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Designer’s Corner: Naish Cult 2010

Originally Published in the October 2009 Issue of The Kiteboarder Magazine

Designer Profile:
Name: Damien Girardin
Age: 30
Location: Maui
Job Title: Product Manager/Kite Designer
Designing: 6 years, Masters in Mechanical Design
Kiteboarding: Started 1997 but really got into it in early 2002

Product name: 2010 Cult
Product category: Sigma
Sizes available: 3, 4.5, 6, 7.5, 9, 10.5, 12, 13.5, & 15m
Release date: Aug 2009

Due to the success of the 2009 Helix and the new 2010 Helix, essentially a brand new kite, Naish combined the best of last year’s Helix and Cult to product the 2010 Cult. The direct feel and turning speed of last year’s Helix was very successful for both advanced and beginner riders. Due to this feedback, Naish used the direct steering with no rear bridle in addition to wingtips from the 2009 Helix to provide a more direct feel and a higher performing kite for the new Cult. The canopy is similar to previous Cult’s with a more exaggerated sigma shape making it the most stable kite Naish has produced to date. We spoke with kite designer Damien Girardin to find out more about the 2010 Cult and how this kite differs from the 2010 Helix.


What did you work on changing or improving on the 2010 Cult and what were your challenges?
Our goal for 2010 was to create an even higher performing and more stable kite for all levels of riders so we worked on improving relaunch, increasing the speed of the bigger kites, giving the kite a more direct bar feel, and simplifying the bridles to produce a more compact kite for even better handling. The biggest challenge was to not make the smaller kites too fast and to make the bigger kites faster while ensuring that the entire range had a very similar feel from one size to another. In order to do that we made adjustments to the LE diameter, the amount of direct steering (pre-loaded wingtips that allow the kite to immediate react to rider input) and the foil profile. Each kite size has different values for these parameters allowing us to have the ideal speed for each size while maintaining a consistent feel throughout the entire range. Most other companies scale their profiles up and down to accommodate sizes. We actually changed profiles which was not an easy task.


Is there any particular new feature on the 2010 Cult that you want to point out to riders?
The stand out feature of the 2010 Cult is the new direct connections and wingtips that create a more direct feel and faster turning speeds while actually increasing the stability in the kite.

Why would a rider choose the Cult over the Helix?
Due to Geo-Tech canopy construction and other modifications we made to the new Cult, the stability and user friendliness of this kite fits any kiter from the beginner taking lessons to the advanced level rider throwing mega loops. This kite is extremely easy to learn on whether you are learning to get upwind, learning your first big jumps, or learning your first technical unhooked maneuvers. Personally, I even ride sliders on the new 2010 Cult. This kite will push your limits no matter what they might be. Riders looking for a super high performance, more aggressive kite should try the Helix. Among many other changes, we took Geo-Tech out of the 2010 Helix so its profile could expand more, allowing it to offer bigger jumps, more pop, quicker turning and more pull through the turns.

How do you feel the new Cult differs from other kites going after the all-terrain market?
The main difference between the Cult and any of our competitor’s kites is that it has the Sigma outline and Geo-Tech construction. These two features provide unmatched stability, especially at low angles of attack, incredible smoothness and superior control in the high end of the wind range.

TESTED: Steve Gates, Big Winds
I had the pleasure of testing the 9m Cult 2010. The conditions varied from puffy underpowered when I went out to strong gusty 15-25+ knots by the time I finished. The striking characteristic for the new Cult was the super responsive and direct feel of the kite. With the new direct connect for the rear lines, the kite’s response to bar input was almost instant. The 2009 Cult was a quick-turning kite, but the 2010 definitely feels significantly quicker turning than the previous generations. The low end power also felt increased, well-tested when I first went out in the light, flukey wind, and was able to make it work when most guys were on 12’s. All in all, a good solid, quick kite with a ton of range!

Originally Published in the October 2009 Issue of The Kiteboarder Magazine