The past year was incredible for kite evolution. Multiple kite designs emerged and adopted features improved performance and safety functioning. The divergence of shapes and concepts available this year all offered definite improvements in relaunch, turning speed and wind range. With all these choices, the kiters of the world were given a chance to customize a preference for feel and technique. The bridled designs and canopy shapes evolved significantly and presented a performance level most advanced C-kite riders never believed would happen.
The bow-kite platform championed by companies like Cabrinha was molded and mutated to better fit the disciplines of waves, freestyle and freeride. Flatter kite canopies designs also showed how the bow platform improved to provide more power and smoother turning performance. Many of the bar-pressure issues and turning-speed problems were overcome with re-engineered shorter bridle-line systems, improved canopy and wingtip shapes.
Brand-new canopy shapes like the Delta C also arrived on the scene, offering an alternative to both SLE and bow design philosophy. North and F-One continue along this path and 2009 will be an exciting year to see how far their models can be tweaked and tuned. These shapes were impressive, and in some cases equalled or surpassed the bow and SLE’s range and versatility. The Sigma series from Naish also revealed how outside-the-box thinking can pay off, as its distinctive leading edge and canopy shape dominated the all-terrain category. SLE and C-shaped kite performance also became better blended for the new-school rider.