Sizes Available: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15m
Sizes Tested: 7, 9, 12m
If ever there was a kite that needs no introduction it is the Rebel, one of the most popular kites of all time; it is the choice of ambitious freeriders and kiters who like to boost huge airs. It’s perfect for experienced riders and experts alike, offering excellent performance for hooked in cruising and lots of hangtime. For the first time in the Rebel’s history, it can now be flown on 4 or 5 lines. The 5th line is unloaded for 2018, meaning you can decide the best setup depending on your preference and riding style. The turning speed has been enhanced, in combination with a smoother and rounder turning. The wind range has increased. While many changes have been made, one aspect has remained constant; the Rebel is still the ultimate boosting machine offering huge jumps with lots of hangtime and glide in the air! All that with the typical Rebel feel you love so much!
Visit for more info: www.northkiteboarding.com/products/kites/rebel
Our Testers Say:
“Houston we have liftoff—this is what will come to mind and put a smile on your face as you look down at fellow kiters. Monster airs, slower loops in the larger size, Click bar is the Rolls Royce.” // Tiberiu Anghel
“Love the 4-line simplicity with the Rebel performance characteristics! This is the same upwind boosting machine, a little more stable than last year’s version, and might sit a bit deeper in the window. Great performance freeride kite!” // Dray Murray
“WOW – really nice and 4-line at last! Smooth and predictable. Excellent in the boosting department and goes upwind really well, but not your drifting, going slow surf kite. Super fun, get one and shred!” // Davey Beard
The big change in the Rebel this year is the transition away from a loaded 5-line setup where that extra line is integral to the sheeting of the kite towards a 4-line design that uses the 5th line as a leash. While the rigging and underlying design might be different, the Rebel is still very much the high performance freeride boosting machine of years past with a high aspect canopy and 5-strut layout. The Rebel uses North’s large diameter inflation valve dubbed the ‘Airport Valve II’ which connects directly with North’s pump hose without the use of a nozzle; the inflation system’s twist valve rotates with the insertion of the hose to keep air in the system. Deflation happens through both the inflation valve and a dump valve on one side of the kite, making both inflation and deflation quick and easy. The Rebel comes with North’s adaptive wingtip design which offers two options for a soft and hard setting. The front bridles use a single setting layout with a single pulley to change the angle of attack. To think that we would be testing a 4-line Rebel this year was a bit of a coupe as this single kite model has been the major champion of dedicated 5th line kites since high depower kites were invented. Yet, with that substantial change the Rebel continues to offer the same unique handling and high performance big boosting that testers have loved in the past. The Rebel features medium bar pressure, perhaps a bit more than the Evo but less than the Neo, but overall an excellent combo of comfort and feedback. The sheeting continues to pack a large amount of adjustment of kite angle of attack into a fairly small throw, yet the power delivery may be a bit smoother this year. When it comes to jumping the Rebel continues to shine with a tremendous amount of lift for really boosty airs and the hangtime continues to feel like forever. In the right hands the Rebel’s forward flying and crisp steering response can yield explosive airs that earned high praise from most testers. The turning arc compared to the Evo is a bit less of a pivot style steering path and the Rebel tends to generate good power through its turns. The Rebel goes upwind with ease and when it comes to getting the kite out of the water, the kite’s relaunch was instantaneous from nose down in the middle of the window. Overall, the Rebel’s move to a simplified 4-line rigging system this year was applauded by our testers who mostly preferred the simplicity of 4-line rigging, but this change seems to also meld the classic Rebel feel and its high performance freeride performance with a slightly more user-friendly feel that exists in the rest of the North lineup.
The Rebel can now be flown with the Trust bar or the Click bar, both in the stock 4-line configuration or with a 5th line add-on.
North’s Click bar is back for its second year with a few changes like an updated color scheme that visually sets off one side of the bar, more plush bar ends, changes to the quick release and a new V-distributor for increased durability. That said, we didn’t get one of those bars to test with our North kites so we rode last year’s Click bar which means the only thing that is different for this year is that we now have tested other designs that have come to market and have a bit more perspective on the concept of adjusting the kite’s power tuning mechanically through the outside lines. The Click bar comes in a single 49cm length with 22m or 24m line lengths and features a single center-line safety depower system, medium height V, a durable plastic throw line that untwists itself after you spin, a sliding stopper and North’s proven push away quick release. The bar features retractable bar bungees, soft bar ends and integrated floats. The Click bar settles the debate between above or below the bar tuning by placing it exactly at your fingertips. The twisting motion for power up takes a little bit of focus while riding and the button for depower is easily accessed at all times. While it’s a big shift to the systems we have come to know, seamless controls like this are the future of the sport. While some power down systems require the twisting of a knob, the ratchet knob built into the bar ends is easy to grab a hold of, easy to rotate while kiting and offers easy tuning on the fly. Compared to other systems, the mechanics of North’s Click bar is entirely closed, which means you won’t be washing it out. The upside of testing last year’s bar is that we were able to put a used bar through the test and the system worked just as crisp as if it were just taken out of the package.
Visit for more info on the bar: https://www.northkiteboarding.com/products/bars/click-bar
This year the Trust bar is essentially the same except that if you are looking for a 5-line bar, instead of buying the dedicated 5-line bar, now you simply purchase the regular 4-line Trust with a the 5th line optional kit. Essentially, you can switch back and forth between 4 and 5-lines from the same base bar purchase. The Trust bar is a dual adjustable length bar that comes in two options, 42/49cm and a 46/53cm lengths.
On the smaller bar you can choose between 19 or 22m lines and on the longer bar you can choose between 24 and 27m lines. North feels line length is an important tunable feature to match with your kite and style of riding. The 4-line base version has single center line safety depower that runs up to one of the bridles. The center lines are knotted for rigging purposes. The adjustable length spectra throw line features a tuning cleat with a magnet on the depower strap to keep it in place. The Trust has a push away quick release with a below the bar hand swivel that also functions as a quick release travel guard. At the time of purchase you can select from three different chicken loop options. The first is the “Rope Harness kit” which is a super short loop with a metal center for rope traveler-based harnesses. The second and probably most common is the “Freeride kit” which is the standard length chicken loop for regular freeride, and finally a “Freestyle kit” which features an extra large loop for those that are unhooking on a regular basis. We tested the bar with the medium sized loop, but would be interested to try the Rope harness kit. The Trust features a spectra trim/throw line, a sliding stopper for long tacks and a firm molded chicken finger to prevent accidental unhooking. The padded bar ends are tunable and offer integrated floats and retractable bar bungees for a clean wrap up. The bar grip is fairly plush eva with middle of the road texture which makes the Trust a very comfy bar and continues to be a bar that gets rave reviews during our test week.
Visit for more info on the bar: www.northkiteboarding.com/products/bars/trust-bar/
Want more gear reviews all in one place? Read detailed and objective reviews on the 30 kite models and 33 board models that Tkb and freeride testers reviewed for the 2018 Freeride Gear Review Guide.