Full review with pictures are <a href="http://www.chicagokitesurfing.com/reviews.html">HERE</a>
Today at Michigan City Beach I tested the new Slingshot 2003 line of kites:
Air 40-45 deg F
Water 50 deg F
The conditions warranted that I use the 17m Slingshot for good power.
The Bag - First impressions are the bag. It has a handle, a shoulderstrap, backpack and clip. It has a separate chamber for your bar/lines/leash and both ends open with one end being expandable to allow storage of the kite with the struts inflated. There is also an ID tag pouch with a clear plastic viewframe.
The Kite - As I was pulling the kite out I already noticed a big difference in the construction with this kite when compared to the 2001 and 2002 kite lines. The kite is built like a rock. The materials are bomber, with folded seams. The valves have a triple velcro seal with one functioning as a pull tab to easily remove the plug. All the tips were extended and reinforced with extra reinforcements along any "touch points" where the kite may contact sand frequently for launching/landing. The battens are rods, not bladder, which is nice. They are very stiff. Unpacking and packing the kite today was easy.
The pump functioned well and has Slingshot graphics on it.
The Performance - I've been flying ARCs for a while so my timing was off today for jumps, but it had great lift. The depower was very adequate. I had the front lines connected to the most forward attachments, and the rears attached at the rear TE of the kite. This should give me "medium" turning with the least depower. What I found was the depower was quite efficient with these settings. The steering was extremely responsive, and for a flat 18m kite, I was amazed at the speed at which it cranked around. I was using a 28" bar with the kite. It was turning 50-100% faster than the 15m ARC I typically fly. This kite turns FAST. Through the turns, there was a little less power, but there wasn't really any stalling of the kite which impressed me as well.
I was riding the 157 Jarvis at first, on the low end of the wind, with it building. I was able to hold wind when it was blowing, but would be pulled downwind a bit on the gusts. After about 5-6 tacks out and back, I decided to switch to the 169 LFT (which was probably when I should have been switching from the LFT to the Jarvis). I was well powered and could sheet out to depower at the edge of the window and crank upwind. The kite loves speed with these line settings. Jumping the kite with the LFT was a bit tricky due to my not being used to the timing and the bar pressure required to get the most performance from an inflatable.
At the end of the session which was about an hour, my arms were not sore, but my legs were a bit. So the bar pressure wasn't as bad as I was imagining compared to the ARC.
The kite didn't go down once, even with a dozen, or so, failed jump attempts and lost boards.