Archive for the ‘Kiteboarding Board Reviews’ Category

Some days you just get lucky. I turned 51 in January in Michigan. Generally it’s snow kite season, but I got a super nice kiteboarding session in Lake Michigan. Happy Birthday to me! The boys sold my Cabrinha Xcaliber from underneath me (pretty typical) so I had to rebuild a new board to ride. The new Best Kiteboarding Spark Plug kiteboard had rolled in a week early and I kept thinking how much I liked the look and the lines of that board. I put together a 142 which is a pretty good size for me at 200lbs. I have to confess, I did install my North Entity straps instead of the Best kiteboarding straps. Chasing a board in 40 degree water is cold and I know I am really locked in with the Entity when I wear my booties. I was reasonably powered on a 14 meter Cabrinha Switchblade with 3-4 waves on the outside. The Spark Plug is super lively, very easy to get on a line and keep running. The concave bottom kept the board smooth through the choppy areas. I didn’t jump much, (cold water, brrr…) but on the few I did land, the board had a nice soft landing and rode away smooth. The fins seemed a bit large when I installed them, but I like the amount of bite they provided for the riding I did. Not sure if they would have been too bitey if I were landing powered up. All in all this is the best kiteboard for the money I have ridden. Great shape, exceptional look, and a solid ride all for under $500. Nice job, Best Kiteboarding!

Reviewer: Steve Negen
MACkite Rider
200lbs, intermediate.

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The Slingshot Board factory.  Hand built in the USA

Let me also note that the Resin-X used in these boards was developed and produced by a Michigan rider.

Resin-X is a pricey resin but it has higher elasticity, better reflex, low VOC’s, non-toxic, and has no carcinogens.  It is also made using corn and potato byproducts from US farmers, so it supports our agriculture as well as being environmentally responsible.  Wow!

Kitesurfing is becoming vastly popular in the world of kiteboarding.  Using your kite to ride waves is no new idea but there are a growing number of riders who are focusing on this style of riding.  Many riders are choosing to ride strapless boards not unlike a normal surfboard.  There are a few distinct differences between kitesurfboards, hand made surfboards, and production surfboards that make them unique.

The typical hand-made surfboard is either PU or EPS foam core often stringered with a hardwood. PU or Polyurethane foam is a crispy, easy to shape foam that can be glassed with either Polyester resin or Epoxy.  PU/Polyester construction has been frowned upon recently because of its carcinogens and environmental impact.It provides a light, responsive, and affordable board.  EPS or Expanded Polystyrene is made of air filled foam beads. This type of foam can consist of up to 92% air.  EPS Foam board must be glassed and repaired with either Epoxy resin or Vinyl Ester resin.  Polyester resin will eat EPS foam like acid due to its Methyl ethyl ketone peroxide (MEKP) catalyst.  Eps is more difficult and expensive to work with, but is fast becoming the prefered method of board building.  Surfboarder/Kiteboarder favorite shaper William “Stretch” Riedel has been using eps epoxy construction for over 30 years.
The glassing schedule on this style of board is designed for a lightweight, reflexive response, and are easily repairable.  While they are the standard for performance riding while surfing, they are easily heel dented or broken under heavy stress.
Many kitesurfers prefer the feel of this type of board, especially those who ride the wave without much kite power.  Brands Such as Cabrinha Kites are now catering to this kind of board by offering PU models in their most popular boards such as the Cabrinha Skillet PU.

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So what is the difference between kiteboards and wakeboards?

The easy answer is…Rocker.
Rocker is the amount of curvature along the bottom of the board.  Wakeboards have around 3 inches of rocker while most kiteboards have around 1 inch.  Wakeboards are designed with more rocker to handle the speed at which they operate.  When wakeboarding a typical speed will be around 30mph.  At that speed, wakeboards need all that rocker to produce drag so that they can get on edge and turn.  A kiteboarder typically is traveling across the water at around 15-20 mph and will need a more efficient (flater) board in order to stay moving along on top of the water (also called planning).

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Looks like we will have over 40 kites and 16 boards  for Registered KoGL Riders to demo!