Naish Ride 2013/2014 Kitesurfing Kite

Naish made a big mistake when marketing this kite – they said it was for beginners…

There will be a bit of on-going argy-bargy about the years and the editions of the Ride – mainly because Naish did a confusing mid-year release of the newer version.

I am lucky enough to have owned (and got to know intimately) both the older and newer edition of the Rides and I can say without a shadow of a doubt, it has been a pleasure. They perform very similarly across the editions – with the 2014 (always either Day-glo Green or Orange) maybe feeling a touch more direct and eager than the predecessor.

Background is important because how good a kite is can only be understood in the context of who is riding it, and how they do so. I am an intermediate kiter, raised on the Naish Park & Bolt. I am not a wakestyler, I like to boost, free-ride with my TT in waves and wave-ride on a directional both strapped and unstrapped when conditions allow.

Image Credit: Real Watersports

Image Credit: Real Watersports (via www.realwatersports.com)

The Ride is my perfect kite. 

It’s probably easiest for me to give you a comparison to the Park – because the Park has in many ways become the kite against which all others are compared. When you fly the two kites back to back a few differences become obvious.

The Ride needs more input to respond than the Park and the Ride has more bar pressure too. 

On casual inspection, both of these things might sound like negatives, but in my experience they are the opposite.

Until I flew the Rides I never realised how often I would look up at my Parks and realise they were somewhere completely different to where I had expected. The park is just so quick to respond, and so light on the bar, that it can chuck itself out of whack with the slightest misdirection from the user without you having the faintest clue it has gone. The Rides simply don’t share this habit. You have a completely direct feel on where the kite is thanks to the small amount of extra pressure, and you find that because you need to give it a little bit more welly to move into your turns, you make far fewer mistakes in the first place. Going back to a Park now is almost like playing a kiting video-game – compared to the real thing!

I think it is all of these forgiving features that enticed Naish to make a big mistake when marketing this kite – they said it was for beginners.

The kite re-launches in seconds, and will bob up and down at the edge of the window ‘til kingdom come if you need it to. It eats gusts for breakfast, and delivers power smoothly throughout the last 10 inches of the trim line.

I think it is all of these forgiving features that enticed Naish to make a big mistake when marketing this kite – they said it was for beginners.

Now I wouldn’t hesitate for a millisecond to recommend these kites to someone just starting out – they are fantastically well behaved – but to pigeon hole a kite like that is a massive shame. I may not be Ruben Lenten but I am not a beginner. The Ride boosts as high as my Parks did, and it actually glides a lot better – it’ll place you down neatly and softly from some of the squirliest jumps you can imagine – forgiving you in situations where the Park would have seen fit to spank you on the ass. The missing centre strut improves the low end – without sacrificing anything at the top, and best of all the 9 and the 6 are so light that they drift like they’re in zero-gravity when you’re riding down the line on a wave.

The world is waking up to the Ride, with some very influential kiters giving fantastic write ups, and this is helping to shake off the misconception that the Ride might hold back your progression in some way. I assure you it’ll do the exact opposite.

I would in fact go so far as to say that 80% of the people in the world on Parks right now, would be progressing more quickly, and having more fun, on a Ride. 

I notice with interest that the 2014 Park has now migrated to a fixed bridle (the natural conclusion of the shortening that has taken place in the last 3 iterations). This will serve to make it even more responsive, reduce the smoothness of power-delivery, and the availability of depower too. I would not be at all surprised if Naish start to reposition the Ride as the go to kite in the quiver in the near future – with the Park becoming more of an accessible C-Kite like the Torch.

Get one while you can – you won’t regret it.

Written by: Adam