TESTED: Duotone Rebel

Different brand name. Same kite. As the dust settles on the big re-branding, it’s nice to be reminded that what’s at the heart of ‘Duotone’ is the kit. And with the kites there have been no changes with who is designing them, or the materials that are being used, or how and where they are produced. So this Rebel is still a, err, Rebel. For 2018 the Rebel made the transition from 5 to 4 lines which was BIG news to Rebel devotees but essentially well received so for 2019 it has been more about tweaking the new design. The primary change (which can also be seen in other kites in the 2019 lineup) is that the LE is skinnier and has been flattened in the middle section. The aim here is to reduce backstalling and increase depower and turning speed. Also new for 2019 is a shorter Click Bar, and we tested the Rebel on this.

On the water and the Rebel immediately feels reassuringly familiar – we have ridden Rebels for over ten years and the feel and philosophy of the kite has stayed true to its ‘top end freeride’ brief… We were testing the Rebel in gusty and busy Tarifa and it is the perfect kite to keep you perfectly powered and trucking around with the masses. With the super-precise power deliver you get a real increase or decrease in power from the smallest of adjustments and the amount of depower is massive. We felt that the turning was more pivotal for 2019 making the Rebel a more appealing option in the surf, and for boosting the Rebel can be what you want it to be. If you want to really send it then you can really load up the power and it delivers some serious boosting. Or if you want to take it a bit easier then you can sheet in, send the kite, and you’re completely in control of how far you go up and how long it takes you to get down. Which is what you want from your Rebel.

In a sentence: No big surprises, but some nice refinements and an all-round smoother feel for the 2019 Duotone Rebel.

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It is hard to imagine that a few years ago the three-strut all-rounder wasn’t really a thing, whereas now it is the biggest sector in the market. As kiters we have realized that versatility does not have to mean compromise, and also that these kites really work, and work to a high level. With this market in mind, the Nexus arrived with considerable fanfare from CORE a couple of years ago. Part of their Universal+ series of kites (which generally have a ‘speciality’ but are also usable in other disciplines), the Nexus sat itself clearly in the middle: a kite for waves and for freestyle with no clear preference in either department. It was a great kite – we tested it in Cape Verde and it was immediately clear that not only was this a kite that would be used for whatever you wanted to use it for, but also that it was fun to fly and had as much performance as you wanted.

As with all their kites, the Nexus is on a two (ish) year design cycle so V2 of the Nexus has been refined over a solid period of time and is definitely not just a graphics refresh. The first thing that you’ll spot with the new Nexus is the wider tips with the distinctive knuckle. CORE are calling these their Radical Reaction Tips and they have been one of the main focuses for this incarnation, designed to improve turning speed and responsiveness without compromising the all-round appeal of the Nexus. The other significant tweak is the inclusion of ExoTex Light in the struts – developed for the X-Lite, this lighter weight Dacron has proved its worth and has now been rolled out to the Nexus 2 resulting in a weight reduction of around 10%.

We undertook the bulk of this test in Cape Town, so we got to test all sizes from 5m through to 12m – it was one of those weeks. On the water and the Nexus immediately feels like a predictable and dependable partner. It sits exactly where you want it to be in the window when you are cruising around and – even in super gusty conditions – it will move slightly in the window but delivers rock solid stability at the bar end. You have no doubts in the kite and even when overpowered with full depower on, the Nexus 2 was still comfortable to ride. Or at least to get you back to the beach to downsize!

For riding in the waves, the wider tips provide a quicker and more pivotal turn which we really enjoyed. In cross or cross-on conditions the kite snaps around beautifully and the power ‘off’ enables you to really use the kite power to bottom turn and then switch it off as you ride back up the wave. It has to be said that after a few sessions I genuinely felt like a better waverider! If the wind switches offshore then the drift is great – there is plenty of depower and the Nexus 2 will do the easy bit while you focus on finding your top-to-bottom rhythm.

When you are done in the waves you can switch to the Freestyle CIT mode. With this switch made, the Nexus 2 immediately has a noticeable bump in power. The kite remains stable, but when you sheet in you can feel that the kite has an extra chunk of power to be utilized, and if you send the kite and sheet in then it is an entirely different beast – like when someone you have known for years does something you would never expect… It loves to boost and is happy to loop, with the pivotal turning in the wave setting replaced by a wider, more GTS-esque arc. You can tell this is not just a token gesture: the Nexus has had the freestyle treatment and really works here.

In a sentence: The Nexus 2 builds on the philosophy of its predecessor as an all-round kite that is definitely not a ‘freeride’ kite – the Nexus 2 loves the surf but, flip the CIT switch, and it’s equally happy looking down from above.

COBs 05 - CORE Nexus 2

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