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TheKiteMag 57 TMAI Eleveight XS and Stellar 1 1200x709 - TELL ME ABOUT IT: Eleveight XS and Stellar

TELL ME ABOUT IT: Eleveight XS and Stellar

Eleveight recently released their brand-new Stellar Big Air twintip plus the fifth version of their XS kite, two products perfectly paired for Big Air.

Photos James Kameda

TheKiteMag 57 TMAI Eleveight XS and Stellar 2 - TELL ME ABOUT IT: Eleveight XS and Stellar

The XS has always been the boosting kite in the stable. How long has it been in the lineup now and what fundamental characteristics make it so popular for this?

We’re now running the fifth version of the XS! Six years ago we realized the rising trend in Big Air and started to develop a kite with the ability to boost high with raw power like in the old days. The first XS was born, but over the years we have refined it while keeping the DNA and core characteristics the same.

The platform is a five-strut delta hybrid design which offers great shape stability and a ton of grunty power. The high-aspect ratio and the medium sweep in the wing tips are the base for its extra-long hangtime as well as its constant power in all conditions and the amazing upwind ability. If you jump high and fly downwind for 100m you certainly need a kite which brings you upwind again quickly. But the XS is not only a boosting machine; with its rapid turning characteristics it is also easy to control and reacts instantly to steering impulses. The turn of a five-strut kite is very powerful, but you stay in control which makes the kite very popular in the megaloop community.

TheKiteMag 57 TMAI Eleveight XS and Stellar 7 - TELL ME ABOUT IT: Eleveight XS and Stellar

With the intense industry focus in technical Big Air currently, how have you updated the latest design to cope with the new performance criteria?

It’s true that the sport of Big Air has been developing quite quickly. Lately, fast loops and double loops are a performance requirement from the Big Air community. For version 5, our main focus was on a modification in the arc and the angle of attack for maximum loop speed. We also worked on improved canopy tension for a clean and very stable profile with very low deformation in all situations of extreme force.

For the XS (as well as all our kites), we also worked on an updated panel cut design. The composition of the panels plays an important role in the load distribution and the overall stability. We wanted to create a canopy that distributes the force more efficiently so that the kite produces constant and very controllable power.

TheKiteMag 57 TMAI Eleveight XS and Stellar 3 - TELL ME ABOUT IT: Eleveight XS and Stellar

You’ve now added a brand-new twintip to your range, the Stellar. We’re guessing the name tells us something about its intended use?!

When we were looking for a name our co-founder Phil Martin came up with the idea. The name clicked instantly and says everything about the product and hints it is made to go big and reach the sky. We gave our board designer Franz Schitzhofer the green light to go full on with this new development. We wanted a rocket with the latest technology in the market and Franz is super ambitious at making the best performing twintips on the market. He took his challenge very seriously! Supported by our Big Air team, he started the development process at the beginning of 2023 and from his very first prototypes, we knew we had a proper Stellar constellation here.

TheKiteMag 57 TMAI Eleveight XS and Stellar 6 - TELL ME ABOUT IT: Eleveight XS and Stellar

How does it differentiate itself from the other twintips in the range to make it specific for Big Air?

In previous years our team used different boards for Big Air. Some favored our smaller Commander because it has a lot of grip and can hold the edge quite well. The Master C+ was also used as a very dynamic and light board, but we wanted to combine our knowledge in one development which is more specific. Big Air is usually favored with stronger winds where riders have a lot of power in the kite. For these conditions you need a board that can hold the edge quite well providing grip, and has an easy release when jumping, or in other words a very explosive lift. A Big-Air-specific board requires harder and very dynamic flex which holds true for the reverse flex also. The impact and speed when landing is quite high, and the board needs perfectly-tuned reverse flex to make sure it can tackle these moves.

For the Stellar we used a new material combination with basalt, a natural fiber, and carbon. Basalt fibers have significantly higher tensile and compressive strength and stiffness compared to glass fibers. This gave us the possibility to create a flex pattern which works well for demanding conditions and also creates the perfect damping. The other big key ingredients are speed and control. The Stellar has a multi-concave underwater hull with specific channels. Franz worked a lot with Computational Fluid Dynamics, a computer program which simulates and also optimizes the water flow or fluid dynamics. As a result, the channels have a specific curve and they get narrower towards the tips which creates a better water flow and has a significant impact on the lift! That sounds very technical, but translated into performance it means the board has very early glide, great upwind abilities and a very dynamic pop.

TheKiteMag 57 TMAI Eleveight XS and Stellar 4 1260x754 - TELL ME ABOUT IT: Eleveight XS and Stellar

Tell us more details about the board’s materials and how they contribute to its performance as well as its sustainability.

Regarding the performance, I already mentioned some advantages, but basalt in combination with carbon is not only light in construction, but it also has the performance edge that gives the board the right flex. We combined our basalt carbon construction with our Superfly 3D Woodcore which was proven from the Master range. A second focus was sustainability which is not easy for us and the industry to go in this direction. We all still need to use materials which are based on petrochemical products, but the Stellar has been designed to have the lowest possible ecological footprint. Basalt fibers are derived from common natural, volcanic effusion rock and are used together with the sustainable Paulownia wood core and GreenPoxy to achieve this. Furthermore, sections and residues of the material can even be fully recycled in the production plant.

The Stellar has already been put through its paces in competition. Which of your riders have been using it as their twintip of choice?

We had the first samples last summer and it was hard to get them back from the team! I can still remember when our team rider Kaimar Halliste sent us the first text and was fully excited: “I can’t believe how light and playful it feels, as well as how easy it is to handle and go upwind. It’s possible to go very, very fast and still make sharp maneuvers without losing the edge.” Since then, most of our Big Air riders are using the Stellar as their weapon of choice. Arthur Guillebert used it at the Red Bull King of the Air last year and at the Lords of Tram. Martin Rahnel, our youngest in the group, is in love with the board and also showed his upcoming skills in the quarter-finals of the Lords of Tram.

We hear rumors you’ll be adding a new Aluula kite to your range… tell us more!

At this stage I can’t tell you too much, but we are in the last stage of the development process! We’ve monitored Aluula products since the beginning and had various prototypes over the years. We were waiting a bit because we could see the production process and related durability was not so easy for some companies, but with the upgrades in the Aluula material, we are very confident to now bring out our first Aluula kites. The first one in the lineup will be the XS PRO with a leading edge made of Aluula and the struts made out of our XT light material. The DNA is similar to our XS kites but the performance is like a Formula One car. The team were able to test it in recent weeks during the Lords of Tram and the feedback was insane, but more info will come – as we always say: development never stops… ■

TheKiteMag 57 TMAI Eleveight XS and Stellar 5 1260x754 - TELL ME ABOUT IT: Eleveight XS and Stellar

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