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2012 Surf Kite Buyers’ Guide

Jan 3, 2012

Author: John Bryja

New for 2012 each week we will be providing category specific Buyer’s Guides. We have compiled information from the manufactures, along with videos and advice to help you find the perfect kite and board for your style of riding. If you have any specific questions or comments please feel free to post them in the comment section at the bottom of the article.—John Bryja, editor

The surf kite category is the fastest growing in the sport today. Designed to maximize our enjoyment in the surf, the performance enhancements in these models give these kites a decided advantage over the jack-of-all-trade freeride models in side-shore and side-onshore surf conditions. You don't need to live on Maui, or ride C-Street in California everyday to enjoy a kite designed for the surf. The great freeride crossover potential of these designs is making the surf kite the kite of choice in the 5 to 9 meter size range for riders on both the West and East coast, as well as the Great Lakes.

Here is some info about the surf kites that are in the 2012 head-to-head tests in SBC Kiteboard magazine's next issue.

2012 Airush One 

2012 Airush One

The One boasts simplicity and performance in the only single-strut design on the market. The lightweight structure of the One allows for quick turning, ultimate stability, and awesome low end power. Reducing struts not only cuts the weight significantly but also makes the One a super compact kite. This "plug and play" design of the range makes for an awesome package.

Plug and play simplicity
Ultra Stable
Instant depower
Lightweight and durable

Airush One Performance Review

2012 Cabrinha DrifterCabrinha Drifter

Sizes: 5.5, 7, 9, 11

In the break away sector of Kite Surfing, there is one kite which hides its technology behind its simplicity. The Drifter's minimal 3 strut design both hides and illuminates its brilliance. The three well placed struts keep the profile of the kite intact through constant angle of attack changes while reducing the weight. This light weight but durable kite is dedicated to surf, yet it shines as a freestyle kite for wakeskating, skimboarding or flat water freestyle. While surfing hooked or unhooked the Drifter makes the most of its excellent slack line drift ability. Slack line drift is the kite's ability to stay aloft even when the lines are temporarily slackened by depowering. But the Drifter's main beauty lies in its simplicity. We've pushed the complicated technology into the background so that all you have to think about is how you're going to tear apart the next wave.


Surf Specific 3 Struct DesignCabrinha Drifter colors

  • Excellent Slack Line Drift
  • High Depower
  • Stable and Direct Feel
  • Simplified Bridle
  • Squared Off Wingtips For Increased Stability
  • Quicklink Control System with IDS
  • Sprint


  • Direct and responsive steering = FAST
  • Sits further aft / back in the window
  • Enhanced slack line drift
  • Static balance
  • Excellent relaunch
  • Light overall weight: 3 struts / Reduced Dacron
  • Thin profile
  • Enhanced durability

Cabrinha Drifter Wind Range
Cabrinha Drifter Wind Range

Read the SBC Kiteboard Cabrinha Drifter test review.

2012 North Rebel2012 North 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 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.

-Loaded 5th Line
-New square tips
-Tunable bar pressure
-Rock solid stability

2012 North Rebel Wind Range

2012 North Rebel Wind Range


2012 RRD Religion MK2RRD Religion MK2

RRD has been the first brand to ever build a specific kite for waves. For our Type Wave launched in 2002, we have kept always an eye on a specific kite that would be designed to excel in the waves. After the introduction of bow and D-shape kites and new innovative bridledesigns, this kite puts together a supershortleading edge to maximize turning speed with a bullet proof Dacron body construction specifically positioned on the hi-tension areas of the kite to prevent breakage in the surf. The new religion MKII goes one step further and introduces more power on the big sizes and improved stability and easier handling on all sizes. The control on any of these kites is EPIC. If you are serious about riding waves you will have no other choices!

-Silly Turning speed -Easy to handle Power -More Power on big sizes -Stable on your head -Instant Water re-launching -Bullet proof wave construction


-LE Parallel seams for maximum strenght and lower stretching on leech area -Horizontalseams inthemaximumprofileareasfor optimizedshape -FullDacron leechandwingtips. -Dacron reinforced body -PVC round label strut end protectors -Metallic PU strut end reinforcements -DP 175 LL Dacron -Tejin T9600 Canopy


2012 Ozone Reo2012 Ozone Reo

The REO is designed purely for waves and surf board riders, this is a dedicated wave riders kite.

What is the criteria for a wave kite I hear you say…. Well, we and our riders think it needs to have fast handling, float down the line, good relaunch, megga de power and plenty of power to get you back up to the lineup. The REO is the result of more than a year’s development.

We wanted to create a kite that was versatile in all aspects of wave riding…so if you wanna park & surf or loop it down the line, hooked or unhooked, the REO is designed to deliver in all these circumstances.

REO Design & Performance Features

  • 4-line pulley-less system (no pulleys, no problems)
  • Super fast and direct handling
  • Mega de-power range with insane float and drift characteristics
  • Easy on the bar back line re-launch
  • Comparable feeling throughout the size range
  • One-Pump system for quick and easy setup
  • Multiple trimming options for customized handling and bar pressure
  • Color coded and numbered fool proof line connectors

REO Construction Features Ozone Reo Colors

  • High volume inflate/deflate valve for quicker setup and pack down
  • Improved strut construction for better canopy stability
  • Internal reinforcements for improved durability
  • Exceptional hand checked Ozone factory construction using the highest quality materials
  • Teijin Techno Force sail material
  • Dimension Polyant Dacron for the LE & Struts
  • Double stitched bonded seams
  • Dacron reinforced tip area for load distribution
  • Reinforced leading edge and struts in high stress areas
  • Reinforced trailing edge
  • Light weight & low profile aerodynamic leading edge scuff pads
  • Unique bladder construction with double layer section in wear areas
  • Ozone warranty and back-up service guaranteed

Sizes: 4•6•8•10•12m

Ozone Reo >> Download Windrange Pdf

Others to consider

BWS Noise BWS Noise

This Noise kite is all about versatility. It works in all conditions for wave riding, wake style and freestyle. It has a smooth and consistent pull in all phases of the wind window. The kite characteristics are consistent, hooked or unhooked.

When riding in side-shore or cross on-shore conditions the kite loves to drift down the line while riding a wave. A real breakthrough in surf kite design is eliminating the stalling, falling back and roll over when the lines go slack. These have always been issues when riding waves in the past. Medium bar pressure, fast turning and smooth consistent power delivery are fundamental characteristics of the Noise Kite.

"I can carry on all day on why I’m excited about these kites, but let me start with this – The “Noise Kite” isn’t a crazy new invention.  We haven’t reinvented the wheel.  Just made it better!  

At this point, kite design has reached a certain level where most of the top brands are producing great kites that all look a little different, but essentially do the same thing.  What I wanted to do was take the best aspects of kiting from all my experience, and simplify them to create a kite that is user friendly, versatile, works in all conditions, and does nothing silly.
I believe we have done that with the “Noise Kite”. All round, it’s a really nice smooth ride. It re-launches well and works both hooked and un-hooked.

If you’re looking for a two kite quiver I’d either go for the 12m & 8m combo for the bigger crew and the 10m & 6m combo for the average size crew. For the Girls and Groms, go for the 8m & 6m combo."—Ben Wilson


  • EPI, Express Point Inflate
  • 5 Strut hybrid design
  • 1 Piece bladder
  • Dacron trailing edge
  • Scuff guards
  • Surf tough

The Noise Kite is available in these sizes – 6m, 8m, 10m, 12m

For more information about the evolution of the surf category see SBC Kiteboard's 2011 head-to-head surf tests.


Be sure to read the 2012 Head-to-Head category test reviews in SBC Kiteboard magazine Issue 13.1.

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