We recently got a bunch of the Naish S-25 Wing-Surfers in to our warehouse, and true to form, we couldn't resist pumping a few of them up and getting them wet! Call it a lack of self restraint, a character flaw, corporate theft, or whatever you want- but the behavior probably won't be changing anytime soon :)
The Naish 7.2 is by far the biggest wing we've ever tried flying, so our first questions were:
1) How much of a pain in the you-know-what is this thing going to be to handle?
2) How much power does it really have?
3) Are the wing tips going to be constantly dragging in the water?
4) Will it overpower quickly?
The first test session of the 7.2 was perfectly horrendous- about 45 degrees F, lightly raining, and blowing about 8-18 mph, so in all honesty it was a super legit real world test for the wing! There were big lulls that were sub-10 mph, and most of the gusts were in the 14 or 15 mph range. Only an occasional blast of 18+ came through.
We were happy to see that the wing span of the 7.2m is no wider than that of the 6.0m. This allows for easy handling and infrequent wing tip dragging. Yay!! That said, the chord length is larger, so in super crazy light wind, if you don't hold it up, the trailing edge might get stuck. But the wing is light, so it flies naturally with just 5 or 6mph of wind and will nicely float there waiting for you to sheet in.
S25 6.0 on top of 7.2: The Wingspan of the 6.0 is LARGER than that of the 7.2!
And with a bit of wind filling out the wing, the long chord length and fairly deep pocket creates a super dependable, steady and grunty pull- perfect for helping the board accelerate a bit so that you can start pumping the foil! You'll be up and running before you know it, in wind lighter than imaginable! We found that the wing tips flexed a bit when trying to pump the wing aggressively, so instead we relied on the amazingly steady pull from the wing and some board pumping skills to get up onto foil in the lightest breezes. Going to a bit higher inflation pressure would likely sort that out, though.
Once up onto the foil, the handling was effortless and the 7.2 responded like a much smaller wing, easy to throw around, luff while on swell, jibe, etc. Such a pleasant surprise! It felt like autopilot! Further, the low end dependable grunt was always there when you wanted it, so we found that flying through just absolutely ridiculous lulls in the single digits was a piece of cake- just give the wing and the foil a couple of pumps and you can glide forever!
Interestingly, our apparent wind was so strong in these super low winds that we did find the angle of attack a bit sensitive to going too high upwind- The wing would somewhat suddenly luff out and get a quick, but easy to control, backwinded feel if we pushed too high. It handles so well that this never caused us to crash, and a quick board redirect or back hand sheet in would instantly correct the situation. But when the wind is only blowing 10, and you're flying about 15-17 on the foil, you can't fault the equipment for feeling a lot of apparent wind- it is just inherent in the situation.
As with many wings, the overpowered control was a piece of cake with the Naish 7.2! Just let it fly a bit higher over head and you can cruise through most any gust with fingertip control.
The 7.2 is light enough for my 6 year old to hold overhead in zero wind!
The Verdict? For any locale with light wind, the 7.2 Naish S25 will be a welcome addition to your quiver! You'll get tons of easy flying with fun and effortless handling, even in gusty wind! And while expert wing surfers *might* be able to pump their little behinds off and make a 5.5 work in the same conditions, a wing like the 7.2 will allow regular folks or heavy weights to get out with ease and put some serious miles in!