The Park does it all for any rider, any style in any condition. The powerful profile provides outstanding low-end power and consistent pull over a wide range of wind speeds. Reduced diameter struts have increased the low-end power, improved aerodynamics and reduced weight. The Swept Compact C outline and three strut design create a stable and responsive kite with the Park using just enough sweep to maximise depower and allows for easy relaunch. The new Static bridle platform improves forward flying, acceleration out of turns, stability and instant response and direct bar feel. Designed with fun in mind, the Park provides an easy ride, the power to boost and the handling to hit the lip with style.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
Naish’s ‘look’ for all their gear is more ‘boardsport cool’ than safe and conservative. The faux leather bag is bright white, as is the bar and the little details and graphics stick to Naish’s core Hawaiian heritage. Naish understand efficiency in design and don’t overcomplicate their products. There are plenty of reinforcements without affecting the aerodynamics of the kite. They also have their own unique version of the one pump system (the Octopus) which operates internally; close the valves on each of the struts and then pump the kite up from the main bladder valve and open all the valves to deflate. It’s obviously the tidiest system out there, but there is a bit more nipple work to be done. Everything else is super clean and simple. Average bridling, a fast, thin leading edge and a C-hybrid three strut shape.
The bar looks great. Soft, quite skinny grip with an extra layer of memory foam on the top that is very comfortable and grippy. The under-the-bar trimming system, although not our preference for leverage, is one of the easiest and smoothest to use of these set ups. All fixtures and fittings are clean, tidy and very functional and the Naish chicken-loop release works simply and clinically, the loop is a superb size for freeride and unhooking and locates itself nicely in the bar when unhooked. Although there is no coating on the rope running up the centre line it is quite soft against your fingers. The safety line runs very cleanly through the bar and is uninterrupted between the swivel and its connection to you, meaning there’s nothing for it to stick on. Overall the Naish bar is safe, comfortable very usable and good looking.
Launch the Park and straight away you notice the speed. The Park has a slim leading edge, there’s not much fat on the kite and it immediately feels very reactive. Naish always manage to tune their kites to deliver a delightful quality of power down the centre line. Very progressive, it’s almost like playing an instrument. Of all the nines we tried in Cape Town this was the quickest, but maintains excellent levels of control. There’s no lag at the bar and the Park jumps into gear straight away with no slipping on the clutch. On Bully’s first run out he threw a kite loop off the first ramp he hit. There’s no way you would do that on a kite unless it inspired confidence. Fast and punching into the wind, the Park balances driving high into the window with a good, predictable and steady amount of pull. This is what we call a ‘kite flier’s kite’ – ideal for someone who likes a lot of engagment with their kite and who look for lots of spritely energy. It’s a good jumping kite, but not incredible. You can get really high in good winds with skill and good handling and you can also really tune the loop because it’s fast, drives forward and the feedback through the bar is constant, even when yanking on the bar and turning the kite on a six pence. Some all-round kites in this competitive three strut category seem to store an extra 10 – 15% of power that is accessible for insane boosts in strong winds. The Park is what it is, but that makes it one of the most fun and easy to throw around kites on the market. Like the RPM the upper wind limit is incredibly high on this and the Park seemingly just gets more and more fun the more wind that gets thrown at it, seemingly still with the compusure to breathe.
The steering input is light and very reactive. For good intermediates and above, from our point of view, we think it’s about right. Probably too quick for beginners, who would probably benefit from something a little bit slower that sits a little further back in the window, but the Park is a great option for for anyone looking to step up their riding in terms of speed and performance. Unhooking needs a bit of trimming when the wind picks up, but in light winds the Park is very usable and playful out of the loop and, while it doesn’t deliver the poise and precision of the Torch, is more than capable enough for what most riders want to throw.
The Park is one of the most exciting freeride kites on the market and will reward riders who enjoy putting the pedal to the metal and want a kite that can keep up with them. It’s quick but doesn’t fly itself out of the window and you feel faster on this kite because you are faster. The aerodynamic efficiency and light, responsive steering provide a very natural feeling to a rider looking for plenty of get up and go in their kite. The Park is also very well suited to waves being lively, driving forward in the turn, well balanced, responsive, controllable, has good, progressive depower, lots of range and will turn very tightly when you need it to.
The fact that we could take this kite on any trip to any location to ride in any style and have lots of fun.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
We’d move the trimming system above the bar, but that’s just a personal preference and the Naish below the bar system is smoother and easier to use than most.
PARK BALANCE POINTS:
Build quality: 8.5
Full package: 8.5
Low end: 7.5
Top end: 8.5
Steering speed: 8
Turning circle: 4
Bar pressure: 5
Water relaunch: 8
SIZES: 14, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6 and 5m
More info at: www.naishkites.com
Here’s the official Park 2014 product video from Naish:
THIS KITE FEATURED IN ISSUE #68