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Q&A WITH RIDE KITE DESIGNER, DAMIEN GIRARDIN

Apr 19, 2012

Author: Damien Girardin

Why did you make the Ride kite?

The concept of the Ride kite came from the idea that we wanted to design a kite that was truly dedicated to normal kiters. There are a large number of riders who are not necessarily riding everyday but want to have as much fun as possible every session.
With this targeted rider in mind, we spent quite a lot of time analyzing the way average and beginner kiters were riding. We noticed a couple key elements that had to be taken in account: Oversheeting the bar.
Letting go of the bar and using both hands to get the board under the feet.
Relaunching the kite by only steering the bar and not pulling on the flying lines
Just sheeting in to get going (while more advanced riders will sine the kite to generate power).
Riding underpowered.

The design objectives became then quite clear. I just had to make a kite that would excel at all of these elements!

What are the benefits of having only two struts?

The two struts idea came from the design objective that the kite had to have a superior low end, and for that you need a really light kite. Removing struts was then the obvious choice to save weight and build a kite that could fly well in light wind. There’s also the fact that having no center strut allows the center section of the kite to slightly expand, and lets the kite act a bit like a spinnaker that can harness more wind. The gain in low end is quite noticeable.

Since we kept quite a lot of depower on the kite, we’ve added a Nylon rod batten that stiffens the profile in its front area. This allows the profile to stay solid even at a low angle of attack.
 
How is it that the kite can be stable when it only has two struts?
 
Lots of people think that struts help the stability of a kite. I have a different vision. If you design a kite that is naturally well balanced, then you barely need any struts. To me, the secret of stable kite is that the tow point (the virtual force that results from all the loading forces created by the bridles) is aligned with the center of effort of the kite. The center of effort is the virtual point that is the net of all the vectors created by the wind pressure on the entire canopy of the kite. If these two virtual points are aligned, then your kite will be stable.
 
Why is the Ride so easy to start?

One of the big focuses in the design of this kite was to get an easy start by simply sheeting in and have the power delivery right away. For that, the overall geometry of the kite was taken into account. By having a slightly swept outline, the kite will generate  power when you sheet in, since you allow for big angle of attack adjustments instantly. Because the center part of the kite is free of any strut, you have a slight deepening of the profile that gives you that extra “punch” at the start.
 
How is the Ride so stable on its wingtip when on the water?
 
First we made a wide wing tip to allow for a wide resting surface on the water. With the stability of the tow point of the kite, we worked on the bridles in order to make sure that they would not let the kite go to a too low angle of attack (the kite would then invert) and not too high (the kite would then pull too much on the rider).
 
Why is the Ride so easy to relaunch off the water?

In order to have outstanding water relaunch, we rounded the wing tip to minimize friction on the water. We also increased the size of the Anti-Stiction windows to allow for very quick water drainage of the wingtip when you relaunch your kite. The wing tip tips are swept back in order to provide a greater amount of leverage when you pull on one side of the kite. The kite can then relaunch by just pulling on one side of the bar, without having to reach the flying lines with your hands.

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