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There are few more competitive sectors of the market in the modern age of kite riding than the ‘performance 3 strutter’. What was seen as a softer option for more beginner-focused kites a few years ago is now regarded as a genuine high performance set up with reduced weight and increased maneuverability, and this is now where it is at for the majority of kiters. RRD know this, so they have committed a whole lot of time to reworking the Passion for 2018, with Abel Lago making it his personal mission to ensure that the kite sits right at the top of the pile… In terms of what’s new, the bridle has been radically reworked and is now much shorter and without any pulleys, the Aspect Ratio has been reduced and there are now customized LE diameters across the range. The tips are squarer than you find on some other three strut kites giving the Passion more of the look of a wave-specific kite, and there are three colorways to choose from: classic RRD orange, loud pink or middle-of-the-road blue…
On the water and the MK9 immediately marks itself out from its predecessor in terms of the responsiveness and the bar pressure. The kite turns very quickly and evenly through a relatively tight arc, then the bar pressure is pretty light. The result is a surprisingly quick and reactive kite. The lower Aspect Ratio then delivers improved low-end and you are up and going nice and quickly with plenty of power to keep you trucking along. In the waves and the Passion provides a fantastic platform – the quick moving qualities ensure that you can place it exactly where you want it in prime cross-shore conditions and the drift is also good (the elasticated pigtails also helping to keep things steady here). In more onshore conditions you can really drive the Passion around so you can use it to inject some power when you want more speed for your top turn or when you want to drive around a close out section. For boosting you can really send it back in the window and you get a nice clean take off. If you’re looking to break any WOO records then you would be best off taking a size or two bigger if you can hold it down. Looping is smooth and satisfying and the kite feels nice and stable throughout.
In a sentence: The Passion MK9 picks up where last year’s first three strut version of the Passion left off – this is a quick and fun to fly kite with enough performance to be your go-to kite in the surf or for serious boosting sessions.