Is this the way of the future?
Naish have released two new products this week which could revolutionise kiteboarding in a similar way to the bow kite back in 2006. Could this be the next evolution in the sport of kiteboarding?
The new concept centres around ease of use, and targets the every day kiteboarder who gets to ride just once or twice a fortnight. Most kiteboarders don't get to ride every day, and when they do get to go kiteboarding, they want one kite that works for all conditions. The Ride kite has only two struts, auto relaunch and power on demand. Naish are even openly admitting that the new kite and board don't have much in the way of performance. Usually kite companies hide their kites lack of ability under slogans like 'moderate turning speed' and 'all around performance', but with this kite clearly marketed as beginner and weekend warrior gear, will customers who do want a better kite pay the price for the added performance?
It's a great concept in theory, and one well proven in other sports where a clear line of equipment progression is encouraged. Sports like paragliding put a very strong emphasis on starting with easy to use gear, with the user upgrading as their skills improve. Not only does this make it safer for the learners, it means that the shops enjoy return customers and increased sales as everyone upgrades. Currently the sport of kitesurfing doesn't follow the same trends, with kite companies releasing high performance kites that 'even learners can use', enticing inexperienced kiteboarders into buying the kite that they will eventually want, right from the beginning. Not only is this detrimental to the learner, but the shops don't get the return sales from upgrades.
Here's what Naish's marketing department had to say about the kite:
"The Ride was derived from the base origins of the Park, but with more focus on a 'sheet in and go' feel and water relaunch ease. Our R&D team set out to create a kite that was simple, easy and fun for 'all around, hooked-in freeriding'; and a kite that a novice or entry level rider could use for learning the basics and improving into an advanced rider.
The rounded wing tips allow the kite to better rotate with less drag while resting on the water, which makes relaunching extremely easy. The two-strut design allows for a lighter weight kite with a more full center section. This design, coupled with a slightly flatter arc (compared to the Park) allows the Ride to get more punch when sheeting in, giving it that nice sheet in and go feel."
Will the diminished performance be the fall of this new concept from Naish? Or will other companies flock to the idea like everyone did to the bow kites? We'll see over the next few years, or maybe even this year as companies already begin leaking new photo's of prototype equipment.
Check out the promo video of the kite, full of the token bikini girls of course!