At A Glance
The North Flare 2021 is the dedicated wake-style and park board from North Kiteboarding. It's the board of choice of the innovative freestyle king Tom Bridge, who is renowned for throwing down some outrageous blind moves. The Flare with the highest quality manufacturing from North that has distinguished the relatively new brand into being a staple in the kiting industry.
The Flare is a bombproof board. This means that you can take it over obstacles or ride it over sandbars. This is made possible by the construction that North has implemented into the Flare. When picking up the board for the first time, it does feel heavy, but this is because of the heavy-duty construction (thick rails) needed for the board to last even while riding on obstacles. However, compared to other freestyle boards or wakeboards I have used, it does feel relatively light.
The board comes with resistant ABS rails that are standard amongst boards in the North lineup. In terms of the materials used in manufacturing, the Flare has a Paulownia wood-core. This material is resistant to high impacts and is extremely lightweight. Furthermore, this material actually reduces carbon emissions by minimising the amount of foam needed (high carbon emissions are associated with the production of foam). The final layer of construction has a P-tex grind base on top to create low friction.
The Flare 2021 comes standard with 20cm fins. The North Flare is designed to be ridden with and without fins, incorporating deep quad channels on the base of the board to give traction to go upwind. Therefore, the board can be ridden finless to hit the park or shred over some land features without the risk of catching a fin!
North recommends the Fix Boots to go with the Flare 2021. These boots are super easy to put on and adjust on the water, with three Velcro straps. The Fix Boots for 2021 have implemented a lower cut on the ankle of the boot. This allows for greater range of motion, to flex the boots to your liking to go upwind or downwind. Furthermore, there are hollow base plates on the bottom of the boots that allow immense shock absorption. This also provides great feedback that gets translated from the board to your proprioceptors in your feet.
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Sizes: 139x41cm, 143x42cm, 147x43cm, 151x43cm
On The Water
On a no wind day, I took the board out for a spin at the local cable park. The board felt like any other wakeboard that I have used. The high rocker meant that when landing from a kicker or a rail, the board didn’t catch an edge. One of my concerns with taking the board into the park was hitting the features due to the concave base giving a bit too much grip. However, The P-tex base, as mentioned above, added low friction to the board, which meant it glided over obstacles with ease.
The Flare 2021 is a popping machine. Even with a limited amount of pressure, the board reacts. This means that it can really push your freestyle game to the next level. The wide square tails at the tips offer loads of surface area to push against the water and create energy to release into a jump. When riding the board, it did feel like a highly reactive board. This also makes the Flare a great board for those just transitioning into the freestyle discipline as the board makes it super easy to pop. You don’t have to think about the pop phase of a trick when trying a raley for the first time as well.
Once you have sent a move on a boots board, as many people know, the landings aren’t always soft on the knees! However, when taking the board out in some less than ideal conditions (messy chop), I can tell you that the Flare has some of the softest landings I've experienced on a dedicated freestyle board. This is due to the PressFlex tips used in the board. Moreover, the high rocker line dissipates much of the surface tension away from the board. The feeling of coming down hard on a wave is never a nice one, but the new weapon from North succeeds in making this much less uncomfortable!
The North Flare 2021 is an amazing board dedicated to the park and freestylers. While not freeride oriented, the board would be a strong one board quiver for those keen on the cable park and unhooked tricks on the kite. The grind on the base also creates a smooth and slick ride when hitting obstacles so that you never get that sticky feeling when riding over plastic. The Flare is also a great board for those starting out riding boots. The main feature that stood out to me was the huge amounts of energy that can be created by limited amounts of force imputed. A freestyle board will never cater to everyone, but it does what it says on the tin: a freestyle machine.
This review was in Issue 89 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit North Kiteboarding
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By Liam DredgeLiam fell in love with all Watersports after completing numerous seasons aboard, he then picked up kiting whilst in the warm tropics of the Carribean and has been obsessed ever since! Anyone that knows him would say it's near the only thing he talks about (which drives some crazy), and he loves to keep up to date with all the latest news, equipment and events that kiting has to offer. Liam also runs his own Watersports Centre along the south coast of the UK, LOOP Watersports, which is where our IKSURFMAG Test Centre is located!