2018 Slingshot SST review

2018 Slingshot SST review

We review Slingy’s dedicated wave kite

 

THIS TEST FIRST APPEARED IN ISSUE #93 IN JUNE, 2018

 

2018 Slingshot SST review

 

TEST TEAM NOTES: 

What do we like about Slingshot? Well, they always just do things their own way, and it’s usually pretty different. You won’t currently find a wave-inspired kite like the SST. 

Primarily geared to ride on slightly shorter lines (20 metres – though the standard 20” bar comes with three metre line extensions to give you more power, better low end and more jumping height), the SST is one of the deepest sitting wave kites on the market. Most current designs are all about fast forward flight, edge of the window performance and light, fast handling. 

The low aspect shape combined with the deeper window position makes the SST incredibly stable. The steering feels direct while the condensed version of IRS bungee bridle that Slingshot use on the RPM also takes great effect here on the SST to help the kite soak up gusts while the kite maintains its deeper, more powerful position in the window. 

 

2018 Slingshot SST review

 

As a wave tool it’s reactive but excels for a set-and-forget style of riding with good drift capabilities and positive pull. There’s lots of shut-off depower at the bar because you don’t have to steer the kite as much, you can stay close and connected with the wave. It takes some confidence as a board rider to build up that tighter turning style, but the SST allows for that development. 

The SST’s handling characteristics also came to the fore while foiling. It was outstandingly good. The wind was really up, down and gusty and as we were riding along we could see the SST dropping back, then flying forwards and repositioning itself, but we felt no jerk. It’s like it could auto stabilise itself and gave us a really smooth ride. 

That stability also helped it when looping through a turn. Either really tight or wide the SST remains constant and even if you sheet out, the drive remains consistent, which is a huge asset when you’re carving a downwind gybe on a foil. So often you’ll send the kite round a loop on a high depower kite and it will drop the power, whereas actually what you need for a smooth turn is a constant, smooth pull all the way round. The SST is so good at that. It’s so reliable you can take your eyes off it and know that it’s going to continue doing its job. 

As a side note you may have noticed that Sam Light used an SST in this year’s King of Air. A wave kite! But we can see why. It holds a good chunk of power at its top end and that lower aspect shape is solid, so when mixed with a constant turn Sam knew that whatever else he was doing as a loop combination, the kite would go round. Sure, it didn’t provide the biggest sideways yank, but the shapes he was making were as smooth and controlled as you like. 

What’s really nice, whether on the foil or in waves, is that the SST holds its position very steadily, whatever you’re doing at the bar. So if you sheet out, the kite doesn’t shoot to the edge of the window. You get depower, but it remains stable in a more powered part of the window, so when you sheet in, the power’s there in an instant. For sheeting drive on a more downwind tack it’s really nice and easy on the foil and that drifting ability means you don’t need to steer the kite as much to get it to stay with you because the SST doesn’t suffer from slack lining as much as some kites when you carve downwind towards the pull. 

Match it with a non race foil and this is lovely. Being easy, constant and with moderate air speed it compliments the ride feel; just what you want. In waves, the SST requires a slightly different technique to some of the other kites, but it’s beautiful in its low to mid range in cross-shore conditions or for a park and ride style. Where this deeper aspect kite reaches its limits and becomes less comfortable is at its top end. But the SST has good low end, so you can get on a small kite early and get cranking. 

The construction is typically Slingshot and as tough as they come. As always expect Slingshot’s own One Pump system with the simple twist connection that attaches directly to the pump hose for a super efficient and air tight seal for easy inflation. 

 

2018 Slingshot SST review

 

The Compstick bar is one of our favourites for build and use its compact size. You could run over it with a truck and not damage it. The quick release works extremely well and is one of the easiest systems on the market to put back together. The above-the-bar Sentinel trim is smooth, easy to operate and has a magnetic retainer for the rope. The below-the-bar line spinner is excellent (there isn’t one on the below-the-bar trimming option bar). The grip is at the firm and grippy end of the spectrum and feels very durable. The moulded bar ends and EVA floats give it a polished, yet refreshingly simple feel and, as usual, Slingshot have their ‘Oh Shit’ safety handles on the end of the outside lines for last resort peace of mind. 

 

SUMMARY: 

A slightly shorter line and lower profile combination in the SST makes this one of the most planted and pure plug-and-play wave / cross-over kites out there. The auto-pilot, set-and-forget quality is high and thanks to the short lines and ultra-stable kite design you can also adapt to a fast back-and-forth aggressive style of riding, too in its low to mid range. The SST is also particularly good as a freeride foiling ally. A super fun small kite for lots of applications. 

 

KW LIKED: 

Very direct control and auto-pilot handling. 

 

KW WOULD CHANGE: 

Although the SST is quick to react, some riders will prefer an overall faster, higher-aspect kite that penetrates the front of the window more.  

 

SST BALANCE POINTS: 

Build quality: 9

Full package: 9

Low end: 8

Top end: 7

Steering speed: 7.5

Turning circle: 5

Bar pressure: 5

Water relaunch: 9

Drift: 8.5 

Boost: DT

Hang-time: DT

Unhooked: 6.5

Cross-over: 8 (Freeride / foiling / waves) 

Ease-of-use: 8 

 

SIZES: 12, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5 and 4m 

 

www.slingshotsports.com 

 

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