As our new season’s green, red and yellow kites begin to dominate the skies at kite ‘testivals’ all over the world, we celebrate the homecoming of North Kiteboarding. Fresh, reinvigorated, recalibrated and positioned proudly under the North Technology Group (NTG) umbrella.
The highly-anticipated global release of North Kiteboarding’s new 2020 product range marked a pivotal moment in Kiteboarding history. A hand-picked team of the industry’s most experienced and respected designers, engineers and brand managers at our helm, North delivered a thoughtfully refined range of kites, boards, foils and accessories to market on the 8th August 2019.
The team was also instrumental in shaping a new brand philosophy that holds to our North heritage while also inspiring groundbreaking innovative solutions.
Feel it for yourself at a North Kiteboarding Test Event near you.
“The new North range is like nothing you’ve ever ridden before... bringing a high-quality, much needed, masterfully minimalist approach to their gear.” - Nathan Patterson, MACKiteboarding.
North Kiteboarding’s return for the model year 2020 came about after NTG announced it would make a significant investment in its brand North Kiteboarding - bringing the design, innovation and manufacturing of its products home under the umbrella of the group and ending its third party licensing agreement.
In January 2019, North Kiteboarding joined forces with world-leading accessories group Mystic BV under a new part of NTG called North Actionsports Group. This merger gave the brand instant access to one of the biggest distribution networks in the kite world, further strengthening its foundations and infrastructure.
North Actionsports Group represents a powerful alliance of world-class kiters and experienced industry innovators and leaders, determined to make kiteboarding more accessible, sustainable, innovative and exciting.
“I firmly believe creating great products is all about investing in incredible people,” says Mike Raper - North Kiteboarding Brand Director. "I’m very proud of how our team has collaborated, working hard to leverage years of experience and passion and develop a high-performance range of gear.”
Working closely with the NTG’s composite engineers and designers, North Kiteboarding is excited to continue leveraging the unmatched aero and hydro expertise the Group has within its portfolio.
At North, we are always seeking, always asking; ‘Where can there be more power, greater performance, more intuitive intelligence?’. Then, always: ‘How can it be simpler?’.
Energised by the opportunity to step back and look at the industry, we've asked: "Where should we go from here? How can we improve?"
There were so many things on our wishlist, things we've always dreamed of evolving or solving. We listened. We heard what kiteboarding schools had been saying for years - what people struggle with when they're developing their skills in the sport. We set about to solve some problems.
How could this or that be different, easier, and safer for everyone?
We analysed everything, looking from a new perspective and in totality. We compiled the best of the best - attributes, components, elements and materials. We partnered with experienced, reliable suppliers and manufacturers.
Mike Raper, an industry veteran, waterman and Brand Director, comments that "in some ways, this collection we've designed for 2020 feels like it's been twenty years in the making. We've paid more personal attention to detail to all the pieces than we ever have before. We've made some big changes from the way things used to be. We've come a long way, for us and the sport this year."
World-renowned Kite Designer Pat Goodman has poured decades of hands-on experience into improving and refining our 2020 kite range - the ORBIT, the PULSE and the CARVE, and the difference in intuitive responsiveness has to be felt to be believed.
Director of Design and Engineering Hugh Pinfold has refined two pivotal pieces of tech innovation in our range - the NAVIGATOR Control System and FLEX Bindings - to the Nth degree, so that as a rider you feel everything, and nothing, all at once.
Always looking for more, for better, for what's next, North has attracted a world-class team of riders standing firmly behind this shared vision.
Triple world title winners Jalou Langeree and Bruna Kajiya stand alongside 'Jack of all trades' Jesse Richman, the first kiter to get barrelled at Jaws, King of the Air 2017 winner, Nick Jacobsen, Graham Howes, Annabel Van Westerop and the mega loop maniac Marc Jacobs, all led by Director of Sales and Team, Klaus Warkentin.
"Everything's super simple. I love that. North's simplicity is on point." Nick Jacobsen
Every North product is designed to be: Engineered. Refined. Intuitive.
Our team of designers and engineers have sweated the detail on combinations and ratios for power, stability, control and balance so that everything feels harmonious and every component works as one.
The modularity within the range is the plug-and-play functionality we've always dreamed of as kiters. We've achieved real accuracy and consistency.
It's easier, safer, more intuitive to ride, giving you more time to feel free, feel the ride.
We use technology to resolve design conundrums like: how can we create the strongest and the most flexible? The simplest and the most technical? How do we deliver the most exceptional performance that remains understated?
We all know that surf kiteboards need to be stronger than regular surfboards to absorb harder impacts and higher loads. But for the ultimate surf kiting experience you need the lightness and feel of a high-performance surfboard.
With our revolutionary Futurelite system and lighter laminate construction, Board Designer Jaimie Scott, in collaboration with Naval Architect and Engineer Uli Sommerlatt, has engineered the solution. A lightweight kitesurf board with the responsive flex characteristics of a high-performance surfboard.
"The Futurelite carbon fibre and innegra wireframe forms a structural skeleton to support the laminates," explains Jaimie. "This maximises strength without losing flex and allows the board to load and release power on demand for more drive and responsiveness."
We want a lighter footprint for ourselves and the planet, and we believe that when your engineering is sharp, and every detail recalibrated and fine-tuned then less is very much more. We've looked at what can be stripped back for pure performance, striking the perfect balance between clean lines and aerodynamics.
Chief Kite Designer, Pat Goodman explains the kite refinement process: "Using modern profile analysis software data has enabled us to go deeper into aerodynamic performance and optimise the shape of the kites for greater efficiency.
“By testing different profile attack angles as well as different profile alignment to the airflow, we've been able to take a new direction for optimum performance with these kites. It's not purely aerodynamics.
"There's a lot of handcrafting and understanding about building wings from flexible materials that we can only obtain from years of experience.
“The stability of these materials also makes a great difference in the accuracy of your prototyping. Better quality materials, combined with more automation in the manufacturing process, allows us to refine kites and bridles within millimetres. Since we don't use any pulleys, the need for stable bridle lines is even more important.
“The more bells and whistles you have, the more there is to go wrong, especially on the water."
“Send it back, and the take-off is explosive, but the hangtime is something else... you’ll be up in the air looking down wondering when you are actually going to come down.”
-Rou Chater, IKSurf Magazine
We're looking for the most effortless, natural, instinctive ride. We want you to sense where your kite is in the air, to move without thinking, to switch gears without losing time – because when you're in harmony with your gear, that's when you're free.
Hugh Pinfold, Director of Design and Engineering, believes in refining to get back to exactly what is needed and in crafting every detail with exceptional precision. Creating high-performance gear that is both simple and powerful has become his life's work.
Hugh explains: "Two pieces you want to feel intuitive are your control system and your bindings because these are the touchpoints to your board, your kite and to the unpredictable elements.”
Our new NAVIGATOR Control System raises the industry standard in kite safety, connecting you intuitively to your kite so you can think less and feel more.
The CONNECT Quick Release is as easy to load and release as a car seatbelt - it resets easily and can be released while under high load.
We've recalibrated every product, so they work together harmoniously, for more direct response, more command and performance, for a more effortless experience.
You'll sense everything working together instinctively, so you can switch your mind off and feel everything - and nothing - all at once.
Don't just take our word for it, feel for yourself at a test event near you.