Search form

Submit Article >

Kiteboarding Articles

Submitted by ikiteboarding on 04/15/2004 - 22:12

Jalou Langeree is only 16 years old and is already competing on the PKRA whenever she can make it to a competition. We met up with Jalou recently while she was visiting her famous big brother Kevin Langeree in Cape Town, South Africa. My first impression of Jalou was to notice how beautiful she is. I was really keen to see her kite, but only had a glimpse of her kiting a few times. The wind was not good for the days that she visited South Africa, but we look forward to seeing her return again sometime soon. Jalou is completing her final school year now, and should be done by the end of May 2007. After this she plans to travel the world and follow in the footsteps of her brother Kevin. Carlo and I took Jalou for breakfast at our favourite spot, Cafe Orca in Melkbosstrand. It was refreshing to speak to a teenager who has not fallen prey to peer pressure and the nasty traps of drugs and smoking. This proved to me that this young lady has a strong character, and will not easily be intimidated by her peers. We asked Jalou a few questions about her life as a kite babe. Jalou, when did you start kiting? Did Kevin teach you when you started? I started kiteboarding when I was 12, it was in the spring of 2002. Kevin was always power kiting and on the beach - most off the time I went with him. We spent the whole day power kiting together. Kevin surfed a lot, but after a short while he saw the fun in the combination of kiting and surfing. He was one of the first kids to do this on the water. He had no one to teach him how to kite and had to do it all by him self. After a few years Kevin started to teach me how to kite on the water too. It was a lot of fun, but I knew that I had to practice hard. After the first time that I got onto my board (it was for about 4 meters) I was so excited about this sport. This is where it all started. Where is your hometown? Is it close to a kiting spot? Tell us a bit about your local kite spot. I live in Noordwijk (in The Netherlands) and its very close to the sea. Noordwijk is a 30 minute drive from Amsterdam. My local kite spot is 5 minutes from my house, which is perfect for me. We have a big sandy beach, with no rocks, but there are a lot of shells and dog poo. In the summer we have a surf club on the beach where we can get drinks and food. But in winter, all the beach vendors have to leave the beach again. Today I just came from the beach after my first session since my recent visit to Cape Town in December. It was so cold, I needed my cap, gloves and shoes again. Normally after my kite sessions, I jump on my bike in my wetsuit and cycle home to take a warm shower. Once you have completed your exams in May this year, what will you be doing next? I can’t wait to finally finish school and experience the feeling of being free. Then I will have no more stupid teachers to give me homework, no more tests, nothing - just kiting and I will start to enjoy life. I’m gonna do the whole PKRA tour this year. I know that I have to train very hard to beat those girls. At the moment I’m very busy with school work and I can’t book a ticket to go anywhere for training because of my school work. It does not feel good knowing that I’m sitting at my school desk and all the other girls are training. My mom always says that I should not let it get to me, and she also always reminds me that my time will come soon too. I’ll be back in South Africa again next year. I’ve been home for only a week and I’m already looking forward to my trip back to South Africa again next year. It’s gonna be a good one without the school problems that I have to endure now. Who are your sponsors? Naish, O’Neill, Bloc eyewear, * Malibomba, Likeable (they made my website: www.jaloulangeree.com). Which kite moves are you working on now? I’m working on my flat 3 - it's where I pass the bar a couple of times around me, but I am not landing it yet. I hope that I can show you my trick next year in South Africa. Tell us about your experience on the PKRA tour. What have been your achievements so far? Competitions still make me nervous. But I really enjoy competing - it’s always fun being with all the people from all the different countries. We are like one big family who travel around the world. It’s really fun to go to new kite spots. One of the first PKRA stops was in Belgium and the conditions where hardcore. The guys were overpowered on there 6s. I came 2nd and was so surprised that I kicked it so far. I think the time I spent training in South Africa last year really helped me to do well in Belgium. So thanks South Africa. Which female kiteboarder would you consider as your role model and why? (if you have one). I don’t really have a female role model. I’m always looking at the guys on the water. Which male kiteboarder would you consider as your role model and why? (if you have one). Kevin is my role model. He is doing so well at the moment. He is 2nd on the world ranking of the PKRA. I’m very proud of him. He is doing very good in the waves with his surfboard, it looks so sweet. I saw you took out a directional board once. How do you feel about kiting on a directional vs. a twin-tip? South Africa was the first time that I tried going on the directional. It’s different but a lot of fun in the waves. I would like to practice more on my Naish surfboard so that I too can rip in the waves like Kevin is doing at the moment. I however prefer my Naish Thorn, because my style is freestyle. The Thorn is perfect for freestyle - the board has a lot of pop and the pads are soft like toilet paper. I’m always into trying new things. Here in Cape Town, we are very big on doing down winders. Do you like doing down winders too? Yeah I love doing down winders on my surfboard. You can just keep on going. My first down winder in South Africa was in 2004. Kevin and I were doing a down winder from Dolphin beach to Big bay, but the wind was very light. We had to pass those rocks at Big Bay and I knew that Kevin was scared as well, so he went really fast and I was shouting at him to wait for me. I got so scared that I lost my board and at that moment all I could think of were the sharks: “Don’t eat me”. But I’m still alive. Have you done down winders anywhere else in the world? Where is your most favourite downwind spot that you have kited at before? We do a lot of down winders here in Holland. We have a huge beach with no scary rocks and sharks. Which is your favourite spot to kite at? Tell us about your experiences at this spot. When were you there, what does it look like, etc? Why do u like it so much? I have a lot of favourite kite spots. I went to the Dominican Republic in 2005 for the PKRA. I arrived there a week before the competition to train. We had a nice apartment right by the kite spot. The wind was very good and picked up slowly. Everyone was getting ready for the competition. Kevin and I were one of the first on the water. Later that day all the locals where flying around us. I’m not kidding but it was so dangerous, because all those guys were starting to learn how to do their Handle Passes – unbelievable, but funny to watch. The people are really nice in the Dominican Republic, and the surrounding nature is really nice too. My second favourite kite spot is South Africa. But I don’t think I have to say more about this spot... We often work with our friends from www.Hanglos.nl. Do you visit the site and what do you think of it? Yes, I check Hanglos almost everyday. They have good news items and almost everyone knows the site. They also have a Hanglos in France which is pretty good for the promotion. Tell us about your big brother. Are you close to him? Big Kevin is my best friend... We travel together to all the PKRA stops and it's a lot of fun for us. Sometimes we have a little fight but it never takes longer than 10 min. Thanks again Jalou for taking the time to speak to us. We look forward to seeing your new moves in the near future....

Read Full Article >
Submitted by ikiteboarding on 06/07/2003 - 22:45

Buying your first kite is usually a very confusing process. There are a few confusing issues like what size to buy, and new or secondhand. What size kite should I buy? When looking at kite sizes it is important to know if you are looking at calculated area or surface area. Most companies use the surface area method which is in square meters, while a few uses the calculated area. Calculated area is roughly surface area divided by 1.36 There is a lot of confusion about what size kites to buy for people of different weight. When buying a new kite it is important not to buy a too large kite or a too small kite. A large kite (14 – 18 square meters) requires more skill to fly as it can fall out of the sky in beginner’s hands and light winds, turns slower and relaunches difficult. The amount of power generated by a large kite might also be too intimidating for a newcomer to the sport. Too a small kite (6 – 8 square meters) means that you need to go out in stronger winds to be able to get up on your board. Smaller kites relaunch easier, but also fly the fastest. The faster you fly your kite through the window, the more power it generates which means that you will be punished for any mistakes that you make. The best conditions to learn in are about 15 knots, and the best kite to learn on is a 10 or 12 square meter kite. A 12 square meter kite is a medium size kite that offers the best of both worlds, and is definitely the kite that you should consider to start kiteboarding with. Even if you can only afford one kite and are looking for a kite that will give you the most range, a 12 square meter kite is unbeatable. A typical 12 square meter kite will have a range of 13 – 20 knots in the hands of an experienced kiteboarder. Should I buy new or secondhand? Buying new or secondhand is a personal preference, and both options have advantages and disadvantages. Buying new enables you to own the latest in kite design, and brings with all the usual advantages when you buy a new product. More experienced riders often buy new kites, as the enhancements in the later model kites offers faster turning, higher jumping, more hang time, more wind range and better stability. One single disadvantage of buying new is the high price tag associated with new kites. If you are a beginner it is definitely worth your while to invest in a second hand kite. As a beginner you will be crashing your kite a lot, and giving your kite a fair amount of abuse. A secondhand model that is currently in production should easily be up to a third cheaper than a new kite, whereas a second hand model that is not in production anymore can safe you more than 50% on the price of a new kite. Before buying a second hand kite it is important to check the kite for any bladder leaks or torn material. Unroll the kite and inflate all the bladders on the kite. Leave the kite inflated for at least half an hour to check for any punctures in the bladders. Kites generally last a long time, and the perception that kites only last a year or two is a misguided perception. Buying second hand is a good option if you want to save money, while buying new is a good option if you can afford it and want the latest in kite design....

Read Full Article >
Submitted by ikiteboarding on 04/16/2003 - 12:53

by Brad Symington (cover by kiteacademy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kiteacademy/8333701170/sizes/l/in/photostream/) Through my time kiting I have put myself into some pretty silly situations and have been lucky enough to get myself out of them with all limbs still intact. The one thing that has happened more than anything else especially when I was starting out was my kite coming down and either due to lack of wind or equipment failure I have found myself floating in the water with a downed kite being dragged downwind. This in itself is not a place you want to be for too long for various reasons. Cold water leading to hypothermia, sharks, being dragged out to sea or dragged into rocks and a whole lot of other things too. If your kite is down you need to get it up or get to it. If getting it up is impossible getting to it has to be done right away or you could find yourself in a tangle of lines with your kite trying to re-launch, not a good place to be. It is possible to get to your kite without this happening though. It is a method taught by the IKO as standard in all their courses and though the best thing is to have an instructor show this to you and then have you do it yourself. I will try to explain the procedure and let the Pics give you an idea of what’s going on. Once you have let your bar go using hand over hand pull the leash line in. Most importantly here do not allow the leash line to get wrapped around you at any time! Continue pulling in the leash line till you get to the knot that your flying line and your leash line is attached. At this point you should have three lines. The red line is the flying line. Your leash line that you have pulled in and your leader line running to your bar. If you are using short leader lines with a re-ride system the bar would have been stopped by either a ball or some kind of device to stop the bar riding up all the way to the kite. If you don’t have one, put one there, otherwise it is impossible to get to your bar without the danger of getting tangled in your lines. Slide the knot or ball between your two fingers on your left hand. Now while holding the knot/ball in the left hand you can pull your bar towards you. The reason you keep holding the knot/ball is that as long as you have that between your fingers you will have the kite in a depowerd position by keeping tension on only the leash flying line. This will let the other lines be much longer and in the event of the kite wanting to take off it will not power up. Even though I have the bar in hand I now have the option of letting the knot/ball go and attempting to relaunch the kite or carrying on with the pack up. Once you have your bar place it vertically and run the line over the top and push the knot down with your thumb. Now you wind the tight flying line ONLY around your bar 4 times. By doing the tight line only, 4 times around the bar, you are making sure that when you start winding the rest of your lines in there is no way that the kite can take off. Keep your leash line free by placing it over your shoulder but NOT around your neck. This is pretty tricky to do bit while you are going thru this as long as you understand how and why it works you will be able to do it. The most important thing is not rush it and be aware of where your lines are and don’t let them get wrapped around you at all. Now that you have the tight line wrapped around the bar 4 times gather all the lines together and wrap them onto your bar while at the same time continuing with the original tight line. What is important is not to forget to wrap the tight line up at the same time otherwise your lines will become equal length again and if the kite powers up your in trouble. Once you are at the kite tie the lines off around the bar to keep them from unravelling. If you are being rescued by a boat put your hand underneath your leading edge and deflate your leading edge. Pull the tip of the kite toward you and place your bar in the tip and you can wrap it in toward the centre strut. As you will be floating in the water while doing this once you’re at your centre strut pull the opposite side of the kite toward you and roll it in ward. The only time you deflate your kite is if you are being rescued or if you are back on land. The reason for a boat rescue deflation is that the boat crews get knocked overboard when picking the kite up out of the water and the wind causes the kite to power up. So always do a full pack down before handing the kite over. If you’re far of shore by lying on the leading edge you can use the lines to make a sail that you can trim by using the flying lines that are still attached at the tip, while the kite pulls you in toward the land. Remember don’t deflate your leading edge or struts until your safe as this is your life raft. Using this self rescue technique you will come in way down wind but at this stage you just want to get to shore. While doing the pack down if done like this it doesn’t take long to undo your lines again once you’re on the beach. If they are a bit of a mess don’t worry too much about them while you’re still in the water. As long as there are no lines floating around you in the water and they are wrapped up you can sort them out later. Important things to remember : • Try to relaunch your kite before attempting the pack down • Hold the knot while pulling the bar toward you until the bar is retrieved. • If you attempt to relaunch after letting your bar go always check that there are no lines wrapped around you first • When winding your lines up, wind the tight leash LINE AROUND YOUR BAR 4 TIMES FIRST. • Wind your tight line up as well as the rest of your lines after wrapping the tight line 4 times or the lines will become equal in length and the kite can take off powered. • Don’t deflate your leading edge until you are safe on land or being picked up by a rescue craft. • Keep your wrist leash attached to you all the time and only take it off once you have been rescued or you are on land and the kite is secure. • If the kite powers up while you are in the process of winding your lines in, let go the bar and start again. • Be aware of any lines that might creep around you are behind you • Most importantly take your time and be certain about what you are doing. • If the wind is strong and you are doing a self rescue, hold both tips of the kite together if holding the flying lines is too difficult. It would be a good idea to run through this once or twice on the beach to see if you can do it. If you get stuck you can ask me on the forum at http://forums.ikiteboarding.com Happy kiting Brad ...

Read Full Article >
Submitted by ikiteboarding on 04/16/2003 - 12:36

Going to the Caribbean must be any kiteboarders dream. Just being there – in the midst of kiteboarding paradise is an experience on its own. Greg Heydenrich, the latest team rider for Cabrinha South Africa, did his first trip to the Caribbean, and iKiteboarding.com asked him to share some of this experience with us. by Greg Heydenrich - The Island of St Lucia In Da Caribbean!! My trip started when we left CT International on a direct flight to London And then a connecting flight to Antigua and then on to St Lucia. It took us over 30hours from leaving CT Ending Up on the Island 4 hours late after the engine had failed. After flying for an hour we had to turn around and Return to Heathrow. Grant and I were contemplating launching our biggest kites if we didn’t make it, but fortunately didn’t have to. When we finally arrived in the Caribbean, the Hotel was only 5min walk from the airport. The Island is 1hour long and two hours wide (the taxi’s are pretty much the same as we have in SA). So you don’t get much over 60km an hour, which is great because en route you can check out the awesome scenery. The one side of the island is tropical with high palm trees, white beaches and beautiful blue warm water. The side we stayed on was pretty similar to the Cape flats with typical African type shacks littering the island. Which is where the wind blows cross on and in paradise on the other side is dead offshore, sheltered and gusty as hell. It is very remote and the reason we were there was for the 2004 Cabrinha dealers meeting, were I met Pete and we hung out with the rest of the dealers and the Cabrinha test team. Our days consisted of 4hour meetings in the morning after breakfast then on to the good stuff, free kiting after lunch till sunset. On port tack in 25 knots that blew day night for the duration of the stay. Really smooth conditions not gusty at all - pretty much like a hair dryer being switched on. The bay we kited in had a very small shore break with slightly choppy conditions on the outside. It felt pretty remote and like when you kite a spot for the first time, I was stoked! The best thing about St Lucia was the isolation and brilliant conditions. Cabarette which is 40 min away will have 300 guys out on the same spot. The main reason I had gone over was to meet Pete Cabrinha and show him where I am at in terms of my performance level. After spending a bit of time on the water, Pete seemed to be impressed with my riding and is now supporting me on my kiting adventure. The Tornado Centre run by Elaine is really cool and is perfect for windsurfers and beginner to pro kiters. Cape Town conditions are still the best on a summer’s day when the Cape Dr. delivers that classic breath that elevates you to look at the foot of the Table....

Read Full Article >
Submitted by ikiteboarding on 04/16/2003 - 12:31

by Rob Munro (rob@windfreak.com) The Island is a 350 hectare island roughly triangular in shape with steep hills, many scalloped bays, white sandy beaches and mangroves. It's a quick and inexpensive option for getting away from the Nadi area. Most locals are of European decent so don't go looking here for Fijian culture. Flat water, shallow reefs and plenty of wind, makes this one of the best kept secrets in the Fijian chain, although many know the island, it is yet to be ruined by too many people... How to Get There The Kings Road around the Northern Viti Levu, between Latoka and Suva has some beautiful scenery and is recommended for travel by bus, taxi or car, but if you choose the car option, beware! This Main road is not a safe one as animals, people and some of the oldest cars known to mankind can be regularly seen sitting on the road. We took a taxi from Nadi which costs about F$80- one way. It takes roughly 3 hours to get there, with a stop in Latoka for food and other basics. The Taxi driver will drop you at the Ellington Wharf which has a small cafe and waiting area. A great place to meet some locals! The Boat trip is another F$20 return (This is arranged by the accommodation people.) Most taxi drivers will offer to show you the sights along the way, do not stress, this is normal and part of the trip. Tipping is not required either. Where to Stay Firstly, all the accommodation places have generators and they are only on in the AM and at Night (until 10pm). Once they shut down there is total darkness and no noise other than Cane Toads, and other night creatures. There is NO TV, internet, mobile phones or the likes, so if you are looking to get away from it all, this is an ideal place. We stay at McDonalds, which has self contained units on the beach starting at F$65 per night. They have all of the essential cooking bits and pieces, but it is hard to be a Masterchef with what is provided. Maxine, who owns the place, is the grand-daughter of one of the original island owners, and the other two accommodation places are owned by other relatives..... local gossip, scandal and more, are not rare on small islands and this one has them all. The staff and the owners go out of their way to make your stay a welcome and enjoyable one, and at the end of your time you will want to return! Maxine - Mc Donalds tel / fax 6694633 Rob - Betham's tel / fax 6694132 Charlie's Place tel 6694676 There are a couple of other places to stay although these are not near the sailing area. Most places book up quickly, so make sure you book ahead and just do not show up. Food & Drink McDonalds and Bethams both have in-house restaurants which are pretty good. You need to pre-order your evening meals and light snacks are available during lunch. They have a few "Theme" nights, but it is not overly commercial or tacky. Kava nights are fun, and one to try. One of the best things about Fiji are of course curries! With roughly 50% of the population of Asian decent or origin, the curries are authentic and tasty! On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, the curry man arrives from Rakiraki and provides pre-cooked curry with Roti for F$3.50 and Samosa are F$1.00 each. Most excellent! If you do not like curry, you will once you try the man's food! The local Beers ar Fiji Bitter and Fiji Gold. Both great for the first few..... Kava nights make the beer taste even better, and the usual mixed drinks and wine are available from the 2 bars. If you can fit it into your gear, buy booze at the airport (spirits) as it is expensive once on the island. Beer is F$5.00 per bottle. The water is pure rain water, so it is safe to drink, but the water from the tap is to be left to washing and the likes. Rob's Shop at Bethams is stocked with most things, but at a premium price (food & drink.) You can also head into Rakiraki for the morning and visit some of the markets and shops. They do not take credit cards, so make sure you have enough cash. The ATM's also do not work with none Fijian cards. Conditions The conditions are ideal for intermediate to advanced riders, but learning here is a little dangerous. There is a lot of reef and the beaches are covered by palm trees. The water is flat, warm and very clear. The 2 times I have been to this island I had 6 out 9 days and 11 out of 13 on a 12m kite. The winds come in mid morning and stay until dusk. You can be on the water for 6 hours at a time! The winds blow side shore from the launch area and onshore towards the bottom of the bay. If you do get in trouble, you will come in on land. Basically do not go too far out! A lot of windsurfers come here for their hols from NZ during the June / July months, but so far only a handful of kiteboards come. There is a guy who rents windsurfing equipment, but I do not know his name. One side of the Island is blown by winds and the other escapes them, which provides an ideal place for a family or for a couple who has a wind hating partner! The waters are very warm and are great to spend time swimming or snorkelling, which is a great thing to do before the wind arrives. Or before a curry! Other things to do The island has 2 dive centers which provide excellent diving, including coral, reef sharks, wrecks and plenty of fish! They go out most days and you get great value for your money. They are not large outfits, so you can be diving with only the Instructors! The two companies are Ra Divers and Crystal Divers. Snorkelling is also good on the island with plenty of close reefs, but a lot of these are damaged, so you can hire a local boat to take you out to some of the better ones. Fiji is an excellent place to visit and has many islands, which have waves, wind and perfect conditions, but I must say this..... you needn't travel as far away as this place when you live in SA. ...

Read Full Article >
Submitted by ikiteboarding on 04/16/2003 - 12:22

Almost everyone knows how to self launch their kite, but how many people can self land their kite? It's actually pretty easy and it's an essential skill that every kiteboarder must have. To self land your kite, follow these simple steps (and download the video clip) : 1) Hold the kite at about 45 degrees, as you would normally when someone is about to catch your kite. 2) Unhook. 3) Grab hold of your leash line. Make sure that your leash is attached to the top of your kite. If not, you'll have to land your kite in the opposite direction. This is essential to landing your kite successfully. 4) Dive the kite towards the ground., and then let go of the bar, while holding on to your leash. 5) Let go of the bar, but don't let go of the leash. 6) With a little bit of practice your kite should land perfectly everytime. Immediately run towards your kite, and secure it properly. (Do not run over your lines.) Download the video clip to see how to self land your kite. (Clips size : 600 kb; requires DIVX player / codec.) ...

Read Full Article >
Submitted by ikiteboarding on 04/16/2001 - 13:01

Hi, I'm Bruno Legaignoux. For those which don't know my name, we are, with my brother Dominique the inventors of the inflated kite in the shape of a gore. My brother and I were sailors (french Junior champions, cruising boat skippers, sailing instructors, surfers, windsurfers, etc...). We tried to develop very efficient sails and boats and finally we became interested in kites when seeing Jacob's Ladder, a catamaran pulled by Flexifoils, although we never flew a dual line kite. It was in 1984. After a few researches, we understood that no water relaunchable kite existed so it became obvious to us that we had to create one. You can see an old photo at the top of this page. After one year of work, we were sailing with water skis and demonstrating the device during the 1985 Brest International Speed Week. We also applied for a patent. The project was to find one or several licensees within 2 years but windsurfing was at its acme and no windsurf company was interested. We never stopped believing in this sport so we had 10 years of VERY HARD time, continuing the project without money, looking for new markets, for licensees, then creating our own company and producing in France in 1993-94... at a too high cost (please don't cry !) Then Windsurfing declined and Kiteboarding time came. I am proud to see that we were the main actors of kiteboarding birth but for sure we were not alone. For example Cory Roeseler with the Kiteski device or Andreas Kuhn with a paraglider and a kind of wakeboard helped too with international media exposure. In 1995-96 we went in very serious talks with Neil Pryde. Finally they renunced but they accepted to produce small quantities for us and we started selling these kites in July 1997 under Wipika brand mark. Then we found another manufacturer in Asia. In 1998, Don Montague and Robby Naish came to us asking for a license. As it was our original goal, we agreed and told them that both of us needed a software to be able to make new designs quickly. I came to Hawaii and gave all my knowledge to Don Montague and their programer. One year later, the program was working. We shared it. With it, everybody can make a new good kite in 30 seconds, just changing one parameter. For example, change AR = 2.5 (the default value) with 8 and you will appear as a genious designer! WHY PATENT PROTECTION ? Some people hate this way. I think that when you are a well organized company in a market where products evolve very quickly, patent is just a waste of money and energy. But if you are a "small" independant inventor, you have no chance against large companies if you don't protect your ideas : they won't even give you just credit for that ! Our motivation was kept during the hard years because of the patent. INFRINGERS Seen by my side, there are only 3 kinds of kites : - the ones which are far from ours, like ram air kites, delta kites, etc... - the ones which are very close to ours : if they got a license contract like Naish, they are licensees; if not, they are infringing copies whether or not there are patented improvements on. - there are kites designed with a sole goal: to use our concept but escaping the patent by modifying the kite after studying the patent and looking for weak points in it. In this case it is more difficult for me to get the justice admiting the infringement but I'll try each time I think I can win. Obviously, I beat the infringers and already stopped a few ones. Something interesting to be known is that I have no obligation starting legal action immediatly, that means that I can start even when they will have invested a lot of energy and money in their product. This is to explain that it is probably more risky for them to infringe that what they generally think. NEW LICENSEES SOON ? Yes, we are open to give other licenses but to companies which are able to bring something to the market, not to companies with short term view or which sole way to get market shares is to discount their kites. In 2000-2001 a few high image companies will enter the market. WHO INVENTED ? - who invented kiteboarding ? several people did it on their side without knowing that other people previously made something close. Ourselves we started in 1984 with windsurf boards because we were surfers and windsurfers but not waterskiers. We built several boards for that purpose. As our kites were very unstable at that time, we mainly used waterskis because the waterstart was easier, but the patent talks about windsurfing board type too. We also tested any kind of boats and many other "things" that you can't even imagine and a patent drawing shows a guy on two 40cm "water skates" (photos in the History page of www.wipika.com). We made and sailed them. It was fun. I 'm sure that we'll soon see advanced pilots trying this kind of skates. - who "invented" high AR inflated kite ? In 1985 we made a 17m kite with aspect ratio 6 and with 100% double-skin. With it, we waterskied with 6 to 12 knots of wind and, during the 1886 International Brest Speed Week, we were clocked at 14.5 knots (average speed during a 500m run) while the best world class windsurfers reached 10 knots. This is registered. We also made kites with 20%, 30%, 40%, 60%, 80%, 100% double skin, what was already described in the 1984 patent, and kites made of clear mylar with scrim. Probably you will see this kind of "improvement" in the next months or years. - who "invented" inflated "struts" without inner tube ? a competitor ? No, in the past, we used 2 different construction methods for inflated struts : airtight fabric and mylar fabric with inner tube. These ways are described in the original patent. Who invented 4 line straight bar with both front lines meeting at a "main line" going to the harness and with the bar sliding along the "main line" ? a competitor ? No, we own a patent on this device since 1995. I first used this device for buggying and won some races thanks to it. Seasmik uses without any license the exact device we described so we'll have to sue them. - who invented 4 line inflated kite ? A competitor ? No, the above patent also describes how to settle inflated kites with 4 lines by cutting the edges for example (there are other ways). I always used "cut tip" kites with the 4 line straight bar. I explained all these things to Don Montague in 1998. Why didn't we apply these improvements earlier ? There are 2 main reasons : Firstly, when you settle a company and you have no money, especially in France, you have to work 80 hours a week to have it working properly. So I had no time for R&D. It's why in 1999 I looked for people to take care of Wipika and get myself more time in R&D. I also moved in early 2000 to Dominican Republic which is really a perfect place for R&D. Secondly, the market was not ready for more evolved kites. In the "early ages", we made very efficient kites then we understood that we had to make simple, stable and safe. In 1998, 100% of the users were beginners - there are not so many markets like this one ! In 1999, still 90% were beginners but the 10 other percents were starting to ask for more efficient kites so we prepared the Free Air AR3.3 range and started sales in early 2000. But because of Naish AR5 our new range is already old fashioned if you believe a few ones. My main concern is safety and when I hear that some beginners directly purchase AR5 kites, I'm scared. Firstly they are more difficult to relaunch but above all they are fast. That makes them dangerous for beginners in the state of the market (almost no schools nor well informed retailers...). We are starting a competition to efficiency, just like windsurfing manufacturers did. Remember : "Hey guy, how many cambers do you have ? Only six ? ... and your board, what size ? 2.26m ? Too bad! mine is 2,195m !". Windsurfing is dying for this reason. And us, when ? A fact : the Wipika riders Franz Olry and Christopher Tasti, which actually win some events, don't want to use too high AR kites because they are so fast and unstable that they can't make the kind of tricks they do with more stable kites. They don't want a 20 kite quiver. They want simplicity. Same for Lou Wainman, Mauricio Abreu and some other ones. If you see them using high AR kites, it's because competition pushes in this way, not because they prefer (except in light winds). To resume, if we go too quickly, we'll burn our wings. All the people involved in kiteboarding should take care with that. R&D AGREEMENT WITH NAISH ? Any kind of commercial/strategical agreement was never made. Both companies are completely independant/free of mutual contract. Both are Legaignoux licensees with same contract terms. 4 LINE KITES Wipika supplies the Classic kites since July 1997 with an additional webbing so that all the Classic can be settled with 4 lines. That means that we believe to the 4 line use since a long while but 99% of the customers didn't want to hear about it last year. Very soon, the Classic kites will be sold with a second webbing, like the Free Air, to simplify transformation. Classic and Free Air will also receive long velcros to fold the tips. Many new Wipika items will be available in the next weeks and months, including an interesting 4 line bar. We'll keep you informed. You are welcome to use abstracts of this message for public use as long as it is in good faith. Thank you for your time and... Best winds to all of you, Bruno...

Read Full Article >

Pages

X
You may login with either your assigned username or your e-mail address.
The password field is case sensitive.

Loading