1. Spend big bucks, and get something kite specific/branded, and put up with it being heavy and lifeless (therefor lacking performance) but hey, it will last for ages, just like my twin tip.
2. Pick up a cheap performance epoxy surfboard, maybe 20% of the price of a kite specific one and if it lasts 6 months, great. The beater. Patch it up and if you sell it eventually great, if not make a novelty wall decoration.
My quiver has consisted of 2 boards for a while now. I have a strapped 6’2” JN Big Fish which came out of the Cobra factory in 2005, has a tucked rail, MT bolt through glass fins, very little concave and a relatively small rocker. It’s fast. You can ride it at approximately 100mph though whatever your legs can take, you can boost huge on it, and crank out big turns with a lot of confidence, but it’s heavy(ish) and it has little flex.
Although I ride strapless maybe 95% of the time, as that’s been my personal development focus for a couple of years now, there are still occasionally conditions when I prefer to ride strapped. Big onshore storm swell and unstable gusty arsed wind for instance. Or just messy bumpy short swell period wave faces. I will get more enjoyment out of a session to riding strapped. If I am pioneering a new/dodgy spot I normally go strapped as well. I love the Big Fish, and long may it live. For fast bump and jump kite led wave riding it rules supreme.
|Big Fish, strapped and dangerous|
|My super slow quad, improving my shacking chances|
|The Resin8 Tokoro precision instrument|
The compromise as ever is in the strength for kiting use, but thus far, after a month of some really hardcore poundings, from 90kgs of Richard, no heel dents (miraculously) and the only dent is where my spreader bar got in on the action, and that’s not really a sporting chance. It’s also nice to be back on a thruster setup after being on a quad fin (Bunty 6’2” beater poly board) for a while. This was great for stalling on the wave, and amusingly skatey, but in comparison to the Tokoro it was crap upwind, felt extremely draggy in light wind and just not that fast in a straight line.
It's a crying shame they aren't producing these boards any more, but I will be looking out for similar epoxy/vacuum formed boards. Hindsight and all that. Hydroflex make some interesting looking stuff, but it's just too darned expensive for kite use and abuse. I want a 6 month stand, not a pricey long termer. Only one thing for it, perhaps it's time to build one myself.