At a Glance
This is the 3rd generation of Naish Cult and arguably it is definitely the most polished yet. When it first burst onto the scene some three years ago it boasted the wildly different Sigma shape and Geo-Tech canopy layout. The design plan was to create a kite with a solid canopy that didn’t deform when it was depowered. And also to move the centre of effort, the main pulling point of the kite, further back in the canopy to make a more stable foil. Sceptics claimed the kite wouldn’t stand the test of time, but three years on the Cult is still going strong and has never succumbed to the durability issues that others claimed it would. We loved the first version, it had a handling ability in gusty conditions that was second to none, and last year the kite was just as good. This year we were keen to see what would change. Perhaps the most welcome difference is a much simpler bridle set up, similar to the system used on the Helix last year. The kite is also a little more arced in its shape, and the wingtips have been changed to echo the low drag design first seen on the 2009 Helix.
Naish Bars have always been a favourite of ours, always well finished and very well equipped. The Cult bar for 2010 comes with a smart loop and depower at the chicken loop similar to last years. As usual the chicken loop fits into the base of the bar so when you unhook it sits there ready for easy hooking back in. There is a stopper on the chicken loop line, so you can easily stop the bar from disappearing up the centre line when you un-spin it for back loops, or adjust your foot straps. For total safety you can release the kite onto one line if you desire. The bar itself is adjustable so you get a 48-54cm bar all in one. Of course it is all finished in the usual polished style of Naish and oozes quality when you hold it in your hands.
In the Air
This year the Cult has a much more developed C Shape arc than before, and the difference this makes to the performance is quite stunning. The Cult always was a highly underrated kite in our opinion, often overlooked, but this year it takes it to the next level. It feels quite punchy in the air and eager to attack the edge of the window; perhaps a little less stable than last year, it would be hard to tell without flying them directly back to back. But it certainly feels more powerful and faster through the air than last year. The turning this year is really direct, the new bridle means you get the kite to turn much quicker when you input the steering into the bar than last year. You can really notice the difference and this is a very welcome development. The depower and gust handling is still very impressive, but the kite is definitely more aggressive than before, so you may find it needs more rider input in those gusty conditions rather than being able to park and forget it. Relaunching is still really easy, even though the new arc is more C shaped. The Sigma leading edge is very good at not sticking to the water, so when you do crash the kite it is very easy to get it to roll over and back into the air.
Extremely stable canopy even in the gustiest of conditions, more powerful and direct in terms of steering than last year. Simpler bridle finishes off what is an excellent package. A great all round free ride machine, happy in a multitude of conditions and riding styles.
Last year the Cult was more of an entry level kite with superb performance capabilities, this year it is more of a performance go anywhere kite suited to free riders. Beginners might want to look to the new Charger for a more forgiving first time ride.
The third generation Cult builds on the previous success and adds more performance and a shorter bridle, creating a very easy to fly go anywhere do anything machine!
This review was in Issue 17 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit Naish Kiteboarding
By Rou ChaterRou has been kiting since the sports inception and has been working as an editor and tester for magazines since 2004. He started IKSURFMAG with his brother in 2006 and has tested hundreds of different kites and travelled all over the world to kitesurf. He's a walking encyclopedia of all things kite and is just as passionate about the sport today as he was when he first started!