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The Reo V4 is Ozone’s dedicated wave machine, and offers a no compromise approach to wave riding performance. In short, it offers buckets of what you need to tackle waves seriously and very little of what you don’t, meaning that if you’re looking for a crossover kite for several disciplines or a low input kite to make your life easy, this is probably not going to be it. If, on the other hand, you’re looking to step up your wave game and are looking for a highly capable tool to put to use, it’s tough to think of another kite with quite as much potential to tap into.
Inflating the kite on the beach you’ll be struck by the thin leading edge and the minimal amounts of Dacron which, before you even launch make the kite feel light and efficient. Sure enough, in the air the kite sits very comfortably in the sky, offering very little pull until sheeted in without sitting so close to the edge of the window that you fear it might front stall, and while offering enough tension in the backlines that you feel totally in control. With the generally ‘lighter’ vibe, you might worry that you’ll be short of power on the water, but once the kite starts moving it offers very accessible power in line with other kites of the same size. You do have to know how to use the kite to get the most out of it, but the bar pressure is appropriate for the amount of work you’ll be doing and it demands skill not strength to handle. The benefit of this of course is that you have incredible control over the amount of power available at any given time. Sheeting in and out or driving the kite through a loop, the canopy remains tight ensuring smooth power delivery and really predictable performance. That’s not to say it isn’t fast; in fact it’s incredibly nimble and you’ll still need to be on your toes to manage the kite, especially in the smaller sizes, but it’s the performance of the Reo that demands your attention and not any instability. In fact, for us the biggest evolution of the V4 over the V3 is in terms of stability. The smaller sizes in particular offer improved stability and boost your confidence to go out and shred even when the wind gets over 30 knots (which it does plenty in Cape Town where we were testing this!).
One thing worth noting is that the finesse you get with a Reo means that it’s not really a ‘sheet and go’ option and if you need some extra power to get you past a section then you need to move the kite to make it happen. For properly ‘on’ sessions, the lightweight frame combined with the fact that you’re able to ride a smaller kite for the same power mean that the Reo has exceptional drift; the Reo will happily just sit there, and it’s very, very hard to lose control and have it drop out. If you do manage it, that smooth power delivery makes recovery a breeze, and somehow the Reo seems to always manage to avoid overflying no matter how fast you fly it towards the edge of the window.
IN A SENTENCE: V4 of the Reo continues the pedigree of the Reo series with a few notable improvements, particularly increased stability in the smaller sizes – if you want to rip in the surf then the Reo continues to be a great option.