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From composite bike parts to homemade kiteboards, Jan Termöhlen’s engineering work catches the eye of Core Kiteboarding and leads him on the quest to build the ultimate foil platform for some of the most technical and meticulous customers around. We caught up with Core’s Foil Designer Jan Termöhlen in our spring 2021 issue to ask him some questions about the process of designing core’s new SLC. 

What does a ground-up design process for a complete foil collection look like? 

It starts with the goals of the program, and for Core’s SLC platform, the aim was to build a kite foil that would suit kiters of all levels. Beginners appreciate its intuitive handling and nice control, while experienced foilers like how its playful dynamics help them step up their game; we made control and stability the key variables in every design decision.

There are so many dimensions of foil performance to balance as you’re experimenting with shapes and materials, but its ease of use was always at the top. One of the other key design goals was to create a foil that was resistant against turbulence. This makes the wing slice through the water like butter with no vibrations, and ultimately that’s where the product’s name SLC came from””it refers to the silence you experience while riding our foil setup.

The process itself was very intensive, with feedback from the entire design team that took us through about 25 prototypes from rough early versions to the fine-tuning of the mature, finished product. I started with a section of the wing that came from my studies in engineering; the shape was influenced by theoretical performance and mathematical concepts. We took that initial shape and began experimenting with real-world results. I’ve always built my own prototypes, and because of Core’s affiliation with Carved custom boards, the organization is well versed in composite construction. There was this immediate synergy between my experience with composite bike parts and Core’s in-house knowledge of carbon twin tip construction. With instant access to a CNC machine and 3D printer, our lead time was never longer than 72 hours. In-house 3D printing and laminating allowed us to get our ideas onto the water quickly and test many different factors needed to fine-tune each aspect of the wings.

What was the hardest part of the R&D process? 

I had a strong grasp of the theoretical and mathematical principles behind what we wanted in our product, but the hard part was figuring out how to validate these concepts in reality. You can take concepts like hull design, turbulent and laminar flow principles and punch in Reynolds numbers to simulations of various sections, but these calculations are worthless if you can’t find a path to reality. Good engineers are inherently lazy; we try to calculate as much as possible ahead of time because it saves time and effort if you can minimize the hard work of hand-building models in a workshop… To read the rest of our interview with Jan, subscribe to The Kiteboarder Magazine.