At the risk of being totaly flamed as the word on the street is that many brands are quite threatend by the New RRD TYpe 6, I will give my review.
The kites I have flown this year:
Airush Lift Pro
North Rhino 4
RRD Type Z
RRD Type 6
All the new kites are great with a few acceptions. Last year, as did many, I prefered a high aspect kite with a small board and lot's of fin. I was in to boosting huge airs. Things changed this year. I like to ride with more speed and use chop to throw down more wake style tricks. About the only time I send my kite naymore is for kiteloops and transitions. So for me, this year the lower aspect kites that sit further back in the window and give you better pop are my choice. Every once in a while I still like to send big airs but all that requires is going out lit up on my lower aspect kites. So here;s the deal with the RRD Type 6:
Construction: Totally bomber with more panels than I have ever seen in the canopy. There is a 4 inch piece of Dakron attached to the leading edge bladder that the canopy material attaches to. This allows for less wear and if you have a tear in the canopy close tot he leading edge you do not need to remove the leading edge to repair it.
The kite is built so stiff that it flies best if you pump 8 psi into to struts and 7 psi into the leading edge. It has a nice big drain valve for deflation.
Turning: This kite turns faster than any kite I have flown. The North Vegas used to take the cake on this one but the Type 6 is the new leader. The kite delivers a smooth pull through the turns (not the jerky allways on of some of the higher aspect kites) I am finally no longer getting worked by my kiteloops as I usually land now with the kite over my head.
Range: These kites have great range. They turn so fast that the low end is huge. I find that in most cases I can make either of two close sizes work for different styles of riding. When unzipped the kite becomes a bit more dynamic. It absorbs the gusts and moves around quite a bit. THis can seem a little unnerving but it really does drop down the kite by atleast one size.
Water relaunch: I have had no problems relaunching these kites but I have noticed that certain technique will get it up faster as is the case with a lot of the new kites. You want to work both outside lines when it is on it;s back and swin hard to the side of the window to keep tension on the lines.
Jumps: These kites take some technique to really boost huge but what you will notice from teh very first jump on these is that you can leave the kite behind you for virtually the entire jump and sweep it back for a smooth landing right before you touch down. When I have gone out lit on the TYpe 6 I have had some of the biggest airs of the year.
Upwind: I believe that being an efficient upwind rider has more to do with going upwind than the ktie itself but I have found that I can point a lot higher than most people while on the Type 6. Now this is usually the case on any kite that I ride so I would say that I would only notice if it lacked in upwind performance. It has a lot to do with how I set my bar up and how I ride my board.
Waveriding: I have only had two sessions in the waves on the Type 6 and am still waiting to get that 9m session in the waves. That is where we will really be able to judge this kite. I usually don't like riding anything bigger than a 12m in the waves but the 15m Type 6 and a skim board changed that for me. I was able to loop the 15m going down the line of the shorebreak and get many top turns and bottom turns. I had one session on my 12m in the waves and this was the best yet. IT is super fast and does not stall as you are making your top turn or bottom turn. When you loop it on a turn there is no delay which is key to real wave riding.
I have ridden a lot of kites this year and this is my favorite so far. The Vegas was my previous favorite high performance lower aspect kite. I also like the SLingshots a lot. Right now I have settled on the Type 6, GK, and Caution. The TYpe 6 is at the top of my list though as it feels like it has the latest technology into it and thus serious performance advantages.
Here is a picture of me finishing a kiteloop on the Type 6 12m