We had a chance to catch up with Cameron Biehl, our latest True Ames team rider for kite racing. He's actively involved in designing and making his kite race fins. Here is what cam had to say about the new CNC project and the progression of kite racing equipment.
Well into our third year of Kite-racing development, we have slowly ticked the boxes toward going faster with a higher degree of control. The boards have gotten progressively wider and thus more stable, and our rocker and outlines have developed along this same theory of control. We seem to have plenty of power in the kite when you are rigged correctly, so its more about holding on rather than creating power. Its like motorcycle racing on the water, all the power you can handle is in the twist of your wrist but its more about reading the terrain and holding on; knowing your limit is part of the game but the further down the road we go; the more comfortable we are becoming at those top speeds. Part of that is the human aspect, and part is due to our equipment.
The fins have also run in parallel with this same theory of control. A reduction from 4 fins to 3 has dramatically reduced not only tip drag, but lift in the back of the board, which can be hazardous to ones health in big breeze and big waves! We had the master hand of Chuck foil a few tri-sets for us last year and even got a couple thursday night Wins on them. Once we had figured out the geometry and area, Chuck decided to help us out with his new CNC machine and we were really able to dial in our thickness to chord length percentages as well as the dynamics (flex characteristics) of the fin. We have locked in to a specific outline dictating the stiffness and center of area on the fin. When compared to our past fins which were merely old windsurfing or hand shaped specials, the newer CNC foils have a much more "slippery" feel, but in a good, faster forward way, not like the slip sideways feeling one gets when you jump back on a surfboard after race-boarding. Also the precision potting method has allowed us to guarantee our fins are at the correct cant angle and rake, which can vary depending on the rocker line of the hull and the boards attitude when skipping over chest high chop. -Cameron Biehl
We as riders are getting more and more stoked because our equipment is not only becoming more refined, but also easier to ride! This year will be very interesting in the San Francisco racing scene as a majority of the fleet is on the box rule boards, whereas last year only about 15% of the racers pushed their boards to the limit. I am stoked to be not only riding for, but throughly working with True Ames Fins to not only push my own racing to go faster, but to create a product that the public can go out and be competitive and in control on as well!
For More pics and video check out true ames kite race fins