'All you need is a miracle.' professes Roberto Ricci when we catch him on the phone from the sun lounger by the pool of his lakeside mansion. The reflection coming from his gold rimmed Ray Bans glint with the image of a striking blonde bikini model delivering a Pina Colada as he throws his head back, waves her away, picks up his foot long Cuban and settles back into divulging the secrets of the 2009
Obsession kite. 'It's the only SLE kite in our line my friend. We kept considering a freestyle kite 'out of the 4-line C shape box', and this year we launch it. KWPT world tour 2007 winner, Seb Garat, was a little sceptical at first, but he's now found the perfect tool to express himself with the highest level of freedom and freestyle performance.' Based on the 2008 Type 9, the Obsession has a revised shape, tips width and outline design. The result is an even more stable kite, faster in the big sizes and slower in the small ones, with an incredible
amount of power and depower that is yet simple to ride unhooked. Roberto reckons it's the new trendsetter in speed and progressive, smooth power in all areas of the flying window. Perfect for kite loops and wave riding.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
CHRIS: I really have a dilemma now of what to ride personally. I really thought I'd be riding C kites forever, but there are some really good hybrids now. This has good construction, it's good looking and has everything you want from a modern kite: one pump, handles in the tips for rescuing your self etc. Down at the bar you've got a clean, simple package. The safety system is good and the only downside for me is the slightly dangling chicken-loop when unhooked, so you generally just need a hand to guide it back into your hook. But the bar is really comfortable with great pressure and feedback.
NEAL: The bar is one size fits all and stays similar to last year with a four line system and a short 5th line, giving either a 5th style release or a solid ring on the chicken-loop for your suicide leash. The depower has been improved both with a slightly longer through-the bar line and a new bridle.
CHRIS: RRD always tick the box for boosty jumps. It's a lot of fun and there are loads of beans up top. The turning is really easy down at the bar and it's so responsive. So much faster than my C kite. Responsive turns means that whether you're trying to jump high, kite loop or wave ride, the turning speed is just perfect. It's quite pivotal and your steroid-munching freestyle junky might want something with slightly bigger balls, but it's not so pivotal that the kite loops are girly. Boost high, pull that bar in and it will drive round nicely. Really
good forward drive with confidence and no stalling. What was going through my head was that if I had one of those for myself and I went out at my home spot at Hayling people would think my riding had improved because it's so easy to ride. I went out and nailed the first dangle-pass I'd tried in a while. It looped twice on landing with no yanking dramas.
NEAL: Although the kite is slightly slower than the type 9, it turns much more progressively, giving a fairly C style kite loop for freestylers and allowing you to keep the kite powered and where you want it for wave riding. The bigger depower range allows it to cruise way forward in the window for better upwind ability and the smooth
power delivery and good low end grunt mean you can just about get away with a smaller kite than anyone else, without giving away high wind control.
CHRIS: So much depower but loads of oomph too, and it's fast. Absolutely no problems relaunching by just pulling on the outside line; it just rolls over. All that depower gives you confidence if you're hot launching straight downwind, too. Kites are becoming super safe now. The huge range of this kite coupled with the characteristics you'd expect like low end grunt, high-end control and good turning are all there. The only thing, and it's a bit unfair to point this out perhaps, is that in its basic plug and play set up it back stalls unhooked. To sort that out it just needs a slight tuning on the front lines moving them one or two knots down. I ride skimboards, twintips, waveboards, whatever... and I want my kite to do a lot of jobs well. I think this does. Die hard freestyle merchants may find it too twitchy. The most advanced wake-stylers want the kite to respond less when they've got just one hand on the bar. 99% of people that want an all-round kite will give this their thumbs up, though. Nice bag as well. Good product. RRD are on it.
Not so much a miracle, but more the super simple all-round four line SLE you've been dreaming about. Bags of depower for wave riders and intermediates and enough power, speed and turning for the progressive freestyler. It's plugged into the mains as well, getting you out on a smaller kite than you've been able to in the past. Real contender for 2009. Bring on the kites for next issue because we are absolutely loving the '09 kit so far and having all sorts of kit dilemmas ourselves.
Great performance in every style of riding.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
Slight tendency to back stall on the setting we had it on initially, but a quick drop of the knots and we were fully 'Obsessed'.
15, 12, 10.5, 9, 7 and 5m.
This test is inissue #36