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the older guys will always get eclipsed in performance by the new, younger kids. that, in itself, is not surprising.
ruben is no longer the crazy kid who does the biggest air or the most hard core kiteloops.
he needs to re-define his role in kiteboarding, otherwise his star will continue to fade...
the more impressive pro's out there, imho, are people like Dre and Susi Mai who, despite not winning anything in a long, long time, still manage to stay relevant and popular.
there's really not enough money in this industry for Best to start a bidding war with SS over Ruben. SS decided they couldn't afford him, and Best figured they'd snap him up for cheap.
i think it's a smart move on SS part. Ruben is definitely marketable, but not nearly as much as he once was.
Liquid Force Kites/Boards
Well said Adam, I think that sums it up pretty well. It's a tough industry and SS had a pretty big roster of a lot of top names over the years - some have moved on to other things, some jumped for more money as we're seeing now - many were given pink slips as a result of budget cuts. Martin Vari, Jeff Tobias, Ben Wilson, Youri Zoon, Mark Doyle, Ruben Lenten, I'm sure I'm missing some names too.
This is an interesting interview with Vari: http://www.kiteworldmag.com/interviews/ ... pretender/
I agree Ruben needs to redefine his role in kiteboarding, and you can see that he kind of is as the Len10 logo reads "Extreme Kiteboarding & Inspiring Lifestyle" which presumably will lead to marketing this or that and building a brand. As you say, megaloops alone will not be enough...
Interesting what Mauricio says too: "According to Slingshot Team Manager Mauricio Abreu, “Slingshot has always been a brand that builds both leaders and champions, but we don’t buy them. It is an end of a great era - a time when our products and Rubens riding literally took the sport to the highest level possible today. We are now looking forward to kiteboarding’s next era of champions to take the sport beyond what we are currently capable of.”
In the interview with Vari, it leads to same statement, the one you made, which is that it's always going to be the kids; they will be next. So, all of the others will do a few different things - transition to waves, be kiting ambassadors, start their own kite companies, and brand and market whatever there might be a market for that's associated with kiteboarding. But few can pull off that next stage in a kiteboarding career well.
Best also signed Brunela Pulido recently and she's the best competing woman out there with 4 world title at 19 years old. I red an interview from Zoon saying that he partly moved to Best for financial reasons. Best is investing a lot of money in marketing these days so they can sell $1,500 kites like SS!
Indeed, that's been at least a 7-8 year campaign so far for Best. I was driving on 880 today and noticed how nice one of the new Hyundai cars looked - very much like a C-class Mercedes and overall I think they have some pretty nice cars out. But would I want one?
Maybe it is just a matter of time though before a company can move beyond initial impressions of the low price = low quality perception and put themselves on par with the "big brands". The cost of Best gear has gone up steadily over the years, maybe like Hyundai, the products have evolved and become more refined and all that is left is the perception and branding hurdle to overcome.
Last year I replaced my 12m RRD Obsession with a BEST TS. Love it. I'm getting ready to replace my 10m rrd with a TS2. I can see that trend continuing next year (I'm trying to replace 1 kite per year and keep them rotating through that way).
I tried the kahoona for a week before deciding on the TS. Was just a better all around kite in my opinion.
I'm still using a slingshot bar. I hate the below bar depower of the SS bar. Next bar will definitely be something else because of it.
It's a good move by Best. They've struggled with the "low quality" perception ever since they were the low cost kite brand...but they've had high quality stuff for a few years now. By having top pros competing on their gear, they convince regular folks that their kites are worth the price.
It's the same reason why Sketchers now has a roster of Olympians using their shoes to win competitions.
Liquid Force Kites/Boards
Try the Best bars. I don'y ride Best kites but I do use the Redline bar. Its simple and functional, and the new model has a replaceable insert where the trim line passes through so you don't chew up as many trim lines.
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