Ozone Enduro V1 Preview

Ozone Enduro V1 Preview

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!

Winter Kitesurfing Checklist

Winter Kitesurfing Checklist

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.

Winter Kitesurfing Checklist

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.

Ozone Catalyst V1 Preview

Ozone Catalyst V1 Preview

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.

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

5 Ways to spice up your kite life!

5 Ways to spice up your kite life!

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

5-way-timeoff
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

5-ways-consistent
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

Try riding strapless
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

Ride 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

Riding with friends
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!

Ozone EDGE V8 Preview!

Ozone EDGE V8 Preview!

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!

New British Kitesurfing Championships

New British Kitesurfing Championships

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!

British Kitesports Freestyle Tour

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.