Kiteboarding West Michigan & Northern Michigan
I hope you enjoyed this episode of sessions. This Rv trip was an absolute Blast! Blake and I have been talking about doing a “Ride with Blake” Road trip for two years now and it was more fun than we could have imagined. No doubt we’ll be doing a longer trip next spring working on a fresh playlist!
Like most of our sessions videos, we’ll be doing some gear talk on this episode. Normally we focus on our featured riders gear picks however, as we had three MACkite team members in this episode we’ll be writing up our 2019 gear picks.
MACkites newest ambassador Hilary is a New Orleans native who was introduced to kiteboarding just last year. Since then, she's kited in 6 countries and is loving every minute of it. She’s been working behind the scenes helping Blake film videos and getting as much kiting in as possible.
She learned on the Cabrinha Switchblade and the Slingshot Misfit. For 2019. She’ll be demoing a wide variety of gear and building her product knowledge. On this trip, she was getting acquainted with the Naish Pivot and the Naish Monarch from our demo fleet. In fact, the only piece of gear shes committed to for 2019 is her Mystic Gem Harness. Expect to see more of her on our instagram account and in more videos in the future.
Hilary's Take on the Mystic Gem
When I got the Mystic Gem, I have to admit I was a bit apprehensive. I had never tried a hard-shell harness before. Being new to the sport of kiteboarding, I like using the gear I’m most comfortable with. But when you try new things you learn new things.
Prior to trying this harness I thought that riding up was just something that was standard. To my surprise this is not always the case. The Mystic Gem doesn’t ride up much past my ribs now matter how long I ride. Before trying a hard shell harness I had just assumed that it would be less comfortable and cause rubbing and sore spots. Since getting the harness in September I haven’t had a single issue. The foam back and soft interior provide for a very comfortable fit. Though In my opinion, the best part about this harness is how much support it offers. With a long history of back issues and a surgery under my belt, I typically play it safe and ride with caution. However I’ve crashed, taken falls, and slammed my kite into the water without any injury to my back. This harness absorbs nearly all of the shock- which for me makes all the difference.
Blake's back on the NV
For 2019 I’m back on board with Liquid Force. They were my first sponsors and I’ve always loved how versatile the Envy (NV) is. I’m stoked to be able to ride on the same kite I learned on and to try out all the new toys! My Quiver this year is the 13.5 NV, the 9 NV and a 17.5 Solo for my kites.
For kiteboards, I’m using the 142 Echo paired with the LFK Boots. I’m stoked to get back into learning some unhooked tricks this year and pushing my riding in new directions! For lighter winds and because I still love straps, I’ll be using the 148 Overdrive paired with the Liquid Force Pro pads. Boots are fun but I really enjoy the flexibility and freedom of footstraps.
For my foil I’m on the Galaxy board and the Impulse foil set. I wasn't able to use this on our RV trip but I’m excited to get back to Florida and try out these new toys!
For 2019 I’m really mixing things up. At least with my board. For the past 3 years, I’ve always used a heavy rocked board, often one made to cross over as a cable board. This year, I’ve been using the Duotone Team Series. The difference has been noticeable on the water. I’m able to get more board speed and pop more effectively with this board. I’ve really appreciated it on light wind days. It’s added a couple knots to the bottom end of my riding for sure.
The landings are actually quite soft for how stiff and flat this board is as well. This seems to be common with most of the Duotone boards I’ve demoed so far. The largest difference is the track like feel of this board compared to my last two. The Naish Stomp and the Cabrinha Custom. It’s not quite as playful as they were but now that I’m used to a more locked in feel it seems I’m getting more water time and making more progress with the extra pop and lightwind performance of the Team Series.
For kites, I’m crossing over to the Duotone Dice. The 13 and the 9. For lightwinds, I’m holding out for the 2019 Juice and highwinds I’m using the 6 Evo. The Dice has been a great choice and there is a good chance I’ll be choosing it for 2020 as well. For my highwind kite, the Evo I’m really taken aback. The wind range and stability of this kite is amazing. Last year, I used a 6 m Dice and it was fun but a little squirrely for the rough conditions I ride in. It occurred to me that the Evo might be an excellent kite in those conditions and no doubt it was the right choice for me and the kind of riding I prefer.
Update for the winter
With Blake riding the NV, I’ll be getting a lot more water time on his kites and we’ll be doing some Versus videos and reviews this winter down in Florida. We’ll also be testing the new 2019 Slingshot RPM among other this with him and Hilary. With our new playlist format Blake and I will be getting creative and more granular with our trick tips this year too. We’ve already started planning out the next playlist and our next trip so stay tuned for that as well.
Ryan (Rygo) Goloversic
Just a dude from a kite shop testing all the gear one session at a time.
Many people dream of quitting their job, traveling the world and pursuing their passions. Rygo is one of those people who pulled the trigger. About eight years into a postal career, he decided to change everything and travel as a freelance videographer & writer. This took him from coast to coast and a variety of countries. Nowadays you can catch him on the phones, doing lessons, or working on videos. Of course, he still makes a point to travel as often as possible. His mission is to help people and share the stoke with his customers and students alike. Get out there and kiteboard.
Producer of: Ride with Blake I Sessions I Versus I Destinations I Foil Friday