Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Kitetender blends sailing and kitesurfing


March 23, 2014

The Kitetender 400 is a one to two person monohull water vessel, featuring a sports kite

The Kitetender 400 is a one to two person monohull water vessel, featuring a sports kite

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Dutch water sports enthusiast Peter Renssen, in collaboration with designer Peter Schermer, has created a hybrid recreational boat that merges kitesurfing with sailing. Dubbed, Kitetender the original prototype has undergone four years of tests and tweaks, resulting in the Kitetender 400, which is now ready for commercial release.

The Kitetender 400 is a one to two person monohull water vessel that, instead of having a mast with a sail, features a sports kite that is attached to its core. The unique design was especially created for "kitesailing" after Renssen became obsessed with the idea when he witnessed a kitesurfer in the South of France who was having problems with his knees. The kitesurfer jumped onboard a small fishing boat before launching his kite and sailing the boat to shore.

"That image was stored in my brains for some 15 years," Renssen tells Gizmag. "As I used to be a sailor, I hated to be located at just one spot or spending a lot of time doing maintenance and rigging. So without spending hours to fit the mast you can just find a good spot to inflate your Kite, attach it to the Kitetender, launch it and away you go."

Differing from traditional sailing, kitesailing adopts many kitesurfing techniques. Launching the kite and flying are the same as kitesurfing, as are all safety systems, including a quick release and a safety leash. Furthermore the hull is closed and has an open transom (rear of the boat), which means overflowing water is gone within a short amount of time. The open transom also provides for an easy entrance onto the boat and is ideal for a person to swim out and jump onboard. To avoid damage to the vessel in the event of entering shallow waters, the Kitetender 400 comes with a pivoting centerboard and rudder.

"We always fly with a DYNO North Kiteboarding Kite, which is basically a kite for speed," says Renssen. "Upwind the Kitetender goes fast enough at a 45 degree angle. The highest speed measured to date was over 20 knots (23 mph/37 km/h) and yesterday we did 16 knots (18 mph/30 km/h) in the Kitetender 400, with 22 knots (25 mph/41 km/h) of wind."

Although the Kitetender system might sound as easy as flying a kite, Renssen does recommend that all users take kite lessons before going out for the first time.

Renssen recommends that all users take kite lessons before going out for the first time

The first Kitetender prototype was constructed with marine plywood and glued together with epoxy. After finally getting the design and the mold right, Renssen now plans for the Kitetender 400 to be constructed in fiberglass. Weighing a measly 75 kg (165 lb), the Kitetender 400 can easily be affixed to roof racks and transported on top of a car or by a small trailer.

    Kitetender 400 Specifications:
  • Length: 4.00 m (13 ft)
  • Width: 1.20 m (3.94 ft)
  • Weight: 75 kg (165 lb)
  • Material: Fiberglass
  • Kite: North Kite DYNO from 7 sqm – 17 sqm (75 sq.ft - 183 sq.ft)
  • Bar: 5th line system
  • Persons: 1 or 2

Renssen also has plans to release a Kitetender 650 version, which would be made from aluminum. Weighing 230 kg (507 lb), this model would need to be towed behind a vehicle.

"Because of import taxes being high in some countries outside of Europe, we are hoping to export an aluminum laser cut Kitetender 650 to be delivered in parts and assembled locally," says Renssen. "In this set up, huge transport costs will be avoided and deliveries will be much quicker."

Like most water sports, the Kitetender is by no means cheap. Within Europe the Kitetender 400 is currently priced at €5,299 (US$7,090) and the Kitetender 650 will set you back €19,999 (US$26,750). Both models are now available for pre-order.

The video below shows the Kitetender 400 in action.

Source: Kitetender and Peter Schermer

About the Author
Bridget Borgobello Bridget is an experienced freelance writer, presenter and performer with a keen eye for innovative design and a passion for green technology. Australian born, Bridget currently resides in Rome and when not scribbling for Gizmag, she spends her time developing new web series content and independent cinema.   All articles by Bridget Borgobello

It will need to have a sail or outboard option if it is going be successful.

You can always have fun with a kite, no matter which way the wind is blowing. With this setup, if there are onshore wind conditions, then you might as well go and have a cup of tea, or go home.

Mel Tisdale
24th March, 2014 @ 02:50 am PDT

The idea is fine but the price... how much for a kite and accessories? Attach the kite to a surfboard (millions lying around doing nothing) like these guys did with the boat, steer by controlling the direction with your feet and tilt with your body while you sit. The kite you manage by hand. At least you save on the call for someone to sail with because you can do this by yourself. €5,299? No way.

24th March, 2014 @ 11:44 am PDT

Difference between this and sailing is this looks alot more strenuous, aswell as looks like a pain if kite comes down into the water, to get it lifted again, but im not familiar with how they get it up in the first place maby its not a problem.

I think it looks like fun though, and price really isnt that bad. I wonder how efficient it would be just being used to get from one place to another, I guess it would be hard to use unless you really had a good wind.

Nathaneal Blemings
24th March, 2014 @ 12:00 pm PDT

The first commercial inflated wing for use on the water was sold with an inflatable catamaran by Bruno Legaignoux and Dominique Legaignoux back in the 80's.

24th March, 2014 @ 01:09 pm PDT

@ Mel Tisdale

Judging from my experience with stunt kites the boat can sail into the wind at least as well as a square rigger.

25th March, 2014 @ 05:59 pm PDT

Hi all,

The Kitetender is a boat, not a board or a catamaran. Can sail upwind & downwind and it is meant to take it anywhere, easily.

Onshore winds not a problem, off shore neither.

Have some paddles in the Kitetender 400 on board.

The Kitetender 650 has a 2 hp outboard.

If the kite crashes on the water, it is very simple to restart it.

check the video's at youtube Kitetender.

Thanks for your attention and remarks, cheers Peter Renssen

19th May, 2014 @ 05:55 am PDT
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