The KW test team racks up the light wind sessions on the 12 m Emotion V4
THIS TEST FIRST APPEARED IN ISSUE #95 IN SEPTEMBER, 2018
TEST TEAM NOTES:
The Emotion is a light weight single strut freeride kite designed with various light wind riding styles in mind. The little backpack style bag may be stripped back and small for compact packing, but the kite is surprisingly well made in terms of the feel of the material, construction, seams and fixtures. Some single strut kites of the past have been so lightly constructed for ultimate light wind performance that they can feel a bit like crisp packets when you pull them out of the bag. The Emotion is a nice, solid bit of kit. You’ll also notice rather lengthy bridles. They’re no problem, but they’re there.
We’ve enjoyed lots of sessions on the Emotion this summer as we had plenty of 11 to 13 /14 knots wind days. First thing of note is that even in light wind conditions the Emotion is remarkably stable overhead. You can put it at 12 and it will sit at 12 without wandering off to one side of the window or the other. It’s one of the most zenith-happy single strut kites we’ve tested, which makes life easy in many ways. The simple handling continues when you start riding the Emotion; you don’t have to do much with it as it produces very soft and fluid power delivery and acceleration. There’s nothing bitey in the power transmission, everything’s smooth and calm at the bar and the Emotion doesn’t require a lot from you as a rider for a fun session.
As a beginner / school / light wind play thing for someone that wants to go out in 12 knots and ride we found that, (paired with a larger twin-tip like the BS45) we were getting equal performance as other riders out on 17s. For twin-tip riding the Emotion is a very easy to use, stable power source, but it’s also excellent for foiling thanks to its stability and the way it tracks alongside you without having to move it too much.
This 12 metre is as big as you’ll ever need for freeride foiling, plus it re-launches very well. The canopy and build are strong, so you don’t need to worry about dropping the kite, which you’ll do both as a novice kiteboarder or foiler.
You can quickly step down a size or two from this 12 when foiling as the Emotion does generate a lot of power for its size. People were often asking what size it was given how easily we were getting going – even on a twin-tip. That said the upper range doesn’t come alive like a three-strut hybrid, so you can’t really compare like-for-like between the same sizes in these categories, and you shouldn’t expect to get big, rewarding and lofty jumps as the wind picks up, unless you’ve got really good technique. The Emotion creates great forward pull for its size and is super stable – which is why it’s such an ideal kite for improvers looking for light wind performance, but it doesn’t have much lift overhead for more than basic airs and transitions. (You can access more lift performance if you’re used to driving your board hard into wind on take-off, but for many, too much lift in a bigger kite is a bit unnerving).
Although the performance doesn’t ramp up in stronger winds (over 17 knots for example), what does stand out about the Emotion is that there’s no shake in the canopy when there’s a lot of wind going through it (20 knots and above), which is impressive. The problem with single strut kites is that all the unsupported canopy material can start to flap and shudder when overpowered. The Emotion remains stable and ride-able. You could compare it to revving a turbo diesel engine; there’s lots of drive in the mid range but as soon it revs too highly it tops out and doesn’t provide any further acceleration. That reliability of that performance parameter is confidence building.
For having fun trying all sorts of light wind unhooked tricks the Emotion is great – though it does need trimming quite a lot before unhooking to get the balance right and not have it drop back too far in the window. Essentially you’ll enjoy the very constant feel that’s calming and reassuring.
RRD also say that it’s good for getting into waves. The stability would be great, but there are single strut kites that initiate their turns a bit quicker and then turn more in on themselves once turning, which we personally prefer for waves. But for sure you can park the Emotion in the sky and ride around it and we look forward to trying the smaller sizes in Cape Town in January. Just like the general feel of the Emotion, the turns are very steady with constant drive and no surprising spikes in delivery. So once you’re carving on a foil, as long as you’re not too powered, the Emotion is nice to follow around a downloop turn.
The Global V8.2 bar is well featured and comes as one size for all RRD kites which allows them to find easy consistency in handling for all sizes. Although we sometimes comment that it feels a bit wide when you’re flying a small kite, it’s perfect for this 12 and has all the bits you’re looking for, including under-the-bar line untwister, a good sized chicken-loop, narrow diameter grip, easy to use stopper and smooth trimming cleat. The tab on the end of the trimming line is a bit long and touches the top of the bar when sheeted, but it’s easy to reach and can be looped around your centre line so it doesn’t flap.
The Emotion fills a good hole in the market for riders looking to get out and do more than just going back and forth in lightwinds, but instead has some fun performance on a twin-tip or on a foil for riders of all levels. Very steady steering input means that anyone can use it and benefit from the easy performance. A session saver for sure!
Constant feel, drive and confidence building performance in light winds and has been a no-brainer decision to take out for us, for both twin-tip and foiling sessions.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
We applaud the small bag and less use of materials, but there’s nowhere to put your bar or to strap your pump on if you’re walking to the beach with a lot of gear. If you’re already an advanced foiler looking for a very nimble, forward flying LEI, the Emotion isn’t for you.
EMOTION BALANCE POINTS
Build quality: 8.5
Full package: 7.5
Low end: 9
Top end: 6.5
Steering speed: 5
Turning circle: 5
Bar pressure: 6
Water relaunch: 8.5
Unhooked: 6 (Get the trimming right first)
SIZES: 17, 14.5, 12, 10.5, 9, 7, 5 and 3m
RRD Emotion MK4 product video