Having been back from the product launch a few days and already scoring the first spring sessions on my local kitespot, I reflect upon the incredible trip I had this year to the F-one 2012 product launch. Full on conditions, fantastic crew, and mindblowing new kites and boards from F-one to test every day. It was a rare prime event, being back in the groove now I also like the chance to bring it back to basics for everyday fun. Kiteboarding, our primary focus, our passion and reason for being. Its pure unadultered joy in the elements, its not rocket science. And bringing it back to basics is where the F-one Volt kite comes into play. A tamed down version of the Bandit, the volts squatter more nuggety aspect is all about ease of use. Easy acceleration, easy waveriding, easy kiteloops, easy upwind no matter the speed you are travelling, easy positioning of the kite in the window. And super easy auto relaunch, I can relaunch my Bandits instantly but its manual as opposed to these very auto volt kites. In fact for some of my final sessions in small one eye lefts I rode the F-one volt 9m strapless with the new 6í0 surf. Wow, itís smooth, the biggest difference to the B5 is just how smooth and forgiving the volt can be especially when your tired as I was. Extremely reassuring and predictable, and extreme depower, with a very manageable powerband. If you like to focus on surfing this kite is a must try for you. No matter how good you think your current wave kite is, you dont really know until you get on one of these, and really start to cut loose. Turn up the bass this baby gets you feeling funky real fast, unhooked, unstrapped, uninhibited fun. In fact my first sessions such as todays back here at home have been on the Volt, and I am loving it. The official Volt pdf brochure is bottom of the pics at left.
The bamboo 6'0 concave deck also inspires a footloose and fancy free ride. I was dubious when I first saw it, but I quickly decided F-one are onto something with this board. It feels great strapped or strapless. And itís a perfect match with the F-one delta C-shape kites. One hand on the bar the other on the rail, pulling in, pushing the tail out, freedom to play, no worries about getting reefed off the board by a careless mistake or speedy section. The Volt in particular sits back in the window nicely, tracks straight and steady, very smooth power through turns and acceleration, no fuss, buckets of smiles. Rock on all you kiters who just love to surf, play and cruise. The volt is electro pop mixed with soul, a freaky funky feeling you can get real loose with. Perfect to progress, backing it up with the same quality force frame build as the Bandit, and even available with the airlite bar as an upgrade. It also does not hurt that the volt is $ 400 cheaper (11m stock bar). This tamed down version of the Bandit combines all the awesome traits we remember from the early models. Its enduro as opposed to full on Motorcross, not as fast and punchy as the Bandit5 but it will get you there with energy to spare. I really appreciated my final sessions of the trip on the Volt as I was getting weary. Itís the same fabrics and top quality build as the Bandits, famous F-one phenomenal durability with force frame skeleton and all teijin materials. And it has all the best attributes of previous models, the proven Bandit 1,2 &3 that have loads of fans. Donít dismiss it till you give it a go, especially in the surf. A solid performer which perfectly suits a lot of punters and absolutely brilliant kite in any quiver. Volt kites are also available right now as opposed to Bandit5 coming out in shops in late October.
There are also some trick up accessories available which bolt onto the Volt in minutes making it easily tuneable and semi custom. First up is the red stopper ball, which uses an allen key grub screw over a sleeve so you can set it to slide (by hand) easily or hard on the Plastic tubing covered depower rope, note that it should always slide somewhat so that it can be pushed out with the bar in emergencies. Generally its purpose is to shorten the throw and so stabilize the kite, very useful for most because the depower rope on the Volt is quite a bit longer than the Bandit5. The reason for such a long depower rope is to maximise auto relaunch, however many such as I personally prefer shorter throws even if it does sacrifice some auto relaunch as it feels better to kite with a short throw. So the next part we carry is shorter depower ropes, generally 2 other sizes are available, Bandit length and wakestyle super short. Let us know and we can send out some demo depower ropes so you can compare each length S,M,L. While we are talking about it, F-one depower ropes and selfcentering C-loops are the slimmest, simplest, smoothest and longest lasting depower assembly on the market bar none. If you are not riding it I feel sorry for you. Seriously its that far ahead of everything else... Shops or F-one riders should be happy to show you these parts and they work great even on other brands. A nice all in one upgrade is the compact bandit airlite bar with a neat cleat which is how I rode the Volt kite at One Eye. The bar and all components are available separately.
Another bolt-on for the 5 line fans out there we have got a yellow 5th line that fits straight between any Bandit or Volt control bar and kite in just a few moments. I know I know, you may not want to touch a 5th line, but good to know if you did, or your kites next owner it is easily available. Also we will have some extension lines consisting of an outside pair and heavy duty center to add 2m onto your F-one lineset with any kite. 2m makes a huge difference to the size of your wind window therefore powerstroke potential, try it and see. It can even increase the already massive fun wind range of any size F-one Bandit or Volt kite. I will make sure all these bits and bolt-ons get listed on the product page of m8kite.com and with these cost effective accessories you can easily personalize the feel and performance of your F-one, its about time kiting got some trickup bitsÖ
The Volt kite is also available as a package with the F-one Next twintip kiteboard, I donít think you can go past it for a great value beginner to intermediate board. The Next board characteristics of flex and flatter rocker combine perfectly with the Volt kite to get even the newest rider upwind and through the lulls without any drama. Easy to learn and land jumps, featuring the impressive F-one unibox fin system and straploc fittings. European built with matching graphics. Design matched together the Volt kite and Next board were quite literally made for each other. Plus for a top quality board and kite package the pricing is unbelievably good value, $1999 for an F-one 9m kite and board ! I have written up the Next in earlier news posts elsewhere on this site. For more info and pricing about any F-one products check the product pages of this site m8kite.com and/or email@example.com
Some of the queries we were emailed about the 2012 gear are answered below. I will get more of your queries done as soon as possible.
Wind range on the new Bandit5 kites ?
Its better overall, especially the top end. The thinner sharper kites can swing further faster and have a bigger effective wind window than b4, Sure you could hold down the earlier models but in the same super windy conditions the Bandit5 can do more and do it even better. A good comparison is whereas previously in 30+ your mega jumps meant hot landings, the Bandit5 does not drift as much with winddrag so you go even bigger again. On the low end although the profile is built for more speed than torque the extra manoeuvrability of the Bandit5 compensates so you can match the phenomenal reputation for F-ones range. The Bandit5 can comfortably carry a size smaller OR bigger compared to other kites to even more extent than b4. We prove every time the superior range and speed. These kites respond so precisely and position themselves so quickly you always have the advantage no matter what sizes you are working with. Its also important to note that the usage range ie freestyle to surf is unbeatable.
Tossing up between the Bandit5 and Volt kites ?
The Bandit5 is now a no holds barred high performance rocket, not as auto as the Volt which is a tamer, slower and less punchy combination of the earlier bandit model designs. A good motoX analogy is that the Volt kite is enduro, the Bandit full on MX. Volts only come in 7,9,11 and 13m sizes making size choice very easy as opposed to every meter in the Bandit5. The Volt is also significantly cheaper and most importantly Volt kites are available right now rather than in October. Volt colours and graphics are minimalist genius. Bandits are standout class. I have put a bunch of Bandit5 colours up at left. If your minds not made up by the time Bandits arrive then give both a go... my quiver of Bandits will have at least one volt added for sure.
What details did you notice on the F-one B5 ?
Really nice logo embossed custom fabrics. The Airlite bar is even more integrated design, the moulded fix tube, the subtle dot texture grip, ultimate form and function. Also the tapered tube ends, apparently they are much less likely to catch lines and give better aerodynamics. Inside those ends are some little battens for secure closure. The two outside struts are a different attachment to the LE for better turning response. Tuneable trailing edge attachments of course. There is lots of little re-inforcing patches of kevlar and dacron on any wear points, and the colour combos are unreal, I have put a bunch of pics at left.
Whats up with concave deck on the bamboo surf 6í0 and 5í10 ?
We thought the same thing, also about the quad fins, and I have been forced to eat my own words because the proof is in the riding. Skateboards have a concave deck, for strapless riding it feels great, and when strapped up you get a feeling of being closer to the water, more in the board than above it. Combined with the extra thick shock absorbing front pad you will be amazed at how positive your connection to the board becomes. Comments will be welcomed from people who give these babies a good go.
Whats news with the new twintip range ?
Actually apart from the Trax7 the boards seem only slightly different shapes and flex from last years Acid and TX, the sk8 does have X torsion bar added. These boards have totally kick ass new graphics and ride perhaps a tiny bit better... and there is the Next begginners board too. F-one are famous for their boards, and when they work so good why change... But the big change is the Trax7 which is now made in an entirely different factory, from only the finest materials, and with some awesome new technologies that really push the envelope. The thick surf shaped rail and aggressive flex pattern are hugely changed from last years Trax, its something else to ride. This thing has an insatiable need for speed. The epitome of advanced kiteboarding.
How was the location as a kitesurf destination ?
The F-one 2012 Dday happened on the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean at the most famous kite destination Le Morne. This spot has a long history as a surf and windsurf hotspot, as well as general tourism. Theres tons of massive resorts all along the beach, golf courses, restaurants, 5 star, every mod con. Its french colonial, so theres tons of euros there all the time. But they are not as wave hungry as us Aussies. And its got all the options on tap, flat water, left handers, right handers, varying sizes, generally lefthand offshore, with the biggest, cleanest and longest break being the infamous "one eye" I definitely rate it. And hey the beers not bad! That said its a fair hike and probably more expensive than indo. Unless you do a kite tour with someone getting the good deals for you.... stay tuned.
Getting ready to jet off back home I basked in the afterglow of this awesome trip and was thinking about the coming Aussie summer. Theres been a growing interest in F-one, a kind of renaissance. Maybe its because F-one was the 1st kite'board' company still on the planet, maybe its just because they keep it simple bringing everything back to purist performance. For example a focus on perfecting one design of their Delta C-shape invention, rather than having a whole bunch of specialist models that sacrifice too much. Maybe its because they insist on the ultimate quality and presentation of their products. They donít skimp on anything when it comes to the kites you and I fly. And we definitely see the discerning kiters homing in on F-one more and more every year. Everything about F-one stands out from the crowd, every small part right down to the graphics and videos itís all deluxe.
And the Bandit5 summary, its going to do more than leave a mark, It will leave a tearing gouge, send your adrenalin levels through the roof. Itís a ballistic kite. While at first glance it looks similar to the Bandit4 with 3 struts and cutoff tips. The devil is in the detail. F-one have worked long and hard to give us something super special, One hundred prototypes, relentlessly tested to perfect the one kite that shines out, for all riders and all styles. One kite model that surpasses all expectations, and that will definitely take your riding to the next level. Get some solid wind in your sails and get the Bandit5 kite from F-one. Pre-orders and requests for demo can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will arrange it for you with your closest F-one stockist, plus we have a shop list from the products tab above that you can liase with.
Youíve read this far because your curious or totally craving info on the new F-one range... thanks. My report is that this years gear from F-one the longest surviving kitesurf company on the planet has redefined the sport yet again. Each design and component setting a new benchmark. F-ones Delta C kite patent is getting locked in this year, their confidence and commitment driving their development far above any competition and imitation. F-one are famous for R&D effort and results, and they just keep getting better at it. The suprange too has excelled beyond what seemed possible. Changing the landscape and breaking new ground, even getting us kiters fired up on sup. Its groovy stuff compared to the cliqued "mutant hulk surfboard/kayak" we see so much of.
So the Dealer meet delivered bigtime. I got tons of time on the new gear, got adrenalin overdose, got to meet all the crew new and old, got treated to some fantastic F-one hospitality, survived one eye surf break, I got harness rash, I even got a preview of the new F-one movie, shot on RED cinema cam in way out there locations, I can tell its going to be awesome. I even got a few reports done for your browsing pleasure. I can't wait to get back on it in oz and get all you guys n gerls on this new F-one gear for a solid trublue go. It really is remarkable to ride and you have to try it to know for yourself. For myself I relish the chance to use and promote such refined advanced equipment, to get the most out of my valuable kitesurfing time. And to experience 1st hand the evolution of F-one a truly amazing company.
A big shout out to Raphael Salles, the man behind the machine that is F-one. I first dealt with Raphael in the early years when there were just a handful of us "kitesurfers" around the world. The pictures of him carving up perfect offshore waves with a kite and surfboard still stand out in my memory from all those years ago. I actually have one of his 1st production F-one board models, a 215cm (7') thruster. He was onto it then, and he is onto it now. His immense shaping and integrated design experience is just phenomenal. I really appreciated his hospitality, and the chance to kite and sup with him on the new shapes he has created. Despite being many years my senior he likes showing us how its done and also pointing out the finer points of why each design works. It was a priviledge to be his guest at the product launch.
If you are interested in choosing new kitesurf equipment, you have come to the right place. m8kite.com has no online sales or ads to distract you. its just pure top quality info for kiteboarders, the way we like it. If you are interested in travel and adventure for kitesurf and surfing/sup again we donít take your money but we can give you good advice, and we are always getting reports from F-one riders and centers all over. We welcome you to contact us email@example.com with any request or feedback. We also put regular pics up at the F-one Australia fb page. And for more writeups, the rest of the Dday reports and a host of other articles please browse our news page. Next up we will have the video teaser... and then regular product and updates throughout summer....Stay tuned.
Gotta go get out on the new gear at the local right now. YEEEHAAA.
Check out some super surreal kite capabilities of the F-one B5 live from the 2012 launch below
F-one cheif Raphael gives his personal insights into what makes the F-one B5 so special
And coming soon a few grabs from the riders...
You can also subscribe below to receive notifications.