I might be missing something but it looks like Kai is using a 900USD surfboard ... How do you explain such a choice ? Maybe Naish doesn't do race boards ? or foil ? That last one would have been more interesting.
To me it doesn't really give a good image of kitesurfing. I only see one more very impressive video of those AC72. Kai really looks like a nice guy though, that part is good.
The Taaroa foilboard is probably the fastest hydrofoil at the moment, and unfortunately Brian Lake on a foilboard could not go upwind faster than the aC72:
But Kenny was doing a downwind race by the looks of it? For downwind, foils are not the fastest kite gear yet, I think a normal race board would be the fastest kiteboard in that department (but surfboards might be close in strong winds?) It would have been nice seeing someone like Johnny on a raceboard against the AC 72's:
If we are actually serious about competing with $15 million dollar yachts, and freakish sailboats like sailrocket, we need to look at working on kites that are built just for speed. Currently we have kites with round leading edges, but it would seem possible to create an inflated leading edge that is oval shaped as well as struts that are flat and wide but still hold shape. If you look at the sails on most performance craft you see stringers in the fabric to reduce flutter and make a more rigid foil. This could be done with kite fabric as well. We could hide all the valves behind the leading edge under fabric so that it doesn't create more drag. A lot has been done on the board side of things. We are already riding on hydrofoils!!! The only thing we haven't improved much is the kite itself.
Yip, it would be nice if someone pushed the design envelope of the kites. The racing scene is at least adding steady improvements to the kite performance, but I agree that no one is really pushing the limits with kite designs and I am sure the improvements could still be phenomenal, but difficult.
It is a pity that kites are so time consuming to make. I suspect that amateur kite makers would be much more likely to push the envelopes of what can be done than any kite company R&D would be willing to risk. But most people that consider making a kite themselves look at the cost and effort and forget the idea. I know I would be making kites and trying cool ideas if it was cheap and easy for sure.
"If your wondering why i used a surf shape kiteboard versus a raceboard or foil it is because the course was straight down wind, the day before while training I tried those different boards and had a higher average and top speed on the surf shape. Just incase you were wondering."