OCEAN RODEO PRODIGY 8M KITE REVIEW 2020

THIS OCEAN RODEO PRODIGY TEST FIRST APPEARED IN KITEWORLD #105 ON OUR NEW FREE DIGITAL PLATFORM IN JULY 2020. 

Kiteworld Magazine Banner


OCEAN RODEO PRODIGY 8M

“An entry level kite with long lasting performance, especially if you move into waves.”

Tested by: Chris Bull and Jim Gaunt. 

PHOTOS: Ocean Rodeo


TEST TEAM NOTES

We’ve tested several versions of the Ocean Rodeo Prodigy now, though this eight metre is the smallest, which we were really keen to ride because it would be a good size for use in waves. Here is a kite that is absolutely applicable for beginners and yet often gets used on the GKA Kite World Tour by some of the Ocean Rodeo wave team – an interesting range of uses therefore!

What the Prodigy has always offered is a big sheeting range at the bar. Sheet it all the way out and you can shut the power off. Sheet it all the way in and there’s a lot of juice available for sheet-and-go performance. Throughout that range there’s faster and slower turning speeds available, depending on how aggressively you pull on the bar. The very swept back wing tips provide super easy relaunch and also contribute to the masses of depower and the pivotal steering.

So in theory this kite is capable of pleasing many.

ALL TERRAIN PERFORMANCE

Essentially, the Ocean Rodeo Prodigy is a good beginner kite because it has huge range, shut-off depower, turns softly and pivotally and relaunches brilliantly. Where it differs from the RRD Passion this issue is that it generally takes a bit more involvement from the rider throughout a session when it comes to managing the power through sheeting. The Prodigy can go from being very open and powerful to very closed off to the wind when sheeted right out. The RRD Passion (also on test this issue) tends to set itself in the window and then that’s it. The sheeting range of the Passion tends to look after itself.

While the Ocean Rodeo Prodigy takes a bit more involvement to fly because of that large sheeting range, it also has a wider scope for different riding styles. With more fierce steering input it’s more lively and responsive, meaning it can be sent back through the window more sharply for a jump. The sweet spot is still quite big overhead and there’s plenty of hang-time and lift through sheeting.

BOOSTING

There’s plenty of boosting fun. While the Prodigy doesn’t offer that extra 15% elasticity in terms of height that the more pure performance freeride kites have when they reach the apex of jumps. The Prodigy’s performance access is easy however, which means you can dial in consistency quite quickly. Once you get to a certain level, you’ll also be encouraged to start throwing loops, especially out of transitions, because the steering is quick and you can widen the pivotal nature of the turn a bit by pulling more gently when you steer the kite. You won’t get a mega loop with the kite dipping below the horizon, but few riders are truly ever ready for that.

WAVES AND STRAPLESS

This is indeed where the Prodigy excels beyond beginner / early intermediate status. Really good low end power for its size combines with quick but not overly rapid steering, to give you a kite that feels dependable in your hands, more or less whatever the conditions.

The Prodigy is perhaps not as intuitive as pure wave kites, nor as light or ultra responsive, but it’s quick enough and has the big advantage that you can shut the power off in an instant. That’s a big deal for beginners, but also for improving strapless wave riders because it allows you to steam around a turn, instantly turning the power off to focus totally on carving your rail. For twin-tip hacks into a wave face this is good, too.

Having that ability to shut the power off, straighten your sheeting arm above your head and spin during a rotation allows you to help speed your rotation up with control, whether on a twin-tip or surfboard. While it helps you remain in control around your carves and tricks, perhaps it takes a bit more of a knack to find your momentum again to sheet in when coming out of your move.

That’s really where the more advanced kites have a bit more intuition. You can just keep your hand in one place on the bar and control everything from there, but equally, their speed and more constant flow can make the early stages a bit more difficult. On the Prodigy you can speed the turns up when you want, but you need to yank a bit more. Basically you can build confidence at your own pace and then start to steer harder when you’re ready.

This sort of total shut off mixed with lots of sheeting power at the bar that the Prodigy delivers is a style of wave riding is really accessible and, once you’re dialled into it, difficult conditions can feel manageable.

WIND RANGE

The Prodigy has a great low end and is agile enough to be moved around effectively for more power; it doesn’t just rely on the sheeting range. So for wave riding on a smaller kite there are good advantages; equally if you’re learning to foil too, that sheet in / shut-off combination will work well. The Prodigy does start to become quite a handful at its top end. You can of course sheet out to control the power, so you feel safe, but it’s not ideal to be riding hunched over so far all session.

That deeper aspect canopy tends to sit the kite back, which is why the Prodigy generally feels so easy and stable most of the time, but has its limits when you’re pushing into the kite’s top end and wanting to maintain good posture / balance over your board in waves. Good riders on a twin-tip will hold on for longer because their riding position and ability to hold power is more effective. When sending the kite for a jump, they will be able to maximise that sheeting range for boost.

BUILD AND BAR

You may have read about Ocean Rodeo’s intriguing new kite material, Aluula, which is supposedly the lightest, strongest and stiffest kite frame material ever made. Well, the Prodigy isn’t made of that; it is instead part of their ‘Dacron’ range, so nothing revolutionary here, but it’s still a decent construction, well made, delivering all you need.

There are two bars to choose from: the ‘Shift’ is a back-line trimming design that’s been upgraded with a new stainless steel centre for better debris flush out, as well as a brand new chicken-loop release with the new Gen 8 Punch out system.

We tested the Pilot bar. Although the more basic sibling, it’s well featured with a decent swivel above the chicken-loop to untwist your lines and has a smooth rope trimming cleat. There’s a plastic covering over the central power lines which we always enjoy for finger comfort, too. The safety line runs cleanly through to one line on the kite. Essentially the Pilot bar is clean, comfortable strong and reliable.

 

SUMMARY

As a beginner kite that is also a jack of all trades, the Prodigy is impressive. There are better kites in each of the wave / freeride / jumping categories individually, but the easy pathway entry into the sport and then progression into most hooked-in styles of riding is the Prodigy’s big appeal. There’s good low end power, a generous sheeting range and quick turns that don’t dish out a big jolt of power, so for wave riding, jumping and some basic looping it has all the ingredients.

KW LIKED

An entry level kite with long lasting performance, especially if you move into waves.

KW WOULD CHANGE

The large sheeting range at the bar can sometimes feel like it’s greater than it should be for the kite, but as the Prodigy is very capable of crossing over between different disciplines, we can forgive that. Some pure freeride twin-tip kites can feel more tightly tuned, but perhaps they won’t cross disciplines as well as this.

OCEAN RODEO PRODIGY BALANCE POINTS
(TEST SCORE BREAKDOWNS HERE)

Build quality: 8
Full package: 8
Low end: 9
Top end: 7
Steering speed: 6
Turning circle: 3
Bar pressure: 5.5
Water relaunch: 9
Drift: DT
Boost: 7
Hang-time: 7
Unhooked: 2
Crossover: 8
Ease of use: 8

SIZES: 12, 9.5, 8, 7, 6 & 5m

 

OCEAN RODEO PRODIGY WEBSITE


Why not treat yourself to our special print issues?

Get the Winter Issue now and the Summer issue in May:

Print: £12
Digital: £5
Print and digital: £15

SUBSCRIBE AT :  SHOP.KITEWORLDMAG.COM

Subscribe to Kiteworld


 

 

Back to search

Related Articles