At A Glance
Slingshot’s UFO (Ultimate Foiling Machine) is in its second generation and has had quite the overhaul, to say the least. You may remember the days of the older Slingshot kites which had a tendency to be heavy, but were also known to be bombproof. The UFO V2 is the absolute opposite end of that spectrum, and a sign of changing times over at Slingshot.
Fred Hope, Slingshot’s Foil Guru, has been pretty involved in the development of this kite, and if you don’t recognise his name, you should definitely check out some of his videos. It is mind-blowing what he is able to do with that kite, and he really shows the full potential of an extremely lightweight strutless kite.
While we didn’t have the opportunity to test the original UFO V1, and can’t offer a comparison, it is apparent that there have been some massive developments between the 1st version and the current one. Their product description tells us that they’ve changed up the leading edge material to a DLE 140, which is 25% lighter than the old DP 175 used in the V1. Even the bridle lines were redesigned to simplify them, giving you exactly what you need, and nothing more. Overall, impressive to see that Slingshot was able to reduce the weight of an already super light kite. Even the bag it comes in was cleverly designed to offer the bare essentials, and not add any unnecessary weight to your travel bag.
At first look, seeing the kite on the beach without much structure because of it’s no strut design, it’s hard to imagine that this could be a high-performance kite. It doesn’t matter which brand you go to, strutless kites just look strange on the beach. It’s clear that you have to use your imagination, or do one better, and get the kite out on the water!
Sizes: 3m, 4m, 5m, 6m, 7m, 8m, 9m, 11m
In The Air
We’ve been trying to get our hands on a UFO for ages, but this coveted kite can be hard to track down! Luckily, the recent GKA Kite Expo in Tarifa was the perfect opportunity to get our hands on the Slingshot UFO V2, and finally give it a real go. Because we had unusually light winds, it was the perfect change to see if this Foiling Object was truly Ultimate. The wind was blowing 12-15 knots with a nice, warm breeze, perfect for the 8m.
Rigging up the kite felt a bit strange with no strut to give the kite shape, so we just piled it with sand and carried on. The first thing that we noticed after launching the UFO V2 was its unique shape. It’s like nothing you have ever seen before, with a compact swept C design that is a real head turner. When in the sky and filled with air, the kite had really clean lines.
The UFO V2 was really responsive and light on the bar, feeling very playful from the get go. In our best attempt to channel our inner Fred Hope, we knew you have to look the part to play the part. With that in mind, we paired the 8m UFO V2 with the ultimate Fred set-up, Slingshot’s Phantasm 657 wing, 102 mast, Dwarf Craft 100, and a Sentry control bar to put it all together.
A side note on the board and foil set-up.. The Dwarf Craft board was tiny, and felt like riding a lunch tray with a rocket strapped to the bottom. The high performance hydrofoil was extremely fast and maneuverable, and we made our best attempts to spin and twirl our way around the bay! Our tester definitely wouldn’t have been mistaken for Fred, but we got a real sense of why and how he can do what he does with this kite. If a super fast foil set up intimidates you, not to worry, it was obvious that this kite would handle being paired with a slower foil just fine!
The kite was reactive, light and just everywhere you needed it to be. We had our concerns about flapping, but to our surprise, the designers really out did themselves and managed to get a kite with no struts to have almost no flutter when the bar was sheeted in. The kite handled gusts super well and it honestly just felt comfortable, as if the kite had been in our foil quiver for years. We had to do the obvious and see what happens when you put the kite in the drink and it was no issue! The canopy caught a breath of wind and popped right back up making the relaunch insanely easy!
The UFO is, indeed, a well-oiled ultimate foiling object! It wouldn’t be our first option to take out with a twin tip (or second!) but that’s not what it's designed for. If foiling is in your DNA, the UFO is for you! Compact, lightweight and easy to use, there isn’t much more you need in a kite. This is one kite we will be adding to our foiling quiver.
This review was in Issue 94 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit Slingshot
By Crystal VenessEditor at IKSURFMAG, Crystal Veness hails from Canada but is based in South Africa. When she isn't busy kitesurfing or reporting on the latest industry news for the mag, she is kicking back somewhere at a windy kite beach or working on creative media projects.