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The Slash is into its third year in the Naish lineup – the Pivot had proved itself a good option in the surf but the arrival of the Slash allowed the Pivot to move more into the center of the lineup and for the Slash to take up the 100% surf slot. The Slash has stepped up to the plate and for the last couple of years has been a stand out kite for us in the surf. For 2019, Naish have reduced the diameter of the leading edge and also reduced the bar pressure throughout the wind range. Additional material changes include a new ‘HT Plus’ thread in the LE bladder which increases strength and allows you to confidently pump it up as hard as your guns will let you, and ‘Bladder Lock’ to ensure that the bladder ends are secure and can’t move or slip around. As ever with Naish, they are constantly focusing on the refinements and little things which contribute to a final product that gets full marks for build quality and attention to detail. We rode the Slash with their Torque Below The Bar (BTB) control system. The first thing to note is that the Torque – following its revamp – continues to be one of the stand out bars on the market for us, with excellent build quality and flawless functionality. This was the first time we had used the BTB version and we have had some issues with this before, but the Torque BDB edition is easy to use and the cleat is well designed to make adjustments relatively easy. It is very much a personal choice – it is great having the ‘cleanness’ a below the bar depower offers, but it does take some getting used to.
On the water and the Slash is nimble and responsive to fly. We had the 8m on the stock settings and were impressed by how quickly it flew while keeping a tight arc and consistent power. So in lower wind or onshore conditions you could confidently take a size smaller and, with the right piloting skills, generate all of the oomph you need. For prime cross or cross-off conditions, the Slash comes into its own – there is the maneuverability and power to get you onto a wave and then the driftability is very impressive, you can sheet right out and lose all power but still have the control to make subtle steering inputs if required. For downlooping, the tight turning arc and control really enable you to do this with confidence and once you have this skill mastered you can add another dimension to your waveriding and really power onto the next section. We rode the 8m on some 25 knot+ days and the top end is also very manageable with the Slash still delivering consistent power and not overflying even when fully depowered. For onshore conditions the responsiveness and maneuverability really make the slop your playground, and it’s one of few surf kites that can really cut it in double-overhead crossshore perfection as well as chest high windslop…
In a sentence: some good evolutions add extra refinement to the Slash, which is perhaps the most maneuverable and responsive surf kite on the market right now.