2004 Slingshot One Pump Thoughts
Took the 04 Fuel 15m to the beach yesterday. The wind died, but I decided to pump up and check out the new bar and new kite features. Everyone was surprised by how thin the struts were. The split struts are a lot smaller than the 2003 kites, and other kites on the market.
Pumping up the kite:
The pump now has a metal shaft (very nice) and a gauge to indicate the pressure (very nice). The kite didn't come with a manual so I "winged" it. THe first thing I noticed was the two valves on the LE - one for inflation, one for deflation. The inflation valve is normal-size, with an air-ball stopper to prevent the air from leaking out once the valve is removed (no pinching required). The other valve is over-sized to allow the air to exit the kite quickly.
I leashed the pump to the kite with provided leash (which is not long enough, but this can be changed easily). SInce it was short, as the kite was pumping up, as the struts filled, they pushed the kite away from the pump. THe one pump feature was GREAT. I unrolled the kite, leashed it, and pumped it. At first the struts didn't fill, but then I just unclipped each and they started to fill. I pumped the kite to about 6.5-7 psi and it seemed to work really well.
Launching the kite:
The struts at this pressure were a little "limp" near the LE which made the kite more apt to collapse when facing the wind in the sand (not a problem). When launched (in roughly 6-8mph - a 21m cabrinha could not launch 50 feet away), the kite was really stiff and launched right away. The integrated strut seemed to make the canopy really rigid. Why do I think this? In winds very difficult to keep the kite in the air, the fuel 15m was turning SUPER fast. One guy came up and asked if it was a 12m kite.
Packing up the kite:
Packing up the kite was a bit more difficult with the one-pump. The valved on the struts, even unclipped, were still holding some air in them so I had to empty each of them by running my flattened palm across each one to the leading edge. Not a big deal, but I'm thinking as the clips get a little used, they will free up a little more. Without the carbon spars in the ends, the kite packed up very small. Even the bag supplied with the kite was 2/3 to 1/2 the size of the 2003 15m fuel that we had on the beach. The bar fit nicely into the side pocket and there was still plenty of room for another kite and stuff in this bag, if you wished.
Better chicken loop release, better safety, new front line swivel, better leaders, better kite attachments (lines were pre-strung on the bar) and the lines are now opposite so you can't attache the fronts to the rears, and vice-versa. Much safer for beginners (though a manual would have been nice). I guess I should have downloaded it from the website if I thought it was really important.
All in all, I am really looking forward to some wind to ride this kite.