Sizes Available: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14m
Sizes Tested: 9m, 12m
The Evo SLS sets the new standard in versatility, building on the design’s success and taking it to new heights with the Strong Light Superior construction. The goal with the Evo SLS has always been versatility, and there isn’t another kite in our range that performs so well across so many disciplines. Built using the incredibly light and durable Penta TX material for the frame and coupled with our signature Trinity TX canopy material, the kite is up to 15% lighter than the original construction. This loss of weight results in incredible handling and reactivity, tight fast loops, a wide wind range, and in general stunning flying characteristics.
There are a lot of kites out there that claim to be truly versatile, but only the Evo SLS offers versatility with an unmatched performance level. Don’t let your gear define the way you ride; take the Evo SLS to the beach, make the most of whatever the conditions throw at you and ride the way you want.
Visit for more info: www.duotonesports.com/kiteboarding/kites/evo-sls/
When it comes to big air in the Duotone family the Evo is always flirting with the Rebel for notoriety in the big boosting department. While the Evo takes a 3-strut approach and the Rebel stays rooted in its 5-strut airframe, the Evo has an extra nimble set of flying attributes that never ceases to unleash the adrenaline tap and get our test team revved up. This year is our first test with the Penta TX leading edge material and we were excited to see how the reduction in weight and extra airframe stiffness would translate to one of our favorite kites. While Duotone markets the Evo as a high-lift big air kite, it also touts its versatility for wave-riding, hydrofoiling and unhooked freestyle, which is good reminder because jumping comes so naturally with the Evo that it’s easy to forget about testing the other aspects of the kite because we were single-mindedly focused on pulling the trigger over and over again.
Inflation Valve: Airport nozzle required
Attachments: Center bridle: Knot / Wingtip bridle: Lark’s head loop
Centerline Split: High-V
Front Bridle Options: Single setting fixed bridle / no pulleys
Design and Features
Sporting Duotone’s large diameter inflation valve dubbed the ‘Max Flow’ system which connects directly with Duotone’s pump hose without the use of a nozzle; the inflation system’s twist valve rotates with the insertion of the hose to keep air locked in the kite. Deflation can happen through both the inflation valve and a dump valve on one side of the kite, making both inflation and deflation quick and easy. For a couple of seasons, the Evo has sported a single setting fixed bridle that has eliminated the use of pulleys. The leading-edge bridle ends in knots and the wingtip attachment ends in loops. The wingtip offers three attachment points labeled ‘soft, medium and hard.’ The factory setting is on the middle ‘Medium’ while the ‘soft’ is recommended for surf/foiling and the ‘hard’ setting is recommended for freestyle. The trailing edge utilizes three rod battens and a slim strip of reinforcement to maintain leach stability.
When you first get your hands on the Evo, it’s hard not to notice the texture of the new Penta TX material with its extra sheen and more obvious weave. The weight improvement with the use of the Penta TX and lighter grades of Dacron is pegged at 15% and is much more observable in the larger kites, but it’s still noticeable in the smaller airframes. It’s worth noting that the leading edge and center strut are built out of Penta TX while the wingtip struts are designed with a lighter grade Dacron to maintain the flex necessary for precise steering. While pushing the boundaries of material weight and stiffness is something that is trending right now, the nuanced question is where is stiffness good and where is it bad and what is the overall result?
Straight out the gate we could feel that the SLS climbs off the side of the window faster with its lower weight and still seemed to accelerate into turns with quick response and overall speed. Everything about the SLS, from its super slim no-pulley bridles to the thinner bladders and lighter canopy materials helps the canopy accelerate and soar out of power strokes with a slightly lighter and more agile feel. While you will notice the swiftness during powered riding, the biggest gains are made in lighter winds at the threshold of a kite’s given size range where you might otherwise expect back-stalling or falling out of the sky.
The steering response doesn’t seem to take a step back due to the extra stiff airframe, likely because the flex struts allow enough movement to facilitate sufficient torsion to accomplish quick turning. The bar pressure continues to ring in at light to medium with good progressive power delivery over the length of the throw and the new bridle configuration seems to broaden the Evo’s steering arc ever-so-slightly compared to year’s past which still seemed quite intuitive. With a rounder/smoother turning path, it still felt easy to place the Evo into blistering big air sends.
The Evo tends to fly a little farther forward in the window, yet continues to be a very comfortable kite to fly across and through the middle of the window. When it comes to jumping, the crisp steering response and turning angle felt very intuitive with huge high-lifting jumps on demand and very little learning curve. While the Evo’s medium to high aspect shape and middle section seems to offer up an impressive lifting force that took our jumps to extraordinary heights, the Evo doesn’t quite offer the same hangtime you get from the 5-strut Rebel. We often used the extra agility in the Evo’s steering to keep the hangtime going. The SLS airframe may be a little bit stiffer than previous years, which adds some extra stability when you are flying the Evo aggressively and extra-powered in its high-end while exerting tons of load on the airframe.
In comparison to the Rebel, the Evo has always offered excellent big air lift that feels a little bit more user-friendly and approachable to riders of all skill levels. The Rebel might still be able to hold more power, top out higher on jumps and stay aloft slightly longer, but the Evo seems more intuitive, casual and will appeal to riders of all skill levels with wider styles of riding. While the Evo can be sent into screaming vertical trajectories that will flood your adrenaline receptors, it can also fly nimbly across the middle of the window for carving or surfing and has enough depower and dependability to crossover and support kitefoiling missions. For those that aren’t quite ready to commit to the performance big air focus of the Rebel, the Evo will gladly take you into that realm while doubling as a daily driver across the other disciplines.
We rode the Evo SLS with Duotone’s Click Bar. Read the review here.
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