The Grand Prix is pitched as Naish’s slalom board. However, when you delve a bit deeper you find that it’s been designed not for the PWA Tour, but for ‘average sailors’ of average weight to get the best from. It therefore sits nicely within our ‘freerace’ category.
The Naish is the second longest board in the group, but also one of the narrowest at 64.5cm, giving it quite a long, parallel-sided profile. The wide tail width also helps to establish this. Opting for cut-aways in the tail, the Grand Prix is supplied with one of the smaller fins of the group at 38cm.
Setting the board up we found the track worked best around the middle, and slightly further forward at the top end for a bit more control. The outboard back strap position we found just too extreme, so opted for the inboard position, which was plenty comfortable enough for high speed blasting. The front strap we left in its outboard setting. Pads and straps are very soft and comfortable, and the only slight niggle is that they’re quite narrow, so our bigger-footed Clones found the front one a little awkward to get out of mid-gybe at times. They were all sailing in bare feet, so if you prefer boots you may want to look at using a wider hole selection.
The Naish is a really fun and exciting board to sail. As soon as you step on, it has a great sensation of frictionless speed as it skims across the water with a much less planted ride than many of the other boards. You might expect this to mean poor control, but actually it doesn’t. Despite its lively ride the Naish is in fact very controlled and easy to sail at speed. It’s not a board for cruising around half throttle on though – it likes to be locked down with a committed stance.
On flat water it was one of the fastest boards in the group, and in chop it was even faster. It rides high and on the tail, allowing it to ride over chop better than the more planted boards, which have a tendency to plough into it more. Again the control was still impressive, despite the higher, more lively ride. When you get airborne it seems to stay trimmed really nicely and allows you to switch the power straight back on as soon as the board makes contact with the water again.
Occasionally we encountered spin-out, and when this happens it’s extremely difficult to recover it without slowing right down. No amount of foot twitching or heading off seemed to reattach the fin once it decided to let go. Luckily this doesn’t happen often.
The Naish is good at planing through the lulls, but does lack a bit of drive, particularly upwind when underpowered. This is probably a consequence of the smaller size (and fin).
In the gybes the Naish is great. It’s very smooth, agile and lets you readjust your arc with ease mid-turn. It’s a little more sensitive to foot pressure than most, so more suited to experienced gybers, and occasionally we found if we snapped it in hard (a bit more off the back foot) we got a bit of spin-out on entry. Generally though it was one of the best gybers of the group.
The board coped well with both our 7.0 and 5.8m quiver sails. With the smaller sails it was one of the most comfortable boards of the group. In lighter winds you could invest in a bigger fin to get even more out of this board (if you plan using much bigger than a 7.0 sail on it).
Weight (bare): 7.03kg
Range sizes: 80, 95, 110, 128, 135
The Naish is a very exciting, fast feeling board, but well mannered at the same time. It gives advanced riders the potential to squeeze a bit more speed and performance out of it when required, while less experienced riders will find it easy to sail. Most importantly it gives a lively and engaging ride. It was also a great board for gybing.