Monday, July 8, 2013

Naish Demo Day

With all the action happening on the Forum these days I thought I'd post on the blog to make sure it still feels loved.

On the weekend here in Cairns Naish held a demo day of the kites and boards. It was great to be able to ride everything back to back in solid conditions so that it was possible to closely compare everything without having to factor in changing conditions. 

I rode the Dub and the Monarch boards in wind chopped water in 15-20 knot range. Both boards have a lot of rocker but distributed a bit differently. Naish use these rocker descriptions ( love it) that helps put tags on it and makes comparing a bit easier. 

Dub R18/3/6     with flex F32
Monarch R10/6/8   with flex F28

I mentioned in a previous post that these relate to what they describe as 'tangential radius' which I still don't clearly understand but for comparing I think its reasonable to think of it as the radius of curvature of an arc that matches the curve through most of the 3 section ( mid 1/3, mezzenine 1/6 and tip 1/6 of the length). A larger number means flatter through that section.

The flex is anyone's guess but I am guessing its some measure of deflection under a standard load but no idea what the load is. Based on the flex modelling I've done on mother boards I would guess ( finger in the air) that in my standard 20 kg tip load test the flex would be about 50% of the difference between the current board and my chinese newspaper board which would make it about 65-70 mm under the 20kg load. 

In both cases most of the rocker is introduced in the mezzanine section between the mid and the tip. The dub has more rocker in the mid section compared to the marginally flatter Monarch.

Although the Naish marketing material says they've stiffened the boards up to me they appeared quite flexible and when there was any load on it it seemed pretty clear that the rocker between the feet, what there was of it, all but disappeared. Good for speed and softening landings but not much else that I could see. I think the idea of most of the rocker in the mezz section is for the sake of keeping the nose high and riding over chop when the board is loaded.

A big difference is the pattern of channels on the underside. the Dub has some channels in the tip but the mid section was smooth with the rails slightly relieved ( negative concave at the rails). The Monarch on the other hand has deep channels all the way along, about 6 of them, but still with slightly relieved rails. No prizes for guessing that the dub is slippery so needs to be edged hard. The channels on the Monarch changed the grip of the board very noticeably. Not just that it gripped more but the the board could ride flatter ( not so much heal pressure) and rather than the smooth flow of water off the bottom of the board like you get in a single concave board there is more of a sense of riding on a bed of white water rather than riding the rail like a keel. The only thing I could feel was materially different in the handling was that the monarch always feels loaded against the water even as you roll from heal to toe side or come off the lip of a wave without the self righting effect of large fins. This brings with it a sense of greater control and power without having to relentless bear down on the rails.

The marketing gumf says that the channels make for a smoother ride. However, I found the board so flexible that, having made mostly very flexible boards, that I wasn't really expecting the ride to be rough and that seemed to be the case because the roughness of the ride of the dub and monarch was imperceptible. I suspect the channels are just distributed fins and as the Naish designer in previous interview mentioned a way of saving weight without loosing too much strength of stiffness.

On the other hand the dub slips around and you really need to control the edge. I suspect this would be a good candidate for boots to help get the leverage from your legs to get the rails in. The slipperiness is great for quick carves on the waves and bad landings.

They are a very different ride and effect of the channels was apparent in how loose or tight the board was. However, I have to say I was very pleased with how favourably my own crafted boards compared and my latest effort I think strikes a very nice middle ground between the two. 
The stiffness of my board between the feet means that a lot more rocker is maintained in the mid section which I am finding great for all sorts of things ( carves are great, launching of the face of waves). 

I think a good refinement to it would be to have channels in the mid section to make it a bit less slippery so that its easier to gain control after I land and maybe channels in the tip to help keep the board in control as you come off the water.