As one of the first brands to put their R&D might behind the fledgling sport of kitesurfing, Naish continues to this day to push the envelope of tech and performance with significant improvements to materials and design. With one of the most complete lineups of products to meet the demands of every type of kiteboarding, Naish has something for everyone in the freeride, freestyle and surf segments as well as a full offering of innovative foilboarding gear to get you on the water in every type of condition.
NAISH HAS BEEN WORKING ON SOME SIGNIFICANT CONSTRUCTION UPGRADES ALONG THE KITE LINES. WHAT CHANGES HAVE BEEN MADE TO MATERIAL AND DESIGN AND HOW DOES THAT AFFECT DURABILITY AND PERFORMANCE?
In 2017 we worked in collaboration with Teijin, widely regarded as the top material manufacturer in the world, to create the Quad-Tex Canopy material. There are a lot of claims out there on what material is the strongest, but we can say with confidence that Quad-Tex is the strongest with the empirical data to back it up. We know that when people buy kites it can be a big investment, so we really focus on using the best materials possible to ensure that our kites last season after season. If you were to compare a kite with Quad-Tex versus one without, the Quad-Tex kite is going to be in much better condition after a season. One question we got a lot when we debuted Quad-Tex was how much weight was added and overall our kites have actually gotten lighter. Year after year we’ve been able to strip away Dacron panels and lighten our kites without sacrificing performance or strength—the Shark Teeth Trailing Edge is one example of this. Instead of having a strip of Dacron along the trailing edge, we came up with the Shark Teeth Trailing Edge using Quad-Tex. Not only does this make our kites lighter, but also contributes to better flying characteristics and helps disperse flutter when your kite lays on the beach. For 2019 we’ve continued to explore ways to improve our kite construction with the new HT Plus thread and bladder lock. HT Plus is a new thread we developed for the leading edge seam that tested off the charts in tensile strength. What this means is you can inflate your kites with absolute confidence that you won’t blow out the leading edge no matter how hard you crash your kite and its no secret that a well inflated kite flies significantly better. Bladder Lock is another improvement aimed at reducing those freak accidents by making sure your bladder doesn’t move out of position when inflating, deflating and rolling up your kite.
HOW MUCH CROSSOVER IS THERE BETWEEN THE MAIN KITES IN YOUR LINE UP, AND HOW DO YOU GUIDE RIDERS BETWEEN THE RIDE, PIVOT, SLASH, BOXER AND DASH KITES?
The Pivot is really the standout, anyone-can-do-everything kite. You can learn on it, yet Kevin Langeree won the Red Bull King of the Air on it and Jesse Richman charges Peahi on it. It performs exceptionally well in a broad range of conditions, so if you were to draw a diagram, the Pivot would be in the middle of the spectrum. The Slash has continued to grow its following amongst wave purists for its outstanding down the line drift. It has a little less bar pressure than the Pivot and less pull in the turn, which helps with maintaining your position on the wave versus just getting pulled down the line. The Dash is geared towards advanced kiters with a bit more emphasis on freestyle than the Pivot. It’s geared towards guys who like to send kiteloops and unhooked freestyle and has gained a following from people who may have preferred a kite like the Torch in the past. The Boxer is like a light wind version of the Pivot; although it may have similar turning characteristics, it really shines as a kite for foiling. With the single luft-strut the canopy breathes like a strutless kite but the strut really helps the canopy maintain its shape in gusty winds and during water relaunches. It also has the largest range of sizes with the smallest being a 3.5 and the largest being a 16m. Generally, its low-end power and lightweight design allows you to fly a size or two smaller than normal. Finally the Ride is really made for the beginner/intermediate kiters who just like to get out on the water. It has the most sheet-in-and-go performance out of any kite in the Naish line, which has a real benefit to people learning. It flies slightly more forward in the window than the Pivot and just has really reliable all-around performance. Last but not least, when it comes to freestyle the Torch remains in the line as a kite that gives the best possible performance for anyone who is a hardcore freestyle purist.
HOW SHOULD RIDERS CHOOSE BETWEEN THE HERO, MOTION AND DRIVE TWIN TIPS, AND WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE CARBON AND GLASS PROCESSES IN THIS YEAR’S TWIN TIPS IN TERMS OF PERFORMANCE AND FEEL?
The Hero, Motion and Drive are all boards that are friendly and easy to ride with great performance, with each board giving more performance sequentially. The Hero has a rounded outline and is ideal for people learning how to kite. It is forgiving if you are getting out of control and recovers fast. The Hero reaches far beyond beginners though, as it has a fairly soft flex which is really ideal for kiters who prefer a more forgiving ride. The Motion has more bottom and deck shaping to give move grip for loading up. It is a bit narrower, can handle more speed and has a very smooth ride in rough water. There’s a reason why it’s Naish’s top selling twin tip—its flex and pop are a test team favorite and it’s a board that is easy to grow into. The Drive is our highest-end freeride twin tip, sort of like a race-tuned Motion. It has the same shape and rocker, but with the carbon construction it is lighter and has quick reflex for even faster and more performance riding.
THE SURFBOARD LINE HAS BEEN DISTILLED INTO THREE CLASSIC BOARDS: THE GLOBAL, GO-TO AND SKATER. IN TERMS OF SKILL LEVEL, RIDING STYLE AND CONDITIONS, HOW DO YOU RECOMMEND THESE BOARDS?
All of these boards are easy to ride for any skill level, the choice is just what kind of riding you want to do. Obviously, kiters of better ability will really be able to tap into the higher performance aspects of these shapes but that doesn’t exclude kiters who might be stepping onto their first directional. The Global is narrow and fast and will handle the highest speed turns. Ideally it’s a board that favors good waves and rides best when powered up and screaming down the line as it has a high top-end speed. The Go-To will do it all—waves, strapless freestyle, or just blasting around. It has a wider entry than the Global and is a board that you can really take anywhere. With the added volume and its wider entry all the way through the tail, the Go-To is a good board for guys who ride slightly underpowered and rely more on the wave for momentum versus the kite. The Skater is wide and compact, ideal for strapless freestyle while still being really fun in waves or getting out there in the lightest of winds. It’s a board that really suits a wide range of kiters from guys looking to get on their first directional to guys like Gustavo Arrojo competing on the GKA Strapless Tour. It’s super fun in choppy and mushy onshore waves but has great performance when the waves get good.
WHEN IT COMES TO FOILBOARDERS OF DIFFERENT SKILL LEVEL, HOW DO YOU STEER RIDERS BETWEEN THE KS2 FREERIDE FOIL AND THE SURF WING AND WHAT DESIGN CHANGES HAVE BEEN MADE THIS YEAR TO THE MAST AND FUSELAGE DESIGN?
This is the golden question with multiple answers. Despite the name, many of our team riders love kiting on the Thrust Surf wings. They have a lower take off speed and are really easy to ride. They are great for learning transitions and even some of the world’s best kiters use them for the lightest of winds and fun freeride sessions. The medium and even the large wing are great options for people who want a foil they can use for both kiting and surfing.
The Thrust Kite foil opens up the speed possibilities that these wings have. It is locked in, smooth and glides exceptionally well. For riders who want to get their heart pumping a bit and cover some distance, this is an ideal setup. Ewan Jaspan really enjoys this setup as he’s able to cover a large area quickly and get out and explore more on the foil.
The KS2 wings are all new for 2019. The front wing features a dihedral channel that works to give super efficient
take off while the upturned wing tips really help out a lot when edging hard upwind. The construction of all our wings is new for 2019 as well and are 50% lighter than 2018, and we went back to the drawing board to see how we could improve the fuselage and came up with a totally new des
ign on the tail reducing drag and improving strength.
The foil program has seen a lot of new innovations but the new Abracadabra system has been one of the most exciting. It’s a two-part system with a plate that attaches to your board and another plate that
attaches to the mast. The two plates slide together and are secured with only one screw. This lets you quickly connect and disconnect your foil so you can spend more time on the water and treat your foil better. This also opens up more possibilities to switch foils between boards.