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"2004 Slingshot One Pump and Split Strut Thoughts - October 12th"

Took the 2004 Slingshot Fuel 15m kite to the beach yesterday with the 2004 SX 139 kiteboard. 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 2004 Slingshot Fuel 15m 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 2004 Slingshot Fuel 15m 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 2004 Slingshot Fuel 15m 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.

The bar:
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.

"19M 2004 Slingshot Fuel Review - September 5th, 2003"

Sweet. Stable. Smooth. At the Grand Haven King of the Air Great Lakes event, we had the opportunity to check out the 2004 Slingshot Fuel 19m kite.

This kite generated good grunt and lift. The kite was very stable in the air and had a nice smooth trigger to power up the kite. The kite turned fast and is certainly a lighter, by a factor, than its 2003 counterpart. The construction of the kite was the same as the 2003, very tough, using the best materials and reinforcing everything. Even then, the kite weighed less. In about 10-12kts, on the LFT and the 2004 Fuel 19m, I was able to fly upwind, get enough height to do some 360s, 720s, and some flips off waves. During gusts, the kite flew forward well and didn't pull me too hard (though the winds were admittedly light-there were some wind channels out there). In typical Slingshot style, Slingshot is going to deliver kites for 2004 that are going to set the bar higher. Here's a photo of the 2004 19m Fuel kite in flight showing the split strut

"19M 2003 Slingshot Fuel"

May 3rd, 2003 - We held our annual swap meet today at Montrose Beach in Chicago.  The wind was marginal all day, but perfect for the people that were new to the sport and wanted to try trainer kites.  The B2's and B3's had no problem flying enough to keep people entertained without pulling them around too much.  Sitting in the grass all morning while the swap meet was taking place, we wondered if there was enough wind to ride on the water.  The flag was flapping a bit, but not very much.  The wind off the lake was cool and we knew that the cold wind has often fooled us into getting into the water for nothing.  Around 2:30, I had finished rigging all my new equipment and packed up for the swap meet.  A Slingshot rider from Minneapolis (Joe) showed up with his 19M kite, SX 141 board, and was going to try to get out on the water.  He weighed more than me, so when I saw him riding I decided to give it a try.  After pumping up and getting ready to go, I noticed Joe had come in, probably due to a lack of wind.  In fact, nobody was on the water anymore, the wind had dropped to about 8 mph.  Since I had a new bar setup (Ocean Rodeo Joystick) and harness (felix pivec with swivel hook),  I figured I would head out anyway with my 19M Slingshot Fuel and Slingshot LFT board to battle the light wind.  I am 185 lbs., and to my surprise, I was riding immediately!  The wind was directly onshore, making for some small waves and difficulty getting offshore, but I could ride upwind just enough to keep heading out.  After about 5 or 6 tacks, I was halfway out the Montrose seawall.  I decided to press my luck and see if there was any chance to jump.  Bad Idea, after a few tries (getting no air), I decided to go partly downwind to get speed and then force the kite way back to jump.  Of course I got way ahead of the kite and it dumped into the water.  To my surprise, it took me about 2 minutes to relaunch the 19M high aspect kite in 8 mph!  I was amazed and decided to see how far upwind I could get.  On my next two or three tacks I focused only on getting upwind as far as possible.  I was already out at the end of the seawall.  I have no idea, but I'm guessing it's about 200 yards out into the water.  Once I got out there, the waves were too big to deal with in the light wind so I just rode back and forth a bunch, getting used to my new bar, harness, and swivel, which were all real nice!  The swivel works great, the harness didn't ride up one inch (a major improvement from the DaKine I was using), and the bar felt great in my hands.  It was actually a breeze to turn the 19M kite back and forth with the 60cm bar.  The bar also features a safety release that will completely detach you from the kite by just pushing away forcefully.  Anyway, the 19M Slingshot Fuel in combination with the Slingshot LFT board allows me to ride upwind in 8 mph directly onshore wind, fighting against the waves to get out.  This is something I did not have a prayer to do at Montrose last year and I think it is going to greatly increase the amount of days I get on the water this summer!

We are expecting 15-20 mph SE wind today, which means dead flat water and 11-15M kites, can't wait to get out there!

"Slingshot 2003 Kite Review...#3"

February 2003 - The location for this review was Puerto Rico where Brandon and I got a chance to fly the 11m, 15m, 17m, and 19m sizes of 2003 Slingshot Inflatable kites all being ridden with a Jarvis Skate-style 157cm board. The locals haven't seen the new Slingshot kites yet, and from the comments, they seemed to be impressed with them sitting in the sand. Comments about the construction, stiffness, the graphics and how quick the turned were common. The 19m was 21.5 flat and one guy was really surprised when we told him that since he thought it turned very fast for the 6kts wind we had one morning. He thought it turned as fast as a 14-16m kite in higher winds.

The kites performed really well. The 19m and 15m were never dropped, but the 11m and 17m were, and both were relaunched within a minute, or two, by pulling the bar up over your head, then moving it quickly forward while giving a few kicks toward the kite. It took a couple tries, but the kite eventually flipped and then relaunch happened within seconds.

Stable flight and good gust handling. The kites dropped from spins that were executed poorly and steering the kite the wrong way into the water, instead of up. Upwind ability on the 17m, 15m and 11m were all very good. Hangtime for the 17m was the best, in my opinion. Brandon may feel differently as I'm sure hell put up a review soon. Construction looked great with Mark Cloth along the battens, folded over taped and sewn seams on the main panels and trailing edge, velcro pull straps on all the valves, and smooth batten tubes to lessen drag. The graphics, in my opinion, are the best of any kite brand on the market. Very similar to the 2002, the colors and graphics look great. Color combinations we've seen are:

1) red-white-blue
2) blue-dark blue-light blue
3) orange-black-white
4) orange-black-gray

The 11m is by far the most fun kite for winds 20-25kts. Its fast, powerful and a beauty to fly. The 17m depower was incredible. I rode the 17m myself in winds gusting to 24kts when everyone else was on 12m and 14m kites. The 19m bag held a 19m kite, the 15m and the 11m kite. The 17m bag held the 11m and 7m, additionally, so they can be really stuffed without worry of tearing any threading. The weight was pretty significant, too, and the straps were still fairly comfortable walking on the beach with so much gear (including vest, harness, bar/lines, etc.) strapped to your back. One of the locals in Puerto Rico asked if they were after-market bags that we bought separately and was really surprised to learn they were the stock bags that came with each kite.

"Slingshot 2003 Kite Review...#2"

November 2002 - Slingshot 2003 11m Fuel Kite review. Since last month's review of the 17m Fuel, wind has picked up. The 11m kite is also more stable than the previous versions of Slingshot inflatables. The construction is equally impressive as the 17m, although the leading edge bladder has only one inflate/deflate valve unlike the 17m, which has two. But, the 11m Fuel inflated quickly and deflated quickly, too. The new bag allowing for the struts to be pre-inflated before hitting the beach was a nice option. The 11m Fuel was quick to setup as a result, with the leading edge taking only a couple minutes to pump up with the oversized pump.

The performance was smooth. The only problem I noticed was the kite's tendency (when you let go of the bar) to drift down from its "locked" position at the edge of the window. Several times I had to reach up and steer the kite back up a bit before it hit the water. However, this could have been due to my static loop not being centered on the bar, so it pulled slightly to one side.

It turns fast for the settings I was using, but not too fast. The lift was great. My timing was better this time so the jumps were bigger and more consistent. Great rides through the waves with nice power to push right through 2-3 foot chop without much kite movement. The reponse helped on carving and small wave riding. The line settings could have been tuned easily to change the characteristics of the kite, as well. The one-finger release tabs on the valves were great for deflating quicky in the cold weather.

"2003 Guerilla ARC Kite Review from Peter Lynn..."

November 2002 - The 2003 Peter Lynn Guerilla ARC G10 arrived recently and we had the pleasure to test the kite's performance. Wow! Fast response, fast kite, loads of depower and overall excellent performance. For the size, it doesn't generate as much power as you'd think for its size, but the speed and turning make up for it. It likes loads of wind, this kite. The kite likes to be locked in and doesn't stall in the turns at all - for a foil this is unique! The throw is only 4 inches, about, so precision riding with the bar, compared to the standard ARCs is a necessity, and very easily gotten used to. The short movement of the bar allows for easy depower and power up, as well.

"Slingshot 2003 Kite Review..."

October 2002 - We have finally received and compiled a review of the Slingshot 2003 kites and equipment. The conditions warranted that I use the 17m Slingshot for good power. At Michigan City Beach, the conditions were:

Wind 12-16mph
Direction WSW
Waves 0.5-2ft
Air 40-45 deg F
Water 42 deg F

The Bag - First impressions are the bag. It has a handle, a shoulderstrap, backpack and clip. It has a separate chamber for your bar/lines/leash and both ends open with one end being expandable to allow storage of the kite with the struts inflated. There is also an ID tag pouch with a clear plastic viewframe.

The Kite - As I was pulling the kite out I already noticed a big difference in the construction with this kite when compared to the 2001 and 2002 kite lines. The kite is built like a rock. The materials are bomber, with folded seams. The valves have a triple velcro seal with one functioning as a pull tab to easily remove the plug. All the tips were extended and reinforced with extra reinforcements along any "touch points" where the kite may contact sand frequently for launching/landing. The battens are rods, not bladder, which is nice. They are very stiff. Unpacking and packing the kite today was easy. The pump functioned well and has Slingshot graphics on it.

The Performance - I've been flying ARCs for a while so my timing was off today for jumps, but it had great lift. The depower was very adequate. I had the front lines connected to the most forward attachments, and the rears attached at the rear TE of the kite. This should give me "medium" turning with the least depower. What I found was the depower was quite efficient with these settings. The steering was extremely responsive, and for a flat 18m kite, I was amazed at the speed at which it cranked around. I was using a 28" bar with the kite. It was turning 50% faster than the 15m ARC I typically fly. This kite turns FAST and I was dramatically surprised. Through the turns, there was a little less power, but there wasn't really any stalling of the kite which impressed me as well.

I was riding the 157 Jarvis at first, on the low end of the wind, with it building. I was able to hold wind when it was blowing, but would be pulled downwind a bit on the gusts. After about 5-6 tacks out and back, I decided to switch to the 169 LFT (which was probably when I should have been switching from the LFT to the Jarvis). I was well powered and could sheet out to depower at the edge of the window and crank upwind. The kite loves speed with these line settings. Jumping the kite with the LFT was a bit tricky due to my not being used to the timing and the bar pressure required to get the most performance from an inflatable.

At the end of the session which was about an hour, my arms were not sore, but my legs were a bit. So the bar pressure wasn't as bad as I was imagining compared to the ARC.

The kite didn't go down once, even with a dozen, or so, failed jump attempts and lost boards. I'll get some more pictures of the kite construction soon.

"Ocean Rodeo PYRO Dry Suit..."

October 2002 - The O.R. Pyro Drysuit is a kite specific drysuit with very tough construction and duability, but designed for mobility. We found the drysuit to be very mobile, and very warm. Its been worn in 30-50 degree F weather (air) and water temps down to 45 so far. No complains so far. At one point, after changing out of the drysuit, a tester wanted to put it back on because he was warmer in the drysuit, than in his clothes and winter jacket! The stretch panels in the knee are very effective. So far, the arm, ankle and neck seals have worked well and very little, or no water, was present after 4-5 hour sessions on and off the water. In one test spot, rocks and shells were present in shallow water. Being dragged across the area, we all expected some damage to the butt of the drysuit, but to our surprise, there was none. Over all, we are all very impressed so far. More to come and additional pictures coming in a couple days...

Additional Comments: December - Having used the Pyro Drysuit now for a half-dozen sessions this winter season down to 35 degrees F, the frysuit is very warm and toasty. Flexibility and build continue to please me more and more. The distance from the inseam to the neck is good and roomy to allow you to crunch up to get your board on and do tricks without having the neckseam pull on your neck from the suit being too tight in maximized situations... 

"Little Fat Twin..."

August 2002 - This tester board is 167cm by 49 cm and 3cm thick. The sizing will be the production sizing. The thickness and width is the key for the light wind performance. Its a relatively short board for light wind, with extra volume in the body for initial float. The fin setup contains the same versatility of the Slingshot Skate Series (Jarvis, Drake, Zepplin) boards utilizing 6 fins instead of four, with four of them on the heel side edge. This setup gives you the same abilities to change the style of ride of the board, but we felt it rode really well with the fin placement as in the photo below. The board will ride faster without the two wakeboard fins. The edge is tapered so the material's thickness at the edge is the same as the Jarvis and other boards, giving a nicer sharp edge to carve it. This board, with its additional thickness, requires the use of more hip-twisting, liking to be ridden more prominently in that skate-style stance, where there's a balance between the edge and fin use, and turning the hips upwind. Here's some graphics of the board shape, fin placement, and sizing comparison to the Zepplin.

 

The LFT performs really well in waves, as well. On small 2-3 footers in light winds, the board really carves well and carries a nice stance. Its surprisingly maneuverable considering its volume and width and felt for its size, the Little Fat Twin certainly deserves kudos for performing so well in all conditions. Doyle deserves credit for this light-wind machine. Riding down the line, the large board gives you even more of a surf-board style feel for those coming from a surfing background. Bottom turns and backside lip-smacks aren't a problem. The board will come around well, using a little more edge in the bottom turn with some hip movement. With a rounded rail on a surfboard, the larger fins make it an easy task. With the LFT with smaller fins and sharper edge, the board will carve around for you using extra edge when you need it making it a fine choice for small wave riding in light winds.

 




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