Airush kicks off the 2013 range with the All new team Series, Clinton Filen and Mark Pattison gave us the lowdown on the new collection.
What is the idea behind the Team Series?
[CF] As a company, what inspires us is the chance to make something new and groundbreaking and that pushes us creatively and technically. This is our showcase of the best products that we can bring to market, without worrying about how many we can sell.
How are the team series products developed?
[CF] During the year we are working continuously with riders to develop products to enhance their riding experience or competition performance. The team products are the exact products that each of the riders are using.
The first thing I noticed was the new Aramid Load Frame on the New Wave Kite (And Razor Team). What are the advantages of this?
[MP] This represents quite a fundamental change on design philosophy on kites. Currently Kites rely on the canopy 100% to maintain the structural integrity. So canopy cloth operate under very high tension but are lightweight to ensure the kites fly properly. We set out to transfer some of the load off the canopy, and into the Aramid load frame when the kite is under high stress. We used Aramid and polyester tape as the Aramid is strong but still very damage tolerant and can deal with the impact.
Another advantage of the frame is it limits further damage to the canopy in case of a tear or hole. So technically you could shoot holes in the canopy and the kite will still fly. So its not completely bulletproof, but we are working towards that. These characteristics made it ideal for application in both the Wave Kite and Razor Team.
What was the process of developing the Aramid Load Frame?
[MP] We did some very interesting crash testing on our kites, basically crashing them over and over into the beach and water. By filming this we were able to replay the kites crashing and this gave us a much clearer understanding of the distortion and load that the kite is experiencing under abnormal stress. This helped us to align the load frame with these key stress areas. We also have quite a good understanding of the distortion of the canopy during regular use, and were able to work to enhance the response of the kite by limiting the bias distortion of the canopy.
What is Aramid? Why do you use this material instead of other well-known materials like carbon?
[MP] Aramid is often known under the trade name Kevlar®. This material typically has the highest strength to weight ratio compared to other commercial fibers. It is extremely tough allowing significant energy absorption, that’s why they use it in Bulletproof vests.
Why use this only on the Razor Team and Wave?
[CF] Because the Aramid Material and the additional time in assembly is currently extremely expensive. We felt that keeping it in the Team Series range went with our goals of showcasing the best products that we can bring to market, without worrying about how many we can sell.
What is the lowdown on the new Wave kite? Technically how does it fit into the new range, is it more like a lithium or more like a Razor?
[MP] Our focus was 100% on the wave capabilities, so we ended up with really diverse criteria. Firstly developing a kite that had good drift stability and that steered quickly was essential, but we were also looking at a kite that could be ridden unhooked and remained light and easy to use. This made the wave kite extremely challenging to design.
What did you do to the kite to get these characteristics?
[MP] The Wave kite has wide wingtips that help it to steer quickly. It is relatively low aspect so it is quite pivotal in the way that it turns and the longer chord also helps the drift stability. However the profile is still relatively shallow which enables the kite to fly further forward.
Does this frame add weight to the Razor Team and Wave? If so, does this affect the performance greatly?
[MP] Due to the strength of the Aramid material and the structure of the framework, the additional weight is significantly less than if you were using traditional materials and construction to achieve the same structural improvements. So we definitely justified using this type of construction.
Regarding the boards, what significant changes have been made on the FS Team + Protoy in terms of shape?
[CF] The FS Team has a new tip shape and straighter edge in the tips. This stabilizes the board and allows the tips to sit a bit deeper in the water. As the riders seem to be riding faster into every move there is more demand on the boards for stability, the updated shape also helps to hold and edge for longer. These changes we worked on with Alex Pastor and carried throughout all the sizes.
The biggest change in the Protoy is the new 138 Size (as Bas Kooles signature model), this board features a higher tip ratio than previous Protoy’s, this enhances the light wind performance and suits a more aggressive style of riding specifically in heavier riders.
What are the considerations you need to make when making a board this light?
[CF] Because you need to use carbon to get the correct stiffness one of the biggest considerations is the final cost. To some degree you also need to consider how much you are going to abuse the board as you would not use a carbon board on kickers or sliders.
Both Twin Tips feature a carbon construction – are these the same?
[CF] The FS Team features a double Carbon Layer top and bottom and both of these layers are a high modulus T7000 carbon fiber with different orientations. So this is really the most expensive construction we have used. On other hand the Protoy features a single carbon layer with a lightweight topsheet to protect the laminate from general abuse.
The Cypher is a new board to the Airush Surf Series – What was the idea behind the Cypher and where does it excel the most?
[CF] The Cypher was a challenging board to develop, as it replaced two of our most popular designs in the Choptop and the Quad. Basically this is a board for onshore wind, mushy waves or lighter wind in the big sizes.
It was developed from one of my small wave surf shape, as I had been experimenting with relatively deep double concaves combined with a spiral V through the mid to rear section. This give a lot of lift and more directional drive so we ended up with the “flying V” bottom shape, this turns out to be ideal for the higher speed experienced in kiting, keeps the board stable and still allows it to roll easily form rail to rail, which is challenging in wider boards. Working closely with Bear we made sure we kept the high performance element within the realm of less than perfect conditions.