One of the original 3 strut high performing hybrid kites, the RPM is synonymous with power, performance and success. Designed for riders in average conditions who need a kite to keep up with their progression, all the way through to World Champions who need a kite they can, quite literally, pay the bills with.
The 2019 RPM has had some quite revolutionary design built into its bridle in the form of the Flyline Bridle System. This unique system allows both sides of the kite to be engaged at all times when turning; the result is like power steering for your kite! An added bungee line works with a pully system to limit the length of travel yet maintain optimum structural control. With this new bridle system, the geometry of the kite has also been altered to create a deeper C-shape resulting in bigger boosts, loops and drifting potential.
As is standard with all Slingshot kites, the 2019 RPM has been built to last with the legendary SurfTough construction. Featuring SplitStrut technology, One Pump speed system for ultra fast inflate and deflate, bumper pads in the key areas and reinforced bridle attachment points. There are also different attachment points to allow you to tune the kite exactly to your personal style and preference. It is worth playing around with these as they do make a difference to the feel of the kite.
We used Slingshot’s Compstick with Sentinel Bar on the RPM. Not changed from 2018, it has a new trendy grey colour scheme for 2019, but the bar itself stays the same.
This of course is not a bad thing, Slingshot have consistently produced outstanding functional bars for a huge number of years, and the 2019 bar maintains this.
The bar itself is ideal, it has a small diameter with a great amount of grip. Available in a variety of sizes with a small option for riders who are accustomed to that. The bar floats are large, however, they’re not moulded into the bar ends. This makes the ends harder if you do slip on a pass, but hey that just makes you aspire to grab the middle every time!
The throw is generous, and the adjustable cleat is welcomed. Depower range on the bar is fantastic and what’s impressive is how the kite remains so controllable even when fully depowered. Very light yet responsive.
The safety system is clean, simple to use and easy to reset. The swivel on the top of the bar spins out easily and enables the bar to sit solidly onto the chicken loop when unhooking.
“the RPM simply explodes forward with incredible force”
The RPM is, unsurprisingly, an extremely solid kite in the air. Built to withstand the elements and the known abuse a kite can have. The shorter (20m) lines provide a fast turning kite but, rest assured there is no snatchy power delivery, rather a progressive onset which increases once you have ‘locked in’. The new bridle system is really noticeable, and the kite feels much more direct with a far greater power through the turn and acceleration out.
The RPM does like to be ridden powered to get the most out of it; under-powered riding can occasionally lead to a bit of stalling, but by flying the kite aggressively, you are able to extend the range by a couple of knots which is very useful for those real world conditions we tend to kitesurf in. The range is impressive, though do remember this is a higher performing kite and as such has not compromised on performance for extended range. The depower through the bar is very good and, by using your board in crazy winds, you are able to bring the kite round well to reduce your speed and power.
There is a very noticeable sweet spot on the RPM for both freestyle and then big boosts and loops; once you hit it you can see exactly why it is a World Title winning kite. For new school, the RPM simply explodes forward with incredible force before a prominent slack allowing you to throw yourself around until the kite catches you again on landing. The stability of the kite throughout moves is something worth noting - never did the kite end up in the wrong place or catch us off guard. The acceleration on landing is incredibly confidence inspiring and more times than we care to admit pulled us out of some rather sketchy landings!
The RPM does not have the same lofty jump as that of its brother the Rally, however is a powerful jump with a seriously punchy loop which we certainly found bigger than expected the first few times! What is good however, is for those newer to looping you are able to build up your loops quite slowly, and you can dictate to a certain extent the power produced. You will travel a fair distance through the air when going for the big boosts, so make sure you are far enough upwind from the beach.
When we test the relaunch of a kite we like to put it in some pretty horrid situations, a current favourite is under some hefty waves and then simply bob around and see what happens. Needless to say, the RPM with its Surftough construction popped up surprisingly quickly and only a tweak of the bar was needed to bring the kite round and back up into the air between sets: impressive and essential.
Masses of usable explosive power for the newer all-round big air, looping and unhooked style. The RPM does it all for the intermediate to advanced rider.
We love the RPM and all it does, however for the sake of being picky we would say the low end could be improved upon to bring it a little more in line with other kites in its class.
A classic kite, the RPM will take your riding from intermediate cruising to throwing down sizable moves. Masses of usable power for both unhooked tricks and big air boosts and loops. We could not recommend the kite more for enthusiastic riders looking to improve their riding level and style.
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This review was in Issue 72 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit Slingshot
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