Slingshot’s SST V6 is lighter and more streamlined with a strategic design to progress the development of your wave-riding performance. Designed to the super surf technology standards of wave-riding pioneer and industry icon, Ben Wilson, this all-new iteration of the SST builds upon its legendary legacy. From Alex Fox, Slingshot’s Kite Brand Manager, here is the tech update on what to expect from Slingshot’s SST V6.
What were the design objectives of the SST V6?
We had a few different directions at first. We ended up signing Ben Wilson early on in the development of the V6. Immediately we sent Ben the SST V5 for testing. After a few zoom calls and lengthy discussions, we determined the direction of the V6. Ben made it really apparent during those conversations that drift was his number one requirement. The SST V5 really focused on speed and response as its primary characteristic. Tony and the design team knew how to retain the speed and response consumers loved about the V5 and improve the drift.
What did the design team do specifically to improve the drift on the SST V6?
Tony and the design team used and implemented some of their discoveries from the UFO development to improve the drift. The UFO has the most drift out of any kite in our lineup and arguably the market as a whole. One of the most significant aspects of drifting properties is obviously the weight. Looking at the SST V6, it’s easy to see where we eliminated areas of excess weight. We have a new innovation that we are dubbing “micro struts.” These struts are the thinnest struts we have ever produced. This eliminates so much weight bit also provides plenty of structure for the overall kite frame.
We also reduced our canopy paneling. We have reduced the panels from 138 individual panels to 20. This has reduced the weight and allowed for a slightly deeper canopy profile that enables better drift.
If you look at the V6, we also reduced our graphics and screen printing. This minimal approach to graphic applications also reduces weight. Ink is actually really heavy and can significantly affect the performance of a kite, especially when it comes to drift.
One aspect of the V6 that remained and carried over from the V5 is the leading edge shaping. If you are familiar with the kite, the SST has a unique LE shape that almost pulls back to center. This almost pitched look on the beach significantly improves the drift while the kite is in the air. Ben Wilson clued into this immediately during testing and determined this LE shape needed to remain on the future models.
Was weight reduction the only focus of the design team?
Although reducing the V6’s weight was critical, it wasn’t our only focus. We had a few other key areas of improvement. Although the V5 was fast and responsive, we wanted to increase turning speed and feedback response, especially in the larger sizes. Tony developed and tested some new wingtip shapes and then finally settled in on a new design. This new wingtip actually increases the depth of the kite’s profile. We quickly noticed that when the kites is engaged in an extreme turn or direction change the opposite wingtip has the ability to catch and respond. This increases the kite’s feedback and turning speed. Ben spends the majority of his time in Fiji on 10s & 12s so it was imperative to gain some turning speed in those sizes. After this wingtip adjustment, we knew we were settling in on a final direction.
Any other fundamental changes?
When developing the RPX, we were also hunting for weight reduction and response. One change that we made on that model that was critical for its success was the new streamlined bridle system. It was only logical to implement that new line on this new SST. This line reduces drag through the air which yields two very important results in a wave kite; better speed, and more drift.
We have also implemented our new one pump speed system. This new larger and more robust one pump system has been implemented on other kite models, including the RPX v1 and Rally GT v2, and it helps inflate the kites faster and with less effort.
What has remained the same on the V6 from the V5?
We have chosen to continue with the 4×4 Canopy technology. This canopy material is exceptionally stiff and durable. We knew early on in the development of the SST V6 that we wanted to maintain this material application as it’s perfect for wave kites.