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Riding the waves

Southampton Science Park is delighted to welcome Forty1 Kitesurfing to its Catalyst business accelerator programme.  The early stage business is one of ten that were judged to have significant potential.

Founder, Managing Director and expert kitesurfer James Crook has a detailed insight into the challenges that would-be kitesurfers around the world face.  He said: “Many kitesurfers are prevented from participating in their sport because of light wind conditions. Currently, if you want to ride in lighter winds you need to invest in expensive and difficult to transport big bulky boards and kites.  There are some hydrofoil boards available which help to an extent but these cannot be ridden in shallow waters and require a steep learning curve to master.”

This led James to develop a low profile hydrofoil (underwater wing) which will allow kitesurfers to upgrade their existing kit to ride in lighter winds whilst staying in shallower waters.  In this way, it’s possible to double the amount of time a rider can spend on the water. Product development is complete and an early release design is currently in testing.

Having worked hard to conceptualise and develop the product, James now needs to build connections to create a stable business platform from which to scale.  A key challenge will be to understand the most economical manufacturing method which will also enable continual product design evolution. He commented: “I know the opportunities, contacts and learning I will get from Catalyst will be hugely beneficial so I’m very grateful to be selected to give me the greatest chance of success.”

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