We recently had contact with Gaastra Kiteboarding team rider Jeroen Gerritsen again. Jeroen is an avid kite surfer and works in the shop at Eurofuncenter on the Oostvoornse lake. Really someone who knows a lot about all aspects of kite surfing and the differences in material. This is also the case with Gaastra Kiteboarding. We found out that Jeroen already owns a set of new Gaastra Pure 2021 kites and a Watts 2021 kiteboard. We took the opportunity to ask Jeroen some questions about the GA Kiteboarding 2021 line-up.
How long have you been sailing with Gaastra Kiteboarding kitesurfing equipment?
“How nice that you want to pay attention to Gaastra. I just want to say briefly that Gaastra actually did a re-branding to GA kiteboarding some time ago. With their sometimes somewhat limited marketing budget, this has not become clear everywhere, but since the re-branding the kites are actually flying much better than before and in terms of material, much more detail is now being thought of. I have been kitesurfing since 2000, and have been sailing Gaastra (now GA kiteboarding) since 2008. In the early phase of GA kiteboarding I spent a lot of time in Tarifa to think along and help with the development of the new products. ”
Why did you choose Gaastra? In other words: What binds you to Gaastra?
“Actually, a bit like I said above, I have been sailing with this brand for years. In addition, I sail many other brands and models for comparison. Ultimately, GA, just like the other major brands, wants to produce the best kitesurfing products only at a reasonable and fair price. What binds me to this is the test-design-retest principle with a very nice team. The kites and boards have to sail as kiters want. Any feedback is appreciated and applied to the new production. It's nice to see you again! ”
What does Gaastra stand up to other brands?
“GA Kiteboarding wants to make kite surfing accessible by offering good products for a reasonable price. By spending less money on marketing and focusing on good, affordable products, they are more based on the buzz marketing principle. Doesn't everyone save a lot of money? ”
Can you tell us something about Gaastra's 2021 line-up?
“Well do you want an honest answer? 😉…. It will of course be great! The most famous and all-round kite from GA is the Spark. That kite falls under the delta-shape models, is therefore suitable for a wide target group and beginners in particular can appreciate the stability. During the development phase we only thought that that kite should also be able to do something in 2021. It has been given a mountain with low-end power so that you can get away super fast, have a hang-time that can be compared to a high-performance kite and a rotation speed where you can run great mega-loops when things really go wild. All in all, we have developed a kite that feels stable with more performance than before and which can rightly be said to be suitable from beginner to pro! In addition to the Spark, there is the Pure that is really worth mentioning. This is a kite that is truly freestyle oriented and excels at almost everything from loaded un-hooked tricks to kiteloops. Mistakes will hit harder in 2021 than with the 2020 model, so be careful! ”
Which type of Gaastra kite and kiteboard suits you and why?
“I usually sail with the Pure. Simply because it fits with virtually all forms of freestyle and can accelerate quickly and has a lot of power per m2. Although the high-end of 2021 has improved considerably compared to 2020. Last Friday I was disappointed because I only brought a 12m and we unexpectedly went for an evening session with some colleagues. It was gusty from 14-25kn but that turned out to be no problem at all and the kite held up well and was overpowered still very familiar.
You have already surfed with a number of 2021 models. What was your first impression and what are the differences compared to last year?
GA Pure kite
“There are certainly some differences. That is not the case every year, by the way. But broadly speaking, the Pure has gotten a slightly higher AR (aspect ratio). The struts have become slightly narrower and the kite has a different stiffness. This makes the kite jump a bit more explosive and builds up a little more pressure, for example when making kiteloops. As mentioned earlier, a bit more high-end has also been added, which benefits the hang time when it really starts to blow. He also punishes a little harder, so now a little more is asked of the rider. ”
GA Spark kite
“The Spark has actually received the same power treatment. Admittedly in slightly less extreme forms, but when you are advanced, you are now really very happy about this! ”
“Because the Spark and Pure are increasingly moving towards high-performance, the IQ is now even more interesting as the first kite to start with and so it will come out more in the manifestations this year. Although in my opinion every beginner can handle a Spark just fine and that is a lot more challenging in the long term! Unfortunately I have not yet sailed the IQ and to be honest I was not really involved. ”
GA Watts kiteboard
“The Watts is marketed as a freeride board. Because the Pact (the actual freestyle board) is not there yet, I am currently sailing with these Watts. It is unchanged from last year. He is already feeding well and still does. It is also really great for freestyle and a great alternative for anyone who likes to make their knees last a little longer! ;) ”
Finally, do you have any tips for kite surfers for the purchase of kite surfing equipment?
“The best tip I can give is request information from a store that wants to provide independent advice without a direct commercial approach. Ultimately, you decide what you want based on the information you have received. When you are well advanced, testing is the best way. Not 10 minutes on a test day, but really just a few sessions with different kites that fit your sailing style on paper. That way you will not be talked into anything and you will find out what fits best! I hardly dare to say it, but from April everything can be tested at Eurofun without obligation, just call the shop in Oostvoorne! ”
Jeroen, thank you for your time and the clear explanation. Good luck and have fun next season. I will definitely visit you again to take a closer look at the GA Kiteboarding material and maybe test it myself.