Kevin Langeree’s KOTA-winning board gets put to work!
THIS TEST FIRST APPEARED IN ISSUE #98 IN MARCH 2019
TEST TEAM NOTES:
Naish twin-tips are sexy and the Monarch wouldn’t look out of place in a Batman movie. Always strong and with decent fixtures and fittings, we’ve tested the Monarch each year for the last two seasons and it certainly has its own personality. This year we were pleased to try the slightly smaller 135 as the 138 is quite an animal.
The Monarch has a flat rocker, is super stiff and has a shed load of channels in the base. The edging feel is very aggressive and when it bites you could chop down trees with it.
When you lay out a carve in a steep wave section, engaging all those channels feels beautiful. There’s actually a fun side to the Monarch as it’s very easy to break out from its grip to do 180 slides or throw all sorts of playful shapes off the back of waves. You can go to lots of grip to being fully loose if you want.
When you want grip, the Monarch grips like mad, but it takes a certain level of brutishness to hold it down, so we definitely advise to choose a smaller size than you ordinarily might. In strong wind conditions, if your legs can’t match the Monarch, then once you lose your dominance of the rail then it’s hard to get back under control at speed. For us the Monarch is either tracking hard and speeding towards a kicker with oodles of grip, or it’s showing its fun side and allowing you some sliding freedom.
You have to acclimatise to the board and calibrate to the different positions, like; ‘Okay, it works like that… I’ve got it now.’
The Monarch must be one of the toughest feeling boards in production. It’s Kevin Langeree’s twin-tip of choice and when’s he’s come to the Kiteworld house in Cape Town before and picked up some of the light carbon freeride boards stacked in the garage on test, he simply says, ‘Wow, this wouldn’t last five minutes under my feet!’.
We can’t say that the Monarch is the most comfortable of boards – it’s like an Audi Quattro that’s been lowered on hard suspension. Immensely powerful and fast but can skid well when you want to kick up the dirt.
All the design elements that we can feel in the board look like poetry in motion when you see Kevin hammering towards a wave on it. Paired with the powerful Pivot kite (riding a size bigger than normal of course), just watch him approach a wave; he will already be carrying incredible speed before releasing the rail and popping just slightly off the surface before re-engaging with the water, bending his legs to force as much power as he can through the rail and channels before powering off the wave. How does he go so much higher? He’s an incredible kiteboarder, but he has tools that perfectly suit his power.
Naish’s Apex bindings have four-way Velcro tightening that can be adjusted for a snug fit and the pads are really well formed for grip. If you find the feel a bit stiff to begin with, play with the adjustment and stick with them because they last for ages and just get better and better with wear. Like your favourite pair of trainers. Considering how stiff it is, the Monarch is really well tuned for footstraps, but of course will feel good in boots, too.
Watch this video to find out a little more about Kevin Langeree’s KOTA-winning quiver – the Monarch and the Pivot!
All the things that make this the perfect board for Kevin Langeree also make it a great low to mid-range board for everyone else, with powerful drive and stunning grip. Pair it with a kite that has good low end power and all your friends will be checking the wind speed to see why you’re going so high.
As long as you’re not overpowered you can command enough rail grip and bite to part the ocean.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
Smaller riders will find the Monarch is a bit out of their league. Like driving a V8 muscle car when you’ve just passed your test; you’ll be wheel spinning everywhere.
MONARCH BALANCE POINTS:
Build quality: 9
Fixtures and fittings: 7.5
Pop: 8 The 135 is stiff the whole way through, the 138 varies a bit
Looseness: 4 / 8 (All or nothing).
Grip: 4 / 8 (All or nothing)
Slider proof: N/A
SIZES: 142 x 42.5, 138 x 42, 135 x 41.5 and 132 x 41cm