At A Glance
The North Rebel is one of the world’s bestselling kites its popularity is down to the kite’s versatility. This kite is an all in one machine aimed at beginner right through to expert. Available in sizes 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14 you are spoilt for choice, although with its large wind range you shouldn’t need the whole lot. The kite has gone back to a slightly deeper profile allowing it to fly further forward in the window giving great upwind riding ability and allowing drift when in the waves. The Rebel remains a loaded 5th line hybrid design, kept this way to ensure its reputation as one of the most stable kites on the market. Updated from last year is a more pronounced and deeper wave shape patch on the back of the kite, this helps strengthen the trailing edge making it more resistant to wear and tear when the kite if left flagging in the wind on the beach. The solid construction and great graphics go to show that you are getting great quality and value for money when it comes to the Rebel. The struts on the kite have new added segments allowing them to mimic the profile of the kite, reducing any stress points and giving a more streamline shape improving performance. North have also implemented a new speedy inflation system this year, which doesn’t require a specific valve, just the end of the pump tube to inflate the kite. It means less time and effort on the beach, giving you more time and energy on the water!
The North 5th Element Trust Bar has been at the pinnacle of kite bar design for some time; there have been a few tweaks from last year resulting in the new 2014 version. The whole set up is of very high standard, clean and uncluttered and great quality Teufelberger lines. It is very comfortable to hold due to the ergonomic bar grip and the chicken loop slots into the bar well when unhooked preventing the lines from twisting. Safety is one of the key aspects this bar boasts about and it is for good reason, the Iron Heart quick release is probably one of the best on the market. This year you can buy the bar with different line length options, giving you the choice to opt for shorter lines and more handling/less power or longer lines less handling/more power. The bar ends themselves are integrated into the floats like last year giving a clean finish and you can also make the bar shorter or wider by unclipping and twisting the bar ends around. This can even be done with the kite in the air, although for safety we don’t recommend it. The 5th line safety system has to be one of the most tried and tested systems on the market and works exceedingly well at dumping all power from the kite very quickly.
In The Air
The first thing you notice is how stable the kite feels and how light the bar pressure is. While the bar pressure is light there is still enough feedback to let you know where the kite is at all times, and with the impressive stability, the kite is generally exactly where you left it and very well behaved! The remarkable thing about the Rebel is its ability to maintain great steering ability when depowered. Even at the very top of its wind range the turning is dynamic and responsive with minimal lag. A short depower stroke keeps you in complete control if you are in overpowered and gusty conditions, this is very confidence inspiring allowing you to go out on the more challenging days. The Rebel has a huge wind range, at the low end it develops plenty of power and flies around the window with a purpose, at the top, as we have already mentioned the steering characteristics are maintained and the kite is incredibly stable. In the air the kite feels good and you can get some huge jumps on the Rebel, it really delivers an impressive pull off the water and excellent hangtime too. Being an all- round kite the performance in the waves is something to be noted, the Rebel is very good at drifting and hanging in the air, and the responsive turning speed make it excellent for cranking hard and fast carves on the wave face. For anyone learning to ride upwind or stay upwind in lighter winds then they will enjoy the upwind performance and smooth power delivery of the Rebel. For the more advance riders there is plenty of fun to be had, especially when jumping and the control in strong winds will also be appreciated.
The Rebel would suit beginners and intermediates due to its easy handling and forgiving nature, it is also perfect for anyone wanting an all in one freeride kite and great for surfing. It has a huge wind range and more importantly is very stable and predictable at the extremes of that range. Fast and responsive it is sure to excite anyone who gets underneath it.
The Rebel excellent all-rounder, if you want to focus on one style of riding, look at the Vegas or Dice for Freestyle or perhaps the Neo or Dice for the waves. If you want a kite that can do it all competently then the Rebel is it.
The Rebel, is a great all-round freeride kite that can happily double up as a kite for surfing. It has a great wind range and is extremely safe, reliable and a lot of fun. The build quality and bar set up is second to none and as a complete package it is hard to beat.
This review was in Issue 42 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit North Kiteboarding
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!