I don't know where I came up with that title
. Anyway I've been meaning to post about the Kurtis goggles for a while, as i'm stoked on them and they are a small So Cal company making a great product that i'd never heard of. I'm a doctor so my eyes are just about the most important thing to me, just barely beating out my new kites of course!... But, I've recently been having some eye trouble. I have a few floaters in my vision, and after a long kiting session I thought they seemed worse. My eyes felt like something was in them for a few days after, like a corneal abrasion if you've ever had one. Anyway, my ophthalmologist, told me that I didn't have a retinal detachment (the big worry with floaters), which was good. It didn't take a genius to figure out that the uncomfortable feeling was irritation to my eyes from something related to kiting. My question was, is this the salt water irritating my eyes? That wouldn't make much sense since saline solution for eyes is basically salt water.... maybe it was blowing sand or grit in the water, also didn't seem too likely. I concluded this irritation was basically an eye sunburn from all the glare. Anyway, this got me looking for the best glasses for kiting, and following links about eye sunburn got me to Kurtisusa.com
I needed polarized, floating, and super durable. I push it hard, F16's, down loop front rolls, and lots of crashes... I hate to name brands and speak poorly, so i'll try not to, but I had a pair of the glasses most of us have tried for kiting and I always worried about the lens pushing in or the frame cracking after a super hard fall. Lets face it, any hard plastic can break and I've had the lens come out of the glasses. Eye irritation is one thing, but having a lens go through my cornea wasn't an option. I did my homework and was looking at polycarbonate lenses and all kinds of goggles when I finally arrived at Kurtis.. I was surprised there is like one mention of these things on kiteforum in 3 years??. I called Kurtis and asked him a few more questions about them, he offered to send me a set to check out and I could return them if they weren't for me. Anyway, I've used them for a month now and these things are frickin great. Here is what I can tell you. Btw I picked up the Duke model which seemed like it would fit my face the best.
-They are made of flexible medium soft polarized plastic: So absolutely no chance of breakage, these would tear before breaking.
-The optics and coverage is phenomenal, no distortion, I can barely see the rim in my field of vision.
-They cut through the glare like any good set of polarized goggles do.
-The are 100% UV protecting
-They are very comfortable and have custom glued on dense foam pads in 3 places, nose and temples to hold the glasses in place away from your face and to prevent fogging. The unanticipated advantage of this is that they have such a good friction hold that I can put them on my forehead if I want and not even notice they are there and put them on when the glare gets bad, put them back up when the sun goes down, etc....
-They come with a leash system that at first I though seemed a little chintcy but turned out to be genius, its a durable foam material (sort of almost soft wetsuit material) that has a loop to go around your neck, and then in the back another loop that attaches to the strap of the goggles. The goggles strap is made of the same foam with a velcro attachment for adjustment at 3 places.
-At first I was going to put a nylon strap like the sea specks on it, but after using the foam strap i'm completely sold. I think aesthetically this is a tough point. Having a flexible foam band for the head strap makes them look less polished but the degree of comfort and adjustment this allows is great.
-They have a thin rubber rim around the frame
-They fit completely comfortably under a helmet.
-They are very resistant to fogging, i've never had them fog
-I thought the water beading was acceptable and not too bothersome. This is par for the course and one of the drawbacks of glasses on the water. The Kurtis bead just about the same as I remember for the other glasses. I was using my finger to wipe the beads out and that worked well, but adding a coat of rainex really makes a huge difference.
I've taken some huge headfirst crashes in them and they either flip back over my shoulder or stay in place. I never worry about them breaking, and I think they may add a level of initial protection.
The final piece of the pie is that my eyes feel great, maybe the best in a long time. I've had plenty of the dirty water in my eyes which makes me think my theory about eye sunburn was correct. I didn't want to use glasses, I was really resistant and nothing is going to be perfect. These are my go to for Stand-up paddleboarding and Mountain biking now. I think the most important thing is safety when adding a new piece of equipment. Putting hard plastic in front of your eyes is just dangerous in my mind if you are going to anything more than mow the lawn. I feel confident the Kurtis goggles could only help protect my eyes in a bad crash. In my mind that is worth the cost alone.