At A Glance
We have recently had our hands on the new 2018 Naish Slash; the Slash is a dedicated wave and strapless riding kite. It’s 3-strut, thin leading edge, swept wingtip design gives the kite the ultimate blend of flying characteristics for wave riding. We see all the usual Naish design features included in the 2018 Naish Slash, Octopus inflation system, Quad-Tex ripstop, tons of re-enforcements, ABS bridle, making the kite not only robust but ready to handle all conditions.
However, this year we see the introduction of the Shark Teeth Trailing edge which replaces the old heavy Dacron trailing edge with a lighter weight Quad-Tex re-enforcement, reducing flutter and wear. The 2018 Slash has also had the wingtips reduced in diameter which should increase the speed of the kites turns.
The Slash comes in a variety of sizes, two colourways: Grey/Blue, Yellow/Blue and can be ridden with both above the bar and below the bar options. We see the introduction of 11m and 12m Slash kites this year, enabling you to continue ripping it up in the lighter winds.
Sizes: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12m.
The new Torque bars have undergone some serious work over the last season, featuring a new release, new adjustable length bar ends, replaceable bar centre and many configuration options to suit different riders. There are two different bar configuration options, the ATB “above the bar” and the BTB “below the bar” variant.
The bar is incredibly robust yet comfortable when you get your hands on it; quality has been a focus here. There is a Double Density EVA Grip with Memory Core underneath to keep things comfortable, a Hytrel moulded chicken loop ensures the loop maintains its shape at all times, and aircraft grade aluminium has been used along with titanium screws and a Nylatron wear insert for the depower.
The Fusion Bar End technology allows you to easily adjust the width of the bar and also manages the lines when packing up too!
The Torque release system is insanely simple and quick to use, releasing works immediately and clipping back in takes no time at all. We can use this in either standard mode or suicide mode. Ideal for those riders who unhook but want reliable safety while on the shore.
The bar has a moderately sized centre line giving us the ability to depower huge amounts on the fly. With the ATB option, we have a coated centreline which gives a slightly tighter more direct feel and is easier on the fingers for those unhooking. The ATB depower cleat is simple to use and very precise for trimming while on the water.
A fantastic wave kite with incredible build quality.
In the Air
Up in the sky the 2018 Naish Slash shows its stability, we’re currently in winter over here in the UK, sessions are gusty, cold and have been pretty strong so far. We had the Slash out in some pretty lumpy conditions with near on double up gusts. It performed excellently remaining stable in the air at all times.
The kite is very responsive and effortless in the turns. It drives very well across the window, through loops and its fast through the turns. One of the most notable behaviours of the Slash was that it creates very little downwind pull when chucked around. Keep the bar in, and you’ve got your power, chuck a loop in, bang the bar out slightly and it's gone. Fantastic for us here in the UK riding in onshore conditions, it was very easy to remain on the wave at all times.
We actually had some cracking cross-shore breezes as well lately and got to ride down the coast on numerous occasions. The Slash really excelled in these conditions, firing you down the line when needed, yet remained insanely stable while smashing up and down the faces. Floating back “drifting” in the window even in the gusts.
Hands up, I’m no pro when it comes to strapless airs. However, I had a brilliant session getting little airs off the waves and trying to nail my back rolls. It was very apparent how important a real wave kite like this is to that style of riding. The minimal downwind pull made it some much easier to remain connected with the board when leaving the water. There is plenty of vertical lift when it comes to jumping the Slash.
The Slash is super nimble in the air, responsive and provides very little downwind pull unless needed.
We didn’t have any issues to report with the Slash; we found it to be a fantastic kite for wave riding.
It’s fantastic to see the equipment in kiteboarding still progressing at such a quick rate this far into the sport. The 2018 Slash shows this; the kite is suitably fit for shredding the sets in these ever-evolving disciplines. It offers rapid turns, vast amounts of depower and rock-solid stability making it stand out on the water. In terms of construction, the Slash is very well built and should handle the occasional rinsing from a big wave with ease. While best suited to those already ripping on strapless surfboards or those wanting to learn wave riding. The Slash is a brilliant kite that will also perform for those not yet ready to progress onto wave riding but are aspiring to hit the faces in the future.
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This review was in Issue 67 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit Naish Kiteboarding