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Kevin Langeree and Damien Girardin need little introduction, but let’s go ahead and do it anyway – Kevin is a multiple Red Bull KOTA winner and all-round water athlete; some would go so far as to coin him the Dutch Kai Lenny. Jokes aside, Kevin is an ultimate waterman across multiple kite disciplines, not to mention SUP and foiling, with as much technical ability as the best of them, but perhaps most notable for his Big Air antics of late. Highly experienced and world-renowned kite designer Damien has been lead designer for a major brand and has a significant lineage of world class kite design behind him.
We were fascinated to see what they’ve produced for us in the Supermodel, their debut kite. It is pitched as an allrounder with big boost potential as well as freeride wave abilities. A quick pump, inspection, and quizzical stroke of the beard leaves us immediately impressed with the build. A three core ripstop has been implemented from Japanese textile goliath Teijin for the canopy. A familiar high volume, high pressure inflate valve with a flap check is present, making inflation fast and effortless. This is important, as the kite requires 10-12 PSI in the low diameter front tube to get that airframe extremely rigid. The bridle is notably minimal, with the Dyneema utilized set at a low angle weave to prevent stretching. Parasitic drag is minimized and it is as lean as a whippet, flying pleasantly advanced in the window. Overall, the materials and construction focus is on minimalism and weight saving – this extends to the simple, smart graphic and absence of heavy screen printing, which gives a refreshing no-gimmicks approach, perhaps from people whose primary objective is the product’s performance.
Handling-wise, if you’ve experienced any of Damien’s designs before, things will feel immediately familiar. Turning and bar feedback have the trademark Girardin perkiness. It is very easy to initiate the turn, and you can visibly watch the wingtip flare and the kite immediately rotate. There is almost no vibration or flapping, even when you really force the kite across the window. Power development is very linear on bar sheet, with an impressive amount of both torque and dump available immediately in your arm’s reach. The kite definitely likes to be ridden with fast board speed.
That low diameter high-pressure leading edge drives upwind like a knife and makes for delightfully rapid forward speed, resulting in a low effort transfer into incredible lift and exceptional glide. Loops are controllable, solid and simple to dial in. Loop the Supermodel as deep as you dare to go and the catch factor remains immaculately consistent. At no point are you worrying about knee surgery mid-loop with a stalled kite. The kite feels well-trimmed, and maintains a decent amount of rear line tension and handling characteristics even when heavily depowered. The Supermodel isn’t high maintenance, it is easy to throw around and unflappable in all situations, be it twenty meters in the air or towing into a demonic lump of water with a surfboard. We even took it freeride foiling where all that weight saving and rapid turning made for a great session. You could take all three disciplines of board down to the beach and not be disappointed with its performance on any of them.
You’d be forgiven for assuming a fledgling brand would have a less than perfect bar system off the starting grid, but this is where all that industry manufacturing experience shines through. A push-in seatbelt style quick release is comparable to the best available on the market. The grip is a narrow diameter which fits nicely in the hands and translates feedback from the kite telepathically well through the flying lines from French manufacturer Cousin.
The Supermodel feels like artistic freedom in a kite design. It is fuss free, and crammed with raw useful functionality. A debut kite from these two legends is a pivotal moment in starting up a new brand from scratch, and remains faithful to their work as a team. It is clearly a culmination of years of good development and communication between them, resulting in a product which must be very rewarding for them and definitely is for the end user.
In a sentence: There is a definite feeling of liberation found in flying the Supermodel – whatever your kitesurfing intentions, the kite is ready to deliver and is an outstanding introductory offering from Reedin.