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When the Pivot arrived in the Naish line up, a lot of waveriders adopted it and felt that it offered plenty for them in the surf. Then last year the Slash landed and we knew a lot of waveriders who had some trouble deciding whether they should make the move to the Slash or stick with the Pivot. When we rode last year’s Slash we could see where it offered a little more than the Pivot in the surf – particularly in terms of drifting in cross-shore conditions – and it proved itself to be a real contender in the competitive wave kite sector of the market, so we were excited to check out the latest edition. For 2018, the wingtips are slightly narrower (and still much more swept than most other pure wave kites), the Leading Edge is slimmer, and the Slash also sees the Sharks Teeth trailing edge replacing the heavier Dacron of previous years which reduces weight and the flutter (and wear) along the seam between the reinforced areas and the canopy. It also looks pretty distinctive in the air! We had the Torque ATB bar which is a massive step forward from Naish and has rocketed Naish up toward the top of the ‘best bar’ league. It feels great in your hands, is incredibly easy to use and is sturdy and well-engineered. Plus with features such as the replaceable Nylatron insert preventing wear on the trim line, you can expect to get a few seasons use out of the bar if you treat it well.
In the air and we tested the 8m Slash in a variety of conditions – we had some nice steady days and then a couple of super-gusty 15-30 knot sessions. The first thing to note is that the Slash is a very stable kite. Whether you’re trying to get your leash on on the beach, or getting hit by a squall and having to hang on, the Slash will sit pretty steadily where you expect it to be and very rarely tried to fly forward in the window too far. For onshore conditions the Slash turns very smoothly and evenly and delivers consistent power throughout the turn. You can really drive the kite around, follow with your bottom turn, and then ease out the bar and the Slash will smoothly return to where you need it to be for your next turn. It isn’t a kite that you have to be super-precise with, but if you are then it really rewards you. You can also be more aggressive with the Slash and it will really snap around if that is how you like to ride, or if that is what you need if the wind is a little lighter and you want to inject some more power into your turns. For more cross or cross-offshore conditions, as soon as you feel the power of the wave you can ease out the bar and the Slash will sit deep and follow you down the line – it did not dip down and small adjustments kept it well placed in the wind window. The relaunch – with the more swept tips – is fast and will give you more confidence to push your limits knowing that it will pop up quickly if it all goes wrong.
In a sentence: The Slash is an easy kite to fly and performs well in all types of waves, but it can also be flown very precisely to really get the most out of your riding…