The Rally is a brand new kite, currently released for demo and since I haven’t seen many other reviews in the U.S. I figured I’d share my first impressions with the EKBers. I know there are a lot of REV, RPM and FUEL kiters in particular who will be curious about this and folks who have been on other deltas for a couple years should have a look at this “Open-C Delta” that SS has come up with.
First, some background… most of you know I’m a weekend warrior and with a toddler at home and another on the way, my weekend wars are getting less frequent than I’d like. I still like to get on new kites when I get a chance to compare, but mostly I just very happily fly my REV2 quiver and haven’t touched anything lately that warranted buying new kites. I didn’t expect to like the Rally, was curious more than anything, but was extremely impressed with the performance.
Anyway, I had a window to get out, H2AIR (Loop!) had a brand new quiver of Rallys just begging to be flown, and I was the lucky guy who got to play with them. I hauled the 8/10/12 down south and flew the 10 and 12.
SS calls the Rally an Open-C-Delta. I’m guessing here but I think Slingshot’s “Key” kite is a traditional delta and the Rally is a new breed with its mini wing tips (do not come to a point like other deltas) and direct kite connection (no pulleys!) The boosts are HUGE!!!! I’d hate to see what one of you with a good set of balls would do on this kite because the boost really is enormous. I have seen people jump high with every kite design, but certain kites seem to be more forgiving of your technique and just want to launch you if given the opportunity. I started testing it with small sends (11:30 to 12?), sheet in the bar and BOOM! Up like an elevator….3 times higher than planned. And it had a really nice hang time and would let you down gently. This seems consistent with what other delta kite reviews have said…they are easy to jump and they go huge. No exception here.
Differences over other detlas I have tried is that the bar pressure was very manageable even at the top end. It was heavier than my REVs, but probably comparable to the RPMs. Certainly less than the T2 or T3 bow kites. I probably got blown off the 12M around 20ish (it has a lot of juice) and flew the 10M very well powered in the low 20s. I could have flown the 12M longer, but since I was in the ocean I wanted the fast nimble turning that a non-depowered kite will give you. I had about 6 inches of depower pulled in on the 12, was absolutely lit, and figured ithe 10 would be fun. Which it was.
The Rally was a ton of fun in the waves. It turns fast, particularly the 10 of course and it held its power down the line. You could get a few turns in on the wave and really didn’t have to pay too much attention to the kite. I should have flown my REV back to back to compare, but I don’t think I can chase down and stay on waves as easily on my SLE. It was definitely my most accomplished days of wave riding ever and I really felt comfortable playing in the shore break and milking as many waves as possible in the point breaks (only a few spots in the ocean were breaking nice this weekend). For me and some others who tried the kite, it just seemed to sit nicely in the wind window to let you play on a wave.
It downlooped great for those toeside wave transitions and I could really whip it around the sky to haul me where needed. On some kites I find I have to plan ahead a little more to go after a wave, but 95% of the time I could make a split second decision to change course and the Rally was right there with the power and speed I needed. It turns more like a C kite in that tight little arc. It doesn’t slide turn like a bow and it doesn’t pivot on its wingtip like my REVs seem to. It does turn tight though and I never drug a wingtip even if the kite was lower in the sky than I would have hoped. Just yanked the bar a little harder and around it came ready to pull me along.
I’d have to get on them again to fully test the low end, but it is possible the 12 could be my big kite. They make a 14 also. The 12 just really had a lot of juice. I was having so much fun flying that I didn’t try the 8. However, in hindsight I should have put the 8 up when I got blown off the 12 to feel how the power compared. A logical quiver for me would be 8/12 or 6/10/14. It is unlikely that if I bought them I’d end up with 3 adjoining sizes…but it was certainly nice to drop down one size and be PERFECTLY powered. I did get to try out the 10M on its light end as the wind died while I was in the bay Saturday evening. At 180lbs with a big board, a 10M kite lasted me about as far as I’d expect it to. Likely a bit lower end than my REV, but more comparable with a bow kite. In short, it seemed fine.
I did not drop them a bunch to really test out the relaunch, but when I did drop one in the surf it came up fine for me. I would have liked to test the challenging deep water light wind relaunch to see how it does. In the surf it came up easily for me and self launching it on the beach was great. I had trouble self landing it until I set her down in the wind shadow of my truck on the beach.
I mostly rode them in the ocean, and loved the performance. I had two bay sessions. One was an extremely well powered slick session on the 10M. That is where I really got to play around with jumps. It is definitely easier to jump than any other kite I’ve flown. Goes higher with less effort (i.e. skill), the hang time is longer, and it let’s you down as fast or gently as you like. Stupidly easy to jump, actually. It’s tough not to smile when you are going through 100 yards of butter with a kite that you know will do anything you want it to.
I guessing these little batten things are for canopy stability. ?
Only thing I didn’t like was the color combos SS comes up with. I’ll accept the fact that I’m out of touch with style, but lime green, aqua blue and white just don’t do it for me. The blue and white one Cape Cod has is sharp as is this black one.
The bag was your standard SS backpack of the past few years. Does the trick.
The bar is KILLER! I had seen the new Slingshot bar last year but other than a brief Octane demo, I didn’t get to play with it. The push away release was very easy to activate and reset. The above the bar swivel would magically keep the center lines untwisted after backrolls. The grip was just fine and the line quality was solid. You have 4 equal length lines going to a short bridle with the rear lines going directly to the kite (12 inch pigtail on the wingtips). The 10 and 12 shared the same bar size and the equal length lines makes it easy to use this bar on other kites, or use another one of your favorite bars with the Rally. Don’t know why you would swap, though, as this bar looks and feels bomp-proof! The only wearable item may be the center line bungy but they give you a spare in the bag (I haven’t worn the one out on my REVs yet, though). When you unhook, the CL self orients itself so it is easy to hook back in. No reaching for the CL to straighten it!
It would be nice to fly at Terrapin on a NW day to see how it handles gusty conditions. That is a true test for any kite, IMO as that seems to be our local “Gorge” in terms of challenging wind. Terrapin became much more enjoyable for me when bridled kites came along that helped stabilize the bucking bronco that we knew in the old C kites. So yup, that and more relaunch are the only two things I’d still want to test. We did test the safety accidentally (failed kite pass on the beach) and it depowered quick and dropped smoothly.
If you have a chance give the The Rally a try to compare to your current ride. H2AIR has a quiver, Real has a quiver, and I think there are some up in Cape Cod. I don’t know when they’re due in for purchase but it will be interesting to see how this kite is received by the market. My SAT style analogy after a weekend on the kite…
The RALLY is to DELTAs as the RPM is to SLEs.
In short, it brings that direct C feel that people crave with the stability offered by a bridle.
Go fly it!