We had a chance to ride a competitors rear line adjustment control bar and it was a game-changer for us. We’re looking forward to riding Ocean Rodeo’s version. What were the biggest design challenges in designing your bar? How were they overcome?
The biggest design challenge was managing the effects of sand on the winder mechanism. After many prototype bars we came to the conclusion that keeping sand out of the winding mechanism would be tricky over the long run.
This realization led to the open “U” bar shape (injection molded carbon fiber), which houses the trim line allowing the rapid flushing of sand and debris.
The U shape also allows easy inspection and maintenance of the trim line. Our winder mechanism only has one moving part; delivering actions for both power and de-power. We looked closely at proven winch designs from other marine applications (boat trailer winches for example) to inspire our design.
Back line trim also opened up another issue: how do you de-power a kite when it has slack back lines? With no force pulling away? It was not possible to set your kite trim pre kite launch, an important requirement in certain conditions and locations. We overcame this with our Helix Force tension system that places a continuous push away force on the back line leaders: allowing the rider to set their de-power swith no back line tension.
You have always been at the forefront of design and were recently in court regarding a patent that you filed for a quick release years ago. Can you give us a bit of background? How did it turn out?
You are correct. We filed a patent way back in 2001 for a push release trim loop. This patent has been a fairly active topic on the business side of kiteboarding for the last ten years. Unfortunately I can’t chat more. Re: confidentiality. Sorry.
What are the top three design and/or material advancements that have had the most dramatic impact on kite performance over the past five years?
For Ocean Rodeo? Lower overall kite weights with improved durability has been massive. Light kites are just better at every thing and Ocean Rodeo has been pushing hard on this for the last five years.
Two, improved materials. We now have more options for fabrics and films allowing us to mix and match materials to deliver these new lighter kite weights.
And three, improved components: Easy pump up inflate/deflate valves, super clean bridles that don’t wrap on wing tips, yet still deliver massive sheeting range. The list goes on.
Over the last five years we’ve tried to simplify and refine, make OR kites super fun, efficient, durable, easy to set up and fly, and be the first kites flying when the wind is light. And the last ones on the water when it’s storm force!