2014/15 Ride Designers Notes w/ Damien Girardin
What is new for this year’s Ride?
The 2014 Ride is an evolution of our 2013 model. Our focus was to improve even more on the water relaunch characteristics while maintaining the stability of the kite while resting on the water. To do so, we’ve reshaped the leading edge in the wing tip area to increase the curvature of the actual wing tip, reducing the drag of the kite in the water. This enhancement also gave the Ride a more direct bar feel.
What characteristics set the Ride apart from other kites in the line?
Easiness! The Ride has that in its DNA. With the Ride, you don’t need to be a good kite flyer with advanced steering skills; you can just sheet-in and you’re going. The Ride never wants to back stall so it’s very forgiving when over-sheeting.
Why is the Ride’s 2-strut design so ideal for freeride kiting? How is it so stable?
The two struts on the Ride result in a lighter kite that generates a better low-end.
It is more powerful in the low-end thanks to its fuller center section, which helps you get going instantly without having to gain momentum before you can ride at your cruising speed. These features also translate into super easy jumping, because for the same reason, as soon as you sheet in, you get an instant pull from the kite to help launch you.
The Ride is so stable because the overall kite is perfectly balanced. Technically, this means the tow point of the kite (the virtual point where all the bridles pull from) is perfectly aligned with the center of effort of the kite, so there is nothing “fighting” to keep the kite stable. This results in a kite with a positive bar feel that will handle gusty winds. On the design side, that means we didn’t have to add any extra features, keeping it extra light and incredibly efficient.
Why does the Ride work so great in light winds?
The reduced amount of struts results in two things for light wind riding. First, as stated above, the fewer number of struts translates into a lighter kite that is more efficient and flies better. Second, because there is no center strut, the center of the kite acts like a spinnaker, expanding a bit when you need power to harness more wind.
So you actually use the Ride yourself? if yes in which conditions?
I do…and a lot! I really appreciate the Ride for its simplicity and outstanding flying characteristics. I like that it always flies forward even when you don’t steer it perfectly; for example if you oversheet or turn the kite while you’re going toward the kite. It is also very forgiving when my timing is off, making it easy to still link my turn into waves.
It’s also the one kite I can put my kids on while they’re learning because it has all the depower they need, the easy water relaunch, and I really trust its intuitive steering.