The wind has been pumping in the last couple weeks and we have been making the most of it! This period between Christmas and New Year has delivered great conditions which together with the mild temperatures has been a lot of fun. We are now aching from hours on the water. Just before Christmas we took delivery of the new Ozone Enduro V1 – this is a kite we have been looking forward to for a long time. It is the all round performance kite for those who want a kite which is good at everything. It replaces the 2015 Catalyst, which has been a favourite for the last couple of years and sits between the Catalyst V1 and C4 V6 in the Ozone range.
So far we are impressed – the Enduro is everything we expected. It is not a major change from the Catalyst 2015, but we have only tried the default bridle setting. The 12m pictured has a good low end, plenty of pop, and a good top end too giving us record Woo scores to date! two sessions in and we cannot wait for more.
If you have not seen it already – take a look at this Enduro video which came out recently!
It has been very windy as of late and we have been getting out there and enjoying ourselves. Jumping big and working on our Woo scores as well as hitting some wave spots and enjoying time of our surfboards. The 7m Ozone REO has proven to be an incredible kite again in the winter swells. Last weekend highlighted a couple of things we need to remember when going out in these colder conditions and big winds.
Check your gear – This is one of those generic ones that you hear all the time but when temperatures drop and the wind get punchier any weak points will rear their head at the worst moment. Just last weekend, we used an old bar, where we could see the lines were well used. Half an hour into the session, mid jump a line snaps. We got away lightly – no drama. The point was made though. If something looks worn – just replace it. It saves wasting time when at the beach and potential injury.
Look out for others – Incidents happen and how we react is important. If someone looks like they need assistance then go over and see if they need a hand. When helping others it is important you dont put yourself in a risky situaton. Most accidents happen when launching and landing, so make sure you keep an eye out for people needing to help there.
Fuel up – Cold saps energy pretty quickly. A 20 minute swim in summer is no big deal – but it can be a lot more tiring in winter. Make sure you are prepared to spend time in the water.
Wear the right gear – We understand the need to only purchase things we really need, but investing in a good winter wetsuit is a no brainer. As we have already said – the cold can turn dangerous. It is important to keep yourself warm. If you are cold, your extremities lose feeling making things like operating your quick release very hard.
Try not to ride alone – In summer the chances are there is someone about on the beach who could call the coastguard if they see someone in trouble. On a windy winters day this is much less likely to happen. We really recommend not riding alone at this time of year. If you do then make sure you know what you are doing and let someone know where you are going.
There are obviously many other things to consider – but these are some good starting points.
So the UK finally managed to get some wind again and we got our hands on a 12m and 8m Ozone Catalyst V1. This is the new Catalyst but its not like the old Catalyst – at all. It is a change in direction for Ozone and the Catalyst is now doing what its name implies – it is about getting you going. It is focused at the beginner/intermediate rider where as the 2015 model had a lot of performance.
On paper the Catalyst V1 is all about super easy, predictable handling and amazing water relaunch. So far that seems to be the case. The bar pressure is a little heavier than previous models, but that helps you know where the kite is. It worked well with a twintip and a surfboard, and had no problem jumping!
A complete review will follow in the next weeks, but for now, here are some photos! You can really see the new wing shape with the swept back tips.
A very small amount of Limited Edition 12 and 15m Speed 4 Lotus kites are currently available. These will not last long however! The sizes available are 12m (blue/black/white) and 15m (orange/black/white).
Never Summer are one of those brands we love! They have been around for over 20 years building premium snowboards from their Denver, Colorado factory. The started building longboards in 2008 as a way of using the offcuts from their snowboard production. They also integrated other parts of their snowboard technology into the longboard production such as the durable top sheet finishes on the base of the longboards and the p-tex tip and tail protectors. The decks feature extensive use of fibreglass allowing the them to maintain their flex patterns for years – for this reason Never Summer offer a 3 year warranty on their decks.
Ozone have just announced the release of their Ozone REO V3 – this replaces the 2015 model with fresh colours and the move to Ozone’s new naming convention. We are quite happy not a lot has changed – this kite is one of our favourites! To go with the launch there is a great video featuring Ryan Coote and Paulino Perreira shot in Cape Verde – take a look!
We cant wait for autumn wind and waves! Find out more about the new Ozone REO V3.
A load of new images have been released in the last couple days of an all new MBS Mountainboards range including some new components. The most exciting will be the Matrix II trucks (+ Matrix II Pro which have hollowed axles), and the F5 bindings which feature dual ladder straps to help make the binding fit smaller feet and less bulky shoes.
More details coming soon! For now here are some images of the new product. The product is due to land in September!
After a while anything will lose its novelty value and our enthusiasm will start to wane. After kitesurfing for ten years though I am more in love with it than ever! Sure there have been periods in the last ten years where I have been more or less into it, and my sessions have dropped a bit more than I like, but all in all I have been pretty consistent. I sat down for a while thinking about this and trying to put my finger on the key factors which keep things interesting for me.
1 – Time off is not a bad thing
Over winter it gets pretty cold in the UK and a little time off never hurt anyone – kiteboarding should not be a chore. The key here is to make sure the gap doesn’t get too long. A month max! I personally like to dedicate as much time in winter to snowboarding as possible, so I am still active and riding. I also go snowkiting which gives me my kiting fix.
2 – Consistency is key
The longer you go between sessions, the more out of practice you will become and the less you will progress when you do get back to riding. Whilst it can be fun to relearn some tricks you used to be able to do, if you never make progress it is frustrating. Your kite fitness will go down too – meaning you get tired quickly and do not have the energy to make the most of your sessions.
3 – Swap board
Going back and forth on a twintip failing to learn any new tricks can certainly make morale drop. After a while the thrill of riding back and forth across the ocean can feel a bit like mowing the lawn. Switch your board though – try an inexpensive skimboard, a surfboard, a race board or even a foilboard. Riding a directional board is a totally new challenge. New challenges mean the rate at which you progress skyrockets! Nothing is going to make you feel the sheer joy you used to feel when you started kitesurfing like the rapid progression of learning to ride a new board like that. Foilboards require very little wind making those light days really fun! Surfboards are best when it is windy and you can use small kites.
4 – Go somewhere different
It is so easy to get into a routine of always kiting at the same spot. This can limit your progression though and make every session feel the same. Going to a flat water spot one week then a wave spot the next keeps things fresh. Travel is one of the most fun elements of kitesurfing – so load up the car/van and hit the road. A change of scenery will do wonders and there are a lot of great beaches all around the UK and France is not hard to get to either!
5 – Find some new riding mates
If you are stuck in a rut find some other local kitesurfers to ride with. You will feed off their enthusiasm and encourage each other to ride more. Head to a new beach and meet the locals, or offer to lift share to save money and get to spend time talking kites with someone like minded. Most spots have a strong core group of keen kiters who are always up for a session!
This weekend we hit the road and went to North Wales for a change of scenery! Black Rock Sands is a huge beach which you can drive onto and have all your gear nearby – ideal for testing new kites. The drive up is epic too. The new Ozone EDGE V8 was at the top of our list of kites to try this weekend. First impressions were good! The kite was dreamy to jump – a hangtime machine. The Edge has always been famous for its ability to rocket upwind and this one is no different. There are no changes to the wing for this version from the 2014 version – just refinements to the bridle. It felt easier to relaunch and faster turning. More testing to be done before a full review. We took some shots – take a look!
This has been brewing for a while now but we are glad it is finally out in the open! Those who receive our newsletter will already know the news but the good people behind IKSURFMAG and KITEWORLDMAG have got together to pool resources and organise the UK Tour the UK kite scene needs. This is an important part of our sport and will feed UK talent into the KTE (european tour) and eventually into the VKWC (world tour).
We feel this needs shouting about and supporting – so we urge everyone to get involved and come down to the events to spectate if nothing else! It is early days so there is not a lot of information out there but a facebook page is now live so be sure to follow that. Exciting times!