REVIEW SYNOPSIS: Aggressive but intuitively stable and direct flying performance that’s adaptable to general freeride or freestyle and waves.
Sizes Tested (m): 9, 12
Sizes Available (m): 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14
Control Bar: Compstick
THE GOOD STUFF: The RPM is the flagship of the Slingshot line and has earned itself some legendary stature over its many years of evolution. It has the all-around, solid performance for any condition and its refined unhooked freestyle performance rivals the top competition kites. It has the widest tips and more squared shaped canopy of any kite in the test and in the air the 2016 Slingshot RPM can generate some powerful but smooth driving power through the turns or loops. The Slingshot RPM’s turn initiation is direct and the power generation through the turns is consistent and quick. It sits further back in the window than many kites and the canopy maintains its smooth power and rock-solid shape through gusts and when looped or aggressively flown. Nice, smooth pop and slack when unhooked, the RPM is at home with a twintip or in your home slick with some boots on. The ultra-compact bridles of the RPM are direct and have the innovative bungee system that replaces any pulleys and helps to deliver the kite’s smooth driving power. A true standout and unique shape that continues to set the bar for adaptable and aggressive performance that’s not outside the realm of any skill level. The RPM water relaunches very easily for a squared off and more aggressive shape. It’s the perfect kite for the advanced freestyle rider or the aggressive beginner that has some board skills to take their riding to the next level.
THE TRADE OFF: The low-end and high-end range of the RPM may be less than some of the pinched wingtip designs but the kite is in its element in its range, and you can always steer it aggressively to generate some extra pop and lift.
BEST FOR: Intermediate-to-advanced riders that want a solid performing kite for unhooked freestyle, but also one that can operate nicely in the waves and has gentle enough mannerisms for any level of rider to appreciate.