Sep 20, 2011
Author: SBC Kiteboard Test Review Team
Size Tested: 12
The Charger is Naish’s totally revamped five-strut SLE that offers all-terrain performance with an added focus on stability, upwind drive and wind rage. The new outline is faster-turning, stable, and the added sweep in the wing tips increases available depower while improving water relaunch.
Control Bar and Safety Systems
The Universal Control System is an updated four-line, ergonomic layout that features a three-metre centre trim line with stopper ball and single front line flagging for 100 per cent depower safety. The grip on the bar has been toughened up, and aggressively textured graphics and finger grips improve the durability over previous years. It’s tougher on the hands at first, but after a couple of sessions, it seems to soften slightly. Smart loop push-away release works well, and the trim cleat that adjusts out the side takes some practise but is clean and well-placed. The bar length adjustment is a simple and effective way to use one bar for multiple kite sizes. Underneath the floats, the back line adjustment option makes quick work of tuning back line lengths. The Naish bar is polished, effective and represents one of the most streamlined and cleanest functional systems available.
• Sits on the edge of the window for solid upwind drive and smooth depower
• Fast and stable through turbulent gusts
• Good combo of speed, jumping and unhooked freestyle performance
On the Water
The Naish Charger’s solid five-strut shape keeps the distinctive Naish feel and exhibits flying character that’s both all-terrain but also ideal for the race course. The first thing you’ll note when flying the Charger is how well-balanced and easily it sits on the edge of the wind window. Its stable flying trait ensures no back-stalling issues whatsoever. It’s stable across the window, offering the same stability and great control through gusty winds. Everything is well-rounded on this kite, with moderate but predictable and smooth turning speed, good wind range and simple, reliable water relaunch. It has better positional feedback than the other bridled Naish kites in their line. For an 11 m, the kite has some good low-end power, and with some sweeping turns, you can generate even more speed and pull.
Bar pressure is moderate to light, and the kite has smooth power delivery throughout its arcing sweep. Test team riders were also impressed by the versatility of this kite: it can jump well and its flat canopy provides nice glide and hang time through the jump. The Charger was also surprisingly comfortable to unhook and throw powered freestyle moves, and it rivaled some of the more freestyle-oriented SLE’s of this test. Overall, the Charger placed in the top three kites of this group for its all-around performance, solid build and reliable flying character. It’s well-suited for any rider who wants a podium race kite that can also be fun for big jumps and freestyle.
Not granted capital “V” for versatility, as you wouldn’t like to tear up the surf with this kite. But it gets a little “v” for its awesome speed, stability and freestyle prowess.
The Charger offers a solid four-line SLE design in the Naish lineup for tearing up the race course, boosting big air, and showing your friends you can still unhook and throw down. The Charger is a great choice for the intermediate- to advanced-level rider who wants a kite with good race capability and superior freeride performance for everyday riding.