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For 2013, Slingshot further streamlined its product line up. Slingshot’s kite surfboard line will see the biggest changes with the introduction of EPX construction and Fluid X technology. Its binding program is also quickly gaining popularity, given the growth of park-style riding and cable parks. We sat down with Brand Manager Gary Huck to find out more about what we can expect from Slingshot in 2013.
For 2013, Slingshot has split up its product release dates between a Spring and Fall release. Why?
We’ve actually been doing this for quite awhile now. It works well with the market, but the largest benefit is that it helps our R&D guys stay focused on specific products throughout the year and not get overwhelmed rethinking every product we design at once. Having a dual release strategy also helps our factories around the world stay efficient and remain competitive.
Slingshot reinvented the Rally for 2013. What are the biggest differences that former Rally riders will notice?
The most obvious difference is that the new Rally is meant to carve, not pivot. It’s still fast, but it drifts down the line really well and minds its manners in the surf. It’s also super stable with top-line rigidity. As perfect as this kite is in the waves, the new Rally boosts surprisingly higher and gives the RPM some solid competition for aggressive freestyle riding.
New features on the 2013 Rally include a new trailing edge, Connect Forward attachment points, Reflex Wingtips, and a Pulley-Less Bridle. How do each of these features affect the performance of the kite.
Connect Forward is easy to explain. Just by comparing the new Rally to the previous one, you can see the attachment point connects to the front of the wingtip.
This lets the kite fly more forward in the window. You’ll also see that it is directly connected to one attachment point without any pulleys. This guarantees a direct feel with plug-and-play performance. The new Reflex Wingtips provide increased stability for even the biggest riders while still being one of the easiest kites in the industry to relaunch.
|2013 SLINGSHOT KITES|
|Kite Name||Sizes||Stock Line Length||Target||Date Available|
|Rally||4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14m||20, 23, or 27m||Intermediate-expert crossover riders from surf to progressive freestyle||Now|
|Fuel||6, 7, 9, 11, 13m||20, or 23m||Advanced-expert aggressive freestyle and progressive wake||Now|
|RPM||4.5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14m||20, 23, or 27m||Intermediate-experts looking for a kite that does freestyle, wakestyle, surf, or snow||January 2013|
|Z||6, 9, 11, 13m||23m||Beginner/intermediate-advanced looking for plug and play convenience and stability||January 2013|
|Turbine||17m||27m||Light wind, course racing, surf||January 2013|
In 2012, Slingshot slightly modified the Comp Stick Control System with an updated grip and trim grommet. Are they any changes to the 2013 bar?
Yup, the 2013 Compstick has a completely different look with an ergonomic trim line center hole, cushy new EVA grip, a new Line Lock System to wind your lines, and our proven Center of the Universe Safety System. We’ve worked hard over the last few years to steadily refine this bar to keep it as streamlined and uncluttered as possible. And everyone knows it is completely bombproof.
Were any changes made to the Fuel?
We’re always making subtle refinements to continually improve all our products. You’ll find this year’s Fuel doesn’t require as much bar pressure in some of the larger sizes, while all of the attachment points have been tweaked. Over the last dozen years, this kite has gone through a number of changes to gain the true hardcore rider respect it deserves. Some of the most aggressive riders the sport has ever known ride Fuels. Talk to Eric Rienstra or Ruben Lenten.
Slingshot streamlined its kite surfboard line for 2013 and got rid of the Fastrack adjustable strap system. Why?
Honestly, we moved to a traditional mounting system to simplify everything for our riders and dealers. Since our boards work for both kiting and paddling out, it makes sense to use a mounting system that doesn’t require any special proprietary hardware or knowledge. Rider simplicity.
What’s the difference between the WVX and EPX constructions on the surfboards?
WVX is our wood sandwich construction made with layers of bamboo in addition to the traditional surfboard construction. It’s incredibly lightweight and allows a more dynamic flex. The bamboo lets us make visually beautiful boards that have a simple, classic look. Our EPX construction is completely new this year, giving riders an option with more durability, more colorful graphics, and a lower price point while still getting a board that is high performance with the latest technology. Both constructions include our new Vibration Dampening System, Fluid X.
Why did you stick with EPS only construction for the Verve?
Riders need an option to fit any budget. The Verve gives them that option and still delivers a great balance between performance and durability. The funny thing is, the Verve has a very similar construction to other brand’s high end boards, but completely blows them out of the water in terms of value.
|2013 SLINGSHOT BOARDS|
|Board Name||Sizes||Type||Target||Date Available|
|Asylum||134, 138, 141cm||Twin||Aggressive freestyle to wake||Now|
|Darko||134, 138, 142cm||Twin||Aggressive freestyle to wake||January 2013|
|Misfit||132, 136, 142, 146cm||Twin||Crossover riders looking for controlled flex||Now|
|Crisis||134, 137, 141, 146cm||Twin||Entry level to intermediate riders looking to balance flex performance with value||January 2013|
|Glide||160cm||Twin||Light wind riders wanting to maximize their time on the water||January 2013|
|Tyrant (WVX and EPX)||5’8”, 5’11”, 6’1”||Surf||One board quiver, squash tail||Now|
|Celeritas (WVX and EPX)||5’6”, 5’8”, 5’11”||Surf||Super fast, user friendly shape, thumb tail||Now|
|Dialer (WVX and EPX)||5’10”||Surf||Stable but responsive board for everyday surf, swallow tail||Now|
|Verve||6’0”||Surf||Durable, reliability for value minded riders, swallow tail||Now|
Fluid X tech has been integrated into all the surf models (except the Verve). What does it do?
Fluid X is our Vibration Dampening System and it does just that. We added it to take out some of the noise and create a smoother, more flexy feel closer to that of a poly board. It’s the same technology used in skis and snowboards to control vibration. You’ve never felt anything like it in the kite industry.
Slingshot has released next generation models of the Asylum and Misfit. What are the major differences for each?
Well, the Asylum is a completely new board with a new outline and new rocker. We set out to make a versatile board that is open to any style of riding and that bridges the gap between wakestyle riding and freestyle to freeride. This board has some pretty unique bottom features molded into our full wood core. It’s a cool bonus that its hand built right here in our USA factory.
Same with the new Misfit. We’ve taken this proven shape and refined it for 2013. The controlled flex our full wood cores deliver is unlike any other board in the industry. Riders have always loved this board.
What’s going on with Slingshot’s binding program?
You should check out the Joint. We introduced this product last year and it’s definitely gaining momentum with all kinds of riders. The Joint is the perfect tool to help riders progress their level of riding and start landing tricks they haven’t been able to with traditional foot straps. Rider’s feel much more connected to their board while having more options to adjust their stance. The Joint really is the perfect product for riders wanting something more secure without going all the way to boots.
We offer the R.A.D and Verdict from our popular wake line for those riders ready to make the commitment to boots. The R.A.D. is a full featured, dual-lacing binding with removable, heat formable liners. Our Bottomless Base System provides perfect direct connection and feel to the board with a custom, comfortable fit. The Verdict has an open toe and triple Velcro Trifecta straps that offers some flexibility in sizing, but with the same high level of performance of all our bindings.
Both look super good mounted to any of our boards. We’ve also upgraded our standard Bolt On foot strap with a higher quality EVA core. We changed the Velcro strap system to create a cleaner look and make it easier to adjust. The binding is supremely comfortable and convenient to get in and out of.
Can you give us any hints what else is coming down the line for the 2013 model year? What are you working on? Any products being discontinued? Introduced?
Like you mentioned before, we split our lineup into two separate releases to allow the R&D team to specifically focus on each line with proper development timelines instead of pushing to release every product at once. So, we have quite a few other products that will be released in January that riders should look forward to.
We’ll have the new RPM that continues to change the game as it has since its introduction. The Darko twin tip has been completely redesigned from the ground up to offer massive pop and power for aggressive riding.
Our Crisis twin tip is a great way for entry level riders to experience the power and feel of flex through its full wood core. And we’ll be spending a lot of time on the freeride Z kite to make sure the industry and riders understand what a cool, fresh shape this is. It’s gained a quick reputation for huge boosts with good control and easy relaunch. Our light wind products will also come out this Spring.
The 17m Turbine is being used everywhere in 5-6 knots. Rienstra hits kickers with it. Racers are finding good success with it. It’s working in the swell with next to no wind. The Glide twin tip will be reintroduced too with a super interesting new shape and sizing. We also have redesigned our Ballistic Harness for 2013. We think riders are going to find it has even better support and is more comfortable without sacrificing any mobility. It has a bomber new look that everyone has been stoked to share.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Our products have gained a strong reputation for innovation and durability for a reason. It’s crazy how much time and effort we spend to make products that last and continue to push the sport forward. From R&D to distribution and customer service, we have a talented group of people who are totally committed to making gear that lasts, but also remember that first time of feeling the power of the wind and sharing that experience with others.
Slingshot will release info on their spring products January 1, 2013. Info on the rest of Slingshot’s line for 2013 will be available at http://kiteboarder3.wpengine.com/2012/10/slingshot-spring-2013 after January 1, 2013.
Want 185 pages of 2013 kiteboarding gear info on 28 brands? Check out the TKB 2013 Buyer’s Guide.