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2015 - 2017 Neo (North) v 2019 Religion MK9 (RRD)

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Created by Dl33ta 1 month ago, 16 Mar 2019
Dl33ta
TAS, 459 posts
16 Mar 2019 5:34PM
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95kg Competent Rider - Strapless Surfboard

I've been riding Neos since late 2014, my quiver is still in remarkably good shape considering how many miles I've covered with them but I thought it might be time to sell while I could still get a few bucks them. The Neos had served me well while I lived on the Sunshine Coast doing countless downwinders. Their bomb proof construction will probably have them living another 5 years in the new owners hands.
Since moving to the remote NW corner of Tasmania the kiting is very different. Most times you are on the spot with cross on to onshore conditions. I wasn't doing that well with the Neos so I decided to take a punt, based on some good reviews here, on a 5,7,9 quiver of the new MK 9 Religions to replace my 5,7,9 quiver of Neos. John from SOS got me sorted out and today was my first chance to have a shot with them.

Given I'm pretty fresh off the Neos I thought I'd jot down some thoughts for anyone else thinking of wave kites.
Today was cross-on 15-25 knots at my favourite beach break up the top of Stanley. Waves were predominately chest high with a few nice head high sets coming through from time to time.

First off the bar; I've never really had a problem with the North Trust 4 line bar. The safety systems always work and the trim line is easy to operate. However the RRD bar is a totally different world, super smooth throw compared to the Trust bar where you always felt like you were shaving millimeters off the depower line every time you used it. The trimming mechanism on the RRD bar is very well thought out and easy to operate best of all it stays out of the way by itself when you finish using it. The trust bar relies on you velcroing the slack back to itself which is a bit lame. I've tried the click bar and the RRD is much smoother.

One thing I wonder about with the RRD bar is how it will handle the inevitable sand that will get lodged in the small pass through hole for the flagging line. Time will tell on that one.

Laying the Religion out you notice straight away that it is a much higher aspect kite than the Neo. The 5 and 7 religion come with pulleys and the 9 has stretchy stuff in the pig tails. I had a feeling these two kites were going to be very different animals out on the water and I wasn't wrong. I think one of the Neos best features is the amount of static pull it can generate without doing any kite movement. This is really handy while you wait for a wave to dissipate in front of you, you can stand almost still on the surfboard for what seems like a long time. The RRD doesn't have the same static pull, you need to keep it moving.

Neos will tend to pull you along even after you depower unless you ride with a slightly smaller kite than is optimal. I know that's probably a controversial statement given the kites marketing but after 5 years on them I haven't had any experience that would show me otherwise. The religion on the other hand totally leaves you to your own devices when you take the power off. I realised quite quickly that I'd need to actually start surfing the waves instead of power smashing them like I was used to. I can see you need to be careful here as the Neo could get you out of trouble really quickly if a wave walled up on you and you needed to skedaddle, whereas a bit more effort is required with the RRD to get momentum going again.

Let me get to the point where I don the orange and black robe and become a religion acolyte. Going upwind and bar pressure on the RRD is absolutely phenomenal. There is no comparison between the two kites in this section. On the Neos I'd usually retire due to tired arms, Tasmanian wind requires a lot of bar control due to its gusty and variable nature. Going upwind on the Neos was flat out hard work, I'm too lazy to go switch so after a couple of hours with the heavy bar pressure you'd be gagging to rest your arms. The end result of that is you miss a but ton of waves.

With the Neo it would be surf a set, tack and tack again upwind. With the religion I could take a set, quick tack and grab another set. Resetting was always a single tack and it was relaxing, no strain on the arms whatsoever. A proper gold star in that department.
Due to the perceived higher aspect ratio I was very curious about it's ability to drift and turn with slack lines. To me there are a couple of different aspects to drift; one when you are surfing the wave it's ability to pace you and stay in the air without thinking about it too much; two when you go straight down the line or run straight at the kite you shouldn't need to be pulling on the centre lines to keep it in the air. The religion does tend to fall backwards a bit rather than drift, whereas the Neo will just flat out fall out of the sky if you go too slack lined on it. Having said that both kites drift really well as you would expect for wave kites.

Turning speed on the religion is again a quantum difference with the Neo. I was on the 7 religion and it performed similar to my 5 Neo. What really rocked my world was it's ability to turn with slack lines, charging at the kite you could still get it to rapidly turn. This aspect really made my day as I really like to work the kite on a wave rather than just park it.

The range on the Religion was quite impressive, something I was particularly concerned about not being able to demo before I bought. The Neo has epic range to it, it is one of those kites where you can get away with a single kite quiver quite easily. The religion is totally different in the way it flys to the Neo so it's hard to make a comparison. You would be tempted to say that the Neo has a better bottom end but I think that would be confusing the instant on power of the Neo with the dynamic power of the religion. With the 7 religion I was having a great time at 16 knots as I was at 25 knots, being 95 kg that's a pretty good endorsement for the kite I reckon.

Self launching and landing both kites were pretty much of a muchness. The only thing that I really don't like about the religion is the inflation valve. It appears as though you're just meant to use the twist on end of the pump with out any attachments but it kept coming off as the kite pumped up.. hopefully someone on here can set me straight as to whether I should be using an attachment or not. The valve comes to bite you again when you go to pack it up. You unscrew the whole valve to let the air out which exposes the bladder to the beach if you let down on the sand. Although the Neo valve became a bit finicky with age it worked really well in this department. Having to get all the air out and then put the valve back in slows down your packup somewhat but I'm sure I'll sort something out with more time.

As for construction, it's hard to tell with kites until that time you use it as a sea anchor to pull you into shore after being munched by a super set. The Neos were absolutely bullet proof in this department, the amount of times I thought it should split but didn't is a credit to their build process. The religion uses Dacron as well as D2, it looks pretty tough but time will tell.

All in all after day one, a very satisified kiter!

DJMWA
WA, 290 posts
17 Mar 2019 7:02AM
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Thx for the write up mate, who needs to demo when we have you and Andre!
i know it's still early days yet but is there much overlap between sizes 2m apart. (Ie could you get away with a 6 and 9 or a 10.5 and a 7 instead of a 5,7, 9 etc.)
obviously Id prefer to go the three kites but finances may not allow it.
(80-85 kgs yanchep/lanno strapless with next to no downwinders.)

Dl33ta
TAS, 459 posts
17 Mar 2019 3:30PM
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Select to expand quote
DJMWA said..
Thx for the write up mate, who needs to demo when we have you and Andre!
i know it's still early days yet but is there much overlap between sizes 2m apart. (Ie could you get away with a 6 and 9 or a 10.5 and a 7 instead of a 5,7, 9 etc.)
obviously Id prefer to go the three kites but finances may not allow it.
(80-85 kgs yanchep/lanno strapless with next to no downwinders.)


Lol thanks mate.

Yeah too early for me to say yet have only pumped up the 7 so far. With the Neo's I always thought the 5 and 8 would have been a good option on the Sunny coast for downwinders. In Tassy I would ride a 7 most of the time and the Religion 7 will no doubt be my most used covering 18-25 zone. Being a bit lighter I'm assuming 6 would be your main and if you like the light wind side of things a 9. I personally don't like going bigger than a 9, they seem to get unweildy regardless of the brand.



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