New Zealand kitesurfers start designing customized kiteboard graphics

April 15, 2010 | Kiteboarding
Naish kiteboards: one day they will not need to waste money with professional designers

Personalized rider graphics are now appearing on kiteboards around New Zealand thanks to a partnership between manufacturer Underground and Christchurch large format digital printer adgraphix.

Riders wanting to see their own designs printed on their boards have resulted in an average of around 250 kiteboards produced by adgraphix per month.

World-renowned for its cutting-edge quality kiteboards, Underground’s offering has been given a further dimension through this highly technical printing innovation which offers a quick turnaround for small custom orders.

Producing the graphics saw adgraphix print Manoukian inks onto Digistar 4000 paper via a JV4 inkjet printer and then sublimate on Polyester Surface Film (PBT) via a UTX6700 Rotary Heat Press.

“The ink density had to be not too high but still yield rich color. PBT is less forgiving than textiles so we couldn’t have cockled paper,” adgraphix operations managing director Scott Shore observed.

“Obviously the printer had to be running perfectly – any banding on the paper also shows on the board. At the press, dust was the enemy so careful handling was important. Probably the most challenging part was working out the initial heat, speed, and pressure settings to get the high throughput. The core process is the same as we use for sublimated flags and textiles. We have to allow for the shrinkage which occurs at a different amount in each direction.”

The job has been entered in this year’s prestigious Pride In Print Awards, in which adgraphix was a first-time entrant and winner in 2008. That success has proved a marketing boon for the company.

“We had not been involved with Pride In Print until last year - we entered a billboard that we were pretty proud of and won Gold. As a company, we have strong values towards quality products so the award was a pat on the back from the industry and the whole team here was pretty stoked. Certainly, in the billboard market, the Gold is a good selling point for us,” says Shore.