Takes you sky high and lights up your brain with its stunning kite loops
THIS TEST FIRST APPEARED IN KITEWORLD #104 IN MARCH 2020
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TESTED BY: CHRIS BULL AND JIM GAUNT. FIND THEIR DETAILS AND TEST SCORE BREAKDOWNS HERE.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
In a slight twist, we’re handing the words in this review exclusively to chief tester, Bully, whose dedicated kite looping experience and years spent riding C kites, particularly the Naish Torch, leave him ideally placed to tell you about this one:
I absolutely love this kite. We had the limited edition model that has the classic Naish sky pirate logo across the middle of the all-black canopy, epitomising everything Naish meant to me at the start of the sport. It was like driving around with flames on your car bonnet, looks amazing and more people commented on this kite that any other. Proper black kites are sexy; like rolling in your Range Rover with it completely de-chromed.
DEATH OF THE OCTOPUS
Other than the graphics, Naish have replaced their long-standing Octopus inflation system with a more common one pump and have also added a small setting adjustment option where the front lines attach to the leading edge. Moving the setting pinches the wing-tips to create more of a C shape, but it doesn’t affect the pitch of the kite. We rode this kite on the more generic big air / freeride / freestyle setting, which slightly opens up the canopy. As you’ll see, it was all the performance we needed! Nothing else has actually changed on the Dash, but it deserves its space here because it was unlike anything else we tested this year.
The lines feel meaty and strong and the Naish bar is the usual sexiness, well engineered with a long throw and super-easy line unspinner above the chicken-loop that’s so smooth it can be operated with just your little finger. The chicken-loop is sturdy and sized for both hooked-in and unhooked riding. The Naish ATB Torque bar has been detailed with the Triad review… so let’s move on to the kite!
The Dash is higher aspect than anything we’ve tested and was created using DNA from the Torch C kite. It feels very much like a Torch with some bridling for extra comfort and ease. The Dash races forward through the window and you need to use the kite’s speed and turning to generate power for board speed, rather than the current trend of using the sheeting power of a more deeply profiled freeride kite.
The turn is very fast and reactive. I don’t mind having to stroke a kite up and down a few times to get going. I’d describe most other kites in this issue as your ‘daily drivers’ – they’re comfortable enough to cruise to the shops. The Dash is like the track car that you keep in the garage and take out on weekends to put a smile on your face and it suits advanced freeriders / freestylers. What the Dash lacks in easy all roundedness, it gains in pure sporty, forward drive. This machine is built to be driven at high revs, but you need to understand the gearing to achieve the super quick lap times that the Dash is capable of.
The quick forward flight helps with gust handling and I was never overloaded with torque in my harness, even in winds that were well above 75% of the Dash’s wind range. I never had to adjust my upright riding position.
That said, this is an important bit to understand: you can’t ride this kite slowly, otherwise it does pull you hard when you’re powered up. You have to match that fast forward flight with a quick board speed; then it’s light, lovely and energising.
Although there is a lot of depower available at the bar, the Dash is still a million miles away from sheet-and-go kites like the Pivot or Rebel. You need a reasonable amount of skill and you have to want to ride fast. Even though the Dash flies high into the window, in overpowered situations you need good technique to dig your rail in. It likes a lot of tension in the lines all the time and you control the kite as much with your rail as you do with the bar. You can’t just trudge your rail in and ride slowly, otherwise, like a dog pulling at its leash, the Dash will hit the front of the window and come back, then drive forward again, choke on its collar and come back. So you need to commit to riding at a certain speed, but I absolutely loved it; gunning past people on the same sized kites, even in lighter winds, because the kite is so keen and responsive, I could throw the kite round and get up to speed very effectively.
The jumps are really exciting when you hit the sweet spot right. The Dash rockets you up and then you need some kite skills to utilise the hangtime that’s available by moving the kite around. The Dash is at its best when its not left standing still, but it never backs up, never stalls and only ever flies forward. If you’re wanting to smash a few turns on waves the speed and extensive bar throw will help you here. Equally, though it was too windy in Cape Town most of the time, that forward drive makes this an excellent unhooked freestyle kite.
ELECTRIC KITE LOOPS – BUT ARE YOU READY?
I really enjoyed looping the Dash, even in average conditions because it still pulls quite hard and is much better than average freeride kites for looping at its bottom end. That extra pull and whip helps the kite drive round and then catch you when others might still be finding their way back up through the window. It’s so keen to move that I could also make mistakes but manage to get the kite where I needed it for landing. I could pull loops early or late… whenever I wanted… and the more lit I was, the better the Dash became.
If you’re not ready for the commitment that the Dash requires, you’re going to put it in the wrong place in the window too much.
This is a three strut kite with the high wind stability of a five strut canopy. Quad tex canopy cloth throughout… it’s a real diamond. We rode the 24 metre line set-up, though if you remove the extensions you can switch down to 20 metre lines for a more compact, direct and punchy kite loop experience.
Strap in, hold tight and make sure you’ve got quick riding skills because the Dash is a track racer for the ocean. The faster you can ride it the easier, lighter and more energised it becomes, taking you sky high and lighting up your brain with its stunning kite loops. However, if you don’t have the required board skills, this feels like a very different kite; more difficult to manage and like a dog pulling on its lead. The Dash needs its owner to be more of an athletic runner than a lazy park walker and suits someone looking to cross unhooked freestyle with more extreme big air moves.
Super quick responsiveness, high flying speed and a really dynamic, inward turning kite loop.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
We wouldn’t change anything about the kite, but you might need to change your attitude if you want to ride it.
DASH BALANCE POINTS:
Build quality: 9
Full package: 8.5
Low end: 7
Top end: 9
Steering speed: 7.5
Turning circle: 6.5
Bar pressure: 5
Water relaunch: 8
Ease of use: 7 – Easier for better riders
SIZES: 14, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6 and 5m
Find out more: www.naish.com
CLICK HERE TO GET THIS NEW ISSUE AND OUR 2020 TRAVEL GUIDE FOR FREE!