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Naish has brought a new, lighter weight, leaner version of the of the Matador series with the Matador LT. Built off the same overall design of the original Matador, the LT version offers the same wave-oriented riding performance in a minimalist design. The Matador LT kit includes a high-quality large storage bag, coil leash, and a pump hose adapter. The bag has ample space for the wing, pump, and additional accessories like wetsuits, towels, etc.
The one-pump inflation system uses a SureLock valve which requires the provided adapter for your pump. This adapter connects to the pump hose and secures into the wing valve with a 90-degree twist. Once the hose is connected to the valve the inflation is quick and easy, the pump hose was very secure and does not come unhooked accidentally. Once inflated a quick 90-degree turn releases the hose and the valve instantly seats. Deflating is just as simple, the press of the button in the center of the valve will release the pressure along the leading edge, and the strut has a high volume deflate valve so the Matador LT can be quickly and easily packed up.
The Matador LT features three long semi-rigid ergonomic handles along the strut, reduced from the five handles on the original Matador. The Matador LT has eliminated the Y handles as well as the canopy windows to optimize weight reduction. The leading edge holds the padded center grab handle and offers a nice balanced ride. The 4m wing was tested using a 4'6 board, 1075 foil, wind 20-30mph. Rider 6'4, 170lb. Small 2-3’ waves.
As Naish states, the Matador LT is designed to capture the wave riding and upwind performance of the Matador, in a more simplistic, light weight package. The design considerations are immediately evident upon first taking the Matador LT out of the bag. Eliminating two of the strut handles, the canopy windows, and the Y handles makes the LT version noticeably lighter. Even with the lighter design, the overall durability and construction feels first class. The setup, inflation, and overall feel of the wing are consistent with other wings from Naish, with the single point inflation system quickly and easily bringing the Matador LT to riding pressure. As is common with most wings, pumping to the higher end of the recommended pressure (appx 9-10 PSI) will provide a stiffer, better experience.
On the water the Matador LT has great sheet-in-and-go characteristics, with the deep canopy profile there is no lack of power at any time. The three strut handles offered plenty of adjustability and fine tuning and never felt lacking or like another handle was needed. The Y handles up front were not missed either, the Matador LT is comfortable and easy to ride even on long, steep, upwind tacks.
The original Matador was a wave machine through and through, the Matador LT takes that to a new level. The weight reduction makes the Matador LT very easy to control and maneuver when flagged. The wing was balanced, consistent, predictable, and when power was needed, easy to re-grab, sheet in and pull away. The center strut handle is placed so the Matador LT floats effortlessly and follows the rider down the wave.
Overall the Matador LT is a perfect option for riders looking for a great wave riding wing that is lightweight and simple. Riders who want every option, feature, and “creature comfort” may prefer the original Matador, but riders who want the ultimate light weight, pure performance design will be better geared with the Matador LT.
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