Sizes Available: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12m
Sizes Tested: 8m
Last year the Neo SLS took the world by storm; utilizing cutting edge materials and new construction techniques, and again, this year the world’s best wave kite got even better. For the Neo SLS, we’ve replaced all the heavy Dacron material with the new Penta TX material that is up to 15% lighter. Combining this with the Trinity TX canopy and the incredible build quality Duotone is famous for offers a winning combination.
The Neo SLS is the only Neo offering Flex Struts and combined with the light weight construction, this Neo SLS is fast and delivers very dynamic turning with intuitive overall handling. This new construction has transformed the Neo SLS into the ultimate wave kite. Used by our pro riders, Airton Cozzolino, James Carew, Matchu Lopes and Sebastian Ribeiro on the world tour, the Neo is the most decorated wave kite on the market with more titles and wins than any other wave kite. The Neo SLS is the absolute pinnacle of performance; it’s the kite you need in your quiver if you take your wave and strapless freestyle riding seriously.
Visit for more info: www.duotonesports.com/kiteboarding/kites/neo-sls/
The first thing to know about the SLS version of the Neo is that the battle to build the best drifting surf kite using the new SLS materials isn’t just about lowering overall weight but also about balancing airframe rigidity and flex. While the key ingredient in the SLS recipe is the shiny new Penta TX material that serves as a Dacron substitute, it’s worth noting that it is only used in the leading edge and center strut, while the key turning struts in between are built out of a lighter weight Dacron. While Penta TX cuts down weight, limits stretch and increases canopy strength, it also introduces rigidity that is not welcome in the specific parts of the kite that need to flex during turns. For that reason, the SLS R&D process has continued tweaking into the second iteration of the Neo SLS for 2022 which aims just a little closer to perfection.
Inflation Valve: Airport nozzle required
Attachments: Center bridle: Knot / Wingtip bridle: Lark’s head loop
Centerline Split: High-V
Front Bridle Options: Single setting bridle / one sliding pulley
Design and Features
The Neo SLS experience starts with the crisp, shiny feel of the Penta TX material which is sparingly used in the wingtips and combines with noticeably thin bridles and a simplified trailing edge to arrive at the Neo SLS’ noticeably light weight for a 3-strut performance kite. The inflation process starts with 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. The Neo uses a single setting bridle that uses a single slider to adjust the angle of attack with the front bridle attachment point ending in a knot and the wingtip pigtail ending in a lark’s head loop. The wingtip uses Duotone’s adaptive tip bridle which this year offers three settings to tune the feel of the kite. The yellow knot puts you in the ‘soft’ position, the blue knot is in the middle with a black knot giving you the ‘hard’ setting. As you move from soft to hard, you are moving the effective attachment point for the outside lines farther forward on the leading edge and this changes your bar pressure and how the kite reacts to your input and the feedback into your arms.
Because the Neo is historically a powerful surf kite, the introduction of a super light airframe really makes for an interesting equation that yields a more lively and responsive kite while still maintaining the impressive pulling power that the Neo is known for. Starting out on the stock blue adaptive wingtip setting, the bar feel of the SLS seems a little bit lighter falling in the lower end of medium bar pressure with subtle improvements to steering response. Switching over to the yellow setting, we found the bar pressure landing at light to medium, with more direct turn initiation and more progressive and intuitive power delivery from the bar. Freeride kiters will definitely prefer the Neo on the yellow setting, discovering that the lower pressure and easier turn initiation are both more comfortable and easier to manage. In terms of discipline, we would probably choose the yellow for wave riding and blue or even black for strapless freestyle where kite movement on bigger airs is less desirable.
The key advantages to the SLS is that the kite feels ready to respond to bar inputs, with really crisp turn initiation that results in fast turning speeds that are immediate with less windup. The steering arc on the latest Neo does feel a little rounder, but the kite still turns in a sufficiently tight arc to keep it positioned wherever you want it in the window when drifting or transitioning through turns.
Many people ask if the SLS materials give the kite more range and the answer is both yes and no, depending on how you look at it. On one hand, the lighter canopy materials seem to accelerate the kite forward a hair bit faster which helps when the kite is transitioning from stalling/drifting to pulling, but if you’re struggling to get upwind, the SLS isn’t going to magically give you extra pulling power, or the equivalent of what moving up to the next kite size up might do. Alternatively, in the kitefoiling realm, the lighter airframe definitely helps in threshold conditions, giving you the confidence that the kite will stay in the air during lulls, when the wind dips below what you need to foil up. In that respect, the Neo in SLS construction combines the Neo’s excellent depower ability with faster steering, better zenith stability and drifting for an excellent fit with the crossover into kitefoiling.
Ultimately, The Neo SLS succeeds in the Neo legacy with some solid improvements to handling while keeping the basics of a super stable canopy that can handle high-loading with minimal flutter and immediate access to complete depower. With extra crisp turn initiation and faster turning you get an incredibly nimble surf kite that also delivers grunty power, but only when you want it. Since Duotone is still making the Neo in regular materials (3m and 4m are only available in regular Dacron versions) the big question is whether the SLS is worth some extra pennies. The regular Neo is a phenomenal surf kite that skilled surfers can have incredibly fun sessions with, but the Neo SLS does offer clear improvements to the kite’s maneuverability, feel and response that translate to a performance ride that will liven up the experience.
With over 85 products reviewed, get the digital version of our 2022 Gear Review Guide that puts all the latest products reviews in one easy to access and searchable guide. Want a low-v bar with a durable PVC coated throw line and soft padded bar ends? Use our guide to stay on top of gear developments and find the exact piece of equipment to match your style.
*Already a subscriber? The 2022 Gear Review Guide is in your Tkb library. Log into your account to read the latest reviews.