Hey there. I bought and finally got to ride my new Naish 135L inflatable this weekend and thought I'd offer a review.
POINT ONE: The thing actually works and generally speaking I was impressed...
This is my 10th wing board this season and so the reviews will be against those (10' sup, fanatic 6'7", fanatic 5'4", custom carbon 5'4", fone 6'0, fone 5'4", fone 5,0", Naish 4'8"). My current ride is the Naish 4'8" 50L and had the most influence in my comparison.
Setup: I left the board partially inflated to about 6psi or so, just to hold its shape. But, it still took a damn long time to pump up. And, after about 10 minutes I quit around 18psi with the Naish pump. The board says "15psi min, 21psi max" so I figured I was good. I was absolutely shocked how rock hard this thing was.
Paddling out compared to my 50L was night and day. Normally when I prone paddle my waist, knees and feet are underwater. This bad boy paddles so high that I did not touch the water, and felt like I had to reach down pretty far to catch the water paddling. It kinda hurt my gut and chest paddling too - it felt like I was laying on a concrete floor when paddling. But it paddled pretty fast.
Getting to my knees or feet was a no brainer. Super high flotation. But, the board was tricky to stand on. Kinda corky. Since it has such high flotation and is so rigid and "uni-thickness" it wasn't super, super easy to balance. But it was easy enough and it took a little getting used to.
Getting on foil. It wasn't any easier to get on foil than any other board or my 50L board. One good thing is that the board didn't sink like with my recent boards, so I had lots of time to wait for a gust and swell to pump onto foil. It wasn't any harder than any other board to get going, but it wasn't easier either.
The ride: It is unfair to compare a 135L board to my 50L board, but that is all I could think of when riding. First off, the thing did not flex at all. That was pretty cool. It isn't heavy per se, but it isn't light either. It wasn't quite as much fun as the 50L, but it was fun. It was a tad sluggish. It was harder to pump but I did get the hang of it eventually. It made me appreciate good rail and board design because since the Naish 135L is unithickness, there really isn't much advanced design in the rails, so when you touchdown the rails by accident when carving they annoyingly kinda bounce back, unlike higher end boards that still flow when you touch down. The inflatable wasn't great when touching down.
I found a big board to be much harder to ride than a small board. This may be a "no duh" but I feel for folks trying to learn. It is a lot easier to ride a small board than a big one!
So, when I was riding in light winds and got the board dialed, it worked as a wing board. I could ride and foil and carve and play. Becasue of its weight and size it was harder to ride than a small board. To be fair I should have compared it to board closer to its size.
I bought this board to be used as a sup foil board. Because it lacks good rail design I think it will work for that but it will be inferior in its performance to a dedicated sup foil board (again, no duh).
So, if you've read this far you probably think I don't care much for the board. Not true! I love the fact that this board packs up into the size of a suitcase. That counts for a lot! I love the fact that the board is soft (in the sense that if it nails you in the head it aint gonna kill ya). When I go sup surfing I am just screwing around and being goofy and I don't need to act all local surfer cool so a board like this is perfect. It works to foil and wing.
This is my first season winging and I consider myself to be "advanced intermediate" and I can make this board work. There are times when having this sort of setup would be ideal - travel for sure. It is probably a better board to teach someone on as well. The quality seems epic and the rigidness is unbelievable. It isn't the board I'd grab if its going off. But, if I wanted to grab a 3 piece sup paddle and my wing and pump on a marginal day it certainly is an adventure craft. It also seems like the perfect board to learn to sup foil (I can foil, and I can sup surf and prone surf, but hoping to learn to sup foil surf this winter). Compared to the same size/volume wing boards it is a heck of a lot easier to transport and store and although you give up a little bit of performance, it is my preferred larger board setup.
I hope that helps if you are considering an inflatable.
I bought mine at Mackite. Super happy with their service.
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- irwe (Tue Oct 06, 2020 10:52 am)