If you want to have fun on the water in five or six knots, it's important that your gear is light. Slingshot introduced a new bladder material on the Turbine that is 25% lighter and they have also reduced the leading edge diameter. The design geometry is updated for increased efficiency. The aspect ratio is higher now, like on a glider or wind turbine wing, to improve lift through kite speed and by allowing the kite to fly further forward in the window. A new concept called Free-Twist Tip technology sees a special bridle attachment position that allows the wing-tips to freely pivot and for the trailing edge leach panel to open and twist when overpowered or stalled. The result is a lighter, faster feel with a wide apparent wind range and quick turning radius for such a large kite.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
The Turbine looks and feels huge. The bar it comes with is an immediate indication of just how big the Turbine is even before you get it out of the bag. A big delta hybrid shape, although it's apparently higher in aspect than last year, it's still very deep in profile and ultra modern with very swept back tips and is tidily bridled. It looks fantastic in black and white and, just in case anyone was in any doubt that you're the dude with the biggest kite on the beach, Slingshot have slapped a huge '17' on the side of it! Check you! When you first put the Turbine in the sky you're immediately aware of the enourmous amount of power on tap. You're always comfortable, but you also feel very much in touch with the available juice, which is a nice feeling. The Turbine is incredibly stable. Dive it, pull in on the bar and you've got loads of power, but what's also lovely in a kite this size is that you can ditch the power very quickly and easily. Dealing with apparent wind in a kite this size is very important in terms of how usable the kite is. When the wind is low but you're on a powerful kite, as you start going faster and faster the power you feel in the kite can be huge, but this year's model seems to have a much smoother uptake of power and deals with it all better than the previous model. In terms of air speed it's no slouch and is fairly nimble for its size, which you appreciate when you start moving it for jumps or transitions. The turn is smooth and you can get some reasonable height for floaty tricks without forcing anything too much in just ten or 12 knots. Another area we feel Slingshot have improved the Turbine, and a really important area in this light wind arena, is in the kite's upwind ability. It's like it was born to go upwind. It just loves going upwind and, even though it has a huge engine, you don't have to fight it. You can even go upwind at super slow speed because the feel of the kite is so constant and it seems so efficient. Water relaunching is good, the swept back wing tips really assist the roll over and movement off the water. There surely has to be a downside to all this though, and it's in the amount of bar pressure. The Turbine is quite heavy at the bar and some riders will find it quite tiring. We did notice however that if you fly the kite fairly high in the sky it's beautifully balanced and much lighter at the bar, but as soon as you start to get more aggressive and dip it down to ride it low in the window, its natural size seems to make it want to keep heading towards the water, so you
have to ride with a little more pressure on your top hand in this position. Having said that, if you're an athletic rider, this isn't really a problem and, picture this: the Turbine allows
you to get out on the water, powered, literally in ten knots, riding your regular twin-tip in bindings, busting out your tricks in super flat waters. We really enjoyed pulling the stopper down, dipping the kite low, engaging a full rail and throwing the biggest rooster tail we've seen in a long time. The Turbine is fantastic for unhooking on and it suits twin-tip riding really well in general. In 10 knots it packs a huge unhooked punch and behaves brilliantly. It's like being behind a boat.
The Turbine has excellent all round light wind performance characteristics. An intermediate could happily ride around on this all day long with a huge, smug grin as his mates sit on the beach and watch. It's comfortable, depowers forever, powers up smoothly, doesn't pull you off your edge, is manoeuvrable and fun and has loads of that vital low down torque.
The Turbine really suits twin-tip riding, whether you're a lawn mower or wanting to practice your latest tricks in beautiful, sunny, light wind conditions when barely anyone else can get going on the water.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
We do appreciate that it's a 17 and it's difficult for it not to be quite heavy, but if the Turbine could be just a little lighter on the bar pressure, it would be amazing.
This test is in issue #58
Slingshot Turbine 17M (2012)
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