RRD was the first brand to build a specific kite for waves in 2002 with the Type Wave. After continuing with the idea and following the introduction of bow and C-shaped kites with new, innovative bridle designs, they have come up with the Religion kite. Combining a super short leading edge to maximize turning speed with a bullet proof Dacron body construction specifically positioned on the hi-tension areas of the kite to prevent breakage in the surf, the religion will be the right answer for those needing a new path to follow!
TEST TEAM NOTES:
The construction of this kite is incredible. The surrounding of every single panel is Dacron, so if you manage to rip the kite in some far off remote barrelling location, you're sessions won't be cut short. The rip won't spread and you could even just duct tape it together and carry on. The leading edge isn't what you'd call chunky, but is a little thicker than RRD's Obsession kite, but like the Obsession, has thin struts. Low aspect and chunky, the Religion has a lot of C shape to it but a good flat section in the middle of the arc, making it incredibly stable. Combined with the super-fat tips, the Religion is made for turning quickly and smoothly, with minimal bar input. Obviously you'd expect a top-of-the-line kite like this to have one pump, and it does. A four line set-up with a mini 5th line safety, there's nothing unusual about the bar. The chicken-loop is fair sized, the push-away release is nice and simple, the depower cleat above the bar is very smooth – everything is accounted for. There's a good loop to leash onto inside the chicken-loop if you want to ride suicide for unhooking, but does engage the 5th line for safety if you pull the chicken-loop release, which is a great feature.
What we really need to start talking about is the kite in the air. The fact that it is more low aspect than we've been used to with the majority of kites in recent years means that it sits nicely back in the window. It still flies forward well when you want it to though, getting you upwind easily, but it's the fact that you can control where the kite sits so much better than before, making it so forgiving when riding a surfboard and trying to hit certain sections of a wave. For instance you can go into your bottom turn, send the kite hard back on itself without getting yanked and then it'll just sit until you get to the top and you can re-direct it in a second. It'll only pull you when you want it to, by sheeting in a little on the bar. Pull really hard on one end of the bar and the kite will spin without generating power, or you can turn it much more progressively for more power through the turn. It really is very adaptable. The smoothness through the turn, powering and depowering and the fact you can place this kite wherever you want in the window with precision really deserves a lot of emphasis here. The bar pressure is light, without being vague and the kite is rapid, without being stitch-you-up quick. A beginner would have it looping before they knew what was happening, but experienced riders will like its quick reactions with no delay. There's lots of throw on the bar and you get all the depower you could want within an easy arm's reach while still having lots of control over the kite sheeted out. For a wave kite, relaunch was always going to be key, and this isn't the Religion's weak point. Even when you're getting nailed by waves, it'll just sit above your head, stable. But if you do manage to put it in the drink, even from dead downwind, just pulling on one line will see it reverse launch off the water, spin itself around and get back up. Even between waves if you're quick.
This is a lovely, smooth hybrid type kite with a twist. Although a bit down on power on some hybrids of equal size, it's not by much but the main thing is that it's just so stable and you can control exactly where you put it and when you get some pull. That is the big thing here, and wave riders will really appreciate that. Unhooked it's lovely too, just following you down-the-line. You need to pull the depower in and trim it first, but then it's as responsive and well behaved as it is in the loop. There's nothing to say you couldn't ride the Religion on a twin-tip for the odd session either, given it's low aspect pull and unhooked pop that's available.
KW LIKED: Ease-of-use and sublime handling in waves, from turning, to depower precision to relaunch.
KW WOULD CHANGE: You won't get a huge boost from this, but you don't want that big loading up of power in a wave kite; that's what you want to avoid.
SIZES: 11.5, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5m
This test is in issue #45