LIVE REPORT FROM F-ONE KITES dealer meeting in Mauritius!
Every year we eagerly anticipate the new seasons gear, especially from F-one kitesurfing and this year we are almost bouncing off the walls in excitement ! F-one have set the pace for kitesurfing since they invented Delta Cshape and F-one continue to lead the game in kites, boards and new concepts. Their Bandit IV kite has got us all on the edge of our seats. I could not sleep all the way on the plane, like the night before Xmas for a 10 year old.
Thanks to the german contingent for this cool little video from the meet. Manawa was my fave wave.
WRAP – Summary of F-one 2011 BiV and boards
As the spray settles I look back on this awesome week of wind and waves super super stoked and frothing about the new gear. Even more so than usual this year the new F-one gear has raised the bar. It is such a privilege to be invited by F-one to the le morne kitespot with the iconic mountain made famous by the F-one Addikt movies. Ride the perfect reefbreaks and turquoise lagoons, see 1st hand the pros shredding on the new gear, and best of all to ride BiV and see what the fuss is all about. You know the feeling you chase from kiting, the endless pursuit of stoke. Sitting here at the Airport on the way home I am absolutely buzzing, frothing about the new F-one range. I can’t wait for the next session, BiV really has amplified my emotions.
But it’s the complete package that makes it, the boards are so good I cant help a crazy grin every time I think about riding them, the bars rock, and to round it off the F-one crew are a great bunch of people from all over who are really really good at what they do. Their pursuit of excellence serves us well. And no matter their elite level they were always great company, approachable, inclusive, humble and funny as s***. When we weren’t hooting on the water we were laughing on the beach or in the bar. Also Mauritius surpassed even my expectations for quality riding, culture and climate. We were definitely living the dream.
*BREAKING NEWS* grabbing the opportunity I personally invited F-one team to Australia, and quite a few of them were into it. Julian Hosp is going to offer 2 freestyle clinics one east oz and one west. World champ snowkiter Bjorn Kaupang could be there and also at Mambo, and Mitu Montiero, F-ones surf sensation looks set to tour Oz in December. firstname.lastname@example.org for schedules and requests to swing by your local. The more feedback and interest we get the more likely you get the chance to meet and ride with these guys so get in touch now.
Below are all the juicy details from le morne Mauritius about F-one 2011 international release.
Day 1 - Source Supkiting spectacular
Close inspection of BiV in the morning, followed by paddle session on the new F-one Sup boards to warm up then Source kite all day in the 5 knot warm tradewind. Super fun. Goin to look at all the twintip and bamboo surfboards l8r. Details post here soon.
After escaping the typical 3rd world airport and taxi ride with friendly Kasim, including small detour to collect some deep fried treats from Kasims home in Semi Greyon (phonetic guess) plus scenic drive highlights presented in french creole / broken english with Kasims poignant commentary about island life. I arrived at the Indian resort just in time for dinner with F-one big boss Raphael, his team and staff, and the other distributors and kite media. Catching up with old acquaintances and making some new was a relaxing way to end the long journey. Next morning bright and early before sunrise I made my way down to the courtyard where a plethora of F-one kite gear sat invitingly in the predawn light. The gigantic stack of inflated BiV were the first stop, first impressions were neat, 3 struts, angular tips, smooth Delta Cshape with awesome graphics as we have come to expect from F-one. Also their attention to detail was very impressive, clips instead of zip ties on one pump, zip access LE ends, leech stiffeners, logo weaved fabric, and interestingly for the 1st time on the Bandits extra rear attachment points to tune the kites. I had been really hoping for this for a few years, and so very happy to find it on the awesome new BiV. The team also reckon it’s a winner for different styles / preference. The bridle and pulleys were essentially the same short arrangement as BIII with some re-positioning on the very C-shape looking LE. Heres your Q&A with Sylvain the designer :
Why squared cutoff tips and only 3 struts?
Lighter, more responsive, and push further the benefit of reduce tip area that we pioneered with Delta.
Is the Delta same or less from BIII to BiV?
Because we cutoff the tips and refine the Cshape it may appear less Delta but actually it’s almost the same, because its proven now Delta is desirable and better in every regard.
What is the feeling difference BIII to BiV ?
The team ask for more classic C-shape feel, so we incorporate that as well as more speed potential and quick direct turning. Actually its incredibly fast to get used to the BiV, and a real pleasure for all abilities.
Just from my personal observation it appears as the kite sizes stepped up from 11 to 14m the aspect ratio increased. Certainly the new 12 size really increases gap quiver options for this year ie 7-9-12 etc. So enough looking lets ride... Source at least because small wind and surf for a mellow intro.
If you have been reading our news and others you will know that F-one has turned the kite industry upside down again by launching the Source Sup kite. A concept well explained on their site sourcekite.com and in our last months news articles. No validation was needed for us as I have been riding and writing about Source for a while, But I had not seen the F-one sup boards so was straight out there on the 9’x 32” for a paddle session on a glassy little reef right in front of the resort. Water temperature and waist high waves were perfect to enjoy the paddling. After brekki the wind came in very light so 1st kite off the beach was the Source. Combined with the new F-one Sup boards and right down to 8’ boards as it increased to 8 knots. Buzzing out over the coral really being able to see deep into the turquoise water due to no chop was breathtaking. And every run I got a sense of Déjà vu when I looked up at the iconic Le Morne mountain made famous by the F-one Addikt movies. I marveled at the fact that before F-one Source we would have been stuck with all the other brand kiters on the beach. But with Source, big back foot carves, board 360’s, tandem, relaxing, sitting, kiting two up, surfing without paddling all day. Often no harnesses and always plenty of fooling around it was a super fun day. In the end it was a sensational day of supkiting and paddling with everyone including the media and punters suitably impressed by F-one innovation. Get Source, kite everyday you want.
Day 2 BiV big 14m + Board bonanza
Awaking early to the cracking sound of huge surf I headed down for another predawn sup session and brilliant morning out on the water I walked onto the sand to find 8 knots crossonshore breeze from the left, so quickly went and got my harness, and selected a 14m BiV and Bambo 5’6 fish from the stack. As I got ready Dubai came down gave a shocked grin and shook his head saying Noe waiiiiei Mun hjahah. But he launched me anyway and I swooped the big 14m BiV, slipped up on the plane and a grin spread across my face as we accelerated out over the lagoon. There was so little wind that the water looked almost oily. But the BiV and fish combo magically created boardspeed and before I knew it I was out in the head high inside "little reef" waves (outside one eye was maxxxxed at mega multiple overhead!) laughing and grinning from ear to ear and staying upwind I managed to avoid the lethal currents and have the time of my life !. For hours after the sun popped up over the hills illuminating Le Morne mountain, I was in kiting heaven even if it never got over 8 knots. I can’t overstate the light wind brilliance of the new gear, already famous for it, F-one have pushed the boundaries again.
Light wind after lunch so time to examine the brilliant F-one boards range in detail. 1st up I was immediately drawn to the Bamboo surf range, with exciting new shapes all round. F-one were the 1st to use bamboo for its performance, durability and eco benefits. The shapes have evolved with this specific material and its great ride advantage of damping and control. The signature surf series 5’8 and 5’10 also the 6’0 SL and new 6’4 get very sexy looking pintails with cool little nose kicks and they all share a beautiful new double concave as does the new minimal 7’. The 6’2 remains essentially unchanged squaretail so the multitude fans from last year can keep on the same board they know and love, and the fish series gets some new sizes 5’4 and a whopping 5’6 for super light wind ability or bigger kiters. The fish boards have super flat tail rocker this year with unparalleled light wind planing and they are really fun to pop out the fins and slide. There is also talk of an 8’ kitesup for crossover sup and kite. The new F-one adjustable surfloc footstrap uses the principles of the straploc system from the twintip range proven and loved worldwide. Delivering even more comfort and control the surfloc sets a new standard in directional strap setups. I did paddle out for a surf on the minimal but only to the inside little reef due to massive currents from the quadruple overhead thumpers outside. In fact the current was too strong due to the huge outside break, so just a few little peelers then back to the beach for a cold beer instead. The minimal seemed it would be a great crossover surf and kite board.
Next I got to examine the twintip range with only minor changes to the Sk8 and Trax, however the TX gets some new sizes and rocker, and the Acid is a new shape with double concave and wide stance. The white Trax and black TX both have a metallic fleck finish, and the Sk8 is a cool neutral colour whereas the Acid has the in your face graphic with lines layout like the surfs look. The most exciting news on all the twintips is UNIBOX fin system, a massive breakthrough in fin technology that will reverberate through the industry as do all of F-ones inventions. Unibox essentially places the fins into the boards so the fin loads directly on the board not the screws which is way better in every regard, strength, board flex freedom and weight. Plus the screws from topside do not protrude past the board base allowing much thinner fins with better foils. Immediately that F-ones Alex Caziergues (worlds record speed holder) used the new unibox fins he bettered his personal best speed, and the team are unanimous that the new fin works 10 times better in all regards for all disciplines. I can’t wait to try Unibox and the new boards tomorrow its like being in a candy store yeeeeaa.
Q - Hi mat noticed no 13m kite this year. If ya can get a run on bigger kites and compare them 2 13 b3 would be sick. 12 would be a sweet size 14 m might be better 4 light wind 4 big guys am interested in it's turning & top end? Wardy QLD
In answer I got to ride the 14, 12 and 11m the next dayz and can confirm their full range from bottom end to endless top and bar pressure is brilliant. These kites are simply hands down superior to anything for light wind or strong and everything in between. The turning is the most direct and precise out of any kite I have ever flown, even the 14 whips around so fast its wild. Full write ups below. MC
Day 3 Surf till we dropped.
With light wind forecast I decided to go out sup'n in the morning on the 8' board at well overhead reefbreak righthanders at Shenoa. That was the middle reef because one eye was still way too massive. It was so fun I stayed out from dawn till mid morning ending real tired and sunburned, the sups are almost as addictive as the kites… almost haha. But then the wind came in and so it was straight back out there on the kites, 14, 12 and 11. Holy s*** these kites were mindblowing. Surpassing anything I have ever ridden in all aspects. Having the light wind prowess of the Dos but the direct solid feel of the BIII and even more speed. Plus the bar pressure and actual response to input is beyond belief. So intuitive instantly that you ride, you fall in love. Also the bamboo surf I rode back to back the new pintail 6'0 strapped and 6'4 strapless against the 6'2 squaretail on Manawas overhead lefthander and Shanawas thumping rights. For me personally the new pintail boards had me hooting and hollering they are as totally mindblowing as the kites. The double concave, pintails and nose kick gave me so much extra control and confidence on waves bigger than I have surfed in ages I just could not stop smiling for hours. carving long beautiful arcs, smoothly taking the drops and staying steady. Driving into bottom turns then swinging off the top the boards felt predictable and fast. The carving and edge to edge was inspiring, just what I needed in unfamiliar territory to get maximum fun and value out of the beautiful surf and my not so beautiful surfing ability. Watching the pros put the boards through their paces was an eyeopener, there is no doubt they work exceptionally well. The fact that Raphael has been shaping high performance surf directional kiteboards since the very beginning of the sport when he was the 1st to release a board for kitesurf shines through in the new Bamboo range. They are a no compromise product, dedicated to ultimate progressive wave riding and of course Mitus radical strapless surf freestyle. From pro to beginner there’s a shape for everyone. Don’t settle for anything else till you have tried these boards. Life’s good when your on F-one.
Q - Mat what size bamboo surfboard would you recommend for normal east coast conditions strapless if I am 80kg and are the bigger boards possible to paddle? Jas NSW.
I am about 80kg myself and I will be sorted with the 6'0 because sometimes I might like to use straps but I found it rocked without straps too, really fast and flicky. The boards float high so paddle well, Mitu paddles the 6'2 all the time and has removed the front grip in favor of wax. That said the minimal would be the best bet for paddling, otherwise 6’4 if you don’t do mals, maybe remove the front deckgrip if you paddle a lot... MC
Q - I am interested in purchasing one of your bamboo boards. Our summertime predominate winds are 15-20knts and I weigh about 85-90kgs. Our kite spots are mainly cross onshore beachbreaks with surf size no bigger than about 5ft. I was thinking of the 5'10 or 6' board. I would like the main feature of the board to be it's upwind ability and perhaps get away with using a smaller kite (9 or 10m) ? Peter NSW
Pete the 5’10 and 6’0 pintails are sensational boards for your weight in 15-20knts, Surfing is the focus yet they absolutely hook upwind especially when you put your back foot somewhere between the straps. And yes they rock strapless too. As far as using a smaller kite goes the F-one kites are famous for that, however the pintail boards I would expect not as much as the squaretail 6’2.
Day 4 - Final Day, strong wind and huge surf.
Up before sunrise again despite successive late evenings sharing beers and good kite yarns with all the crew. Skype call home to the fam, quick brekki then straight out there in 20 knots to ride all the sizes and all the boards back to back. Starting with the 12m to confirm its stability and depower, which was insane. Then the 11 and so on right down to 8m. By the time I got to that size I had tried all the twintips twice over in a range of sizes mostly the longer ones because of my height. I also refreshed on the bamboo surf range in twice the wind than last few days, although the waves were not as clean in 20knots and I actually caught some fun waves out at Manawa on the twintips for something different. It’s different to riding surfboards down the line for sure, but I was really getting into it on the fast and fun twintip boards, switching stance and direction on a whim, slide off the top, looping out and generally enjoying myself immensely. Clean wind, great double overhead surf, crystal water, warm and sunny, and just a few mates to share the waves while the hundred punters shared the lagoon. Mitu and Raph did head out to one eye but were the only ones as it was looking lethal, stay tuned for pics. Below a board review for you:
The board for flat water and my pick of the bunch, I like wide boards and wide stances, tick those boxes. With the new shape, double concave bottom and torsion control X deck a la Trax the Acid had me drooling before the 1st run. And it was even better than I expected, the feeling was so fun, slidey yet surefooted, spontaneous and smooth. Challenging at pace but adrenalin packed and extremely rewarding of skill. My take on this board is it really suits advanced riders looking for the fun factor or anyone prepared to learn new boardskills and progress fast.
The flagship model, the benchmark by which all others are measured. Carbon Trax never disappoints, charging across the chop, hooking into big turns, waveriding, speed, pop, and all at mach10. Speed is the key to get the most out of the trax, and its easy on this board, satisfying nearly anyone in any conditions Trax exhibits awesome stability and control everywhere especially when you go fast and got balance. The faster the better. Challenge yourself, be surprised, go ballistic because Trax will always impress.
Improved upon last years the TX has a very solid stable feel through chop with no nose wander. Its more of an even foot pressure board really good for wakestyle, and does not need to go fast to get the most out of it so it is less intimidating and easier to get upwind in tight conditions or for beginners. Not spontaneous, but firm and reassuring. Not super fast but still exciting. Not exactly my wave weapon but the perfect all rounder for many riders, predictable and versatile TX will be a favourite for many this year.
For lighterweight or less aggressive riders Sk8 really shines. And I had fun racing and carving even though its way flexier and skinnier than what I personally prefer. Bigger riders need to use back foot pressure and the board has a nice edge to edge transfer and fun slidey feel. An indelible memory is going for long lagoon speed runs way off the wind with the Sk8 humming so fast. Don’t overlook the sk8 especially if your new to the sport.
The UNIbox fin system surpassed expectations, super thin fins making the boards like knifes through butter. The swing weight also is reduced further enhancing the ride. All boards except Fluid have the UNIbox, I did not ride the fluid board this year yet, but will put a review on that product when we get them. The eta on all the boards is mid October and we are racking up orders already, likewise the BiV kites which are due in at a similar time. Colours chart, specs, pricing etc we will upload to products page on this site soon. In the meantime heres a simplified BiV review from Mauritius.
For the kites their light bar pressure for depower but instant reaction and feedback for turning was a revelation. Makes everything so fun and fast. Acceleration and upwind cannot be beaten by anything. Outright speed as expected astounding from F-one the world record holders… and the control at speed and in the waves was super impressive. Jumping is immediately comfortable and huge. Jules and others were keen to communicate just how much easier and quicker it was to adjust to the BiV compared to the BIII. Unhooked the power snap is more controllable, less likely to shock. Also kiteloops more predictable and progressive so you can incrementally increase the whip with accuracy. Precision and performance are the trademarks of F-one, and this year they achieve a whole new level. All the crew agreed its such a pleasure to ride the BiV no matter what level or style, and it really feels top quality in your hands from the materials and presentation right through to the performance in all conditions. The bar this year is something else, new alloy hollowcore with PU release fittings in the simplest, cleanest and most functional bar on the market bar none. I have put some pics at left of Raph using one. The massive amount of R&D by Raph and his team has paid off once again. I have ridden the competition and I know this tops it all, The BiV really does amplify your emotions.
Consider this. F-one invented Delta C which is now copied by many. F-one captured the world speed record with production Bandits, also the world distance kite record. F-one offer 1 kite model for all disciplines. They are that confident in the design and its that simple for us the kiting consumer. There can only be ONE. F-one.
Thanks to the german contingent for this cool little video from the meet. Manawa was my fave wave.
Back in Oz now recovered from harness rash and sunburn, and pumped heading into Spring we have got demo kites kicking about for you, and we are happy to answer any questions to email@example.com
Each new 2011 product will be uploaded to the products page of this site over the next month along with more news and videos and links. So check back and put your name down at firstname.lastname@example.org for demos of all the new F-one gear near you.