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TheKiteMag 52 Tell Me About it Reedin SuperModel HTF 1 1200x800 - Tell me about it: Reedin SuperModel HTF

Tell me about it: Reedin SuperModel HTF

Reedin have brought out a brand-new version of their all-rounder SuperModel, plus a new super clean bar. We spoke to designer Damien Girardin about the changes.

PHOTOS: Andy Troy

You’ve implemented a completely new and unique frame construction for SuperModel, the Hybrid Torsion Frame. What was the thinking behind this new iteration?

The concept came simply from analyzing how kites turn. When you pull on the bar, you shorten one steering line while lengthening the other one. The kite reacts to that input in a few different steps that happen quickly – the wingtip bends, slowing down one side of the kite, while the other side keeps on flying at the same speed – this initiates the turn. Then the whole leading edge and the entire canopy of the kite start twisting, slowing down the flying even more on one side for a continuous turn of the kite. As a designer, the goal is to get the kite to react to bar input as fast as possible. There are multiple options to do that through the shape of the kite, overall aspect ratio, size of wingtips, position of bridles, or size of the leading edge. This year I realized that I could also add one more parameter to the equation: using a material that would twist quicker in the lower part of the leading edge where all the early torsion happens and would bend quicker for a flexier strut. In order to keep the structure of the kite it was clear that we wanted to keep our proven Dacron in the center of the kite where the stiffness is more needed for stability. HTF was born.

And then you turned your idea into reality?!

After the first prototype, we were really impressed with the improvements, so we put the new FlexLite material to the test under intensive use. The technical data is a good start to get an idea of how you’re going to use the material but then 100% of the decision is based on the on-water testing. The testing happened in several conditions and types of stress – Kevin was riding them in nuking conditions to put them under heavy loads, and they were also put into schools where they’re guaranteed to take daily beatings, as well as being left on beaches in the sun and wind all day. We wanted to make sure the different materials reacted the same to those stresses, to ensure their performance over the entire lifespan. Once we were convinced, we started production!

Talk us through the new FlexLite material and the most noticeable improvements to the kite’s performance.

Torsion is 100% of the turning of a kite, so if you’re looking to make a fast turning kite, you need to build it out of a material that will twist easily and will quickly respond to input. A stiff material can totally help the torsion of the kite as it will transfer the torsion from the strut to the entire leading edge faster. FlexLite is a material that is weaved using a yarn (the fiber that makes the material) that is half the diameter of regular Dacron material. If you look at the material through a microscope you will see that there are more yarns per meter, but more importantly the yarn is straighter so it reacts quicker when you pull on it. It’s like the material is more ready to respond! The benefit of such construction is that it will react quicker and will allow for bending more quickly. So technically you have a kite that reacts quicker to bar input, engaging the turns and turning faster, which helps your loops, your wave riding, your jumps, your water starts and your low-end power generation.

Did the new material require tuning of the leading edge shape and profiling?

FlexLite being slightly lighter and having different flex characteristics compared to Dacron, we created a tapered transition between Dacron and FlexLite in order to ensure that the junction between the two materials was perfectly smooth and did not create any concentration of constraints.

Do you eventually aim to extend the product range, and produce kites for different disciplines? 

I am convinced that if a kite is good, it’s good for all disciplines. I have also noticed time and time again over the years that when you improve a design for a specific aspect of the sport it turns out that it helps in other disciplines. For example making a kite jump high is not only good for twintip Big Air, it is also great for strapless riding and for underpowered riding as you can generate more lift out of the kite. So for now we are really happy with the performance of SuperModel and are focusing on making it even better!

A new kite requires a new bar, and the new DreamStick X looks super clean! How much time and effort has been put into the tooling to produce the monobloc cleat? What prototyping methods did you use? 

Thanks! Yes DreamStick X has been a lot of work and long hours of testing. My goal was to launch it much earlier but we wanted to make sure it was perfect. We then tuned our tooling, production and quality control then tested it for a whole season longer than planned before we were confident to launch it. We had to do so many tests with different materials in close collaboration with our supplier that supported us greatly in the project in order to be able to produce what in the end is a very simple design! To me a design is a success when it is simple and streamlined, and it usually takes a lot more work to make something simple! For prototyping we do a mix of CAD, 3D printing and CNC parts, but when it comes to approving for production we test the final parts coming out the mold that will be used for production, this is the only true test and validation.

You’ve also updated your twintips and added a new model. Talk us through the highlights here.

SpaceAgency was a really interesting project for us, we decided to push the concept of focusing the material of the board only where needed. We then cored out most of the deck of the board in order to keep thickness only where the loads are going through the board. Then we analyzed the way water flows under the board when you’re riding and came up with a new unique bottom shaping that really adds grip where needed (under the heels and in the tail) while allowing for water flow to move freely for maximum speed when riding. Then for the construction, we went “all in” and tested many different layups before settling on our triple carbon construction that uses three different types of carbon fibers in order to ensure the perfect flex and reflex we wanted for the board. The result is really a board that is out of this world!

What next from the Reedin crew?!

We are working nonstop and have so many projects in the pipeline! Being small and young gives us freedom that is priceless for me as a designer. I can’t wait to finish all the projects we have coming and start even more that I have in my head!

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