On-the-water review with the MACkite boys, Pat and Dustin, after their Grand Haven session on the new 2024 Rebel SLS from Duotone Kiteboarding.
Pat: The kite feels like a Rebel. It's a five-strut, higher-aspect design with pretty good low end power. It's probably about 20, gusting to 22. I'm on a 12 meter and I'm about 200 pounds. I'm pretty happy with the kite so far in the first couple tacks on it. The kite looks phenomenal in the sky. The new colorway is a nice blue/gray combo.
It's the same Rebel that I'm used to feeling from years past. I haven't noticed much that's different on it, but I haven't read the literature yet at all, so this session is going to give me my initial feedback. I'll take some more tacks on it, do some jumps, and then give you some feedback after a little bit longer.
Dustin: The 2024 Rebel is a slight redesign from last year.
Pat: Yeah, just minor changes from the 2023 version. It sounds like they really focused the redesign on the wingtips. This improved the turning speed of the kite a bit and made it a little faster. I know that's been my nagging point of the Rebel in the past; it's been a little bit slower than some of the other kites in their line. With the new redesigned wingtip, I did notice on the 12 meter that it was noticeably faster in the water this year while turning and through kiteloops. It's a good step up from last year. While I don't think they reinvented the wheel this season, they definitely made it incrementally better with some key improvements.
Who is the Rebel For?
Dustin: It has super vertical jumps and is real lofty. It's a great beginner through advanced level kite. It offers something for everybody.
Pat: Yeah. The design is keyed for that freeride/big air rider. I'd say it's the "easy button" for big air if you're looking for a big boosty or lofty kite, especially in the Duotone line. It's super forgiving on the jumps and it's really hard to find the dead zone in the air for the jump. With the Evo SLS and the Evo D/Lab, you really have to send that kite in the right spot to get the best out of it, where I find the Rebel to be a bit more forgiving on the boost. It's always going to have that good hangtime and loft for you. I find it's the easier option. With the Evo and Evo D/Lab, you're going to get a little more performance out of it if you have the skill. The Rebel allows you to push yourself above your comfort zone and improve your skill level to get to the point where you could hop to the Evo to get that maximum performance.
Dustin: Totally. It's the kite I learned how to loop on. It's got great relaunch, which is nice for beginners or those learning new tricks. It's a five-strut machine.
Pat: Good wind range, too. It has really good low end and good high end. You can really push that kite to get the max out of it per size. Like you said, you learned your kiteloops on it, and this is one of the kites that helped get my kiteloops up to the next level last year and get me more comfortable doing it. I find it's really forgiving on those loops if you're looking to learn kiteloops for the first time, so I would gravitate towards that and toss it in my car for that reason.
Dustin: It's a great kite to progress with, for sure.
Pat: Definitely. It is a little bit more of a niche kite, I'd say. It's a freeride and a big air kite, but I'm not going to take it in the waves or foiling myself. It's just not designed for that. It's a freeride and big air kite, and it excels in those categories immensely. It's one of the best-performing kites and one of the longer-running kites in that category, as far as I can recall.
Dustin: Yep, it's tried-and-true, for sure.
Pat: We were able to get two sessions out in the water over the last couple days. I actually rode the 12 and 9 meter on the same day. I got a nice, powered-up 12 meter session and then hopped onto the 9m a little underpowered, but I was still able to throw some kiteloops on it. It's a nice, fast kite with good loft still. The 12 meter's a hangtime machine.
Dustin: Oh yeah.
Pat: It was so floaty and so lofty. This made doing all kinds of frontroll, backroll, inverts and boosted sent tricks so fun and easy.
Dustin: It's super quick. That's the main takeaway here. It's a faster Rebel.
Pat: It still has that same hangtime that we all know and love from the Rebel, but sped up a little bit. I'd say it has medium bar pressure. It's not the lightest bar pressure in the world, but it's not a semi truck pulling you around in the water. You get good feedback from the kite through the bar, so it's not dampened feel and you can feel where the kite is in the air at all times without it ripping your arms off. It's quick through the turns, and that's really the biggest change this year.
Dustin: For 2024 it's got these brand new sick colorways. It's classic Duotone with super vibrant colors so you're instantly noticed on the water.
Pat: Yeah, I was quite impressed with both the colorways this year. The blue is probably my favorite, personally.
Dustin: And I like the yellow.
Pat: I think those people who are looking for a bright color on the water for the safety factor are also going to like the yellow, but if you like something a little bit more toned-down but still nice and bright, the blue is definitely the way to go.
Pat: This year the Rebel is only coming in the SLS material. That's Duotone's mid-tier fabric. It's lighter weight than your traditional Dacron, but not quite as crazy as the D/Lab material, so it falls in the middle of the range. That keeps that price point a bit more manageable for people, which is nice. It's great to have options in the lineup, and it's nice that they're keeping all three tiers in the range, so definitely peep the rest of Duotone's range. They're offering kites in the standard Dacron construction, SLS with Penta TX, and then D/Lab with Aluula.
Dustin: If you have any questions on the Rebel SLS or any of the Duotone lineup, give us a chat on the site or a call at the shop.
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