CONDITIONS TESTED IN:
Gusty 18 – 30+ knots
The 2009 Rebel is bashing down the barriers of freeriding and surfing! The clean, simple 5-line design delivers smooth, reactive steering, extreme resistance to back-stalling when over-sheeted and the most direct bar feedback yet. Our unique quadstrut configuration produces a quick-turning light weight kite and a snappy feel which makes the bigger sizes feel more crisp and lively than ever! The quad-strut also helps create a very clean centre profile that delivers constant, predictable power for freeride comfort. The Rebel is heavily reinforced with Dacron to take some severe thrashings in the surf and come out in one piece. The combination of decreased weight and a rounder arch helps prevent the Rebel from falling quickly when the lines go slack while surfing, making it easier to recover from steering errors. One pump inflation has been added for simplicity.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
CHRIS: Wow. This definitely put a smile on my face over the last couple of days. The bar is reasonably large, but like all North bars is functional, uncluttered and has a high-quality chicken-loop safety system. It just looks like it's going to work straight away. Quality throughout with a one-pump system, easy power/depower and has everything you want from your kite control system. My only thing would be that the bar feels just a touch big, but nevertheless is comfortable in the hands. Usual North lines which seem to be unique in the market, and they do last well. It's noticeable that it's missing a middle strut and the profile and shape make it look like a bull dog with a broad set of shoulders. It looks meaty and it does have a big set of balls, but in a nice way! I had a lot of fun on this and it's so easy to ride. Screams upwind, the feeling through the bar and the power delivery is lovely and never once did it catch me out. I've been out in all sorts of gusty winds over the last two days and the gust management works brilliantly. However, when you pull in on that bar it goes, 'Come on then, let's go!' Instant power delivery without being brutal. There's no lag at all. It unhooked reasonably well, but it is a little bit grunty for a lot of that and becomes a bit of a handful. Riding in over 20 knots it just becomes a jumping monster. Oh my God. I went out yesterday doing all my old school tricks and the jumps were so sent and floaty, you knew where you were the whole time - just solid pull the whole way. Kite loops are fun, the kite turns with good speed, goes round and doesn't stall. It's not going to kick your butt because it does something wild, but has continual power through the loop, although more pivotal than driving. I didn't get it to stall at all, so running with the kite in waves should be good, too.
NEAL: Finally North have a one pump! It was like the final piece in the jigsaw for so long. I also like the depower and cleat and all fittings and workings are: very smooth. I'm a fan of fifth lines as they're a proven system. There are elastic bits on the tips that are supposed to stop the kite ever looping round itself in surf and the chicken-loop is solid with a good release handle. I like that rather than Velcro as a final release. Great all-round attention to detail and build quality. There should have been way too much wind for the kite in the session I tried it. I had it almost to the point where I'd pulled on complete depower, but the kite still felt really nice and stable and the power had a beautifully graded feel – you have such control over your hang-time and if you give the bar an extra pull as you come into land you get an extra boost for landing. That's a great quality and it had amazing depower for a 12, considering that everyone else on the water were on nines. The feedback through the bar is fantastic and it still felt comfortable even though we were probably way outside of the kite's wind-range at times in 30 knots.
JAMES: I really like the fact that it's five lines and no bridles as there's just less stuff to get caught up. Definitely the most depowerable five line kite with the biggest wind-range I've ever flown. It's very easy to control, you always feel comfortable and it's just a hell-of-a lot-of-fun. The best aspects for me were that it would do whatever you wanted, immediately - turning, power, depower...it was all on tap in an instant and the jumping is just insane.
Polished, practical and fun. The Rebel is a really good all-round hybrid kite. Relatively quick for a 12 metre, excellent bar pressure and pin-point control of the kite gives good advanced riding characteristics as well as
providing everything that an intermediate rider could want. Really powerful yet with a huge bottom end, it's incredibly controllable. Anyone who gets on this, whether they've been riding a few years or not, are going to smile. It's so much fun.
The complete ease-of-use and fun factor.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
The fact that we had to give it back.
6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14 and 16m
The North Rebel 12m was tested in Issue #35 of Kiteworld. Buy Issue #35 in the Kiteworld shop.