Matt Aiken volunteered for the job of reporting from the 2010 F-One importer's meeting in Mauritius. He will be reporting everyday on the new 2010 F-One gear as it is unveiled. Here is Matt's report from the first day on the water checking out the new 2010 F-One Kiteboarding gear.
So the trip was LONG but actually not too bad. My flight from Toronto to Paris was mellow, had two empty seats next to me so did the kind of fetal position stretch out thing and had a few hours sleep. Long, five hour lay over in the Paris airport, but met up with Michel (Canadian importer) and Nico (US importer) and hung out with them. Both awesome and mellow guys to travel with. Then boarded the long 11.5 hour Paris to Mauritius flight. I’d have to describe Air Mauritius as a step down from Air Canada, but I shouldn’t complain, despite the most uncomfortable seat in airline history, the flight passed ok and we arrive at 6:05AM just as the sun was coming up. On my flight was the rest of the guests F-One had brought for this week, I’m sure I’ve missed a couple of them, but we had the Dutch importer, UK importer, Canadian importer (Michel) and the US importer (Nico). Also we had some other mag/media types, Marina from Kiteboarder, the Kiteworld guys, Ikitesurf mag, and the Dutch magazine. A good group to spend the week with.
We checked into the Hotel India, which is a totally sick spot right on the beach in Le Morne. We checked the beach right away and it’s a perfect launch, some flat water out front, massive shallow flat water playground upwind, and huge breaking waves further out. Evidently it hadn’t been that windy the week before, but we got lucky, just after breakfast (phenomenal I might add, wonderful local fruits and juices, incredible coffee, fresh baguette, ham, cheese, scandalously undercooked but delicious fried eggs) the wind started to pick up and kites were rigged.
Looking out at the beach it was pretty obvious some big waves were happening. Our host and F-one founder Raphael Salles gave us the quick lay of the land. Evidently there’s always waves here but right now it’s particularly massive. The big waves crashing on the reef surrounding the lagoon meant lots and lots of current. So much so that if you ride further out and put the kite in the water it’ll be hard to re-lauch and you risk getting pulled out to sea. And the F-One rescue boat would not be on site today (waves too big to brink it into the lagoon). On that note it was time for kiting.
The launch site’s an awesome set up. There’s a nice wide beach right in front of the hotel, tons of room to rig. We’re located upwind of the main windsurfing area and I could describe it as a semi-private launch area. Downwind is the Club Mistra/Skyriders school and it gets quite a lot busier with lots of windsurfers on the water. From our location we launch into flat water and can either head upwind to a massive flat water area or head down wind a little and catch some fairly mellow waves. There’s another break further out where things get a little more exciting.
I think we got on the water a little before 11AM. I did my first session on a 11 metre Bandit 3 with a 6’ F-One Bamboo strapless board. I launched and right away was super powered. As instructed I stayed upwind and away from the strong current/no relauch/possible rip current short-cut to Australia zone. Well for about 5 minutes and went down wind and rode the mellow wave section. Nice uncrowded waves and strong sideshow wind. Perfect. The wind continued to pick up so I came in and grabbed the 9m. Always nice to be able to come in and just trade out kites. Rode for a couple hours, power nap and then another session on the 10m (managed to keep the 6’ strapless board). I made my way out the the big boy area for a few waves. It gets pretty darn big out there, kind of hairy. And I have to admit I gybed onto some really big ones that I pretty much just ran straight away from. Hey, it’s my first day and I was fresh from 20+ hours of airplane time! At least that’s what I told myself.
Pretty awesome first day. It was my first time riding the Bandits and I was really stoked with the kites. They feel super smooth, low bar pressure, turn great and have a nice sheeting range (not too much bar travel). Nice finish on the kites, nice bar, and (new this year) a good looking one-pump system. I only rode the one board (6’ strapless) but it was really nice, a little smaller than I am used to, but really good. Right away I was really comfortable on the kites and board. I’ll take some more techy shots of the kites and boards and send all that later. I also want to check out their twin tips tomorrow, the new Acid that looks sick. There’s also a proto type 5’2” fish that they are pretty excited about.
We finished the day with lagers at the bar and a nice meal. Excellent salads, pastas, great grilled fish, and as seems to be present with every meal hear, some good Indian food. After a long travel day and some good sessions on the water I might have ended up being that guy nodding off at his chair at the end of dinner. Did I mention the local lager (Phoenix) is delicious?
The F-one guys are pretty awesome and extremely gracious hosts.
Look for Matt Aiken's daily updates and more photo's from the 2010 F-One's distributors meeting on sbckiteboard.com