The Religion is the dedicated wave kite from RRD, used by the pro team and lots of adoring fans around the world it has proved to be a formidable weapon over the years. For the MK8 version the team totally redesigned the kite and it is almost unrecognisable from the previous MK7 incarnation. The kite features a new shape, with wider wing tips and less of a sweep than the previous version. The bridles have been shortened and the aspect ratio has been increased too, the goal was to make the kite faster with even better drifting ability.
The construction is second to none and this year the unique “RRD” pattern features integrated Dacron patches into the design. This Dacron creates an exceedingly tough frame, which increases the durability of the kite. The canopy consists of 40% Dacron mixed with 60% Double Ripstop D2 Technoforce material making it one of the strongest out there. If you drop this kite in the waves you can be confident it will come up smelling of roses.
The wind range of the kite and also the turning speed and characteristics were areas the design team wanted to improve this year. Improved low and high end with a great range overall was the goal and also to increase the turning speed, and improve power delivery while keeping the light bar pressure.
It’s still a three-strut kite, but that is about where the similarities end with the previous version. We’ve always been fans of the Religion, but with these new design characteristics and a radically different shape we were keen to see how it would perform!
Your connection to the kite is arguably the most important aspect of kiteboarding; you need a great bar to get the most out of a kite. RRD launched their updated Global Bar V8 for this year, and it is a thing of beauty. There are no fancy click depower systems, just a simple and achingly good-looking bar designed to provide total functionality.
At the heart of the bar is a CNC milled and anodised aluminium piece with an oversized central recess for the depower rope to slide through. The depower PVC houses a dual chamber that contains the safety, and the depower line, this makes the set up incredibly durable as the ropes cannot wear out. Moulded and integrated EVA bar ends add grip and look stunning, not too bulky but also offering enough space to wind up your lines at the end of a session.
Talking of lines, the Rigid Thread Lines from RRD might just about be the best thing since the BOW kite, or sliced bread at least. RRD are unique in using these lines, something they created with a manufacturer of fishing lines over eight years ago. They have been refining them ever since. If you imagine a traditional line it is woven, the weave allows for stretching and shrinkage, even when it is pre-stretched.
RRD’s Rigid Thread Lines feature uni-directional fibres that run all the way to the kite; these fibres are bunched together for added strength and then sleeved in a protective outer layer. The result is an incredibly durable, strong kite line that cannot stretch or shrink. Lines are important as they transfer all the energy from the bar to the kite. Imagine putting an accelerator cable into a sports car that was made out of elastic, it would be awful; put a rigid connection in there and you have instant response.
There is also a new chicken loop with a very well-thought-out safety release system. A new head on top of the chicken loop allows you to rotate the lines after tricks, meaning you will never have tangles. A simple Clam Cleat and rope set up allows you to depower the kite with ease and there is also a “stopper ball” system for old-school tricks.
All the kites this year fly on the same bar, one size fits all if you like, and all of last year’s kites are compatible too.
We tested the Religion in a variety of conditions and in a wide range of waves. From over-powered to underpowered and everything in between we really gave it a good going over. Every time we came off the water we were smiling, which says a lot. In our opinion RRD have really hit the nail on the head with the MK8, it’s everything you would expect from a wave kite and more.
When we rode it in Mauritius it delivered, whether at Manawa, Little Reef or One Eye. From cross-on to cross-off (we had some funky conditions during the week) it behaved impeccably. First up, the kite is very easy to fly, it’s got plug and play characteristics to it with no nasty surprises. The kite doesn’t back stall at critical moments or at the bottom of the wave and it does what you expect it to, which allows you to concentrate on your riding and not the kite.
The low end is really impressive too, we had a 7m out when others were on 10.5m kites and were cruising back and forth and pulling into waves with no issues. Top end is equally impressive, although you will need to trim the bar accordingly, the depower throw on the Global Bar is shorter than some so you might find it hard to dump power on a fast powerful wave unless the bar is trimmed correctly. Once you have that dialled, the top end is impressive.
Gust handling is good, the bar throw is quite short so you get a lot of control at your finger tips. Drift is amazing, we got totally slack lines at times in light winds and the kite hangs in the air. This surprised us a little as the kite uses a lot of Dacron, however it is well placed and keeps the kite balanced rather than being front or trailing edge heavy which is a killer for drift abilities.
The turning speed is the other area where the Religion excels, bar response is immediate, helped by the ingenious bungee on the rear line which takes up slack when the kite is depowered giving you a faster reacting kite. If you like your wave kites to be fast and dynamic you won’t be disappointed here. Relaunch, if you do crash it, is quick and easy, a simple tug on a rear line has the kite back into the sky in no time.
It feels as if I am throwing superlatives around about this kite, for me as an avid wave fanatic a wave kite is an important tool. There is nothing worse than dropping into the bomb of the day only to find the kite holds you back. We’ve had “test sessions” spoiled in the past by sluggish wave kites that have taken some time to get dialled into. The Religion MK8 is none of those things, it genuinely impressed us, and coupled with the Global Bar it is a formidable package.
If you’ve never considered the Religion before, now is the time to get a demo and see what all the fuss is about. It’s a superb kite that has got even better.
Well built, fast and dynamic with impeccable handling, we really enjoyed flying this kite; it’s intuitive and easy to fly and packed with performance. Upwind and relaunch is excellent, as you would expect.
This is a small niggle (and there is a hack), but we’d love to see a wave version of the Global Bar, having one bar for all riders and kites is great, but it does mean compromise and the wave riders will feel it most. The depower throw is quite short, meaning bar trim is pretty critical. You can increase the depower throw by around 5cm by removing the stopper ball unit, and this is how Abel Lago rides his. It makes a big difference and is a worthy hack if you are into waves and won’t use the bar for freeride tricks.
Genuinely impressed would be two words we would use to describe this kite and we don’t say that often, especially where waves are concerned. It’s fast, furious and great fun to fly. Most of all though, it won’t hold you back and will tow you into anything you have the balls for!
A superb kite that has got even better.
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This review was in Issue 65 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit RRD
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Rou 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!