Introducing the Ultra Team
Defining the future of minimalistic lightweight performance design for foil, freeride, and surf.
A more responsive, faster, and lighter version of the original Ultra, reinforced with Ho’okipa Ultra PE material.
Featuring a thinner, higher pressure leading edge to reduce drag and allows for a higher angle of attack when riding upwind as well as a fixed bridle for direct steering. The unique blend of efficiency, stability, and responsiveness creates an extremely versatile product.
Conceived as the ultimate kite for the minimalist, the single strut Ultra continues to lead the revolution of foil and light-wind freeride. From this incredible base, we have developed the Ultra Team and the result is supercharged responsiveness coupled with sublime handling, and of course the long-term performance you expect from Airush.
Developed in partnership with Challenge Sailcloth, the Ho’okipa Ultra PE leading edge and strut composite material is 25% lighter and 10x stronger than traditional fabrics. This allows for 50% higher pressure, creating increased stiffness combined with a thinner leading edge.
As a base material, Ultra PE is up to 32 x stronger compared directly to polyester, with the Ultra PE fiber being 15x stronger than steel at the same weight and 2x lighter than Carbon Fiber. Ultra PE fiber is so light that it floats on water.
Once integrated into Ho’okipa´s unique woven structure, a high amount of material in the composite is structural, allowing us to optimize all areas of the construction.
Understanding the characteristics of this material is the key to the responsiveness of the Ultra Team – the process of inflation places a higher tension on the stiff fabric and you feel that immediately. The biggest combined benefit of the Ho´okipa is the ability to run high tension without sacrificing longevity. This higher tension leading edge and strut creates a much more responsive frame that responds quickly to rider input and keeps the kite stable.
Running up to 50% more leading-edge pressure, this creates a stiffer structure and ultimately allows us to run a reduced diameter high pressure leading edge and struts. The thinner LE reduces the drag on the kite, allowing a higher angle of attack when going upwind, or traveling at a higher speed. Which is also ideal in more offshore wave conditions to help keep the rider on the wave face.
Utilizing the same Ultra PE primary fiber as the leading edge and struts, the load frame carries much of the primary load running through the canopy.
Ho’okipa Ultra PE fabric is 25% lighter than traditional Dacron leading-edge materials. With the 5m weighing in at under 1.5kgs, this is the lightest production 5m we have ever made and this reduced weight keeps the kite flying even in the lightest conditions.
Considering how small the Ultra Team packs down with its reduced weight, and crazy low end, it will become your ultimate travel partner. When it comes to finding the future of lightweight performance design for foil, freeride, and surf, look no further than the Ultra Team.
Kite Specifications & Weights
Frequently Asked Questions
How did you come up with the idea of the Ultra Team?
We are constantly looking at new materials, chasing lighter weight and higher pressures (Stiffness) has been in the development program for at least 5 years. We worked with a company called Dyneema Corp on a new generation Dyneema laminate (replacing Cuben Fiber) but there were key issues we could not overcome even with material amendments, from there we worked with Aluula for a bit before moving to Hookipa for this application.
The evolution of the idea was a typical example of combining a few people input. Dave Kay, our design engineer, made a passing comment he was not convinced about using laminates (I had been chasing these primarily), he felt we need to keep looking at wovens for longevity. The engineer at Challenge (Nate Masopust) mentioned we were on the absolute limits of the polyester (Dacron) performance for higher pressures and would need to keep looking into different materials. From this you start to build an idea of what the material might need to look like and exploring the options.
We then spoke further with various technical teams we had worked with in the past. The team at Challenge (Ben Bainbridge, Hale Walcoff and Nate) had been developing a unique woven ultra PE for other applications and it looked promising even though it is a difficult process. We already used Ultra PE in the load frame and in the earlier laminates so it made sense, we began testing with promising early results.
What is the difference with other comparable materials?
Read more on the Ho’okipa page here.
Is the new technology going to be used in other models? (Lithium, Union , One etc)
Yes, we do expect to use this technology in key models in the future. It is expensive so we need to get an idea of the market demand and see where it brings the most benefits.
Will Airush continue with the Original Ultra?
Absolutely, the Ultra is an extremely versatile kite and one of our most popular models. The V3 bridle increases ease of trim and depower, larger leading edge allows the kites to sit further back in the window for increased stability and the lower price point appeals to the customer looking at an intermediate price point.
What sort of physical weight reduction are we going to see in a 9m for example?
The fabric itself is 25% lighter so it is dependent on the model and size, but the weight savings are between 10 and 20%. However, the benefits go way beyond weight saving and more into the ability to reliably run higher pressure and have enhanced material performance. This result in increased stiffness, efficiency and responsiveness along with the weight reduction.
Have any manufacturing changes had to be made to accommodate the new cloth or is the same as building a Dacron framed kite?
One of the key benefits of the fabric is the manufacturinge process, which is very similar to a Dacron frame kite as it is a woven fabric. As the loading is higher, we have had to rework the seam assembly to deal with this, but it is still within the current systems of assembly. It can also be repaired by traditional methods if it does get damaged.
Why did you choose the Ultra for the first implementation of Ho’okipa in your kite range? Do you plan to implement it across your range?
The Ultra was originally developed as a concept kite to enable us to push the boundaries of light wind design. Our Team Series products are part of a collection that showcases our kite and board models that sit at the pinnacle of all Airush products, hence the Ultra Team.
We are looking at the implementation into other models as we get feedback from the market and continue our development.
Has the Ho’okipa material enabled you to slim the tube diameters at all for the Ultra Team?
Yes, that has is been a keynother benefit, the thinner LE reduces the drag on the kite, allowing a higher angle of attack when going upwind, or traveling at a higher speed. This is also ideal in more offshore wave conditions to help keep the rider on the wave face.
How have long-term wear tests with the new fabric performed?
One of the benefits of the Ultra PE materials is the resistance to wear. Cut and abrasion resistance is 40% higher than Aramid when on a weight for weight basis. It is the strongest yarn today for making cut-resistance gloves, high-strength ropes, and bulletproof fabrics.
For the less technically inclined user, what’s the most significant performance enhancement they are going to experience with the new fabric?
Ho’okipa kites are stiffer, lighter, stronger and more responsive.