When I moved back to the island in the middle of 2012, I needed a freestyle/wave board in the 100L range, as a sort of one board solution, that would cover a variety of conditions. I had previously owned the original Exocet Cross 102L, and then the JP Australia Freestyle/Wave Pro 101L.
Having seen and sailed Mike’s Naish All-Terrain 104L, I thought I would have a look at the Naish boards. The Naish Koncept, first introduced in 2011 looked like the board for me. Naish had slimmed down their board range, so this was the next board from the pure wave board, and came in 70, 80, 90 and 100L. The board looks fantastic too, with a wooden deck and funky graphics. It also comes with 2 fins, a 25cm wave fin, and a 32cm free-ride fin, which drastically change the feel of the board. It ticked all the boxes for my one board solution for the island.
Trying to track one down, was another matter. After emailing most of the main online outlets in the North America, I found that the Naish Pro Center in Maui had one left, for a great price. I got in touch with the guys there, who were very helpful, placed the order, and the board was on its way to the freight forwarder in Miami.
Fast forward a few weeks later, and the board was ready for collection on island. I picked it up, but then had to stash it away for a few months until the windy season arrived. I did get to try it once in June when a SE came through. The wind was light, so I tried it with the 6.3 and had to put the bigger fin on, but first impressions were very good. I was most impressed with how well it jibed. It carved perfectly into and out of the turn, and felt like the rail was buried perfectly throughout.
I only got to use it a few more times after that before disaster struck. The final session was in the main channel by Barkers for some wave-sailing. The wind was on the lighter side, and the waves were friendly. This time I was using the smaller wave fin, and the board felt great on a wave. Jumping felt good too, until I landed one jump and realised there was a massive crack along the bottom. This was not something I expected only the 5th time using the board.
I emailed the Naish Pro Center in Maui, and told them my unhappy story of what happened, accompanied with some photos to show the damage. The guys were very helpful, and sent my email to the warranty department, which sounded promising. In less than a week, they emailed me back to say my claim had been approved, and they would send me out a brand new board! All I had to do was pay for shipping.
They had no more 2011 boards or 2012, so they sent me the 2013 Koncept. I was happy that I would be getting the latest year’s board, but was also wondering how different it would be from the 2011. I hoped it would be as similar as possible, as I liked it so much.
When the board arrived and I unpacked it, I could tell they had changed the shape. In the 2013 range, Naish had introduced another wave board, meaning the Koncept would become less wavy, move more towards the freestyle/freeride category. The 63″ width, is 1″ wider than the 2011 model, and the deck seems a lot flatter. I compared the front rocker, and the 2011 has definitely got more than the 2013. On the water it feels less wavy too, and I feel I can’t bury the front rail as much without it digging in. It does feel compact though and is super fun to sail, though doesn’t jibe quite as nicely as the 2011.
It goes to show that newer models are not always better.