Rebel 2021 - Behind the design with Ken Winner

Duotone Kiteboarding designer-interview Rebel 2021

Ken Winner believes that kiteboarding is arguably the most amazing equipment sport ever. “It’s amazing how a 10 lb piece of equipment can take a 200lb person 50 ft in the air.” We agree, there’s nothing quite like it and there’s nothing like the legendary Rebel in the world of kiteboarding.

Our longstanding line of kites has been key in the evolution of our sport, opening up new ways to ride and creating new disciplines at the hands of innovative athletes. As the only brand with two kite designers, twenty years of experience, incredible engineers, R&D team and world class team riders, the Rebel is core to Duotone and our global community.

Here we go behind the design of the 2021 Rebel; a design that proves how nothing will slow us down in setting the tone for the future of our sport.

duotone kiteboarding designer interview rebel 2021

Hi Ken, what was the goal for the 2021 Rebel?


We wanted to make the Rebel a little quicker and easier through the turning; more playful and dynamic when airborne.


How did you achieve this sportier feel?


It’s surprising how small changes have big effects. For example, we made the overall arc of the Rebel narrower than before. This achieved the playfulness we were looking for, but it ruined the jumping. In order to combat this, we had to make some small changes to the geometry which got us back on track with the boosting and hangtime capabilities.

duotone kiteboarding designer interview rebel 2021

2021 is the year of materials for Duotone. How does this apply to the Rebel?

It’s all about balance. We went for a lighter Dacron material in the Rebel. After all, using a lighter kite is always a nicer experience, as long as it’s durable and robust.

The Dacron material in the Leading Edge is reinforced with a self-sticking Insignia Tape and double stitching. The Heavy Duty Leading Edge Closing Seam is resistant to very high tensions and diagonal forces

We’ve had a lot of success using the Trinity TX canopy material in this model so far, so we decided to continue with this and focus on the detailed upgrades and handling of the Rebel through other design features.

For 2021, we have a lighter, stiffer Rebel with an incredible wind range and a need to fly.


Did you have to overcome any challenges with the materials?

There’s always some bumps in the road when implementing new materials since they all have different stretch properties. If you take a material that has less stretch on the warp, then you have to compensate it by tensioning on the canopy.

Talk us through the detailed updates of the 2021 Rebel.

Complementing the stiff, 5-Strut frame are the Flex Struts. The softer material enables the Flex Struts to bend and twist in a defined way which translates into smooth, fast and reactive turning actions.

As kite geometry improves, the canopy needs to resist increasing forces. Load-Distribution-Panels are used to hold the kite’s shape even under the most extreme loads. This gives smooth and consistent performance in any riding situation.

The Leading Edge of the Rebel is extremely durable due to the self sticking, double-stitched Insignia Tape which is resistant to high tensions and diagonal forces.

How did you make sure that the 2021 Rebel, feels like a true Duotone Rebel?


Kite feedback and bar pressure are our number one focus. I do a lot of testing with Sky Solbach and he has a real talent for finding that perfect balance between sheeting force and steering force. If one is too light and the other too hard, there’s a direct impact on the overall potential and performance of the kite. Additionally, it changes the feel at the bar all together. We have always been a brand that looks to deliver that true Duotone feel throughout the whole range of kites. When you know, you know, you know?

duotone kiteboarding designer interview rebel 2021
duotone kiteboarding designer interview rebel 2021

Who will enjoy the 2021 Rebel?

The Rebel is the best kite for big boosting and huge hangtime. Built with everyone in mind, it can harness the power of the lightest breezes and hold its own in the gusty conditions. Strong and powerful for the bigger riders who like to crank up the power and ride hard. Smooth and dynamic for sending it in strong winds.