With roots going all the way back to the inception of windsports, Naish is the company best known for spreading kiteboarding around the globe and innovating some of the most basic safety norms still in use today. With the legendary Robby Naish at the helm, the Maui-based team continues to redefine performance and quality in kiteboarding gear. Focusing on building products that are lighter and more efficient, this year, Naish launches its season 26 collection. We caught up with kite product manager Des Walsh to fill us in on what’s new for 2022.
Our goal is to make the best products and to perfect the user’s experience. This year we have added a full-time engineer, Jeff Urfer, who is living here on Maui. At the same time, Ewan Jaspan has been spending more time at the Naish headquarters and is in more direct communication with the R&D team. Ewan is extremely passionate about gear, as well as being one of the top riders in the world. We also brought a large group of riders to Maui in the spring for photoshoots and combined this with some important gear testing and development. Naish has also been working with a leading material specialist to develop improved fabrics for all of the different applications.
The Pivot is one of the classic models in the Naish lineup and for 2022, it’s gotten some construction changes as well as improvements to the larger sizes in the range. What will die-hard Pivot fans find new for the S26 Pivot?
The die-hard Pivot fans will be stoked on this year’s developments. In the sizes from 11m down, the design has not changed, but the construction details have been updated to achieve a lighter kite that is durable and long-lasting. The 12m and 14m designs have been upgraded to make a better performing kite in light wind conditions. The kites fly further forward in the wind window and this improves the high-end performance. With a slightly higher aspect ratio and a flatter arc, the larger kites in the range achieve better glide on jumps and more low-end power.
Over the last few years the Boxer has gained widespread popularity with the growth of hydrofoiling and the Boxer line has expanded its range to cover both low wind twintip and high wind hydrofoiling conditions. How have the changes for this year improved the Boxer’s performance?
The Boxer range is the biggest in the Naish lineup going from 2.8m up to 16m. All of the sizes are one strut design that utilizes our luff strut technology which makes the kite great in light wind with a big wind range. The bridle has been tuned so that it depowers in a shorter bar throw. When you combine these characteristics, you get a kite that is great for foiling, freeriding, wave riding and in the bigger sizes, a perfect light wind machine. The construction details have also been updated to achieve a lighter kite that is durable and long lasting.
With regard to surf, the Slash has always been a top choice for aggressive wave riding, but the user-friendly performance of the Triad is turning heads as more than just a progression-oriented freeride model. Is it fair to say that the surfers should give the Triad a solid shake?
Yes, for sure. The Triad often gets overlooked for performance riding because it is so user-friendly and accessible. The Triad also has a luff center strut that helps give it an incredible wind range. For those wave riders that want to focus on surfing the wave and not getting pulled around or often wonder where their kite is might really appreciate the Triad. With its solid, steady feel and incredible wind range, it’s much easier to focus on riding the wave and riding as many waves as possible!
Naish has one of the most comprehensive lines of twintips. How do you steer riders between the Drive, Motion, Switch and Monarch boards?
The Drive, Motion and Switch all come from the same mold. It is the ultimate all around rocker that is easy to use, forgiving and delivers great performance. The Drive is our 3K carbon construction giving the rider the lightest weight and the most responsive ride. The Motion and Switch have glass constructions that give a little more flex and a smooth ride. The Switch is a combo of two sizes on the same board, depending on which side you set up to be your heel side edge. With the centered inserts, you can switch quickly to the side that matches the conditions of the day. The Monarch is a different beast. It is fast with wide tips, a low rocker, and a stiff construction. It has high-end performance in mind, provides great pop, and everyone knows that one of the keys to going big is riding fast, and this is what the Monarch is made for.This year the Naish surfboards are offered in three construction options. How do you steer riders between the construction options and what are the most popular shapes for this year in the lineup?
We have a very wide variety of surfboards for different styles, conditions and skill levels. The Global and GoTo are wave riding machines. The Global is a bit narrower, fast, and loves to lock into high-speed turns while the GoTo can handle anything and is easy to ride. The Skater and Gecko are geared toward strapless riding with the Gecko featuring a quad fin configuration and the absence of strap inserts that make it purely dedicated to strapless riding. The Skater has inserts and the rocker has been adjusted a bit to make it really fun in the waves as well. The Strapless wonder is a dedicated strapless board with more of a traditional surfboard outline and it can check every box from wave to flat water freestyle.
We are offering these boards in three different constructions: double bamboo, carbon, and GS, so that you can dial in exactly what you want. The double bamboo disperses the energy from impacts well and has a great feel. The Carbon construction has a PVC shell and carbon vector net to give it the lightest, stiffest and highest performance feel. The GS construction is only offered on the Strapless Wonder and it gives riders a good balance between performance and great value.
Some of the advancements in the kite hydrofoil line this year seem to be aimed at combining high performance with ease of use. What are the key design elements as you move from the 960 to the 810 and ultimately 650? And how do you steer riders between these models?
Exactly, that is what the 810 and 650 are all about. They’re easy to use with a flat, predictable take off, a wide speed range and a feel that finds a solid balance between being locked in and free and carvey. The 810 and 650 are different sizes of this same modified delta shape concept. The 960 is designed with user-friendliness in mind. It has a slightly higher take off speed so the rider can cruise on the surface and get their bearings before starting to foil. The 960 won’t accelerate into super scary speeds and it has a very loose, skatey turning feel for carving. Based on our experience and feedback, we’ve made the wings rounded just in case you come into contact with the foil for a much safer foiling experience.
To learn more about Naish’s S26 collection visit: www.naishkites.com