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Rainer Kauper

Spleene Founder and Designer
Mauritius 2006

Board-/Kite-Designer

To develop real good kiteboards and kites, a large know-how and years of experience in watersports are required. Not only kitesurfing counts into this. The full picture together with other water sports, like sailing, windsurfing or other sports is very important. Also other sports, that have wind power and buoyancy in focus, like paragliding or sailflying give the opportunity to get the big picture for development. The Diagram in the right shows the most elementar points.

Here are some relevant milestones on the way to becoming a Board and Kite designer

  • Techn. Verständnis 95%
  • Materialkenntnis 90%
  • Erfahrung im Design von Boards & Kites 75%
  • Fahrkönnen 50%
  • Andere Gleitsportarten 80%

Sailing since 1974

Already three weeks after my birth my parents did boat trips with me at our local lake. At the age of 8, I drove the first time the sailboat of my parents. At 12, there were the first regattas in the 470s and at 14 I went to the Olympic class of skates. From this time on, every weekend was part of national and international regattas. Later I sailed on the 3-man keelboat “H-boat” and many other boat classes. The biggest successes was a 3rd place at the International German Championship and a West German Vice-titel. Today, I use every opportunity to compete with the world’s best sailors in the Finn-Dinghy olympic boat class. When sailing, I am fascinated by the further development of the material, such as sail trim, mast adjustment, etc. A very technological sports maschine, like a regatta boat, allows many settings, which can be integrated into the kite development.

Windsurfing since 1980

Since 1980, there was actually no period longer than 14 days without a windsurfing session. Even in winter the North Sea, the Canaries, or the Caribbean was rocked, always looking for the biggest waves. Windsurfing was the reason for many misses during school time and studying. When the leaves moved at the big tree in the schoolyard, my chair was always empty. The sailing club supported my eager training and persuaded me to take part in regattas. A fourth place with 182 participants in the German league Mistral was the result of only three races. This qualified me for the selection of the German Olympia team. I decided, however, for a sponsorship contract with BIC and UP-Sails. The Eurofunboard Cup at the beginning of the 90s was then too much effort and brought too little fun. The trips to the North Sea coast with the best Wavesessions were missing. So I gave back the whole stuff and formed new waveboards. In addition, I had at that time already enough regattas in the sailboat, so the regattas on the surfboard were not really missing. I also found interest in the modification of the surf sails, since at this time still very much changed in the technology.

Board design since 1982

Boards shaping had already begun in 1982 with the first self-formed windurf boards. The first board was 290 cm long and weighed 7 kg. For those times an incredible value. There were plenty of windsurfers coming from the nearby area and ordered boards from me. Thus, from a hobby, a small job was created next to the study. Some hundred boards, from the waveboard to the Lake-Racer, have since left my shaper room. In 1999, I saw in Cabarete the first kitesurfers, who could also run for height and then kitesurfing was finally interesting. The kitesurfing itself was quickly learned, even if it was already very adventurous with the equipment at this time. From that time on only kiteboards were shaped. My first kiteboard was a directional in 207 cm length and had 3 fins at the heck. From now on, I had to build many boards for my mates and their mates. In the summer of 2002, my friend Kalle Zimmermann told me to make more of my hobby. His idea was perfect because it was just the right time to start a brand, because everyone was after the Spleene Door at this time when the conditions were not optimal. Since the Spleene brand was founded in 2002, only the most modern technologies were used. Each prototype was designed directly in CAD. Only by this way specific details could be changed and tested in subsequent test drives. Inaccuracies, or bad days in the shaper space here and there were no more. Thanks to another mate, the boards were milled on their industrial 5-axis CNC milling machine with two completely independent work heads and a work table with a length of eleven meters. This has already brought accuracies of 1/1000 mm. Nevertheless, the shaper still decides which driving characteristics the board should have later. All the data from the final prototypes were then transferred digitally to the producer of the boards and converted 1:1. Unfortunately, Kalle could only stay with Spleene in private relation, but I am still grateful to him that he was part of the founding phase. You can find the further course of the board development in the history of Spleene here on the website.

Kitedesign since 2007

During the development phase of various kites for the brand Spleene in 2007 to 2011, I had the opportunity to work together with the genius paraglider and kite designer Ernst Strobl from U-Turn. My initial idea should only relate to testing the kites. However, it was quickly clear that my high demands on the material would only be achieved with a lot of my own efforts. Ernst has shown me much during this time and we have discussed more, which design could be better now. In any case, I learned a lot and from 2011 onwards I was able to develop my own kites. Ernst had hardly any time anyway, since he was more and more tense with the development of the paragliders for U-Turn. So I was glad to have gained so much knowledge before. The first kite developed completely internal at Spleene was the SP-X II. During the development of all kites, I was able to contribute a lot of my experience from sailing, windsurfing and gliding into the product. Every detail, however small, is important to me and will be thought of until the end. A call that I always stand for and which I will never abandon.

Keep riding…

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