Naish Universal Kite Control Bar 2012

All for the want of a swivel…

Let me open this up by saying, I am a Naish pimp. I flipping love Naish Kites – and if Robbie Naish came into this room right now, he would almost certainly get a little kiss on the bottom from me. 

Right – now that I have that out of my system I have to say that the Naish Universal Control System sucks. It got bad in 2012 and as I understand it, stays that way right through to 2014’s edition.

if Robbie Naish came into this room right now, he would almost certainly get a little kiss on the bottom from me

The reason was simple – the swivel. 

Image Credit@ Naish Kites

Image Credit@ Naish Kites (via naishkites.com)

Naish took a perfectly usable bar, comfortable, functional, hard-wearing, good quality lines, and buggered it up righteously with a swivel… that doesn’t…

The swivel is a black plastic affair at the start of the grey front lines, dangling tantalisingly (oh so tantalisingly) just out of your reach unless you have the arms of an Orang-utan. The fact you cannot reach the swivel would, as you might imagine, not be a problem if it actually did what it was supposed to do. And on the very first session out of the box – it does show some signs of trying to unspin your lines for you, however as soon as you even splash it with salt water (let alone any hint of sand) it stops working.

Actually scrap that – if it did just stop working, I wouldn’t mind so much. A stuck swivel is effectively no swivel at all, which puts you back to the wonderful days of 2011 when they didn’t have one and you just had to make sure you balanced out your backrolls, with frontrolls. No. What the swivel almost always seems to do is twists itself 180 degrees so that the grey lines cross over and are sawing across one another for the entire duration of your session.

It’s at this point – for me – that things go from bad to worse. It’s immediately noticeable that Naish massively beefed up the grey lines between 2011 and 2012. They are now thicker than any other company’s lines I know of. A cynical person might intuit from this that after a little R&D on the “Swivel” Naish realised that this sawing effect was going to be an issue, and that they might actually be jeopardising people’s safety if they didn’t beef up the lines considerably.

a broken rear flagging line could present a significant danger to the kiter, and other people on the beach

A good company should back out of a bad idea at this point, not pile on half-assed remedial measures. And certainly not bring the same piece of duff technology back in 2 subsequent years. This is not on.

Even the beefed up lines began to fray after a season of light use, I would not expect them to last a second season. And a broken rear flagging line could present a significant danger to the kiter, and other people on the beach.

As a direct result of this I now fly a North Trust bar – which I flipping love, and works with all my Naish kites right out of the box. The North bar has a manual rotor right on the chicken loop which you can untwist simply and easily. Sadly something Naish would only be able to do if they scrapped the below-the-bar depower system (and in that I believe lies the whole reason for this sorry situation).

All in all, a shame.

Written by: Adam