“The ongoing development with the Boxer has been focused on taking what began as an extremely specialised (almost ‘niche’) sail that was designed around a very specific new-school approach to wavesailing, and improving the overall performance characteristics without losing the characteristics that made it special in the first place.”– Nils Rosenblad, designer. naishsails.com
On the Beach
This is probably the first year since its introduction seven years ago that the Boxer doesn’t have the shortest luff length in test! With a luff length of 392cm it’s been pipped ever so slightly this year by the NeilPryde Combat (390cm). The boom length (160cm) is also shorter than most, but not the most extreme in test this year. Sail weight is impressively light, second only to the Severne S1. At 3.1kg the Boxer is 0.8kg lighter than the North Ice, and that’s a big difference.
The Boxer doesn’t actually appear to have much versatility when it comes to tuning. Too much downhaul and the sail gets very light on the back hand. Too little and the pull position is a too high with not enough twist, and therefore doesn’t let the board release or the sail accelerate properly. But get the set right and the Boxer has an ‘untuned range’ that surpasses everything in test. Only just starting to loosen the leech seems about right, with a medium to low amount of outhaul.
We’ve long been critical of the boom cut-outs on Naish sails, which we’ve always found to be too low. It’s therefore great to see that this year’s Boxer has a much higher cutout, which will now accommodate even the tallest of riders.
On the water
We haven’t sailed a Naish Boxer for a couple of years now, and straightaway it’s noticeable that quite a lot has changed – and for the better!
The sail used to feel quite hard, a bit heavier in the hands, and with a relentless power that was difficult to lose at times. The new sail has so much more all-round appeal. Straight off it is now one of the lightest sails in your hands. The relentless back-handed power that used to be present now feels perfectly balanced between your hands, giving the sail a much more user-friendly feel. It’s still powerful, but not so extreme anymore. The power is delivered a little softer and can be controlled a lot better now that it’s positioned further forward.
At the bottom end the Boxer has good power and has a very compact, balanced feel. At the top end it can get a little back-handed (particularly the 4.7 compared to the 4.0), but now that the sail is much lighter and springier in feel, it can be managed a lot better.
For riding, the sail is excellent. The compact shape makes it very manoeuvrable and agile in the hands, while the slightly higher power point really drives the board through the bottom turn.
For jumping the Boxer can rotate through forwards and jumps very easily thanks to its short luff. When landing back loops it can be a little less tolerant than other sails as the leech doesn’t open out and fill in the same way, but generally it’s great to have such a light and compact feeling sail.
The Boxer has most definitely evolved from being a very niche product to one of the most all-round wave sails in this test. It still has a unique feel that will split opinion, but if you’re looking for a compact, light feeling sail with power and good wind range the Boxer tops the tables, particularly when it comes to waveriding.