IKSURFMAG caught up with North Kiteboarding's Big Air riders; Jesse Richman, Nick Jacobsen, Graham Howes, Tom Bridge and Marc Jacobsen after Red Bull's 2020 King of the Air for North's 2021 Big Air photoshoot.
Nick, tell us what it was like having the whole Big Air Team together at one spot, fueling off the energy from King of the Air?
NJ: "When King of the Air ends, it's always a relief for all of us! We are super focused during the build-up, but when that is over, we are drained, yet relaxed! North made quite the appearance on the podium at the event, so that put us in an extremely positive mindset, and enabled us to do something extraordinary for the shoot. It was a real pleasure riding with the guys on an entirely different level. No competition, no need to prove oneself; just focusing on freeriding and getting the shots."
Jesse, talk us through the 2021 Orbit! What significant changes have you noticed this year?
JR: "The Orbit has proven itself to be THE kite for Big Air and freeride kiteboarding. Form day one, the Orbit has set a new standard, and every evolution of this kite has stepped up the potential for Big Air kiteboarding. The Orbit has always been extremely stable and can boost to the moon (it got me on the King of the Air podium two years in a row!) and now we have the most refined version of the kite yet."
"The 2021 Orbit got lighter, quicker, and more responsive. The North design team utilised new materials on the kite to reduce the kite's weight, making it faster through the air. They also reduced the leading edge diameter and created a new low drag bridle that gives the kite an unparalleled response time while maintaining a light bar pressure."
"To go out in crazy conditions and put it all on the line, I need to trust my kite implicitly, and this is precisely what I get with the Orbit."
Nick, What's your quiver of choice in North Kiteboarding's 2021 line up?
NJ: "My quiver in the North line up is: 8,9,10 Orbit, 12m Reach, 138 Atmos Carbon and 45-50 Navigator."
Marc, King of the Air 2021, do you see it happening with all the new COVID regulations?
MJ: "I'm going to be positive like always and say yes! With South Africa opening their borders in October, things are starting to look good."
Grham, Marc, and Jesse, we'd like the three of you to answer this one! Could you share with us one thing about one of your teammates that only you would know?!
GH: "Jesse doesn't like to break the rules! We snuck two extra people into one spot one day, and we had to pass security, Jesse refused to hide in the back of the car under the kites, so he drove the can, and Nick and I (being two fat guys) had to hide together in the roof!"
MJ: "Tom eats way more Nutella than everyone thinks!"
JR: "Marc shaves his legs, and Tom doesn't know why... I think it's the secret to what makes him so aerodynamic!"
Tom, were there any gnarly-crash stories during the shoot you can share with us?
TB: "No, luckily, there was nothing too hectic. I was the only one crashing out there; that's what I was known for! We had one session at Cape Point where I was trying to unhook after looping, and it didn't end too well."
Discover the 2021 North Big Air Collection here.