Photo: Stephen Whitesell

Photo: Stephen Whitesell

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Get full 2015 gear info from 26 brands in the TKB 2015 Buyers Guide.

Naish’s 2015 twin tips, all new Fusion control bar system and Skater surfboard received the biggest changes to their construction, shape, and performance for the new model year, while the rest of the line was largely fine-tuned. The exception is Naish’s newly released Pivot, which Naish promotes as a ‘forgiving’ freeride kite which excels in both waves and freestyle, especially when learning kite loops. Damien Girardin (DG), Kite Designer; Nitsan Solomonov (NS), Naish Maui Pro Center Manager; and Lars Moltrup (LM), Product and Board Designer, teamed up to give us the lowdown on all the changes with the brand’s products for their 2015 lineup.

The Pivot is an entirely new design for this year. How does this kite fit into the 2015 line and who is the target rider for this new kite? (DG) The Pivot sits just between the Park and the Ride. When we designed the kite, our focus was to make a freeride kite with a different way of turning. This is how the “Pivot” got its namesake; we wanted a kite that would do pivotal turns.

The whole idea was to have an axis of rotation closer to the center of the kite than other kites in the line, with a constant pull throughout the turns. It naturally appeals to waveriding because it allows for very easy bottom turns, letting you focus on your board’s rail rather than the timing and positioning of the kite. The main advantage of the pivotal turning ability is that it makes the kite extremely predictable and easy to ride. This makes it an excellent choice for most people that want to freeride and take their level to the next step. Learning to kiteloop on the Pivot, for example, is amazingly forgiving. The relatively high aspect ratio–when compared to the Park or the ride–leads to incredible performance in jumping ability and low-end power. Another key characteristic of the Pivot is its superior drifting ability. Due to a new leading edge geometry (reduced taper) the kite stays very stable during waveriding, which allows the kite to sit in front of you and frees you up to focus on your riding.

The Ride, Trip and the Pivot are similar to the extent they all crossover into the Freeride category. How would you explain the main differences between these three platforms? (DG) the Ride’s 2-strut design provides excellent low end power, making the kite extremely accessible thanks to excellent “sheet-in and go” characteristics. Additionally, its low aspect ratio and rounded wing tip make it a well-balanced kite with easy relaunch from the water. (NS) the Trip’s strutless design makes it incredibly lightweight; allowing it to excel in light wind conditions. Because it packs up small and can be squeezed into tight spaces, it’s great for surf, or family trips so you’re ready when the wind comes up. Adding to the versatility, the Trip is a great option for light wind foiling as well.

the Pivot’s platform and 3-strut design make it a very versatile kite that can handle whatever you throw at it. It has great wind range and is an excellent freeride kite that jumps well. It’s also great for waveriding thanks to its drifting ability.

The Torch has been your dedicated comp freestyle kite. How does the Park share those freestyle characteristics while also falling into the freeride category? (NS) the Torch is all about powered freestyle. It delivers great pop while staying steady and creating power in the turns. The Park shares these characteristics, but it’s a 4-line bridled kite so it has more depower and is more forgiving.

(DG) the Torch has been in our line for 11 years now. A major factor in the kite’s longevity is its superior performance in freestyle riding. Providing an unmatched “pop and slack” during unhooked riding, the torch makes tricks much easier to land. The original success of the torch back in 2004 was due to its amazing user-friendly appeal coupled with its incredible depower–compared to other c-kites. These same characteristic strengths continue to hold true today as major points of appreciation for our Naish team riders and customers.

When we started working on the Park, the idea was to increase the user-friendly factor and depower capability, while keeping the flying characteristics and bar feel of the Torch. While the Park and Torch have a lot of DNA in common–sharing a similar foil profile and a relatively small leading edge diameter (for quick turning, great unhooked flying characteristics and low drag)– the Park has a flatter arc and bridles in order to provide a greater amount of instant depower, which makes it much more forgiving than the Torch.

When it comes to light wind, both the Fly and the Draft deliver impressive performance. What are each kite’s highlights and how should a rider from a light wind location choose between the two? (DG) the Fly and Draft have very different aims. The Fly is designed to offer a light wind riding style that is as close as possible to the ride you would have in normal wind conditions. The Focus was to ensure the kite would generate a lot of power and turn as fast as possible, in order to make light wind riding fun. our goal for the Fly was to make it turn as fast as possible. The design is based on the Park (with a different center of effort, sweep and one less strut) and has a great bar feel, which makes you feel comfortable right away. The Fly is a great kite for all your jumps and unhooked tricks.

The Draft was designed with pure performance in mind. While the smaller sized Drafts will deliver the biggest and most floaty jumps you can ever imagine, the larger sizes (14 and 17) are designed with only three struts, keeping the focus TORCH on light wind power and upwind ability. With the Draft, you can travel up and downwind quickly when you race, whether against your friends or in competition.

Photo Quincy Dein

Photo Quincy Dein

Last year’s bar saw some upgrades like memory foam, but this year the design team went back to the drawing board with some big upgrades to form, function and adjustability. What in your opinion are the biggest changes? (LM) in terms of function, weight and aesthetics, there are a lot of improvements that have been made this year.

For the chicken loop we opted to keep the tested and proven function of the previous design, but we managed to decrease the weight by 30% for an overall lighter bar with less momentum and impact force when doing unhooked maneuvers. Another big improvement is the molded loop, which keeps its shape more open when hooking in, but also has increased durability. The bar ends were a very big project for this year, with improved functionality and a decreased overall size. The adjustment of the bar width is now made much easier, as well as the integrated bungee which makes for a seamless look.

15NaishKB_Fusion_CS_01

A significant amount of testing went in to the bar center. Lab tests showed us that the Nylatron insert, which has a PTFE (Teflon) infusion, reduces the wear of the trim line significantly. Lastly, a new re-design of all the parts allowed us to change all the screws, so that all you need to replace parts is an FCS size Allen key.

What are the biggest changes in the twin tip lineup for 2015? (LM) We put many hours into construction this year. For instance, Basalt fiber has been introduced on the Monarch for a significantly improved feel and reflex. Also, improved shapes were designed for the Dub and the Monarch, as well as two brand new shapes for the Mega and the Grom.

How should a rider choose between the Motion, Monarch and the Mega? (LM) The three boards are some of the highest performing boards in our range, but they do target distinct preferences for different riders.

The Mega is the board for the guy who wants the lightest, fastest and most responsive board available. The full carbon construction allows the Mega to be the lightest board for its size (in our range) and provides unprecedented reflex and pop for boosting those big airs. The only downside about this is that carbon is a brittle yet extremely stiff, strong material. If you are throwing down huge kite loops and handlepasses, you might want to consider the Monarch or the Dub for the added durability. The low rocker that makes the boards super fast also makes them less desirable in very choppy conditions. If that is the condition you ride in, you might want to look at a board like the Motion.

The Motion is one of our top sellers and is a high performing board that works for everything, but really excels in choppy conditions. The combination of the high flex and rocker makes it butter smooth to ride–even in large chops. For people looking for a board that can do everything in all conditions, you can’t go wrong with the Motion.

The Monarch is our freestyle weapon and used by Naish Team Riders Paul Serin and Ariel Corniel in PKRA competitions. It is also the board of choice for World champion Kevin Langeree, so it’s been tried and proven. This year we redesigned and improved on the shaping in order to add more stability and grip. The rocker has been lowered for better speed and earlier planing. We’ve also adjusted the construction to have a much livelier feel, reflex and better pop. Even though the Monarch is used by our top riders, it really does just about anything. For the Maui Test Team, this is one of our favorite boards for pretty much any style of riding; whether it is boosting, freeriding, or freestyle, the Monarch is a very versatile board.

What sets the Antic apart from the other freestyle boards? (LM) The Antic is designed with cable parks and wakestyle riding in mind. The core is beefed up for a stiffer and more durable board. The inserts are built tough, to accommodate those hard crashes with boots, and with a high wakeboard-inspired rocker, the Antic gives you softer landings than any other board in our lineup.

Aside from the super low wind performance of the Orbit, which board would you recommend for freestyle in lighter wind areas? (LM) It depends on the size of the rider, but I would recommend going for the largest size of the Monarch. The low rocker and reasonably wide aspect ratio of this board will get you planing earlier than many boards in our range.

The Global has been the flagship in the Naish line of surfboards. Are there any changes for 2015? (LM) The shapes have been refined in terms of rail flow and thickness and we added the 5’2’’ size, which is robby’s go-to weapon of choice for most conditions. The rails are thinned out for better grip in your bottom turn or racing down the line. The construction has been refined with UD carbon Fiber on the bottom for optimized flex, as well as an overall weight reduction due to a refined production process.

The Skater is an entirely different board for 2015 with an all-new construction method. What are some of the design details and what type of surfing will this board excel at? (LM) There are a few things that pop out when looking at this board, namely the impact honeycomb cell construction and the parallel outline with the cut off nose and the bottom shaping.

The Skater is the first and only kitesurf-specific board on the market to use the impact honeycomb cell. Together with bamboo and several layers of fiberglass, as well as additional reinforcements in key areas, the board absorbs and disperses the impact from landing aerial maneuvers. It not only affects the durability of the board, it also allows us to have an unparalleled strength-to- weight ratio.

Another exciting feature is the parallel outline, which really gives you an outstanding, stable ride when going upwind compared to a conventional surfboard shape. Combined with the cut off nose, there is less board to throw around–keeping you more centered on the board when doing strapless jumps and translating to more stable and easy controllable aerials.

The bottom of this board has been shaped specifically for strapless riding and has deep channels in the tail, transferring into a double concave and flattening out in the nose area. The deep channels in the tail allowed us to run this board with a thruster setup–something you rarely see on this type of board due to the relatively wide tail. The combination of channels and thruster setup, allows for plenty of grip in your bottom turn, while simultaneously allowing for release of the tail in your top turn, so you really get the best of both worlds with this design. The double concave allows for easier heel-to-toeside transition and at the same time softens landings by dispersing the water efficiently on impact.

The Skater really does it all, but excels in small to mid-size surf–whether it is onshore or sideshore down-the-line surfing. If you are looking to get into strapless riding, it is a very easy, accessible board that rides upwind (similar to a TT) but provides endless fun in waves as well.

This is the second year for the Custom LE which uses the lighter and more responsive feel of PU-core and polyester. For those kiteboarders who have never purchased a custom surfboard before, how do you explain the proper use of this board? (LM) The benefit of using this type of construction is that you get a more flexible board with a real surfboard feel. the drawback is that the board is not as strong as an epoxy construction with bamboo and honeycomb impact cell. The custom LE construction, with it’s Armor Frame technology, is designed with kiting in mind and is much more durable than traditional surfboard construction, though it cannot take repeated hard landings without heel denting. If you are just getting into strapless riding and want to do massive jumps, you might want to consider either the Skater or the Global. If you are looking for a board that rides, feels and looks like a proper surfboard, the custom Le is the board for you.

Is there anything you’d like to add? (LM) Make sure to give the APEX a try. We think it’s the best binding on the market!

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