Could the Fuel be the longest running kite in the history of the sport? I think, although I am bound to now be corrected that it is. It’s been around since 2001 and unless I am very much mistaken no other kite can lay claim to having a lineage that long. Especially when you consider the original C kite was a thoroughbred C Kite machine, and today even through the rise of bridled style kites the Fuel holds true to that. So reminiscing over with lets look at the kite. Probably the biggest change for 2012 is the reintroduction of the Split Strut Technology, which places the struts inside the canopy, making them a ‘part’ of the kite. There are 5 struts this year and all of them are integrated into the canopy. The trailing edge construction has also been beefed up to reduce wear. The kite can be tuned for wakestyle or freestyle depending on how you want the kite to behave. Construction is as ever bombproof, the build quality on these kites continues to surpass others and with the reintroduction of Split Strut the kite looks as solid as ever.
Unlike just about every other C Style kite on the market the Fuel doesn’t use a 5th line set up. Instead it relies on a front line flag out release system. It works really well and unlike the systems of old the CLSS as they call it (Centre Line Safety System) doesn’t spiral out of control leaving you with a tangled mess. Once deployed it is surprisingly easy to reengage the system and relaunch the kite. There is a below the bar cleat trim system for the depower, and of course there is a stopper ball on the centre lines should you wish to lock yourself into the power for some old school moves. The chicken loop uses a push away release which works well and is a huge improvement over their old design from a few years ago. O’Shit Handles and 880lb breaking strain front lines complete the set up.
In the Air
With a lineage going back so far, there are a lot of devoted Fuel riders who’ve ridden nothing else for years. Since 2004 the kite started setting a benchmark in terms of quality and performance and the 2012 model doesn’t disappoint. The 4 line set up is about as old school as you can get and its simplicity is refreshing. With no 5th line dangling about you feel totally connected to the important parts of the kite and that is reflected in the kites handling. I don’t think you’ll find a more direct and responsive kite. In the freestyle mode the kite reacts to rider input at a lightening pace. The bar pressure is medium just enough to give you plenty of input without being overbearing. Unhook and the kite is very stable and really well behaved, leaving you to worry about loading up your edge, and not what the kite is doing. Its great to be able to just trust in your equipment like this and if you are into freestyle then the Fuel is certainly a kite you should consider. Boosting big airs is a breeze; the kite is aggressive when you send it back though the window and it rips you off the water with a definite tug. Lastly kite loops, you can’t ride a Fuel without chucking it round the window and scaring yourself silly. This kite owes me a few ribs from years ago and 2012 is no different, it really does generate a lot of pull when you send it round. But it is much faster than previous years, allowing you to get the kite back up above your head faster and ensure you don’t end up crashing with the kite still pulling. And that’s a feature we’ll end with, for all the pomp and circumstance surrounding the Fuel and it’s pedigree of hardcore lineage, the 2012 isn’t a beast to fly, it’s actually very easy to tame and if you have reasonable flying skills you’ll get a lot out of it. Especially if you want to progress to the style of riding that the kite excels at.
Amazing construction, direct, powerful, fast and precise. 4 line simplicity backed up by a well engineered safety system. Excels unhooked and delivers a fun ride, especially when jumping and looping.
It’s going to be a tough call between the Fuel and the RPM for us, the RPM is very similar in flying characteristics, but has a better wind range, so less kites in a quiver. The Fuel though does offer the ultimate in simplicity, 4 lines, no bridle and lots of fun ….
11 years in the making and the kite is really at the pinnacle of achievement in terms of development. Despite the market moving away from C kites Slingshot stayed true to the cause and the 2012 Fuel is a reflection of that. Split Strut, 4 lines, no bridles, no compromise ….
For more information go to your local dealer.
This year Slingshot has come up with the new Turbine kite which is much lighter in kind. If you enjoy light wind surfing then this is one of the best kites that you can use to stay on the water and have fun. The minimum wind speedfor the Turbine is around 4 -5 knots which basically can get you up and riding when everyone else give up. The bladder material used on the turbine 2012 kite has been lighter by 25 % this time with reduced size on the struts and the smaller diameter used for the edges. The kite works fine in lighter winds due to the increased aspect ratio of the kite surface which is given a glider feel for the wind turbine shape of its. A new concept has also been introduced in the kite wings this time which is called Free-twist tip. On the technology part which Slingshot has worked on this kite so much to add a list of new features which helped to make this surfing kite a lighter and faster one. We would like to review each one by one.
On the wingtips and the edge panels the steering line is attached which has given the extra narrow wind rage for the kites and also the panel to twist when required. This actually helped the kite to acquire wider wind range and a quicker mechanism to turn around. The kite design is given a more delta-C shaped one to acquire higher speed and move it in the forward window directions. The struts situated on the bars have also been integrated to a 3 strut design called the integration of split strut, which has given a more rigid and stable structure to the bars for control. Since the material is light, it helps in the water re-launching of the kite n-number of times due to its flexibility. The wing tip struts are redesigned to give a conical tapering shape for efficient control of the kite. To increase the efficiency of the kite the trailing edges has been made flexible to both the opening and closing. The steering of the kite has also been given a boost with improved power steering plan. Here the power is delivered at the wingtip so that the steering of the kite is smooth and this in turn reduces the pressure of the bar to give top performance while surfing.
The kite uses the single point inflation procedure which is totally a patented product of the Slingshot Company itself. The makers also took care of the affected areas of the kite and they have put scuff guards on those places to make the kite quite durable. Included stuff like Neoprene, Mark Cloth and ballistic Kevlar on those places. Any users who have faced any issues or have queries can directly contact the personnel from Slingshot as the customer care people are very friendly and assist the users in the best possible ways. The design part of the kite has been totally upgraded so much to give a better look, lighter to use and higher is performance and efficiency. This has basically helped to make the Turbine 2012 kite to be lighter and faster and user friendly. I am sure this will be a surely loved by Kite surfers all round the world.
Slingshot has been the most popular brand in kite making for the last two years. Rally 9m is one of the most sold kites from Slingshot. Recent changes made to this kite had given a little twist from the original this time. The kite is being tested in many ways so that it stays at the top of the game. It’s been an all round machine which is being used for some success on the racecourse. To improve the upwind ability with a higher aspect ratio the kite is been made in the shape of an open arc this time. The point of rear attachment is also moved forward to avoid the kite stalling in due to the over sheet on the bar. To give the kite more rigid frame the leading edge has been made larger in diameter this time. The kite also carries a new wingtip shape, and this is been supported by two mini struts on the bar.
Last few years it was observed that the Compstick Bar is in the lineup. There are few new changes but the rest are only the old favorites. There was a 100% test conducted which was done over this kite for the Center Safety System. The Swivel is on the front line. The chicken loop remains the same. Only on the centre lines a new aluminum is provided which offers low friction. One can also avoid trapping of finger by raising it. To make it easier the grip is softened, and hence was rewarded as the overall rated the best kite of the year voted on the maximum customer choice.
Last year, Rally was praised for its innate stability and it allowed the rider to do its job instead of not worrying about the kite much. The team was cautious that the changes took place in the Rally this year and the kite was a stable one previously might cause a sales issue. The kite having Bow shape outlines which is noticeable and also higher aspect in nature. The kite also has a big diameter at the leading edge which helps the kite to stay high in the water and also stops from rolling. From the previous year the turning speed is little slower. It makes the 9m smaller as one is flying altogether and more predictable in the air. The shape and profile is a new one which allows the window to penetrate and pull it upwind just like as for trains. It’s suited for the learners especially intermediate to advanced riders, those who are looking for the all round kite. This kite is suited very much to the beginners, but also who are ambitious and can progress much with the kite has an appetite to use it.
The kite Rally became famous for the riders over the world. In last couple of years many people became fan of Rally, which is never going to change. The kite has been better due to its shape, design, predictable, stableness, and reliable. There is so much to perform with the kite and even the performance satisfies all the riders.
The new 2013 Rally is reinvented to be your first choice when it comes to kitesurfing in the waves and freeriding. The Rally is a 4-line kite designed with surfing in mind. The Rally has new Connect Forward attachment points, a new bridle setup, Reflex Wingtip technology and reinforced trailing edge.
The Rally sits further forward in the wind window allowing you to ride upwind with ease. However, the Open Delta-C shape also gives you the opportunity to position the kite further back in the wind window for when you wanna ride with the perfect resistance and when you want to perform load-and-pop tricks.
The Rally delivers maximum range, instant de-power, effortless relaunch and precise handling. The canopy is rock solid thanks to the inegrated Splitstrut technology. The Rally is of course equipped with Slingshots patented one pump system and this year the Rally also comes in a 7m version to complete your quiver.
Slingshot Rally 2013
I’ve been riding with my Slingshot Rally’s since last autumn, and will here give a small review of the best kite I’ve tried to date in the waves.
2012 Slingshot Rally is the second version of the shape Slingshot calls an “Open Delta C”, which blends the features of C-Fuel and RPM with the delta kite’s wind range and depower performances, and the result is for sure worth a test!
There is really no significant changes from the first edition, the new version is rather a result of optimization. The bridles have been tweaked so that the kite now has more precise control and the balance of the kite makes unhooked and drifting properties top notch. Some extra reinforcements have been added to the wingtips where the 3 pigtails attach, so you can trim the kite, depending on how much bar pressure you desire. For those who remember the split struting from the past, this is now back, and gives the kite a great stability.
As I started writing, I find this kite especially suitable for wave riders, but Slingshot Rally will also be the perfect kite for free riders as well as the beginner. Common to both is that you want a kite that is so easy to handle as possible so that you can concentrate on anything but the kite.
The kite control is quick, which is a result from the short bridle that comes without any pulleys. There is such a good feeling with the kite, it is extremely easy to manage. Slingshot Rally also has a huge wind range with an unmatched depower. There are many kites can be drifting hooked, but Rally drifts also unhooked and if it stalls, so it makes it to the “good way”, so it is easy to catch again. Whether it is because the kite only has 3 struts, is very light, or if it is the balance of the kite that gives it its drifting properties I do not know, but the result is just perfect.
Last but not least, there’s no pull in the turns. There are perhaps some who do not think this is so cool, but it’s a different style which people prefer. I think it is very important in the waves, so you will not be torn away from the wave in the bottom of the turn, so you can always position yourself where the wave breaks, so you can utilize the wave all the time. Also in strapless aerials and airs it is an advantage not to get ripped off by the board, and for beginners, it also means that you are not punished by any fault input. And when it happens, the kite is easier than easy to water start again.
So just to recap:
The kite is quick
The kite has no pulleys
The kite has only 3 struts
The kite water starts easy
The kite has no pull in turns
The kite has a direct bar feeling
The kite is going really well upwind
The kite drifts perfectly – even unhooked
The kite has a very simple and short bridle set-up
The kite has Slingshots tested one-pump system
The picture above shows the very simple and short bridle set-up without pulleys
Above seen is slingshot’s one-pump system that many other brands choose to pay a license to use. Please also note the small closure feature on the inflate valve (far right in picture), which means you can hammer the kite into the ground or water without popping the plug out.
I really thought much about anything negative about the kite, and I had to find something, it must be that the fabric can flapper a little when the wind is very strong and gusty. But if that is what you have to pay to get a kite with 3 struts with somewhat less direct kite control, with a very short and simple bridle without pulleys, which drifts perfectly and is so easy to ride unhooked – then I can live with that =)
Slingshot bar is also right in the eye. Not so much bullshit and no frills. It just works perfectly with a quick release, easy to keep around unhooked. If you choose to release, the system is so easy to assemble, it can be done in the water without any problems. There are deepower the bar and the bar has a swivel which prevents lines from twisting. (Which happen if you rotate many times around the same axis). The bar seems a little heavy when you just hold it by hand on land but on water it just feels really good in your hands.
Finally, there is a very handy bag that can both be opened at the top and is has a side zipper. The bag is spacious enough to fit the kite, bar and pump, but if you prefer you can also secure the pump and bar on the sides of the bag.
Overall a very positive review, but it is also very hard to find something negative to write about with this amazing kite. The Rally will not be the first choice for those who want to ride freestyle, but for freeride, waves and beginners it is spot on. Nor am I alone in this assumption, since testers from around the world all come with the same very positive feedback.
The Rally comes in the following sizes:
Sizes: 4m, 6m, 8m, 9m, 10m, 12m, 14m
Let me know if me if there are any items that you require more information about.
Patrick Rebstock with his Slingshot Rally:
Here are some more reviews of the Slingshot Rally:
Advantages and Disadvantages of C-kites
The C- kite is considered as the original kite used for kiteboarding. Until today, it is the sole inflatable kite available on the market. It consists of square corners; it forms a deep C-shaped arc in the course of flying. Its lines which are attached at the four corners of the kite give its unique characteristic.
This type of kite has advantages and disadvantages.
Some of its advantages include a ‘direct’ feel when riding. C-kites constantly pull and put pressure on the rider enabling him to feel more attached with the kite. C-kites also turn faster than the bowkites and they tend to turn around a pivot instead of an arc which is the case for the bowkites. Whether this is an advantage or disadvantage can be discussed, but the fact that the c-kites turn faster make them easier and safer to loop and they do not generate as much power in the loops as the bowkites. Bowkites can’t be looped as quickly as the c-kites, the result is more power in the loop and at the same time more likely to crash in the water (since they need a bigger looping radius).
C-kites also offer more performance for their specific wind range. They can only fly well in their hardly specified wind range; thus, prepared to be fine-tuned for a precise range.
These are very specialized kites completing a higher performance kite. These kites are also great for unhooked riding; it means that the kite doesn’t need to be slipped in and out more often.
The shape of the C-kite also maximizes SLED boosting; thus, improving jumping performance.
C kites also have some disadvantages. First of its disadvantages include having a very specific wind range. It means that more kites are needed to cover all possible winds which can be very expensive. To cover all wind conditions, around three to five kites are needed. But even purchasing five of the cheapest kites is also expensive.
A smaller wind range also means that you will need to put together kites more frequently. It also involves water re-launch. To be able to re-launch, these kites need to be spanned onto their back and directed to the rim of the wind window. With the limited sheeting ability, C-Kites can be unsafe for beginners. It means that they can’t be de-powered just like bow kites.
To fly the kite, there should be more power to control it. It is very disadvantageous for beginners because they do not have enough experience.
C kites consist of safety releases; however, they don’t have the ability to plunk a lot of power by sheeting out.
Kites continue to evolve, so the pros and cons will keep on shifting. But one thing remains; these kites are outstanding performers. Not many kite manufacturers design pure c-kites nowadays. Most of them try to design kites that benefits of the advantages both from c-kites and bow-kites. These kites go under names such as Hybrid-C, Delta-kite, SLC-concept kites etc…
However, Slingshot still design pure c-kites to please a small but faithful band of kitesurfers have realized that c-kites is the only way to go! The Slingshot Fuel is also known as the c-kite’s c-kite!