At a Glance
The Rebel has been the stable horse in the North line up for some time, one of their best selling kites and one that you’ll see above at least one rider on any beach you go to. It’s their freeride/wave do it all machine that utilises their 5th line safety system as opposed to the seemingly popular bridled offerings from other brands. The kite has been around for a few years now and the loyal team of followers will be pleased to know the 2012 model is a further development on a successful theme. As ever North have sought to increase the wind range, stability and handling of the kite. The main change is in the wingtip area, which has been squared off to prevent the tips from distorting when turning the kite. Each size has also been individually tuned to ensure the rider can get the most out of it, larger sizes tuned for underpowered conditions and the smaller sizes tuned to be stable in high winds.
The North Trust bar has been a favourite of many riders for some time and this year sees it return. While the features all look familiar the bar has been completely redesigned for 2012 and new bar ends coupled with a more ergonomic grip make it really comfortable in the hands. The depower is now dealt with using a smaller Vario Cleat above the bar, it is easy to operate and never feels too far away. There is the same stopper ball system that gives enough pressure to hold the bar in place but is easy to push away in a hurry and of course the Iron Heart IV makes a return to take car of things in terms of safety release.
In The Air
We’ve been riding the Rebel for a few weeks now and have always been impressed every time it has been out of the bag. As a freeride kite it has a huge range and the low end is particularly impressive. We’ve been out ripping on twin tips when others have been struggling on 12m kites, couple the kite with a surfboard and you don’t really need anything bigger unless you’re a heavy guy or determined to ride in winds under 10 knots. The relaunch is also very good this year, something that will appeal to the guys out there who like pushing the limits. Kite loops are very powerful and punchy, which surprised us, it seems North have tried to add a bit of bite to this years kite in that respect. We enjoyed it but be ready for some pull! Turning speed is good too and it is very direct, the lack of bridle ensuring that the kite is as responsive as possible. The depower stroke on the Rebel is also very short meaning you have ultimate control in gusty conditions right at your fingertips. In the waves the Rebel really excels as it steers very well when depowered and that short throw allows you to really trim the kite to perfection without messing up your stance. Jumps are smooth and easy; it isn’t a tear you off the water machine but when the wind gets up the Rebel provides plenty of floaty airtime. Bar pressure is adjustable at the kite end but we found it a little heaver than some kites on the standard factory setting. A few adjustments at the kite end and you should be able to find the perfect set up.
Great freeride kite with a good pedigree, easy relaunch and great control in gusty conditions. Very stable and really good in the waves where the direct steering even when depowered comes into its own. Fantastic build quality as usual with Technoforce fabric and some great attention to detail.
Once again it’s hard to find real fault here, modern kites are becoming so polished that we’re struggling to think of something to complain about… Maybe the colours won’t appeal to the more traditional rider, but the kite honestly looks much better in the air than it does on paper…
If you like riding waves then the Rebel is for you, if you like cruising around and boosting jumps then it will put a smile on your face too. A great do it all kite that has fantastic low end and a really responsive feel.
This review was in Issue 29 of IKSURFMAG.
By Rou ChaterRou has been kiting since the sports inception and has been working as an editor and tester for magazines since 2004. He started IKSURFMAG with his brother in 2006 and has tested hundreds of different kites and travelled all over the world to kitesurf. He's a walking encyclopedia of all things kite and is just as passionate about the sport today as he was when he first started!