Monthly Archives: April 2012

2012 Cabrinha Skillet

Date: 4/15/12
Location: The Hatchery, WA.
Kite: North Rebel 10m
Kiteboard: Cabrinha Skillit 5’6
Wind Speed: 10-23mph

Cork is it! The limiting factor on the “epoxy chatter” may very well be the cork laminate. My initial hope on the 2012 Skillit 5’6 was that the new Eco Series cork construction would dampen the chop better than the pine veneer from last year, and did it ever. Light, lively and soft were the words pouring through my head after every pop, jump, and landing. Grippy, slashy, and flowing were the turns I was making on the swell, blown away in disbelief that I was loving on a Thruster board that was relatively short. Two straight hours of early Sunday morning bliss, all to myself, with the perfect set-up. Looking forward to more “Cork” boards (S-Quad review soon to come).

Check out the video of Big Winds’ Matt Elsasser ripping it up with the Skillet.

Available at Big Winds.

2012 Big Winds Big Events

Here’s a calendar of upcoming Big Winds events:

May 5 Big Winds Beach Center (Event Site) opens. FREE SUP DEMOS 10-4
May 6 Big Winds Beach Center (Event Site) opens. FREE SUP DEMOS 10-4
May 13 Mothers’ Day FREE SUP DEMOS for Moms at BW Beach Center 10-4

May 19, 20, 21 Victoria Day Weekend
May 26, 27, 28 Memorial Day Weekend

June 9 An Evening with Gerry Lopez at Big Winds 5-7 pm

June 12 Ladies SUPper Club Kickoff Party at Big Winds 6-8pm

June 19 Ladies SUPper Club first night BW Beach Center 5-7 pm

June 30 Naish/ Big Winds Kite Demo at the Event Site
with the Naish Pro Team

July 7, 8 Windfest

July 7, 8 Gorge Blow Out
July 23-27 US National Windsurfing Championships, Event Site

August 18, 19 Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge

2012 Naish Ride

Date:  4/12/12

Location:  Event Site, Hood River

Time:  1-2pm

Wind:  9-22mph

Today I had the chance to test the new Naish 10m Ride. It’s a two strut kite that comes in even sizes, 4m through 12m. This kite is geared for the beginner to intermediate free-ride kiter.

I tested the kite on the new Ride 4-line bar, which is a simplified Universal (no swivel/pully above the trim line), on 24m lines.

The center of the kite’s canopy is wide open, with a single batten adding a little structure.  The 10m Ride pumps up in no time, and once rigged and ready, self launches like a champ.

What makes a good beginner kite?  These three things:  1. Easy water relaunch.  2. Nice upwind ability.  3. Plenty of depower when flown through the power zone.

All of these factors are covered in a nice simple package.  I could swing the kite right downwind in front of me, let the bar out, and feel little to no pull.  The kite keeps a solid structure, amazingly, as one might think it to be lacking stability while lacking a center strut, but not once did I feel or sense anything structurally instable in this kite.

I would recommend the new Naish Ride to anyone looking for a simple, cost effective, entry level kite.

2012 North Fuse

Both TJ and Suds have taken the 2012 North Fuse for a workout. TJ went first:

Date:  4/3/12
Time:  1:30-2:30
Location:  Hood River Event Site
Wind Speed:  18-29 mph (average 22 mph)
Kite:  2012 North Fuse 7m (Quad Bar, 24m)
Board:  2012 North Whip 5’6

We have 2012 Fuses in stock, and I finally had a chance to put one to the test.  The wind was strong, gusty, and stormy, so the test was pretty short-lived, with more to come soon…

After unpacking the 7m Fuse, I pumped it up and overlapped it with an 8m Rebel.  Looking for any differences outside of the bridling vs. 5-line direct connect, I was unable to find any.  All angles and dimensions seem similar if not identical.

The Fuse utilizes the AC Bridle which is nice and compact, and has adaptive tip technology on the wing-tip (for soft or hard bar pressure).

I chose to take the setting for the rear pig-tail from the “soft” stock setting, and bumped it down to the “hard” setting.  Self launching was effortless, the kite came right off the beach with a slight tug on the outside line.  I like to take a broad reach to test the upwind and downwind performance on kites right off the bat.

The Fuse definitely shines on the upwind reach, and might have a slight upwind performance edge on the Rebel (slight.).  Like the Rebel, the Fuse also has the straight segment in the leading edge making it steer even when trimed at various levels of depower.  This is nice when the lines go temporarily slack, especially when chasing the kite down the line in swell or waves.

After getting used to the feel for the kite, it’s time to boost.  Hang, hang, hang…time!  Nice soft landings too!

This kite looks and acts like a wing on strings!  There is absolutely zero deformation or flutter in this wing, as close to a 4-line Rebel as North has designed.  Now in generation 3, the Fuse is setting the benchmark for 4-line kite performance.


Then Mat “Suds” Luchsinger got ahold of it:

Date: April 7th, 2012
Location: “The Ponds” Ft. Stevens, OR.
Kite: 2012 North Fuse 9m
Bar: 2012 North Quad w/ 24m lines
Wind: 20-25mph (steady!)

I got to demo the 2012 9m North Fuse this past week-end. The kite can be flown as a 4 or 5 line kite. This is a kite I’ve been wanting to try out for quite some time now. Best part is I got to try it out the Oregon Coast. East winds picked up on Saturday, so I headed out to “The Ponds” at Fort Stevens for a little fun. Couldn’t ask for much better conditions: I had decent swell on the outside and butter flat water on the inside with steady eddy wind averaging 20 to 25mph

Right out of the bag I loved the colors, bright and vivid. One thing I noticed was North kept the battens on the trailing edge of the kite (like the ’12 Rebel) which I liked seeing because I knew that this was going to be a rock sold kite in the air. Never at any point was there any flutter in this kite. I can also say if your looking for a kite that has some power the Fuse is for you. To me this 9 rides more like a 10. It’s a powerful kite, but yet it has a ton of range and depower. As soon as I put the kite in the air I had to pull that depower strap in a few inches.

I could see this kite being a dream in the waves as well because of how smooth and fast you could whip it through the turns, due to it being a direct connect on the rear lines. As for jumping this kite takes you too the moon and sets you down like a feather. I also liked how it looped on a dime with out pulling your arms off, making you feel safe and in control the whole time.

All in all, if you’re a beginner getting into the sport or an advanced rider that wants to tear apart some swell or jump to the moon this kite is for you!

Available at Big Winds.

2012 Appleby 12’6″ Race

I loved this board from the moment I unwrapped the bubble pack. It’s flat out beautiful, with stunning graphics and an impeccable finish. But this is a race board; it needs to be fast.

And it is. After extensive collaboration, Candice Appleby and Joe Bark have come up with a race winning 12’6”. In Candice’s words: “Steve, I think you’re going to love my board. It’s great in the flats, in surf-style racing and catches bumps really well. Have fun testing it out. Aloha, Candice”.

I did have fun testing it out and I do love it!

Having won pretty much every SUP race the past couple of years, Candice knows what works and what wins. Her signature Appleby 12’6″ Race is awesome. Anyone (guy or girl!) looking for a truly competitive race board need look no further. This is it.


Available at Big Winds.