Spent a lot of time testing the UFO V2 vs. Clouds over the past month. Some pretty clear results below.
Foiling waves, flats, freestyle, loops, plus a bit of Woo foil boosting
4m UFO V2 and 3.7M Cloud E3
5m UFO V2 and 4.8M Cloud E3
6m UFO V2 vs. 6.2M Cloud E3
Roughly 12+ hours on each kite
BRM bar vs. Custom UL bar vs. new Joystick bar
Thought some of you may find this test helpful. I'm a relatively competent foiler and as V2 UFO was released, kept looking around on forums and YouTube for months to find how Clouds compare to UFOs and other strutless kites. In full transparency, I should also add that I've been a BRM kite and customer service fanboy since the introduction of late C and early D model Clouds. Riding Clouds was borderline a religious experience for a bunch of us here in Boston as we learned to foil and began to use Clouds. BRM customer service was incredible. Clouds were incredible. Annual Cloud update reveals were incredible. Zipping waves on 4m dream-drifting Clouds while others ride 9-12m was incredible.
Right around the time UFO V1.1 was released, BRM's service began to have issues. Initially, it was the CCS lower QR line breaking due to the weave being right where the line would be sliding within the eye of the bar. The line would abrade and eventually snap (usually mid-session) after about 20 sessions. Won't go too much into this...
During this time, Slingshot updated the UFO V1 to V1.1, but it still had noticeably less drift, was heavier, slower turning, prone to backstalling, and just generally felt sluggish. All that said, it was still great to see some new competition appear in the mostly cottage-run sector.
Enter UFO V2. It flies like a completely different kite. I honestly feel like it's better than the Cloud in every way. (A moment of sadness, sigh.) Most noticeably, the power delivery during loops is really consistent. Which goes a long way when carving, riding waves and looping the kite. Cloud E power delivery is less consistent, with subtle to not-so-subtle spikes at the apex of a loop. Those spikes are felt less in version E, vs. D and C, but they're still there. Especially when you use one kite after another. Drift is noticeably better as well, possibly because of the much thicker leading edge. For freestyle, the V2 wipes the floor with the Cloud. Looping the kite, no matter how hard you loop or how much you loop is just a pure delight. The Clouds tend to invert on a powerful loop, esp 6m on down. Once it inverts the first time, the structure of the kite becomes less stiff and inversions begin to happen more often. Once it inverts, you gotta go back to the beach and undo it manually. After a whole lot of these inversions, I subconsciously began to second-guess looping Clouds. Happy to say - no inversion dread with the UFO V2. The loops are AWESOMMME!
A couple of things Slingshot could improve upon and some suggestons:
8m and up – bigger UFO sizes feel more sluggish and "pillowy" compared to the more go-cart qualities of the smaller models. I think the Clouds still hold the edge in the larger sizes, especially the 10m. Hopefully that's been addressed on the recent V3 or will be addressed on the V4.
Aluula UFOs - Holy shit this would be amazing! Please, pretty please.
Quality control - My new Joystick bar arrived with a bad weave on one of the front lines. Also, the new 4m UFO arrived with a decent leak in the leading edge. Both of these Slingshot addressed quickly and offered to replace without any hassle. It might just be and odd bad luck on my end.
Joystick bar - epic bar and a total game-changer IMO. The bar throw is awesomely long and is a pleasure to use in the waves. The bar ergonomics are fantastic, the bar diameter just right and the Flytech lines are soo nice. After a bunch of sessions, I think UFOs feel better with a slightly heavier bar since they have a bit more pull than Clouds. BRM bars don't have that same magic on the UFO as they do on a lighter-pulling Cloud. One annoying thing on the Joystick bar - please tweak the auto-rotating mechanism above the QR to work better at untwisting lines. After 1-2 sessions the bearings noticeably lose their smoothness and the bar needs to be unspun manually by hand. Not a major issue because a lot of foilers are used to a BRM-style manual bar. But it would definitely be super super duper nice to have that be butter-smooth.
That's all I got. I have no commercial connection to Slingshot other than awesome times at a Cabarete foil camp with Fred, having been a fan of his ballet-style riding and having the pleasure of sharing waves with the dude for a week.
Hope you find this comparison helpful.