With some impeccable new releases in its foil program and upgraded materials in both the kite and twintip board line, Core has steadily forged a path of innovation and precision product manufacturing that has earned the brand widespread popularity across many markets. Based out of Europe’s kiting mecca in Fehmarn, Germany, Core’s Phil Janke breaks down all the latest developments for 2022.
At the organizational level, continuity is one of Core’s keys to success. Managing directors Philip Schinnagel and Jochen Czwalina, who have been with the company since its early days, are now entering their fourth year of running the growing brand. They continue to be supported by their extended team who have been bringing the best to Core for many years already including our team riders and faces of the brand who keep doing their part, whether it’s scoring impressive images and clips or testing new prototypes or competing in events throughout the world.
On a product level, the biggest highlight last year was the introduction of the all-new SLC Foil, an incredibly versatile, easily accessible, super quiet hydrofoil that is accompanied with a light, responsive and highly durable foil board. The other key development is in the new materials finding their way into Core’s product range. With the release of the new Imperator 7, we introduced a new carbon weave – Cartan 2 is a stiffer yet lighter 30° scrim matching the exact board size. After 6 years in use, the R&D team also updated our CoreTex canopy to CoreTex 2. Starting with the XR7, the marginally lighter canopy fabric features massively improved tear resistance, stiffness and durability. Kiting enthusiasts can rest assure that we will not settle on these little milestones, but continue to work meticulously to enable our worldwide customers’ perfect kite moments.
The XR has become synonymous with big air, but this year, the XR received an updated design. How does the new design accentuate its performance and what will loyal XR riders find new in this latest iteration?
As the leading kite model in the worldwide WOO rankings, we are always looking for ways to remain at the top of the leaderboards. However, the XR has a particularly wide fan base; from big air pilots with +30m jumps to kitesurf beginners who are just getting started, therefore it’s more challenging to modify or improve a kite with such a wide range of users. Our goal for the XR7 was not only to increase performance, but also improve turning speed and steering precision. The new and more powerful CoreTex 2 canopy material and reduced weight are the most noticeable innovations for this version. The lighter kite feels more powerful and playful in the waves and in the slick, but our big air monster gets the biggest boost in jumps from the new CoreTex 2 canopy material.
The Nexus and GTS are some of the most versatile kites in Core’s Universal series. How should a wave riding or freestyle oriented rider choose between these two kites and how important are the CIT settings in tuning these kites?
GTS and Nexus both feature a Future-C shape. Their moderate aspect ratio delivers smooth and controllable turns with an unmistakable ‘on-center’ feel which makes them drift extremely well. While both are great in the waves, our Universal+ Series Nexus has a superpower in waves that originates from the Section, our Specialized Series wave kite. The Nexus’ maximum camber is shifted further back and its aspect ratio is lowered (that means it’s a little fatter) to improve drifting. The Nexus’ surf profile improves wave riding in onshore winds as this wing shape loves to go upwind and not backstall when riding down the wave. The GTS and Nexus’ CIT modes let you adapt the kite’s riding characteristics to better suit the kiting conditions. For example, the Freestyle mode increases your turn radius, stabilizes the kite for easier freestyle moves and provides a little extra grunt. In Wave mode, the kite turns faster, increases depower, and doesn’t pull you off your strapless board. Although the GTS’s superpowers are kite loops and freestyle, it’s also great in the waves. So, if you mostly ride waves and occasionally pull out your twintip to throw a few kite loops, the Nexus is for you. On the other hand, if you mainly ride twintips and occasionally hit the surf, then you should select the GTS.
Core’s surfboard line has undergone some major changes recently in terms of construction and now there’s the exciting release of a new 720 shape. What are the strengths of the Ripper and the new 720 and how should a rider choose between the two?
Let’s summarize it like this: If the Ripper 4 is about expressing yourself on waves, the 720 is about expressing yourself above them. The Ripper is Core’s all around surfboard for anyone and every condition. No matter if you’re practicing your first jibes and tacks or ripping head high waves, the Ripper’s completely new outline and improved rocker is incredibly easy to ride. The fourth-generation Ripper features a wider, fish-inspired, profile and new mini swallowtail. The additional width and volume focused around your feet make it easier than ever to ride underpowered or sloppy waves. Thanks to its classic build of polyurethane and glass, the board delivers the same flex as its predecessors.
Do you often ride your surfboard when others are riding their twintips? Do you get inspired by the idea of sticking a clean 720? Then the 720 is your choice. Its wide, flat rocker and parallel rails get the 720 on a plane faster than our Ripper 4. It now features a new hull inspired by our best-selling twintips and a more durable and lighter build: The high-density EPS foam blank is topped with 4mm PET (recycled polyethylene terephthalate) honeycomb and sandwiched within E-Glass and Epoxy resin. This means we made it light and tough.
The Fusion twintip got a major reboot for this year along with a complete redesign of the Imperator. What are the important changes for each board and how will that translate to each board’s style of riding and target rider?
We added an internal thermoset resin rail to the new Fusion 5 which massively improves the connection between the top and bottom Cartan carbon for a true unibody build. We reduced the weight of our Paulownia wood core by switching to lighter laminated Paulownia saving approximately 250g. We added a grab rail for the freestylers and improved the channels and outline for the freeriders. We make the Fusion 5 for everyone except boot riders.
Our bespoke Imperator debuts an all-new Carbon fiber material. We call it Cartan 2 and it combines untwisted, unidirectional carbon fiber strands with minimal epoxy binders into a thin, flat, 30° scrim matching the exact board size. The evenly distributed, very straight fibers result in a composite laminate with a lighter, more uniform microstructure. Improved filament-to-filament load transfer results in an incredibly energetic Imperator 7 that’s 100g lighter than the previous generation. If you’re looking for the ultimate twintip, look no further than the legendary Imperator 7.
For both twintips, we developed a clever rocker adjuster that’s integrated into the grab handle. A quick turn increases or decreases the board’s rocker by 15mm. Now you can make on-the-fly rocker adjustments to improve upwind tracking and freestyle performance.
The SLC line of kite foiling gear is one of the most precise offerings of hydofoiling gear. Why is the SLC so quiet through the water and how should kiters choose between the available packages?
Core’s new kitefoil addresses many issues facing current foils like nervous pitch axis, whistling and gear that requires different torx bits and screw lengths for each thread in the fuselage. The quietness is definitely one of the key unique selling properties that we achieved. We can’t tell you how we did it, but describing our R&D process may give you an idea. We began by doing some math to sort out different sections/profiles before we built our first prototype. Then we created a parametric model and started changing specifications from prototype to prototype. If you only change one parameter at a time, it’s easy to determine what effects they have. We also implemented new rapid prototyping techniques to test new designs within days which accelerated the iterative process. We learned that many small details, optimized together, led to a whole new foiling experience. Hard work, ingenious engineering minds, heavy prototyping, endless testing and valuable feedback from our test foilers led to the successful launch of the SLC.
Every product line has its sleeping giants, are there any products that deserve highlighting for 2022?
Blockbusters like our XR7, Imperator 7, Fusion 5, and SLC get a lot of the limelight, which is understandable, but we’re also proud of our work on the specialized series XLITE 2, a single-strut kite dedicated to foiling and our pure wave Section 4 kite. Both received our new CoreTex 2.0 canopy this year while the XLITE 2 added a 2m, 3m and 13.5m size. The Section’s improved Future-C shape, streamlined tips reduce flutter and further improve flight efficiency (better side-off performance). On top of that, we widened our accessory offering by adding a useful range of gear bags, board bags and sleeves for 2022. Our high-quality line of equipment protection will help you preserve your favorite Core gear for years to come.