In this interview, we spoke to Chris Krafft and Olaf Marting of Ullman Kiteboarding, at their loft in Cape Town.
How was Ullman Kiteboarding born?
South Easter Kites already had a good relationship with Ullman Sails on the fabric supply side. We were looking to expand into other markets and Ullman Sails thought the timing good to introduce a kite brand. We joined forces, using the best of both brands to bring Ullman Kiteboarding to market.
What’s your vision for the brand?
Ultimately, we’d like to see more people drawn to the sport. Ullman Sails are synonymous with traditional craftsmanship and cutting edge sail technology. This is what we bring to kiting. A product in which people can place complete trust. Where sail making has become more advanced, the kiting technology has stayed relatively stagnant. We will introduce some of these elements to our kites.
Are the Ullman kites locally manufactured in South Africa?
Yes. We are in a unique position in that the flagship Ullman Sails loft is located 3km from our loft in Cape Town. This not only allows direct skills transfer and resource sharing, but enables us to design, test and manufacture our kites all within a 5km radius.
What other products will be manufactured locally?
We will introduce our boards later this season which are also made locally, as well as our bags, travel bags and accessories.
Will you be distributing kites globally?
We believe if we have a strong local base, the rest will come. People love the fact that we produce in Cape Town and really enjoy our kites. The demand for our product overseas has caught us a little by surprise and exceeds local demand. This certainly helps our factory run throughout our “off-season.”
How long have your products been in the market and how far are you in terms of product testing?
We’ve been developing them under the South Easter umbrella for the last 2 years and they will now go under the Ullman brand. To trim them to the Ullman requirements has taken us a year now. We’ve been working on the aerodynamic profiles of our new kite, The Ora, for the last 6 months and worked through just under 40 prototypes of the design before bringing it to market.
Tell us about your range of kiteboarding equipment you will bring to market for Summer 2019
We will have 2 kite models launching in Summer, the Onyx and the Ora.
The Onyx is a modern hybrid 3 strut kite. A good all round performance kite liked by intermediate to advanced riders. The Onyx excels in difficult conditions. Being an agile, fast turning kite it is enjoyed by waves riders while the good power delivery generated gives wake-style riders the lift they
The Ora is our go-to, go anywhere kite. It’s a free-ride “sheet and go” kite. Smooth power delivery gives riders the confidence to push the envelope. The Ora has great re-launch ability and wind range, making this kite a popular choice for both novices and experienced riders.
We will also be introducing our new bar and safety system that complies with the new ISO safety standards.
Do you have any manufacturing warranties in place?
Yes, we have a 1-year manufacturing warranty in place. You can also have your kite repaired in or out of warranty at our production facility in Cape Town. We also offer servicing and maintenance of any kites, pre-season checks and repairs.
Where can consumers purchase Ullman Kites in South Africa?
Directly from our retail store at our factory in Paarden Eiland in Cape Town. And soon via our website or through any Ullman sail loft in the world.
This interview was originally published on The Kite Hub – South Africa’s hub for all things kitesurfing.