At A Glance
The Wing-Surfer Matador is Naish’s wave-specific offering in their wing lineup. It has been designed to allow wing foilers to use the smallest wing possible so that they can focus on riding swell & waves without it hindering them.
Naish has maintained the same high level of quality we’ve become accustomed to, the wing features high tensile thread stitching and kevlar reinforcement along the leading edge. Attention to detail is second to none, I particularly like the neoprene patch behind the leading edge handle to protect the knuckles when free-flying the wing.
Once pumped up down the beach, compared to the original Naish Wing-Surfer, the Matador clearly has a deeper draft & larger diameter leading edge and strut, this is designed to place the power further forward. It has small windows to aid viewing, 5 handles on the strut, and ‘Y handles’ handles running from the top of the strut to the leading edge. It also features a high-pressure valve, just like you’d find on a SUP board, which made pumping the wing up to the correct pressure a breeze.
The Matador comes in two colours, red & orange. It is available in three sizes, 3m, 4m & 5m. You can also buy a Matador LT version, which is essentially a stripped-back version of the original Matador, it has fewer handles and doesn’t have any windows, the reason being to reduce weight.
Wave-specific wings are a fairly new concept, so what are we looking for when we buy one? My thoughts are that the most important thing is ‘free-fly’ mode, the wing should be stable so that you can focus on riding the wave rather than worrying about what the wing is doing. The next thing that I was going to be looking for on the water was upwind capabilities because there’s no point in going for a wave session if you struggle to get back upwind to the start of the break. I would be looking at these two features and more as I headed out to sea.
On The Water
I was fortunate enough to wing on the Matador a number of times but one specific session stood out. A mild day for early February on the South Coast of the UK, cross onshore 20-25 knot winds and, believe it or not, some sunshine! The shore break was not too severe on this particular day and perfect wind bumps & small swell lines rolled in from the horizon. Idyllic conditions to test this wave-specific wing out.
The Matador feels well balanced in the air, the handles are in a good position, and were comfortable to grip. It feels light in your hands and therefore super manoeuvrable when doing gybes & tacks. As mentioned above, the first specific test was free-fly mode on the wave, and let me tell you it was steady as a rock. It helped that I was on a small board & foil but several times I almost forgot I was holding the wing at all as I carved up & down the waves. The free-fly handle is in a good position and it felt natural to move from the strut handles to it and back again.
Next came the upwind, it’s worth mentioning that foil & board also play a part in upwind performance but the Matador 4m felt like it played a BIG part. I was able to sheet in and lock the wing in position as I raced upwind. The choice of handles meant that I could change my arm position to save energy, useful for those that don’t use a harness. The 4m felt powerful for its size and I was able to soak up every gust & lift to point higher & ride faster. Before I knew it I was back in the line-up and ready to send it back downwind.
Naish has made an excellent choice in entering the wave/downwind specific discipline in wingfoiling. The Matador is a truly exceptional piece of equipment, free-fly mode is a dream and it’ll get you back upwind in no time. It’s clear that Naish has created a high-quality product here and you wouldn’t regret it for a second if you decided to add one to your quiver.
This review was in Issue 11 of Tonic Mag.For more information visit Naish