Flew the Rebel yesterday in Boston.
Pro: Faster than 2016, definitely jumps higher. 9 and 12m just a bit faster. 7m significantly faster. The 9 and 12 are also more stable than 2016/17 in flight and during landing. Fantastic hangtime with pillow plush landings - also better than 2016/17.
Con: That 5 line take-you-by-the-back-of-your-neck-and-throw-you-up feeling is still there, but just a taaaaad less. Maybe the same... Not enough to make it solidly noticeable. It's replaced by a more agile, more solid, better boosting kite. I loved the 2016 9m Rebel, but after flying the new ones sold all 2016 rebels and switched to 2018.
The only real bad thing is with the 7m. The 7 does not give plush landings anymore for some reason - it's faster, boosts huge, but drops you out of the sky on boosts over 35ft. You most certainly need to loop the 7m if boosting over 40. Scary to boost big on the 7m for me right now, hopefully I'll get used to it - coming back to the twintip after year of just foiling.
For those missing the 5 line kite - I was one of you a few weeks ago. The Rebel feel is still totally there. It's better. They didn't turn it into the Switchblade, that's what I was afraid of.
North did a great job - credit given where it's due.
If I nitpick, the 7m landing is a bit messed up. But it may be a matter of getting used to new timings and moving the smaller kite back and forth when landing.
Curious to the thoughts of the people that got a chance to ride and compare years.