Slingshot Fuel 2013 Hands-On Review

Three Word Summary
Uncompromising High Performance

Test Conditions
10-25mph over several days

Out of the bag
The Slingshot Fuel is a kite which needs no introduction as it has remained one of the most iconic kites on the market for more than a decade.
It has a pretty chunky leading edge which tapers down a little toward the tips, and is supported by 5 thin struts connected via a one pump system, which helps you get out on the water with a minimum of fuss and the hardcore Slingshot construction quality ensures a kite which will really last.

The Slingshot bar has had a couple of minor tweaks this year – a low friction centre hole to help sheeting and depowering and velcro tabs on the OSR handles to keep your lines tidy when packing away.
Slingshot Fuel Kitesurfing Kite Complete 2013The bar exudes quality from top to bottom and is more than a match for anything else on the market, with super-high quality 800lb front lines, a highly effective safety system and a bar which will last many a season.

The bar diameter is quite wide and comes with a tough rubberised finish – perhaps not the softest on your hands, but is very durable and offers good levels of grip.

The larger kites come with a 20 inch bar and 23m lines, whereas the smaller ones have a 17 inch bar with 20m lines.

In the Air 
The Fuel self launches with ease off the beach as a prolonged pull on a steering line will cause it to back into the
window and rotate onto its side.

The thick Leading edge gives it great structural stability and ensures no buckling when you’re trying to get it airborne.

In light winds when the kite is static in the air there’s no great pull, but the second it moves it really comes to life, giving plenty of power on tap.

The bar pressure on the Fuel is quite heavy and it takes some force to initiate a turn also, which will please all freestylers out there – it stays right where it was left unless you’re really assertive with it!
The turn radius on the 11 was fairly wide, but I expect this will tighten up considerably on the smaller sizes.

On the water
The fuel delivers great low end grunt when worked through the sky, which translates to a really good bottom end.

The bar pressure lightens up a little when you park it and sheet out, allowing you to blast along in comfort.
As expected there’s plenty of power in the turns and loops, and it boosts well once you have the edging and timing dialled.

The top end of the Fuel doesn’t feel incredibly high compared to SLE’s, but by edging hard against it can be pushed further than you’d expect.

The Fuel’s properties really shine when you unhook – it pops explosively with good slack, parks well, and only turns when you’re assertive with the bar. It’s no surprise its a kite which an advanced freestyler or wakestyler would love. And When it all goes wrong, its great relaunch properties are there to make sure its not long before you’re pushing it again.

Conclusions
The Fuel is a kite which I always look forward to reviewing as there’s nothing else quite like it. It is by no means a beginners kite and definitely not one for the faint-hearted!
It’s the most refined kite on the market by some distance, and is a great choice for aggressive blasting, freestyle, technical wakestyle and insane powered loops.
If your riding and commitment matches the level it requires, then it truely is a must-try kite!


Kite StyleStruts
Inflation
Front connection
Rear connection
Tuning options
Depower
Safety

Low End
High End
Bar Pressure
Turning
Unhooked
Upwind
Boosting
Relaunch

Traditional C
5
One pump
Direct
Direct
2 options for front line connection (freestyle/wake)
Clam cleat (beneath the bar)
Mini ‘fifth’ line to single front line

Excellent
Good
Medium Heavy to Medium
Medium, but likely faster in smaller sizes
Excellent
Good  
Good ++
Excellent

For more information on the Slingshot Fuel 2013 or to purchase: 
Call: 01202 738 448 
Or visit the shop in Poole: 
Surface2Air Sports Poole, 
14-16 Station Road, 
 Ashley cross, 
Lower Parkstone, 
Poole, Dorset, BH14 8UB

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