TESTED: Naish Pivot S25

Season 25 yields another variant of the Pivot, making it among the longest standing flagship kite models in the Naish range. It goes without saying that the kite has proven itself with a couple of solid King of the Air wins along the way. Built around a three-strut swept tip platform, the familiar build elements from Naish are present. Quadtex ripstop from Teijin makes for a stiff, light and wear resistant canopy. Higher inflate pressures achieved by an iSUP valve make for a super stiff and lean airframe. Shark tooth darting elegantly creeps up each canopy segment, reinforcing the trailing edge and helping eliminate vibration – this has been reworked this year into a smoother shape. For S25, a striking limited-edition skull and crossbones model, aimed for the inner buccaneer amongst us, celebrates a quarter century of Naish products.

The main change this year is a new bridle tuning point, which allows for enhanced wind range at the top end, giving the kite a serious power dump ability. We had a tinker with this and can report back that it’s very effective. Our 9m test kite saw some epic strong and variable northern European conditions and handled them with grace. When perhaps we’d normally reach for the 7m, you could drop the pigtails up a setting and ride far more comfortably, with the kite spanning out and moving forward, but seemingly remaining as poised as ever. We were genuinely surprised how far you could push overpowered riding whilst feeling in control.

What makes the Pivot such a historically successful model is a subtle blend of factors. First of all, it’s the board speed. A skinny leading edge and easy access to power means the Pivot is full throttle from the get-go. The power delivery on the bar is exceptionally linear; you can really feather the lift you want to achieve when boosting and glide down with control and confidence. With the ATB bar, there’s a long friction-free bar stroke, and you can use all of it. The bar feedback provides an excellent translation of what the kite is doing above you and its position in the window at all times. There’s no vagueness at any point. The turning speed is perky to say the least, and initiating a turn requires minimal effort. A quick flick of the wrist, then choose your power on the bar stroke and you can throw a loop exactly to your liking.

The progressive nature of the Pivot means it builds confidence in Big Air situations fast. It’s an instantly familiar and predictable kite, which doesn’t take an age to dial into, whilst yielding massive performance when you want it to. These factors also transfer over into a capable wave kite. The rapid and nuanced handling and adequate drift make it a pleasure to take out in chunky swell, and we even found ourselves foiling with it, where it was also remarkably fun.

The Pivot is a kite that has ranked very highly amongst its Big Air peers for several years and hasn’t needed massive design changes to continue to be extremely competitive. It allows you to scare the life out of yourself with exceptional high and loop capabilities, but the level of control and feedback achieved lets you operate with a modicum of safety and enhanced confidence. Hooked-in freeriding doesn’t get much more fun than with the Pivot, and it continues to be a performance crossover masterpiece.

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