Naish Torch ESP vs Naish Park HD – Kite Review
Review by Luke Penna
Recently I had the privilege of testing a 12m 2017 Torch ESP thanks to Kite Republic and Naish Australia.
I am currently a massive Park HD fan, owning an 11m, 9m and 7m. I have been riding the Park HD since they were first released. Now, I’m looking to change over to something else due to the fact that the Park has been discontinued and to progress to the next level with my riding. I negotiated with the wife and we finally agreed that she can have the Park quiver and I’ll get a brand new set of kites (luckily, she is also a fan of the Park).
Apparently, Naish claim that the new Torch with ESP will bring the kite closer to the Park HD. I tested the 12m Torch over two days back to back with my 11m Park HD. In short, I would say that the kites are close.
I have demoed a few other 2017 kites recently, including; North Vegas, North Dice and Cabrhina FX. All up the Torch has the closer feel to the Park HD on the ESP setting.
The biggest thing for me is whether the Torch jumps as good as the Park HD. My answer is “sh*t yeah”. I just beat my personal best WOO height on the demo Torch, I had only been riding it for about an hour. The Torch can pull you off the edge a little more than the Park, but if you can hold that edge when sending it you explode off the water really well. I felt the Torch had better hang time and was easier to land a jump. When redirecting on landing it gave me a little bit of lift (more than the park does) and it also feels smoother on the down loops. In short, the Torch boosts as good as (or better), hangs longer and lands softer than the Park HD. BIG THUMBS UP THERE.
I often see “C” riders at my local struggling to get up wind. Maybe this is technique, but up wind was great on the Torch. I found that it does help to trim the Torch which helps edge up wind easier. Travelling speed was the same between the Torch and Park. The turning speed of the Torch was a bit slower (but it was a meter bigger in size to my Park) so it’s hard to say if there is really any difference. However, I found that the Torch needed to be one size bigger to have comparable power to the Park. The 12m Torch had basically the same wind range as my 11m Park, but the Park was more usable at the lower end.
The Torch is a heavier kite, you do notice it when launching, but this is likely because the Torch is a five strut and the Park is three (so not much to worry about there). I did notice the Torch had less flutter in the canopy in loops compared to the Park , which is another bonus of riding a 5 strut kite. The bar pressure and the pull in the harness is higher than the Park but the feedback is slightly better on the Torch, so you really do know where the kite is at all times. The Torch is a lot nicer to unhook with, and it gives you more time and slack (but, as a dedicated freestyle kite, that really goes without saying).
All in all, the Torch has a little more performance than the Park HD. But, as there is no Park anymore, if you are happy to take your riding to the next step and embrace the performance and the BIG AIRS, the Torch is a wicked kite and a MUST Demo.