One may take to the road and the other to the water, but there are many parallels between the worlds of Porsche sportscars and kitesurfing. With performance, aerodynamism and constant innovation at the fore, these shared values have drawn Porsche and kitesurfing manufacturer Duotone together as like-minded spirits, resulting in a unique collaboration between the two brands. Inspired primarily by the silhouette of Porsche vehicles, the Limited Edition Porsche 911 Duotone Rebel SLS kite was the vision of the creative director at Duotone, Florian Panther, and his team, in conjunction with a car brand with a long history of sporting success.
How a Porsche kitesurfing idea took flight
For Florian, working with Porsche is a dream come true, since he has been a car enthusiast since he was a young boy. His early Porsche memories centre around taking his Porsche 911 scale models ‘off-road’, steering them through the sandpit in his parents’ garden. Since then, his passion for Porsche has only intensified, and to this day his dream car remains the mighty 911.
Porsche and Duotone’s first project took place in 2021, when the brands worked together to add kitesurfing-tailored exercises to the Duotone Academy App. Providing guidance from motorsport racing pros and top coaches, Porsche was able to help develop the app with experts in their respective fields. Florian was then given the chance to develop a very special kite in which he incorporated Porsche motorsport DNA – plus his own passion – into the product
To kick-off the project, Florian visited the Porsche Museum in Zuffenhausen in order to immerse himself in Porsche history and get some creative inspiration. For Florian and his team, research and brainstorming is an integral part of the design process, ensuring that all their ideas get the opportunity to shine. It ensures that they can correctly identify and agree on which elements match the goal of the project. “As an example, we defined the colour scheme of the kite at the beginning of the project,” Florian explains. “It was supposed to transfer performance and functionality without being non-emotional. So we tried to find that combination in the colour studies and research.”
Taking Porsche 911 design language to the sky
As the kite began to take shape, a wealth of Porsche elements began to appear in the design. Loaded up with inspiration from the museum, Florian found himself spoilt for choice. “There is just so much to see on these cars, especially when it comes to motorsport,” he explains. “At the same time, there is no model so much connected to Porsche as the 911.” When you examine the finished product you’ll notice its dynamically reduced design language – reminiscent of so many Porsche racecars – and influences of the 911 itself running through the wings of the Duotone kite.
First and foremost, the 911 model designation is a significant design characteristic, stamped prominently on the kite so that those three numbers immediately catch the eye. Florian finds its race number the most iconic detail of any racecar so, as an avowed Porsche 911 fan, it was an obvious decision to reflect these iconic digits onto the kite. From the motorsport realm, elements of the design of the kite echo the wheel arch ventilation slots of the likes of the 917, as well as featuring the arrows that point to the tow hooks on a real racecar. Then there’s the kite’s V-shape itself, which takes the same tapering form as seen on the Porsche crest.
Limited to just 222 pieces, the collaboration marks an exciting offering for the kitesurf community. One of the highlights for the team was seeing this very special kite being taken onto the water with one of pro kitesurfing’s top stars as its test ‘pilot’. Spaniard, Liam Whaley, who is a Porsche kitesurfing athlete, journeyed up to freezing cold Alaska to test drive the prototypes
Seeing Liam fly across the water, pulled by the Duotone Porsche kite, proved to Florian that all their hard work on achieving efficiency and performance – omitting details that have no functionality – had paid off. This form follows function principle, coupled with a drive to incorporate Porsche motorsport legacy, was the recipe for its success. “Duotone and Porsche are connected by the brand values they have in common. A pioneering spirit, innovative strength and the combination of design and function,” says Florian about the strength of the partnership.
To me, there is no number that has a stronger connection to motorsports than the 911 and no number that has a stronger connection to Porsche. Using 911 as the race number for the kite draws the connection between Porsche and Duotone in a very pure way
Inspiring the next kitesurfing generation
There was another important aspect of the project says Florian – to reflect both brands’ commitment to help bring the dreams of athletes to life. A portion of the proceeds of every unit sold will be donated to the kite brand’s Young Blood initiative. This programme promotes and supports promising young talent in the kitesurfing scene, helping them to develop their skills. Its ultimate aim is to facilitate budding kitesurfers towards a professional career in the sport.
Since 2021, Porsche has also been involved in promoting the development of kitesurfing as a sport – and that commitment has grown to contributing to the Young Blood Initiative too. “We wanted our brand collaboration to create something unique, following the aim to give our kitesurf community something back,” says Florian, reflecting on the Porsche 911 Duotone Rebel SLS journey. And with future projects on the horizon for the two partners, many more kitesurfing dreams are likely to be realised in the future.