31 08 2010

Starboard 2011 “The New”…

31 08 2010

Starboard 2011 SUP Porn...

Starboard has several new race boards out for 2011.  I’ve been enjoying my Starboard The Ultimate Blend SUP, but have been yearning for more speed. The oddly named The New race board from Starboard looks like just the ticket for high speed paddling around Victoria.

Since Bellingham Kite Paddle Surf is a Starboard dealer [and just happens to have one of these boards in the showroom] I think I may have to have a chat with them…=-)

Is your hyperfold cable tensioned properly?

30 08 2010

This video from Bike Friday shows you how to check if your hyperfold cable is correctly tensioned.  Worth a watch if you are a Tikiteer…=-)

Kite – Tikit

29 08 2010

Kites at Cook St. beach, Victoria BC...

Sharon and I were biking downtown on Thursday and she commented on how windy it was.  It occurred to me folks might be kiteboarding down at the Cook St. beach so I checked the wind speed on ikitesurf.com and then the webcam at Big Wave Dave.  Sure enough the wind was wipping in the right direction and kites were in the water.

One Way Tikit on the beach...

At the top of the long & steep set of stairs own to the beach Sharon started to lock up her bike when she asked me if I thought  it was a safe location to leave it.  I said – probably, while folding my Tikit and carrying it down to the water were it would really be safe!  One of the benefits of being a Bike Friday owner…=-)

Ian with his Flysurfer kite...

We had a great, but chilly time watching 10 kiters and 1 windsurfer ripping it up.  The launch at Cook St. [aka Kook Street] is quite challenging with a short rocky beach butted up against a steep vertical 50′ cliff.  So I was happy just to watch for today and see how everyone launched and landed their kites.  If you are going to get  hurt kiteboarding it’s most likely during the launching/landing phase when there are all sorts of hard objects to hit!

2011 Ocean Rodeo Razor in action...

We got to see the new 2011 Ocean Rodeo Razor kite on the water.  It looks great and I’m keen to demo one when they hit the stores.  After about 2hrs we were frozen [didn’t bring warm clothes!] so we packed it in.  I must admit it makes me really happy to live in a town where I can bike, SUP, kiteboard, sea kayak within a 5km radius from my house…=-)

Narrow beach at Cook St...

Showerpass Portland Jacket

28 08 2010

Sharon about to ride to work...

Sharon has pretty much parked her car since moving to Victoria and been riding her bike everywhere she needs to go. Her interest in bike related gear has increased rapidly as her kms accumulate.  She found this sweet Showerpass Portland jacket at MEC and decided just because she needs a waterproof cycling jacket she didn’t have to look goofy!

MEC marketing spew:

The Portland is everything you might expect from a jacket named for such a hip town. It’s big on style and weatherproof performance, and built for serious cycling. The stealthy, bike-friendly features are well-concealed in a flattering fit and fashionable design.

  • Waterproof soft shell fabric is 100% polyester.
  • Drop down rear panel has 3M reflective tape and reflective piping accents.
  • The weather-guard cuffs are gussetted.
  • Hidden pit zips allow furtive venting.
  • The chest pocket has an audio port so you can ride to your own soundtrack.
  • The side gusset lets you adjust the fit and degree of flare.
  • weight 610g [small]
  • $235cdn

Showerpass Portland Jacket manufacturer’s webpage.

I’ll get Sharon to write up a review closer to Christmas once she has a few months under her belt.  So far she is stoked by the fit, features and quality of construction.


27 08 2010

No lock?...no problem just bring 'er in...=-)

CETMA Build…

26 08 2010

CETMA Fork...

I’m posting my CETMA build photos on Flickr here. I’ll keep updating them and commenting on them as I go.

Pedal Power – CBC Documentary

25 08 2010

Click on image to watch the video...

This video will only play for folks in Canada.

Installing hard to fit tires…

25 08 2010

Note: I want to clearly state that I don’t recommend anyone use Marathon Plus tires unless:

  1. you live in an active war zone
  2. you live in thorn country
  3. you get a flat every ride

…for everyone else it’s a bad choice, but there are other times when you’ll come across rims and tires that are hard to fit and this video’s tips will work for those situations equally well.

Liquid Force Envy

25 08 2010

Photo: The Kiteboarder Magazine

Note: I wrote this post on Sunday 22 Aug and was about to post it when I lost my Wifi connection…so when I say today I’m talking about this past Sunday…=-)

I’m on my way south along the WA and OR coast to visit Bike Friday as well as CETMA bikes in Eugene OR. I stopped in at Bellingham Kite Paddle Surf [aka Bellingham Kiteboarding] and checked out some new 2011 gear from Liquid Force. Andy showed me the 2011 Envy kite and let me borrow a 2010 model to demo.

Photo: The Kiteboarder Magazine

So I kept trucking south and ended up at Hood River OR today. Typically a 10m kite is way too much for the Columbia River Gorge’s epic winds, but things were light today which was a good test of the bigger size of the Envy.

Check out The Kiteboarder Magazine’s review of the 2010 Liquid Force Envy here.

Here is what I thought:

  • build quality and attention to detail are excellent
  • the kite backpack is one of the nicer ones I’ve used [great if you have to carry your gear a long ways]
  • attractive design and graphics
  • 3 strut design is very simple and pumps up fast
  • single point inflation system is dead easy to use
  • the kite and bar has a “goof proof” line setup so rigging was easy
  • the bar was intuitive and the depower was easy to use while riding
  • I tested out the chicken loop safety release before riding and it worked well [looks easy to reattach in the water]
  • the kite was very easy to launch and fly
  • it’s stable and responds well to bar input
  • bar pressure was low
  • wouldn’t back stall
  • didn’t turn super fast, but my demo bar was on the small size
  • wasn’t super powerful for a 10m, but provided consistent power
  • I didn’t get to try the water relaunch of the kite

These are just some thoughts after one light-wind session on this kite so I reserve the right to change my mind when I get back home and try it in some stronger wind at Nitnaht.

My general feeling is that this is a great kite to start kiting on because it is stable, dependable and provides steady power. In your first season of kiteboarding you want a kite that sort of flies itself so you can worry about other things. The 3 strut design was easy to use and just simplifies everything about the kite.

The downsides to being really stable is that this isn’t the most responsive kite to fly and it’s not the best choice for big air or other more intermediate/advanced riding. Having said that you really don’t want any of those things when you start your kiting career and once you have a couple seasons under your belt it’s time for a kite upgrade. Liquid Force makes the Havoc to suit the needs of the more advanced rider.

Looking back at 2009 I would have been stoked to ride the Envy and it’s definitely a kite I would put Sharon on as she works on her skills. I’m going to take the 10m Envy home and play with it a bit more. I’d like more time to tune the kite and try it out in higher winds.

Envy info in video above is at 4:20-9:05 if you want to skip the rest.

Update: I’ve added some detailed shots of the 10m Liquid Force Envy to my Flickr here.  I’ll be taking more photos over the next few weeks and dump them in the same spot for anyone interested.

Electronic Rohloff Shifter

25 08 2010

Electronic shifting for your Rohloff...

This new electronic push button shifting system has appeared on Australian EBay.  I have no experience with it and have not read any reviews, but I thought I would share it in case someone out there is in need of a Rohloff shifter for a drop bar or other type of non-flat bar install.

Box contents...

Since my Rohloffs are on flat bar bikes I’m pretty happy with my twist shifter and cables since it works well and is reliable – not to mention easy for me to service at home.

Shift motor attaches to Rohloff External Gear Mechanism...

However, I have tried a Rohloff with a drop bar bike and never found a solution I was really happy with so I can see where this product or at least something other than a twist shifter would make sense.

One of two shift buttons that can be placed anywhere you like...

The bike in these photos is a front wheel drive recumbent with drop bars.  So they have placed the shift buttons under each brake lever.  Although you could place them somewhere else you found convenient.

This control box connects the buttons and shift motor...

I’m assuming the battery is located in the box pictured above and has a capacity for 600-1000 shifts.  This may be only a few days of riding if you like to shift a lot and ride in stop and go traffic.  I’m also unsure how the battery life will be affected by cold temperatures and if the unit is waterproof.

Complete bike...

I’ll be interested to see if this product survives in what is a very small market given how few Rohloffs are out there [maybe 100,000+] and that a lot of people are using Rohloff’s for their reliability and low maintenance which could be adversely affected by adding this complex shifting mechanism to the mix.

Windfest 2010

24 08 2010

T-shirt logo...

I attended 2 of the 3 days of Windfest this year and had a lot of fun.  I missed the band/party night Saturday; which by all accounts was EPIC!  I’ll definitely plan to be there for the whole thing next year.  A big thank you to everyone involved in making this event a reality.  I know how hard it is to pull off a big event at a remote location.

Event sponsors...

If you are an avid windsports junkie you should definitely plan to attend in August 2011.  The location at Lake Nitnaht [spelled correctly for the first time this year….lol!!] is spectacular and the wind howls down the lake making for some big smiles on the water.

HP Velo Factory Tour…

23 08 2010

From BROL…

KSi900r Adjustable Seatpost…

20 08 2010

My Santa Cruz Nomad with a KSi900r installed...

One of the products that really revolutionized my mountain biking was a Crank Brothers Joplin adjustable seatpost.  When mine broke recently and had to be sent back for repair I was shocked how much using a rigid seatpost negatively affected my ride.

Sharon's Nomad...

When Sharon decided to get a mountain bike I figured she needed to have an adjustable seatpost on her bike as well so I moved my Joplin 3″ seatpost over to her Santa Cruz Nomad.

Remote lever cable enters from rear of post...

I looked at the Crank Brothers Joplin 4″ travel seatpost, but I wasn’t confident I wouldn’t experience the same failure that I had with my Joplin 3″ post.  I had read some good reviews for the KSi900r 5″ post and I found a local source in Calgary [Western Motorsports] that was selling them for ~$220cdn – a much lower price then the Joplin. I decided it was worth trying a KS post and seeing what I thought.

KSi900r at max 5" extension...

Installation of the post was a breeze with the remote lever and cable coming preassembled in the box. The saddle mounts with two bolts which took a little longer to deal with than the Joplin’s single bolt setup, but I don’t swap saddles often so this isn’t too important to me.

KSi900r lowered...

Note the cunning use of a zip tie just above the seatpost QR to keep the remote cable away from the rear tire.

Remote bar mounted lever...

The Kind Shock remote lever [red component in photo above] isn’t as easy to use as the Joplin’s lever, but it’s not awful.  If I don’t love it in the long run I can replace it with a Joplin remote lever since the post itself doesn’t care how you pull the cable.

I’m looking forward to having 5″ of travel with this post vs. the 3″ my Joplin had available.


  • diameter = 30.9mm
  • weight = 546g
  • adjustment range = 125mm
  • length = 385mm
  • warranty = 2 years

I’ll be even happier if this post is still working fine in a couple years…=-)

Bellingham Kite Paddle Surf

19 08 2010

Inside this modest storefront is kiteboarding heaven...=-)

So how does a kiteboarder living in Victoria British Columbia end up with his LKBS [local kiteboarding shop] located in another country?  Well it’s simple living on an island has some upsides and some downsides.  One of the downsides is the lack of a local kiteboarding shop.  There is a surf shop in Victoria that is supposedly a kiteboard dealer, but when I went there the staff knew nothing about kiteboarding and just pointed me to a dusty box of random parts that were horribly overpriced.


So I knew I had to look elsewhere and I ended up at Bellingham Kite Paddle Surf [aka Bellingham Kiteboarding] for a bunch of reasons:

  • best prices I could find online
  • enthusiastic knowledgeable staff
  • great selection of gear and lots of stock
  • free shipping in the US and  to Canada [for orders over $300USD]
  • awesome customer service

I wish my living room looked like this!

I’m definitely not a lowest price at all costs kind of guy, but if you give me the lowest prices and great service you have my attention.  To give you an example of why I’m so stoked about Bellingham Kite Paddle Surf when I was in Baja this past winter I was unhappy with my kiteboard.  I demo’d an Ocean Rodeo Mako 140 and loved it, but there were none for sale in Mexico.  I found them online in the US, but shipping and customs was so much money and hassles I gave up.  I figured I’d just grab one on my drive home.  Of course that meant 6 more weeks of riding a board I didn’t love.  Then someone suggested I contact the folks at Bellingham Kiteboarding.  I fired off an email letting them know I needed a Mako bad!  7 days later they had a brand new one in my hands on a beach in Mexico.  Not only did they give me a lower price than anything else I found online – they arranged for a customer to who was flying to Mexico to bring it to me.  No shipping cost and no customs hassles.  Keep in mind I had never bought anything from them before and I never even spoke to anyone at the shop other than through email. Awesome!  The best part was I got to spend the rest of my trip riding a board I was totally stoked to hit the waves with.

Anyways if I seem enthusiastic about these guys I hope you can appreciate why…=-)


One of the major kiteboard brands they carry is Ocean Rodeo.  Which is funny because OR’s HQ is in Victoria BC…lol…so I live in Victoria and I buy my Ocean Rodeo gear from Bellingham WA then I ride it on Vancouver Island…=-)  I could buy my gear directly from Ocean Rodeo, but it’s actually cheaper to buy it from Bellingham Kite Paddle Surf. Go figure.

Besides Ocean Rodeo they also carry:

  • Liquid Force kites, boards & harnesses
  • Slingshot kites and boards
  • Blade Kites [Trigger, Fat Lady and Prime] and Blade boards [Deuce and Sanchez]
  • Liquid Force kites and boards
  • Dakine & Mystic harnesses
  • Hyperflex, NPX and Mystic wetsuits
  • Starboard stand up paddle [SUP] boards
  • Evergreen SUP boards
  • longboards and mountain boards

So if you are in Canada or the US it’s definitely worth checking these folks out if you need kiteboarding or SUP gear.

MKS Half Clip Deep

18 08 2010

MKS half toe clips...

I went down to Fairfield Bicycles last weekend and found they had the VO half clips I was looking for as well as the MKS units shown above.

MKS half clips on MKS QR pedals...

Although the MKS clips were double the cost of VO clips they were deeper which seemed preferable and at $29cdn they were within my budget.  Given the cost of shipping anything comparable I ordered online would have been as much if not more.

front view...

The clips went on in under 5 mins. Each attaches to the pedal with 2 bolts.  All the hardware and a hex key were provided.  Since the pedals are MKS as well everything went together easily.

The MKS clips add a bit of bling to the One Way Tikit...

The clips look nice and are quite stiff.  Their weight makes them hang from the pedals so there will be some scratching on the “nose” of each clip.

Using the MKS clips with my trail runners...

I tried the clips with my trail runners.  These shoes have a hard plastic insole and are quite slippery on anything less than BMX platforms with traction pins.  I have ridden the Bike Friday One Way Tikit with these shoes without clips and it wasn’t fun.  Using the half clips was much better.  Fairly easy to flip the pedal up and slide my foot into the clip without looking down.  While riding they keep the shoe positioned properly and don’t let it slip forward onto the plastic insole.

Front view of shoe in clip...

Naturally these half clips can only offer a limited amount of foot retention.  However, as I expected they provide enough security to make shoes I wasn’t comfortable riding in before work fine.  Most importantly to me they only add the slightest extra hassle getting in and almost no hassle pulling my foot out.

Clipped and ready to rip...

So far the only thing I would change if I could is make them about 1″ deeper horizontally so I could position my foot slightly further forward on the pedal.  Thanks to everyone to provided suggestions for my quest to add some toe clips to this bike…=-)

The ultimate cure…

17 08 2010

...for injured ribs...

…ibuprofen and vodka!

Ortliebs on the Tikit Folding Rack…

15 08 2010

Ortlieb mounted towards rear of rack...

I’ve been asked about mounting Ortliebs on the folding Bike Friday Tikit rack so here are some photos. Note that I use my Orliebs on several racks so I mount the upper/lower hooks in a middle position that works okay with all my racks, but isn’t necessarily ideal for any of them. If I was going to tour with my Tikit I’d take 5 mins and adjust the hooks to fit this rack better.

Ortlieb mounted towards the front...

Generally speaking I like to mount my panniers as far forward as the rack and heel clearance permit for better handling.  It’s worth playing with your bags/racks and trying out a few different options to see what you like best.

Bush Pig!

14 08 2010

Bush Pig - motorized dirt board...

I think it is a sign of maturity and intelligence that I backed away quickly when the guys broke out a motorized offroad skateboard-thingy this weekend.  Health care may be free in Canada, but broken bones hurt just as much!  You won’t ever see a review for this so don’t ask…=-)


  • Engine: 43 cc 2-stroke (2 cycle) Gas/Oil Mix – 30:1 (TG43) and 50:1 (TLE43)
  • Carburetor: Manual
  • Safety: Safety Tether Stop Switch
  • Transmission: Single Speed-Centrifugal Clutch
  • Ignition Type: C.D.I.
  • Spark Plug: BPM7A (NGK)
  • Fuel Capacity: +/- 1L ( +/- 0.26G)
  • Range: 1 hour +
  • Brake: Disk Brake
  • Weight Capacity: ~ 113Kg (~ 250lbs)
  • Colors: Black with Blue, Silver with Orange (Coming soon: Red with Black, Yellow with Black, White with Red. Black with Green, and Blue with Black.)
  • Weight: 22kg (45lbs)
  • Length: 1.1m (3ft 6″)
  • Height: 3cm (11.8″)
  • Knobby Tires: 10″ x 2.75″
  • Footing: Regular (Natural) or Goofy: You can change any time, only 3 bolts to change the side of the swing arm.
  • Warranty: 90 day, manufacturers limited

We did nothing…

12 08 2010

Velo Orange Deep Half Clips

11 08 2010

Velo Orange Deep Half Toe Clips...

I’ve been looking for a foot retention system for my Bike Friday One Way Tikit that lets me use any shoes, platform pedals and doesn’t add much hassle to my ride.  Dynocoaster – a member of the Bike Forms.net folding bike sub-forum pointed me to these partial toe clips sold by Velo Orange.

They look ideal:

  • nice looking
  • enough foot retention to make a difference without locking down my feet
  • easy in and out
  • low cost

Unfortunately they are out of stock, but I’ll keep checking back and I’ll post a review when I get a set.

Check your lines…

10 08 2010

Testing lines in my backyard...

How well a kite flies is largely a function of inputs from the control lines.  If your lines are not the correct length due to stretching or improper setup you will have problems.  Although kite lines are very strong they are affected by UV, abrasion and extreme loading.  Lines will eventually fail and the result can be dangerous for a rider depending when and how the failure manifests.  On the plus side it is fairly easy to check line length and to inspect kite lines.

Here is what to do:

  1. check your owner’s manual for the correct line lengths [for Ocean Rodeo and Naish 4 line bars that is equal lengths for all lines]
  2. lay out your lines and untangle them
  3. attach your lines to a nail in an open area
  4. set your depower to the minimum position [least amount of depower]
  5. pull back on your bar so the chicken loop is up against the bar
  6. apply a decent amount of tension
  7. observe your lines they should be tensioned equally
  8. if they are great…if not you need to adjust them so that they are equal [check your manual for options on how to adjust your specific lines]
  9. if you adjusted the lines go back and check them after adjustment to ensure you got it right

My kite lines attached to a nail...

Note that each kite and control bar is different so check your owner’s manual.  Note that in the above picture of an Ocean Rodeo 4 line SLE 3.0 bar line set the red and blue kook proof extensions don’t count when measuring the line length so ignore them.  However, another brand might factor them in so it is best to read the manual.

While you have your lines all laid out check for wear and tear by inspecting each and every line.  Pay special attention to wear around the bar and at the ends of the lines where they attach to the kite.  Also check your depower line, chicken loop and leash.  Operate all safety release mechanisms and inspect them for damage, wear or contamination with sand/debris.  You depend on this gear for your life so take your time and if in doubt replace any worn/damaged components.

Ideally kiters should own two duplicate bars with lines.  That way you can use one and keep one as a spare.   If something is wrong with your main bar you are not tempted to ignore it or improves a patch to keep riding.  This also allows you to ignore a tangled bar and keep riding on your second bar until the wind dies and you can deal with your main bar at a later time.

I’d recommend the following schedule for inspecting your bar and lines:

  • immediately when you get a new bar before you use it
  • after every month of regular use
  • at the end of season before you pack your gear away
  • after any major incident with your kite
  • anytime your kite is flying funky

Kites waiting for riders to rig them and ride...

Maintenance Tips:

  • after each session wash your bars with fresh water to remove salt, sand and other gritty debris from lines, pulleys, safety releases, etc…
  • dry them out of the sun before packing them away
  • don’t expose to high temperatures like the back window of your car on a hot day

Kiteboarding Egypt & Venezula…

9 08 2010

Bike Friday Folding Stem Videos

9 08 2010

Some useful videos I found showing the folding stem for Bike Friday’s travel bikes in action.

Below are a couple install/how to videos for this stem.

The folding stem looks great.  If I was ordering my Bike Friday NWT from scratch I’d get a folding stem for it.

Liquid Force Kite Fish 5’3″

8 08 2010

Liquid Force Kite Fish...

Andy from Bellingham Kiteboarding loaned me a demo Liquid Force Kite Fish to try out.  Here is what he has to say about the board:

“I am very very excited about the New Liquid Force Kite Fish, and was excited the first time I saw a preproduction version at the LaVentana Kite Expo early this year.

This kite specific wake surfer comes complete with fins, footstraps, and a deckpad for just $349.99.  This is about half the cost of all other directional boards on the market, and will work better in most applications.  Here is why….

The Kitefish is the perfect board for anyone thinking about getting into a directional because it is easy to ride, and easy to learn to jibe on.  The width of this board is ample, and so learning how to get in and out of the footsraps is easier than almost any other board I have tried.

Another cool thing about this board, is that it can be ridden BACKWARDS.  As the ideal beginner directional, being able to chicken jibe and get out of the way of a crashing wave is going to be something that almost all other directionals can not do.  Sure, it doesn’t ride as well going backwards as forwards, but it is able to get you out of a situation quickly without having to jibe or switch toe side.   Actually, it goes upwind quite well while riding it backwards, which was a pleasant surprise.

For those you want to work on strapless riding, the straps come off in about 1 min with a screwdriver and you now have a fun toy to play with.  This board ollies and spins like a skimboard.  Even I have been working on shove-its, and I have only been riding it for a week.  The deckpad is great with or without booties, and offers padding if you happen to come down on your board after a missed strapless landing.  Super fun, and super versatile.  If skim is your style, be sure to checkout the LF Twinskim as well.

The other great characteristic of this board is its lightwind ability.  I know many people who have bought a surfboard because of the perceived light wind ability, just to be disappointed to find their twintip has the same or better light wind performance.   This is because lightwind ability is totally dependent on the rocker line.  Too much rocker kills light wind performance.   The KiteFish is made with a minimal amount of rocker with a flip in the nose to help deal with chop.  This gives the board a very good low end that will rival some of the traditional lightwind boards for light wind performance.  As a plus, the fins are small and efficient, which means that you can ride this board in water only inches deep.  Try that with a normal directional and you’ll end up breaking your fin, or possibly your face:).

At this price, I think this board is going to be revolutionary.  In our first week having this board, just about everyone who tried it, bought one.  People who had bought normal surf boards or surf style directional kiteboards are selling their used boards for more than this board costs, and switching over because it suits their style more.

Unless you are frequently riding huge waves in a surf environment, and are already skilled at using a directional board, this is the board for you.”

Bottom side of the Kite Fish...

I loaned the Kite Fish out to a bunch of riders at Nihtnat and chatted with a couple of Kite Fish owners I crossed paths with.  Here is the general consensus:

  • great low wind board
  • very floaty and forgiving ride
  • very loose with stock fins
  • lots of fun for all skill levels
  • great board to learn to ride strapless and learn to gibe on
  • tough durable construction
  • excellent value
  • foot straps are set really far apart

Removable foot straps...

Two issues with this board that almost everyone noted were that the foot straps were quite far apart and that the board was very loose.  I think Liquid Force should provide more inserts so that you can mount the straps closer together.  Having said that a lot of riders didn’t care because they wanted to ride this board strapless.  If I bought a Kite Fish removing the straps is the first thing I’d do.  As for the board being very loose – it is.  That’s a good thing and a bad thing depending on what you want to do with it, but the solution is really simple and cheap – just dig around the parts pin at your local kiteboarding or surf shop and find some cheapo fins to ride [see photo below].  That way you can swap in whichever fins make the most sense for the mission you are on that day.

Bargin fins installed for more traction...


  • Fuller rail shape with added volume providing more float and drive along waves
  • Variable beveled rail through mid-body to nose keeps the nose from catching outside edge, more forgiving off the lip and free styling in flat water
  • Sharp rail edge throughout back third of board giving quicker water release for improved speed and glide
  • Single to double concave hull allowing for smooth, efficient water flow with lift
  • Tri-fin setup for maximum versatility allowing you to adapt to your own riding style
  • EVA deck pad with arch bar, foot stop and proven Liquid Force Surf straps for a sure-footed control and comfort
  • Length = 5’3″
  • Weight = 7.9lbs

Small stock fins...

I can relate to what Andy has said above about riders who want to try a directional realistically assessing their need for a surfboard. I bought a surfboard last year thinking it was the logical move and tried to ride it strapless as well as with straps.  I didn’t have fun.  Looking back now it’s clear that I haven’t kited anywhere that had any waves worthy of a real surfboard and that as a light wind board there were better choices for sure.  I wish I had known about the Kite Fish.  It’s much easier to learn to ride strapless and gibe with.  It’s a better choice for the typical swell and wind driven waves that I generally ride.  The Kite Fish is also a better light wind board than the surfboard I had.

Rail shot...

Besides being easier to learn on and a better fit for my typical conditions I like the fact that the Kite Fish:

  • is not expensive at ~$350 so adding it to the quiver doesn’t hurt.
  • is very tough – unlike a surfboard so you don’t have to baby it and when you lend it out there is no worry that it will come back with a ding or worse.
  • nice quality and finish plus the graphics/styling looks pretty sweet for a board that isn’t expensive.

Graphics that don't suck!

Having just bought an Ocean Rodeo Mako King from Bellingham Kiteboarding I don’t have the budget to add any more boards to the quiver at the moment so I’ll cunningly try and hold on to this demo Kite Fish as long as possible!  I think I’d definitely like to have one for the 2011 season and keep it strapless.  It will be a super fun board to ride and a board I won’t mind lending out to anyone riding with me.  I’ll post a longer term review when I’ve had the chance to ride the Kite Fish more.

Tikit Folding Touring Rack Video…

7 08 2010

This video shows how easily the touring rack for the Tikit pops up and down.  I posted a review a few days ago here, but I think this video captures the ease of use better than static pictures.

One Way Tikit Upgrades Part 1…

4 08 2010

My Bike Friday One Way Tikit's current spec...


  • Brooks B17 w/ rain cover
  • Planet Bike Superflash
  • rear brake removed

My "new" black steerer tube...

The steerer is now black with the help of some electrical tape!

More comfy cockpit...

The cockpit:

Greenspeed Scorcher Rough Surface Test

3 08 2010

The most challenging road surface I ride regularly is a long wooden decked bridge on the Galloping Goose MUP here in Victoria BC.  It gives me issues with even my 700c wheeled bikes.  My Bike Friday Tikits with Greenspeed Scorchers do really well on this bridge.  I’m often overtaking folks on big wheel bikes who are vibrating so hard their teeth are about to come loose.  I can definitely feel the gaps between the wooden decking on my Tikits, but most of the impact is absorbed by my tires.  Having too much time on my hands I shot a video riding with one hand at a decent speed over this bridge.

Ocean Rodeo Mako King…

2 08 2010

Ocean Rodeo Mako King...

I brought a Naish surfboard with me to Baja last winter and gave riding it a shot.  The results were not pretty.  It was so floaty and different from my twin tip boards I had a hard time adjusting to it.  I ended up selling it and figured I’d ride my twin tips a bunch more then try another surfboard later.  Now that I have quite a few more days of riding under my belt I had the hankering for a surfy riding board again.  So I did some research and came across the Ocean Rodeo Mako King as an interesting option.

Mako King setup options...

The Mako King is a hybrid twin tip and surfy snowboard style kiteboard.  You can mount the straps/pads in the centre of the board and use on fin on each end like a typical Mako.  You’d have a nice big 165cm x 45cm light wind board.  You can also ride the Mako King with the bindings shifted to the tail with a 3 fin thruster setup for carving and slashing turns like a surfboard.  Want more options?  You can add custom deck pad and ride the King strapless.  Learning how to ride toe side?  The King can be ridden backwards even in directional mode so you can hit the toe side when and as much as you like without any pressure if you aren’t feeling uber confident.

My Mako King Mutant setup...

Since I’ve got a Mako 140cm twin tip I setup my Mako King in Mutant directional mode.  I used 3 H1 56mm fins [1 at the tip and two at the outside tail] as well as an 85mm surf fin in the centre.  I shifted my pads and straps to the rear as shown in the second picture from the top.  The result is a really floaty Cadillac ride…like plowing through 30cm of powder on a snowboard.  Carving turns and slashing waves was a blast.  Going upwind was crazy….I just kept cranking the board on its edge and pointing upwind and it didn’t complain.  I was able to angle way further into the wind than anyone riding with me.  The massive amount of flotation made me feel like I had so much time to correct any mistakes or adjust my kite/board without any worries. Definitely a forgiving ride.

Single fin at the tip...

I rode the King backwards on the single fin at the tip no problems and was able to cruise upwind like that.  Popping or carving to toe side was easy and I’ve never been able to ride toe side so naturally before. This is a great option to have.  If you need to to change direction you can do whatever makes the most sense and gets you out of harm’s way fastest.  Quite a contrast to most people learning on a surfboard where falling in and swapping the board around is the usual drill.

Ocean Rodeo pads and straps...

The Ocean Rodeo Bliss pads and straps are the same as on my Mako 140.  They work great, are comfortable and look sweet.  Nothing to complain about. Some folks are using a deck pad and either going strapless or using surf straps on their Mako Kings.  The Ocean Rodeo deck pad has holes so once you stick it on your King you can still go back to straps and pads if you like for some sessions.  I like having all those choices.

I love the classic graphics on the 2010 Makos...

Build quality and fit/finish is really nice on this board.  I especially like the classic graphics on the 2010 Makos.  They look sharp.  The King comes with all the fins you need to set it up as a twin tip or Mutant as well as pads/straps.  The custom Mako King deck pad is an aftermarket item as are surf straps.

165cm x 45cm = big!

Mako King Specs:

  • Duraclear top and bottom for extreme durability
  • Tapered ABS rails to take the hits
  • Massive Concave
  • Rugged snowboard style construction
  • Contoured 3D EVA foot pads for added riding comfort and grip
  • Grab Handle
  • Velcro adjustable foot straps
  • Sizes: 165 x 45cm
  • Max. 18 mm concave
  • Thruster fin configuration on Mutant end of board

The King has a ton of concave and rocker as well as rounded outline.  This makes it butter smooth in chop and when using it in twin tip mode gives a nice skatey feel when you aren’t edging hard.  In Mutant mode driving with the fins or in twin tip mode when you are edging hard it digs in and lets you power up wind easily.

Ripping with the King...

What I really like about the King is all the options I have in one board:

  1. large twin tip light wind board
  2. sweet directional wave board
  3. full pads/straps
  4. strapless with a deck pad
  5. deck pad and surf straps
  6. ability to ride directional toe side, gibe or backwards
  7. lots of fin options

5 mins with a screwdriver and you can walk down to the beach with a totally different board than you started with.  I don’t know of any other kiteboard that is nearly this versatile.

I would definitely recommend the Mako King to new kiteboarders over a skimboard or surfboard.  The King gives you the essential light wind board everyone needs as well as lets you progress from twin tip to directional at your own speed.  I think that’s ideal.  I wish I had bought a King as my second board rather than buying 2 or 3 boards I now have to sell since the King does everything they do and more.

Mako family photo...

The King is a big board and like all big boards it’s not as nimble as a smaller/lighter board.  I had no problem jumping with the King and spinning it, but it’s nowhere near as mobile as my Mako 140.  On the other hand the King is so easy and relaxing to ride it puts you into a different head space – definitely the right board for a soul session.  The kind that makes your face hurt from all the grinning and lets you appreciate each and every wave that crosses your path.

I think the Mako 140 and King are an ideal combo for me.  The 140 is fast, light and great for ripping up the water and jumping  aggressively.  The King is slower more chilled out when I want to cruise and carve.

Big fins...

I’m using 3 big fins on the tail of my King.  I’m not sure I need that much fin back there so I’m going to try a few different setups with smaller fins and see what I think.  I’ve also ordered a Mako King deck pad so I can ride this board strapless when I’m feeling the need for something new and challenging to learn.  I’ll report back with a long term review next spring.

So many boards so little time!

I picked up my Mako King from Bellingham Kiteboarding.  They had the best prices on OR gear that I could find and the service was great so I decided to take a drive over to WA and visit them.  I’ll post a bit more about the shop and kiteboarding in the Bellingham area when I get some free time.  Right now I need to wash my stinky gear and dry everything out!

Update: I’ve done some upgrades to my Mako King…read about them here.

Mo’ Nihtnat…

1 08 2010

I spent 3 days riding at Lake Nihtnat...awesome, but now I am sore all over...

I'm back in the city to rest, wash my gear and get some work done...

I didn't take my SUPs this time....mistake!

This tree I sit on at the beach is 56 years old...

My trusty little tent and a quiver of boards...

I was hanging out with a bunch of windsurfers...

I love my old truck for bombing bad logging roads...

Click on this image for more Nihtnat photos incl Sharon taking lessons...