MANFRED KISTLER

General Manager Skywalk GmbH & Co. KG, CEO Technical Director, Head of FLYSURFER

20 Years of FLYSURFER

Start-up flair at the turn of the millennium, so it happened that 6 paraglider pilots plunged into the water sports industry with a lot of courage and zest for action. The enormous potential of kite sports and the rapidly growing market was not the only decisive factors behind the founding of FLYSURFER, rather kiting was seen as the perfect combination of air and water sports. Over the next few months, we want to present to you what vision our founders had and what hurdles they had to overcome on the way to today’s success. Immerse yourself in a fascinating world, characterized by lateral thinkers, an unsatisfied drive for innovation and the pure will to offer the world added value.

Growing since 2001

For 20 years, people have been particularly important to us. Our employees, our long-term partners as well as our riders are the essence of FLYSURFER, the origin of every idea and its conscientious implementation. Our friendship and openness should inspire you to practice our sport together with enthusiasm. To put it simply, we want to have as much fun as possible and not close ourselves off to anyone. Because with a good feeling and joy, every day can be an adventure.

For many of you, FLYSURFER has become more than just a manufacturer of sporting goods, we are also united by beautiful moments, unforgettable adventures and great successes. We want to carry this high of emotions together into the next 20 years!

ARMIN HARICH

Founder FLYSURFER, Research & Development, Partner Skywalk GmbH & Co. KG

Ahead of its time

We pushed the technical evolution of the kite sport over the last 20 years

We are celebrating 20 years of FLYSURFER – and thus a story characterized by pioneering innovations and clear convictions. Come with us on a journey through time and learn more about ideas that never made it onto the market and products that have become icons:

Foil kite pioneers

FLYSURFER enters the market in 2001 with three product lines. These initial kite lines are defined by revolutionary, patented innovations including a self-filling system with effective air intake valves, a depower system through profile adjustment, as well as an automatic relaunch. Additionally, the MASTAIR high-performance wing is offered in a 16-square-meter size, showing the industry right from the beginning where the FLYSURFER technology really shines: in light wind conditions.

JetFlap Technology

The patent for JetFlap technology is acquired by skywalk paragliders in 2004. Thanks to the synergies possible between the paraglider and kite developers, this technology is quickly embraced relatively quickly by FLYSURFER. With Jet-Flap technology, channels are sewn between the upper and lower sails in order to ensure pressure equalization. The benefit of this technique is that it allows the kite to be more strongly powered up without causing it to backstall. Once line tension is lost, the trailing edge moves upwards and the kite sails back into the wind window.

The fabric of dreams

Despite the most sophisticated profile and the perfectly matched bridle, the best kite is as good as the fabric you use. Since our foundation, we have been working in close cooperation with our suppliers on the development and further development of new materials. Depending on the area of application or the requirements of the product line, different yarns and coatings are used. They have a direct influence on the longevity, value retention and performance of the kite. This is why this topic is a boss’s business. Read more about aluminum coatings and the TX-Light cloth in our blog.

Triple Depower

The Triple Depower System combines 3 depower effects simultaneously for a maximum wind range: It changes the angle of attack, it changes the camber of the airfoil and it changes the projected area of the kite. When depowering a Triple Depower kite, the shape of the kite changes more to a c-form giving less projected area and remains backline tension, ensuring that the kite steering and handling remain direct and progressive.

The success story of the SPEED

The introduction of the first SPEED is a huge milestone in the history of FLYSURFER. In 2005, however, almost no one would have thought that it would come to be the flagship of the brand. The kite named the Silverarrow, is a lightweight, refined version of the SPEED 17.0, and proves once again that hangtime and light-wind conditions are clearly the domain of FLYSURFER. In 2009, the FLYSURFER development duo Armin Harich and Andreas Hanrieder succeeded in creating a very special product – the SPEED3. The SPEED3 Deluxe Edition and the size 21.0 are especially enjoying strong popularity

Click-in Quick Release

FLYSURFER was ahead of its time in 2006, when we developed our first “click-in” quick release. In the end, the product did not make it into series production due to AFNOR certificate and a lack of resources.

INFINITY System

The unswiveling of the front lines has been the technical highlight of the INFINITY Control Bar since 2008. Due to the enormous hang time of our foil kites, you can jump several rotations with ease. The INFINITY system automatically unswivels the lines after the jump by simply sheeting the bar in. An added value that even freeriders appreciate.

VIRON - safety through reduced lift

The only kite that is not designed for performance and wants to generate as little lift as possible. The VIRON has a thick profile, low aspect ratio, and a lot of ballooning. The leading edge can therefore bulge and thereby reduce the force peaks in the power zone. The VIRON has been part of our product portfolio since 2010 and is a special product for children. Perfect for the first contact with the kite sport.

FLYRACE

In 2011 the FLYRACE conquered the kite market as the only twin-tip race board. In light winds and when climbing upwind, it not only outclasses all other twin tips, it even clears up the directionals’ warehouse. You can adjust the middle fin while driving with just one hand and thus have the perfect combination of control and performance on every course.

Single-Skin Foil Kite

In 2013, the PEAK was the first kite to go on sale in a single-skin construction with sufficient depower. The umbrella developed by Reinhart Paelinck hits the mark of the ski touring trend and already found many fans in its first winter. The unbelievable light wind properties of the single skin concept are also inspiring more and more hydrofoil enthusiasts, which is why the PEAK is also being used more and more often on the water.

ADAPTIVE Airfoil

2013 is the start of a new era. With the technically complex CRONIX, FLYSURFER is launching its first tube kite, developed by Andreas Hanrieder. Profile adjustment – like sailing or on airplane wings – is the idea behind the Adaptive Airfoil System. For the first time in kite history, a minimalistic trailing edge bridle makes it possible, to adjust the profile of the kite during flight. Especially noticeable on the excellent low end or when relaunching.

FLYSPLIT

The FLYSPLIT is a divisible twin tip and has been making traveling more comfortable since 2013. The split board can be assembled quickly and easily in just a few simple steps. The two halves of the board interlock with one another thanks to the zigzag teeth and are fixed by two metal pins on the sides. Enjoy driving fun in full-line and benefit from the functionality of the split technology.

SOUL - the all-rounder

2018 saw the breakthrough in the everyday soft kite category. For the first time, the SOUL combines all the advantages of a high-performance kite with great handling and a reliable relaunch. The SOUL impresses with its diverse character, it mutates from a comfortable light wind cruiser to a sporty freestyler. The perfect travel companion for your next adventure from the mountain pass to the coast.

VMG - the Olympic kite

The VMG is a revolutionary concept in hydrofoil racing that is the pinnacle of 5 years of development in high-performance closed-cell foil kites. It is created to put cutting-edge technology in the hands of world-class athletes, who are striving for the Olympic gold medal. Our high-performance wing is supported with only two levels and has become the benchmark in kite design thanks to fiberglass rods and an enormously complex interior. Since the market launch in 2020, we have been looking excitedly from race to race and are proud of every success of the athletes who have chosen our race kite.

MOJO Surfwing

The wing trend has mixed up the water sports scene and will play a major role for FLYSURFER in the future. Developing a wing in-house was the logical way for us. The MOJO has been unique since its launch in 2021 thanks to its shape, rigidity, handles, and window position. The FLYSURFER typical performance genes and its extremely balanced force distribution inspire beginners and professionals. The first successful step into a booming market segment.

„THE PEOPLE ARE THE HEART OF THE COMPANY.“

–Manfred Kistler

Our stories

It has been an enriching and crazy journey over the last 20 years. We would like to share the many stories and milestones with you.

The biggest mystery in the history of FLYSURFER

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Laurent “Lolo” Guyot – the freestyle-all-terrain kiteboarder

Laurent Guyot, mostly known as “Lolo” has joined the FLYSURFER family in 2012. Most of you know Lolo from throwing epic kiteloops on snow. The passionate kite-landboarder has many trips with the FLYSURFER crew in his pocket and some great stories to tell. The french...

Peter Müller – from FLYSURFER athlete to harness designer

What Peter starts, he does excessively. After the adventure of being a professional kiter, he joins the development department of skywalk paragliders. Then for years, you could only find him in the air mastering his paragliding skills to perfection. Just a few weeks...

Armin Harich: Why FLYSURFER?

Armin Harich, probably the best-known name in FLYSURFER history, studied physicist, paraglider and canoeist, was the first to recognize the potential of foil kites. Driven by his ideas and the pursuit of adding value for customers, he never stopped believing in the...

Manfred Kistler: 20 Years of FLYSURFER

20 years is a very long time, comparable to a whole generation. Nevertheless, there are always short, decisive phases that determine the direction of a company. When I look back, the most important moments at FLYSURFER were when new employees joined the company. The...