Feb 5, 2009
Author: Shane Thompson
Size Tested: 10.5 m2, 12 m2 / Style: Four-line SLE / What’s new: Direct response steering, low-drag wingtips, re-engineered bridles
The Naish Cult took the kite world by storm last season and impressed testers worldwide with its all-terrain capability, ease of use and accessible top-end performance. This year’s Cult sees some intelligent design enhancements aimed to improve steering speed, increase low-end wind range and continue to advance its user-friendly nature. For Cult riders from last season looking to expand into unhooked tricks, the Helix has also evolved to enlist enhanced freestyle-friendly performance within the Sigma series.
Bar setup and safety systems
The 2009 SLE control system is a 1:1 pulley-less four-line bar setup. There’s a new thermo-molded grip and new bar ends that offer simple bar-length adjustments. Leader lines have been shortened and are covered by larger bar floats. The Smart loop introduced last season includes below-the-bar sheeting adjustment, and the system is enhanced with a new front-line swivel and easily retrofitted mini fifth-line kit for added safety.
Key kite features
Some new key features include Direct Response, low-drag wingtips and Delta-cut trailing edge. The kite’s design is built around the Sigma-shaped leading edge and Geo-Tech flat panels for enhanced range, control and relaunch performance. Naish’s excellent durability features include Aramid internal reinforcements on leading-edge seams as well as molded bumpers and patches.
The ’09 Cult has a similar feel to last year’s ground-breaking design, but with less bar pressure and faster overall steering available at varying levels of depower. It truly is an all-terrain magician that eats up gusts and builds confidence to reach that next level. A great kite for intermediates with excellent stability overhead and no fear of back stalling or overflying the window.
The Cult sits more forward in the window than the new Helix model but continues to offer good steering control while sheeted out and depowered. Quick pivotal turns are available for easy no-pull transitions, great for waveriding. Testers noted slightly more power and pull in this year’s design while maintaining the upper wind range.
The more you ride the Cult, the quicker you become accustomed to its light, lively feel. The bar pressure and feedback feels even less than last season and takes a while to get used to. The Cult’s water relaunch capability also rivals the industry’s leading performers in this category. Capable of boosting decent air even with the shorter 22-metre stock lines.
It takes some time to get used to the less than hardy positional feedback. C-kite freestylers will appreciate the smoother unhooked pull of the Helix over the Cult.
The Cult’s performance generated a huge following last season, and with increased performance in turning speed and low-end power, it’s poised to dominate the all-terrain category again. It has performance that gives the quickly advancing beginner confidence and enough high-end drive to satisfy a wide range of users from all disciplines and skill levels.