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.

How to take photos on snow

How to take photos on snow

How to take the best photos for your upcoming snowboard trip.

You’ve been patiently waiting all year for the annual snowboard trip and it is just around the corner. You missed the best bails the year before or maybe your photos are too bright or not bright enough, the snow looks grey and everything is generally not right. If this sounds familiar then read on to discover our tips and tricks for taking photos on snow (snowboard & snowkite)

The right gear for the job.

Think carefully when choosing your camera equipment for your upcoming snowboard trip. You are always going to get better and more controlled shots from your DSLR over a point and shoot or action camera but the practicality is you need both to make the most of all situations.

Snowboarding with a GoPro

Advantages of action camera (such as GoPro)

  • Point and shoot – easy to pass around the group without the need to learn any of the modes or settings.

  • Wide angle – a big field of view means you can get closer to the action and step back to guarantee your subject will be in the frame.

  • Compact – small cameras are great for taking in and out of your pocket on the ski lifts without needing to worry about extra bags or gear.

  • Loads of mounting options – mount cameras on collapsible poles, helmet mount them or stick them on your board. You can stick a GoPro on anything and forget about it.

  • Crash proof – cameras such as the GoPro are basically destroy proof under normal use. Super tough external housing makes them both waterproof and protects the camera inside.

Disadvantages of action camera (such as GoPro)

  • Point and shoot – limited selection of settings and the ability to frame shots.

  • Wide angle – Although the wide angle lens is sometimes beneficial you don’t always want the warped images that a 270 degree lens gives you.

  • Framing your shot – Without optional accessories most small action cameras do not have screens for allowing you to check your field of view and see what you are actually filming / photographing.

GoPro Pole Mount Snowboarding

Advantages of a DSLR

  • Full manual control – with a reasonable understanding of your cameras settings and photography there is not a single situation your camera will be unable to handle.

  • Quality – most DSLR cameras feature much larger sensors than most point and shoot cameras. Combine the bigger sensor and large pixel count for brighter and sharper images.

  • Choice of lens – Want to shoot wide? put on and wide lens, want to shoot close ups? swap it out again.

Disadvantages of a DSLR

  • Durability – although higher end DSLR cameras feature weatherproofing on the lens and body you are never going to be in an ideal situation for carrying it around the mountain, on the lifts, riding with it and using it in cold/wet conditions.

  • Price – not everyone owns a DSLR and not everyone wants, or needs to either. They are more for the budding photographers among us and the cost of setting up a reasonable rig is easily 2.5 X the price of an action camera setup.

  • Size – The body and lens of a DSLR is quite large regardless of what lens you are going to be shooting with. You may also want to carry spare batteries, lens cloths, more lens’, tripod… before you know it you’re carrying around 15kg of equipment on your back.

Snowboarding in Powder

Top 5 tips for snowboarding camera equipment.

  1. Allow any of your electronic equipment to reach indoor / room temperature slowly before turning them on and checking your days footage. This will heavily combat the chances of condensation and something getting broken.

  2. Choose your lens for that particular day and stick with it. This will reduce the amount of gear you need to carry. Every time you are on the mountain swapping lens’ back and forth you are also putting your camera at risk (you will probably need to take your gloves off to which sucks!)

  3. Buy a telescopic pole for your GoPro. These poles come in loads of different sizes and models. Some come with a tripod adapter built in and some need one adding so make sure its all together and working before your holiday.

  4. Take your charger. Batteries do not like the cold, it is advisable to get an idea of how long your camera batteries work when you are at home as then you can adjust this time after your first day on the slopes and work out a rough percentage difference.

  5. Take a tripod. The mountains house some of the most scenic views you are going to see for the next year so make the most of it. Expect great sky’s littered with stars. Whether you are shooting on an action camera or DSLR you can capture time lapse scenes and star trails.

Tips for photographing snowboarding & landscapes

Landscape photos:

To make the most of your landscape and scenic shots whilst you are away I would suggest using a tripod or similar piece of equipment. If you do not have anything to hold your camera in place then improvise with your surroundings, a car roof, wall or bench will make a good start.

Things to remember:

Keep your horizons straight. Use something in your photo as a point of reference to frame your photo correctly before you press the shutter. If you find it difficult to frame the photo with the horizon accurate then shoot the photo slightly wider (zoomed out) to allow a margin to crop and rotate the photo later digitally.

Depending on your light conditions you will want to select the right settings on your camera. For landscape we tend to want to grab as much depth and detail as possible from the foreground all the way back to the horizon. To do this select a smaller aperture of F5.6 or less. You may be able to go up or down a few stops depending on the situation. The lower the aperture the more detail you will get into your final shot. Next up is to set your ISO and shutter speed. It is always best to use as low an ISO as possible. Most cameras start at 100 ISO and go over 1000. Depending on the quality of the body and lens you are using photographs shot over 400 ISO tend to generate a lot of noise on the image. If you are in bright light then shoot with a high shutter speed to reduce the amount of light which can enter the lens. If your photos are too dark then reduce the shutter speed. If your photo is blurry because you cannot keep the camera still enough for the selected shutter speed, increase the shutter speed and also increase the ISO to compensate.

Photograph stars snowboarding

Action Photos:

Time for the fun stuff. Due to the fact this is what most riders want to achieve I will keep this section as easy to follow as possible. If you are struggling to capture the action then try shooting on burst mode or interval mode. For a GoPro shoot a photo every 0.5 seconds for the best chance to capture something interesting, the joys of digital allow us to delete excess photos easily. Most DSLR cameras have options of 3+ photos a second when holding down the shutter button in the correct mode.

How to use a GoPro

Sunny conditions:

– high shutter speeds (1000+) The faster the shutter speed, the crisper the photo.

– mid range aperture (F3-5.6)
– low ISO – lower the better, should be 100 in bright light.

– generally it is best to shoot with the sun on your back with a well lit subject but by using the right mix of exposure, aperture and iso you can get some great results.

Flat light:

– mid / high shutter speed (800+)

– shoot at a higher aperture, the subject should remain in full focus but the background detail will be less. Due to flat light the background is probably not very exciting anyway. F3.3 >.

– If your subject is blurry then the shutter speed is to low. Make it higher and compensate using the ISO.

– fill flash, use your flash on a low setting to bring your subject to the front of the image and separate them from the dull background behind.

Dark:

Shooting in falling light with action shots is never going to be a great situation to be in without a flash.

– use a flash to light your subject or the area around them. using a flash to capture an exact moment will also allow you to shoot at a lower shutter speed (more light) to capture more of the surrounding.

– maximise the use of artificial light coming from lights or buildings in the area to give your photos an extra glow.

Snowboarding in the dark

Top 5 tips for photographing snowboard conditions.

  1. Wear thin gloves. If you are going to be spending a lot of time behind the camera you will be in a much better situation leaving on a pair of thin gloves all day and being able to navigate menus and buttons rather than taking on and off a thicker pair which in turn will just end up as soaking wet dead weights.

  2. Shoot in RAW. If you are lucky enough to be shooting a DSLR or prosumer camera you should be able to shoot in RAW instead of Jpg. This will allow you much more control on losslessly altering your photos meaning you won’t loose any quality when you export your image. ie. correcting your white balance from blue/orange tint to white.

  3. Set exposure on neutral objects. Use the sky or something other than the snow to set your correct exposure.

  4. Test and charge all your kit before you leave. This is very important for cameras such as the GoPro. The more you understand the focal length and what is is in your frame the better. This will allow you to effectively shoot your GoPro blind. Point it in the right direction and at the right distance without seeing anything through an LCD screen or viewfinder.

  5. Shoot video. If after reading this guide you are still not getting the photos then maybe just video the action instead. It is not ideal but you can always grab still frames on your computer later.

Snowkiting in France

The Loose ends.

Composition – When taking your photos try to diversify the shots from just being super white. Shoot low to close to see more of the board or skis to brighten up your image. Shooting across from your subject and capturing mountains or trees off the piste is another good example.

Freezer bags – If you want to keep your equipment dry and don’t have the budget for specialist bags wrap your camera and spares inside re-sealable sandwich or freezer bags.

The natural reflector – Remember that snow reflects a super amount of light. This allows for some photos which would otherwise require extra hardware or a flash to make.

If you have anything you want to add or have some more specific questions then drop us a line on the contact form or post a comment below.

Happy shooting.

Massive thanks to Never Summer snowboards and Flysurfer kites.

Snowboarding Boots

Best Taboo Kite Review 2010/2011

Best Taboo Kite Review 2010/2011

Introduction:
The Taboo is a newly designed kite from Best Kiteboarding for the 2010/11 Season. It fits between the Kahoona and the Nemesis as the new do anything, ride anywhere, high performance kite and looks set to replace the Waroo which has been on the market since 2006.

Best Taboo

Best Taboo Kite

Talk the Talk:
Ranging in 4m-17m sizes and uniquely engineered over 3 different shapes the Taboo will offer an extremely high performance and versatile quiver for a massive percentage of kiters who like to dabble into several riding styles and even for those pushing unhooked or wave riding.

The idea behind optimization throughout the range is to give you the Best performance from your quiver in any wind range. Using a variety of techniques from different fabric usage, strut placements, aspect ratios and canopy shapes the Taboo can offer great flying characteristics from the lightest of winds in flat water to huge rolling swell in 30+ knots.

For more information on each design check out www.tabookite.com

Setting the kite up is extremely easy, The one pump is fast and effective and with only one attachment point on the front bridle and 3 knots to choose from on the rear lines there is no room for confusion. I flew the Taboo always on the middle knot and found this to be very responsive without backstall, the kite needed to be trimmed a tiny amount for flying unhooked for the best performance. In the sky the Taboo is extremely stable anywhere in the window – comparable to the Kahoona and Waroo 09/10 models by any means. The Taboo drifts backwards nicely in both the models I tried, either in waves or riding towards the kite super fast after landing downwind from a kiteloop.

When it comes to relaunching the kite it does relaunch, its just the difference between easy and ridiculously easy. I think the problem with judging relaunch on kites now is that we have been spoilt in the last couple of years with “Delta style” kites that practically relaunch themselves such as Bandits, the LF Envy and the Kahoona. Generally pulling one steering line around the bar float would get the kite to slide to the edge of the wind window and onto one tip waiting for you to lift it back off the water.

Liked:
The real poppy attitude and low end boosting this kite offers, super nimble on land or in waves, Sweet unhooked performance.

Would Change:
The Redline Performance Bar is still a bit behind in terms of other manufacturers, namely the spinning system and personally I prefer a thinner bar but this is the standard for all current Best kites on the market.

Overall
If your looking for a new progression kite in your quiver or to replace your tired and bruised Waroo to thrash about on any surface, for stomping waves or busting out unhooked new school tricks the Taboo could be right up your alley!

Size on Test: 8m and 10m with 55cm Redline Performance Bar.

Testing the Best Taboo

Landboarding with the Best Taboo

Mutiny Factory Visit

Mutiny Factory Visit

Mutiny designers Henry Rebbeck and Oli Thorman spent late November and early December at the factory in China supervising the first production of the Mutiny F-Series kites and the awesome new Mutiny bar.

The factory visit was a success and the production run for the Mutiny F-Series is now underway. The Mutiny F-Series’ will ship to the first lucky stores imminently. Henry and Oli brought some pictures back with them of the F-Series so you can view what it looks like to make an F – Series kite.

The first kites hit selected stores just before Christmas, and will be more widely available in the New Year. Please check the retailer’s section or our events page for details of where to try and buy the Mutiny F-Series. To order your Mutiny F-Series you can contact your local Mutiny retailer or click our online store and purchase direct from Mutiny.

Production of the Mutiny Range

Production of the Mutiny Range

Production of the Mutiny Range

Content By Mutiny Kites

PKD Buster Soulfly Kite Review

PKD Buster Soulfly Kite Review

Introduction: The PKD Buster Soulfly is a new 4 line fixed bridle powerkite at an extremely competitive price which has just been released onto the market with the attention of attracting new people into the world of flying and traction sports.

PKD Buster Soulfly

Talk the Talk: We put a 3.3m onto demo to see how these stack up against other similar kites on the market. Overall impression – Very nice. This kite comes in a variety of sizes ranging from 1.5m to 4.4m and start from just £97.99 complete with everything you need to get started to get into the sport.

The kite comes in a somewhat unusual silver fabric cylindrical bag and comes complete with lines, handles, kitekillers, 2 ground stakes and an instruction manual. I believe the idea behind the long thin bag is that soon the kite will be available to purchase with a bar system as well as handles, and a normal rucksack design will not comfortably fit a bar in.

Although not the best on the market the accessories included are all perfectly acceptable for a kite at this price range and end of the market. The handles come with a strop line between them – We highly recommend to cut this straight off the handles because it is very short and not at all practical also the kite killers that are provided are very long, besides this there is no real fault with any of the package contents. The handles are coated in a rubbery/neoprene fabric and are very comfy in your hands, great for extended sessions without a harness.

In the air the kite is very smooth to fly and nice and stable. It holds its shape well anywhere in the wind window and there is no strange behaviour when purposely trying to get it to over fly and fall out of the sky… which it wouldn’t do. The graphics are a different colour for each size in the range. The kite looks clean and smart in the sky from both the front and back of the kite.

Although a beginner kite the Soulfly feels quite racey in the sky. If you flick the brakes on whilst flying its like hitting the turbo button, a real surge of extra power which effectively comes from nowhere. This would work really well with the Ozone Turbo Bar.

The kite does not generate a lot of lift but in higher winds pulls like a train in the buggy or on a landboard. Experimenting with the brakes would also be great fun bare foot on the beach skudding around!

Liked: The complete beginner package – it really is everything you need to get started, the kite itself has plenty of performance and its great for the money.

Would Change: The kite killers are far to long, the handle strop is way to short and the bag could be a touch deeper so you do not have to pack the kite with such precision if caught in the rain!

Overall: This is a great choice for a beginner wanting to get into power kiting on a budget. It will last you whilst you learn everything you need to need to know to safely learn to kite, board or buggy!

Size on test: 3.3m with standard setup lines and handles.