RRD was started by Italian kiteboarding pioneer Roberto Ricci and as one of the leading European brands RRD has made a number of exciting changes to their 2018 kite lineup. Adam Super explains how RRD devised the names of their extensive line of kite models, hits on the latest changes in the kite and bar category as well as what’s new in the RRD foilboard program.
RRD HAS MADE SOME SUBSTANTIAL CHANGES TO ITS 2018 LINEUP OF KITES. WHAT ARE THE MAJOR HIGHLIGHTS?
Our priority for the RRD 2018 kite collection has been to reconfigure the entire range in the sense that we want our products to reflect our company principle. This principle is represented in the kite range whereas the names reflect the feelings that you have when kiteboarding. First there is that emotional connection to the sport, so it begins with Emotion. Then there is an intense Passion which provides a glimpse of a larger Vision for an immense amount of possibilities. That vision soon becomes an acute Obsession for progression and then as the seasons start to add up, the sport which provided a powerful emotion connection is now a new Religion. These five names, Emotion, Passion, Vision, Obsession, and Religion, define RRD’s principle, style, and kite line.
This year we wanted to concentrate on one of these five specific moments of your approach to kiteboarding, which is the ‘passion’ stage. Because passion is the driving force behind the RRD brand in general, we focused a lot of attention on redesigning this kite for 2018. The Passion MK9 was redesigned with the focus on creating a performance freeride kite with a lot of stability in the design itself to ensure every aspect of kiteboarding is possible. Because of this specific mix of parameters, we have made the Passion our new freeride machine that can really be the central kite in the RRD range.
For the freestyle program, we have moved on with a really incredible new idea about the Obsession MK10. We have incorporated the Obsession Pro and the Obsession into one kite. It’s now a half C-shape design opposed to a delta shape. Through the use of a bridle, it’s possible to have the same features as there previous versions but with more slack and more freestyle potential. Another exciting addition is that this Obsession can be used as a 4 or 5-line kite. Just install the small fifth line bridle attachment and the kite has a full, high performance feel.
The Religion, our wave machine, was completely redesigned this year as well. The past five versions of the Religion have undergone many changes but we never really preconceived or rethought the whole principal of the Religion. This year we did! We wanted that the standout characteristic of the first Religion, the hyper turning, to be brought back. Now the kite has incredible turning speed, great maneuverability and drift, as well as a lot of great flotation potential.
Our Global V8 4-line bar is a refinement of the Global Bar V7 4-line bar. We are really proud to be specifically using only one bar that suits all the kites, hence the name Global Bar. It’s our mission to minimize the amount of stress for shops and kiters to have to carry more than one bar. The fact that it’s one bar that does it all pushes us to really define all the features that are needed in many different programs of kiteboarding. The Global V8 has them all. The V8’s major improvements are the features of the new chicken loop, most of which can be seen in the new release system. We have improved the release system so now it is French Norm approved and with a new swivel system the Global’s center lines are much easier to untwist. To keep the bar lasting longer and to continue our design mission of a clean functional bar, we have kept the use of the dual chamber PVC tube that runs through the center of the aluminum bar. We are also using a new system for flagging the front lines. To avoid an external safety line like we had in our previous bars, we use one of the front lines as a flagging line to completely flag out the kite.
The most important feature of all with our Global Bar is the rigid thread lines. The rigid thread lines are used exclusively by RRD and have been on our bar for the last seven years now. The lines are designed with an internal unidirectional structure, they’re not braided lines, and are straight lines from your bar to the kite. This means that they have close to zero stretch (0.1%) because they’re not woven or braided, and they keep an integral amount of resistance and durability compared to how braided lines stretch (up to 1%). The Global Bar V8 is simple, reliable, safe and well-designed with longevity in mind.
THE POISON AND BLISS TWIN TIP BOARDS BOTH GOT TWEAKED FOR 2018. WHAT CHANGED AND WHAT ARE THE MAIN PERFORMANCE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE TWO MODELS? ANY OTHER MAJOR CHANGES TO RRD’S TWIN TIP OR DIRECTIONAL LINEUP?
We have seven models of directionals, 17 models total with different constructions (Classic PU, Wood, or LTD) and 38 individual kitesurf boards.
The Poison V5 is a really exciting program and has been redesigned in almost every element except width and length. The board now incorporates many similar features as the Juice like carbon stringers and a new lamination technology that results in less negative flex. We have been working on the tip design for the Poison as well. The tips sink deeply into the water now that they are more rounded compared to the previous versions. This provides more control, the maximum amount of pop and a nice soft landing. Because we are now using a new lamination technology on both the Poison and the Poison LTD, the board has more fibers. More fibers mean better fiber memory. More fiber memory means that the board can flex but comes back to the same original spot which leads to a very dynamic and responsive board. The Poison comes in two versions, the Poison and the Poison LTD. The difference is in the composites. One is mostly fiberglass with carbon stringers, while the other has the stringers and a carbon top and bottom sheet. Both boards can be used in choppy conditions and are well rounded. However, the LTD is more responsive, i.e. has more fiber memory, so it has more pop and the chop is more pronounced on this board compared to the standard version.
For several seasons, the Bliss has represented an amazing success for the brand in all corners of freeriding and freestyle. This year we’re going one step further. We have kept the very same shape of the boards but have introduced the LTD technology, the same technology used in the Poison LTD. Increasing the amount of fiber content on the Bliss LTD has allowed us to incorporate a highly sophisticated technology which is normally only available to pro riders and really specific boards. It was our goal to apply this to our freeride program. We wanted this wonderful, easy to use, comfortable board to be loaded with pop potential, a lot of control and a lot of upwind capacity. These technologies are really able to bring in way more freestyle potential and freeride performance potential to our freestyle/freeride program. So the biggest innovation in the Bliss this year is the fact that we also have an LTD version compared to previous years where it was only wood.
NOW IN ITS SECOND YEAR, HOW DOES THE RRD H-FLIGHT HYDROFOIL STANDOUT FROM ITS COMPETITORS?
The Dolphin1 foilboard is a carryover so this will remain unchanged. The H-Flight hydrofoil has been improved slightly in terms of ease of use. We have also changed the fuselage from carbon to aluminum to reduce the cost of the foil itself. In addition, we’ve also gone down from 90cm to 80cm as the maximum length of the mast because we wanted to make sure that the mast was just enough for those freeriders who want to have a pleasurable experience with their foil. Our main focus for the H-Flight is to assure accessibility and an easy approach into foiling along with providing a consumer friendly ‘non-scary’ foil. What will remain the same is the fact that we offer a 40cm and 65m foil mast as an addition to the foil. These short masts dramatically reduce the learning curve and we recommend when learning or in shallow waters, to purchase the 65cm Touch and Go mast in addition to the H-Flight to expedite progression. The standout benefits that our foil provides over our competitors are its ease of use, stability, predictability, quality and craftsmanship. These are the high marks that we have received from our customers and the feedback we have received from kiters whom have had the opportunity to experience the H-Flight. The features that lend themselves to these benefits consist of the shape and position of the wings, the balance of the foil, the 23 years of manufacturing experience and our obsession with nonstop research and development.
RRD HAS AN IMMENSE PRODUCT LINE. ARE THERE ANY HIGH POINTS THAT WE MISSED?
We did our best, but we have only scratched the surface of our 2018 changes. We believe strongly in only introducing new products to the market when they are ready, not just for the sake of offering something new and ‘improved,’ and yet we have a large number of additional products that are noteworthy for 2018, such as the new Emotion, Juice, Selerosa, our harness line, and our bag collection. The Emotion MK3 has been designed with one strut this year—we wanted to add a little bit more range into its size compared with the strutless design we had last year. The use of a one strut has allowed us to have a kite with more range and better water relaunch because the strut has allowed us to keep the kite up and off the water in any wind and the kite has been redesigned in terms of profile. The tips of the kite are even flatter so it turns really quickly on the spot and has improved maneuverability. All in all we have an incredible single strut kite that is designed specifically for light winds, foiling, and is also a great kite for schools to use in lessons because it’s the most affordable kite in our range.
The entire freestyle international team has been working on the Juice V4. This year we have been working quite extensively on the fiber composite layup of this board and the shape. We have introduced a much thicker layup, mainly underneath the glass fiber that we have on the deck and the bottom, with a system of cross carbon stringers on the deck and on the bottom to minimize the negative flex of the board to increase the response and the memory of the fibers. We have also reintroduced the metal inserts on the binding attachments, as these are still the best way to attach your bindings to the board, compared to the channel rail that we had in the past. In summary, it’s stronger and more suited to provide the performance features our highest level riders desire. The Selerosa is a quad, all-around ripper for knee-high to triple overhead waves. The quad fins make the V3 go fast down the line, gives the board a tight grip and it is incredibly maneuverable. Many asked for a pro-shaped quad to compliment the pro thruster, the Maquina, and that is the Selerosa.
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