I've just had a mini debrief with our team here thanks to James and I have to say sceptic that I am, this year does look like a bit of a champagne year for innovation.
I guess not having control bars to get working, the boys have had time to deal with the meat and potatoes..
So from what I have gleaned looking but not flying..
Fuel. Same strut layout, but Loads more panels, those zig zag bits are panels, there are more panels and more seam shaping on the Fuel than I've seen in a while, almost back to the Glory days. (For those that don't know, seam shaping and lots of panels is a good thing, it's more expensive to produce, yields a better shape and gives added rip stop.)
It's got this tightening of the side panels on the wing tip to stop that flutter in loops yet the foil above the leading edge remains full at the entry to retain the powerhouse.
It's no point blathering on about a Fuel, a Fuel rider has got to ride it and see, but my money is on it being a step up from this and last years offering in genuine terms, if only more longevity.
The big kite news is The Rally, this is the new wonder of the age according to the boys. Its an absolute joy to jump, just the timing and ease of lift off amongst other things and it easily achieves more height and float than even an RPM.
It's a three strut Delta C (don't ask) has no pulleys yes I'll say it again, no pulleys and they seem to have managed to distance the front and back take offs in such a way that it relaunches if you just telepathically think it needs to.
It's light, well built, loads of panels and seam shaping, a lot of thought has gone into this kiddy and it'll be priced around the RPM and will sit between the Key which aint going to change and the RPM.
It also has.... take a deep breath and wonder wtf - split strut - er on a bow, well not a total bow but a hybrid Delta C swept tip whatever.. call it new Gen.
Either way, that's a bit of committment that they would do that, it's not the cheapest thing to build
and I guess it's there to compensate for the three struts and the fairly rigid air frame the wide guage struts give.
We like it, it's been abused considerably, there and over here in some fairly gusty winds that would have had other three strut kites on the market once this over powered inside out.
I have no imagery at this stage we were just off to ride them this lunch time when rain stopped play, but those of y'all who've read my bullshit over the years will have come to know that I rarely get excited without some cause and this year I think with all the other things Slingshot have been working on, I will have that cause.
In fact there are so many things going on I think maybe another thread might be necessary, they have made some real innovations in their board offering, featuring solid wood cores fused to solid urethane rails (no joins, none, nada,) tracks throughout offering multi stance widths, super super light weight, dialed flex and huge response to pop loading.
The Surf boards all get tracks and wood decks and an amazing line up with some killer smash and destroy weaponry, this year you simply mustn't make that buying decision without taking a look at Slingshot - they are lit right now...