The Free Wide is a NEW range of boards developed with Richard Greene. The aim was to create a new standard for early planing, light air, flatwater freeride boards which gybed like a dream and got planing with little effort even in really light airs. Naish say they have achieved this with an early planing rocker and a new step rail design combining a flat deck area with a waveboard rail shape making gybing real easy on this size of board.
We asked the main man, Michi Schweiger about both models.
Naish Sprint Questions
Is the '08 sail much different from the '07 sail? Michi: The basic concept is the same but we improved the sail in regards to lighter weight and better low end.
This is the sixth year of the Sprint so it must be a popular line for Naish. However, where does it sit now with the All Terrain sail as this can also be used as a freeride sail with the added bonus of working in the waves as well? Michi: The All Terrain offers a bit more manoeuverability and less low end. It also sits in a different price class due to the full x-ply construction which makes it possible to use the All Terrain as a full on crossover wave sail.
Naish has long been seen as a radical wave brand; certainly that's where its roots are. But you now seem to be actively marketing the lighter airs/freeride kit. Is this a new strategy for Naish? Michi: Due to Robby’s reputation and where we are based we are considered a core wave brand in a lot of eyes. But the fact is that we put massive effort into our freeride and race sails. Our production race sail was the former record holder as well as the production slalom champion for 2007. Don't forget that Robby has several slalom and racing world titles under his belt. We are a windsurfing company and we make not only good wave sails but also outstanding freeride and racing products. I think that the Sprint is a good proof of this as it is designed for the market and for the need that occurs in classic flatwater freeride conditions.
Naish Free Wide Questions
Why did Naish need a 'new range' of freeride boards and why use Richard Greene for the job? Michi: For us it was time to change the Icon range which was not that popular. Our collaboration with Richard Greene comes from the slalom boards and we found him to be the right shaper to design the Free Wide boards with us. The wider spectrum of feedback and input between Robby, me, Harold Iggy, Rick Naish and Richard Greene helps us to create even better boards for the everyday sailor.
Explain a little more about the new 'step rail design' which makes these relatively big boards easier to gybe. Michi: The step rail allows us to decrease the volume in the outer rail and keep the centre section flat which is better for balance. So we have the volume we need, we have the stability and at the same time we have a better turning/gybing performance with less foot pressure due to the lower rail volume; a more forgiving ride but the full performance.
If an experienced sailor sailed the Free Wide then jumped onto the Naish Freeride Slalom, would there be a huge difference in speed and handling? Michi: If you compare the Freewide 120 with the Freeride Slalom 125, which is kind of the only comparison that you could do with those two ranges, then you would feel an easier ride on the Freewide, better planing ability, easier gybing but the Freeride slalom would offer a better top end for the more experienced sailor. The other sizes in both ranges shouldn’t be compared.
At the other end of the scale, if an intermediate sailor who has just done his first dry carve gybe on the Free Wide then hopped on the Freeride Slalom, would he find that board a challenge to gybe? Michi: I would recommend that he stays on the Freewide as there is plenty more that he can learn on that board and the board will make it easier for him than the Freeride slalom.
Note on the Freeride Slalom Michi: The Freeride Slalom (which will be discontinued in the future) is a more slalom oriented shape that is offered in different volume classes to the Freewide. The Freewide starts at 120 litres while the Freeride slalom only goes up to 125 litres. It offers less planing performance with a more narrow, more slalom oriented feel.
So there you have it from the man who knows! All you need now is the stats and the cost. Read on...
Sprint Sail Stats
| Size || Luff || Boom || |
| 5.0 || 412 || 168 || 400 |
| 5.5 || 428 || 178 || 430 |
| 6.0 || 442 || 187 || 430 |
| 6.6 || 460 || 199 || 460 |
| 7.3 || 483 || 209 || 460 |
| 8.0 || 507 || 219 || 490 |
Colours: Blue/Yellow, Red/Yellow or Red/White
Free Wide Stats
| Size (ltrs) || Length (cm) || Width (cm) || Fin (cm) || Sail Range || |
| 120 || 249 || 69 || 36 || 5.5-7.0 || 7.8kg |
| 130 || 253 || 73 || 40 || 5.5-7.5 || 8.0kg |
| 140 || 254 || 77 || 44 || 6.0-8.0 || 8.3kg |
| 160 || 267 || 79 || 48 || 6.0-9.0 || 8.6kg |
| Sail Cost: || |
£314 then rises by increments of £5 per size with the 8.0m costing £339
|Board Cost: ||£749 |
| Availability: || |
For more information on the 08 range go to: www.naishsails.com