Discover how a passionate group of innovators, driven by a commitment to performance, sustainability, and customization, teamed up with BRAINCHILD production to reshape the future of kitesurfing. From high-tech kites to eco-friendly manufacturing, this is the story of a brand that's making waves in the industry, one ride at a time.
In the picturesque city of Haarlem, nestled in the heart of the Netherlands, an extraordinary journey began to unfold in 2016. It all started in a modest kite repair shop, where a group of passionate individuals embarked on a mission to craft their own kites, driven by a vision to revolutionise the world of kitesurfing.
Pooling our extensive knowledge and expertise, our group of innovators, who had played various roles as kitesurf school owners, IKO examiners, shop proprietors, and kite repair station operators, set out to create a kite that would exceed all expectations. Our objective was straightforward: to develop a kitesurfing product that met our unique requirements and captivated the entire kitesurfing community.
In 2016, our relentless dedication bore fruit as we released our first kite, garnering enthusiastic reviews within our kitesurfing community. Buoyed by that success, we officially introduced Harlem Kitesurfing in 2018. From that point onwards, we have been on an unwavering quest for excellence, broadening our product range to include kites, kite bars, boards, and now wings - everything a wind lover could dream of!
One principle remained steadfast throughout this journey: the unwavering commitment to durability and sustainability. At Harlem Kitesurfing, we have vowed to create products that deliver exceptional performance and stand the test of time. However, our team's ambitions have extended beyond mere product development; our focus has shifted more towards sustainability, recognising the urgent need to protect our precious environment. We are committed to pushing the boundaries of kitesurfing gear while maintaining a strong focus on durability and sustainability. And that sometimes comes down to small things: for example, we do not use new packaging, only recycled boxes. With our kites and wings we are not using any one-time use plastics as packaging. Everything counts.
Because we are small, we can be very approachable. I see us as a company of kitesurfers for kitesurfers. Every employee is a passionate kiteboarder who is part of the kitesurfing community. We try to listen carefully to our clients, which is why providing the best possible customer service is crucial to us. We are available 24/7 and maintain open lines of communication with our customers, ensuring that their needs are met promptly and efficiently.
As a small company, we can think outside of the box and immediately respond to new sustainable developments to push the kitesurfing industry in the right direction. This also allows us to make independent decisions without taking shareholders into account, for example. We were among the first to place an NFC tag on our boards to find your board quickly if lost. We were also among the first to use a fusion trailing edge in our kites. And now, we are the very first to support BRAINCHILD technology. This is truly a game changer.
BRAINCHILD production is a visionary company with an unconventional approach, and they captured our attention immediately. After a visit to Ralf Grösel's factory in Macedonia in 2022, we were first introduced to his special vision - and it fits ours perfectly. Firstly, he is obsessed with creating the most aerodynamic high-tech products on the market and wants to make every part of the production process more sustainable. By 2029, he wants to use 90 percent recycled materials. If you have visited the BRAINCHILD factory in Macedonia, then you know it's not just words. From solar panels on the roof, the economical use of mainly recycled materials, and the low waste percentage, it's all next level.
We immediately moved our kite bag production to BRAINCHILD and began the process of moving our kite and wing production, too. Our team at Harlem designs the kites and wings, and BRAINCHILD produces them. We call them the Game Changer Lineup. Our first release is a high-performance freeride and big air kite, the Harlem Force, and a high-performance freeride wing, the Harlem Pace.
Combining sustainability with innovation was the biggest challenge. BRAINCHILD has a clear understanding of the needs of the industry and brands and paired with our experience and designs, we were ready to tackle the challenge.
Matching our kite design to the new production technique and having the kites perform at the highest level took some time. The initial stages of the process proved to be quite complex due to the numerous unfamiliar parameters that needed to be considered. There were several intensive calls and meetings and many prototyping rounds. Getting all the resources and the right material together has been a test. Although the beginning was arduous, we made significant progress. Ultimately, the final outcome is highly impressive.
Apart from the environmental aspect, the Force is an excellent performance kite. The aerodynamics and durability are greatly improved by a new welding technique. The leading edge panels are welded together instead of stitched, saving weight and making the kite more dimensionally stable. Sewing and stitching create holes that can make the kite weaker, and to fix that, more material is added, making it heavier. Because we are not sewing and stitching, we have an air frame that is 20 percent lighter and has 30 percent more torsional stiffness than that of traditional kites. That results in performance close to materials like Aluula air frames, but using a proven dacron airframe that has proven to have the best durability over a decade.
The other, most immediately noticeable feature of the Game Changer Lineup is the possibility for customisation through a process called digital printing. This new colour and printing technology uses four times less water and makes it possible to fly a kite with your own design. Everything is possible, whether it is a photo, an advertising slogan or a cool graphic design. There will be a 3D configurator on our website this week so you can create your own designs! This has been an incredibly exhilarating process, and we are really excited about these new products.
Our vision for the future of kitesurfing is perfectly aligned with the mindset of the BRAINCHILD team. This shared vision has only fuelled our motivation to push even further in shaping the future of this sport. High-performance gear, customisation, and sustainability are the pillars which Harlem Kitesurfing stands for. With an unwavering vision for the future, we invite all who share our passion and commitment to join us on this extraordinary journey.
Harlem Kitesurfing is now pioneering the concept of performance, sustainability and customisation in the kitesurfing industry. By embracing cutting-edge production technologies, a new era of possibilities has dawned. As we look ahead, we are driven by a shared passion for kitesurfing and a commitment to preserving the natural environment. By leading the charge in sustainable practices, we hope to inspire others to embrace greener alternatives.
The future of kitesurfing lies in our hands, and with the Game Changer Lineup as our platform, we are ready to revolutionise the sport, one wave at a time.
By Alex Morgenstern