2017 is a big year for Naish Kiteboarding with the introduction of an exclusive new canopy fabric, significant changes to the kite lineup and Naish’s first hydrofoil product. We caught up with Damien Girardin, Naish’s kite designer, to get the latest from Naish Headquarters in Hawai’i.

This year you are releasing an exclusive canopy material that is not available to any other kite company in the industry. What’s the story behind this new material and will the end user notice a difference in the latest Naish kites?

Quad-Tex has been in development for the past three years with one goal: making a stiffer, stronger and more durable canopy. While other canopies start with a base layer of polyester yarn, Quad-Tex takes a ‘strength-first’ approach constructing the matrix with 4x-reinforced ripstop, then balances the grid with the optimal strength-to-weight ratio for heavy-duty rip protection. High tenacity polyester yarn fills out the framework and is reinforced with Teijin’s high-grade resin for increased water-resistance and longevity. In the end it creates a whole new 4x-reinforced ripstop matrix that creates a much stiffer and stronger canopy material. This delivers a kite that is more direct, faster turning and stronger.

Additionally, the canopy material wears exceptionally well over time — lasting at its peak state for much longer than even the best canopy materials out there. Since we now rely less on the outside resin of the material and a lot more on the core yarn, the canopy fabric maintains its resilience for much longer, preserving more performance longevity for your kite.

Riders are really feeling the difference in performance as well. People are saying the kites are feeling faster and more responsive, with more power and increased stability in gusty, strong wind.untitled-7-01Naish is introducing a new wave kite called the Slash for 2017. How is this platform different from the Pivot and the Ride? What can dedicated wave riders expect from this new kite?

The Slash was clearly inspired from the Pivot, which is already a great wave kite thanks to its fast steering and constant pull in turns (aka, its famous pivotal turns!).

For the Slash, I started from the Pivot platform and added some features that wave and strapless riders really appreciate: the drifting ability and stability. To do that, the main work was done on the wingtip shape. I made them boxier and extended them further back than on the Pivot. When riding a wave down the line not everyone wants to steer their kite back and forth and this new geometry allows the kite to drift nicely downwind.

In addition, the leading edge diameter was enlarged down on the wingtip area. This makes the kite super stable, so when you ride strapless your kite is always there in front of you, letting you focus on your tricks.untitled-7-02After watching Naish athlete Kai Lenny effortlessly paddle into waves with a foilboard, it makes sense that Naish would get into the foilboard game. Who is the new hover board designed for?

Our Hover Foil program is easy to get started on and incredibly forgiving, which makes it an ideal fit for entry level up to average foilers. To make foiling even more accessible, we also introduced shorter length foil masts, allowing people to move up in size as they progress. The shorter mast allows for a much faster and easier learning experience than the typical 3-foot mast, which is becoming more of the standard on the market. As for foilboards, we offer a 160 cm board, which is great for learning, and a 130 cm, which is suitable for anyone looking to take a minimalist approach.

Naish is was one of the first companies in the industry and has been integral in the development of twin tips. What’s new in the twin tip lineup this year?

This year our twin tip lineup has seen a lot of evolution in both shaping and construction. For example, every one of our boards now has side channels, which add a lot of grip and drive to the board. We’ve also introduced a couple of new models including the Stomp and Drive. The Stomp is designed for superior freestyle and freeride performance and evolved from a wakestyle-inspired design that was developed with Jesse Richman and Ewan Jaspan. Based on the popular Motion, the Drive is a full carbon sandwich board that takes the shape of the Motion to another level of high performance freeriding. The lightweight and super fast response made it a favorite for everyone here at Naish!

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Get info from all the top brands in one convenient place with Tkb’s 2017 Buyer’s Guide.