Naish Global Freeride 115 (above):
The Global Freeride was introduced for 2009 as Naish’s “affordable” all-round / freeride range. The four designs in the series (of which the 115 is the largest) are identical to those in the All-Terrain range other than in graphics and construction; the Global Freeride is produced in the cheaper ‘Single Shot Sandwich Wood’ technology. The board comes with only one (larger than usual) fin supplied instead of two, but otherwise the fittings are the usual Naish high quality, including a newly designed footstrap, and their ‘Stop and Go Wedge’ to help locate the front foot when not planing. The shape of the 115 is short but fairly wide at 67cm, and is decidedly rounded with a pinched nose and tail. It has Naish’s stepped rail profile, which enables the deck to be flat for security off the plane, while the rails remain thin to exhibit a traction in the gybe of a smaller board.
On the water, the Global Freeride has a distinct yearning towards more manoeuvre-oriented sailing than straight-line blasting. It feels relatively small and compact underfoot for a 115L board, and wouldn’t really be comfortable being partnered with much bigger than 7.5m. It responds smoothly to power, gaining speed gradually rather than exploding from the blocks – a great asset for the intermediate rider. Top end speed is only average, but the Global still qualifies as a very nice freeride in many other ways. In the straps you feel comfortable and secure, the deckpad offering good traction while the deeper integrated cushions eliminate harsh feedback while riding over chop. The new straps are also worthy of note, being reasonably easy to adjust, and providing just about the right balance of firmness and comfort.
The 115 is also quite versatile for a wide variety of sailing styles – you can cruise along on it at half speed, or lock it in to duck, dive and dodge through choppy coastal conditions, its control and compact nature providing a responsive, endearing character. It’s in the gybe that this board really impressed us though – indeed, it quite caught us by surprise. Two of our testers blew their first gybe on this board; such was the tightness and rapidity of its response, it left them behind! As such it would be great for those looking to master carving and wanting a versatile, controllable platform to venture out into increasingly challenging coastal conditions. For a ‘budget’ contender its finish or quality certainly hasn’t been compromised, nor has any weight added due to the construction hampered this board’s appeal.
+Excellent gybing credentials.
-Those wanting a sharper ride should look to the All-Terrain.
The Global Freeride is an excellent addition to the Naish range, plugging the gap as a fun and inspiring ride to confidently take into variable coastal conditions.