Vincent Thepaut / Owner and KS Waveskis shaper
Name: Vincent THEPAUT
Address: BIDART, basque cost
Surfing since: 1983
Other sports you practice: shaping !!!! no time for the rest : swiming, montain bike, river kayak..
KS foundation: 1996
Describe us KS Waveski...
It's a waveski (and surfboards) Brand create by myself in 1996 from nothing because of a leak of waveski products (it was too hard to get boards or gear in France and Europe in the end 80's). I was shaping since 1989 for myself and few friends. I have been travelling oversea since 1992 and met many riders and shapers ; Christo, Kola, Nicky Cartens, Neil Decker, Macski... some of them had share some tips or some templates (thanks nicky) with me when we had worked together.
What major differences has KS regarding other brands ?
Its hard to say but the main shaping differences or what make the board popular all over the world, are the rails (usually quite thin) and how I can ditribute the volume as good as possible. I use to say that the most important on a board are good rails. my hull combinaison is a important point too : it's a synthesis about of all that has been done for a waveski (some vee, some concave, some bevelled, some flat sections ..)
About the making and general look of the board : the difference was that I was shaping like a surfboard shaper with foam blank with a wood stringer in it, and painting deco on foam, and using hi quality clear epoxy for the lamination. so the look was very close from a surfboard and you could see the quality. maybe that last point is why I have been so popular, I always look after quality and I am very involved in the sport.
At least we can say KS is 3 time Open world champion, 8 time women world champion , many other titles in junior and new age.. and europeans... and national (but too much I don't remember) nearly every year... it helps !!! thanks to the riders !
And specifically about shaping... how did KS boards evoluted ?
As I said before, I had travel, compete and met people, so I have been influenced by others but mostly by Christo and Nicky. My design is a synthesis of their but update with what was and is on market now. so step by step, there is evolution; sometimes in the design, sometimes in the making but it coulds be only very small details that most of the people cannot see. My work on surfboards had also influence me and I could learn more working on different boards. On the making, I heve been doing classic fiber epoxy or carbon rails recently. I start from 2011 too to make some vacum sandwich, and it became a succes with Virgile Humbert, Open world champion in Portugal with this type of waveski.
Present us the ONE 155 What is the main market target with this board ?
The ONE 155 is a waveski for beguinner until 100 kg. the target is to make every kind of people discover the waveski surfing. The goal was to improve what was the reference before so the Slide (master). the ONE 155 have a lower gravity center and is wider with better seat and footwell. the epoxy making is stronger and lighter and the finish can be done with EVA foam skin (soft top) for school or paint for public.
At last, the accessories have been improved with 2 version : initiation with thight knee straps or evolution with footstraps and seatbelt. the knew strap are to be easier for those who are afraid of the seat belt (not to release !) and to be closest to SOT practising. after all, if you improve yourself and get confident with the board, you can evoluate more with footstrap and belt. About riding it, it's interesting because despite the width of the ONE 155 he can go easily on the rail and turn well thanks to the big Vee/ double concave. You feel more confident and comfortable on the ONE 155 with the lower position and its easy to eskimo roll with the knee straps. Improvement is on price too and the ratio quality / price is very good.
What other surprises will we have from KS on 2013 ?
I am working now on a new model for the range ONE. it will be smaller for lighter riders or better skilled, same target as Slide super with same type of improvements like on the ONE 155. the target of this model is riders with a smaller body or already pratising waveski or kayak, so kayak club could be interest in that profile. As on ONE 155, you will be able to have the 2 versions of accessories, and the 2 type of finish. Next step is to make a network so people can find a full range in shops or clubs. Prototype is already done and is going to be test soon before going to production. Other project for 2013, is to make new production model but on a intermediate range as the performance custom model. Same policy as before, better quality and price, good accessories and short delay. The main reason for that is waveski is growing step by step and I have more and more orders and work in the factory for customs.
I have only 2 hands and a brain.. and cannot work as a machine to answer people with custom making. Most of the everage riders will be happy to have quickly a board, with a wood sandwich and affordable ! it will be suitable to many size of riders because of an ajustable footblock..At last at the same time, I still work on custom orders at the factory and few vacum sandwich boards for team riders.
How many athletes made part of KS Team ?
I have many differents riders from different country, nearly 10 : 2011 world champion Virgile Humbert is on the top of the list, with Clement Guilbert, winner of 2012 french cup and Nathan Le Bars, best junior in 2012 and vice young world champion. My best girl, is Coralie Jousset and I am master on a podium ! There is still some historic rider as Julien Billard, vice world champion 2006, or Malan Calitz from RSA, finalist at 2009 world titles. For Ireland, Marty Mc Cann is challenging senior division as much as Italian newcomer Stefano Bellotti in new age since 2011. Arthur schott, a spectacular rider from Reunion island, is living in France now so I hope he could keep competing around France and Europ next year. 2013 team list is not close yet, but I can give two new name: Tony Cherry from NZ / AUS and Sam Jones from UK.
How do you see waveski evolution worldwide?
On world scale, I think if we want to developp our sport, we should do things and organise bigger event with the surfkayak , but organisation, rules and categories have to be simple, so everybody can join us. I estimate the world population practising waveski surfing between 2000 to 3000 maybe 5000 with surf kayak practising. many people have been trying once waveski but only 300 or 400 are practising really often for freesurf or to compete. I think that if market can improve we will see more production model easier and cheaper, so able to spread all over the world. we are not too far from SUP board market so it's possible to grow... this is a private or commercial developpment model but things can evoluate too with public community developpement as clubs with instructor (kayak federation). this model is very important if we still want to have young riders .. usually it's the only way for them to practise because they cannot afford the board and gear themself...and need olders to teach and to bring them to the beach.
Do you know Portugal?
I have been to Portugal twice, most of the time around Ericiera. not enought for me, whenyou see how many good reef break you can surf. it's really amazing how many good waves there is in Portugal althought I saw only less that 10 % of what you have... I was in Santa cruz for the 2011 world titles during the ocean spirit festival. I was in Ericiera for the Euro contets we have done last year. during this 2 events we had waves all the time...
Did you planed to go till Brasil 2013 Worlds?
No, I had planed South Africa next year. now (after the cancel of brasil worlds) there is no more questions !! it's a not good news for waveski but all this make in fact people try to comunicate more on networks and try to hold their sport themself.
From few year now, kayaksurf.net have been the only media / site on internet for surf kayak and waveski, so its very important because its a big link to every riders all over the world. With video production as SubGraviti (Xaver Walser) it is the best in our world. Now all this combine with facebook, it start to be something significant..
I hope surfkayak and waveski could mix themself more in the future, and I hope that many people will try waveski with easy models like the ONE on a side of kayak or SUP praticing. ...all these is about paddle sport ! have a good surf !!
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