Naish Fly 2012 15M Kitesurfing Kite

Sure it gets you going in a gnat’s fart, but is it actually any fun?

What is it?

The Naish Fly is a 15M two strut, bridled, light wind specific hybrid kite. The kite is from Naish so you know before you get it out of the (nicely oversized) bag that build quality will be high and that the kite will have reinforcements in all the right places – and it does. The kite comes with 10M line extensions to really milk the last couple of MPH out of any breeze going.

I was an early adopter on this one, and I believe my Naish FLY was the first on the Island – but it’s not on the Island any more, more about that later.

Image Credit: Naish

Image Credit: Naish (via naishkites.com)

Turns Like a 12 and pulls like a 17

Yes – Naish sells this kite in the same way most light wind kite manufacturers do, with the rallying cry that it will turn like a Shrew on amphetamines, yet pull you with the force of an angry Rhinoceros attempting to return to defend its favourite Rhino baby. In the case of the FLY, the latter part is true, it pulls hard… Really hard.

I had about 5 sessions on this kite, and have since had the pleasure of flying in side by side conditions on Hutchy’s one, so I feel like I got a pretty good handle on how it flies. The side by side was actually next to a 12m Naish ride, (which is also a 2 strut, bridled, hybrid C) so it was a pretty interesting test of the claim that the FLY turns like a 12.

It doesn’t.

But you can’t hate Naish for saying it, just as you can’t hate the FLY for something it’s proud parents happened to chuck out there in a moment of weakness. We all know that hype is just that, and so I doubt there was a line of people queuing up to return their FLY’s because they turned like what they are; which is a 15M kite. That said, they turn pretty well for a big kite, the bar pressure is pretty good also – pretty relentless if you’re only used to a Park, but manageable nonetheless.

Back to the pull – this kite pulls… Did I mention? How hard? Harder than my North Rebel 16M (2008) and a lot harder than the Naish Raven 16M (2007) that I briefly dallied with before realising that it was likely to kill me one day. And I actually believe that the other claim Naish make (“Have fun in as little as 12knots”) is pretty accurate. As an aside, I also like the way they say that – because kiting, and “having fun” are not always the exact same thing. Yes – with a solid and consistent 12 knots, this kite will keep you going without any hassle.

So; so far we have a nice turning, hard pulling, beautiful looking light wind weapon, from a reliable company. (And did I mention it’s both light and super stable in the air?) So why did mine end up doing the eBay shuffle after only 5 uses?

Ironically it’s my own fault. I thought I wanted a light wind kite – but I was totally wrong.

I had never ridden a specific light wind kite before, and I couldn’t know how these very low aspect ratio kites behave in order to make good on the claims of their overzealous creators.

To elaborate, they make more of the wind by absolutely refusing to come to the edge of the window, the kite sits right in the power zone and just TRUCKS. In fact it hauls your ass downwind so hard and fast that I found it almost impossible to make upwind ground. After a couple of sessions I realised that the trick to it was to get the depower exactly right, and to press down hard into your heel, whilst twisting your upper body for all it’s worth. Then (and only then) will you start making up 5 degrees or so of ground on each run. The problem for me was that this basically countermanded any possibility of doing anything fun like sending the kite for a big boost, trying some stupid double back roll, or just hopping round to toeside for a bit of variation. All I could do was stay upwind.

I am no wakestyle kiter – I am the worst sort of freerider (who probably wants to just kite surf waves when all is said and done), I hear that this sort of consistent, hard pull is just the ticket when you’re loading and popping for a backside tantrum mobe 3 (<yes made that up). However for my sort of relaxed, send and boost, enjoy-the-view-whilst-tweaking-a-little-grab, this kite is just not going to cut the mustard. It’s frustrating because, on the odd occasion I managed to get airborne, the boost and glide were pretty darn fun, but for every successful skyward visit, the FLY made me pay with a bunch of ill timed releases, and last minute mess-ups.

Should you buy it?

I don’t know… That’s not really what this review is about. Even though I got rid of this kite, I still think it’s good that I bought it… It’s shown me clearly what I am not looking for in a kite. Sure it wasn’t necessarily fun for me, but I know for sure there are people out there who will be able to get a lot of pleasure out of this – if only because it opens up so many more possible sessions on the low end… For me it was basically like mowing the lawn at full power, followed by mild tennis elbow. Go figure.

Written by: Adam