TESTED BY: Jim Gaunt and Kyle Cabano

WORDS: Jim Gaunt


A brand new model released for 2022, the Machine is Slingshot’s latest, pure big air kite. Designed with an ‘open C hybrid canopy shape, the Machine looks swept in the tips with what many might refer to as a bow shape. Regardless, the solid five strut platform delivers reassuring stability and the hype is that the Machine is built for serious sending. After several great sessions on this kite, we’re here to tell you that you shouldn’t be put off if you don’t see yourself exclusively as an adrenaline seeking big air pilot who’s only interested in going out in gale force conditions. The Machine V1 is actually a seriously well connected kite that’s incredibly easy and rewarding to use across a huge range of wind speeds.

For intermediate riders and above who are looking to improve all aspects of their freeriding twin-tip game, this is an awesome kite for the masses. The direct sensation in the steering feels very well connected, helped by the fact there are no pulleys in the bridle, and yet the steering remains moderate and won’t tire your arms during a long session. The relationship between either sheet-and-go riding or a more agile swoop and move style is seamless with the Machine retaining a constant, smooth and intuitive feel. The easy sheet-in lift experience will help those in the early stages of their jumping technique journey as the Machine lets you over sheet the bar during your jump and it will still fly positively through the air. Less skilled pilots can improve quickly. The Machine really delivers for both sheet and go riding as well as being sent back hard like a C kite. You can really funk up your riding style in both lighter and stronger winds. The Machine allows for so much expression on the water. Superbly stable and steady, an absolute stand out quality of the Machine is how easy and controlled it feels when you steer the kite one handed, either for boosted grabs or for popped grabs (or when shooting yourself with your GoPro in hand!). Always responsive, but without a wandering habit, unless you give the Machine a definite command it remains in position beautifully. Kyle was blown away by the Machine, thinking on his first session that the wind was a bit light for the nine metre. People were really working their tens and elevens, but as soon as he dipped the kite into the power, he was pleasantly surprised by the power on tap.

Right from our very first runs we have to again highlight how well connected we always felt with the kite, in lighter and stronger conditions. It’s quite a rare achievement for a kite of this shape to offer such usable and incremental sheeting range with such good feel, however hard you’re steering the kite. As a solid freestyle and big air rider, Kyle was super impressed by the performance of this swept back shape throughout the wind range for manoeuvres that incorporate a loop of the kite, such as kite loops out of transitions, or for darkslides etc. “I was doing a contra type down loop time and again, which isn’t something I usually do on a wider kite like this. I’d go up into a front roll with a tail grab and keep pulling on the bar with my front hand, which sent the downloop early. I could feel the Machine every step of the way – no shuddering or shooting too far forward. It’s just so constant and doesn’t spin whimpishly.” The constant feel and feedback allow for easy steering one handed through push and pull bar inputs with one hand. For twin-tip style wave riding it’s very assured and rewarding because you get pulled through the turn really nicely as soon as the kite turns through the window and then there’s a very smooth drive back across the top of the window when depowering the bar. The Machine V1 always feels responsive and turned ‘on’. It may not have the pure, raw vertical lift of some boosting kites, but there really is this very grand and polished feeling. Equally, on the same sessions as enjoying smooth lift, Kyle was also able to unhook with very little bar trimming to throw controlled front rolls and raleys. He was only using a short leash and straps, so he didn’t try any handle-passes but, as the Machine didn’t oversheet at all, in lower to mid range conditions there’s a huge amount of diverse riding potential in the Machine. However, as good as the Machine is at remaining rooted beautifully in the sky, once you give it the command to steer, it also reacts as if it has bigger, more responsive wing tips than a swept back bow shape. The steering feel is consistent between the kite’s low end and top end. While the steering input isn’t light, that medium feel also doesn’t get heavier the more wind you ride in and there’s no shuddering at all at the top end. The Machine could handle very strong winds and retain its performance character, if your legs are up to it.

RANGE The wind range for a nine metre is ideal. Kyle rode it in winds averaging 16 knots, while hovering between 14 and 20. Other riders were on 11s but he was holding ground no problem. Being Cape Town, we both had some really strong wind sessions on it, too. While it doesn’t have an endless top end range, requiring quite solid rail skills once you go much beyond 30 knots, that’s no discredit to this kite because when you consider how much fun it is in its low end around 15 knots, then you realise the huge performance potential this kite offers for so many riders. Slingshot have billed this as a monster big air kite. While it’s capable of being held down in some really strong winds, is super stable and will reward good kite handling technique for big boosts, don’t get purely sucked into thinking this kite will automatically increase your Woo scores. It’s for way more than just that. The Machine will round out your riding incredibly well, has a very acceptable boost and hangtime for average technique, and will continue to reward you in all departments the better you get. SENTRY BAR If you’re a Slingshot rider and haven’t yet upgraded to the new Sentry bar – do it! As robust as ever, the new double plastic tubing over the centre lines are a big improvement for comfort and, when you sheet in, the lines automatically untwist themselves.

“A superbly balanced kite in terms of power, feel and speed that allows you to develop a very well rounded freeriding style. From hooked-in boosts and grabs to unhooked tricks, this kite will stay with you!”

“A superbly balanced kite in terms of power, feel and speed that allows you to develop a very well rounded freeriding style. From hooked-in boosts and grabs to unhooked tricks, this kite will stay with you!”

SUMMARY: The Machine is all about giving you the constant sensations for freeride expression. Incremental increases in sheeting power, response and lift give the Machine a really linear feel. The temperament of the kite remains consistent from its low to top end and this is a bow kite that delivers a far more rounded freeriding style than many. Plus, the build is strong and lifespan long, as always from Slingshot. KW LIKED: A superbly balanced kite in terms of power, feel and speed that allows you to develop a very well rounded freeriding style. From hooked-in boosts and grabs to unhooked tricks, this kite will stay with you! KW WOULD CHANGE: Some tighter more pivotal turning would help the Machine also transition into being better for foiling, too.

MACHINE BALANCE POINTS: Build quality: 8.5 Full package: 9 Low end: 8.5 Top end: 8 Steering speed: 5.5 Turning circle: 5.5 Bar pressure: 5 Water relaunch: 8.5 Drift: 8.5 Boost: 8 Hang-time: 8 Unhooked: 7 Crossover: 7 Ease of use: 9

SIZES: 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6 & 5M

This video has been disabled until you accept marketing cookies. Manage your preferences here or directly accept targeting cookies