Slingshot Kites 2012 12m Rally Reviews
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It is not hard to come up with excuses to sneak out and ride here, especially when we get a shipment of new kites! However, sessions on the water are typically slim in Michigan during January. Fortunately for me, it was windy and a balmy 40 degrees outside the day after the 2012 Slingshot Rallys were dropped off- we opened the 12 meter up, and headed to the beach.
I weigh around 200 pounds, depending on what I eat for lunch. I would consider myself an intermediate kitesurfer- I mostly ride a 2011 Cabrinha Skillit 5'6 strapless. The conditions were good- not great.
The wind was up and down. Other riders weighing around 160-170 pounds were on 9 meter Switchblades and 10 meter Crossbows, marginally powered with surfboards. There were nice clean left-hand waves on the inside, most of them being in the waist to chest size. There were a couple sneaky head-high sets coming in from the outside as well. Excellent down-the-line surf conditions, (particularly if you're a regular footed surfer wanting some backside wave action). Perfect for breaking in the 2012 Slingshot Rally!
The Rally performs exceptionally in the surf- its ability to turn on a dime and react quickly allow it to perform well in the short period waves here in the Great Lakes. The Slingshot Rally is also a three-strut design, allowing it to stay in the air even with slack lines. The 12m Rally is also a kite with a large wind range- I was able to go upwind well throughout the session, even as the wind picked up and dropped off.
It also jumped quite well- strapless airs are not easy to do on all kites, and the bar setup and quick reactions of the Slingshot Rally allowed me to progress my riding even in a short session. I could very easily find myself riding this kite more often in the waves.
The 2012 Slingshot Rally doubles up as a kite that loves to unhook as well. Slingshot's Open-C canopy design allows the Rally to be loaded up well, pop with power, and create slack in the lines easily to stomp anything. I was impressed by the Rally's ability to drive upwind in light conditions, even loaded up with boots and a wakestyle board.
Any kiteboarder will enjoy the Rally's ease of use- this is a kite that is quite easily set up and taken down. Slingshot's Compstick control bar is simple and intuitive. I was able to quickly and easily figure out the safety systems and found them to be quite effective- something that we don't take lightly here in the frigid water temperatures.
190lbs of pure Love Machine
Years riding: 3
Kites: Cabrinha Drifter, Switchblade
Boards: Slingshot Darkside, Ronix Boots; Cabrinha Skillit 5'6, strapless
Morning Session with the Slingshot Rally Kite
Having overslept and knowing I had to work at one, I ran to my computer and immediately went to the MACkite weather links section. I clicked quickly on my go-to links; the Muskegon Harbor webcam, SurfGrandHaven webcam, and Wind and Wave forecast by the NOAA. Naturally, opening them all at once slowed down my computer considerably, but slowly revealed that today was going to be a good day to kiteboard. Grabbing my wetsuit gear and a box of Cheerios, I sprinted out the door and raced for town. Being too excited and schizophrenic to decide on the ideal set-up, I grabbed a 2011 11m Cabrinha Switchblade, 2012 12m Slingshot Rally, and, just in case, a 2012 13m Cabrinha Crossbow. Forgetting my Aggression 132 Pro, I grabbed the Slingshot Misfit and Cabrinha Spectrum. Nothing was going to ruin this session. Well, besides work.
Throwing some trash out of my car and watching it bounce away down the beach (just kidding I actually just kicked up some sand), I knew the Rally was my choice. Inflate and deflate value right next to one another, I knew this would be a quick set-up. With the kite pumped, I carelessly began to put out the lines, of course tangling them. I frantically began trying to undo the knots, only to find the line material easily untangled. Attachment was simple; a four line kite with bridles and many customization options. Self-launching was simple, aided by the "Oh Shoot" handles if necessary. I was unfamiliar with the bar, so I spent a few minutes on the beach checking out the safety features, including self-landing, unhooking and letting go, sheeting the kite, relaunching, etc. With everything checking out, I grabbed the Spectrum and took to the water.
Two things immediately struck me. First, how fast and responsive the Rally was. With very little input the Rally was zipping around the sky, and in the smaller sizes would make for a great wave kite. Second, how natural the Cabrinha Spectrum felt. Discounting it at first as light wind board, I was pleasantly surprised with how it cut through the chop and drove upwind. Not being able to help myself, I threw a boosted backroll and rode it out with a huge smile on my face, the unassuming Spectrum harboring secret freestyle ability.
As the wind kicked up, I transitioned to the Slingshot Misfit, the conditions calling for something smaller. Again, I was found another big grin sprouting across my face. Comparatively, the Misfit felt significantly smaller, and had a stiffness that begged to be loaded up. The railed edges allowed for hard, sharp carves that left a huge spray in its wake. Wanting something to compare the Rally to, I pulled the quick switch-a-roo with Tony and snagged the Switchblade 11 meter. Immediately, I felt more power, despite the decrease in size. The Switchblade did steer a little slower, but the to be expected Cabrinha pull-in-the-bar-and-boost-big more than compensated. Of course, just as things started to get fun I came in to check the time and realized, to my dismay, I was already running behind. As the kite took back off in the self-landing process, I had to walk up the lines, a good reminder to familiarize yourself with whatever kite you ride in the case of trouble.
Wind: Northwest 14 knots flaring up to over 24 knots
Rider: Jake Mitchell