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The famous saying less is more has often been used as a justification to deliver a product to market that doesn’t have the same attention to detail or performance… this is definitely not the case when it comes to the 2023 Naish Boxer. Less has truly defined the Boxer over the last few years: less struts, less weight, less wind needed, less days watching your friends from the beach, and definitely less days spent behind the computer. Ewan Jaspan has taken the ropes when it comes to the Boxer, figuratively and physically. His 2022 movie Traverse is a masterpiece in not only kite control but the definition of the word “freeride”; it is with this same passion and understanding of the discipline that Ewan approached the revamp of this year’s Boxer.
The Boxer is a single-strut kite designed to perform in the lightest of winds possible; we were blown away that in just six knots of wind, these kites continue to stay airborne. Everything on these kites from the panel layouts to the pigtails has been tuned to be lightweight; this year we see the addition of TLS 500 bridle lines in yet another aerodynamic upgrade. This is not the only update from the design team; Naish has introduced what they deemed Swift Tips – this new wingtip construction sees the Quad-Tex Ripstop canopy extending the full length of the leading edge, which not only has shaved those ever-important grams off the kite, but has brought forward performance benefits in terms of a more on-demand response. It’s easy to get concerned that as brands search for lighter and lighter materials kites are becoming more fragile, but this is not the case here as the Swift Tips construction is 30% stronger than previous wingtip constructions. On the water, we found The Boxer not only excelled as a foiling kite, but thanks to its progressive profile we discovered a really fun freeride kite that generated a lot of power, whilst being swift and reactive enough to perform in a range of conditions. Naish has optimized the panel count on these kites per size – this means that regardless of the size Boxer you pick it will be specifically tuned for the best performance possible. This is a mammoth endeavor as the Boxer has a huge size range, starting at 2.8m and ending with 16m.
We rode the 9m which we found was the perfect size for an all-round freeride experience within an impressive wind range. We tend to get overly excited every time we can take a kite into the waves and the Boxer met all our expectations. It drifts down the line with a more park-and-ride style approach; we definitely enjoyed that the kite sat a little deeper in the window than most single-strut kites, as this kept our back lines engaged, removing any fears of the kite flying too far ahead causing it to front stall. The Boxer delivers a pivoting style turn, its center of rotation sits closer to the wing tips allowing for an aggressive sweeping turn that generates impressive power for a single-strut kite. Rest assured that if you shoot the kite directly across the window there seems to be very little flutter in the canopy thanks to Naish’s flutter-dispersing triangles which allow for a tighter canopy. A characteristic of the Boxer we highly enjoyed was the ability to completely depower the kite with a relatively short throw. The kite would seemingly disappear whenever we ditched the bar, allowing us to embrace a purist style of opening our bodies up to the wave as we engaged our rail down the line. This ability not only heightens the wave riding experience but is incredibly sought after in the hydrofoiling discipline where getting pulled off your rail is much less fun.
The Boxer surprised us with its unique luff strut design that translates incredibly well for beginner riders. This unique design choice allows the kite to “breathe” apart from the only strut on the kite, creating an on-demand power response that is easy to predict. The luff strut practically changes the canopy shape whilst retaining a rock-solid frame, allowing for incredible low-end performance. Throwing the Boxer into some jumps saw us logging some decent hang time but in a very controlled manner. This kite was not designed to be explosive, and the jump characteristics are user-friendly.
The Naish Boxer 2023 is a single-strut kite that is one of the most performance-driven lightwind kites we have flown. It remained playful and responsive in multiple disciplines and definitely opened the door for riders to progress their overall kiting journey regardless of the wind strength.