At a demo event recently, someone asked me ‘What makes your kites different to all the other brands?”
With the bewildering array of equipment available to the kite surf consumer at the moment, I thought this was a very valid question and I was surprised at the quantity of technical sales talk I came out with, so I thought I could include this in a series of blogs post to show it’s not just the big brands that are at the forefront when it comes to innovation. Any images of alternative brands I use are for illustrative purposes, and not aimed as criticism.
JN kites are designed principally by Micheal Nesler, who is from a successful aeronautical/paragliding design background, and also designed some key kites for big brands in the early days of kitesurfing. His concentration on aerodynamics and efficiency, coupled with some elegant and unique production methods give quantifiable performance advantages to all three kites in our range.
1. Perfectly curved leading edge segments
Fundamentals of aerodynamics state that smaller smoother surfaces improve performance. Compare a brick to a football, or a Landrover to a sports car.
If your kites’ leading edge is heavily segmented with harsh elbow joints, at each segment you have a vortex, and more drag slowing your kite down. Also at each point you have doubled up material and stitching, adding overall weight to the wing. This technique also adds stiffness to the airframe, as it distributes the load on the leading edge more evenly, rather than deforming at one point.
The reasons some other manufacturers use this less elegant method, is because straight lines are easier to model with CAD / aerodynamics software and get the approximate characteristics of the kite. It’s also much easier manufacturing wise, as calculating a 2D shape, which when inflated turns into a perfect 3D curved tube requires a lot of clever maths. All these elements equate to cost/time saving but sacrifice performance.
We have had the leading smooth leading edge design in the Wild thing and Prima Donna Range since the PD2 and WT2 in 2007/2008. The lack of drag/turbulence and extra stiffness and lower weight of the leading edge improves:
1. The forward flying speed of the kite (and therefore board speed)
2. Stability of the wing shape at it's top wind range
3. More power generation at lower wind speeds on apparent wind
4. Better upwind flying angle
5. More dramatic generation of lift from sheeting and redirection