We are specialized in kiteboard construction and only work with high quality materials. Components like carbon, fiberglass, inserts, etc. are provided by European-based companies. For example, we use one of the best top sheets available on the market produced by Isosport, who are Austria-based. Europe is simply the best location and deliveries from our providers to factories are very fast. It takes just a couple of days to get what you need. Another reason is that the factory is the result of a joint set up. In 2009 we set up a new manufacturing partnership with whom we still steadily grow together with every new development and project. To create a new model it is essential to develop all prototypes applying the techniques we use for serial production. There is an incredible amount of detail you have to account for, and you have to be on site and continually react. Since we are based in Barcelona, our factories are just a few hours away. Having the factory close to distribution makes operations much more flexible. We are able to produce bigger quantities just before the main season and throughout the year on customer demand. This has two main advantages: Constant availability of kiteboards and the ability to react. In case a specific size is not available we are able to deliver it within three weeks. It is very different from a one or two time shot production, where you have to wait three months for the new arrival by boat.
Mr. Blank personally designs all kiteboards from scratch. Each kiteboard has its own attributes and it only makes sense to launch a new board concept if it offers a significant advancement for the industry. Lots of input and ideas come directly from our customers and team riders as they are out in the field. Sometimes inspiration comes from other sports or motor industries. What can also happen is that a new kiteboard concept is on hold for a longer period of time until we find the key to move it forward. This can depend on materials and/or techniques. Once we pass that stage, we develop the first prototypes and test them directly. We produce a lot of prototypes throughout the year and we lead all modifications and changes on site until we get to the final product.
BLANKFORCE kiteboards are made to withstand a lifetime. That’s why we use the best materials and industrial technology to make each Blankforce kiteboard a very competitive and durable riding toy.1. CNC shaped Paulownia wood core:
For the core, we do not compromise, and this means that we use wood. It is a very strong material and as it ensures a smooth ride. Paulownia wood is an extremely water-resistant exotic wood that has excellent mechanical properties. It offers the best balance between strength and weight (very light). Thanks to the abundance of natural fibres that are all positioned length wise to the kiteboard, the wood transmits the impulse towards the board edges. The wood core consists of battens that are assembled and laminated with high pressure to assure the best quality and characteristics.
We apply ABS rails to all kiteboards as edges are exposed to impact, like the front and rear bumper of a vehicle. Therefore, we use ISOSPORT ABS battens that are injected with special epoxy resin directly into the Wood Core, building the outline.
We use an infusion-process to add the epoxy to the fibers before it reaches the press. This avoids air between the layers and optimizes board performance and durability. The process of infusion and covering the top layer at the same time is an important step of the construction process. We apply this technique to all the BLANKFORCE kiteboards.
The laminated unit with the wood core, glass and carbon fibers, ABS outline, inserts and topsheet is then placed in the aluminium foam that will give the kiteboard its final shape. The press is heated step-by-step to reach 80 degree for the Glass construction and 95 degrees for the Carbon construction, which uses a different type of epoxy. Pressure is also adjusted during the backing process in order to eject the abundance of epoxy.
After the press, the kiteboard looks like a rectangle and needs to get back to the CNC machine that will cut the final outline. The rails must be sanded by hand to get the perfect angles. The topsheet protection must be removed, and then the board is ready to pass the quality test.
Product releases depend on the type of kiteboard. The high-end carbon boards like MK5, ENDURO, and ADVISORY follow a different lifecycle pattern. They have a longer development stage (one year at least) and are very different from each other with regard to design (channels, double concave, bevels, etc.) and performances (flex, speed, pop, etc.). Therefore, we maintain them for at least three years. We may renew them with some minor changes (design) or with improvements.
With kiteboards there is just one way to get standout features: Through craftsmanship and the selection of the finest materials. We only use Paulownia wood as it offers the best ratio between strength and weight. Strength is very important in the press and backing process. This material has the right internal resistance under maximum pressure in order to spread the epoxy homogeneously. More and more riders are switching to boots and for this reason we added extra stainless steel inserts. Boots produce a much higher load on the inserts so they must be fixed into the wood core as firmly as possible. We tested many different constructions and achieved the best result by laminating the inserts between the glass/ carbon layers on the bottom side. The result is that the kiteboards reach a breaking strength of 1,100 lbs. per insert! All the boards are 3D designed on top for thinner edges and a stiffer profile between the feet and more flex in the tips. They also feature semi-translucent graphics. This means we set the bar very high and each kiteboard has to be perfect and the flaws cannot be hidden. Particular attention is also given to how the carbon and fiberglass layers are positioned. In some cases we have to use different layers and structures to produce the desired effect. In these cases experience, know how, and the choice of materials are fundamentally important.
The three models are very easy to distinguish as each one is very specific to a riding style. The ADVISORY Carbon kiteboard is a full carbon board with biaxial and quadaxial layers that spread the rider’s force in a circular manner. It provides maximum stiffness and locks the torsion. The construction is very appreciated by pure wakestylers who are able to handle a massive pop. It’s highly recommended to ride this kiteboard with boots. The MK3 Carbon kiteboard is built with 45° biaxial glass topped with unidirectional carbon fibers from tip to tip. The unidirectional carbon fibers work like a bow and direct the rider’s impulses and forces to the tips directly. Freestyle riders need the speed and control provided by the unidirectional carbon for high jumps. The control in choppy water is awesome and it is a really fast kiteboard. The LOGIC freeride kiteboard is built to provide more comfort. You do not need any particular skills to ride it. The triaxial glass construction offers strength and will easily satisfy anyone who has started and wants to progress in the sport. It is really forgiving and you feel confident at all times. The straighter outline is highly appreciated for its upwind abilities.
There are three sizes available: A compact kiteboard (139x46) that fits in any board bag for traveling purposes, a longer kiteboard (146x46) with carbon construction and a larger one (159x44) for ultra light wind. The 159 DRIVE has convex rails for improved upwind abilities and has two extra heelside fins. This means you need less angle and can use more board surface for early planning. The kiteboard also glides longer in lulls. This board comes with four standard fins (4.8 cm) and two additional center fins (5.5 cm).
At first sight the two boards seem similar, but you can ride the LOGIC 140 freeride in a much wider wind range including really strong winds. It has a rounder outline and is 2cm thinner than the compact DRIVE 139 Light Wind kiteboard. It was designed for taller and hefty riders who are looking for a dynamic board for freeride. The DRIVE 139 is a “pocket size” light wind kiteboard that fits in any board bag and the outline is totally square. The special Trapezoid 3D Cap has been designed to offer more stiffness on the heelside while maintaining a lot of flex on the toeside for blind tricks. It is a must have and easy to ride kiteboard that let you enjoy lighter wind days.
The ENDURO Freestyle/Wakestyle and ADVISORY Carbon Wakestyle are two completely different boards. While the ENDURO is a special kite park (and cable park) kiteboard with triple stage flex and hybrid construction, the ADVISORY Carbon kiteboard has a double concave and a stiff 100% carbon construction which is best with boots and on open waters. We used the finest and lightest carbon layers available on the market and riders notice it right away. The ADVISORY Carbon kiteboard did not follow the ordinary R&D process. It was more a project for myself. I come from skateboarding and the stiffer the board, the more pop you will get. At the beginning my objective with the ADVISORY Carbon was to produce a carbon board just for myself, without compromise. To control the tremendous pop, I focused on the bottom shape: A double concave with a pronounced center edge. I prefer to ride this board using 2.0 cm fins for a loose feeling during heavy landings. It seems that I’m not the only one who loves it! The good reviews are evidence. It is difficult to explain the ADVISORY kiteboard in words. It is a question of feeling and you should just try it to feel the difference.