest level of performance with the smoothest ride possible.

The Session SLS is a brand new shape that is more or less a further development of the Pro Session with some key differences. The idea was to make it a bit more lively and fun to ride when the waves are not huge and barreling. It still works great in bigger waves and when riding really fast, but the increased width and rounder outline frees it up a bit to turn tight in the pocket on smaller waves, while still offering tons of grip and drive in bigger waves. Basically, the Session remains the carving machine of our lineup but now allows you to draw tighter arcs when the waves are not huge. I’ve been having a blast riding this board in really windy conditions when I want control at speed, but still want the ability to do tight snaps like I do on the Wam. The Pro Fish was Sky Solbach’s go-to board last season in almost any conditions—especially light wind, and we got so much great feedback and praise from our team riders and customers. However, one thing that we felt was missing was the ability to throw the board up into the lip on a really short, steep transition of a small wave. We set about trying to loosen the board up to gain this key ability for small waves and the more playful version of the Pro Fish—is now the new Fish SLS! The Voke SLS is the latest brainchild of World Champ and strapless freestyle wizard Airton Cozzolino. Airton found the Pro Voke was unbeatable for speed, power and pop in the right conditions, but he would sometimes get better pop (takeoffs) with the Pro Whip. Sky worked with Airton and made several mash-up prototypes. The nose got slightly narrower, the rocker got modified and we also made the rails slightly boxier, to give the board a bit more power and release in lighter wind. Beyond our pro boards, we also focused on designing for the young rippers. We now have two insane kid-sized boards in the lineup: The Whip SLS 4’9 rips in almost any kind of waves and is great for strapless freestyle, which I think is where we’re seeing the most demand from young riders because they can use this board on flat water or waves. The second youth board is the Wam SLS 5’3”. The goal in designing this size of the Wam was to give our team riders the ultimate high-performance board for small to medium waves. This new 5′3′′ board will give smaller and lighter riders the same tool to advance their kitesurfing to the highest level. We have relentlessly tested this design in waves all around the world and given it our stamp of approval for just about any conditions that warrant high performance kitesurfing.

DO YOU HAVE ANY ACCESSORIES OR OTHER PRODUCT LINES YOU WOULD LIKE TO BRIEFLY INTRODUCE OR DISCUSS CHANGES/HIGHLIGHTS FOR 2021?

What’s sometimes a bit forgotten, is the Duotone Click Bar. Due to its patents and the immense process to bring it to serial production, we’re still the only brand being able to offer a product like this. Once customers try it, they never want to go back to a normal bar system—the advantages and comfort are just too convincing. This year it comes with the newly developed FLITE99 lines which are thinner, faster and more durable. The new base material, Dyneema® SK99, is the best, high performance raw material fiber available for flying lines. We run them through our ‘Magic Machine’ at the Teufelberger factory, a specialist for all sorts of lines, which takes the woven line and heats, stretches, impregnates, colors and coats them using a new special ‘V2’ coating. The main benefit is the increased abrasion shield that combats wear and tear, as well as leaving the lines smooth for quick and easy line setup.


 

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