Naish are a brand synonymous with wave riding with a rich Hawaiian heritage stretching back to the very inception of kiting, and have always been eager to push the wave riding side of the sport. The Slash has done at least five years as a model and for S25 Naish have applied much of the new tech implemented in the rest of the range.
The usual quality Teijin Quadtex material is implemented, making for a kite with longevity in its shape and excellent wear properties. The one-pump system has now gone external with large diameter tubes to make inflation and maintenance as easy as possible. The load seams run from the center across the canopy to the wingtips, which helps transfer steering forces across the kite with more effect. The wingtips are a little more clipped and squared off than the Pivot and have a pronounced sweep backwards with a tear drop shape. This moves the balance point of the kite backwards and makes it more composed in a down-the-line drift scenario.
We found dropping the line lengths a little to 22m beneficial for this smaller 7m kite, particularly in higher wind strengths, as with the full 24m lines on it felt a little far away and remote. This is easy to achieve by whipping off the extensions and didn’t hamper our upwind progress noticeably.
For anyone familiar with the Pivot, the Slash feels like a slightly down-tuned and less aggressive version with a predictable design focus shift towards drift and down-the-line riding and requiring far less kite movement to keep position on the wave. Round your bottom turn, the Slash provides power surge, making it easy to time your carve, and it climbs particularly fast as soon as you release the bar. Its reliability in leeward terms is superb and the Slash feels exceptionally balanced. The kite will follow you downwind obediently with a minimum of bar input. The Slash matches the longer bar stroke on the Naish system well, as you can change angle of attack to dump power aggressively without the fear of the kite overflying. In other good news, it retains the truly enormous wind range of the Pivot.
For the more wave-focused rider, the Slash is an excellent choice, providing a far more relaxed experience than the Pivot particularly if you are lucky enough to have decent down-the-line wave conditions. It is a kite with excellent manners that enables your complete freedom on the wave with no surprises. As wave kites go, it is a sedate and calculated experience.