All-terrain handling and multi-discipline performance
The all-new Triad is the best V1 kite we’ve tested in a while!
THIS TEST FIRST APPEARED IN ISSUE #98 IN MARCH 2019
TEST TEAM NOTES:
The Triad is a new addition to Naish’s busy three strut freeride collection, alongside the Pivot and Dash. Nevertheless, after testing all three of those kites for this issue, it’s very clear in our minds who should be looking at which kite.
The Triad blends some of the jumping and hangtime performance of the Pivot with the fast and direct steering of the Dash. Last year we felt that the Dash was fast and capable of boosting really high, but needed adept steering to get the most out of it. More like a C kite, it also dropped you back down again quickly. The Pivot was slower but offered lots more hangtime and easy boosting. The Triad bridges that gap.
Literally launching to the market now, we went into the test pretty much blind and expected it to be aimed at beginners / early intermediates because Naish have the King of the Air style sewn up with both the Pivot and Dash. In fact the Triad is far more of an all-round weapon. Our first session was lighter nine metre conditions and the light but direct steering felt excellent (the Pivot and Dash are both more physical at the bar). The Triad has fingertip control.
As soon as you initiate the turn, the Triad drives quickly and pivotally – more like a Bandit – while the bar feel remains light in the hands with beautiful power control through sheeting. Forgiving and yet responsive, the Triad is very agile and easy to steer all across the window. The low end performance is also helped by the kite’s ease of steering, zero stall and good forward drive. In fact there’s plenty of scope for generating power through kite movement or through sheeting; that’s a nice balance.
We always appreciate the extensive bar throw on Naish kites, which is bigger than most other manufacturers. A negative is that your bar can end up at fingertip reach, but if you have shorter arms you can move the stopper down. However, the positive effects of a larger depowerable sheeting range can transform your riding. Ride towards a wave with high speed, send the kite back hard and immediately shut the power off as you carve a super hard but controlled turn, throwing buckets by engaging all the working sections of your board’s rail. Also, on any transitions or tricks where you have your bar directly overhead – including strapless air tricks – it’s really nice to have that power shut-off option. Once you’re used to it this is hard to move away from. The telltale of a really good design is that the Triad still steers very well when depowered. Even when there’s not a lot of line tension in the steering lines, the Triad still leaves you in control. Life is easy when you have all this smooth range. You can depower as you like or even stop completely and feel comfortable in strong conditions.
At the other end of the sheeting range there’s adequate drive when you sheet in and, when you want to engage the kite for more aggressive work, the Triad responds assertively and packs great jumping and hangtime performance. This is an easier kite to dial into and get impressive jumping performance straight away. You can sheet in and take-off with plenty of engaging bite and the extensive hangtime feels very aligned with the height from your boost. Everything is balanced. The Pivot on the other hand takes you up quite slowly and brings you down with a lot of hangtime, generally suiting the heavier or more powerful rider. Like freestyle-inspired kites, the Dash takes you up super quick but brings you back down quite quickly, unless you’re really powered.
The Triad sits between those two very well, is also more all-round and can certainly be handled more easily, especially by lighter freeriders who may struggle with the sheeting power of many pure intermediate kites.
Thanks to the Triad being very easy to turn aggressively, when you do it won’t pull you off your edge, so you can hold your rail right up to the moment of pulling the trigger and taking-off. This is certainly the easiest and most immediately rewarding of the three kites.
You’ll be sessioning for hours across a wide range of conditions. Only at its very top end does the Triad become more wearing in both your harness and through an increase in steering weight. Outside of that peak top end wind, this is a very well-powered kite from its low end through to its top end and the character always remains the same.
The Triad doesn’t deliver very meaty kite loops, but is fun to loop because it never stalls, continues to fly forward and responds smoothly to input. Naish have taken those fast forward flight characteristics of the Dash, but wound the power back and this is a very fun and easy-to-use kite that everyone from intermediates, boosters and wave riders will enjoy.
Looking at the Dash, Pivot and Triad together in the sky, it’s clear they’re peas from the same pod, but seeded differently. The Triad is a super modern looking three strut hybrid and has Naish’s unique Octopus inflation system that pumps up through one central valve, but you have to first close the strut valves. This design means you can either leave your struts inflated when you pack up, or enjoy a super fast total deflation, expelling air from all areas of the bladder very quickly.
Once again Naish give you the option of above or below-the-bar trim systems. One big note is that the new below-the-bar system includes a swivel on the actual trimming system so you can now untwist your lines just as you would on an above-the-bar set-up (this wasn’t possible before and a big bug-bear on many below-the-line systems for us). The trimming is also super smooth below the bar; a step-forward in this sort of design.
Check the Triad here:
Naish have got the Triad bang-on for its design remit right from the start. Whether you’re looking to ride waves, learn kite loops, boost rewarding jumps, go foiling or just become a better rider, the Triad is an impressive cross-over machine. Allowing you to ride in a really upright and controlled stance, as a result you always feel very connected to the kite which is one of the most untiring and fun rides on the market. The best V1 new model kite we’ve tried in a long time.
True all-terrain handling. Literally anyone could ride this kite and have a lot of fun.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
Equipped with a large sheeting range, there’s a bit too much throw here for the kite to also be ideal of lots of unhooking. For occasional raleys the Triad is fine, but for more technical progress, look towards the Dash.
TRIAD BALANCE POINTS:
Build quality: 8.5
Full package: 8.5
Low end: 8
Top end: 8
Steering speed: 7.5
Turning circle: 4.5
Bar pressure: 4
Water relaunch: 9
Ease of use: 9
SIZES: 14, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5 and 4m