With Ken Whiting you can always expect the unexpected.
Each year at ICAST he has something to showcase and it's
usually something that's out of the ordinary, either a
new rod design, concept, and in recent years, truly
innovative offerings that often use unique
materials. So prior to this year's ICAST we
wanted to do a "What's Up" With Ken Whiting and get the
early scoop on things before they make their debut on the show
The new website
teasing us about the new technology at the NEW AIRrus
JIP: Thanks for sitting down with us Ken, let's start
with probably the number one question many have. You
started at Airrus and then went off to other ventures
and now you have circled back, tell us how you came
about coming back to your roots, Airrus Rods?
Ken: "It all started with a
phone call from one of my original Pro Staffer who
informed me that a distributor from Italy had just
purchased Airrus from Castaway and had heard that the
new owner was trying to contact me, so I decided to take
a look at the Airrus website and see what was going on.
From information on the website I was able to get in
touch with the individual that purchased Airrus. In
speaking with him he expressed his interest in having me
become an integral part of the new Airrus. From this
point on it was hell bent for leather to get two new
series of rods designed and prototypes built in time for
ICAST. Surprisingly the return to Airrus was quite easy
and things came together quite quickly, as though there
was a degree of destiny attached to the return."
Introducing the new
AIRrus Nano Fusion casting rod
Tell us about the NEW Airrus Rods as a company.
Ken: "Airrus is owned in
total by Bass and Pike Tackle of Terni, Italy. Bass and
Pike is a well know distributor in Italy with fairly
extensive coverage of the European market. That will be
the home of Airrus International. Distribution in North
America will be handled through Trophy Technologies out
of Mc Cordsville, Indiana. This location will fill and
ship orders throughout North America and will handle
customer service including returns and warranty issues.
Between the two we will have immediate foreign and
domestic distribution. Above all I want our customers to
know that I will be every bit as accessible as I was
when I owned Airrus outright. Customers knew they could
call me anytime, even if it was just to chat. I enjoyed
the contact and look forward to doing it again. At
Airrus the customer will become King again knowing that
they will be taken care of as they should be."
The new rods will
make use of their Micro System of micro guides
Now that we have a little history and overview of the
new company, please tell us about the new rods that will
be introduced at ICAST.
Ken: "Airrus will be
showing three new rods at ICAST this year, Micro Puls,
which is built around a standard modulus blank, original
Airrus tapers and 30/33 cross weave matte in the butt
instead of a filament wound section. As you might have
guessed from the name it is a micro guided rod as are
all of our new offerings which include the Co-Matrix 2.0
and our showcase rod Nano Fusion. All of these new rods
will sport our new Micro System in which the first three
guides are elevated off the blank and staggered in
height so that the entry angle of the line from the reel
through The first guide creates only a limited amount of
friction as compared with other set ups. Guide inserts
on the Micro Puls are Hardloy and Zirconia on the
Co-Matrix 2.0 and Nano Fusion. The Co-Matrix 2.0 is an
updated version of the original 457. It wasn’t broke so
we didn’t fix it, just changed the look a little."
material called "Buckypaper" will be used on the new
Nano Fusion rods
"As for Nano Fusion, it’s a
different horse all together. It may look similar to a
Puls-R, but that is where the similarity ceases. I truly
believe our new blank technology using “Buckypaper” and
a proprietary resin system of our own, is far superior
to that of 3M’s 3831 resin system which made such a
splash at ICAST last year. Other features of the Nano
Fusion are an all new adjustable weight port integrated
into the butt cap, housing a series of threaded weights
from 5 to 15 grams. and can be stacked up to 2 ounces.
plus and die cast aluminum split reel seats with
machined aluminum hoods and sleeves."
The new rods use what? Tell us more about "Buckypaper".
What is it, how will it make a rod better, and how does
it compare to any other material out there?
Ken: "I have been watching
the evolution of carbon nano tubes and other nano
materials very carefully since we introduced carbon nano
tubes to rod blanks back in 2006. Now that
surface modification and dispersion
have all been taken care of nano tubes have become more
viable in composites. Why nano tubes and not nano
spheres? Because nano tubes help to improve elongation
and modulus in a composite because they have “Aspect
Ratio”, they are longer in length than they are in
diameter, by about 800 times or more creating a complex
overlapping matrix which cannot be achieved with
spherical nano particulate. Nano spheres typically make
composites harder with better impact resistance. The
combination of Buckypaper and our new proprietary resin
system have produced some really outstanding blanks."
adjustable weight port is used for perfect rod balance
JIP: Excellent details
on the rods and the new "Buckypaper" material. I know
the Nano Fusion rods are still in prototype stages but
we all want to know when we can buy these rods and how
Ken: "Right now it looks
like the Micro Puls and the Co-Matrix 2.0 may be ready
as soon as October, but due to some tooling and other
issues the Nano Fusions may not be ready until mid
November. Will let you know if this schedule improves.
Final pricing has not been set for any of the new rods
do to minor production changes across the board. What I
can tell you is that the Micro Puls will be our lowest
priced rod with the Co-Matrix 2.0 in the mid range and
Nano Fusion on the high side."