Naish Torch ’07 Kite…Having Exploding Issues
Posted by direwolff on May 22, 2007
(See my update below, as I’ve gotten some more info since originally reporting this story yesterday.)
What’s sadder than a boy with his broken dreams? Well, that would be a boy with a torn kite three days before getting ready to go do some wave riding down the California coast. And here’s what that boy with broken dreams’ face looks like…
This late afternoon, just as my buddy Charlie picked up his kite and began turning it over on its back to deflate it, after a most excellent kitesurfing session at Crissy Field, we all heard a loud bang, like that of a blown tire. Well, it was the leading edge of Charlie’s kite basically exploding right at one of the seams. According to another fellow kiteboarder, this is the second time this has happened this season with the Naish Torch 12 meter kite. Another friend of ours experienced the same phenomena recently. The tear is clean along the seam and through the bladder. To say that Charlie, who has really liked this kite since he’s been riding it this season, was not terribly disappointed, would be an understatement. We all tried to console him, but you could tell that this wasn’t easy on him. He put his faith in Naish, and he was let down with what appears to have been a defective product. Wwe’re only now hopeful that the company is prepared to stand by its product and provide Charlie an exchange, but given that it’s not the first time this has happened, there’s obvious cause for concern.
Of course, most disconcerting of all, is that Charlie and his wife had big plans for some coastal riding this weekend which may now be up in the air as a result of this fiasco. I’ve always had respect for the quality of Naish kites, and I just hope that they make good here, as it would be very sad if they let this event, witnessed by 15 local Crissy Field kitesurfers including a Naish team rider, represent the new image of the company.
(Update – 5/23/07: In the spirit of fairness in reporting, I had a chance to speak to the other kiter who had experienced the blown bladder on his Torch. First off, he loves the kite and continues to fly it, and he explained that while the bladder exploding was certainly unusual, he was willing to attribute this to perhaps having over-inflated it. When I relayed Charlie’s experience and we realized that these two events took place within two weeks of each other, lots of questions loom, but given his positive experience with the kite, the fact that he continues to swear by it and ride it, the fact that Charlie also really likes this kite, we might conclude that these incidents were flukes that shouldn’t get in the way of a kite that so many people enjoy riding.)
(Update – 7/29/07: So it appears that at the recent Crissy Kite Week here in San Francisco, 4 more kites including that of two other good friends of mine also exploded in the same way as Charlie’s. I took a lot of heat from some friends on the original post but I have to say now, that given the number of people I know who kitesurf, the percentage of those who use a Torch, and the percentage of those who have had it explode in the exact same place, this is faulty construction issue if I’ve ever seen a case for one. More importantly, it was one of those who gave me the upbeat talking to that fell victim to a blown bladder…he apologized and now supports my assertion ;)
(Update – 9/28/08: Well, it’s not just over a year later and Charlie’s misadventures with Naish Torches are still happening. Needless to say, he *really* likes these kites, but I think he’s beginning to rethink his commitment here. Below are pics of his kite and the recent exploding bladder in the exact same spot…)