Slingshot UFO V3

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Slingshot UFO - Slingshot UFO V3

Foiling has grown beyond the imagination of what we once thought was possible, and with that growth came the unimaginable limits the sport has redefined. It’s not hard to find yourself asking what is next. When it comes to freeride foiling, the team at Slingshot had the answer. The UFO V3 is a strutless kite designed in collaboration with Fred Hope.

The third edition of the UFO has pushed the limits once again with its latest lightweight construction. There were zero compromises when it came to the performance of this kite. We were blown away that the 6m weighs a jaw-dropping 1.5kgs, thanks to a 25% weight reduction in the DLE 140 leading edge from the DP 175 version. The V3 sports a streamlined premium bridle that sees another 25% weight reduction by embracing simplicity in comparison to the V1 bridle system which was a little over-engineered. The UFO has a certain amount of magic built into it that we would never be able to explain. It’s a kite that was designed with efficiency at the forefront of every decision, Slingshot dubbed this philosophy as their own flyweight construction. If designing a strutless kite wasn’t enough of a minimalist approach, you will notice that the kite’s stitching, panel layout, as well as reinforcements, stripped back in the quest for simplicity.

Having the kite in the air was the first time we could truly appreciate this engineering masterpiece; we flew the UFO roughly two sizes down from what we would conventionally fly. Within the first few hundred meters we recognized how deep it sat in the window, this is due to a larger leading edge that generates a substantial amount of drag. This ability to sit deep in the pocket allows the UFO to generate a much more constant power on demand, which not only translates into performance on the water but widens the wide range of the product. We were amazed by how smoothly and progressively the V3 generated power. A simple sheeting in of the bar allowed us to fine-tune the precise amount of power that was generated, with no nasty surprises of being catapulted off the foil.

To be fair we think we put on quite the show, but if you want to see how this kite is meant to perform we recommend watching “Kiteboarding in Greece, with Slingshot Team Rider Fred Hope” because let’s be honest the 50-year-old kite foiler on your local beach will never quite understand the capabilities of the UFO. In all honesty, we battle to fathom the sheer wizardry of what Fred is capable of. Talking of magic again, we couldn’t quite understand how the canopy remains almost completely flap-free. The Compact Swept C Canopy shape is the easiest way to try to understand the characteristics of how this kite flies. The compact design of the canopy gives the kite its iconic pivotal turns; we were expecting the UFO to be fast but nothing could prepare us for how snappy it truly was. On the water, we experienced a kite that could be thrown around in almost any direction. The possibilities appeared endless, and we couldn’t help but channel our inner Hope whilst backflying the UFO to zero success. The second defining aspect of the kite is thanks to the Swept C nature of the shape allowing the kite to fly way below its fighting weight; this means the kite has plenty of low-end power and is optimized for those breathless summer conditions. The Swept C allows for a much wider wind range, guaranteeing that no matter if the wind picks up you will be able to still enjoy your time on the water, making your sessions longer than ever.

At the end of the day, the UFO is an incredibly fun ride. We have ridden plenty of other foil-specific kites that dropped us, not only off the foil, but dropped our expectations for this freefoil sector as a whole. The UFO delivered a truly special experience, from the impressive upwinding abilities to the predictable float with every jibe. The UFO understands its market position and dominates it.

01 Slingshot UFO V3 - Slingshot UFO V3
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