2018 RRD Passion MK9 review

2018 RRD Passion MK9 review

Unreal low-end with improved bar pressure that’s ideal for intermediate riders

 

THIS TEST FIRST APPEARED IN ISSUE #93 IN JUNE, 2018

 

2018 RRD Passion MK9 review

 

TEST TEAM NOTES: 

We’ve had extensive experience with the Passion over several seasons as (among other kites) Bully’s had a few in his school for lessons. They’ve always been a solidly performing kite, particularly good at delivering lots of low end torquey power. Quite frankly there was rarely much need for anything bigger than a nine most of the time and once the wind started gusting anything close to 25+ knots, the nine metre became a very physical experience. Pound for pound the Passion has always been a power player but quite quickly became a handful for beginners and intermediates who’d find themselves changing down a size sooner than most. 

The Passion MK9 now has more range. The forward pull is more positive and the Passion now feels less physically demanding as the wind picks up. You still don’t need to steer the kite much to create power and the Passion doesn’t move too far forward in the window, so the drive is consistent. If you make a mistake and slow up, or mess up your track towards a ramp and you want to re-generate speed, you don’t have to strike the kite up and down too much. There’s a good amount of torque through just pulling on the bar. Rather than getting a spike it’s a smooth delivery of power. 

 

2018 RRD Passion MK9 review

 

The Passion still prefers to be parked than steered quickly around the window, and as such is suited to beginner and intermediate riders. Although it’s very steady in its handling, the Passion has enough forward drive to make kitesurfing easy but never flies to the less stable zone at the edge of the window, even if you’re not riding your board as smoothly as you want. 

The constancy of the Passion will really help beginners and intermediates build confidence. Straight out of the bag the Passion is very easy to set-up and then the performance feel is always the same; you go up and come down very smoothly and in a consistent arc, which is what most intermediates are looking for. If you’re beyond that ability then there’s not much pure spike and punch to the jump, but there is more room to breathe in your general riding now. The hang-time and floaty descent are very smooth, so the Passion won’t overshoot your ability and feels less intimidating. You should note here that the Passion also has a very measured throw with great range without having to fully sheet out, which also really helps when it comes to influencing the wing-tips for a quick relaunch. Some beginner / intermediate kites have so much bar throw to create range that it can feel like you’re playing the trombone while you’re riding and you inevitably end up leaning forward to sheet out. The Passion allows for a nice upright and controlled riding position. 

You can put the nine up and kite all day in 15 knots with plenty of power and not feel fatigued. Steering cleanly around the window, the Passion controls really make sense and you’re not going to be worried about accidentally mis-handling the kite in difficult conditions. The slower turn initiation and increased force needed to get a quick reaction requires commitment, so the Passion isn’t the most natural kite to learn to kite loop for example, but again its steadiness means it’s predictable and capable of getting round smoothly. 

In waves you can just sheet in a bit to catch up to the wave or leave the kite to drift and ride down-the-line (check out Colin Heckroodt’s cover shot on KW #88 for evidence of that in cross off-shore conditions). The Passion is a good mid-range performer but not best suited to an aggressive wave rider who likes to steer the kite quickly. If you’re looking for a lighter freeride kite for chasing around the sky, this is going to feel too physical, but RRD have plenty other kites to suit that style of riding. 

RRD kites always score well on the durability scale. Everything from the hardy multi-use bag (which doubles as a wetsuit changing mat / car seat cover) to the feel of the beefy struts and the reinforced leading edge and super-tough canopy exude long-life characteristics. The industry-standard Boston mid-valve makes for quick and easy inflation too.

 

2018 RRD Global Bar V8 review

 

The Global V8 bar is similarly tough and well featured having been slightly updated in 2017. Generally clean, comfortable and easy to operate, we also always enjoy an above-the-bar cleat trim. We’re also really pleased to see a new line unspinner above the chicken-loop that works well. 

RRD have designed every size of every model in their entire kite line to work off the same 50 cm bar, which ensures consistency whatever you’re flying and means you only need one bar for all your RRD kites. As personal preference we do prefer a smaller and more compact bar when riding smaller kite sizes, but as usual with this sort of comment, it’s just down to what you’re used to. 

 

SUMMARY: 

This year’s Passion is the same stable workhorse, but now has more usable range, so as a first kite or for intermediates the park and ride stability is great. Consistent and stable in the gusts, the Passion is easy to control and will get you going in lower winds than you might expect. A more experienced freerider might wish for a little more ‘va va voom’ but as RRD have added some more personality to their other kites higher up the range, the’ve taken a bit of punch out of the Passion and it’s now a progressive tool for a wider range of beginner and intermediates of different weights and strengths. 

 

KW LIKES: 

Solid low-end, rugged build quality, ultra-accessible handling characteristics and improved levels of comfort when powered.

 

KW WOULD CHANGE: 

Some of the kite’s spark may have been filtered out this year but the added wind range makes up for that.

 

PASSION BALANCE POINTS: 

Build quality: 9

Full package: 8

Low end: 9

Top end: 7

Steering speed: 6

Turning circle: 4.5

Bar pressure: 6

Water relaunch: 9

Drift: 7.5

Boost: 7

Hang-time: 8

Unhooked: 5

Cross-over: 6

Ease-of-use: 8

 

PASSION SIZES:  LW 17, LW 15, LW 13.5, 12, 10.5, 9, 7 and 5m

 

RRD PASSION MK9 PRODUCT VIDEO

 

 

www.robertoriccidesigns.com

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