The Obsession SLE kite has gained worldwide recognition for being an 'RRD Icon' in the past and they believe that the Obsession MKIII is the most advanced yet user-friendly kite in the world. Slightly revised in important areas, like improved turning speed on big sizes and constant pull on kite loops, has led to the creation of an even more stable kite with an incredible 10-15% more power and improved ease when riding unhooked. There's a slightly higher bar pressure compared to the last year's model and the 2011 version should be the new trendsetter in speed and progressively smooth power in all areas of the flying window. Perfect for kite loops and power moves; it's just great for every serious kiteboarder.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
The 2011 Obsession is a really striking looking kite in the sky. Well made and, typical of the Italian brand, has been given lots of attention to detail with a robust one pump, tip handles, reinforcements and shiny batten tips with a very tough exterior so the ends won't wear as the kite gets dragged up the beach. However this isn't a completely different kite to last year's Obsession, but it has been given a few very pleasing tweaks. The bar is the area that seems to have been given most attention. It's beautifully finished, clean and very functional. There's a suicide ring that sits in the chicken-loop, but when you pull the release on the chicken-loop, the ring comes out of the chicken-loop and leaves you on the normal safety system, which is very good. You can also clip onto the other loop, which lets the bar run all the way up to the depower strap, providing just about 100% depower at the end of the throw. The depower system is operated by a simple cleat, which is smooth and easy-to-use. The bar itself is comfy, thin, ribbed for grip has a nicely sized and solid chicken-loop which also self-centres in the bar, which is
great for unhooking. Although the kite does feel well made, the first thing you notice when it's up in the sky is how light it feels. Incredibly well
poised and ready for input, the Obsession feels like you're about to let a whippet off its lead when you send it. The low end was brilliant on the 2010 model and it still is on the 2011 version. In light winds you're up and going with just a couple of strokes with the kite. But it doesn't just get you going and then just truck along; although it's a muscley looking lad, it's very nimble too, turning and flying very quickly. Although the kite feels light in the sky, the feedback through the bar is very positive and the kite responds quickly to your instructions. At first we thought the turns were a bit too pivotal and with very little power for big kite loops, but then Bully started experimenting. Usually we can't get him off kites with a good solid pull that drive all the way round the turns when he loops
them. He loves the buzz. So why did he like the Obsession so much, given what we've just said about its whippy turns? When we were out in good, strong nine metre weather, once he'd realised just how fast it was he started trying a few more loops, pulling much more steadily on the bar and was eventually able to slow the steering speed down to such a point that it was really driving down and pretty much underneath him, but also maintaining pull and drive throughout so it could easily make it back up to the top of the window and catch him again. The difference between this and a lot of pure freestyle kites, like C kites in the loop, is that they are pre-programmed with their turning speed set to buzz their way round on one line. On the Obsession you have the option of really fast steering when you want it, but with some subtle control you get a really rewarding turn with power that drives forward quickly and easily, which is very nice. Whether you're riding a wave and redirecting the kite for that, or if you're going out powered to boost high and then throw some kite loops, it'll do all that as well.
We're already on the summary and haven't even touched on the kite's unhooked ability! But as such an all-round highperformance weapon, I think you can guess that it's more than capable of anything you want to throw at it. If you like you're kites quick, agile and very controllable but have aspirations for a very varied style, then the Obsession can't really be beaten. We're going back a few years here, but this is our Daley Thompson of kiting. Fit as a butcher's dog, it can turn its hand to anything and still come away with the gold.
Exciting handling that just gets better the better you get at riding.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
SIZES: 15, 13.5, 12, 10.5, 9, 7, 6 and 5m