Saying that travel took a backseat in 2020 is probably the understatement of the year.
Although some borders were open from time to time, it sure was a big gamble to buy airline tickets and accommodation up-front unless it was fully refundable. With high hopes of gaining control of the virus in 2021, I’m sure the kitesurf travel and hospitality industries will bounce back with a vengeance as travel hungry kitesurfers start planning their kite trips again.
And speaking about kite trips, have you thought about what gear to bring along on your next one? I’m on a mission to make kitesurf travel accessible and affordable for everyone who wants to get off the beaten track and DIY it. One small step towards that goal is to propagate split kiteboards in 2021.
Split kiteboards for kite trips
The advantage of a split kiteboard is immediately evident from a quick glance. The board splits in half, allowing it to fit in a suitcase or duffel bag rather than the standard golf bag we’ve grown accustomed to carry with us on our trips. Not only is this much easier to travel with as you transfer from airport to kite spot, but over time you can save a lot of money by checking on normal luggage instead of the premium priced sports equipment.
Which split kiteboard to buy in 2021?
If you think a split kiteboard sounds like a good idea, all you need to do is to figure out which brand to go with. Split boards have been around for some time now and the brands have had time to hone the performance up to a similar level of a normal twin tip. They’re not cheap – you won’t find a new one under £500, but if you spread the cost over a few trips you’ll break even soon enough.
Nobile NHP Split
Nobile are board experts, and also the OG when it comes to split kiteboards. They’ve had a split board in their line-up longer than anyone else, and they perform wonderfully from what I’ve seen. They also have a nifty screw-less assembly meaning you’ll never have to worry about tightening screws or bringing spare ones.
Kitelement split kiteboards
These guys are specialised in split boards and has a full range of them. They stand out from the rest in the way the split is a straight line across rather than a wave shape. At first glance you would think that this solution offers less rigidity, but I’ve tried it myself and can wholeheartedly vouch for it. You can ride these boards hard and they hold up. The re solve model is also the only split board that you can mount boots on.
A good looking board with a split design that looks like an improvement from their previous model; the Flysplit. The Trip uses a similar screw-less system as Nobile and it’s looking fire.
The Slicer is in fact the same board as the Flysurfer Trip. It comes in different sizes, but if you observe them side byside they sure look identical in shape and split design. So Im guessing the board is some sort of patented whitelabel solution, but whitelabelling is widely used in the kitesurf industry due to small sales figures and the cost of innovation so I’m not one to point fingers.
A bit of a passion project with an interesting design. Concept X looks pretty ok but I found it a big slippery, and the assemply is the most cumbersome of the bunch. It’s not a high performance board, but it’s one of the cheaper ones in the list.
RRD Fifty Fifty
Italy’s kite brand numero uno; RRD had a split board a few years ago but have since then removed it from their line-up. It looked similar to the rest, using a wave shaped split. If you can find a used one it could be a good option. Here’s a review of it by Kiteworld Mag.
What about split boards and the big brands?
Why aren’t all brands offering a split board in their line-up? Maybe there isn’t enough economy of scale in such a niched model, or could it be that they don’t want to undermine the rental business of the centres and schools that they have contractual agreements with? Either way it’s interesting that none of the major brands make a split kiteboard even if it’s well in reach for their R&D teams.
So what do you think – are we going to see more split kiteboards in 2021? Or are we all going to shift to foils and wings just in time for kitesurfing to hit the Olympics?