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2014 Buyer’s Guide: Slingshot

 

Photo Mo Lelli

Photo Mo Lelli

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Get full 2014 gear info from 28 brands in the TKB 2014 Buyer’s Guide.

For 2014 Slingshot is particularly excited to introduce state-of-the-art laser cutting technology to their twin tip line which allows them to produce products with even more precise construction than before at their in-house board factory in Washington. Slingshot’s Mauricio Abreu walks us through the major changes to the line including the new Rally, updated Compstick control bar, and two new surf models.

Slingshot has a new Rally for 2014. Are the changes minor or major?
The Rally got a major revamp this year. We tweaked the platform, profile section, and LE diameter and ended up with a kite with a huge wind range and an incredibly smooth feel. You can carry each size well beyond our recommended wind speed when you have to. We added slightly wider wingtips to make it turn faster than last year and the steering lines now have three attachment points for more tuning options. Surf-tough seam reinforcing is used along the leading edge canopy seams to increase durability. To complete the package, our all-new graphics give the kite a fresh look that really makes it stand out on the water.

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Slingshot completely revamped its control bar. What changed?
Our focus on the 2014 Compstick bar was to update the Guardian safety release system. We retained the proven existing design but updated every component. Most obvious is the addition of a soft-touch rubber texture on the release handle for a confident grip during a release situation. On the inside we refined the super-strong stainless steel driveshaft by adding a new frictionless surface for the trim rope path plus a new rubber handle to make kite trim adjustments on the fly very easy.

A specially-shaped stainless steel release trigger along with a new friction-reducing Delrin roller means it will always fire at that critical time when you need it to. Overall the package has been refined with a sleek new look plus a bonus is that it’s 20% lighter. At the same time we have not sacrificed any of the rock-solid reliability and proven simplicity of the old system.

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For 2014, Slingshot added two new surf models to the line, the T-Rex and the Space Pickle WVX. What kind of rider and conditions is each board targeted at?
The T-Rex is a progressive design inspired by hydrodynamics to improve speed and weight distribution. It fits perfectly with the new trend of onshore aerial maneuvers. The T-Rex also comes with the new Versa Fin system that allows the rider to choose the fin configurations based on personal preference and/or riding conditions. Riders that prefer riding straps and powered up riding may choose to ride a five-fin setup while more traditional riders may choose the thruster or quad setup. For unique flat water fun you can even ride the T-Rex as a twin fin for a really loose feel.

The Space Pickle (SP) has been gaining a reputation as a fun, dynamic wave catcher in our wakesurf and SUP product categories for the last few years, so this year we finally decided to bring the SP to our true surf lineup where it was originally developed. The 2014 Space Pickle offers the control and stability of a longboard with the agility and performance of a shortboard, making the SP a great option for those light wind days and fun small surf conditions.

Photo Mo Lelli

Photo Mo Lelli

Were any changes made to the Tyrant and Celeritas surfboards? Who are these boards best suited for?
We had great success with these two designs, but for 2014 we knew that we had to make a few updates. We focused on refining the durability to performance ratio to provide a strong board with the feel of a custom board. The Fluid X technology played a big roll in that. We also collaborated with pro surfer Phil Goodrich in regards to the graphics. Phil is an artist and has been surfing the Tyrant for few years now and it just felt right to let him express his art on these shapes.

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The Vision will be the first board in your lineup using your new laser cutter. Where does it fit in the total line?
The Vision is the proven result of our riders’ feedback and our technological improvements. Inspired by the performance and versatility of the RPM kite, the Vision was created to bridge the gap between competitive and recreational riding. Last year we really focused on gathering feedback from a wide range of riders from wakestyle masters Sam Light and Alex Fox to PKRA contender Victor Hays to passionate everyday riders. To be able to deliver that type of precision we also knew we had to improve the way we built the boards.

We invested in state-of-the-art laser cutting technology that allowed us to create the first ever bonzer channel configuration on a full wood core board. That, combined with all its other features, made the Vision one of the most versatile boards for all ability levels and styles. Another cool feature of the Vision is its graphics. When we were developing the board we realized that Tony Logosz is not only a great designer but also a great photographer. With the help of pro-rider/artist Alex Fox we created the first ever art collaboration between designer/photographer and rider/artist and we feel the results are pretty cool.

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Both the Asylum and Misfit boards were updated. What changed?
The Asylum was a big hit among our pro riders as well as everyday core riders. Its full wood core has been refined to create even more flex and pop. The rails have been made thicker to create more surface area for a firm grip and clean release off the water. The boxier shape feels softer and more playful through the water while making the board stronger. Its refined channels are now made using our new laser cutter. The Misfit’s ultra-light all wood core provides the liveliest feel ever and it continues to deliver top-level performance while remaining very user friendly and offering exceptional upwind ability. Its channels are also made using our new precision laser cutter for a more precise construction resulting in cleaner takeoffs, smoother landings, better response, and added stability.

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Slingshot offers three different types of boot bindings, the Joint, the RAD, and the KTV. What differentiates each from the other?
Our binding line is constantly improving and this year we have something for everyone. The Joint continues to bridge the gap between strap and boot users. It offers the comfort, performance, and support of a boot while maintaining the safety and ease of use that riders love about straps. It’s a no-compromise product that is designed to push your riding to the next level. The RAD boot has been completely redesigned to fit riders’ needs. It combines technology and comfort into one simple durable binding. We removed the upper ankle lacing system and replaced it with a no-fuss Velcro system.

This new simplistic design accompanied by our proprietary heel hold down system and baseless foot bed makes the RAD the ultimate kiteboarding boot. The KTV returned this year by popular demand. With our Trifecta Velcro strap closure system, a binding has never been easier to get into. The KTV is a low profile, form fitting binding that will allow riders more comfort and performance than any other boot. Simplicity reigns supreme and the KTV has become the perfect balance of simplicity and technology.

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Slingshot unveils its product line in two release cycles. We’ve discussed the summer releases and the upcoming new Vision board. What else is coming in the spring?
Starting in January we will be releasing the new RPM, Fuel, and Turbine kites along with the rest of our surf and twin tip boards. The 2014 RPM is our most refined kite ever. We made improvements and subtle refinements focusing on improving the performance and durability of the design and added a new 11m size to the line. Our light wind kite, the Turbine, will maintain its Open Delta C platform but it did go through some big refinements to improve its range and performance.

The Crisis twin tip will return for 2014 with its trademark smoothness and soft flex. A freeride board, it performs at any level in any conditions with its progressive shape. This board is suitable for any style of riding. Last but not least, the Glide retains its reputation as the savior of sessions. Its narrow shape increases surface area and rail length to provide unrivaled upwind efficiency in light wind conditions. For the new model year we added a 150cm size.

Photo Mo Lelli

Photo Mo Lelli

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