With all the excitement of kiteboarding being made an Olympic Class, SBC Kiteboard is taking a look at the top boards available to get you on the water training for the 2016 Rio Olympics. The International Kiteboarding Association's Olympic bid proposed using a box class similar to the one that IKA and racers on the PKRA world tour use today (From 2012 on, only registered production equipment is eligible for any IKA sanctioned course racing events). All indications are that ISAF will approve this at their November meeting as the equipment rule for the new Olympic Kiteboarding Class. Racers are limited to one approved production board and three kites per event. Here is a look at the top appoved race boards available today.
Note: These are high performance boards and not recommended for beginners.
1. Mike's Lab ML 70 Retail: $1925 Weight: 5.1 kg Length: 190 cm Width: 70 cm
This is SBC Kiteboard's top pick from the 2012 box class approved boards. California's Mike Zajicek hand builds the Mikeslab boards, and these are the current board to beat! Johnny Heineken winner of the first event of 2012 was riding one of these bad boys. Before the Olympic announcement a 9-12 month wait was not uncommon. To inquire about lead times and further details, e-mail Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 510-222-7338. http://www.mikeslab.com/
2. Aguera CR 69 LE Retail: $1600 Weight: 6.2 KG Length: 189.7 cm Width: 69.7 cm
"This is one of the fastest race boards in the world and hopefully it will be THE fastest model during the 2012 season! As seen on the race course so far this year, the 2012 LE CR 69 is extremely fast in lightwind conditions. Damien Leroy won the very lightwind races in Santander at the Olympic Regatta with 6-8 knots of wind and an 18m kite over the top sailor presently in the World, Johnny Heineken. And in 11m-13m weather, Johnny and Damien swapped 1st places at the event."—Alex Aguera
3. North LTD 69 Retail: $2100 USD Weight: 5.4 kg Length: 189 cm Width: 69.9 cm
"Designed to comply with the IKA Production Class “Box Rule”, the 69 Edition is the preeminent course racing craft, developed by the North Race Team through countless hours of testing in wide-ranging conditions. A newly developed rocker line accounts for earlier planning, increased board speed and better handling. The 69’s new diamond tail is designed to offer more control and easier jibing while also accommodating the new 6-strap configuration, which offers better leverage over the fins for reaching and increased control in rough conditions. Constructed with exceptionally accurate, state of the art molds, the Ltd’s Carbon SandwichConstruction is not only incredibly precise, but also strong and remarkably light. For use with the 69 Edition, the North Race Team has developed two sizes of molded carbon fins with an optimized flex pattern and a very fast, control-oriented foil. They are available in 40cm and 43cm lengths and are sold separately.
"Designed for the diehard racer that won't accept anything less than the fastest board around the course. The Monaro V4 is the result of ongoing development by Rolf van der Vlugt and Katja Roose, to develop the ultimate race weapon for our pro team. The numerous features of the IKA Production Class "Box Rule" approved Monaro V4 makes the board ultra efficient. The construction comprises of a high modulus carbon fiber construction with high-density foam sandwich for stiffness, strength and minimum weight. The subtlest design adjustments on the Monaro V4 result in massive gains on the racecourse. A dual chine rail eliminates the drag produced by spray against the feet. The concave deck in the nose area allows for reduced weight and wind lift on the nose area. At the tail end of the board, the innovated Step Squash Tail increases control off the wind or in high wind condition."
Fins Included Front - 42cm Tuttle Pair / 3.5 Deg Cant Back - 38cm Tuttle Single / Vertical
Here is a video with designer Clinton Filen talking about the slightly older Monaro V3.
5. RRD K‐Race 70 LTD Retail: $1200 Weight: 5.9 kg Length:190 cm Width: 69.5 cm
"Racing with a kite is a new challenge for sailing sports. It brings totally new parameters in the equation of functionality and efficiency and puts the stick a little higher especially when the wind is light. Planing with 6 knots of wind and reaching upwind speed of 12-14 knots and downwind speed of 25-27 knots is no longer a dream. RRD has worked very closely with the help of French rider Julien Kerneur, European Champion, and one of the PKRA Racing ranking world leaders, to develop both the RRD K-RACE 70 LTD and the RRD Addiction MKIII kites to have an unbeatable combination of speed and control. We have used every cm available of the board design to be used for maximizing the performance. Thick rails on the tail to improve lift on the fins, extreme tucked under edge on the front and mid section of the board to reduce friction over the chops and create an easier to ride shape. The deck design features a deep double concave on the middle – tail section to allow a higher pressure with your feet on the board when using a central strap to go downwind. The RRD Krace 70 is one of the fastest production race boards for 2012. Add the 2012 RRD Addiction III kite and skills and you are ready to compete with the best!"
"The RRD KRACE 70 comes as board only, with straps. We offer 2 options for fins with the purchase of the board. Either the Select Elite Carbon Fins in sizes 41cm (from fins) and 39cm (center fin), or the Rista Fins in your choice of sizing."
6. Naish Venturi Retail: Weight: 8.4 kg Length:192.6 cm Width: 70 cm
"The Naish Venturi is a race-competitive design without sacrificing ease of use.Developed in conjunction with top level racers, the Naish Venturi gets the rider on the water more days than ever thought possible, without losing focus on the fun factor.The expanded size range offers a broader choice for different riding styles.The 175 is an all-around light wind shape perfect for long distance cruising and off-the-wind speed burns. On the race course, the 180 and 190 will put the rider out in front on the starting line and stretch the lead on the downwind legs. Combined with state of the art race fins, the Venturi is fully competitive right off the shelf."
6. Cabrinha Raceboard XL Retail: $1,109 Weight: 6.1 kg Length:188 cm Width: 69.5 cm
"Evidence of the incredible versatility of our sport is seen in the popularity rise in Course Racing. With the Cabrinha team dominating just about every event in 2011, we hit the ground running in 2012 with a fully dedicated course race board. The 2012 Race comes in 4 sizes to suit your size and wind conditions. The 178 for high wind chop. The 183 for flat water and light wind. The 188 comes in two widths both conforming to the IKA box ruling. We spare nothing when it comes to construction, material and quality. We know that the difference between the podium and the rest of the fleet is sometimes measured in fractions of a second"
Here are some new releases that have yet to make a mark on the race course, but based on their builders past success could be the next secret weapon!
NJS CF6 Retail: $1600 Weight: 5.3 KG Length: 188 cm Width: 69 cm
"The 2012 CF6 is the latest NJS design for high performance kiteboard course racing. The main objectives of the new CF6 were to blend increased upwind ability and stable high speed control on the downwind. To achieve this, many aspects of the CF6 are refined including fin box placement, outline, and the wide point of the board. NJS is also utilizing state of the art CAD technology in all of our boards to guarantee exact NJS design specifications for each board produced. This combined with feedback from our team members and hundreds of hours of GPS speed testing has allowed us to achieve what we feel is the ultimate course racing board."
Aguera 69 LE HW Retail: $1500 Weight: 6.0 kg Length: 189.5 cm Width: 69.8 cm
"Here is the latest Aguera Designs Courseracer that I call the HW model. The HW stands for High Wind but don’t let that fool you into thinking it is only for high winds. This newer model is a little faster than the Regular LE CR 69 in winds over 10 knots. It was designed to be a little faster downwind especially. The LE CR 69 regular model is still faster in very light and steady winds of 10 knots and below but the new model gives a bigger range for higher winds. This new board was designed with a smaller tail which has helped the turning of both tacking and jibing. Here in Maui we have so much wind that the riders here have asked for a easier board to ride in these winds so this is latest greatest! For large size riders the regular LE CR 69 is probably a better choice for an all around board because the tail is wider and floatier."
Techtonics Maui Talon Kite Racing Fin Dennis Parton has used the Talon windsurfing fin to create a world beating fin best suited to the demands of Kite Racing. Johnny Heineken rides on Techtonics fins. www.tectonicsmaui.com