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RRD 2011 Obsession Analyze This Kite Review

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2011 RRD Obsession

TESTED: 9m
AVAILABLE SIZES: 5, 6, 7, 9, 10.5, 12, 13.5, 15m
TESTED IN: Sherman Island and Pismo Beach, 18-25 knots, flat water and waves

FROM THE MANUFACTURER:

It has gained worldwide recognition for being an RRD Icon. The Obsession MKIII is the most advanced yet user friendly kite in the world. Slightly revised in important details like improved turning speed on big sizes and constant pull on kite loops, we have been able to create even a more stable kite with an incredible 10-15% more power and improved easiness to ride unhooked. The Obsession MKIII features slightly higher bar pressure compared to the MKII version. This is the new trendsetter in speed and progressive smooth power in all areas of the flying window. It’s perfect for kiteloops and power moves, and great for every serious kiteboarder.

THE KITEBOARDER REPORT:

Out of the Box: The 2011 RRD Obsession looks similar to last year’s model, but there are a few obvious differences. The trailing edge is now all Dacron and the graphics are actually made of fabric sewn onto the kite as opposed to being screened on, a feature that RRD claims adds more rigidity to the canopy. This is a five-strut kite that inflates via a single inflation system. Once pumped up, you can see that the leading edge comes to a subtle point in the middle. The rear lines connect directly to the kite while the front lines connect to a compact bridle that features two pulleys per side. Each pulley rides on a bridle section that is easy to replace if it begins to wear.

The new RRD Global Bar is much improved compared to last year’s version. The hanging leash attachment we complained about last year is gone and this new bar features an above bar depower cleat, a clean and simple push-away release, and a unique center line. Both the safety line and the main depower line pass through a plastic cover that has an internal divider to keep the lines separate. One bar size (adjustable from 50-55 cm) is used on all kites.

On the Water:The Obsession is very stable in the sky and is a very smooth feeling kite. This is a grunty kite that flies fast and turns quickly (but not ultra quick). Turns are very predictable and the Obsession seems to turn on its wingtips, more similar to a C-kite than a bridled kite. Power delivery stays very smooth through sharp turns and loops. The Obsession really shines unhooked and has no tendency to fall back in the window, but we found that unhooked performance is improved by depowering the kite slightly.

Relaunching the Obsession is still very easy, although maybe not quite as easily as last year’s model. This kite handles gusts very well and depowers well, remaining responsive and easy to fly even when depowered. Upwind performance is good fully powered, but improves if you depower the kite slightly.

PROS:

  • The RRD Obsession is a stable performance kite that feels great even when unhooked.
  • The Global Bar is a huge improvement compared to last year’s bar and is a pleasure to use.

CONS:

  • The bar is only available in one size (50-55 cm) and seems a little large for the smaller kite sizes.
  • Beginner riders may be slightly intimidated by the grunty feeling of the Obsession.

THE VERDICT:

The RRD Obsession is a really good all-around kite, but it suits performance-oriented freestyle riders the best. The smooth flying, medium bar pressure, excellent stability, and great unhooked performance will make a lot of riders happy to fly this kite. Overall the Obsession is a fun kite that offers a lot of performance without throwing anything unexpected at the rider. Novice riders could use the Obsession, but they might feel more comfortable on the RRD Passion.

TIPS:

  • Depower the kite an inch or so before unhooking, especially if you want to loop the kite unhooked. This will let it climb to the top of the window faster.
  • Attach the front lines to the knots second furthest from the kite.

TESTER COMMENT:

“The Obsession was always an amped up kite and, though it still is, this year you can relax in the gusts a lot more than in previous years. The first time unhooked was amazing.” –Slawek Krauze, 180 lbs., Freestyle Kiter

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