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The Vision has been a mainstay in the RRD stable for many moons. It parks itself into the freeride all-rounder category from the long established and proudly Italian brand who have been around wind-based board sports since their inception.
When it comes to the look and feel of a kite, RRD have a reputation for creating quality gear. This is evident in everything from the ultra-stylish PVC bag, to the custom-molded one-pump systems, to the no-expense-spared cut in jaunty graphics. As always, Italian style and high-end design is the order of the day. But don’t let yourself get distracted by the glossy exterior – the technical build is well worth close examination too, as this is equipment built to a specification, not a price point.
Immediately you notice some unique butterfly-shaped reinforcements behind each strut to spread load evenly out into the canopy. Orange Kevlar scuff protectors cover each leading edge segment, with some larger EVA pads covering the larger areas down the back of each strut which tend to get a hammering on self-launching. There’s a large screw-in style inflation valve which has extra wings to make it really easy to get a decent grip on with wet hands. Even the bridle points have a CNC-sewn custom-molded load spreader.
The other good news is, even with all this decadence attached, it still comes out relatively light for a 9m. There is minimal screen printing on the canopy, and a sliver of Dacron down the wingtips. Teijin D2 cloth is used throughout which gives that proven balance between structure and weight.
The Global bar system, much like the kite, provides a luxurious experience – it is like the dashboard of a high-end sports car. A polished dugout lets the depower line slide through the aperture with minimal friction. All potential abrasion points have been eliminated and it has longevity written all over it. There is no safety line dangling about loose, as that is all run up inside the PU cleanly, and a bungee keeps it neat and tidy. Previous RRD owners will be glad to hear that their unique low-stretch, high-stiffness line material is still implemented. The quick release is simple and carried over from the previous year. It is a more traditional non-seatbelt style reload and requires two hands to reset.
In the air, all the relatively light weight for a three-strut machine means it is an early flyer. We would class it as medium speed turning, requiring assertive bar input to initiate, but providing steady bursts of power and grunt on demand. It is a kite that loves to climb and has quite a bit of C shape to the arc, providing a grunty user experience. It is definitely going to surprise you; it is powerful for its square meterage. Aside from that, it sits in the middle of almost all performance characteristics, which is a good shout considering its intended use. We were impressed with how well it performed unhooked – its gentle turning characteristics are confidence inspiring, and all that grunt is great to load and pop against, without having to worry about little bar input errors disrupting your flow. General bump and jump with the Vision is a powerful and rewarding affair. It is easy to initiate jumps, and you are not going to get any nasty surprises. On a hydrofoil, the Vision does an admirable job in its low end due to its early flying, but be wary that grunt comes on quick as the wind picks up. When depowered you do lose a little bar feeling and need to be more conscious of the kite position.
In a sentence: You could be forgiven for buying an RRD kite for the graphics and snazzy bag alone, but that shouldn’t be the motivation for your purchase as this is an insanely well-built, luxurious and fun kite which proves a sturdy cross-discipline companion.