KW reviews RRD’s kite for the early intermediate looking for a kite they can really progress with
TEST TEAM NOTES:
Bully has had the 13 and nine metre Passions in his possession personally, used by himself, his wife (who is only around 50+ kilos in weight) and also by the instructors in his school most of this season. He’s tested several models of the Passion over previous years, this test is largely based on his findings.
Firstly, it must be said that the 13 metre is an absolute beast in terms of power. Both kites behave the same in terms of their rooted position in the sky, and in not needing to be moved very much to deliver easy power. The Passion is also available in 15 and 17 metre sizes, but considering the efficiency and power in the 13, we’re not sure you’d often need those bigger sizes as the low end performance is stand out on both the nine and 13 metre.
Featuring a deep canopy and being quite delta-shaped, the Passion is set with a naturally deep position in the window, offering a strong, steady, consistent pull. Bully’s wife Rosemary hasn’t been kiting very long and loves the nine for its smooth power for very easy kitesurfing. When all the boys were out on 12s, she was very comfortable on the nine because, once the power comes in, it’s very constant and doesn’t really vary as you move the kite. This kite will really help people in their first two years of kiting because it’s so easy to use and the sheeting requirements are obvious. You can’t really do anything to get the Passion to misbehave and a particular highlight is how much the bar and kite feel like one seamless product with a lovely, clean connection.
Bully’s instructors have really appreciated having the nine on hand for lessons because it can be put up in ten knots and is perfectly stable, with no forwards or backwards drifting. Equally, Rosemary could finish her session in 12 to 16 knots, and then Bully could take the same kite out at the top end of that wind range and scream upwind and have a great session while other riders are still on 12s.
Aerodynamically there’s lots going on, this isn’t just a tank. Two struts have been removed and the Passion is now a three strut design. Lighter in the sky, the new struts are also nice and thin and the leading edge is also reasonably sporty in terms of its diameter. Although the Passion is smooth and doesn’t whip into its turns, there’s performance to be had and Bully has been looping it all over the place this season. For a kite with this depth of canopy there’s very little flapping when handled really aggressively.
The nine metre is a fun kite for all-round hooked-in freeriding. In around 16 knots it’s a lot of fun for perfecting board-offs with the very generous hangtime. Although the Passion isn’t quick, technically it’s very easy to jump with as it’s very stable and offers lots of lift overhead. Less experienced riders will find it hard to hold their edge when sending the kite at the top end of its range, but generally the Passion is very intuitive and feels very well connected. Meanwhile the new double pulleys also aid the smooth feel.
We had the new Global V7 bar and there’s no doubting that because every kite is designed to work on this standard 55cm bar, there’s absolute consistency across the ranges. Very well featured with a smooth above the bar trim, rubber stopper, comfortable grip and very functional chicken-loop and quick release, the only thing missing on this version is an easy line untwister. You can untwist the lines by gripping the plastic chicken-loop line, but it’s not as easy as others. The quality throughout the bar is superb and the lines are particularly good. They’re stiffer than most other brands and obviously high quality, making them very easy to manage when you’re rigging up and you know you can absolutely trust them, come what may, session after session. After a full summer of use on both kites, this bar still looks new. Fixtures and fittings are just what you’d expect from a modern freeride kite, with mid-size inflation, one pump and reliable, easy connections.
So would the big Passions be good for every rider looking for lightwind performance? Well at this stage it comes down to taste, your weight and ability. Bully has given this kite to a range of people to try this summer and overwhelmingly the bigger guys absolutely loved it when they swapped it for their own 12 or 13 metre kites. The 13 doesn’t change its characteristics you see, so for the intermediate rider that consistency in technique is important, always maintaining a fairly deep position in the window, but as the 13 gets powered up, it requires more work on your quad muscles than a higher aspect shape that would move forward in the window. So yes, a phenomenal light wind performer in 12 knots, but as the wind increases you need either weight or technique to hold it down. Once that power comes in, it comes in quickly and you’ll be stretching your arms to sheet out.
The bar pressure on the nine is about right for preventing any accidental over-steering. The 13 gets the arm muscles working considerably more.
And the final box to tick? The water relaunch is incredible. You could sneeze in its general direction and the thing will relaunch in an instant.
If you’re looking for your first proper kite that will last you at least a few seasons or for early intermediates in general, this is a great option. Especially the nine which is a superb all-round workhorse in 12 – 18 knots. The kite and bar are very well made throughout and will stand up to all the abuse you can throw at them – Bully’s still look brand new at the end of a busy few months. This isn’t a kite for more advanced intermediate riders because it’s not quick enough and doesn’t alter its position in the window, but it’s an awesome product for the riders its aimed at, will help them progress very smoothly and is extremely well made.
The seamless and consistent feel between the bar and kite as well as the incredibly consistent but fun flight characteristics.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
Smaller riders will get over powered quickly, but as the low end is so good, they can choose their sizes conservatively.
PASSION BALANCE POINTS:
Build quality: 8.5
Full package: 8
Low end: 9
Top end: 7
Steering speed: 7
Turning circle: 4.5
Bar pressure: 6
Water relaunch: 9
SIZES: 17 / 15 / 13 / 11 / 9 / 7 / 5 & 3m
Here’s the official Passion product video from RRD:
For more information on the RRD Passsion visit
This review appeared in Issue #84 of Kiteworld. Subscribe to the mag for the most in-depth tests out there!