At A Glance
Four years ago the Slingshot Rally heralded a new direction for the brand, the kite was a Delta shape and squarely aimed at the freeriders in the sport. Ease of use and simplicity of flying characteristics were what categorised the kite. Fast-forward to 2014 and the Rally has become a staple of the Slingshot line up, and a favourite of ours too. The kite still retains its Delta roots, but for 2014 the airframe has been revamped, it still features the Split Strut technology that Slingshot invented way back in 2004. The aspect ratio has also been changed to offer more power and better efficiency across all the sizes. The bridle is short and simple, with no pulleys and a direct rear line connection. It’s a three-strut kite, but there are two mini struts in the wingtips, which reduce canopy flapping during the turn. We don’t usually talk about colours and graphics, but they have been updated for this year and the whole range is looking far more colourful, making the kites standout on the beach more than ever before.
For 2014 the Compstick has been completely redesigned and packed with loads of new and innovative features. Slingshot have split the bar up into three distinct areas: Flight Control, the area above the bar floats; the Compstick Zone, featuring the bar itself and the floats; and lastly, the Rider Control Centre, featuring the chicken loop and its safety features. In the Flight Control area you have a 47cm long depower throw offering you plenty of control over the kite. There is also a moveable stopper which allows you to tune the bar throw and also perform no-handed old school tricks. There are dual O’shit handles and also a Guardian swivel, which stops the 800lb lines from twisting.
The Compstick Bar has upgraded ergonomic one piece centre hole designed to reduce finger pinching when riding unhooked, new graphics on the floats and also a new competition grade grip on the bar itself to stop your hands from slipping. The Guardian Safety Release System is an upgrade of the previous chicken loop design incorporating the kite trimming system too. A full front line safety release system is located here so you can ditch all the power in the kite if you need to.
In The Air
It never ceases to amaze me just how rock solid and stable the Rally is in the air, it blew me away the first time I flew the kite and four years on it just gets better. You really have to fly it to appreciate this for yourself. If you want to perform wakestyle and freestyle beneath the Rally then you won’t be disappointed, unhooked it works really well and initially I thought I would have to trim the depower line in order to unhook, but even when powered it spills the lateral pull as soon as you release the edge, allowing you to then engage, load and pop. When you’re spinning away underneath it the kite hardly moves at all, it stays where you left it and you can really concentrate on the move rather than worry about the kite.
Depending on your riding style you’ll either love this attribute or be looking for something a little livelier. In terms of freeriding the kite is great fun to ride behind, it’s not as fast as some of the kites in the test, so when you send it back for a jump you have to really put some input into the bar, but the hangtime, float and height you get from the kite is impressive. It took a couple of runs to get used to the more aggressive steering nature needed, especially after flying a really fast kite, but once you have it dialled in the Rally feels awesome.
It was actually harder to readjust the riding style back to faster kites during the testing process. Kiteloops are pretty full on; the kite loops round in a progressive manner and delivers a hefty amount of pull along the way. In the waves the Rally really impressed us, as a park and ride kite you can really just leave it in the window and ride the wave. However, should you wish to engage the kite a little more into the turns it responds happily and the stability really comes into it’s own on the wave face. The Rally can drift better than Ken Block on ice…
Upwind the kite is excellent and it also flies with a good amount of speed too, it sits a little further back in the window than some kites, delivering plenty of low-end power. The flat profile and aspect ratio then combine as the wind increases allowing you to depower the kite and stay on the water. Steering when depowered is very good and there was minimal canopy flutter when the kite was in the air.
Amazingly stable, great for wakestyle and freestyle riders looking for a more “cable” like pull. Awesome in the waves, with excellent float downwind. Very easy to relaunch and great upwind performance.
While the 2014 Rally is faster than in previous years, it isn’t as quick as some kites around the window. That’s not a negative, but just something to consider when you buy it, if you like stable kites then this is great, if you’re a fan of a twitchier more manoeuvre inspired design then give the Rally a chance as you adjust to how it flies. You’ll be impressed once you are used to it.
The 2014 Rally was an instant hit with the test team, it’s so much fun to ride underneath, and the jumps and hangtime are insane. As an all round kite it’s pretty much on the money; you won’t be disappointed!
This review was in Issue 41 of IKSURFMAG.
By Rou ChaterRou has been kiting since the sports inception and has been working as an editor and tester for magazines since 2004. He started IKSURFMAG with his brother in 2006 and has tested hundreds of different kites and travelled all over the world to kitesurf. He's a walking encyclopedia of all things kite and is just as passionate about the sport today as he was when he first started!