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What defines a freeride kite? To quote 2x World Champ, Youri Zoon, “It is a kite that is versatile, easy to handle in loads of different conditions, a kite that you could take on a trip where you don’t know what the conditions are going to be like but you want to have fun every single day.” We personally couldn’t find a more appropriate explanation for the feelings we felt for the Code v1 and it is no surprise we felt this way as Slingshot has a well-documented history of creating kites that helped define eras in the history of kiting. If we look back at their history it is hard to forget kites such as the Fuel, the megalooping C kite pioneered by the one and only Ruben Lenten in iconic films such as Stormsjees, or the world title-winning RPM developed alongside Youri Zoon, and not to forget the work done by Ben Wilson whose movies such as The Unknown Road helped pave the way to unlocking famous spots such as Cloudbreak.
It’s with this prestigious history that kite designer Adi Conrad approached designing the all-new Code v1 in partnership with their latest prodigy, Jeremy Burlando. Adi took a couple of years to develop the Code, painstaking over every design choice, and we think it is safe to say Slingshot may have once again created a kite that could define the Do-it-all era of our sport. We were blown away by the mere fact that this is the inception of the Code, the intuitive feeling alone of this kite felt like we had been flying it for a couple of seasons.
Our favorite session on the 9m was a 27-29 knot Balneario session that had us smiling ear to ear whilst soaring through the air. The Code has been dialed in for a very stable and predictable jump characteristic – we experienced a predictable take-off time and time again no matter how aggressively we edged into the jumps. This level of consistency allows advanced riders to focus more on the technical aspects of their jumps like getting their feet out of the board earlier, whilst novice riders will feel they are in control during this initial takeoff. The Code’s Hybrid Open C shape allows riders to focus on enjoying their sessions without constantly having to fly the kite; it’s a forgiving design that allows the kite to breeze over small mistakes whilst providing a sheet-and-go style consistent smooth pull that had us trying new tricks over and over again. Don’t be fooled by the Code’s approachableness, the Open C allows for a lot more canopy in the lifting area of the kite.
This positioning of the canopy saw us throwing ourselves into some of our biggest jumps to date and that impressive vertical lift is followed by some remarkable hangtime. It’s an incredible feeling to truly fly; if you look up at the canopy during your jump, you will notice how well-engineered this kite is for flight. Sheeting in the bar changes the profile of the kite in the air, making it more aerodynamic and allowing the canopy to act as a wing that glides you further downwind. It’s a good thing the Code has impressive upwind abilities because we definitely needed that angle attack after some of those jumps.
We must say that we felt confident to push our progression on this kite and this opened the door to us trying bigger and bigger kite loops. The Code has an uncanny ability to climb its way back up the window after loops and catch you no matter how mistimed you might have approached it. This not only makes rider progression a lot more accessible, but it has helped make our sport safer for the regular rider. This intuitive feel is thanks to a number of clever design choices, one of these that plays a large role is the ultra-thin pulley-less bridle system that allows for a more instant and direct input, resulting in a super responsive kite that delivers constant feedback to the rider. Feedback should be seen as a connection between the rider and the kite, it sounds somewhat spiritual but it’s this feedback that not only allows for experienced riders to have the confidence in their equipment to push the limits, but more importantly, feedback allows novice kiters to grow an understanding of how their kite reacts in different situations.
Slingshot has created something truly special in the Code – it is friendly enough to learn your very first upwind tacks on, whilst being versatile enough to smash apart waves on your next Indo trip. Overall, the Code v1 however excels in the hands of an intermediate rider who understands the basics and is looking for a kite that can take them to the upper ceiling of our sport.