Ozone EDGE V8 – The Legacy Continues

Ozone EDGE V8 – The Legacy Continues

Another big release from Ozone – this time the new EDGE. This is a legendary freeride kite we have known and loved for years. Anyone who loves hangtime should try the EDGE. It flies around and races upwind which is great considering how far you will travel in the air. Whilst there do not appear to be any radical changes to the EDGE from 2014, we understand the kite has been tweaked to optimise it for freeriding now the racing side of things is mostly covered by the Chrono and soon the R1.

We cannot wait to get these out on test soon and compare it to the Flysurfer BOOST which we have been enjoying alot!

This also marks a big move from Ozone into a version system as opposed to annual releases. This means your new EDGE will hold its value for longer.

Find out more about the Ozone EDGE V8.

Ozone announce R1 pure performance race foil

Ozone announce R1 pure performance race foil

The Chrono was big news last year and is still making news this year winning races and showing off its upwind ability. This season though things are going up a level with new competition on the market from Flysurfer in the form of the SONIC-FR plus a whole year of development from the Ozone team and the result of that is the R1. Take a look at the teaser below:

We saw a prototype at the Ozone Snowkite Masters in Switzerland but it was too light for it to be raced. Florian Gruber won the European Snowkite Championships on it the other weekend too. We look forward to hearing more details soon!

Our Top 5 South Wales Kitesurf Beaches

Our Top 5 South Wales Kitesurf Beaches

South Wales is where we do the bulk of our kitesurfing. We are pretty lucky in that the UK’s predominant wind direction is South Westerly and South Wales has a load of different beach options to suit most types of riding. They are pretty different as well – some are more idyllic where as others have distinctly industrial backdrops. Here are five of our favourite spots.

1 – Rest Bay

Kitesurfing Rest Bay PorthcawlRest is one of our most frequented beaches. It is easy to get to so there is always a good crew here making it is pretty social. Drinks and snacks in the cafe after a session are a great way of meeting your fellow kitesurfers.
Pros:
it is easy to get to
can handle a wide variety of wind conditions
gets flats by the shore and waves further out.
plenty of parking and its only £1 in winter
public toilets and cafe
always other kitesurfers out
large sandy beach with very few hazards at low tide
Cons:
It can be a little challenging as a beginner due to the waves
parking warden is always about
doesnt work at high tide
not the shortest walk from car park to beach

2 – Pembrey

Kitesurfing PembreyPembrey is great for long days in the water especially in summer. We love heading to pembrey for the whole weekend, camping in the van and getting a lot of hours on the water. this is another popular spot where there are bound to be other kitesurfers.
Pros:
great looking beach
huge amounts of space
no obstacles/hazards
large areas of shallow flat water for freestyle
surf out back
free parking (outside country park)
Cons:
long walk to the water at low tide
long walk from car park to beach
very limited parking space
no landboarding allowed on beach

3 – Llangennith

Kitesurfing Llangennith
Llangennith is well known as one of the best surf spots on the Gower and is a popular kite spot too. access is through hill head camp site which is free in the winter but not in summer. It is a huge campsite so best avoided at busy times.
Pros:
great conditions for wave riding
beautiful scenery
large beach with few hazards (1 wreck)
loads of parking space
toilets and showers
cafe/restaurant on site
Cons:
Long walk to the water
very busy in summer/holidays

4 – Newgale

Kitesurfing Newgale
Newgale offers some great conditions and is in a great setting however it takes a while to get there. nice for a weekend when you want a change of scenery.
Pros:
good waves
scenic location
Cons:
parking isnt the best
big pebble ridge to get over
it is a trek to get to

5 – Oxwich

Oxwich Kitesurfing
Oxwich is a beach no one goes to regularly but a saviour when the wind comes from the east and then everyone will be there.
Pros:
Takes an easterly
easy parking near the beach
beautiful surroundings
Cons:
Not the easiest to get to
Always have to pay for parking
rarely epic conditions
can be busy with kitesurfers as its the only beach to take an easterly
very busy in summer with bucket and spade brigade

There are loads of other spots we have not mentioned – but if you are getting started in the area these are good options to start with. Variety is the spice of life and all that – when we get the opportunity to go somewhere more epic we do!

Our free monthly newsletter – first issue out now!

Our free monthly newsletter – first issue out now!

Island Board Shop NewsletterWe have decided to work on something extra for the blog. Something a bit different. Everyone does a newsletter showing the latest products and sales etc using generic manufacturer supplied images – but we wanted to do something better and more interesting. We spend hours every week watching videos and reading about kitesurfing so we figured why not release a curated top ten list each month with all our top news, links and videos for that month. We have trawled the internet so you dont have to!

You can take a look at the January issue here. If you like what you see then sign up using the opt in box at the top of the page!

We would of course love to know what you think of the format and the type of content you would like to see highlighted! We have focused on the UK (as that is where we are based) and brands we like.

Loads of new stuff from Ozone!

Loads of new stuff from Ozone!

New Website
Ozone have been working hard it would seem with revamping their website and accessory line up and we love what we see. The first big release is their new website which was well overdue! The new site whilst heavy on the sliders is way clearer and cleaner than the old site and makes each product look a lot better. Great move.

New Ozone Website

New Bar
Next up the new bar! The 2014 bar upgrade to the push away chickenloop was a huge move and put it up there as one of the most user friendly and well designed bars on the market. The only complaints where the bar ends and the visible rivets. Nit picking really (however we did smash our bar into our surfboard a few times leaving marks). For 2015 the bar has been upgraded with new soft bar ends which make it look a lot nicer. On top of that the lines have been upgraded from 300kg lines all round to 500kg on the fronts and 300kg on the steering lines. Another great improvement. Find out more about the 2015 Ozone Contact Water Bar.

New Bags
Finally accessories – loads of new Ozone accessories. and some upgraded ones. The new V30 backpack looks great with its integrated laptop pocket. Ideal for work/school/travelling. The board bag has been updated with the new colourway and branding – this is designed to carry two twintips, 2-3 kites as well as your wetsuit and harness.

New Clothing
There are a couple of new tees as well – the Inspired Tee and O Tee.

See all our Ozone accessories online!

The Flysurfer Sonic FR – looks interesting!

The Flysurfer Sonic FR – looks interesting!

This week Flysurfer have announced a new kite in the range called the Flysurfer Sonic-FR. FR stands for Full Race which is pretty self explanatory. This kite is not simply a tuned up Speed 4 but a totally new kite. If you are looking for high performance, maximum hangtime and lightwind performance then this could be the one for you. We dont know how it will compare to the Chrono yet but we imagine that will be what it is trying to beat.
Flysurfer Sonic FR race kite
Some interesting observations are the trailing edge where the cells are split into two – this should increase rigidity and performance.

These are the features mentioned by Flysurfer:

  • Ultra-high-performance foil with 3D shaped profile, characterized by extreme performance and hangtime.
  • Control, Performance and maximum Efficiency.
  • Advanced RibCell Technology
  • Racebar setup with exclusive „low-drag” bridle- and flying lines, creating less drag, while retaining high breaking loads of the lines.

Sizing: 11m2 / 15m2 / 18m2 with IKA approval

We cannot wait to see higher res images and actually test the kite!
Flysurfer Sonic FR race kite

Another look at Kiteboards vs Wakeboards

Another look at Kiteboards vs Wakeboards

Wakeboarding keeps getting more and more popular in Europe – especially cable parks. The lack of suitable places to own a boat and high cost of ownership and the lack of an all round season make that less popular. Cable parks have the advantage of having permanent park set ups however and can invest in great features.

Jake Kelsick riding bootsIn kiteboarding the wakestyle movement has continued to gain momentum with riding in boots now at an all time high. People are riding larger boards too which is directly linked to this trend. The pro rider videos regularly show them riding kickers and rails. In the UK in particular – we are lucky to have some of the biggest names globally pushing this style of riding hard. Think Aaron Hadlow, Sam Light, Tom Court and James Boulding.

So where does this leave the quest for a board which does both well? A few years ago now we looked at kiteboards vs wakeboards – things have gotten a lot better. More and more brands have jumped on the bang wagon and have kiteboards in larger sizes, with more rocker and durable slide bases using the same materials as wakeboards. The compromise is a lot better than it used to be.

The truth is that these things are still a compromise – and not one we personally are willing to make. The boards are great for hitting features whilst using the power of the kite. They are better than ever at this element. The increased rocker however makes them a little sluggish for day to day riding. The slide base also makes them a little heavy.

At the cable park – they still lack the level of rocker seen on a wakeboard, so feel skatey and fast. The bases dont take the same level of abuse as wakeboards. They are often more expensive than wakeboards too. All in all – we will continue to buy dedicated boards. That said – if you are into this style of riding and traveling – carrying extra boards is a hassle so it could work.

If you are looking for one of these hybrid boards – check out the AXIS Bootleg, Billy and Tranq. If you are looking for a kite too we suggest the Ozone C4.

AXIS Billy 2015

2015 AXIS Limited – Best twintip we have ridden!

2015 AXIS Limited – Best twintip we have ridden!

The Limited is truly a special board. We fell in love with it last season and this season it remains as probably our favourite twintip ever! A big statement I know but there we go – we have said it. Sure this is not for everyone as personal preference is what it all comes down to. There are budget considerations too. At £809 complete with pads and straps it will be on the expensive side of things for many. However if you were to ask us what we would buy if money were no object then it would be this.

If we were to review what makes the Limited so special it would be how silky smooth it feels. It is Rolls Royce comfort but without sacrificing performance at all! If you want to ride boots then the Limited can do that no problem. The bottom shape gives you amazing control, the channels provide all the grip you could ever need. It has some rocker to control those fast landings but still feels fast and dynamic through the water. The Limited is based on the same high performance shape as the Vanguard – but uses a carbon wrap around a wood core construction. Make sure you grab a test ride of the 2015 AXIS Limited.

AXIS Division 2015 – A great kiteboard

AXIS Division 2015 – A great kiteboard

The AXIS Nuskool was one of our favourite boards last season – it just worked perfectly for our style of riding and the conditions most of us encounter in the UK. It was fast, dynamic, stable and offered all the performance we needed and then some. The Division replaces the Nuskool and lukily they havn’t broken the magic formula. We were instantly at home on the new Division (not to be confused with the Brunotti Dimension). We have tested it a good few times now and it is already out best selling board. If you have not had a go – ask for a demo!

The board features a relatively square outline which together with the bottom shape make a board which flies upwind and feels fast when riding it – for us this makes it a lot of fun! Great for boosting huge jumps and is capable of pretty much any style of riding. If you want to ride boots then that is no problem.

The AXIS Division is available in 128 x 38, 133 x 40, 135 x 41, 138 x 42. The smaller sizes are great for groms and girls too. Heavier or more powerful riders should look at the Vanguard.

7 Ways to get the most out the perfect kite day

7 Ways to get the most out the perfect kite day

So you have been checking the forecast all week, it is friday night and the conditions look epic. Whatever epic is for you – flat water and 25mph cross onshore, or huge swells, perfect waves and cross off 5m weather. If you want to get the most out of this you will need to make sure you dont make some key mistakes. Epic forecasts are few and far between and should not be wasted!

Here are some tips to help you make the most of it:

1) Sort your shit out. Make sure your lines are not tangled from last time. You dont want your wetsuit to be wet from your previous session so bring it indoors to dry (especially in winter). Make sure you have everything together so you dont have to turn around and come back for something, or worse not have it at all. Do any maintenance you have been putting off. That fin a bit loose? Depower rope a bit worn? Sort it out now. Charge your GoPro etc.

2) Make sure you have the right gear. If it is going to be really windy, dont turn up with nothing smaller than a 12m. If it is going to be cold dont turn up in your summer suit. Bring something to drink and eat. Bring all your kites as even though the forecast was for 5m weather, it may well be 12m weather. You would feel stupid if you only had your 5m or even your 5 and 7m.

3) Research the spot. Make sure you know the tide times and at what point the spot works – many beaches only work at high tide or low tide and many more have a sweet point somewhere in between. Learn if there are hazards you need to be aware of like a sketchy launch area or a shipwreck only visible at certain times or strong rip currents.

The perfect kite spot?

4) If in doubt don’t go out. Even if the forecast was epic, when you get to the spot things may well be different. If you are not used to riding big waves and small kites and the wind is currently blowing 40mph cross off then you should probably give it a miss. If your smallest kite is a 9m and everyone else is on a smaller kite you should probably keep dry. It sounds rubbish but it is way better than drowning/nearly drowning/losing your gear/breaking your gear/breaking someone elses gear/having to call the RNLI out.

5) Chat to the locals. If you see someone coming out of the water ask about their session. What size were they on? Were they overpowered? Is the wind picking up or dropping? How gusty is it? It is good for locals to recognise your face and know your new in the area so they can warn you of any dangers.

Push yourself to try new things

6) Try new things. It is a great idea to try new things once you are confident with riding back and forth. Try a new jump, try spins, try using a wave as a kicker. If someone offers to let you try their kite or board take them up on it. Don’t do anything stupid as it will be expensive if you have to replace someones new board but trying new gear keeps things interesting. Riding with people who are better than you can help with this a lot!

7) Find some kite buddies. Kiting alone and having a bit of a soul session from time to time is good for everyone. There is an amazing feeling (though also a bit scary) when you have the beach to yourself. Kiting with friends is best though. It is good to speak to people before the session and discuss the conditions and pick kite size. It is fun to hear someone whoop when you do a big jump. It is comforting to know a friend is nearby when your almost drowning after being eaten by a massive wave. It is great to warm up with a coffee and some cake and chat about your session afterwards too.

There we go – if you follow those tips you should be on track for an amazing session which will keep you going till next weekend.  Got any other tips? Let us know in the comments!