2018 Naish Boxer 12m review

The legendary kite from Naish returns in free riding/foiling form

 

 

TEST TEAM NOTES: 

We’re going to be doing a more complete single strut kite test over the coming issues. Although we’ve spent plenty of time on the LF Solo in previous editions, the Boxer was the first new 2018 model we had for a proper testing period.  Unwrapping the Boxer from new it has all the feel good factor that we’re used to with Naish in terms of visuals, great identity and very neat fittings. They’re not always the most heavyweight and industrially robust products, but they are stunning in your hands and in use because the aerodynamics are usually spot on.

 

 

The Torque bar is well featured and can be adjusted from 45 – 50cm. Our test bar had the above-the-bar (ATB) depower clam cleat which is smooth to operate and locks off reliably. The double density EVA grip feels comfortable and doesn’t slip in your hands while the Torque loop is one of the best release systems going, extremely easy to reassemble after ejection with a smooth below-the-bar spinner that takes very little effort to untwist your lines. We primarily tested the Boxer with foil boards. It was late July and we were in the middle of a period of regular 8 to 15 knots winds.  The Boxer has fantastic attributes for foiling. It’s the quickest 12 we’ve ridden and has superb stability in light winds. Combine those together and you have the keys to foiling success! Why? Well, firstly, when the Boxer comes out of neutral and goes into first gear, there’s zero lag. So whether you’re initiating a loop, or when you’re coming to do a gybe and you’re downlooping the kite, the turn is very predictable and light with no slowing around any point in the window at all.

Many other kites of this size and above are lazier in character and very susceptible to line slack around the bottom portion of the window, so you almost need to urge them round by starting the turn quicker. The Naish actively turns into a corner, like a racing driver, and continues to drive, even if the lines go a little loose. So the relationship between kite and rider feels more natural and very intuitive, so you can really focus on your board. The Boxer is pivotal, but crucially it’s pivotal with drive and that’s exactly what you want for freeride foiling in light winds.  That feeling is apparent as soon as you put it up. Nice, boxy wing-tips which look responsive.

 

 

The canopy is clean, well-behaved and the whole thing looks purposeful. Made with Naish’s Quad-Tex canopy material, it’s certainly well made, but don’t expect a highly reinforced beast that can handle the abuse of beginner or intermediate riders using this as a learning kite in light winds. Single strut kites fly easily in light winds and the bar pressure is effortless, but they are a bit more effort to relaunch if they get water on the canopy. The Boxer is built for efficiency and speed and therefore can’t be overly heavy, but if you’re not dropping your kite a lot and are looking for a kite to progress on and seriously open up your riding window below 14 knots on a twin-tip, surfboard or foil, this is an ideal kite for riders with fairly good handling skills.

As with all single strut kites, the Boxer is more focused on its low end efficiency than top end comfort. Which is why Naish make so many small sizes in the Boxer and it will be a lot of fun to throw around in those smaller sizes as the wind builds. Great potential in surf too.  The good forward flight of the Boxer is what makes it so good and easy for foiling with, but that keen-ness to fly forward does mean that you need to keep tuned in to the controls. If you fall in underneath the kite, travelling too far downwind, there is a tendency for the 

Boxer to feel like it’s going to get too far into the wind overhead. So just pull on the back lines a bit to stall it and the Boxer will drop back, another illustration of performance mixed with control.  In all these winds there’s nothing aggressive about the power delivery of the Boxer and the communication you have with the kite through the bar is a direct one-to-one feeling with very little input needed to get the kite to do what you want.  In terms of intermediate light wind twin-tip freeriding with a single strut kite, the LF Solo may be better set up for less experienced riders, or those looking for easy power as it sits back a bit further in the window, whereas the Boxer excels through turning and drive. It’s not all just about turning though as there is still a good balance in the sheeting power and is why the Boxer will probably be fun in light wind waves, as it turns on a sixpence and you can nudge it forward with very little line tension.  That sheeting power is especially nice overhead around your tacks for example when you’re looking for that floaty moment and for the kite to carry you, giving you time to switch your feet. That lift also makes for cruisy airs on your twin-tip, too. It’s just very nice to use indeed! 

 

 

SUMMARY: 

The Boxer is back, but it’s been reincarnated. The new Boxer has been to the gym and come out as a super lightweight turning machine. Bobbing and weaving around the window, it’s precise and highly tuned as a freeriding ally. As this 12 metre is so manoeuvrable, light and forward flying, with good steering skills you can get this working in ten knots and keep the enjoyment of tube kite steering without having to commit to the new experience of a foil kite, which is very different and doesn’t have that same connected, fast steering response. 

 

KW LIKED: 

Steering intuition in light winds which is the ideal link for riders looking to foil and still want tube kite steering and interactivity. 

 

KW WOULD CHANGE:  Some riders will find the eager drive to the front of the window is a bit too much and could prefer pure sheeting drive a bit further back in the window. This kite’s for credible progressive light wind performance. 

 

BOXER BALANCE POINTS: 

Build quality: 8.5

Full package: 9

Low end: 8

Top end: 7.5 

Steering speed: 7

Turning circle: 4

Bar pressure: 4 

Water relaunch: 7.5  

Drift: DT  

Boost: 6

Hang-time: 6 

Unhooked: 6

Crossover: 6  

Ease of use: 8 (for riders who like smooth and responsive steering) 

 

SIZES: 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5 and 4m  www.naishkites.com 

 

Learn more about the Boxer at www.naishkites.com

 

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