Happy Thanksgiving everyone! My family(!) just returned from a week in Los Barriles, MX. Last time I checked in we returning from a babymoon, so it felt a little crazy to be on our first kite trip with that baby outside of mom. If you though traveling with a foil was tough, add a baby to the mix:) We welcomed Sabine to the world on May 23, and had a bit of a crazy summer adjusting to our new lives. She was just over 6 pounds at birth and about half the length of a 90cm mast.
She’s now about 3 times heavier and almost twice as long, and about 100x more interested in dad and Mexican guacamole than when she was born. So it was a good time to take some time off work to spend time with her. We’ve been going to Baja every Thanksgiving for about 7 years, and while all trips are memorable, this one was truly special. I didn’t really get much of a paternity leave (a couple weeks of half days) so consecutive complete days with my wife and our daughter was really fun, especially now that she’s so engaging and happy. Here we are after mom’s favorite evening sunset session.
Despite the chaos of this summer, I still managed to sell out of a batch of 20 masts; thank you so much to my customers! I’ll be completely honest, answering questions about compatibility, designing new adapters, packing boxes and running to FedEx is actually a lot harder when you have an infant at home. Kristen wouldn’t even let me use packing tape while Sabine was napping. There were certainly times I continued putting the project on hold, but my wife continues to encourage me… maybe to keep me out of her hair!? Even more so, this continues to be a labor of love but I am grateful for every mast I sell as it slowly chips away at the cost of the molds and supplies. The most rewarding aspect continues to be interacting with happy customers, speak of which…
While in LB, I was able to connect with one of my most loyal customers, Rick. He has actually bought two masts, a 90cm and 70cm, and appreciates the increased torsional stiffness in the surf with his Lift 150 wingset. Rick was informed of the project by Laurel Eastman, a longtime friend who actually introduced me to the sport in Cabarete at her school 12 years ago! It’s so fun to see her and Pete every fall in LB. Laurel is one of the most influential people in the sport of Kiteboarding all time, and just stoked as ever. She’s helped Kristen conquer new tricks and been an all-around helpful advisor to me from the beginning of Project Cedrus.
Thanks to a recent article in The Kiteboarder (you can read it here), Mateo learned about Project Cedrus and was intrigued by the stiffness for his Lift 170 wingset. After twisting Rick’s mast on the beach, he emailed to ask about getting one in LB. Fortunately with my upcoming trip, it was a short leadtime for him! We did encounter a little interference with the Lift fuselage adapter, but he was able to supply a metal file and I was able to supply some beer, and about a half hour later the adapter was a perfect fit into his fuselage. After a short session in the waves on the demo mast, with his board and wings, the stiffness was confirmed and he eagerly returned to purchase the extra mast I had brought down with me.
Rick and Matteo were generous to share their wingsets with me, and I demoed the Lift 150 and 170 back to back on my Mitu convertible board. It was so nice to be able to swap the mast between boards and wings, I don’t think this feature is fully appreciated by everyone yet. I must say the Lift wings have a very clean interface to Cedrus, basically seamless, thanks to the architecture of their conical box fitting. I was supper stoked on these complex tooled surfaces at first, but now I’m realizing some benefits. I was very impressed by the Lift wings, and found the 150 a perfect balance of speed, agility, low-speed lift characteristics, and super lightweight. I am sold!
Overall it was a very refreshing trip for me. To be honest the last few months have been a bit challenging as I juggle work, a family, a house… and Project Cedrus. I wasn’t really sure next steps for the mast, and was considering putting it on pause. But after meeting with happy customers, demoing new wings, and getting a chance to actually foil instead of doing design work, I am feeling a bit refreshed. The sport does appear to be heading towards bigger, slower, more efficient wings. This is the case for kite, as riders are beginning to carve and play in the waves. It’s the case for surf, where big wings allow pumping and gliding between sets. Even the new kite wing guys are appreciating big wings as speeds are a bit slower than kite. All of these activities are perfectly suited for Project Cedrus, which provides exceptional stiffness at low weight, while being compatible with a number of different wings. I plan to kick off another batch of masts here shortly, and can hopefully supply any late-season Baja trips and definitely spring in the PNW!
As always, thanks again to my customers for your continued feedback and positive support. I am beginning to talk to shops about a potential retail presence, other brands about collaborating on wings, and thinking of ways to improve the demo process and offer a customer referral program. Probably the biggest lesson for me on this project has been the importance of sales and marketing, which I am largely ignoring. I welcome any offers from those interested in helping me get the product out there!