I was in the middle of designing the Kite Coach concept, when I stumbled upon TEN Kiteboarding about two year ago. “These Guys from Versus” were just launching their first line of products, starting with the Pinna, their kite. I was negotiating with multiple parties, but I hadn’t settled for any specific brand yet. I decided to attend a testing event, by Versus Shop, where the Pinna was also part of the line-up. I took it for a spin and I was pleasantly surprised by it! A well balanced kite that is really easy to handle still, combined with plenty of lift and hangtime. Then I found out that TEN Kiteboarding was based in The Hague and they announcing the launch 0f their own line of kiteboards & wetsuits. With schools, shops and brands popping up everywhere, people tend to be very sceptic whenever anything “new” is introduced. And rightfully so! Seeing as innovation in kiteboarding has sort of stabilized over the last 10 years, a lot of schools and brands resort to copying others, and thereby failing to give back anything to the kiteboarding community.
Pinna for the People
So is TEN Kiteboarding any different? Yes and no. What makes them refreshing as a brand in my view, is that they’re not claiming to be! Their not pretending to start a kiteboarding revolution with their line of products, nor trying to reinvent the wheel. Take the Pinna for example. TEN is not pretending to have designed the kite that is going to change the game forever. Their modest approach is embedded in the core of the team, which brings together dozens of years of experience in kite repair, retail, industrial design and most importantly: a shared love for kiteboarding. I’m sort of a TEN expert, since I’ve been using the gear extensively for over a year now. Their non-egoistic design philosophy resulted in a line of products that aren’t necessarily revolutionary in therms of innovation. Rather, they’ve focussed on selecting, combining and fine tuning existing concepts & elements, to create products that meet the needs of today’s average kiteboarder. This is most evident in the Pinna. The average rider wants a kite that gives you the confidence to try learn new things, or as TEN phrases it: “the Pinna asks for little and gives you everything”. It’s exactly what the kiteboarding market needs, if you ask me! Many good kites end up in the trash, because people feel the need the buy new gear every year, rather than enjoy the one they have. If you go for a Pinna, chances are that it’s all you’ll ever need as a recreative rider.
Modest, honest and close to the source
TEN’s non-ego attitude is embedded in the brand’s DNA. Modesty, honesty and sense of awareness of our place as humans in this world. This is also represented in the products’ graphics, which makes references to the technological principles on which the products’ technology are based. For example, the Pinna’s wingtip displays a digital translation of the complex feather patterns found in birds’ wings. We humans often copy technology from animals to use for our own benefit. The Act kiteboards’ feature a stylized map of the North Sea floor, which you’re probably unaware of, because it’s mostly invisible when you’re riding over its surface. It’s these references that contribute to reinforcing awareness, that we’re a small part of an environment that is shaped over the course of millions of years. These are just small gestures, true, but I think it’s these little things that make these products special in their own way. The art of Kiteboarding is not to change, outsmart or conquer nature. It’s the art of adaptation, in order to become one with nature. You might even consider it a metaphor for how we should perceive our existence as humans in this world. If becoming ONE is also what you want, TEN is your ticket to ride!=I want to learn with TEN's gear!