|NORTH RACE LTD BOARD
Comfortably cruising in eight knots is no longer a dream! The reality is that you can now ride in conditions you would never before have even considered kite-able. Ken Winner has used his 20 plus years of windsurf racing experience to develop a board with mind-blowing upwind performance and extreme light wind capabilities. This board has already been proven in PKRA racing events by reigning champion, Sean Farley. The earliest planing board ever developed for kiteboarding, the Race Ltd. is either the ultimate course racing board or simply a tool to get you upwind and cruising, with very little effort. Angled twin-blade fins with symmetrical foils produce high lift and very little drag, while the board's 'wedge' outline helps the fins to operate at the highest possible angle-of-attack. Sharp rails and a wide, square tail give you plenty of bite to push as hard as you want, to fly upwind when you can barely feel a breeze on your face.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
You certainly get some strange / inquisitive looks when you turn up to the beach with this focussed-looking machine; not only because of its unusual shape and massively canted out and vicious looking fins, but because it can't be blowing more than ten knots! You really can be the only person on the water and leave other riders flabbergasted at the apparent ease with which you're flying upwind. When other riders can actually make it out, you can cut them up and freak them out because you're heading so close to the wind, they'll be checking the flags to see what tack they're actually on.
But is it only a lightwind and upwind machine? We packed Kiteworld MD and race rookie, Rob Darling, off to the first BKSA event of the season, at Swansea, to see what it could do:
'Never having put any board in competition I was a bit hesitant about trying the Race Ltd. without any practice, but when peer pressure demands...
'I stuck my feet in the straps and headed to the start line. Despite being last over the start line in most races of the day, after five races, in eight and ten metre weather conditions, I placed top ten in UK! Not bad for a virgin racer and first time on the board, I thought. (There were only 17 racers ? I have to work with the kiting's next answer to Schumacher! Ed).
'I must give the board the credit for driving me upwind better than I'd ever done before... and burning muscles I never thought I had. At a basic level the board is easy-to-use, especially for someone used to riding surfboards but, of course, to get the best out of it will need practice. If you do, you're sure to reap great rewards. There are some technical aspects to riding it, such as keeping that low buoyancy nose out of the water, or you'll be passed by racers killing themselves with laughter. So when you're trying to rip downwind, you have to really weight the tail and, when gybing, unlike on a surfboard, you can't drive the board round with loads of front foot pressure. Those fins grip so much that, try and push the back end out and you'll tear muscles in your leg before they give an inch. The Race needs to be trimmed flat and guided more like a windsurfing board, driving off the fin, rather than digging in your rail as you would with a twin-tip or surfboard.
'My final recommendations when riding and racing this board are:
? Try to get the race director to include as many upwind legs as possible.
? Ride in one direction until your legs can't take it any more, then turn around.
? If you're getting tired, ignore it ? you're catching the rider in front.
? Don't be scared of new ideas!
Race focussed and winner of more racing competitions around the world than you could shake a stop watch at, non-North riders used them last year with great success and, as a result, you'll see more and more brands producing their own racing contenders this and next year. Outside of its racing breed, you'll be riding this in the lightest airs and discovering sections of the beach upwind at your local spot that you never knew existed.
163 x 45cm
North Race LTD (2009)
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