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Naish have pitched the Triad as ‘the right kite for 99% of the population’ and, before we read into this too much, this has some historical context with Naish, as they released their original product range in 1999 with the slogan ‘The wrong sport for 99.9% of the population’. Twenty years later they’ve flipped the marketing on its head, an indicator of how far equipment has come in that time. In context with the rest of the range, the Triad sits as a freeride all-rounder, and probably has most crossover and provokes most comparison with the Pivot. It’s a three strut open arced kite with a mid-size bridle, which sports a lower aspect ratio and deeper canopy profile than its Big-Air-proven cousin. Naish have quite a few unique build features this year. First of all, the leading edge has been engineered to take a comfortable 11PSI, nearly doubling what some brands recommend. This makes a tangible difference in the rigidity of the air frame, resulting in improved stability, gust handling and relaunch. You notice barely any twist or distortion in the kite when you initiate a turn. Naish have their Quad-Tex ripstop, the four core canopy cloth from Teijin which improves overall rigidity and allows for less Dacron to be used in the wingtips, lightening the overall build. The Shark Tooth canopy layup on the trailing edge reduces flutter and the need for heavy Dacron framing. Then the central luff strut isn’t directly stitched to the canopy as in most designs. It instead has a piece of profiled ripstop between the back of the strut and the leading edge canopy. This allows the canopy profile to compress and expand, and adds instant grunt to the design, and improves leeward tendencies combining some of the positive aspects of a strutless kite within a three strut design.
On a twintip, it’s a wonderfully simplistic sheet and go experience. Bar feedback is very positive and the kite meets its design brief well, and tows you around the ocean immaculately with very few surprises even when at the top of its wind range. Upwind ability was good with minimal edging required, and serious credit must go to the overall stability of the Triad at all angles of attack. Turning on the Triad required a little more input when compared to the Pivot so you need to tune into this and be more assertive with bar movement, then the top end is excellent and you’d need a cataclysmic gust to make it even slightly flustered. Sheet and go characteristics normally translate well to sheet and jump, and sure enough boosting is exceptionally easy to initiate and the tuned down turning speed means you have to work hard to make any bar input errors (and unwanted results). It’s a smooth experience on the way up and the way down, and very controllable. Trimmed back a little and unhooked, its mid aspect and deep canopy combine for quite a punchy response and decent pop factor, but lacks the slack of a more dedicated freestyle kite. Again, the mellow steering speed helps here.
A true all-rounder can’t be rated as such in 2019 unless it had some credibility in the hydrofoil department. In lighter wind, the Triad flies fairly early, and that deep profile has the grunt to get you up and foiling earlier than most three strut kites. The central luff strut really comes into play when running downwind, and with the enormous bar stroke, the ability to dump power without the kite tipping out makes for a reassuring foil experience. On a surf board, most of these characteristics transfer across well, the innate stability lends itself well to side shore down the line riding with minimal kite inputs. Overall the Triad offers a very accessible riding experience with performance attributes for more experienced riders to enjoy. More advanced riders may want something a little more responsive to get the adrenaline running, which is where the Pivot fits, but the Triad is impressive particularly when boosting and in its top end when things deserve to go wonky…
In a sentence: Naish have really nailed down what’s required in the beginner to intermediate sector with the Triad – it’s highly accessible, with a linear power development and predictable handling – and will take you from your first few runs through to as far as you want to go with it…