Is it an airplane, jet, or weather balloon? To many conspiracists’ delight, what we are looking at is a real UFO. Rather than an “Unidentified Flying Object” that you would see at Area 51, we are looking at Slingshots strutless kite known as the “Unlimited Foiling Object.” This is Slingshot’s only strutless kite in their lineup, and one of the few strutless kites in the market today. Due to the fact that it is so light and completely dedicated to foiling, it has already become a favorite here at our shop.
The UFO is a completely strutless kite, which makes it extremely light. You can pump up faster than most kites as you only have to inflate the leading edge. The only structure the UFO has is the bridles and leading edge, which makes for a smooth power delivery but still a fast responsive kite.
The UFO consists of a swept-C canopy shape allowing for quick turns and control. This will also help in relaunch situations as long as the leading edge hits the water first. It’s a chunky kite meaning that the aspect ratio is low; this combined with the lightweight design will let the UFO drift extremely well.
The bridles on the UFO consists of Slingshots Intuitive Response System (IRS). Rather than a pulley, the IRS has a bungee that changes in length allowing for less slack and smoother turns.
The canopy is what makes this kite so special. Slingshot had to perfect the canopy tension in order to have a kite that didn’t flutter but was still responsive. They nailed it; most single strut kites flutter like crazy but from our experience, the UFO flutters about the same as a 3 strut kite. They also decided to use 1 strand ripstop canopy, specifically Teijen D1. Although this is not the most durable ripstop on the market, it is certainly one of the lightest constructions out there. This makes the UFO extremely light, without sacrificing much durability.
Who Would Ride it?
This kite was designed specifically for foiling. Intermediate to expert foilers will love the UFO. Due to the fact that the kite is smooth but not very powerful, we recommend that people stay off twintips and surfboards under a UFO. People that travel will love how small you can pack the strutless kite.
The UFO is one of the most satisfying kites to foil with. It turns quickly, drifts well, and has extremely smooth power delivery. When turning, the UFO doesn’t surge with power as you bring it across the window; it pulls with a constant direct force. Looping is a dream as you never feel out-of-control when the kite gets upside down. It’s definitely a quick loop yet still the smoothest looping kite I have ever flown. The drift on the UFO is out of this world, which leads back to the low aspect ratio and lightweight construction. Not only does it drift, but it floats better than any other kite I have put in the sky. I never felt like the kite was going to fall out of the sky and I had a 9m in about 8-10 knot lulls.
Also, we quickly learned that self-launching from the beach was nothing to be worried about, but relaunching from the water can be tricky. Relaunching from the water requires some finesse as a strutless kite tends to flood much easier than a strutted kite. Intermediate/advanced riders should have no problem figuring out how to relaunch by using the steering lines to get the UFO back into the sky. If you drop it trailing edge first, you might need to use a centerline to spin and flip the kite. If you are not familiar with that technique we recommend that you practice in shallow water first. Beginner riders may have a tough time if they aren’t proficient at launching strutless kites. In extremely light winds, a reverse re-launch is possible but is more sensitive to backline pressure than strutted kites, so you need to practice or you’ll collapse the canopy before you spin it to fly.
Although Slingshot wanted to make the UFO as lightweight as possible they did add some features to improve durability. The leading edge is equipped with scuff guards to minimize the risk of blowing out your leading edge. With this being said, you still want to be somewhat careful. The UFO is designed for foiling which means it is lightweight and doesn’t have heavy-duty construction, so it wouldn’t be wise to take it out on an overpowered twintip session. For all things foiling the UFO will be the kite for you! This is Slingshot’s only kite that is designated specifically for foiling.