Source: The Kiteboarder Magazine
What is new at the organizational level of your company for 2022?
2021 has been pretty intense as we had to deal with the COVID-19 consequences: high demand, low supplies of raw material and we had to find new ways to continue to work efficiently in order to be able to satisfy our customer’s needs. We are very proud to have loyal customers who have been willing to wait to get our gear.
We have worked very hard on the most comprehensive range from kiteboarding to kite foiling with a huge new foil range coming out next spring. The team has expanded as the company and the product range grows. We have new team riders as well as new team members within the office to help us continue the F-One legacy of quality and performance.
This year marks the 15th anniversary of the Bandit since the release of the original Bandit, which marked F-One’s trajectory as a global leader in kite development. What are the key design elements for the 2022 Bandit?
We are very proud of the Bandit’s journey which our design team has relentlessly found ways to improve year after year. For the 15th edition, the goal was to improve its user-friendly qualities, comfort and performance throughout the wind range. The leading edge has been redesigned with an additional segment and a new diameter for optimum maneuverability and stability. The Bandit is incredibly stable in the air, no matter what the wind is doing. Its fantastic control allows you to perform at a high level in various wind conditions and across many disciplines. The new double vertical panel around the trailing edge, the double ripstop trailing edge and the lighter Dacron introduced on the Bandit S3 offers the sleekest profile for the most stable flight. Brand new pulleys with dyneema sleeves on the bridle deliver an incomparable bar feeling. The impressive instant steering response offers precision flying with the best balance between ease of input and feedback impulses from the kite. All these improvements result in a very linear feel with zero stalling. Basically, the Bandit offers the most natural connection between the rider and the kite. Get ready to #unchainyourride.
The Bandit S has been in the kite lineup for three years now. How has it evolved to serve the needs of wave riders and what can Bandit S fans expect for 2022?
The Bandit S came at a time when, despite our best efforts, one kite was no longer enough to satisfy all riders’ needs and ambitions. We needed a dedicated model for wave riding that would still feel like a Bandit.
For this third edition, we have been focusing on improving stability, as control is the key when riding in waves or strapless freestyle. The new leading edge diameter offers better maneuverability and control. The 24 sections in the leading edge deliver perfect control of the shape’s profile in any type of wind condition. Double vertical panels along the trailing edge were added to line up the fabric with the canopy’s tension and therefore reduce cloth deformation. Finally, we added new stainless steel pulleys on the bridle as well as dyneema sleeves for steering precision and power/depower control at all times. The traction forces from the Bandit S3 disappears while surfing so it gives you a lot of freedom to edge and lay into your carves and turns without unwanted pulling power.
The Trax is the main board in the F-One twintip lineup, which now comes in three different sub-models. How do you steer riders between the Trax Carbon, Trax HRD Lightech and Trax regular? What are the newest features in each product?
The F-One Trax is one of the most popular twintips on the market and has been a best-seller for many years. It is a versatile board which excels in terms of speed, comfort and glide. The technology used for this board is timeless. For the past couple of years, the range has expanded with an entry-level model we call the Trax, which will satisfy the needs of beginners as well as weekend freeriders. Big air enthusiasts will love the Trax Carbon, which offers unparalleled lightness and responsiveness that becomes an absolute dream once in the air. Finally, the Trax Lite Tech offers a smooth, forgiving ride that is designed to work amazingly for such a wide variety of riders; from experts in freestyle to beginners and everyone inbetween.
The advent of the Magnet strapless freestyle board has freed up the surfboards in the lineup to become more purpose specific. How has the Mitu Pro shape changed for this year and how do you steer riders through the three types of construction?
One of our longest collaborations lies with Mitu. Together we share a pure vision of riding waves. Along with our R&D team, Mitu has helped us develop a range of surfboards where everyone can find something to suit their needs, from beginners to the most experienced riders. The Mitu Pro Flex which is the most accessible surfboard of the range has been renewed for 2022 without changes. Its success lies in its intuitive and playful shape. Now, the design of both the Mitu Pro Carbon and Mitu Pro Bamboo have considerably evolved. Lateral flat sections have been added for effortless turns with better edging, stability and maneuverability. At the board’s widepoint, the rails have been thinned out for an improved rail-to-rail transitions. A brand-new rocker completes the shape for a greater surf feel. While both surfboards benefit from these changes, the Mitu Pro Carbon might be a better choice for advanced wave riders and for those who like to mix in strapless freestyle due its super light carbon construction. The Mitu Pro Bamboo suits all-around riders for strapless waves and freestyle.
Foiling has become a huge sub-category for F-One and its line of hydrofoil products is expansive and modular across all the foil sports. What are the key hydrofoil packages in the F-One line that serve the various styles of kite foiling?
Foiling has become a huge area of focus at F-One, and thanks to it, we have many new types of riding that have become possible. There will always be a session whether the waves are too small or the wind is too light. Foiling opens new horizons for riders and its development is at the core of our concerns. We started with a few foils in the beginning and today our collection is growing as the practices reach new limits. We now have around 20 different front wings to choose from. We’ve always made modularity an important goal in order to satisfy the rider’s changing needs according to their level, their practice (surf, wing or kite foil), their discipline (freestyle, freeride, race etc…) and of course according to the conditions (wave, chop, strong or light wind).
Just focusing on our kite foiling best choices, the Escape 530 and its monobloc construction make it a masterpiece of performance and construction. It will perform as well at high speeds as it does for freestyle. It has a superb control at top speeds and amazing maneuverability. It’s one of Charles Brodel’s favorite wings to launch big airs with the craziest tricks. We are planning new sizes to complete the Escape range. Also designed in monobloc, the Mirage foils are useful for lower wind ranges. They are very versatile and can be used for racing, freestyle and freeride. Mirage wings are recommended with the C220 Surf stab. This stabilizer offers fantastic glide and great carving potential. Finally, one of our best sellers in the kite foiling segment: The IC6 V.3, it is the first go-to foil to purchase when beginning in the discipline. Despite its entry-level accessibility, it offers a great margin of progression that will satisfy beginners up to advanced levels with a freeride specialty.
F-One is one of the first brands to take kite foilboard development very seriously. From innovations in compression molded shapes to high-performance race inspired boards and minimalist freeride foiling boards, what are the key products in the kite foilboard line and how are they geared to meet the needs of the various kite foiling disciplines?
At F-One we value every discipline and of course kitefoiling has received special attention. The whole new kitefoil collection will be released in March 2022, but here’s a little sneak peek for you. The Pocket and Pocket Carbon will undergo some changes. In addition to brand new graphics and corduroy pads, the shapes have been modified for an improved feel. An open kicktail has been added leaving room for straps. Finally, the rail tail has been enlarged for a wider variety of foil settings. In addition to these two freeride and freestyle models, a new board will be joining the Pocket Carbon range: the Pocket Carbon Custom. This new custom slimtech board has a bigger outline for more forgiveness while planning. It is recommended for intermediate to advanced riders, especially for freeriding. For combining foiling with strapless freestyle and surfing, the new Mitu Pro Bamboo Foil and the Slice Bamboo foil offers the best of the two worlds. Super agile and reactive outline for the first one, active and playful for the last. In summary, no matter what the disciplines and the conditions, we’ve got you covered! Stay tuned for the full 2022 kite foil collection release.