When I was still but a lowly newbie, and I MEAN newbie to kitesurfing I planned a trip to Egypt, Moonbeach to be exact, where the weather was warm and the winds were perfect. I owned a 12m and a 15m so what else would I possibly need!!
Well... after booking and doing the inevitable EXTRA research on where I was going I discovered if I wanted to get the best out of the lpace I had better get my hands on a 9m! Fortunately due to the miracle of work (yes I do actually work folks!!....Occasionally!) I went to see Mark at Whitstable Windsurfing and got some great advice and left the shop £350 lighter and the proud owner of a new 06 Naish Boxer III 9m complete.
Well I was desperate to use this kite before I went but lets be honest here! You buy a 9m kite 5 days before you go on a kitesurf holiday there is not a chance in hell that the wind gods are actually gonna let you fly it before you go!!!
So I get to moonbeach and its perfect learners 9m weather! Well I was still at the stage where I could go right foot forward without a problem but left foot forward was definitely challenging! Well due to perfect wind, butter flat water and 90 degree sunshine I had both directions cracked on the first day and was finally in a postion to learn a bit about the kite!
What I learnt was I LOVE IT!!!
As a foil flyer I always though that a 9m kite was an absolute monster, and as foils go it is! It is also like flying a bus of beachy head, unless you get it right it just falls out of the sky!!!
Well was I in for a shock! a 9m Lei flys like a wasp! The Boxer III is a medium aspect kite, it is fast through the window and had me grinning like a lunatic in minutes!
By the 2nd hour of the 2nd day I was actually making 'upwind' progress!! Something that had seemed like some kind of Voodoo magik prior to this with my Hydros!
The build quality of this kite is absolutely ROCK solid, the 5th line safety system is excellent, but I did find the leash banging against my leg a bit odd and after a couple of dunkings I diod notice it was wrapped around the chicken loop. Not something that is too essential but as Naish's safety system is an odd 'grab the web cover at the top of the chicken loop and slide forward' this did give me a minor amount of concern.
The kite is marketed as an 'all terrain' kite and although I have no plans to landboard with this EVER! I am toying with the idea of snowkiting with it! Yes I am that impressed with the build quality!
This kite gave me my first taste of jumps and as with all small kites like this it shoots you airborne very rapidly but it doesnt have a great deal of float! Not that I cared as I was too busy thinking "Ive just made it into orbit!!"
Some say a beginner shouldnt even think about a small Lei but this was as friendly as you made it. Something that is often the case with kites. Granted I did learn the following day this isnt applicable to ALL kites! (I flew an 05 14m Rhino that scare the bejesus outta me!) Would I recommend this to a beginner, well in hindsight probably not, but not because its a dangerous kite but more because of the winds you take it out in. I am now loathed to get this baby out in anything less than 30mph where its an absolute beasty!!
Its an amazing kite, great build quality and attention to detail. It flies well has a good fifth line system and in my opinion is only let down by its bizzarre relaes system. Something I didnt have to use in Egypt and as I now fly it on an 06 Slingshot bar system it is not an issue. Its a fast kite, will get you very high very quickly but DONT expect floaty landings. Its a high wind kite if you really want to get the best out of it. But it flys well, the sheet in/out doesnt make it too ugly to fly if you are horrible overpowered but at the time I only had 03 kites to compare it with.
As with most Lei's this size, its not that much about aspect ratios as you are generally flying them in high winds anyway so you are going to be lit up regardless. I like my little Boxer and its price onhly made it more attractive and now its been superceeded by the SLE I have seen it for sale new kite only for £299 which in my opinion makes it a steal!
By : BlindJP
The new Naish Element 10.5 depowerable foil.
In the bag
- Control bar
- User's manual
- Four 25m color coded flying lines
- Light weight bag
- Kite compression/packing strap
The one I had came in a stuff sack so I cannot comment on the backpack that will bew supplied on sale.
Out of the bag
As you would expect from all Naish equipment the build quality is excellent with and the Setup is a simple process.
- Unfurl the kite Weigh the sail down with some sand on the trailing edge.
- Attach the colour-coded.
- Peg the safety leash down.
- Attach the lines to the bar
Hey presto you're ready to go.
First impressions were its similarity in appearance to an Ozone frenzy only slightly more rounded which makes it appear smaller next to equivalent sized kites.
The kite has been designed for use on snow but I have been testing it on a mountain board and in a buggy.
7 - 10 mph is the highest wind speed I've tested in so far which really is not enough to test the more radical moves this kite will generate.
Launching the kite is a snap, set the depower system to full by pulling the depower strap toward you. Attach the leash to your harness and pull tension on the leash lines which keeps the kite grounded, if the kite tries leave the ground put more tension on the leash lines. Hook the bar onto the spreader, push the bar away, let go of the leash and the kite climbs straight to the top of the window where its sits above you without over fly or too much lift.
The Element turns quickly and develops good power throughout the wind window feeling very stable although the conditions were not gusty. The wing tips did tuck on occasion but this was due to a lack of wind and did not occur when the wind picked up. When it comes jumps redirect the kite and pull in the bar to develop extra power giving nice lift and floaty landings.
In A buggy
The kite works well in a buggy as it only has a small bar and is in easy reach when the bar is out. Its smooth consistent power lent itself to ground base tricks such as wheel stands offside and kite-side which were mainly all I could produce in the available wind. The few small jumps I achieved were floaty and the kite redirected well for a soft landing.
On A Board
The kite is well suited to kiteatb, again the even power developed, gave a feeling of security whilst leaning back against the kite. At no point in both in regular and toe-side stance did I feel It would let me go and id eat sand. Due to conditions most tricks were unattainable but as with the buggy the jumps achieved were floaty and I had no difficulty re-directing the sail to power up on landing.
On the whole a good kite with stability and smooth power. It gave the impression that in good wind it would give a good speed run or free ride without the rider having to concentrate on the kite leaving you free for tricks. This is certainly a good first depowerable foil kite.
By : Phatdan
Naish released the X3 in 2003, the evolution of the X2. The X3 was a response to those riders who were looking for a more European style wing, more forgiving, wider range. Flysurf.com put one of the strong winter wind sizes to the test for you, the 8.0.
Adjustable carry bag, pump with leash, 50cm control bar fitted with de-power and Safety System, colour coded flying lines with differentiated connections (loop or knot), repair kit, instruction manual.
The kite is well finished with well positioned reinforcements. You just need to look at it and you can tell it's a great product. There are numerous adjustments you can make to improve performance at the light and heavy ends of its wind range : kite end adjustments. There are two valves on the leading edge, one of which serves as a rapid deflation valve. The kite has 5 inflatable battens, the leading edge tube extends to form the wing tip battens.
The control bar is colour coded to avoid making a mistake when recovering in the water or following a no- hands jump. The de-power system adjusts by means of a strap with a stop-loop, you have to push it away from you to release the front lines. The small harness loop to the front lines has a quick release (trim loop quick release), you push away from you to release, there's no locking strap to impede your harness loop. The elasticised kite leash is connected along one of the front to your harness.
The X2 surprised everyone with its build quality and its amazing flying characteristics! Naish have bettered that this year with the X3! Benefiting from the very latest technical developments, the X3 is the ultimate flying machine in terms of performance!
Actioning the safety system
The small harness loop releases if you push towards the bar (upwards), the leash retains the kite and it becomes a harmless flapping cloth. Nothing to add to the previous year's system.
It's a medium sized and wind kite, there aren't usually any problems re-launching given those criteria.
Great depth of power. In lighter winds you can use its air speed to keep you planing although jumping's another matter once you get down to this size.
Nothing to say, it's got it in spades. In fact it's quite difficult to pull out of the sky, and it's stable also in the sense that it doesn't really deform (good rigidity).
Flying - General handling
It's pretty fast but a good deal calmer when you connect the rear lines further towards the inner attachment points. Very comfortable fly, no surprises, its rigidity makes it very reassuring. We also tested with 20 metre flying lines on which makes it more lively but more sustainable. It's a comfortable fly, not too fast if you connect the front lines towards the front-most connections.
In the appropriate wind range (powered-up / over-powered) it's got excellent lift for an 8.0.
Very good wind range. A really good progression from the previous year. Riders of about 50 - 60kg and good skill level could see themselves holding this right up to 30 knots. Bigger riders up to 40 (top skill level only though!). Good de- power not least because it moves quickly to the edge of the window where it pulls a lot less.
It's a high performance 8.0 but is cool to fly. Lifts like nobody's business in its wind range, is stiff and controllable, doesn't kick or give nasty surprises and has a great wind range... On the negative side, perhaps you could fault the air speed you're going to have to adjust to, and of course, depending on your settings it's no butterfly...
Great lift and carry for such a small kite, stability and range. Flysurf.com recommendation: Attach your rear lines towards the inside at first for less forward speed, afterwards go with whatever suits your style but bear in mind that it is an 8.0. Send it big for your first jumps!
Recommended skill level
Experienced to expert
How does it meet the design remit
A real high performer, oh yes!
The testers' verdicts in a sentence
Caro, 34 years old, 60kg
I found the lift incredible but still gentle for its size. Flies really well. I preferred the 'slow' setting for strong wind.
Marc, 29, 75kg
Nothing but goodness ! Its speed, stiffness and range (up to 45 knots no problemo!)
Alex, 24, 78kg
I'm not a big fan of kites less than 9.0 m2 and as for riding in 40 knots plus, that seems mostly about survival to me. But hey, I found it a really good fly. It's brilliantly finished, it flies comfortably and it would suit a light weight rider in big beefy conditions!
Sandrine, 36, 52kg
Very forgiving and tune-able with those adjustments for more or less power. It's a good fly and very reassuring, no calamities if the wind really picks up.
By : Team Flysurf