North Rebel (2012) Hot
The 2012 Rebel remains North’s flagship kite, combining all the ingredients you need to cover a huge wind-range, rip apart any size surf, boost huge airs and ride comfortably in nearly all conditions. It is quite simply our best interpretation of what a modern free-ride/wave kite should be and it’s really no mystery why the Rebel is THE most sold kite ever. The 2012 Rebel remains a loaded 5th line kite, offering its most acclaimed performance attributes like a short bar stroke, crisp, direct feeling, rock solid stability in all conditions, and it’s unique ability to steer while de-powered. The new square wingtip design maximizes the effective tip area, makes the tips less prone to distortion and fluttering while steering and gives the Rebel its new stylish and modern appeal. Super clean tip panels account for greatly improved, ultra smooth turning and easy handling that remains smooth even in over-powered conditions. Size-specific tuning ensures that the big sizes feel crisp and lively and the small sizes feel forgiving even in blistering wind. The Rebel also features a simple back-line adjustment to tune it for greater or lesser bar pressure to suit your desired feel. As with all North kites, the 2012 Rebel is built to last utilizing our proven construction methods and the highest quality materials like our exclusive Teijin D2 canopy fabric.
Average user rating from: 3 user(s)
10m 2012 Rebel
The 2012 Rebel remains North’s flagship kite, combining all the ingredients you need to cover a huge wind-range, rip apart any size surf, boost huge airs and ride comfortably in nearly all conditions. It is quite simply North's best interpretation of what a modern free-ride/wave kite should be. The 2012 Rebel remains a loaded 5th line kite, offering acclaimed performance attributes such as a short bar stroke, crisp, direct feeling, rock solid stability in all conditions, and an incredible ability to steer while de-powered. The new square wingtips maximise the effective tip area, making the tips less prone to distortion and fluttering and give the Rebel its new stylish and modern appeal. The Rebel also features a simple back-line adjustment to tune it for greater or lesser bar pressure.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
Readers of a squeamish disposition, turned off by gratuitous feelings of sentimentality should probably press to back button now. We're in love with the North Rebel. Our tale of love started with a glimpse across the stock room when it first arrived, dazzling in its brightly coloured, spacious bag with alluring extendable sections. The Rebel literally lit up the room. Beautifully assembled, the engineering and build quality of the actual kite is second-to-none. North's exclusive new Teijin D2 canopy fabric seems very tough and the trailing edge is adorned with heavy duty reinforcements and flutter-proof battens that finish off the kite's shapely back end.
The Rebel remains a five strut kite and we respect North's dedication to that. If you're only used to four line kites you will find five lines more of a hassle to set up and the relaunch does require a bit of a tug on the fifth line to get it to roll over when the kite falls straight downwind on its nose, but the safety levels are fantastic and five line kites do tend to be wonderfully balanced in flight.
North's one pump system is good and once again we see North's unique sliding valve caps and clips, so there's no pushing and velcro-ing necessary when sealing your valve. The dump valve is at the end of the kite, which means that when rolling the kite away, you always need to roll from one tip to the other. North's bar has always been ahead of the game in terms of build quality and functionality, and this year some minor tweaks join an already clean and very well-polished set-up.
As soon as we hit the water it was obvious this was a good kite. The more we rode it the better it got. The Rebel just has the plug-and-play thing down to a tee. There's an instant connection and usability with the kite that's really on another level. There are kites out there that are more focussed on certain riding styles, and will do those better than the Rebel, but as a fun, all-round freeride kite, there's not a lot that can match it.
Why is it so good? For starters it's incredibly solid and rigid in the sky. The canopy is taught and, this may sound odd, but it's totally silent. There is no canopy flutter at all, even through aggressive kite loops. There are no tippy sensations with the kite and the feeling at the bar is just wonderful. Moderate bar pressure, there's plenty of oomph in the performance. Pull in on the bar and there's instant power delivery, control and you feel totally connected. It's like your avatar, grown for you and sharing your DNA. You always know where the Rebel is, like it's talking you through your tricks and inspires confidence. The range in the kite is fantastic and it sits nice and perked up in the window; there's no downwind chugging and it doesn't chase its way out of the window either. The Rebel also fancies itself as a kite with racing potential too, delivering superb board speed that translates into breathtaking airs. As happy at home low down for unhooked wake-style tricks, it'll switch seamlessly into rocket mode a moment later. In fact, off the hook it's lovely, dropping back slightly and providing a nice, meaty pull. You look at the shape of the kite and just don't expect that to be the case. For wave riding it drifts well and has enough speed and response for fast, flowing bottom and top turns and plenty of depower on demand.
The North Rebel is kiteboarding's Volkswagon Golf. It's been through years of careful and expensive development. The end result is a product that satisfies the boy racer in GTI guise through to the more refined gent, looking for comfort and build-quality but still likes to put his foot down on the open road. Some people won't be able to see past the fact it has five lines, but we can only lead a horse to water. For a freestyle/freeride kite, the Rebel is at the top of its game and somehow keeps getting better and better.
The most complete all-round, fun freeride kite we've ridden.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
It might be nice to be able to roll the kite up from the tips to the centre if there was a dump valve in the middle, but we're big boys now and can manage without it.
At a Glance
The Rebel has been the stable horse in the North line up for some time, one of their best selling kites and one that you’ll see above at least one rider on any beach you go to. It's their freeride/wave do it all machine that utilises their 5th line safety system as opposed to the seemingly popular bridled offerings from other brands. The kite has been around for a few years now and the loyal team of followers will be pleased to know the 2012 model is a further development on a successful theme. As ever North have sought to increase the wind range, stability and handling of the kite. The main change is in the wingtip area, which has been squared off to prevent the tips from distorting when turning the kite. Each size has also been individually tuned to ensure the rider can get the most out of it, larger sizes tuned for underpowered conditions and the smaller sizes tuned to be stable in high winds.
The North Trust bar has been a favourite of many riders for some time and this year sees it return. While the features all look familiar the bar has been completely redesigned for 2012 and new bar ends coupled with a more ergonomic grip make it really comfortable in the hands. The depower is now dealt with using a smaller Vario Cleat above the bar, it is easy to operate and never feels too far away. There is the same stopper ball system that gives enough pressure to hold the bar in place but is easy to push away in a hurry and of course the Iron Heart IV makes a return to take car of things in terms of safety release.
In the Air
We’ve been riding the Rebel for a few weeks now and have always been impressed every time it has been out of the bag. As a freeride kite it has a huge range and the low end is particularly impressive. We’ve been out ripping on twin tips when others have been struggling on 12m kites, couple the kite with a surfboard and you don’t really need anything bigger unless you’re a heavy guy or determined to ride in winds under 10 knots. The relaunch is also very good this year, something that will appeal to the guys out there who like pushing the limits. Kite loops are very powerful and punchy, which surprised us, it seems North have tried to add a bit of bite to this years kite in that respect. We enjoyed it but be ready for some pull! Turning speed is good too and it is very direct, the lack of bridle ensuring that the kite is as responsive as possible. The depower stroke on the Rebel is also very short meaning you have ultimate control in gusty conditions right at your fingertips. In the waves the Rebel really excels as it steers very well when depowered and that short throw allows you to really trim the kite to perfection without messing up your stance. Jumps are smooth and easy, it isn’t a tear you off the water machine but when the wind gets up the Rebel provides plenty of flooty airtime. Bar pressure is adjustable at the kite end but we found it a little heaver than some kites on the standard factory setting. A few adjustments at the kite end and you should be able to find the perfect set up.
Great freeride kite with a good pedigree, easy relaunch and great control in gusty conditions. Very stable and really good in the waves where the direct steering even when depowered comes into its own. Fantastic build quality as usual with Technoforce fabric and some great attention to detail.
Once again it’s hard to find real fault here, modern kites are becoming so polished that we’re struggling to think of something to complain about... Maybe the colours won’t appeal to the more traditional rider, but the kite honestly looks much better in the air than it does on paper...
If you like riding waves then the Rebel is for you, if you like cruising around and boosting jumps then it will put a smile on your face too. A great do it all kite that has fantastic low end and a really responsive feel.
2012 Rebel (9m & 11m)
I have flow the 9m and then the 11m on different days. I flew the 9m demo from Onboard a month back but reserved my comments until I had flown the 11m once it arrived as I needed to confirm the initial feelings I had on the first run.
What's new, check the video and you will see what the difference is as far as construction and features, dual position tip pigtail, different cut and shape in the wing tips for better aerodynamics.
BUT what does this mean when you and I ride it? I Love my 2011 kites and was considering the upgrade before I tested the 9m in 20 knot winds, as soon as I put this kite in the air it felt different, not different from the true rebel feel, but on the beach immediate taking it into the sky you can feel something, or rather 'nothing' there was no flutter, bump, wobble at all, now rebels are smooth, since 2009 onwards the smoothness of the rebels is without question, but this new feeling cannot be described easily as it takes it to another level, put simply once I started flying it, in very gusty north winds (our north winds are very gusty) this kite truly felt like I was on a tow line pulling perfect 18 knots.
This is the immediate striking feeling that keeps on giving the whole session, no flutter, just pure oil, One review stated that 'it might sound funny but you can't hear this kite' well its true, it was quite a staggering feeling to eliminate totally what I have been used to with many different kites over the years having flown many (not just Rebels).
I have ridden rebels from the beginning 2007 and stuck with them purely because they just keep getting better and better, this year I could not think how they can improve on 2011, but they have and its striking. The 2011 kite is super and I still love it, to me its now about taking a great kite and making it greater, as rather than having to fix things with improvement, they have just made it better, silky smooth, clean and crisp.
The power for the kite is perfectly even though the whole stroke, the power gradually increases as it goes into the power band and gradually dissipates coming out of it. This is what you want, no spike, no jolts and no weird dull spots which so many kites have (I'm sorry but they do).
For guys like me I want a kite that I can dump speed and power instantly, the Rebel is the ultimate kite for this, when you don't want power let it out in a short bar throw, that's still all there for you, but pull that bar in and feel the smooth power again. For free ride and wave ridding it cannot be beaten.
The big point here is that making a kite with stability and extremely quick depower but with meaty low end grunt is not easy, that's why so many kites have power left in them after the bar throw is out, its the easiest way to keep a kite stable, but you can't ride waves like that, you can't progress when you are over powered and the bar is fully out and the kite is still pulling you, you can't compete well if your kite is a handful.
With the new stronger bar feel option on the pigtails (see video) and the regular stopper system on the centre rope, combined with the unique chicken loop option (freestyle suicide BUT with complete safety release option still active) freestylers can twirl till their heart is content, feeling more confident than ever as the wind is evened out and smoother giving confidence to throw moves at will.
Since 2010 the kite has become a butterfly in light winds, it stays in the air in the lightest of windows, my 11m session confirmed all my feelings in 20knots plus wind but at the end of the session the wind dropped out suddenly to 3-5 knots and I was way out the back (with my new kite,... ahhh) I stepped off the board and hit the water to body drag and keep the kite in the air, hit by a couple of waves I thought that was the end of it as the kite headed down in NO wind, then a puff of a few knots and it stayed up, I kept it up there in apparently no wind until I got past the reef and then a few more knots and I could down wind on the board until I was back safe. Thanks Rebel, better than an hour swim.
Kite world mag: Recently voted by Kiteworld magazine as 'The most complete all-round, fun free-ride kite we've ridden."
I am not hyping this kite, I can buy and ride any kite I want to, I ride rebels as they are more than ever, the best kite ever made, they are the Rolls Royce, Toyota Lancruiser of the kite world and you will never be disappointed with them. Mke no mistake, you get what you pay for, and with Rebels you get the best. North have 2 full time kite R&D specialists, they design test and design again, North do not outsource to the cheapest kite manufacturers but have their own North factory in Sri Lanka.