24/10/2018 | THE WORLD’S FAVORITE FREERIDE KITE – LITHIUM V10
Having reached its 10th production version, the Lithium is no newcomer and has been tweaked and tested to arrive at the current design, which we are very proud of. With a focus around plug & play usability, durability, and versatility the Lithium v10 is well positioned within the product line to be the go-to kite for beginners through to intermediate riders looking for the perfect all-rounder.
The Lithium was first introduced into the Airush range in 2010, making it the longest standing model in our kite lineup. The market warmly welcomed the first release of the Lithium with great auto-relaunch as a key factor to the kite’s success, as well as the introduction of the low aspect ratio, which gave the kite a generous wind range and helped immensely with gust response. This was revolutionary for the kiting industry and opened up possibilities of kiting in locations that were otherwise too gusty to manage. You could simply park the kite in the window, manage the power by sheeting the bar in and out, and the Lithium would just keep pulling like a truck.
Between 2011 and 2012, the Lithium was changed from a 4 strut to the current 3 strut configuration, and in 2014 the Load Frame was introduced to the Lithium series to further increase the durability and handling of the kite. Other than these significant changes, the Lithium has undergone only minor tweaks from year to year based on market feedback.
History lesson aside, we’re here to talk about The World’s Favorite Freeride Kite, and back it up. The Lithium has received great praise, and we’ve addressed the criticisms since its first release in 2010. Now, ten product versions later, the Lithium has been gradually refined to get the kite as dialled in as it is today.
Behind all good products, you’ll find a thorough development process. At the top of this hierarchy, we have the product designer, without which the design would remain but a dream. Then, at equal levels of importance to a brand as Airush, we have our development team riders and of course, our loyal customers who provide support and feedback through social media, magazine tests, forums, and personal communications at the local beaches.
Since 2010, the man behind all the kite designs is Mark Pattison, one of the earliest members of the Airush collective still with the brand. Working closely with a group of talented athletes, Paddo as he is commonly known, has brought some of Airush’s most innovative developments forward, including the Airush Load Frame.
Paddo is currently working with Airush International team rider Victor Hays, who had the final say on this year’s tweaks to the Lithium v10. We recently caught up with Victor to get his take on the Lithium as a Freeride kite. This is what he had to say:
“Since I joined the Airush Team in 2016, the Lithium has been my go-to Freeride kite. The plug and play characteristics of the Lithium make it one of the easiest kites for riders of all levels to enjoy. Having a large wind range, I am able to ride my 12m in a variety of conditions just by changing my riding style and working on different techniques.”
At this point, how we are benchmarking the term “Freeride” should first be established. At Airush, we see freeride as the conglomerate of riding styles ranging from your first boosts on your twin tip, through all of your first unhooked manoeuvres. It includes basic foil and wave riding, strapped or strapless. It is the style you want it to be and it’s the most popular aspect of the sport, encouraging progression, catalyzing smiles, and keeping us coming back for more session after session.
On the other end of the Freeride spectrum, you will find competition antics and products that are so zoomed into a specialist field that your quiver suddenly doubles or triples in size. This is the beautiful thing about freeride. You decide what you wish to do on the day, tailored to the conditions on offer.
Building a kite for Freeride, a genre of the sport that is so broadly defined that it could consume more than 90% of the market, it becomes ever so important to rely on market feedback when developing and fine-tuning the product. Essentially our customers are our development riders when it comes to the Freeride space, and for this reason, we took market feedback particularly seriously when working on the Lithium.
The Lithium has received many great reviews from reputable magazines over the years, and it is with these statements and our feedback from distributors and happy customers alike, that we have come to share with you, The Worlds Favorite Freeride Kite.
The Kiteboarder (2014) – “Top marks for the Lithium definitely puts it as one of the test leaders in versatility and ease of use.”
Kiteworld (2014) – “The balance, speed and steering on the Lithium are absolutely spot on for freeriding.”
Kitesurfing Magazine (2015) – “Test riders always point out the ease-of-use and reliable pull of the Lithium.”
Kiteworld (2015) – “has plenty of speed, has great depower and power, incredible relaunch and is just very easy to use. It’s absolutely one of the most plug-and-play kites out there.”
Kiteworld (2016) – “We have ridden the Lithium for many years and each year we see only minor tweaks in the pursuit towards intermediate Freeride perfection.”
Kitesurfing Magazine (2016) – “The Lithium truly sits in a category that spans multiple disciplines and skill levels, making it a premium all-around kite that most riders will never outgrow.”
The Kiteboarder (2017) – “Testers gave the Lithium high praise for its user-friendly handling, expansive range across various wind levels and solid steering response.”
Kiteworld (2018) – “There aren’t many kites that are so good as a first kite that truly ticks so many levels of cross-over ability and will last you for so long.”
In closing, no matter your relationship with kiting, it is important to slack off at times. Head down to your local beach with your closest friends and family, or head down to that uncharted location for a soul searching solo ride. If you are not having fun out there it may be time to question your choices.