I was stoked to become a team rider for Boardsports and North Kiteboarding in November of this year. There are quite a few solid kite companies out there, but there are probably only a few I would have entered into a relationship with. When the opportunity with North came up and it was presented to me, it was an easy decision. The biggest reason for that is because it will be EASY to stand behind them, they do the heavy lifting on their own. And it is a business relationship and a partnership, and I will work to do a good job to represent these guys. I don't think there is anything wrong with that.
I know a lot of you might be thinking "Here we go, here comes Stinky the pimp", and that's OK. Fact of the matter is, I am going to be saying good things about both brands going forward. First things first, I am a sincere guy, ask anyone who knows me well. I work to be truthful and honest in everything I do although I'm certainly a work in progress. I'm an open book, good or bad, like it or not. This post is in the industry section, so if you don't want to read it, it's obviously your call. I just want to put this out there first to be transparent. No hidden agenda.
When I first started riding and was doing all kinds of research into kites, my first choice was the North Rebel. When I approached the shop to buy a 7, 9, and 14 though, they didn't have all the sizes and pointed me toward another good deal on a quiver of Naish Cults which I bought and used and loved. The Cults ARE great wave kites.
I had a couple of chances to take some longer sessions on the North Rebel over the past couple of seasons though, and they were both so memorable and among the best sessions of my life. One day in Allenwood Kads loaned me his 9, and one day in OBX Zoli loaned me his 12, I rode the Rebels for hours on each of those days. These two sessions were amazing and really stick in my mind, and the more I rode, the more I loved the Rebel. The bar pressure was more than I was used to but I was really impressed with the positional feedback of the kite in the sky and connected feel.
On to the 2012 North gear. Everything about the manufacturing process and the gear screams quality, carefully planned and executed product engineering and is absolutely bomber. The Technoforce D2 fabric is created from coated threads and is designed for increased durability (Feel THAT!) Aramid patches on all wear points, German car like Smart Valves, and Self Rescue Handles on the inside of the leading edge by the wingtips. The bag is a good size and I no longer have to work to fit a kite into the bag when packing up. Sexy!
I can only talk about surfboard sessions for now; I'll mention TT feedback later. Over powered on the 9, I couldn't BELIEVE how well the kite handled and the steering when depowered. Way better than what I am used to. The 2012 Rebel has adaptive tips and tunable bar pressure which consists of two back line settings for greater or lesser bar pressure. Lower bar pressure = faster turning, higher bar pressure = slower turning. Great to have options...I'll take lower pressure and faster turning, thanks very much, the low bar pressure setting still gives me more feedback than I'm used to. Very fast, constant or reduced pull during turns depending on sheeting and drifts like a charm when riding the wave going downwind. Super fast relaunch in the waves.
I had a short session underpowered on the 9 on another day and the bottom end was also better than I was used to. I held ground when I would have lost ground on the Cult. Good impressions on both top and bottom end so far. I rode the 13m in the sweet spot of the range for that kite, really grunty and nimble for a bigger kite, fun to fly and quick to turn.
The adjustable length North Trust bar is also really well engineered and designed: A high quality metal centre hole and shape that isn't going to burn the trim line up. A roto head within easy reach that actually WORKS, allowing you to unspin lines easily. The Iron Heart IV safety system, which is the easiest to reassemble after a release that I've ever seen. The above the bar Vario Cleat is a little counter intuitive for me because I'm used to below the bar depower, but it's well designed and actually height adjustable which is good for a short arm dude like me.
The graphics on the 2012 North kites have GREATLY improved over 2011. I'm really glad to see the company put more thought into canopy graphic design.
Anyway, SO AMPED!! Going to Aruba Christmas week for some flat water riding, will write more with next impressions when I get back.
QUOTE: I had a couple of chances to take some longer sessions on the North Rebel over the past couple of seasons though, and they were both so memorable and among the best sessions of my life. One day in Allenwood Kads loaned me his 9
The Rebel has come a long way since that 2008 model. The 2008 was too flat and had too much bar pressure. It was also notorious for inverting after a good slam. I flew that kite inside out on more than a few occasions. Still a memorable kite though. North has always had an amazing bar that works with all their kites (except the Fuse). And with the addition of the suicide loop on the 2011 bar and newer, I'd say it's one of the best bars in the industry. If you're in the market for a North kite, go 2009 or newer. That's when they really started to hit their stride in my opinion.
Few people in ontario would make a better product rep,
You're always one of the friendliest guys on the beach.
That and you're ALWAYS where the wind is (ya JERK!)
Enjoy the Rebels! GREAT kites, would trade for a Vegas (or other solid C) in a heart beat though....C kites just feel right to me......even on my surfy
Need to get a new little (6ish) and big kite. (16 ish) And am a serious north fan. Due to their bars...5th line flagging and a safety that releases easily under any load is the ONLY kind of kite I'm confident to hook into if I figure shit's gunna go wrong (which is pretty much every session) Although other manufacturers are improving North still seems to be the only 1 that has it all totally dialed.
May ask for a test drive at some point if I see you've got something up in a size I'm considering. I'll try not to bleed all over the bar.....(sorry Tran).
Break it, buy it, rule applies.
Speaking of good safeties, to any switch reps, would love to get a quick water session on a switch combat 9m.
Sad to loose you from the Naish family but stoked for ya!
Had a quiver of 2009 Rebels and really liked them.
On of the best wave kites out there.
for heavier riders the 09's had some inversion issues
(no center strut - they issued a center line upgrade that added a 3rd line to the Y)
But they fixed that in 2010 and they continue to kick ass.
More than one memorable session on the rebels in obx.
Thanks to all of you for your comments, appreciate your insight and input.
Board Mental, you're so right about the 5th line, it's the safest system on the market, hands down.
North has a wicked 16m kite this year called the Dyno that will rock your world. It's classed as a Race / Lightwind kite and you should def have a look if you're thinking about best in big kite class technology and a kickass Ontario summer kite. It comes in an 18 too. These babies would be too big for me but if you're looking for bigger kites give 'em a look. http://www.northkites.com/public/content/products/kites/dyno/index_eng.html
Budday, you can test drive any time we see each other at the beach, just say the word. If you're going to be out this snowkite season hit me up and also think about coming to the Boardsports Snowkite Demo. I'll keep you posted on dates for that.
Thanks so much guys and cheers to you both. Yup, bringing a SB for Boca Grandi, suspect I'll be down there most of the time. Got a 'downwinder' set up for the 27th from Barcadera to the Huts. Of course the term 'downwinder' I use loosely, it'll be more of a 'sideoff to offshore winder', hahahaha! Gotta love boat support. Report when I get back on the 2012 Select TT and the 2012 Whip SB. kaBam!
Amazing week in Aruba, 9m winds, super good times, rode every day until I couldn't see. I tested two boards while I was there, a Select twin tip (137x41) and a Whip surfboard (5'8" x 18 ¾).
The Select is all class. It features high-end carbon technology, is super light, has crazy pop and is really fun to ride. Blew me away actually, but it should. It's a pretty expensive board, but it's first rate, bomber and in this case, I think you get what you pay for.
The new NTT / Entity strap and pad setup is really comfortable and offers more adjustment and setup points than I've ever seen on a strap setup. Really quick to put on and adjust too. The straps are mounted on track nuts which move laterally in the tracks and set up options include pad distance (from pad to pad), position relative to the edges, angle, and foot width adjustment.
I LOVE the Whip; it's a sick shape and is suited perfectly for small to medium waves. I think it's the perfect Ontario board. It's loose, skatey, fast, easy to throw around and a snap to gybe. I've ridden two other boards that made me feel this good and one was a poly board, which in terms of build materials is like comparing apples to oranges. Well this board is an apple that tastes a bit like an orange. Feel free to take it for a scoot when I see you this year. I got the 5'8" although I heard you should get a smaller size than you think you need, but I wanted to make sure it wasn't so fast I would yard sale in the bigger stuff.