NAISH PIVOT 9, 8 & 7M
PIVOT 9, 8 & 7M
TESTED BY: Jim Gaunt
TESTER BIOS AND TEST PARAMETERS: Here
TEST TEAM NOTES: We’ve tested every version of the Naish Pivot since the first model in 2015. Refreshing ourselves with another couple of months on the new model has reminded us that this is a kite that stands out very uniquely in a sea of hybrid all-rounders, thanks to its instant power combined with almost total depower, allowing you to enjoy a perfect riding posture in most situations.
SHEETING We’re going to jump straight into the standout aspect of the Pivot and that’s the sheeting throw which provides a massive, usable wind range. It’s huge. Very few kites can depower that much at full sheeting and then deliver so much power when you sheet in; all the while maintaining beautifully smooth incremental power changes throughout that entire bar throw. What’s extra impressive is that the kite doesn’t dive forward or fall back when sheeted fully out or in and you can be fairly rough with it; the Pivot’s not going to punish you if you miss-handle the sheeting. Being able to power-up or depower the kite in an instant makes this an awesome all-terrain machine. Essentially, the sheeting control always allows you to maintain a very natural feeling body position because you’re rarely fighting the kite. To further the point about the sheeting range it isn’t just about depowering the kite; it’s also about arm position. Being able to extend your arm more fully as well as gain lots of depower from the kite helps with how your body can rotate, during transitions for example, or when doing strapless moves / spins. When wave riding it also allows you to hit the lip without any pull from the kite. It’s a natural movement to want to straighten your arm in a lot of situations and we really like what Naish continue to offer with their bar.
BAR PRESSURE Bar pressure / steering input is medium; bang in the middle, only increasing at the very top end because there’s less chance of just resting the kite against the stopper / cleat with it being further away from you. The fact that you’re always feathering the bar only really starts to feel noticeable in your arms at the kite’s very top end. (You can however easily move the cleat / stopper closer to you if you’re a smaller rider with less reach – a nice feature). The Pivot bar pressure feels light and very well connected to the kite most of the time. This is where we’ve felt a lot of incremental design improvements over the years; this year again thanks to further new bridle adjustments. The Pivot has always been packed with power, but it’s much easier for most people to be able to smoothly manage that now without having to rely as much on hard edging skills to rail against the kite.
TWIN-TIP RIDING The boosting rewards are very evident from your first jump. It’s easy to see why Ross-Dillon Player won the Big Air Kite League event in Cape Town on the Pivot and why we regularly saw Kevin Langeree jump from one postcode to the next on it when he was on the Naish team. It mixes power with control. As you’re able to manage power and board speed so beautifully without changing your body position, when you get a clean run at a kicker, send the kite back and sheet in, the sweet spot for good timing is big. There’s nothing snatchy about the movement and the Pivot makes it easy to achieve a predictable flight each time. New test team member Kyle, who was riding the eight metre out in Cape Town, commented that the Pivot jumps at its best when you don’t send it back from too low down in the window. It doesn’t need much movement from 11 to just beyond 12 to deliver really good jumps. In fact too much movement can result in more downwind travel. Again, the Pivot makes it easy to access good performance.
We should also point out that the seven metre is also a very impressive and secure feeling jumping kite, which is not often the case with smaller kite sizes. The smaller canopy dimension usually means that if you jump high you then have to concentrate on steering the kite a lot on the way down because the reduction in canopy area has a tendency to drop you quickly. This is not so on the Pivot and that bar sheeting control gives you an excellent sensation when piloting the kite to a soft landing. The highlights for twin-tip riders of all levels are that you have excellent on-demand power delivery and depower. The power management is also a dream when heading out over white water in difficult conditions. As well as the sheeting benefits, the Pivot responds quickly to input and flies through the window very cleanly. It does all of this without being physically draining. Another asset of the large sheeting range is that you can continue to ride upwind really well in strong winds if you have the bar sheeted out. This is also an excellent handling benefit when riding a surfboard and getting back upwind to start another wave ride. The Pivot becomes a lot to handle at its very top range for intermediates, but advanced riders will relish that fact that the canopy can actually handle whatever the wind can throw at it. The question is are your board edging skills up to it? The Pivot never shudders or misbehaves and when you can combine good edging skills with the massive sheeting range, then the incredible jumping performance goes to yet another level.
IS IT PIVOTAL? You may be looking at the name Pivot and wondering if it’s extremely pivotal. It’s not completely pivotal, and in fact it never really was. It steers smoothly and maintains a nice arc but can also be turned nice and tightly. For budding kite loopers through to experienced big air merchants, the Pivot is a no-brainer. It’s always going to get round and catch you and the Pivot always seems to be in its happy place; never too far towards the edge of the window and never dropping too far back and chugging. When you throw the kite around, through a loop or during a bottom turn or sudden change of direction, it’s hard to get the Pivot out of its happy place. The lines are always tensioned nicely, there’s always power on command and response. Essentially it’s very forgiving, whatever you’re doing.
FREESTYLE: While a kite with this much range isn’t usually a natural unhooked performer, Bully’s son has enjoyed this as his personal kite for the last few months. He’s a top ranked junior wakeboarder in the UK and is transitioning his handle-passes into kiting. In lighter winds, around 18 knots he’s really enjoyed the Pivot nine metre because it doesn’t wander around the window too much and feels stable when he comes out of the hook. Advanced unhooked riders won’t find the consistent slack in the lines they’re looking for, but if you’re dabbling in unhooked riding (including crashing and relaunching the kite a lot) it’s got your back. WAVE: Focusing more on the specifics for wave riding, the Pivot maintains pressure in the steering lines so you can still enjoy good response from the kite even with the bar sheeted out. Once again the Pivot delivers a really broad, usable wind range, all within arm’s reach. When you really start pushing the kite’s upper range and have also pulled on some considerable trimming in the cleat, only then do you start to suffer with a reduction in steering input when you have the bar sheeted out. The low wind range allows you to switch to a small kite nice and early and there is perhaps the potential for running a two kite quiver rather than three. The turning response is fairly direct, even with the use of a single metal slider-pulley on each bridle, allowing you to fly the kite with confidence. The Pivot’s position is always evident through feeling at the bar and the dynamic handling allows for both a park and ride style of surfing, or more quick up and down kite movements combined with the dumping of power needed in onshore conditions. FOIL: Without labouring over more points that we’ve already discussed, what you need to know is that the Pivot turns quickly with light bar pressure and combines that with plenty of sheeting power too. We’ve had foil sessions using the seven metre Pivot when other riders were out well powered on eight metre kites and their twin-tips. That’s quite staggering top end control on a foil. The extended sheeting throw and ability to shut the power off overhead with a nice extended arm position is also really useful for tacking; when you want the kite to follow you cleanly into the wind. Once again, as mentioned for wave riding, all this is combined with good park and ride / drift characteristics, making your riding easy and generally letting you focus on the foil. BAR: The Naish bar is sleek with a little carbon exposed under the grip with colours surely inspired by the American flag. The safety release systems are all clean and very easy to use. The line unspinner is one of the easiest on the market, with almost zero resistance and the rear line bar end adjustments operate very simply, too. Set up on 24 metre lines, which are at the longer end of most standard bar systems, the Pivot doesn’t lack any direct feeling as a result; it only gains in smooth power generation. In the past we have often said that we’d rather use a bar with a plastic cover over the central rope sheeting line, mainly because the plastic feels smoother against your skin if you ride with your fingers butted up to the very centre of the bar. However (and possibly because we’ve been riding in gloves a lot this season so haven’t had any rope rubbing), we’ve been reminded that the sheeting action the rope allows through the central section of the bar as it travels up and down the throw is the smoothest out there. It really is silky. The other benefit of course is that everything is visible and there’s nothing impeding the safety system line. When the gloves come off, you just need to adjust your steering hands a little to not permanently be butted right up to the centre line (if indeed that’s how you ride).
Find all the updates as well as more info in this video:
SUMMARY: The Pivot’s level of performance maturity is very high. Driving cleanly through the wind, it’s well polished throughout. The Pivot is a true contender for beginners who are looking for simple sheeting drive, lots of confidence-inspiring depower and excellent relaunch. For advanced riders, whatever board you choose to ride, there are huge assets to be enjoyed in the way the Pivot is geared to deliver power and handling. KW LIKED:
The Pivot’s sheeting range is not only big, it’s incredibly well polished to allow all riders, from beginners to pros, from twin-tipers to foilers, to retain a very natural riding position across a variety of conditions and situations. KW WOULD CHANGE: Some people like riding with their bar resting up against the stopper a lot of the time, but changing that would change the characteristics of why we love the Pivot.
PIVOT BALANCE POINTS: Build quality: 8.5 Full package: 9 Low end: 8.5 Top end: 9 Steering speed: 5.5 Turning circle: 5 Bar pressure: 5 (until the wind is really strong) Water relaunch: 8.5 Drift: 8 Boost: 8.5 Hang-time: 8.5 Unhooked: 6 Crossover: 9 Ease of use: 9 SIZES: 14, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6 and 5m