At A Glance
Strapless freestyle is a force to be reckoned with these days, the GKA World Tour put it firmly on the map a few years back, and it’s here to stay. While you can ride any surfboard without straps and make it work, increasingly more brands are specifically creating sticks for the needs of the pro riders. The Comp from North Kiteboarding is exactly that.
Shaped by Jaimie Scott from New Zealand, it is aimed at the rider looking to progress their trick list. You’ll find riders like Jalou Langeree and Jesse Richman using it to devastating effect. At its heart, the Comp is a compact directional with parallel rails and an almost twin tip like outline. If it weren’t for the logos and deck pads from above, you’d have a job saying which end was which.
Featuring a 3-stage rocker, similar to that found on a wakeboard, and prominent grab rails it sets out its stall right out of the bag. A double concave deck helps give your feet maximum traction, and under the heel area, the board is recessed with extra EVA padding to cushion those hard and fast landings.
Under the deck pad, there are recessed DualShock EVA inserts, to cover the main impact areas reduce denting around heel areas. North Kiteboarding’s solution to reduce overengineering of impact areas, keeping the boards lightweight and retaining the required flex.
It is built using Futurelite construction which marries a traditional surfboard construction process with high-end materials. The “tech bit” is a carbon fibre and Innegra wireframe reinforcement that runs about an inch inside the rails around the tail of the board to about a foot from the nose. This reinforcement is inserted into channels and runs through the fin boxes too.
The idea is to allow the board to flex and react to power from the kite creating a lively ride underfoot: the Holy Grail of surfboards for kiting. One thing to note on the construction, this isn’t a hardcore indestructible board, you’ll need to take care of it and try and keep it from getting bashed in the car and on the rocks. It’s stronger than a straight surfboard, but it needs some tender loving care to keep it looking fresh.
On The Water
Everything about the Comp has been geared towards producing impressive pop. It certainly hits the mark there; our first few jumps left us hanging about at an almost surprising height. By thinning out the tail volume and using bevelled rails, you can really stamp off the tail to get that spring up into the air that you need to do tricks.
The grab rails make it easy to catch the board and spin it for tricks, or just hold on when you are sending a big one. The Futurelite definitely feels like it is adding some spring too. The overall flex of the board feels alive, and you’ll find yourself wanting to pop off every little bit of chop that you come across.
Landings are smooth, and the toe bump on the front pad stops your foot from sliding off the exceptionally grippy and comfortable deck pad. One area we were surprised by though is that this board isn’t just a one-trick pony. While it has some impeccable freestyle characteristics that will entertain even the most skilled of riders, it can also carve a solid turn when you want it to.
The low volume tail area allows you to drive through the bottom turn and get a sharp snap off the lip. Jalou says it’s become her go-to board for strapless and small wave riding, and we can clearly see why. Being so small in stature, it is easy to fit into tight pockets and happy to chuck buckets on command.
If you are in the market for a dynamic and performance-packed strapless freestyle board, then the Comp has your back, but it’s more than that. Capable in a variety of conditions it can carve too, and that makes it far more appealing to the mass market. With the lively flex pattern underfoot you’ll be popping airs all over the place with a big grin on your face.
For more information visit North Kiteboarding
By Rou ChaterRou has been kiting since the sports inception and has been working as an editor and tester for magazines since 2004. He started IKSURFMAG with his brother in 2006 and has tested hundreds of different kites and travelled all over the world to kitesurf. He's a walking encyclopedia of all things kite and is just as passionate about the sport today as he was when he first started!