Local Cape Town kitesurfer, Steven Bertie-Roberts recently tested the 2011 Naish Park 8m kite, and compares it to his 2011 Naish Torch. This is what he had to say…
Harry Vogelezang very kindly lent me his 2011 Naish Park 8.0 kite for a test session. My usual kites are the Naish Torches 6.0/8.0/11.0, so these will be my basic yardstick for comparison.
2.5m swell, wind between 12 and 25 knots side offshore.
Airush Converse 5’10” thruster.
Excellent quality construction. Three strut design extremely light. Very simple bridal. Great bar with stopper system to keep bar within reach. 22M lines. Best of all for Naish; a stopper ball in the inflation valve at last!!
Light bar pressure with good feedback. Instantaneous turning response. At planing speed in light wind, there is no pressure at all from the kite; all power is directed straight into your harness. A very surreal feeling, like what is making me go?
Not a boosting kite like the Torch. Very easy to launch and hang up there due to the SLE, but a far less aggressive launch than the Torch. The descent is also less floaty with slightly harder landings. This kite also needs to be set up carefully as regards to power settings, too much power and the kite can oversheet and fly backwards in light wind (instant recovery with bar out). 4cm of depower sorted this out.
Spins, flips and kite loops very easy. Kite loops benign with no power surge.
This is what this kite is for. The light feel and instantaneous turning totally liberates the kitesurfer from the kite. Bottom turns can be as tight and vertical as you like. No matter how late you leave your kite turn off the lip, it flicks around and you are free to drop down the face. I have never felt this loose on a wave before. This kite is capable of improving your wave riding by 100% straight away. There is no force from the kite limiting your freedom on a wave. A true surfing experience.
High Wind Performance
At the maximum with the kite depowered by about 22cm, the bar response is still good. Where a Torch gets unresponsive when depowered this much, this kite just keeps on obeying orders.
Here the Park was a total surprise. Very aggressive upwind bite.
Torch or Park?
For pure hooked in wave riding it’s no contest. The Park takes it, especially when overpowered. For easy all round performance, the Park also takes it too. It simply does not bite. In gusty wind, the Park also gets the nod.
For everything else, the Torch wins. More boost, more float, more hang time, more bar pressure, and a much more involving and aggressive feel all round. With the Park you do not have to think at all about a kite loop, just pull the bar, and it’s over. With the Torch, the big power surge and fast landing demand attention. The Torch is still a great wave riding kite, provided you are within the wind range. More finesse is required to prevent stretched out bottom turns and blow outs over the back, plus, the Torch is also unusable at places like Seal Point where the wind gusts from 5 to 25 knots every few seconds. In these extreme conditions, only an SLE like the Park can survive.
For all its high performance in the surf, The Park delivers a remarkably relaxing and physically undemanding ride. It’s not that the Torch is tiring to fly; it just gives you this subtle all round workout that leaves you feeling like you have really got physical and done something worthwhile. Owning a Torch also makes beer taste better.
Who Should Buy a Park?
Any beginner, intermediate, or advanced free rider and especially any dedicated wave rider of any level right up to expert. Chicks will dig it too!
If you want to know more about Naish kites in South Africa, or you are interested in getting one yourself, visit the Naish Kitesurf SA website or call them on +27 (0) 21 556 0044.
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