Mon, 24 Jun 2024 14:57:46 +0000

How to Remove a Deck Pad from Your Surfboard | A Step-by-Step Guide by Appletree Surfboards


The Deck Pad Dilemma

Deck pads are a great addition to your surfboard, providing extra grip and comfort. However, over time, you might find the need to remove or replace them. Whether it's because they're worn out, you're upgrading to a new design, or you simply don't like the fit, taking off a deck pad can be challenging. This guide will show you a few easy tricks to remove your deck pad in one piece without damaging your board.


Tools You’ll Need

  • A broomstick
  • Thinners (be cautious with these)
  • A cloth
  • A sunny spot

Step 1: Assessing the Situation

Deck pads can be a hit or miss when it comes to removal. Sometimes, they come off easily, while other times, they can be extremely stubborn. The key to success is preparation and patience. Start by examining your board and the deck pad. If possible, leave your board in the sun for a while to soften the glue. The warmth makes the adhesive less sticky and more manageable.


Step 2: Initial Peel

Begin by peeling off one corner of the deck pad with your hands. Your goal is to get a good grip on the EVA layer and the plastic film underneath it. The challenge is to keep these layers together as you remove the pad. If the plastic film separates, it can make the process much more difficult.


Step 3: The Broomstick Method

This is where the broomstick comes in handy. By rolling the peeled edge of the deck pad onto the broomstick, you can apply even pressure across the pad. This helps to prevent tearing and ensures a smoother removal process. Slowly roll the pad onto the broomstick, pulling gently as you go.

Tip: Dealing with Cutouts

If your deck pad has cutouts or intricate designs, removal can be trickier. Be patient and take your time. Roll each section individually if needed, always maintaining even pressure.


Step 4: Cleaning the Residue

Once you've removed the deck pad, you'll likely be left with some adhesive residue. This is where thinners come into play. However, thinners can be harmful to your board if not used correctly, so exercise caution. Ensure there are no cracks in your board where the thinner could seep in and cause damage.

Applying Thinner Safely

Dab a small amount of thinner onto a cloth. Do not pour it directly onto the board. Gently rub the cloth over the adhesive residue. It takes time for the thinner to dissolve the glue, so patience is key. Let the cloth sit on stubborn spots to allow the thinner to soak in and soften the adhesive.


Step 5: Removing the Residue

As the glue softens, use the cloth to wipe it away. You may need to repeat this process several times to remove all the residue. Remember, the goal is to have a clean surface for your new deck pad, so thoroughness is crucial.


Step 6: Final Cleanup

After removing the adhesive, give your board a final wipe down with a clean cloth. This ensures no thinner or glue residue is left behind. At this point, your board should be clean and ready for a new deck pad.

Important Note

It's advisable to apply the new deck pad immediately after cleaning. This prevents dust and debris from settling on the board, which can interfere with the adhesive of the new pad.


Conclusion

Removing a deck pad can be a tedious task, but with the right tools and techniques, it’s entirely manageable. The key is to take your time, use the broomstick method for even pressure, and clean the residue thoroughly with thinners. By following these steps, you'll have your board ready for a new deck pad in no time.


Additional Tips and FAQs

Can I use something other than thinners to remove adhesive residue?

While thinners are effective, they must be used with caution. Alternatives include specialized adhesive removers that are safe for surfboards. Always test a small area first.

How do I prevent my new deck pad from lifting?

Ensure the board surface is completely clean and dry before applying the new pad. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for application to ensure the best adhesion.

What if my deck pad tears during removal?

If the pad tears, continue using the broomstick method on smaller sections. Patience is key to removing stubborn pads without damaging your board.

How often should I replace my deck pad?

This depends on how often you surf and the conditions you surf in. Typically, a deck pad should last several years, but replace it when it shows signs of wear or loses its grip.

Can I reuse a removed deck pad?

Generally, once a deck pad is removed, the adhesive is compromised, making it unsuitable for reuse. It’s best to install a new pad for optimal performance.

By following this guide, you'll be able to efficiently and safely remove deck pads from your surfboard, ensuring your board stays in top condition and ready for your next session.

Mon, 24 Jun 2024 12:01:02 +0000

Following the Wind | An Epic Reedin Kiteboarding Adventure


"UP THE COAST: A Must-See Kitesurf Movie!"

Kiteboarding is not just a sport; it's a lifestyle, a passion, and a journey that takes enthusiasts to the most stunning and remote locations in the world. One such journey was recently embarked upon by Kevin Langeree and his team of Reedin riders.

This blog takes you through their unforgettable road trip up the coast, filled with adventure, camaraderie, and, of course, epic kiteboarding sessions.

The Dream Begins

Kevin Langeree, a legend in the kiteboarding world, has spent his life competing and winning titles. However, his passion for the sport goes beyond competition. It's about following the wind, exploring new places, and creating unique experiences. For this trip, Kevin wanted something special. He decided to travel up the coast with three four-wheel drives equipped with tents on the roofs. He invited some of his Reedin team riders, including Mario Sanchez, Parker Sage, Esther Nagy, and Damian Girardin, to join him on this adventure.

The Team Assembles

The trip began with the team gathering and preparing their gear. Each rider brought their own unique skills and experiences to the group. Mario Sanchez, a 21-year-old from France, is known for his big air and extreme tricks. Parker Sage from Hawaii is an all-around water sports enthusiast who kitesurfs, foil kites, and surfs. Esther Nagy, a new member from Hungary, was excited to join the team and see what the journey had in store. Damian Girardin, co-founder of Reedin and product designer, joined the trip despite a back injury that delayed his departure.

Hitting the Road

With the team ready, they hit the road, excited about the adventure ahead. The first challenge came early when one of the vehicles got stuck in the sand. It was a reminder of the unpredictable nature of such trips. However, it also highlighted the team's camaraderie and problem-solving skills.

Camping and Kiteboarding

The team set up camp in some breathtaking locations. One memorable spot was a beautiful lagoon with waves in the background, creating a perfect setting for kiteboarding. Kevin and Mario took to the dunes for some thrilling rides, utilizing the wind to glide down the slopes. Mario, known as "Super Mario," lived up to his nickname with some impressive jumps and tricks.

A Day of Foiling

The next morning, the team woke up to perfect conditions for foiling. Parker, with his 17L board and 995 surf foil, was eager to hit the water. The waves were small but perfect for foiling, providing a smooth and exhilarating ride. The team's excitement was palpable as they enjoyed the pristine conditions and each other's company.

Chasing the Wind

As the trip continued, the team found themselves chasing the wind further south. Despite some initial bad luck with wind conditions, their perseverance paid off. They discovered a spot with strong wind and blue water, ideal for kiteboarding. The team spent the entire day on the water, riding waves and performing freestyle tricks until sunset.

Close Encounters

The adventure was not without its wildlife encounters. From curious wildlife near their campsites to a nerve-wracking moment with sharks, while body dragging, the trip was full of exciting and sometimes tense moments. These experiences added to the thrill of the journey, making it even more memorable.

Discovering Hidden Gems

One of the highlights of the trip was discovering a hidden lagoon with pink saltwater. The unique location provided a stunning backdrop for photos and a rare kiteboarding experience. Despite the extremely salty water, the team enjoyed every moment, soaking in the beauty and uniqueness of the spot.

The Perfect Session

The final leg of the trip took the team to an incredible spot with a river mouth and strong, consistent wind. The conditions were perfect for some big jumps and high-flying tricks. The team kited until the last light of the day, making the most of the epic conditions.

Reflection and Gratitude

As the trip came to an end, the team reflected on their journey. It was a unique experience, combining the thrill of kiteboarding with the freedom of a road trip. For Kevin, it was a dream come true, sharing such an adventure with his team and riding new, incredible products they had worked on for years. The untouched beaches, the perfect wind, and the camaraderie made it a trip to remember.

Conclusion

This road trip was more than just a kiteboarding adventure; it was a celebration of the sport and the lifestyle that comes with it. Kevin Langeree and his team of Reedin riders showed that kiteboarding is about more than just the ride. It's about exploration, pushing boundaries, and creating unforgettable memories with friends. Whether it's navigating sandy dunes, foiling in glassy waves, or discovering hidden lagoons, the spirit of adventure and passion for the sport shine through every moment.

Fri, 21 Jun 2024 12:59:37 +0000

Lieuwe Awesome Review | Why This All-Around Kiteboard Lives Up to Its Name


We've got a new board brand at the shop, and Jake took one of their twintip kiteboards, the Awesome, out for a spin. The brand is Lieuwe, pronounced "lee-wa". Admittedly, that's even a bit harder to get right than "Naysh", "Cabreenya", or "Dakeen". Lieuwe is a Dutch company, but we're finding that name tricky, even being located just one town north of Holland, Michigan. However, in terms of performance, the Awesome is a really fun board that lives up to its name.

Overview of Lieuwe's Lineup

Lieuwe stands out from the crowd with their custom graphics. You can get your board stock, or you can choose from their catalog of designs, send in your own, or have them design something for you, so you can ride a board that's authentically you.

Their line currently includes four different boards, and the Awesome is their beginner and all-around board. Jake's got a bit of a secret affinity for beginner boards. They just align well with his riding style. You can find him on boards like the North Prime and Cabrinha Spectrum, and he found the Awesome to be a lot of fun as well.

The next step up from the Awesome is the Shotgun, and the Falcon is a premium carbon construction board. The Oceana is a big air and extreme performance board.

Riding Impressions

The Awesome is for anyone just getting into the sport or for weekend warriors who want to jam upwind and do some all-condition ripping. If you're going to do a lot of boosting, look at the Falcon or Oceana instead. But for some jumping, surfing and cruising, you'll be very comfortable on the Awesome. The board has good upwind and nice control, and it releases well from the water.

The only downside Jake really picked out is that it does send up a little chop spray, but Lake Michigan is a particularly choppy body of water, so that may or may not affect you as much depending on your riding conditions.

Construction

The board shape isn't complex. The bottom outline has a single concave. But that's probably what makes it feel so fun. It's straightforward and rides like a kiteboard should.

Bindings

The bindings use the two-strap system, which is great for locking in your feet. The pads have a toe bar and some good padding, but it's not going to have the bells and whistles of the Duotone Ergo or North Flex bindings. They're good, solid bindings, but you can swap them out for another set if you want. We even put on a red Duotone handle to match the board's graphics, so the holes are standard.

Sizes

The Awesome comes in a 134 x 40cm size, the 138 x 41 that Jake rode, a 145 x 43, and a 150 x 44. Jake's normal board size range is 139-141, but he was very comfortable on the 138. He got out in both heavier and lighter winds, and it handled both well with no walking.

Summary

The Lieuwe factory is a small, intimate setup, and they make their boards by hand. Add to that the custom graphics, and you really do get something special from this European-based company. The performance is there; the board feels great underfoot. They've got a 100 percent happiness guarantee, which means you can send the board back if you don't love it, but we don't expect many boards get returned. It's a great product.


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Fri, 21 Jun 2024 11:45:20 +0000

Improve Your Surf Foil Skills with Foil Drive | Helpful Tips and Techniques


Foil Drive is more than just a product; it's a community dedicated to enhancing the surf foil experience with innovative technology. In this masterclass, Paul from Foil Drive shares invaluable tips and tricks on how to effectively use the Foil Drive system in the surf. Whether you're a seasoned foiler or just starting, these insights will help you make the most of your time on the water.


Introduction to Foil Drive

Foil Drive aims to create not only excellent products but also a supportive community where knowledge is freely shared. Today's session focuses on practical advice for using Foil Drive in the surf, covering everything from equipment setup to advanced riding techniques.

Equipment Overview

  • Board: Custom-made Jimmy Lewis 4'11"
  • Foil: Integrated No Limits V2 M with Code 850s and 158 tail
  • Features: Lightweight design with maximum power and runtime

Preparing for the Session

Before hitting the water, ensure all equipment is properly checked:

  • Throttle off: Ensure the throttle is off when walking the board out.
  • Propeller bolts: Check and secure all bolts.
  • Battery grease: Apply grease to the battery to ensure smooth operation.
  • Nose cone: Make sure the nose cone is latched.
  • Board handling: Hold the fuselage and one wing tip for better control when navigating waves.

Techniques for Getting Started

Entering the Water

Paul prefers grabbing the fuselage and wing tip to manage the board effectively as waves approach. This method allows the board to pop up and over smaller waves easily. As you venture deeper, consider turning the throttle on, preparing for takeoff.

The J Turn

For smaller boards that are harder to get going on flat water, the J turn is a crucial technique. Pretend to catch a wave, then turn off at the last second. This maneuver helps generate extra lift, making it easier to get on plane.

Avoiding White Water

Paul recommends avoiding breaking waves, which can be too aggressive. Instead, build speed, peel off smoothly, and engage the motor at around 60-65% throttle for a gentle transition back into the water.


Riding Techniques

Smooth Transitions

When riding a wave and preparing to peel off, engage the motor at a lower throttle setting. This approach ensures a smooth re-entry into the water without disturbing other surfers or causing unnecessary surging.

Absorbing Wave Energy

As you approach a wave, lift your knees to absorb the energy. This technique is particularly useful for handling aggressive waves, keeping the foil stable and maintaining control.

Staying Safe

Always be aware of your surroundings, especially when other surfers are nearby. Give yourself plenty of space and time to react to the wave's movements, and don't hesitate to fall off if you feel uncomfortable.


Advanced Tips

Handling Rough Conditions

In choppy conditions, use your legs to absorb the bumps, maintaining the foil's stability. Keep the motor submerged and avoid riding too low, as this can drag the pod and reduce efficiency.

Diagonal Approach

When paddling back out, consider heading diagonally towards the waves. This technique gives you more time to deal with oncoming swells and can save battery life by reducing the power needed to overcome headwinds.

Prone Takeoffs

For prone surfing, start with the throttle at a lower setting. Paddle to build speed, then engage the motor gently as you push up off the board. This method ensures a controlled lift-off without overpowering the board.

Turning Off Waves

When riding a wave, merge with it diagonally. This approach gives you more control and time to choose the right line. Avoid hard turns, especially into white water, as they can lead to dangerous falls.


Equipment Maintenance

Post-Session Checks

After your session, always turn off the controller and check that the throttle is off before walking the board back in. Secure the wing and board, and handle them carefully to avoid damage.

Regular Inspections

Routine maintenance is crucial for the longevity of your equipment. Check all bolts, apply grease to moving parts, and ensure everything is tightly secured before each session.


Conclusion

Foil Drive offers an incredible way to enhance your surfing experience, combining innovative technology with practical tips and techniques. By following these guidelines, you can enjoy a safer, more efficient, and ultimately more enjoyable foiling experience. Remember, the key to mastering Foil Drive lies in patience, practice, and always prioritizing safety.

Key Takeaways

  • J Turn Technique: Essential for smaller boards and wings.
  • Smooth Transitions: Engage the motor gently for a smooth re-entry.
  • Wave Absorption: Use your knees to handle wave energy.
  • Safety First: Always be aware of your surroundings and avoid aggressive maneuvers in white water.
  • Equipment Maintenance: Regular checks and proper handling ensure longevity and optimal performance.

Fri, 21 Jun 2024 10:40:18 +0000

2024 Airush Lithium V13 and Lithium Team Review | Advanced Kite Constructions


We've got a special appearance by Kristen Cooper today, and she's going to give us the scoop on the 2024 Lithium V13 and Lithium Team Series kites. What is the Lithium good at, how is the Team Series different, and who is each kite for?

Lithium: A Legacy of Loft

Airush has been part of the kiteboarding scene since 1999, and while a variety of kites have come and gone, the Lithium has long been a staple in their lineup. This year, the Lithium is in its 13th generation, and there have been a lot of refinements in the last several years that have resulted in a phenomenal all-around kite.

The Lithium is a Delta hybrid three-strut kite, it's extremely stable in all conditions, and it handles gusty conditions really well. Kristen's first impressions on the Lithium were what a lofty kite it was. Not only does it pick you up and give you a lot of hangtime, but it also brings you down very softly. It was more air time than she expected, and the gentle landings were a pleasant surprise.

Who's It For?

These characteristics are a huge advantage for anyone learning to do backrolls, frontrolls, grabs, board-offs... you want as much hangtime as possible so that you have the time to complete those tricks, and then have that soft landing so you can ride away.

That loft makes the Lithium a fun all-around freeride kite. It's not a boring kite that just sits there and pulls you; you can have a lot of fun flying it, but it's still very stable. Kristen's not usually a big fan of all-around kites and prefers something a little more specialized, but every time she goes out on the Lithium, she has a ton of fun. It's performed surprisingly well even on mediocre days.

Not only is the Lithium very beginner-friendly, but it's also very responsive, which makes it a lot of fun for an experienced kiter like Kristen. Some beginner kites tend to be a bit on the slow side or less responsive, but the Lithium doesn't have those characteristics. What makes it beginner-friendly is how stable it is in all conditions. It handles gusts well and has good low end, so if you're out in lighter conditions, which can be better for beginners, that kite's going to get you up out of the water. The relaunch is also easy. The swept-back wingtips help the kite release off the surface of the water after a crash.

Bar Pressure

The Lithium doesn't have the lightest bar pressure, but it's not the heaviest, either. It falls somewhere in between, which is really nice. Sometimes it's hard to tell where the kite is with lighter bar pressure. Whether you're a new or experienced rider, you want to be able to tell where the kite is.

On the other hand, you don't want the bar pressure to be so heavy that your arms and forearms get tired. In the months that Kristen has been flying the Lithium, she has never had that problem. It's got just the right amount of feedback without being too much.

A Versatile Kite

Kristen tried some freestyle on the Lithium, and it worked surprisingly well. Was it as good as a C-kite for freestyle if you're an advanced rider? No, of course not, but if you're learning or want to try out freestyle, the Lithium is very capable, especially if the conditions are not ideal. Maybe the wind is a bit gustier and up and down; the Lithium can handle those conditions while you work on your freestyle.

Kristen also took a 9m Lithium out in the waves, and it drifted well without backstalling. That smaller size was very playful and downlooped just fine as she weaved in and out of the waves. The forgiveness a pulley system has for beginners also makes it a great wave kite because you can fully depower the kite, yet it's still responsive when you're riding waves. Now, it is a bit more grunty than a traditional wave kite, so if you're taking the Lithium into the waves, Kristen suggests sizing down a little unless you do like being powered in waves.

Kristen also tried some baby kiteloops and had fun doing that. She hasn't done any big kiteloops on it yet, but the people she chatted with who had done them said they were a lot of fun on the Lithium. However, if you're progressing into more advanced kiteloops, you could probably benefit from a big air kite like the Lift.

Lithium Team Series

What is the Team Series, and does it live up to the hype? It's a new construction made from Ho'okipa, which is Airush's unique Ultra PE lighter, stiffer fabric. It's a high pressure leading edge material and is ten times stronger and stiffer than standard dacron.

This material and the way the load frame is designed allow the leading edge to maintain durability without sacrificing performance or weight. The way it's woven prevents the material from stretching or bagging out, which helps your kite to maintain its integrity for longer.

Because the fabric is stronger, it allows the kite to have a narrower leading edge, so the Team Series kites have very narrow leading edges and struts. Because these are narrower, it leads to faster and more responsive kites. You'll feel the difference in the smaller kites, but where it really makes a difference is in the bigger kites. Kristen was blown away when she saw how narrow the leading edge is on the 17m. This allows the 17 to fly more like a 15 compared to other kites with the standard construction. It's faster and more responsive, and you can get out in more light wind days with a bigger kite.

If the wind is light and you decide to just go foiling, you could really be holding yourself back with your twintip or your light wind kite progression if you automatically switch to foiling on those light wind days. If you have a big kite with a narrow leading edge like the Team Series Lithium, it can get you out in those light wind days when other people can't get on the water. If your home spot isn't foil friendly due to a lot of shallow water, having a fun all-around freeride kite with a Team Series construction can get you out on so many more days.

Who Is the Team Series For?

If you're looking for that premium, lightweight material that's stiffer and stronger, the Team Series is for you. If you want an all-around freeride kite that is very fun and stable in all conditions and very beginner-friendly, but also fun for experienced riders, the Lithium is for you. It's up to you if you want to go for a standard construction Lithium or the Team Series Lithium. Either way, if you want an incredibly fun freeride kite that gives you serious hangtime and is very lofty but is also very responsive, the Lithium might be for you.


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Fri, 14 Jun 2024 14:18:18 +0000

Ozone Liteforce Wing Review | A Detailed Look at the 7.7m Model


It's time for another Wing Wednesdays with Tucker, and today he's looking at Ozone's light wind wing, the Liteforce. It's a brand new model for 2024 and comes in 6.6 and 7.7m sizes. Tucker is a larger rider and has been testing the 7.7m the past few weeks. Spoiler alert: He loves it. It captures what a lot of light wind riders are looking for. So what are those things, and is this the light wind wing for you?

Features

Surf/Tow/Luff Handle

The surf handle is nice and large but still lightweight. It's medium stiff and has enough torque to give you control over the wing. It's also got a nice patch underneath to save your knuckles.

Leash

Under the surf handle is the leash attachment point. The wing comes with a leash included, as well as a waist strap. A wrist cuff is not included, but the leash is detachable from the belt so that you can attach it to yourself however you prefer. The leash itself has a lightweight swivel to keep it from getting twisted up.

Handles

The new and improved hard handles have a very narrow diameter, so they're easy to grip. They have a direct connection to the strut, and once it's pumped up hard, the connection is really tight. The front handle is a bit angled with a nice pistol grip, and it's got a pad that helps a bit if it hits you or your board.

The rear handle is also a bit angled, which puts your wrists and arms in a more natural position for less fatigue and longer sessions.

Harness Line

Although a harness line isn't included, it works very well on the handles. Tucker attached his to the front of the rear handle and then a couple inches up on the front handle. It was easy to adjust with the wind speed.

Strut

The strut has a very large diameter and is incredibly stiff. That's what you want on a big wing to transfer the power and keep it from deforming while you're out riding. Even a small increase in the wind speed is going to add a lot of torque with so much sail. Although the strut is large, it's still sleek and aerodynamic.

Inflation

The leading edge and strut inflate independently through the two Ozone Boston-style valves. These inflate with either a screw-on connection or the fat pressure-fit tip. There are no connecting tubes between the leading edge and strut, which means one less thing to catch on or need replacing. With the independent inflation, you have some added security on the water since one will still be inflated if the other goes bad while you're riding.

Frame

At first glance, it looks like the Liteforce is framed in traditional Dacron, but it's actually an upgraded version that's lighter and stiffer, similar to Duotone's SLS line. It's the perfect material to frame a light wind wing since it helps keep the weight down while the wing stays snappy and responsive, yet not too expensive like such a large wing would be in Aluula.

Canopy

The canopy uses a 3x3 ripstop, which is strong and tear-resistant. The horizontal panels and adjoining overlap flat seams really optimize load distribution and minimize stretch.

Windows

The windows are small but well-placed for a variety of situations. It can be challenging to get a good view with such a large wing without adding big windows, which would of course add weight and the potential to stretch out prematurely. The placement of these windows along the strut does a good job of letting you see through the wing.

Trailing Edge

The hard fiberglass battens are replaceable and help reduce flutter in the trailing edge, especially as you get towards the top end of the wind range. This wing has a lot of canopy, so those battens go a long way towards smoothing things out as it moves through the air and keeping it as efficient as possible.

At the bottom of the strut is a load panel to help transfer some of the energy. The bottom foot-and-a-half of the strut is attached to the canopy and does a nice job of supporting it without needing to use heavy materials on the trailing edge.

Leading Edge

Ozone has started using the same high-performance Dacron as the leading edge uses on the top portion of the canopy. This has a couple advantages. First, it stiffens the top of the canopy to smooth out the transition from the leading edge and keep the airflow smooth with that tight, stiff airframe. This contributes to its high-end performance and upwind ability. Second, it reduces wear to a part of your wing that's often in contact with the ground while you're pumping up and tearing down. It's a nice innovation that should improve not only performance but longevity as well.

Shape

The wing has decent dihedral, which is helpful to keep its wide span manageable. It also improves the wing's stability in light wind, helps you to roll such a large wing when you're transitioning or riding waves, and makes pumping easier. It's just the right amount of dihedral to help out without being too much.

Tucker's Review

All those features sound great, but is this a good light wind wing once it's actually out on the water? Absolutely. It's phenomenal for its size. It's got adequate power and amazing speed and performance for such a big, light wind wing.

Still, you should look at sizing up on this wing. You can certainly ride a smaller size, but the Liteforce rides most happily with just a bit more power. It's just that much easier to get up and build speed and apparent wind when you have that extra canopy, and that makes it more fun to ride.

Some light wind wings are great at getting you up on foil, but then they're slow and draggy with horrible upwind. This wing, however, is a superstar. It's a blast in light wind, and it's so light it feels like a smaller wing. It flies cleanly into the wind and handles very well in jibes, tacks and other maneuvers.

It feels smaller than it is, and is quite responsive. The lighter weight, sleekness of the frame, and speedier design all contribute to that. It's a ton of fun and definitely one of Tucker's favorite wings for light wind days- in any price bracket, which speaks volumes since he gets to ride it all.

The Liteforce not only has the grunt and power to get you up on foil, but it also offers a lot of performance and surf-ability. Light wind days tend to be a bit mellow, but if you're in the mood for pushing your limits a bit more and ripping past your buddies even on the light days, this is the wing to let you do that.

Who's It For?

Newer riders can appreciate this wing as well. It's not as pull-and-go as some others, and you might need a bit more wind as a beginner, but once you are on foil, you won't immediately get overpowered with those gusts you tend to find on the light days. It's a comfortable, manageable wing to ride. The power delivery through the handles is not overly technical, even though it also offers some higher level performance. It's easy, intuitive, and a pleasure to ride.

The price is really fair for the performance and technology that's going into this wing. It compares to $2400-$3000 wings, but costs half that. It will be no surprise if this is a hugely popular wing for those light wind sessions, and for heavier riders as well. The upgraded frame isn't going to deform the way some other light wind wing frames can. And its design is going to retain a lot of the performance smaller wings have for lighter riders.

Tucker's Nitpicks

The Ozone valves work great and have been around for a long time. They're reliable and do the job. However, a lot of brands are moving to something faster and more universal like the hose end bayonet fitting or the high pressure valves you find on inflatable SUPs. Those adapters and pumps can be found many other places besides specialty shops, which would be a nice option to have in case your pump breaks or has wandered off since the last session. The HP valves also don't protrude as much, so you're less likely to snag your leash or something on it.

Ozone's use of a belt rather than a wrist cuff is also less than ideal for Tucker. The leash itself is really nice, and it can be detached to use with any connection you prefer, but the belt with its plastic clip seems a bit cheap. It's hard to complain since some brands don't include a leash at all, though.

Summary

This wing does a better job than most of offering performance even in light wind, and the price makes it very accessible to the average rider. Tucker's definitely going to have the Ozone Liteforce in his truck all summer long.


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Fri, 14 Jun 2024 13:11:34 +0000

North Mode Ultra Wing Review | Innovative Design and Cutting-Edge Materials


In today's episode of Wing Wednesdays, Tucker has the all-new 2024 North Mode Ultra. You're probably familiar with the Mode, North's speedy race wing, as well as the Mode Pro that was introduced last year as an upgraded construction model, but the Ultra is on a whole other level. What makes this new entry to the Mode lineup so special?

What is the Ultra?

The Mode Ultra is North's top-tier, no-compromises wing construction. It delivers with a level of performance that hasn't been seen before in the lineup.

Features

Surf/Tow/Luff Handle

Starting at the top of the wing, the first innovation is the removable surf handle. Since this is a race wing, you may not always have a need for that handle. It does create some drag by interrupting the flow of air around the leading edge, so you can take it off completely and get a little performance boost.

The handle itself is low profile and ultra light, so its impact on the airflow is pretty minimal even if you do leave it on. If you are planning on using the surf handle a lot, it's worth noting that there isn't a knuckle guard, so you may want to use a glove to keep from rubbing your skin on the stitching under the handle. Or you can simply surf off the front strut handle.

Wrist Leash

Under the surf handle is the leash attachment point, and a standard wrist leash is included. It's got a swivel and bungee line, and it gets the job done.

Inflation

You have the option of single point inflation or independent inflation on this wing. There is a hose connecting the leading edge and strut, but there is also a secondary valve you can use to pump the leading edge and strut up to different pressures by clamping off the hose.

Sometimes you'll want the strut at full pressure, but if you're in gusty wind or are a lighter rider, you may want the leading edge at a slightly lower pressure for a softer feel.

The valves use the typical North connection, so you don't need an adapter.

Handles

The handles use North's Griplock connection, which means they're removable in case you need to replace one or pack the wing down tight for travel. The handles are carbon to keep them as light as possible.

Construction

Frame

The frame is N-Weave45, North's premium frame material. It makes the frame light, stiff, and snappy, and it's perfect for wings. It's also got Carbon UD tapes sewn along the entire leading edge to level up the snappiness of the wing. These allow North to refine the shape of the wing to match their blueprints with very tight tolerances and get the performance the designer intended.

Canopy

The canopy material is the really exciting part of the Ultra. It's made from N-Xi, with fibers laid at plus and minus 60 degrees and zero degrees so it's stiff in three directions. It's somewhat translucent; you'll still need to use the windows to clearly see who's around you, but you can see shadowy figures through the canopy so it's still somewhat useful to avoid other riders.

N-Xi is a laminate that was developed specifically for winging. It's not just lighter; it's also very stiff and snappy. The lighter weight is especially apparent when you're pumping the wing and don't have that extra weight to move around.

Windows

The windows are ultra light, reinforced material, so they won't stretch or bag out prematurely. They have a nice flow with the canopy and keep things light.

Trailing Edge

The trailing edge has some additional reinforcement, as well as two battens on each side. This all helps to keep it tight and reduce flutter. It's especially nice when you're ripping along at Mach speed and don't have that chattering and deforming of the trailing edge.

Shape

The profile between the strut and canopy is slim and sleek. You can see it's a race wing. The dihedral is also very flat. This wing is built for power, speed, and making apparent wind until it's too scary to go any faster.

Tucker's Review

Tucker got to test the 4.8 and 5.5m Mode Ultra wings, and those were the perfect sizes for him as a heavier rider in conditions typical to West Michigan. He found them a real pleasure to ride. He'd been excited to try them ever since he learned about them, and they did not disappoint.

The Mode Ultra has a high top end range, so you'll want to go ahead and size up if you're riding fast and powered. The wing stays comfortable when doing that because it's very stiff, fast, and forward-pulling.

While Tucker isn't a race competitor, he has ridden a lot of different wings, and this is the fastest one yet for him. The comfort and smoothness it has at speed inspires you to go even faster because you feel in control and not like you're on the verge of blowing up.

Compared to other fast wings, and even previous versions of the Mode, the Ultra has a bit more grunt in the low end once you get moving. You'll feel that acceleration and drive a little sooner, and once you get up on foil, it wants to take off like a rocket ship and build even more apparent wind and speed.

It's very efficient upwind. It builds speed on top of speed with the apparent wind. While a race wing is often good either upwind or downwind, this one is quite good downwind as well. People who run courses with both upwind and downwind are going to be stoked to learn that. It also adds another layer of usability for people who aren't into racing but just like to go fast in a lot of different conditions.

At 200lb, Tucker found the 5.5m to be comfortable and fun in 18 - 28mph. He could ride in less than that with the right board and foil, but it wouldn't feel right, like it wanted to go faster but couldn't. When in doubt, size up on these wings since they have plenty of top end range. You'll be happy to have that extra canopy for more power and drive.

On the 4.8, Tucker found he needed at least 20mph, but it started to be fun in the mid-20s. Then he could swap to a smaller foil.

Who's It For?

Of course, the Mode Ultra is designed for racing, but Tucker took it out in waves and also did some freeriding, and he had a blast. He prefers faster wings, and although he doesn't race, it was so much fun to go fast while doing the things he loves. He was even able to boost on it. So it's not pigeonholed into being just a race wing. It's very capable all-around, plus you can blast past your buddies!

The Ultra opens up the race category of wings to people who might not have considered something like this. If your wind is fluky and gusty, a forward traction wing like this is going to handle that really well. You won't get pulled on your face or launched out of control; you'll drive forward and smoothly build more speed. You might not even realize just how bad the wind is.

The Mode Ultra is not for progressing riders in light wind. The Mode lineup is built to be ridden with power and speed. It doesn't have the lift and grunt a newer rider is going to need if they're not properly powered. Now, if there is enough wind, then a new rider can certainly use it. It's not so technical that it's going to be difficult for a progressing rider. But you do need to have enough wind for the size you're riding. If you're in an area with predominantly light wind, check out the Nova Pro or Loft Pro. These are a lot more friendly to new riders in underpowered conditions.

Mode Ultra vs. Pro

The main difference between the Mode Ultra and Pro is, of course, the canopy. However, the Ultra isn't just the same wing with a new canopy slapped on. It has been completely redesigned, and it rides a little nicer for freeriding. Tucker really appreciated the sleeker shape and tighter cut towards the wingtips. The Ultra has a bit more intuitive handling for him, it's quieter through the wind, and it's faster and better upwind.

The N-Xi canopy is tight and quiet. It doesn't wave and chatter like ripstop canopies do. It doesn't deform and have wrinkles appear to create extra drag. It's almost as if it's a rigid sail.

So far, the canopy has proven to be very durable, and Tucker hasn't seen any wear on it after pounding on it for a few sessions. He hit it with his foil and even fell onto it, and it still looks brand new.

The price is surprisingly average for the Ultra. Unlike Aluula, N-Xi and N-Weave45 are moderately priced materials, so you can get a lot of performance without having a mega budget to spend. It's very exciting to see this kind of performance available to riders who need to be a bit frugal.

Tucker's Nitpicks

While there isn't a lot to dislike about the Mode Ultra, inflation systems can be a real pet peeve of Tucker's. These are big and knobby and are something to catch your leash and other things on. The high pressure SUP valves that are also used on white water rafts and inflatable mattresses protrude a lot less and are easier to connect and disconnect from, with pumps being widely available. While the valves North uses work very well, maybe it's time to move to one standard that sits a bit more flush to the frame.

He'd also like to eliminate the tube connecting the leading edge and strut. After all, the two valves are three inches apart and it isn't that hard to swap between them. The addition of an unnecessary connecting tube seems like an odd design choice for a lightweight wing.

Other than that, Tucker really doesn't have anything to nitpick. Of course, he'd always like things to be lighter and less expensive, but he concedes that North has done a really nice job with the price to performance ratio on this wing. And it's in the upper third of wings in terms of being lightweight.

More than the physical weight of the wing, the design makes it feel lightweight. It's very clean into the wind, luffs well for surfing, and is well-behaved for jibes and tacks. There isn't a lot of downward pressure where it wants to nosedive on you like some wings do as you go into a tack. So it's hard to complain about the weight.

Summary

Tucker can't say enough good about the North Mode Ultra. The design team at North is killing it and he can't wait to see what other exciting things come down the pipeline in the future. It's pretty incredible to see North develop wing-specific materials in their own lab and bring them to market at competitive prices.

The Mode Ultra is North's top tier race wing, and Tucker's looking forward to getting more time on it this summer, and especially into the fall as the wind picks back up. There's nothing quite like blasting around on a fast wing and a foil.


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Thu, 13 Jun 2024 16:36:14 +0000

Mastering Your Wing Foiling Foot Switch | Tips from Greg at Omen Foils


Understanding the Basics

Importance of Hip Control

The most crucial aspect of this entire technique is hip control. Pay particular attention to this, especially if you ride with a wide stance. Your hips are the pivot point for a successful foot switch, and keeping them in the correct position is vital.


Step-by-Step Technique Breakdown

Foot Positioning

Before you attempt the switch, start by adjusting your feet. Bring them closer together and point your toes more forward while staying near the centerline. This positioning makes it easier to replace your front foot with your back foot smoothly.

Hip Rotation

Contrary to what you might think, you should not shift your hips forward when changing your feet. Instead, keep your hips back and perform a rotation around them. This prevents touchdown by maintaining balance on the foil. When you transfer weight to your front foot, moving your hips forward will destabilize the foil, leading to a fall.

Practicing the Movement

To dial in this movement, practice on land before hitting the water. Place your board on grass and perform 50 clean foot switches with your hips back. This builds muscle memory, allowing you to focus more on the wing and foil when you’re on the water.

Body and Foil Alignment

A general concept in foiling is keeping your body and foil aligned. During a foot switch, avoid moving your hips side to side. Focus on rotating your feet around your hips to maintain this alignment and prevent destabilization.


Utilizing the Wing

Wing Positioning

Your wing can provide extra time during the foot switch. Instead of holding it straight out, bring it slightly overhead and pull it in as you switch your feet. This maneuver creates a moment of weightlessness, making the switch more controlled and deliberate.

Learning from Kiters

Watch Olympic kiters who fly their kites overhead for an extended time, giving them ample opportunity to execute their tacks. Similarly, use your wing to gain that extra second needed for a smooth foot switch.


Leveraging the Foil

Timing the Switch

Use your foil to buy more time by switching your feet at the apex of a wave or while riding up. This technique ensures that if you apply too much front foot pressure, the board glides down rather than hitting the water hard.

Gear Considerations

A board with good touchdown performance, like the Omen Flux, makes it easier to recover from minor errors during the switch. Additionally, positioning your foil further forward in the track helps maintain lift when you unweight during the switch, reducing the risk of nosediving.


Putting It All Together

Practice and Equipment

Combine these techniques by practicing with your gear setup correctly. The Operator 1050 and 850 foils from Omen Foils offer a wide efficiency range and stability, essential for dynamic movements like foot switches.

Final Tips

By aligning your body, wing, and foil, you create a cohesive system that supports your foot switch, whether you’re moving fast or slow.

Wed, 12 Jun 2024 15:12:18 +0000

Sessions: Wing Foiling West Michigan | A Day Out with the MACkite Crew


Join Tucker, Hooker and Skinny for a chill wing foiling session in West Michigan. It's an absolutely perfect June day to try out some of the season's fresh gear, including North and Reedin wing foiling wings, Omen Flux wing foilboards, and F-One hydrofoils.

West Michigan has a beauty all its own, with wide beaches, lighthouses, and the blue-green waters of Lake Michigan. Come along for the ride!


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Wed, 12 Jun 2024 12:41:16 +0000

Slingshot Slingwing NXT V1 Wing Review | The Every Rider's Aluula Wing


In this episode of Wing Wednesdays, Tucker has an Aluula wing from Slingshot, the Slingwing NXT. This is the first version of this wing, so did Slingshot get it right? Is it worth the premium for the advantages we expect from the Aluula upgrade?

We've already done a live Q & A on the NXT, and you can check that out here. We also went over the details of the wing, but as a quick review, here are the main features of the wing.

NXT Features

Handles

The surf handle is a stiff, lightweight, rubberized material that won't soak up water. It does a great job of giving you control in the surf. Right below that is the leash attachment, and a leash and cuff are included with the wing.

The hard handles, new for 2024, are removeable, which is nice for travel packing or if you need to replace one for some reason. The front one has an angled grip, and both are ergonomically shaped: not round, but with a sort of triangle shape that's easy to fingertip. They give nice control over the wing and good leverage when you're doing freestyle tricks.

Harness Line

A harness line isn't included, but it feels right at home mounted between the two handles. In fact, the NXT is a lot better with a harness line if you're an experienced rider going fast and taking advantage of what this wing has to offer. The wing is going to be a lot in your hands with all the power it builds, and a harness line can help keep you fresh for those maneuvers.

Frame

The frame is Aluula, as you can tell from the gold material. It's super light and stiff and can be pumped to high pressures. The only downside is its price. The back of the main strut tapers to reduce flutter. The trailing edge of the canopy also has some soft battens to keep it from chattering at high speeds and losing efficiency.

Windows

There are two small but sufficiently-sized windows. They're well-placed to be useful at a number of angles, which can be helpful when you're riding in a crowded area. They're placed well forward, so you won't feel them like you would if they were further back.

Inflation

The leading edge and strut have independent inflation. The leading edge pumps to 8 and the strut to 10 on the 5m size. The valve isn't the traditional Slingshot screw-in Boston valve; it's a high pressure valve like you'd find on inflatable paddleboards. F-One, Naish, and a number of other brands are using this valve as well. It's a bit sleeker and doesn't protrude as much, so there's not much chance it'll snag your leash, seaweed, or whatever else rubs against it. It's faster to inflate and has a plunger to deflate quickly as well.

Tucker's Review

Tucker's had a chance to get several sessions on the NXT wing. Some were in great conditions, and some not-so-great, so that's given him a nice, comprehensive feel for how the wing flies.

Who's It For? You!

Tucker expected a great wing for Slingshot's entry into the Aluula market, but was pleasantly surprised to find that, unlike so many of the top-tier material wings, it wasn't just for pro-level riders. You don't have to be an advanced rider to enjoy the added benefits of the NXT. In fact, he's calling it the "every rider's Aluula wing".

While high level riders and racers are certainly going to appreciate what this wing offers, it's got a more accessible performance than many other Aluula models. Slingshot did a wonderful job of making this wing fun and easy to ride. You'll gain a lot of confidence on this wing; it's stable, the handles are well-placed, the balance is spot-on, it has an intuitive feel, and it has a wide sweet spot for the power band.

The NXT isn't as grunty as wings like the Slingwing V4, where it wants to lift you off your feet if you're riding powered. It's much more comfortable, with forward traction. While it's got respectable low-end, it prefers to be ridden with adequate power, so make sure you've got appropriate light wind gear if you're not powered up. While a sinker is going to want adequate wind, this wing is perfectly capable if you have an efficient board that can get you moving and up on foil.

The NXT really shines when it's properly sized for the conditions, whether you're an experienced rider or still progressing. It's not a wing you can size down on. In fact, you may even wish to size up to make sure you've got the grunt to get up on foil. Once you are up, you can take advantage of the efficiency and forward traction the wing has to offer to build your apparent speed. Since the NXT has such a good top end range, you don't have to worry about becoming uncomfortable or overpowered.

Part of the reason it handles power so well is thanks to the Aluula frame. It's very sleek and fast without wanting to yank you downwind. The other part is the overall shape of the wing. The foil section drives you forward rather than trying to pull you on your face in a gust or when you'd normally be overpowered.

It's got a nice, powerful, solid feeling to it. It's not a pure race wing with all forward drive and no lift; it does have some punch and lift. Going into a jibe, you'll have good power. While the wing handles the power well, the Aluula frame doesn't have a lot of give to it, so it's a bit more physical to fly, and a harness line can do a lot to extend your session. You can still unhook to do tricks, but it'll help keep your arms and hands fresh.

Performance

The NXT is best for everyday freeriders and wave riders. While you'll probably be able to blast past your buddies on this fast wing, it's not going to compete at a pro level against dedicated race wings. It does work for a wide variety of riding styles and for a wide variety of skill levels, though. It's still easy to ride even when the conditions aren't perfect. It's well-behaved and fun, whether you're going 12 mph or 40.

If you've ridden the Duotone Slick D/LAB, it's similar to that wing. The Slick D/LAB is Aluula as well, so it has the same stiffness and light weight. It's easy, fun, and confidence-inspiring like the NXT. It's got the blend of drive and lift, and is also comfortable to ride overpowered. The NXT does have a bit more grunt than the Slick. While the NXT has handles instead of a boom, they're long handles, and you can still one-hand it from the front handle.

If you've got the budget for the Aluula, this is a wing that most people should be riding. You can progress on this wing and feel great doing it, and it'll leave you stoked.

What's Tucker Think?

Tucker has been loving the NXT in the surf. It's a ton of fun and easy to put where you want it to be. The power delivery is smooth but punchy when you want it to be so you can beat out a section or kick it into gear when you're about to stall. The leading edge handle gives you a ton of control over the roll of the wing, and that, along with the light weight, gives it a nice luffing feeling in the surf, even in lighter winds or when you're charging straight downwind. It's so well-behaved.

The front handle's pistol grip is super comfortable; one of the easiest Tucker has ridden with it being positioned so close to the leading edge. It gives you an easy transition point between the two handles, which you do a lot in the surf.

It's so intuitive and easy to ride, and it's one of the best wings at doing everything well. This is especially nice if you're just getting into the sport and haven't committed to a specific type of riding yet. If you enjoy a variety of styles, it's the perfect wing to keep in the car for whatever the day throws at you.

Tucker's Nitpicks

Obviously, the price is going to be a hanging point for a lot of people. Of course, that's an issue with any Aluula wing, and there isn't much that can be done about it, but it's going to make this top level of performance inaccessible for some people.

There are other wings that are also great for freeride and wave that cost quite a bit less but use mid-tier materials, and that's going to be attractive to people who may not need the very top-tier performance and are on a budget. The Slingwing V4 is a good example. You get the same handles, along with other similarities to the NXT, but you won't get the Aluula or pay the price for the Aluula. This is a nice option since you can always upgrade down the line if you do feel like the Aluula makes sense for you.

Summary

If you do have the budget, the NXT is an easy choice. It's fun and doesn't compromise on performance and construction. If you're a heavier rider and like to ride powered up with high-end performance, the frame is going to have the structure to deliver that. If your riding area tends to have gusty, messy days, the NXT is going to handle that more comfortably than the Slingwing V4. In a gust, it'll drive forward rather than yank you downwind, and the stiffer airframe won't deform as much, allowing the wing to continue to fly as designed. It's smooth and adaptable.

If you're ready to level up your performance and ride faster and more powered, the NXT is a great option, for sure.


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