Super, sharp and direct handling and awesome low- to mid-range surf performance
THIS TEST FIRST APPEARED IN KITEWORLD #104 IN MARCH 2020
CLICK HERE TO GET THIS NEW ISSUE AND OUR 2020 TRAVEL GUIDE FOR FREE!
TESTED BY: CHRIS BULL AND JIM GAUNT. FIND THEIR DETAILS AND TEST SCORE BREAKDOWNS HERE.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
WORDS: Jim Gaunt
Really solid but sleek build gives the impression of strength. When you first handle them, RRD kites always feel stiffer in their build, undoubtedly through robust but sleek material use, adding to the solid feel that they always have in the sky.
Translating down to the rider, the 10th edition of the Religion feels reassuringly stiff on the end of the lines when they fly, helped by the stiffer, thicker lines that RRD use. Surely these are the strongest lines and least prone to stretching in the industry. That unique solidity provides high levels of feedback, making the Religion one of the most direct feeling wave kites on the market.
GLOBAL BAR SET-UP
The V9 Global bar is beautiful. RRD’s ethos is always to only have the essentials on their bars and this year it’s as simple as it needs to be but still features everything you need. We used the longer 52cm bar on all the RRD kites we tested this year, which sounds quite long compared to some brands, but RRD design all their kites primarily to work on this one bar (there’s a 48cm available too), but because the bar is so clean and tuned perfectly for the kite, it doesn’t actually feel overly big, even on this six metre.
In fact it feels tight, tidy and beautiful in your hands. Our only quibble with RRD is that the trimming rope already has a very big tab/handle, so even when riding the kite at full power, there’s quite a bit of material coming out the end of the cleat. As the Religion is once again really powerful, it wasn’t long in Cape Town until we were pulling on some trim and then there is considerable dangle of the trimming line. The trimming handle is made with a Velcro loop so you can secure it around the centre line to stop it swinging about, but in doing so you lose the ability to pull a lot of depower on / off quickly in one pull.
However, we can cope with this because the rest of the bar is a joy. A nice thin diameter grip tends to always feel more comfortable to us when kiting for hours and doing a lot of steering work, plus the plastic covered centre line makes sheeting in and out silky smooth and no problem to have your hands butted right up to the centre-line. The chicken-loop is wide in shape, so easy to unhook and hook back in if that’s your game and the push-away release is as easy to pop and reset as any other manual pin re-set designs. Thick, soft, floaty bar ends are very easy to grab when you need to pull a back line in certain light wind looping or quick kite relaunch situations in waves.
FAST MOVEMENT FOR UNDERPOWERED SHREDDING
As soon as the Religion went up we knew we were going to have a good session. I love going out in Cape Town as soon as the wind comes – before it gets busy, and before it gets too windy. Often when the wind switches southeast and turns on, there’s a period where the Board and Kite Africa webcam reading shows the wind hovering around 12 – 15 knots. The dense Cape Doctor wind feels a lot more than that, but that’s when I like an underpowered session on a good six metre that’s fast enough to move around and work to get power, but then leaves you with a very light feeling kite when on a wave.
The Religion is one of the best we’ve tested this year for that, especially as it remains direct in its steering. Driving and searching its way forward and around the window, there’s a really assuring and fairly sharp spike of power that can be found in the middle of the window and through sheeting when you need a bit more juice. You can never backstall this kite. In really light wind I was having to work the kite a lot and sheeting in to hold my balance in certain strapless situations and the kite just sat there, never faultered.
The forward drive is constant and there’s always a level of power on tap when the kite’s moving. At its bottom to mid-range, the Religion is sublime. Not the softest and most rapid loop on test for ultimate computer-game playability, but pretty close. As I’ve often found in the Religion over the years, there’s a pay-off for the extreme manoeuvrability and low end power, and that’s that I tend to feel quite powered up quicker on this than I might on other six metre kites, but I’m light; around 70 kilos. Bigger riders and those who like power in straps will appreciate the comprehensive power control and manoeuvrability of the Religion in a bigger wind range.
There’s bags of depower though, so it’s not like I was overpowered especially early, and when you crank the kite through a turn as you approach your bottom or top turns, you can sheet out and dump a lot of power with the kite already at the front of the window, so in most situations it’s a dream. It’s just that once more powered up, that initial start of the turn when you send it creates a spike in power and can impede your flow a bit… but that’s strapless.
There’s are two front bridle settings on the kite, one for ‘wave’ and another which opens up the canopy for more lift, the ‘freestyle-wave’ bridle setting option. RRD also use a wide inflation valve that doesn’t require any additional nozzle on your pump – it just screws directly onto the hose. We love that as we have to carry a bunch of nozzles in the back of the car when we’re testing and for this kite we could borrow anyone’s pump in the car park, no problem. Big plus for us!
If you’re riding a lot of the time in good wave conditions (of any direction, onshore, cross, cross-off – doesn’t matter with the Religion), this kite is a beauty. Once the wind gets closer to 30 knots, lighter riders will need to be moving down to the five metre to maintain the silky performance that the Religion can deliver in is low and mid range. In 18 – 25 knots, the six metre is a gem strapless. If you’re bigger or strapped you could hold it in far more. Although anyone could ride the Religion and its power control and strong build make it an excellent freeride kite too, good wave riders are going to enjoy plugging in to the kite’s voltage and letting its current flow with them.
KW LIKED: Super, sharp and direct handling and awesome low- to mid-range surf performance.
KW WOULD CHANGE: Lighter riders might need to downsize quicker than on some other kites… but come on, who doesn’t love riding a smaller kite in waves!
RELIGION BALANCE POINTS:
Build quality: 9
Full package: 8 (bag is shiny but no pockets)
Low end: 8.5
Top end: 7
Steering speed: 8
Turning circle: 3
Bar pressure: 6
Water relaunch: 8.5
Boost: 5 (Only based on the ‘wave’ setting)
Crossover: 7 (Wave / freeride / foiling)
Ease of use: 8
SIZES: 12, 10.5, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5 and 4m
Find out more: www.robertoriccidesigns.com
CLICK HERE TO GET THIS NEW ISSUE AND OUR 2020 TRAVEL GUIDE FOR FREE!