Sizes Available: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12m
Sizes Tested: 6, 8, 10m

Slingshot Says:

The SST means surf, foiling, freeride freedom. Carve upwind for miles to find the best swell, slash harder than riders half your age, then dash downwind, swap your surfboard for a foil and do it all over again. The magic of the SST is in its amazing drift and responsive handling, even when depowered, sheeted out and drifting downwind. Where any other kite would barely steer at all, or fall out of the sky, the SST drifts like a feather remaining quick and reactive at the bar, almost as if it knows what you’re going to do before you do it.

The SST is fine-tuned to fly deeper in the window than most kites. This, combined with the kite’s shape and bridle setup, yields hero-level downwind drift and steering response even when tension on the lines is minimal. It’s the park-and-ride performance that you dream about. It pulls you into position, drifts with you like a shadow, then re-engages at the flick of a wrist. To better hold up to the surf, the SST features reinforced surf-tough canopy paneling designed to take a beating if it goes through the wash and a condensed version of our IRS bungee that cannot get wrapped around the wingtips.

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Our Testers Say:

“Great drift, really easy to turn — very happy on this kite. Fast turning, good power, without a lot of grunt, wasn’t expecting much but this kite was so much fun with great drift and hangtime and enough power to pull you through the turns.” // Kristin Vincenzo

“Loved the smaller sizes — great low end, fun boosts and hangtime with medium speed, pivotal turning, and lots of power in the sheeting range that just pulls in and throttles up.” // Dray Murray

“This kite likes to be worked, but covers all the angles from riding deep downwind to blasting high upwind. Great surf kite, not that much boost but super stable. Bar grip is aggressive (does it come with MTB gloves?).” // Davey Beard

Meet Our Testers

TKB Says:

The SST is Slingshots surf kite that is marketed with potential crossover for foilboarding and all around freeride cruising. The SST comes with a 3-strut layout with a fairly medium to low aspect canopy with sweptback wingtips. The SST features a single setting fixed bridle which is fairly short in length and three wingtip settings for adjusting kite feedback; the stock position is the most outboard of the three attachments with the least amount of feedback. The SST uses a large diameter bayonet style inflation valve that requires no nozzle on the end of your standard pump hose for a quick and easy pump up. When it comes time to deflate, there’s a standard dump valve that allows you to quickly deflate without unthreading the bayonet valve. Testers found the SST controls to have nice medium to medium plus bar pressure but also commented that more of the kite power comes in the last three inches of bar throw. This keeps the bar close into your body during most riding and offers one of the big selling points of this kite which is really impressive depower. When you use the complete throw the SST dumps a ton of power and can still be responsive when sheeted out. In that sense, the power delivery may not be completely progressive like the other Slingshot freeride kites but it does have a fair amount of that ‘sheet and go’ feel. The SST turns in a noticeably tight pivotal axis with very quick and direct steering response, a welcomed performance characteristic that at times may require some extra attention until you adapt to this kite’s willingness to turn. The kite does create a medium amount of power during its turning and feels fairly grunty overall but with excellent depower. The SST can be fun for some jumping but it’s not the massive boosting or big hangtime kite you can find elsewhere in the Slingshot line. The SST is designed for drifting, maintaining steering control and depower which all works towards the end goal of placing the kite in the proper part of the window with the proper amount of power for performance kitesurfing. We tested the drift factor by boosting an air and then leaving the kite directly overhead while falling towards the water. Once we hit the water this eliminated all line tension and we watched the kite drift backwards and reengage high in the window. This data suggest the SST is super stable and has excellent drifting ability that you can pretty much count on to suck up line slack in onshore and side-on surf conditions. In terms of relaunch the SST scored pretty well. When the kite is nose down in the water at the bottom of the window it helped to grab some extra tension on one wingtip by grabbing the leader lines which induced the kite to rotate onto its wingtip and hot launch from the bottom of the wind window. With a more aggressive pull on the kite you can get the SST back up out of the water in a critical situation. The SST earned high marks among testers for its surf characteristics, but testers were quick to acknowledge that the SST is also an excellent user-friendly contender for freeride and surf foilboarding.

Our Slingshot kites came with both the Compstick Guardian and Compstick Sentinel control bars. Both of these bars are fixed length bars that comes in three sizes: 17” width with 20m lines, a 20” width with 23m lines (3m ext), and a 23” width with 27m lines.

The Compstick Sentinel features above the bar power tuning with single center-line safety depower, spectra sheeting/throw line with sliding stopper, adjustable length throw, tuning cleat power system with a toggle that uses a magnet to control excess tuning slack and a low V. The inside lines end in knots and the outside lines end in loops. The Sentinel offers a sturdy quick release that integrates a below the bar hand swivel which also doubles as a quick release guard. The quick release handle locks in the open position and resetting is fairly straight forward – simply place the end of the loop back into position and then depress a stainless steel tab that frees the release handle and locks the quick release back together. Testers did note that when you release the gate, there is a sharp edge on the handle that tends to pinch the finger on the tab. This could be easily fixed by sanding off the pointy ends on the red and white handle. The Compstick is the only bar in our test that featured dual outside line OS handles with no adjustment for outside line length. OS handles can be bulky and a point of tangle in spaghetti situations, but they can also save you in a dicey situation. The bar ends offer bungees for keeping the lines clean and the floats are separate from the bar ends. While testers liked the smaller diameter grip and raised volcano next to the insert which helps avoid pinched fingers, testers found the grip to be fairly dense with thin rubber ridges along the handle that make for a very aggressive yet solid grip. This year the bar got a color upgrade with the left side of the bar and the floats sporting a solid red color for very clear and obvious color coding that is unmistakable. The Compstick features bomber construction and tons of features which makes this one of the heavier bars in our test and comes with bulkier foam floats as a result.

The Compstick Guardian features a single center-line safety depower, spectra sheeting/throw line, a low V, a sliding stopper and below the bar cleat tuning integrated into the push away quick release. There’s no travel guard or below the bar hand swivel but the quick release is compact and keeps a large amount of throw travel within reach of the rider. This bar uses Slingshot’s existing Guardian quick release system which puts the kite’s tuning below the bar, which allows surfers to increase the amount of throw/sheeting while still being able to reach the tuning of the kite. Testers who are not used to below the bar sheeting often find it’s difficult to get the leverage to operate the cleat, but with the proper technique (place the cleat on the side of your favored arm and sheet out while adjusting) this is a fairly easy and functional design for performance kiters. The bar design and other rigging is the same as the Compstick Sentinel (see above). If the advantages of below the bar tuning systems is lost on you, then check out the Compstick Sentinel above.

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With the help of 14 testers from all walks of kiteboarding, Tkb’s staff assembled detailed gear reviews with objective performance criteria of the latest 2019 kites, twin tips and foilboards all packed into one neat and tidy 180-page digital package. Get all the reviews in convenient digital guide here:

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