Behind the design Evo 2022

On this instalment of behind the design, we catch up with designer Ralf Grösel to talk through the design and development behind the new Duotone EVO.

Hear the full interview

Hear the full interview

Welcome Ralf, talk us through the design goals for the 2022 Evo.

I would say that by having the Evo SLS in the range there was room to change the line-up. I was not focusing too much on the previous Evo classic, I was focused on the new material combination we can use for the Evo and also getting some design aspects and flight characteristics from the Evo SLS into the new Evo. That was our main goal, to sum it up, I’m really happy with the result, it was an amazing journey.

The SLS material on the Evo SLS is definitely a game-changer and something extremely important for my career as this is a combination and variable of new materials leading to new products. It was great to have a bit of distance from the Evo, being involved in the Evo SLS and Dice SLS design and then coming back to the Evo, it enabled me to reconsider a couple of flight characteristics and to approach it differently. I think I have produced the most commercial kite I have ever made in my life, this is something extremely complicated to achieve and I’m really proud of how it turned out.

"When you jump from the previous Evo to this new model it's quite a big difference, the kite still looks similar, but the feedback of the bar and the way it delivers performance to you, it’s just in a different league"

Ok, you mentioned you have made it more commercial, would you say with the Evo SLS in the range you have somewhat detuned the Evo Classic and has it been aimed at a different rider?

It is for a different type of rider than the Evo SLS, but it is not de-tuning, absolutely not, it’s actually the other way around. It’s making sure that the kite can be used in a wider field of applications. When saying I made it more commercial, I mean I have made it more accessible, more intuitive and this is something on a level that is really noticeable, like jumping from an Evo to an Evo SLS you can instantly notice the difference.

When you jump from the previous Evo to this new model it's quite a big difference, the kite still looks similar, but the feedback of the bar and the way it delivers performance to you, it’s just in a different league, it's so much easier and so great in terms of all the aspects necessary for you to progress as fast as possible. First of all, you should always have fun on the water and fun means there shouldn’t be any boundaries to access the performance the kite can deliver. I would say it is super easy and intuitive to ride throughout the entire range of sizes. They really feel very well aligned and similar and I think this is one of the cleanest setups I’ve ever done.

That sounds good, so let's delve a little more into the technical side, what parameters did you change to get these performance improvements?

I have changed a lot of aspects, the main changes are with the aspect ratio, the cone, the profiles, the tension settings and the bridal geometry. If you change one variable you get a new kite and as you see, I have changed pretty much everything! I added a small mini bridle to the outer tip of the new Evo in an identical way I did it to the Dice SLS. I found a feature that helps me control the steering and sheeting forces alongside the overall structural stiffness that is coming from a completely different model. It’s also not implemented on the Evo SLS as with the different material it was not necessary. But with the material combination on the Evo, the 140gsm material is the sum of all these changes and the kite feels more natural to you.

That's interesting, so it's an evolution and you are learning from products outside the Original range. For those not familiar with this kite can you explain its place in the range and who it would be best suited to?

The Evo is our all-around kite, we have two versions, the Evo and Evo SLS. The Evo is the kite for the weekend warrior, it’s super accessible, super intuitive, stable, easy to fly and re-launch. It has the right amount of steering and sheeting forces to progress fast and always feel connected to the kite. In some regards it's a little less aggressive than the Evo SLS, especially in extremely challenging conditions, for example, 25- 30 knots, choppy water and gusty wind, in these conditions the kite is super dampened, like having an air ride suspension. We designed it to be able to ride smoothly through the gusts and bumps and feel easy and safe. I think this is an important aspect of kiteboarding, you should always feel happy on the water and not too extreme, especially when you aren’t able to ride every day. It’s the ideal holiday kite, something that will always deliver regardless if you haven’t had the chance to access the water for let's say six months and then you are flying to Egypt for two weeks of holidays, this is the perfect kite for you. It does everything you need and still, the performance of these kites are amazing, you can still jump really high and do everything you want. In a nutshell, it's super intuitive to fly.

You mentioned the bridle adjustments, are there any other significant changes you think we should talk about?

Yes, one of the biggest impacts is the material as well, we have been using the 140gsm material that has been used for a few years in the Juice classic. This saves weight in general and brings it a bit closer to the Evo SLS. Penta TX on the SLS is a bit lighter but this is not the most important, it’s that the Penta is stiffer and the kite flies and sits in the window differently. It was extremely good to see the positive aspects of the Juice that could be implemented into the Evo, due to the material change. On the one side, we have the technical changes, the bridal has been changed, the arc has been reduced a little bit but the projected area on the kite has been increased which has allowed me to gain in the low end as there is now is more surface area that can catch the wind and create more power and then, of course, I have to adjust a lot of variables, I have to then change the profile, the position in the wind window is different and the entire tension settings to give the right feedback and the tip geometry also, but this is to fix it to make it round, but the most important impact are the bridal geometry, the arc and everything based on the material.

What sizes does the Evo come in?

The Evo comes in sizes 5 - 14 square meters. That's a huge range and it ensures that everyone can choose their 2-3 perfect sizes for their quiver. The small sizes are built in a way to make them as smooth as possible. A small kite has the tendency to fly a bit like a rocket ship and it's always the goal to make them easy and smooth and slow them down, and on the other side on the bigger sizes it’s the opposite challenge, the goal to make them as quick and responsive as possible and I think we have found a really good balance in this regard. As always I highly recommend using 11 and larger with the wide 24-meter line Click or Trust Bar and sizes from 10 and lower with the 22-meter narrower bar, this is how we test it and how we trim the kites. If you are looking for the sensation we are having on the water you have to purchase two bars otherwise it will result in a compromise.

And pumping pressure?

For pressure on the kite, 7 psi minimum, we always pump to 7psi plus one extra stroke as when you remove the pump a small amount of air can escape. If you pump it to 8 it definitely is a benefit and doesn’t harm this kite at all.


And does it have the same settings as the previous Evo?

We always try to make it as simple as possible with the three settings on the trailing edge pigtails. We have the factory medium setting and then hard and soft settings. It’s simple, for wave riders you would want to increase the turning speed but for a heavier rider, the soft setting is too soft as it suggests and doesn’t make any sense.

If you have more than 100kgs you can always stick to the medium factory setting but I would recommend trying the hard setting also, especially in terms of jumping, the kite will feel more crisp and direct and have less tendency of deforming which is a huge part to consider, these kites are an inflatable structure and always deforming, it’s not a solid metal sheet flying through the air so you should consider to the hard setting to allow the kite to stiffen up. My personal recommendation is to pump the kite up to 7 psi, have a ride and once you have really understood how the kite is working then change to the hard setting to really experience the changes and differences it makes for you and use the setting you prefer the most.