Montenegro with Flysurfer Kiteboarding

Montenegro with Flysurfer Kiteboarding

We recently headed out to sunny Montenegro to meet up with the team from Flysurfer to check out some new, and some existing gear they have on offer. It is always great to hook up with such a passionate group of individuals who all want to actively push and innovate within the kite boarding scene. Sharing a beer, or two and our kite boarding tales with around 40 schools, shops and importers from across the globe made for a great few days.

We flew into Podgorica airport from Stansted with Ryanair and the flight took around 2 and a half hours. On arrival we loaded up a Ford Focus (including strapping some board bags to the roof) and headed south towards the town of Ulcinj. It took around 1 and a half hours to get from the Airport to the to Hotel Laguna which is where we were staying. On the drive down we passed some great photo opportunities which gave us a welcome rest from ‘interesting’ driving style on the roads.

Driving through Montenegro there seemed to be quite a contrast in the wealth of people living, and holidaying there. Some areas were obviously very poor with the average salary being as low as 479 Euros per month. It felt like every 50m there was a small market or fruit stand on the side of the road including some creative water fountains keeping the melons from drying out. There was also a lot of half finished/half started construction between the towns and villages.

Whilst staying we visited a handful of local kitespots, 1 land based spot and a couple for kitesurfing. Our main beach (Safari beach) was based a few minutes from the hotel and consisted of a long sandy stretch and warm waters. The second spot (and more favorable) was around 20 minutes drive east at Ada Bojana. This second spot had a mix of open sea, a river mouth and a small lagoon which was great for capturing some photos and video. The local guys from Dragon Project kite school were very accommodating and even took us out on the boat for a session. Aside from the excellent kiting opportunities the sunsets each night were quite spectacular and not to be missed.

Most of our mornings were relatively lazy whilst we waited for the mistral winds to build. Normally we could get out on the water from 1pm on the larger Flysurfer Speed and Sonic kites and stepped down in size as the day went on. The earlier light winds and calm waters made the Safari beach location very popular with foil boarding and swimming whilst waiting for the rescue boat. With the 2 windless days (out of 7) we spent time exploring the local area. On one day myself and Tom grabbed a couple of SUP boards and paddled up river starting from Bojana Island. The second day we were driven to Stari Bar (Old Bar) by a local and taken up into the mountains. We navigated a maze of rocks and streams to find some really scenic spots and natural pools for cooling off in.

After some mixed first impressions I would happily spend some more time in Montenegro. The mix locations available for hiking, kiting, biking and other water based activities should mean your not sitting around twiddling your thumbs in any weather. If it is raining you can always hit up one of the amazing pizzerias serving traditional stone baked recipes for only 5 euros. For the mornings and low wind days I would love to have my wakeboard on hand for some sessions on the glassy flat rivers.

Photos: Marcus Woodbridge, Lewis Wilby and LoLo BSD
Islandboardshop.co.uk

Meet The WOO from WOO Sports

Meet The WOO from WOO Sports

We have just taken delivery of The WOO, a kite tracker from WOO Sports. The WOO clips into a separate mount which remains stuck to your kiteboard and allows you to track the height, airtime and G force of jumps whilst your out kiting. The WOO then syncs to your Android or iOS device via Bluetooth to visualize the data and share it on a global leader board. In the box you receive The WOO, the USB charging cable and a mount for your board.

We look forward to getting out on the water with ours in the next week and will report back with a full review shortly.

Available now. http://islandboardshop.co.uk/products/the-woo

Flysurfer BOOST kite review

Flysurfer BOOST kite review

Talk the talk:

New for 2015, the Flysurfer BOOST is an inflatable kite which is sure to cause a stir in the LEI market. Following the launch of Cronix the BOOST is the second inflatable kite from Flysurfer and they seem to have learned a lot second time around. Flysurfer are aiming the BOOST at airstyle, big air and racing putting it into similar territory to the Ozone Edge. The BOOST is available in a range of sizes; 7m, 9m, 11m, 13m, 15m and 18m. Both the 15m and 18m come in a light wind mode which includes a higher AR and rear bridle to help assist light wind relaunching.

The BOOST comes in a traditional Flysurfer style backpack which is pretty simple but also lightweight. Pumping up the kite is fast and easy thanks to the large inflate valve and R.E.D pump. The pump allows for reduced effort whilst pumping and switches from a double action to single when the pressure in the kite gets high. Unfortunately the valve itself is a bit fiddly and requires a separate attachment which is attach to the centre strut near the valve.

The BOOST comes preset with intermediate bar pressure, allowing you to move the rear line attachment up or down a level depending on your preference. We kept both the 11m and 13m on the stock settings and found it was just right for how we tend to ride. On the middle setting turning was effortless and was easy to do with your wrist or one hand on the bar. The safety system flags the kite out onto a single line and was fired off in testing. Whilst out in deep water the safety was reset and the kite recovered in some wavy conditions.

Like most kites in the Flysurfer range the BOOST comes in one colour per size and the colours are repeated throughout the range. Both the 11m and 13m looked stunning in the sky with really bright panels and sharp graphics.

Flysurfer Boost Colours - Island Board Shop

On the twintip:

We rode the Flysurfer BOOST over a couple of weekends on our familiar AXIS twin tips to get the best feel for the kite. Both kites were extremely easy to fly and despite the name we would still feel comfortable putting beginner/intermediate riders on the kites. The high aspect makes the kites extremely fast in a straight line and they shoot upwind at some pretty wild angles. The turning rate was very impressive and a bit of a surprise. The 13m was happy to be downlooped and thrown about coming out of jumps and rotations. Getting out through the waves was a breeze as the power comes very quickly after pulling in the bar. Jumping on the BOOST is smooth and simple, the kite naturally wants to generate lift and you tend to be moving pretty quickly whilst riding this kite! All that speed translates into some decent air and hangtime. Both the 11m and 13m were really fun and felt encouraging enough to try new moves. On one session on the 13m the wind kept increasing throughout the day, to the stage where some people were going out on 7’s and 9’s on surfboards, needless to say it was getting quite pokey at that stage but it always felt safe and incredibly stable.

On the directional:

The BOOST responds well to being ridden with a directional – it sits forward in the window and rockets upwind. Whilst by no means a dedicated wave kite, the fast turning and stability make this a fun freeride kite capable of taking on some waves and is great for messing about and trying some strapless freestyle.

The bar:

Flysurfer have introduced the Infinity 3.0 bar with the BOOST. The new bar features a thinner and lighter design and is wrapped in a really comfy EVA grip. We found the new bar much comfier to hold than the previous version and think the new EVA grip will be much more durable than the older style. The 21m lines found on the Infinity 3.o bar are designed to be low drag whilst maintaining a high breaking load. These should help the efficiency of the kite when racing or in light winds. The Infinity 3.0 bar also features an endless rotation system for unspinning your lines and safety after doing spins and kiteloops, the system works when you pull the bar in. Above the bar you will also find a stopper ball and velcro depower system for sheeting in the kite.

What we liked:

The BOOST is extremely easy to fly and much more user friendly than some of the other kites in the Flysurfer range. The clean profile and solid canopy make this kite extremely solid in both stability and performance. We have had some really great sessions slashing around in the waves, honking around in flat water and most importantly getting some serious hangtime. Both sizes we tested felt smaller than their sizes and the wind range was extremely impressive at the top end. Part of the impressive turning speed maybe due to the 21m lines on the new Infinity 3.0 bar.

What we didn’t like:

One of the “niggles” we had with the BOOST was on the kite itself, rather than a flying characteristic. The inflate / deflate valve is a bit of an annoyance and it doesn’t feel like it was designed with users in mind. It was tricky to open with cold hands. The multi part system is clunky and feels unnecessarily complicated for such a simple action. With regards to the bar it would be great to have less lines running through the centre core, and a potentially cleaner single line flag out system, instead of the extra safety line.

Conclusion:

The Flysurfer BOOST is an excellent freeride kite, suitable for a wide range of riders who want to master several styles of riding. The wide wind range and smooth depower will help riders progress their skills in any conditions. The quick turning speed, solid upwind performance and speed in a straight line are sure to put a smile on your face.

 

Test quiver: Flysurfer BOOST 11m and 13m. AXIS Division, New Wave and Vanguard.

Brunotti Virtuoso Kiteboard Preview

Brunotti Virtuoso Kiteboard Preview

The 2015 Brunotti Virtuoso is a totally new model in the range for this season. This is their ultimate freeride board offering high performance and comfort – the catch being the price. It is not as expensive as the AXIS Limited though for example. The board looks very smart and sophisticated. It has a nice sleak graphic and the Brunotti pads and straps are nice and comfortable and easily adjustable.

In the water the Brunotti Virtuoso is smooth. It handles chop easily. The super narrow edges (Dynamic Slim Rail Tech) really cut through the water effortlessly. The board really is comfortable and has plenty of performance. It handles big landings no problem – the triple concave bottom shape provides plenty of grip and stability.

Take a look and grab a demo!

Flysurfer BOOST kite preview

Flysurfer BOOST kite preview

Update: The Flysurfer BOOST review is now available here.

This weekend we had the opportunity to take the wrappers off the new Flysurfer BOOST so here are a few first impressions before the full review. The wind was quite up and down so we choose to take the 11m out. The kite comes in a traditional Flysurfer zip bag and the bar was not attached to the kite like it was on the Cronix. Flysurfer are using the same large inflation / deflation valve as found on the Cronix so getting the kite up did not take long. The bridle on the BOOST is thinner than most inflatable kites on the market and there isn’t a lot of it either, thankfully. In the air the kite looks great, potentially taking inspiration on the colour scheme from another European brand. The colours and print are extremely vibrant and whilst riding the canopy is super super tight. When watching other kites on the water the BOOST definitely had the least / next to no flutter at all and looked the most stable through gusts. One thing that was really surprising the BOOST is, not just in a straight line but in the turns as well, the 11m could easily be mistaken for something much smaller. The new bar has been drastically improved upon the old one, the slimmer profile and new grip is much comfier to hold and feels much lighter in the hands.

For riders who weren’t 100% on the Cronix we would suggested giving Flysurfer another chance for the BOOST, its a completely different animal and we can’t wait to spend more time on it. Stay tuned for a full review once we get some more time on the Flysurfer BOOST across all the sizes in the range, hopefully with some blue sky as well.

Get high on the new Flysurfer BOOST kite

Get high on the new Flysurfer BOOST kite

Update: The Flysurfer BOOST review is now available here.

Just announced: The Flysurfer BOOST, an exciting new leading edge inflatable kite designed for speed freaks and big air enthusiasts. The new BOOST will arrive in sizes ranging from 7m through to 18m and is IKA registered for the race circuit. The BOOST will be shipping with the Infinity 3.0 bar and features low-drag flying lines to maximise efficiency. To give the BOOST the ultimate edge over other larger inflatables Flysurfer are releasing the 15m and 18m in a special light wind variant with reduced weight. We have spent limited time on this new kite but will be arming ourselves with a quiver as soon as possible.

Whilst away in Egypt earlier in the year we had the opportunity to snap and ride the new BOOST. We tested the 11 and 13m and were very impressed with the feel of the kite. It was fast through the sky, predictable and really smooth. Check out how tight the canopy looks (no wrinkles) – this is a very good sign!

Keep an eye out on the site for a full review and more specifics very soon!