Two months ago, I finished my USA to Argentina motorcycle trip in which I drove over 8000 miles while visiting 14 different countries, kiteboarding along the way. Part of my gear was Nobile’s Zen Split foil, Carbon NHP splitboard, and 2 of their T5 kites. My background includes about 5 years of kiteboarding(mostly with Flysurfer foilkites) and a season of foiling. My past gear includes the Slingshot Dwarfcraft board/Hoverglide foil and Flysurfer Flysplit M and L which I’ll be mostly comparing to. I was given the travel setup for free from Nobile, but I am keeping my review as honest and unbiased as possible.
Last fall when I made the decision to do this trip, I had just finished my first season foiling and really caught the foiling bug. Since the main goal for my trip was to kiteboard as much as possible, I dreamed of bringing a foilboard along to open up those really light wind days, but I thought there was no way I could bring that much bulk with me. I discovered that Nobile had recently released a split foilboard and since I was already convinced that splitboards are the way to travel (been riding solely split boards about about 3 years now), I was really interested in getting the setup. I decided to contact Nobile about a possible partial sponsorship since most of my funds were being saved for the actual trip.
After Nobile learned about my trip, not only did they offer to give me a full foil setup, but they offered to give me their full complete travel setup which included the Zen foil with Infinity splitboard, NHP carbon splitboard, 7.5 and 12m T5 kite, and Splitboard Master travel bag. Initially I planned on only bringing my aging Flyplit M and Sonic2 11m foil to stay light but I graciously accepted their offer. While this was much more gear than I was planning on travelling with, I was amazed by how much I was actually able to fit into their Master bag. I was able to put both boards, both kites, pump, and my Dakine Nitrous harness inside and then strap everything to my top box. Basically felt like I had a passenger on the motorcycle, definitely was doable.
CARBON NHP SPLIT TWINTIP
The Carbon NHP splitboard really reminds me of my old Cabriniha Chopstick. The boards has great pop and a lot of rocker which makes it nice and easy on the knees for landing and fun in the waves. One trade off though is because of the rocker you have to have more power than normal for a board of its size. If you are only bringing one board along with your trip, unless you are going somewhere that you know has constant strong winds, I wouldn’t recommend bringing only the NHP. It has a much smaller range than my Flysplit M but is much more technical and performance orientated. It is perfectly pared with the Zen foil though in my opinion. Light days you use the Zen, and blowing days you use the NHP.
I really liked the complete tool less option because most of my sessions required a full setup and full breakdown and having no tools was fantastic; time taken for setup to water is much quicker compared to the Flysurfer Flysplits. If I was going to be critical my only complaint would be the bindings were over engineered in my opinion with way too many parts which required too much time to assemble. The bindings though are easily adjustable and comfortable.
Compared to the Flysplits, the NHP is heavier but better built. I like the NHP’s connection system since it connects a little easier than the Flysurfer pins and the board just feels more durable. My only problems were a couple breaking thumb screws for cranking them a little too tight.
INFINITY SPLITBOARD WITH ZEN FOIL
The Zen foil packs nice and compact and setups/breaks down quick and easy. The system is well engineered and they even include Tef gel for the bolts. Compared to the Slingshot Hoverglide, I felt the Zen required a little bit more power to get on foil and was a little less stable. Durability wise though, I had no problems with deterioration like I did on the Hoverglide wingtips. Also the entire setup was much lighter than the Hoverglide. I did have a random rear stab failure in the middle of Colombia for no apparent reason but Nobile was quick to rectify the problem. Interestingly I was able to ride the foil back to the beach only on the main wing.
My only complaint is I wish there was more adjustability on the foot straps. The rear strap was basically unless for my stance and I would love to see a front center strap option. I absolutely loved the board’s concave and progressed strapless much easier than on the Dwarfcraft. Another additional plus was the Infinity board without foil was actually quite a lot of fun in itself. The concave deck really lets you carve and again it was amazing how much I progressed strapless on it. The board has a nice wide range as well.
I’m not going to comment much on the kites since most of my past experience is on Flysurfer foil kites, but I will say that I enjoyed the 7.5m T5 quite a lot surprisingly. It has a larger range than expected and is very lively which was great on and off the foil. The two rear line settings dramatically changed the behavior of the kite, with the fast setting perfect for quick direction changes on the foil and the slower settings for loops and jumps. I had no problems readjusting back to the inflated world with easy relaunches and handling.
Overall I was very impressed with the durability and versatility of the entire travel setup. I was extremely hard on my gear with frequent motorcycle dumps, constant weather exposure, being strapped down extremely tightly with racket straps, and the occasional 3 foot drops from the bike. My only suggestion to Nobile other than more adjustability on the foot straps for the Infinity board would be to provide extra thumbscrews with the boards. It really is easy to break them when you are learning on how much force is needed and they are a little spendy/difficult to replace and it would really suck if it happened in the middle of your trip especially since these boards are for traveling.
Other than fading, the bag has held up greatly and the zippers had no problem holding up to being overstuffed. I am convinced that if you want to travel easily there is no better setup. If you guys have any specific questions regarding the gear or comparing them to the Flysplits or Slingshot, just let me know.
If you guys are thinking about doing a trip like this my suggestion is do it! I had a blast and overall it really wasn’t difficult. Everyone I met was extremely friendly and helpful and if you are wondering about any of the spots in central/south America, I most likely did hit them up. Off the top of my head, my most favorite spot was Ometepe Nicragua.