Rou Chater brings us photos and information from Mauritius uploaded using a couple of tin cans and some string!
First up the waves have been huge! Mitu and Raphael have been getting so many waves it’s been hard to count and we’ve all had our fair share too, which has made it fantastic for testing the new boards. There are a few developments there, so that is where I will start…
Mitu Monteiro has been getting heavily involved with the board design and development, as a result of this they have created the Mitu Pro Model, a board designed to be handy for strapless freestyle whilst still being able to handle the waves. The board is wider and shorter than normal, this makes it easy to manoeuvre in the air. The nose has been “removed” to make it shorter but the rail shape is actually of a larger board, this means it still carves in the waves and the 5’10 has been very capable at One Eye even on the bigger waves.
There is a new Signature 6’0 too and the big news in the surfboard design is the “Camel Deck” this allows the foot to naturally sit on the deck of the board, think of it as ready made heel dents and you get the picture. The result is the connection between the board and your foot is exceedingly comfortable, but it also gives you more control too.
The new Bandit 7 is even better than the Bandit 6, I know brands say that every year and while the kite looks similar it has been designed from the ground up. Robert Graham the new kite designer has been integral too it and they used a new version of the Surfplan software to create the kite. The new version wouldn’t allow them to use the old Bandit 6 designs as they weren’t compatible, so the team quite literally had to design the kite from the ground up. Don’t fear, it still feels similar to the Bandit 6, but the wind range in the low end is incredible, yesterday I rode an 8m all day and guys were on 12m and 10m kites, I wasn’t powered up but at 75kilos thats impressive. The kite really flies well and generates lots of it’s own power as you move it through the window.
If you love the Bandit 5 and 6, you won’t be at all disappointed with the new kite, it features the Technoforce fabric from Teijin, which makes the canopy much stiffer and easier to control, this was another reason for the redesign as the stiffer canopy changes the profile of the kite and the team worked hard to ensure the kite still had the right shape throughout the wind range. In the air the kite feels very stable and the canopy has hardly any fluttering, even when de-powered.
The new chicken loop release is here too, just a prototype at the moment but it is a final production one and looks really polished. F-One have looked at all the best releases on the market and developed a push away system that they feel is one of the best around. It is simple to use and we’ll be putting a video up of how it works in the next few days… Watch this space!
Over on the twin tips the big news is the Helical Rail Design, twin tips haven’t evolved much over the last few years so it is great to see a brand pushing the development. Essentially you get a different rail shape the length of the board and it is designed to have different characteristics according to the section of the board in contact with the water. It’s hard to explain so check out the image below to see what we mean.
In terms of the ride, well it certainly feels smoother through the chop, we gave the new Carbon Trax a good test yesterday and had great fun boosting and riding it, the pop was good and the board felt very controlled. A bi-product of the design is that there is absolutely no “face spray” from the board at all, the spray from the windward rail wraps around the rail and hits your ankle instead. We’ll be testing the boards a little more over the next few days and will do a full board post on Monday. It’s clever stuff and the new factory that F-One are using are really behind the brand and able to create some very interesting shapes…
We’ll leave it at that for now, and post more information up early next week, including a look at all the new Manera equipment which is a big focus for 2014. For now here are a few more images from the trip so far!
All Photos: Rou Chater