The Rebel is North’s best selling kite and most recent seasons have been marked more by refinement than redesign. North has positioned the Rebel as their kite with the biggest wind range, best hangtime, highest jumps and the best sheet-and-go performance. Based on North’s marketing literature and our preliminary testing it would appear that 2016 marks a year of significant change. Changes throughout the sizes are aimed at boosting performance and set the Rebel further apart from the more all-around/accessible Evo. North has made significant changes to the aspect ratios of the bigger and smaller sizes. Larger sizes will have a higher aspect ratio design to deliver better upwind and jumping performance (although no doubt at the expense of ease-of -use), while the smaller sizes had their aspect ratio reduced to increase stability and turning ability. On the water, as with previous Rebels, the 2016 retains Rebel’s notoriously powerful and rigid feel. The Rebel is clearly one of the most stable and powerful feeling freeride kites on the market and the 2016 model stays true to this reputation. What’s interesting is that the 8 meter is significantly more turny and offered noticeably more depower than the 2015 model. If the 8 meter is any indication of what the rest of the Rebel line feels like, they have taken a truly legendary kite and tuned each size to offer better performance for the conditions they’re intended for.
The Trade Off
Presumably, as a higher aspect ratio design, the Rebel will trade some user-friendliness for performance in larger sizes. You can’t really test a Rebel without commenting on the fact that it remains one of the only non-pure C kites with five lines. Is this a negative? It is if you’re looking to fit a Rebel into a mixed quiver of four line kites.
Riders looking for a high performance freeride kite with class-leading power and stability.