Hello Alan. Apologies for the delay in responding. I’ll answer your last question first. We worked with VA Composites, who now owns the Rapport brand, to develop the Core Blue product line. Our combined experience in the industry and realizing the need for a high performance product that is more affordable was what lead to discussions and ultimately what we now have. Super excited about the product. A lot of data evaluation and testing went into what we ended up with.
In comparing the Rapport with the Kuro Kage, I would say the Rapport is slightly softer in the butt and mid section, and is similar in the tip section in the R flexes, but slightly stiffer in the S flexes. I have always felt many shaft manufacturers make performance shafts too firm in the butt and mid sections, and often too stiff in the tip section as well. Although a lot of the feel and control can come from the tip section, we have found that by making butt section and mid section a little more average in stiffness for any given flex, we can make the tip section as firm or firmer and still maintain excellent feel and control. We have a data base of thousands of shafts and when I say “average” it means the profiles in each section would fall in the average range of all R flexes or S flexes. More of the higher performance shafts we have seen over the years are on the stiff side of this average. Based on our data and testing, we feel Rapport dialed in a great combination of flexural stiffness and torsional stiffness along the entire profile that provides great feel and performance.
The Rapport Fairway was developed specifically for fairway woods, which simply means we started with shorter blanks and tested with FW wood head weights to evaluate the ball flight dynamics. We did not just take a driver shaft and trim it to accommodate FW woods. This does not mean you can’t get good or equal performance from simply cutting a 46″ driver shaft for a fairway, but we asked for and Rapport provided a Fairway specific offering based on data we provided, and they did. We are pleased with the results.
So, the Kuro Kage is a great product and we are still big fans of it. The new Rapport is just that, new, with a little different profile but should provide just as good performance as you can get with any shaft if fit properly. One note, the Kuro Kage is a counterbalanced shaft. The Rapport shaft does have a “CB” option in the wood shaft that is also slightly counterbalanced.
Sorry for the long post. Hope it helps.