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DESIGNER’S CORNER: 2011 Slingshot RPM

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Name: RPM
Category: Open-C
Sizes Available:  4.5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14m
Release Date: January 2011

2011 Slingshot RPM

The RPM is Slingshot’s most tuneable kite for 2011 and features a three-strut design built on an Open-C kite platform. With great all around features that suit kiters of all skill levels, the biggest change to the 2011 model is the reintroduction of Splitstut along with some tweaks to performance, the bridle, and bar. Designer Amery Bernard tells us more about the RPM, now in its third year of refinement.

Does the 2011 RPM feature fine tuning over the 2010 version or was it majorly redesigned?

We’ve had a lot of success with the RPM from previous years so we didn’t want to make any radical changes to it. Our main goal was to add Splitstrut, giving it more structure and durability. Beyond that, we changed the profiles to improve performance.

Slingshot brought back the Splitstrut design for the 2011 RPM and Rally kites. Why bring it back now?

We moved away from Splitstrut in 2008 due to construction costs. It was one of the more complex features of the kite build and slowed down production, making prices higher. Also, at the time, kite design was changing at a rapid pace and the platform race took much more attention than build details did. Recently we redesigned our Splitstrut build to make it simpler and more cost effective, so the kite gains more structure and durability without much of the associated cost.

Pro rider Youri Zoon just won the PKRA in Argentina on the new RPM. Many pros are die hard C-kite fans.  Why does Youri ride the RPM versus the Fuel?

That was the big challenge for us, making a bridled kite that actually provided the function that a pro would be looking for as well as the ease of use that an intermediate would enjoy. We recruited Youri to help achieve this. With his C-kite riding expertise we developed a kite that truly does have C-kite performance and all the unhooked madness that you would want. The feedback from Youri has been stellar. After all, he’s the one who helped make it!

What are the biggest changes that existing RPM riders will notice on the 2011 kite?

The biggest changes are more power in the jumps and more yank in the loops while maintaining the unhooked performance that it has become known for. Also, the addition of Splitstrut gives it smoother turns for really even power delivery.

With the return of the Splitstrut design on the RPM, the 2011 kite has more structure and durability which help make it turn smoother with more even power delivery. Photo Adam Uyemura

The 2010 RPM featured Slingshot’s completely new Comp Stick bar. Will the 2011 RPM have a new bar?

The bar is essentially the same, with all the function and simplicity that it had in the past. The changes include a redesigned quick release handle that is more durable than before. Also, the trim handle was changed so it takes much less effort to adjust.

Did the bridle change?

The bridle has been refined to accommodate for the slight canopy changes that we made, but the overall configuration has stayed the same. The Full Suspension Bridle is a major reason the kite performs like it does. Essentially, the bridle keeps the front tow points further out towards the wingtips, much like a C-kite, but the bridle still also provides all of the depower and relaunch that you would expect out of a modern kite. This proprietary bridle is small and compact and doesn’t have any chance of wrapping if you ever tumble your kite.

Do you have any tuning tips for riders?

The RPM has the most tuning options out of any kite in our line. There are two options for the front bridle attachment points. The freestyle (stock) setting allows the kite to turn with more of a pivot, providing a tighter turning radius, good especially in the waves. The wakestyle setting makes the turns of the kite carve like a C-kite. There are four options on the rear attachment points. The further back the less bar pressure and kite feedback you get. Further forward gives you more bar pressure and feedback. C-kite riders mainly prefer settings further forward.

Both the RPM and Rally kites are three-strut designs. Are the differences between the two kites minor or major? What would make the RPM a better choice for a rider than the Rally?

There is a lot of overlap in performance from both the Rally and RPM. They cross over into all disciplines of kiting and both do a really good job at freeride, freestyle, wakestyle, and surf. But there are differences and they can be pretty major if you’re picky about what you want the kite to do. The Rally has more grunt and upwind ability. It does best with a hooked in style and is good for racing and big lofty jumps. The RPM has less grunt and more slip at the edge of the window. You can control a lot of the power by edging your board.

Are there any other construction or performance features you’d like to call out?

Another feature we really like is our Center Safety System. It is a very simple, uncluttered, convenient, and proven safety system with a below the bar connection point that kills the kite upon firing and is easily put back together.

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