SLINGSHOT DART 5.0 2021 TEST REVIEW
Pricey at £949.00, yet a class act and a rewarding product from one of the more forward-thinking and innovative brands in this young sport.
“In a category all of its own, the Slingshot Dart sets a new standard in wings. Finally, a hard charging speed machine capable of rocket airs and unlimited hang time.”
Slingshot’s third generation wing – the Slingwing V3 – was just a little late to the party for this test, so we found ourselves lucky enough to try this unique alternative option from this American juggernaut of a brand. The Dart is summed up with the adjectives of ‘speed’, ‘power’ and ‘boost’ and is aimed squarely at the more experienced pilot – those that are wanting to push the limits of their own performance … and the boundaries of the sport itself! It is quick and easy to inflate, the centre strut self-inflating as you achieve the prescribed 6 PSI. And whilst this certainly isn’t the highest pressure recommended in the test group, the broad diameter of the Dart’s leading strut and its extreme vee geometry means it certainly exhibits a stiff and rigid structure. Its low-aspect planform, swept back ‘Delta wing’ outline, and even its highly purposed and intended colour-scheme, provide the Dart with a somewhat ‘stealth fighter’ mystique. Well-engineered and detailed, it has Kevlar patches on the raised wingtips and neat details such as a neoprene patch behind the neutral handle. The canopy itself is extremely loose, reinforced with mini-battens along the trailing edge to mitigate flutter, whilst the handles are carefully engineered with soft seams to improve ride comfort. There are six handles along the centre strut (the power handles sited a long way to the rear, giving an idea of intent), complimented with Y handles that are said to serve the additional purpose of keeping the wingtips under tension. There are also a couple of harness line attachment points, sited between the handles, so that you can, as Slingshot say, “hook in to bring that heart rate down”!
On the water, our first impressions of the Dart were somewhat mixed. The conditions were marginal and with its compact nature and soft breathable canopy, the Dart made it clear it wasn’t the horse for this low-end pump-fest race. Wait for the wind to increase however and the Dart comes alive. It has power – plenty of it – but you have to let the wind fill its lungs to really appreciate the energy it can provide. Once partnered with a board and foil, the Dart accelerates in an instant, quickly reaching a speed that few of us would have experienced with a wing. It charges on all points of sail, feeling comfortable and incredibly stable in flight. We used it on occasions when others were well powered on smaller wings, yet the Dart remains impeccably well mannered, its speed and dependable nature helping to inspire. Entering manoeuvres or transitions with an extra amount of speed invariably makes everything more expressive, and also encourages greater success for the proactive rider. It does rock from wingtip to wingtip when parked in the neutral position, making wave riding or downwind riding less relaxing … but it by no means inhibits these indulgences. The upside of its pronounced vee means that the Dart shifts silkily from one tack to the other mid-transition and powers back up smoothly as the canopy refills. The more you ride the Dart, the more addictive it becomes, trailblazing the future of the sport, whether it be monster airs or even waterstarting! The Dart simply opens up a vast realm of possibilities … and after an adrenaline-fuelled session, the dump valve on its boom strut helps to achieve a quick and painless pack-down.
SLINGSHOT DART 5.0 2021 TEST REVIEW
Weight: 2.58 kg
Canopy Style: Very loose.
Recommended PSI: 6
Centre Strut Inflation: Single tube.
Handles: 6 small.
Supplied with: Bag, leash.
Available Sizes: 2.5, 3.0, 4.0, 4.5, 5.0.
OTHER WINGS IN THIS TEST